There are obviously many different styles of play in tennis. Most players are put in one category or the other: offensive or defensive. However, the best players tend to be the ones who can do some of both.
More importantly, the player who eventually wins the match is likely to be the one who dictates the point. Sometimes this means making the other player run more or hit shots that they are not as comfortable with. It can also mean being offensive enough and making the opponent feel pressure to come up with their best shots off of a difficult shot. Even the more defensive players can make the opponent uncomfortable by returning balls that they did not expect to come back.
These days, many of the defensive players can turn being in trouble into an offensive situation. They are able to use the shot that the opponent hits to make the point go in their direction. Djokovic, Nadal and Federer all have the ability to turn defense into offense with just one or two shots. Cam Norrie's win in Indian Wells this past weekend was another example of a player using both offense and defense to dictate the point and eventually win the match.
Use your serve and return of serve to try to get the point going in the direction that you want, and then use your offensive and defensive skills to dictate the way most of the points are played.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis, www.annaconetennis.com and MyHamptonsPro, www.myhamptonspro.com in East Hampton, NY . Steve is also a tennis professional at Ventana Golf and Country Club in Tucson, AZ. In addition, Steve and Miguel Coelho have introduced the JET (Junior Elite Tennis) program at the Tucson Jewish Community Center for high level players ages 8-18. Please contact Steve at email@example.com