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Evaluate And Re-evaluate Your Game

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By Luke Jensen, French Open Doubles Champion

It’s a great time to re-evaluate your game. The pros have finished the 2023 campaign and after a short off-season have been training for a strong kickoff to 2024. I thought it would be fun to share some insight on how they shift gears and ramp up the intensity for a long trip to the Australian Open.

The beginning of the year is mission-critical to springboard your ranking and confidence going into a long tour around the world the rest of the year. I always felt if I had a solid start to the season, it took pressure off to capture the valuable ATP points in the spring. Even if I played well but didn’t earn many wins, I put more pressure on myself at those really tough Indian Wells and Miami Open events. Adding pressure in any way is not helpful towards enjoying the tour life and performing at the highest level.

These days, the pros never cease taking care of their “machine.” The body is always priority number one. There will be a “cheat meal” here and there, but going to the gym is a daily routine with a range-of-motion focus, along with resistance band training. Jumping rope with movement exercises using ladders also is common.

There will be some time away from the court to refresh the mind but making sure the body stays tuned up is the priority. After about two weeks away from the court, players start hitting again with a focus in rhythm and timing. I’m really interested to see what Coco Gauff does in this area with Brad Gilbert. Gauff had a wonderful summer run that ended with a US Open victory. Gilbert, her new coach, was a massive help restoring Gauff’s confidence and producing her best tennis. The fall was not that strong and the off-season is where I’m interested to see what changes can be made to the 19-year-old’s game. There will be a focus on her forehand that can be inconsistent and short during rallies. Opponents attack that side as much as possible because the Gauff backhand is lethal!

I would want to know from Gauff what she thought of her forehand and what happens in her own words when it breaks down under pressure. As a coach, that would give me valuable intel on how to approach improving that side. Going over video analysis is helpful and players really learn a ton visually by watching themselves play. Do you record your strokes? This really is an outstanding tool to see what is going on with your swing. Make sure you have identified the shots you need work on and the type of balls that disrupt that swing. Video can be extremely helpful if you have a ball toss that is not reliable. To see your toss and service motion from another perspective can be valuable to improving your serve.

The new year is here and enjoying the new improvements you have made to your game is so important. The pros are constantly evaluating their talent and re-evaluating again and again to make sure they are ready to win in 2024. The opponents know your weaknesses and if the work was done right in the off-season, your opponents are in for a big surprise!

 

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