All Weather Play

Tennis was designed to be played outdoors and weather conditions are not always favourable.

More often than not you will have to adapt your game, if only slightly, to suit the weather conditions of the day. When playing in windy conditions, you will have to judge exactly how the wind will affect play from either end of the court.

This will vary according to whether you are playing with the wind behind you, against you or across the court. The position of the sun in cloudless conditions, the general court temperature and rain during play are the other factors which require careful consideration.

Now that the principal show-courts at the Slams all have retractable rooves, a micro-climate is formed which can create its own problems  –  like high humidity.

For the serious, or professional, player it is important to have the right attitude towards adverse weather conditions and towards different types of opponents.

Playing with the wind

If you are playing with the wind you must use less power and more spin to keep the ball from flying long. Playing with the wind adds easy power to your shots and less time for your opponent to prepare for his returns.

Gain the net position whenever possible, since volleying is less likely to be disrupted by a following wind than groundstroke play and the wind slowing up your opponent’s passing shots should work to your advantage.

Vary your approach shots and, if forced on the defensive, use passing shots, not lobs.

Playing into the wind

Your main advantage is the feeling that you can hit the ball very hard without being concerned that it might go out. You will have to generate more pace on your shots or they will have less effect.

Early positioning and racket preparation are important to deal with the faster ball coming from your opponent. Aim to gain the net position by playing deep lobs when your opponent comes to the net  –  passing shots are slowed by the wind and have less effect.

Use topspin on your deep lobs and be ready to follow into the net. Drop shots are also extra effective hits into the wind.

Playing in a crosscourt wind

Basically, when playing an attacking game, use the direction of the crosscourt wind to help you and, when playing a defensive game, play into the wind.

For example, if you are serving from the right side of the court with the wind blowing from right to left, use your slice serve so that the wind combines with the spin to make the ball swerve wide of your opponent’s court.

With approach shots, use the wind to swing the ball away from the baseline with sidespin. You can also approach the net by playing sidespin drives into the wind.

Serving in bright sunshine

If the sun is directly in line with where you want to place up the ball when serving, either alter your position slightly so that you can see the place-up more clearly, or throw the ball up slightly lower than usual.

Aim to get a higher percentage of first serves in from the sunny end of the court.

If you have tossed up before playing the match and your opponent has chosen to serve, allow him to serve in the shade so that you can then have your own service game and the one to follow in the shade.

In doubles, if the sun is equally troublesome to both partners, the weaker server should elect to serve into the sun, giving his partner easier conditions and the best chance of success.

Playing in the rain

This is particularly applicable to Singapore tennis because of its very wet and rainy climate. Make sure you have suitable tennis shoes to gain maximum grip and help prevent a fall.

Gut strings in a racket are a no go-er and synthetic stringing is ideal and won’t be affected by rain and dampness. The balls will pick up moisture from the court and become heavy  –  they will bounce lower and slow down.

You will generally have to prepare for your shots lower down and lengthen your follow-through for greater control. When the court is slippery use spin shots.

Playing tennis in Singapore

The general climate temperature in Singapore is mostly around 30c with high humidity and so playing tennis in these conditions requires suitable preparation.

Here are some tips to help you deal with the humidity while playing tennis:

  1. Wear lightweight and breathable clothing made from materials like polyester and nylon which will help to disperse sweat and keep you cool.
  2. If you feel overheated take a break and step away from the sun or heat source. This will give you time to cool down and recharge.
  3. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water or an isotonic drink, before and during your match. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty before drinking  –  drink in advance of thirst.
  4. A sweatband around your head or wrist can help absorb sweat and keep it from dripping into your eyes or onto your racket handle.
  5. If possible bring an umbrella to shade yourself from the sun during breaks in play.

By following these tips, you can help reduce the effects of high humidity and heat and enjoy your tennis game in Singapore.

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