Adjusting your position on the court can be the difference in a match. Most players prefer to stand in close to the baseline or way behind the baseline. In both cases, it is important to adjust according to how the point is going.
If the opponent is hitting the majority of their shots very deep, you should consider backing up a few steps until you are able to get the opponent more on the defensive. If their shots are not as strong and deep, you can resume trying to hold close to the baseline.
The same goes for those players who prefer to stand way back. If the opponent starts moving forward a lot or is good at hitting balls in front of you and low, adjust your position forward and take away their ability to do this. In addition, if the opponent seems to have a favorite serve (likes to serve out wide or down the middle more often), shift your position in the direction of that shot and make the opponent hit a different serve that is not as comfortable.
When a player seems to like hitting crosscourt shots, cover that by standing slightly to the crosscourt side. A good player may be able to hit the other shot but since they are not as confident with that, it can result in a lot of errors and take away some of those shots that are getting you in trouble.
Using your court position to alter an opponent's shot direction and selection can force them to be indecisive and change the outcome of the match.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis, www.annaconetennis.com and MyHamptonsPro, www.myhamptonspro.com throughout the Hamptons, NY. In addition, Steve and Miguel Coelho have introduced the JET (Junior Elite Tennis) program at the Tucson Jewish Community Center (Tucson, AZ) for high level players ages 8-18. Please contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org.