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Nick’s Notes: Bollettieri on how to overcome windy conditions on the tennis court
The late coach shares his tips and tricks to conquering blustery winds during a match.
Published Dec 30, 2022
WATCH: Remember the life and legacy of Nick Bollettieri, one of the sport's greatest coaches and pioneer of tennis academies, after opening Bollettieri Tennis Academy in 1978.
In memory of Nick Bollettieri, TENNIS.com proudly presents “Nick’s Notes,” an exclusive look at tips, tricks, and takes written by one of the greatest coaches of the modern era.
In this column, Bollettieri on playing through the wind:
In Florida as we approach the months of March and April, all players have to deal with the wind. The majority of players, especially the 3.5 to 4.0 level players, seem to fall apart in windy conditions. Why?
You must make adjustments to your game in the wind. Below are some observations and tips that I’ve used which will help your mental approach to a windy day.
The first step is to recognize that in windy conditions the wind is going to effect the ball as it comes to you and it will also effect the ball after you hit and it travels to your opponent’s court. There are things you should do differently as you prepare to hit the ball in a windy day and there are things you should also do differently when hitting the ball.
As you are preparing to hit the ball, because the ball will be moving from its normal paths because of the wind, it is critically important that you pay extra attention to your footwork and balance. Extra footwork and extra adjustment steps are generally needed to make the constant modifications necessary to be in proper position and balance when hitting a ball that is being moved by the wind. As the ball is approaching, focus on your footwork and balance to get into proper position. Don’t lunge for the ball at the last minute.
There are also things you can do when you’re hitting the ball to counteract the effects of the wind on your shots. First recognize what direction the wind is moving from and to. It could be north to south, south to north, east to west, west to east, or on a diagonal. When you’re hitting with the wind at your back, hit with more spin for control. Let the wind add the depth to your shots. When hitting into the wind, use less spin and be sure to clear the net by three to five feet so your shots don’t land short in the court. A drop shot into the wind is always very effective as the wind will slow or even stop the forward progress of the ball after it hits your opponent’s side of the court.
When the wind is blowing across the court from east to west or west to east, and you are hitting the ball down the line, be sure to hit the outside of the ball and do not hit close to the lines. If you just block the ball and don’t hit through it while trying to hit down the line, the wind will take it wide. Kick serves with the wind behind your back are very effective because the wind will help them jump up. Kick serves against the wind however, are not effective because the wind will prevent them from penetrating the court. Slice serves generally work well against the wind because they will not sit up, and the wind will blow the ball away from your opponent or pull the ball into their body.
Get ready. The wind is coming. Good luck.