A lot of coaches these days spend hours and hours on scouting and analyzing the opponent. Tennis is a very difficult game to figure out and sometimes knowing your opponent's strengths and weaknesses can be helpful. However, the majority of the time spent training and preparing for matches should be focused on you, the player.
If a certain player can play "their game" at a high level and according to their plan, the opponent will have a difficult time doing the same thing on their end of the court. If you serve well, the opponent will struggle with their return. If you return serve well, the opponent will struggle with their serve and the shot after the return.
Most of the time, if you play your game well, you will control more of the points than your opponent and they will spend a lot of their time trying to figure out what to do to counter your strategy and shots. This again, will make it very difficult for the opponent to play their game as well as they would like and force them into a more reactive situation instead of playing proactively.
Try to be the player that dictates the points by playing your game and you will be able to pay less attention to the strengths and tendencies of your opponent. This will enable you to play closer to your highest level more often.
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 email@example.com