Nepali Times
Game Point
The experts say.


As a student of tennis, I am constantly trying to learn to be a better coach. This game is very complex but I have learnt that the secret is to keep things simple. I often read what the great champions and coaches have to say about different areas of tennis. They have helped me understand the game immensely and I am sure their words will help you too. Here are some of my favorite quotes.

The Game
"I play for the love of the game. I think about having fun and what a pleasure playing tennis is. That seems to relax me and allows me to concentrate on playing my best" - Evonne Goolagong

As a coach, I try to instill this in all my players every day. Especially at a competitive level, it is easy to lose perspective and forget the main reason why you play the game. The pressure of winning and losing is the number one reason for forgetting the reason why you play tennis.

The Mental Game
"The game that takes place in the mind is played against such obstacles as lapses in concentration, nervousness, self-doubt and self-condemnation. In short, it is played to overcome all habits of mind which inhibit excellence in performance" - W. Timothy Gallwey

After all these years, I have learnt that this game is 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical. And the good news is you can train your mind. Start with positive 'self talk'.

"Spend more time preparing and less time regretting" - Virginia Wade
It is no fun grinding out on the practice court but there is no short cut to getting better. My best students are always the hardest workers.

"Keep your mind, above all, on the bloody ball" - Roy Emerson
Great players are able to focus and execute on big points. The fitter you are, the easier it is to prolong concentration on the tennis court. One way of doing this is to keep your eyes on the strings between points and on the ball during a point.

The Serve
"Your service usually determines whether you will win or lose the match"
- Pancho Gonzales

This is the shot that begins every point of every game of every match. It is not the power that is important but the consistency and accuracy.

"A couple of good shots can make you forget all the lousy ones" -Rod Laver
Proper footwork enhances your strokes every single time. It is the base for balance and execution. The less you think about your shots when you are hitting the ball, the better off you are at placing the ball to your target.

"Keeping the ball in play and keeping it deep will inevitably lead to errors by your opponent" - Nick Bolleteri
At all levels of tennis, this is the number one strategy. Next time you watch a tennis match keep a track of unforced errors, forced errors and winners. You will be surprised to see that even at the professional level the difference in winning and losing is which player keeps more balls on the court.

Winning and losing
"Never equate losing with failure" - Arthur Ashe
Since I coach a collegiate team, I deal with the highs and lows of winning and losing matches very often. The most important thing for me is the effort players give and embracing competition. If you have put yourself on the line, you are a winner.

"You can't change the last point, so forget it. Win the next one" - Rod Laver
It is human nature to second-guess our decisions about everything. We cannot change the past. You are in control only of what is in front of you.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)