I’m playing a very important match in a tournament. I am losing 0-2 in games and now losing 0-5 in the third game. What should I do?
First of all…never give up! I have won many matches because of a third-game comeback. My opponent starts crying to himself that he should have finished the match and the momentum swings to me.
Secondly, try calling a time out. A friend or coach may be able to give me tips, insights, or encouragement which can really help. If you don’t have anyone in your corner, you can use this time to re-think your strategy and calm your nerves.
Thirdly, consider the reason for this predicament. Is the opponent outplaying you, or are you missing shots that you normally make? If you’re having an off-day, which shots are you missing? Are you making many backhand errors? If so, step around and use the forehand more. If your flips are off, just push. If the opponent is dominating, what particular shots is she winning with? Devise a plan to take away these strengths.
Finally, re-think your strategy. Instead of playing an all-out attack game, switch to pushing and blocking. The current strategy led to this predicament, so a change may be just what the doctor ordered.
It’s always discouraging to be in a deep hole, one game away from losing the match. But don’t lose heart; you’d be surprised how many matches you can redeem if you respond in a smart and determined way!
Samson Dubina is an accomplished player and coach. He was the US Nationals Men’s Singles Finalist in 2010. Learn more about Samson.
Have you made any glorious comebacks?