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Fast court tactics - Part 1/2

Fast courts include grass, some hard courts and carpets. On a fast court the ball tends to skid and the bounce is relatively low. Altitude and the type of ball can also affect the speed of the game.

A lighter ball or high altitude can make a medium paced court feel like a fast one. Prior to discussing the actual tactics, let’s review some of the mental, physical and technical factors that are likely to promote success on fast courts.


Fast court tennis requires intense short-term concentration. Everything is happening so quickly that the player has to be totally focussed to handle the speed of the ball. A momentary loss of concentration may cause two or three loose errors and result in a service break, as well as the loss of a set. The basic mental approach to fast court tennis should be to dominate the opponent and dictate the tempo of the points. Just reacting to the opponent’s shots does not get you very far on fast courts. One of the most difficult challenges for a player that prefers slow courts, when competing on fast courts, is understanding and accepting that they will make many more errors than normal. There will also be a feeling that it is difficult to establish much rhythm. Learning to accept these conditions and deal with them is part of playing on fast courts. Remember that both players will get more cheap points. Overall, the scores of sets are usually considerably closer on fast courts due to the fact that there are less service breaks. As such, the player must feel comfortable and confident late in the sets and in tie-breaks.

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