The only player to have any real success against Novak Djokovic last year was the great man himself Roger Federer and despite the fact that Roger is a tennis genius there was a way in which he beat Novak and it all came down to that word again, variety.
In one particular match Federer came to the net over 40 times and to a baseliner that is hard work because that is many questions asked of you. If a player is in your face that many times and you don't find a way to win at least 50 per cent of those points then you are in all sorts of trouble.
In other words if an opponent rushes you 40 times while you are at the baseline and they win say 30 of those points chances are they will win the match. That's the type of game plan that Federer uses against the current World Number 1 and he really is the only player that bothers Novak because of the style in which he plays him.
Most guys who play Novak from the baseline don't stand a chance because he doesn't miss. Novak is not a big hitter, he is a smart hitter, he mixes up his shots and he forces the opponent to over play, to try to do more than what really is necessary to beat him.
Novak forces opponents into frustration because he knows that he can't be out rallied on a regular basis. Rafa is no real match anymore for Novak because he can't out rally him and he does not own the variety that Federer does.
Playing tennis is all about not being read too easily by your opponent or if you do play someone who has perhaps worked you out you need to find a way to change it up. In simple terms you need more than one style, a B game or even a C game.
Sometimes against a smart opponent an A game is not enough. It all starts in practice and that's where some days a different style needs to be worked on.
If you are predominantly a base line player then why not get yourself out of your comfort zone and become a net rusher for a day ? If you prefer to serve and stay back why not work on a serve and volley routine for the session ? You never know when it may come in handy particularly if you play an opponent who stands way beyond the baseline to return serve and a short volley may just be the type of tactic that throws their whole routine out.
There are numerous ways to play tennis though with juniors it is all fairly standard type of baseline stuff that only sees a few stand out from the rest. It's pretty tough to become the next Novak so why not become a player who is tough to get a read on instead ? A player who owns a full repertoire of shots will be so much harder to play than the usual baseline 'robot' and it will always keep the opponent guessing as to what is on the way next.
Tennis is a thinking person's sport, not one that is won by brute strength alone. The best tennis players in any age group quite often will be the ones who have that ability to create opportunities throughout a match that others don't see.
Good tennis players will win the 6-4, 7-5 matches because when it's tight in a match they understand what to do and when to do it and don't just wait around for something to happen.
They MAKE it happen..........