Brain Game Tennis Blog

Learn tennis strategy, read analysis of pro matches, and more from the Brain Game Tennis blog. All posts are written by ATP tennis strategy coach & analyst, Craig O'Shannessy.

Has My Backhand Improved?

Is My Backhand Getting Better? I posted a blog in August 2020 about my goal to come out on the other side of the pandemic with a better topspin backhand. I videoed it back in August and asked people what they thought of it, and what coaching tips they had for me. I received 111
2015 Wimbledon: Dustin Brown def. Rafael Nadal 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 I first started playing tennis when I was around 12 years old in my hometown of Albury, Australia. I was instantly hooked. I played a bucket load of junior tennis. I then traveled to the U.S. to play collegiate tennis and became an All-American
G’day! The 2021 Australian Open is just three weeks away. To help you gear up for the “Happy Slam”, here are 50 panoramas I took with my iPhone in recent years. Enjoy! 😀🇦🇺🎾
You probably need to be practicing more serves & returns. The traditional tennis lesson is 50 minutes of grinding from the back of the court, hitting forehands & backhands ad nauseam. Then the last 10 minutes contain a few serves or returns or maybe some volleys sprinkled in at the end. Not any more. When
The 2-1 Pattern The baseline is a tough place to forge an advantage. One of the best patterns of play from the back of the court is the “2-1 Pattern”. This three-shot combo is broken down as follows: Shot 1 = Play deep to your opponent’s backhand to Position C to push them back. Get them
Improve Your Volleys The last thing you want when hitting volleys is to be really tight in your hand and wrist. Tightness takes away the all-important “feel” for the volleys. Having a “relaxed” grip is ideal, as it will help you absorb and redirect the power of the passing shot. When you volley with a
Catch The Volley You have probably heard the phrase “punch the volley.” It’s not bad from an energy standpoint, but we can do better. The problem with the “punch” analogy is that energy is delivered to whatever is being punched, AND the energy keeps driving through as the punch is delivered. If you take that
You can’t go to the net in today’s game, right? The conversation typically goes like this… The racquets are more powerful than they used to be. Much easier to rip passing shots past the player who is approaching the net. The latest strings generate massive amounts of topspin, which enables passing shots to get up and
G’day! It’s a very rare occurrence in recent times in the men’s game when we get a brand new Grand Slam champion. Today is one of those days! I looked through several metrics for both Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem in New York the past couple of weeks as well as their rivalry to highlight
  Six points out of every 10 will finish with Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem hitting a MAXIMUM of just two balls in the court in their semi-final of the US Open in New York this evening. That’s either no balls in the court (double fault) or one or two for either player. Happening. Whoever
G’day, Arthur Ashe Stadium is the biggest tennis stadium in the world, seating 23,771 fans. That’s a lot of humanity all gathered together to watch a tennis match! It opened in 1997 with a cost of $254 million, and a roof was added in 2016 for $150 million, which was part of a $550 million
G’day, Simona Halep played the match of her life to defeat Serena Williams 6-2, 6-2 in the 2019 Wimbledon Women’s Final. Right from the first minute, you could sense that Simona was “on” and Serena was not. I broke down the final on the Wimbledon Channel right after the match. That video is below. Here
G’day, Last week I posted a two-minute clip of me hitting backhands under the title “It’s time to fix my backhand. Your thoughts?” I received 111 responses 👀👀👀. Thanks to each and every one of you for taking the time to offer feedback. They are all posted below. Some are more positive than others, and
G’day, I grew up playing on the amazing grasscourts in Albury, Australia as a junior. That’s a pic below. 👇 To succeed on these courts you need a decent serve, solid volleys, a penetrating forehand, and a wicked backhand slice. A topspin backhand really was not required, therefore coming over my backhand has always been
DIRTBALLER HOME PAGE DIRTBALLER VIDEO G’day, Let’s cut to the chase… You want to win more matches now that tennis is starting to be played again. More W’s. Less L’s. The pandemic took away your tennis but you are now starting to get back on court a little. There are many things to work on (serving,
G’day, The singles baseline is 27 feet (8.23m) across. That’s substantial. It is a lot of territory to cover when your opponent is looking to attack you. That’s a lot of running to do if you hit the ball to the wrong part of the court and open up angles to be attacked. In The
G’day, The majority of points are built through the Ad court directed towards a right hander’s backhand. You play to the backhand much more than the forehand at the beginning of a point because you are less likely to get hurt off that wing. In the 25 Golden Rules of Singles Strategy, I talk about
  G’day, I want to give you a sneak peek of what’s under the hood of the 25 Golden Rules of Singles Strategy. Rule #3 introduces the concept of the powerful Serve +1 strategy. This terminology was first introduced in this course back in 2014 and it has now become mainstream as players, coaches, and
G’day, Return winners are a line item in our sport – meaning someone sits on the side of the court and counts them at Grand Slams. At Wimbledon in 2019, the men hit 445 and the women hit 381. So the men won that battle by 64 winners. At the 2020 Australian Open, the men
G’day, When you hear tennis players or coaches or commentators talk about “patterns of play”, it all sounds very official and organized and clever. But can you actually name a pattern of play? Now you definitely can! 😁 The video below is my Wimbledon Channel analysis of a pattern of play called the “3-1”. Yes