It is a common feature of a match where two players are of even skill and fitness for tie breaks occur.
Therefore it should be a part of your game that you develop a strategy for just like any other. You can work with your tennis coach in training what is the best strategy for you and work on it on a regular basis, it could help you win more games.
Jimmy Connors once described tennis as being 90% mental, and never is a statement closer to the mark when it comes to a tiebreak.
Tiebreaks tend to favour players with big serves and are aggressive, the tactical player can also prevail.
Grigor Dimitov was quoted saying after he lost a tiebreaker with Rafael Nadal, “You never know what’s going to happen, sometimes one shot can change the whole momentum of the tiebreak so you’ve got to be prepared for that. But you have to have a positive mind-set and really believe you are going to win it. At the end of the day you’d rather go for your shots and then you can sleep easy at night rather than wondering what might have been.”
In the Past
In the past a common defense was to lob back moon balls returns and try to tire the aggressive out. Buy this has tended to have died out as most pro’s these days have the power to blast big winners.
Normally aggression is the most favoured tactic, 80% of the time the player dictating the play will win. But it is really important to concentrate and be focused on every shot, avoid unforced errors like the plague.
Having said all that, Alex Dolgopolov who has been described as aggressive to the point of psychosis, stated that a tiebreak is pretty much of a lottery, and depending how his opponent is playing the tiebreak determines his tactics.
If his opponent was playing a normal time game and making mistakes then Dolgopolov would tend to kerb his aggressive manner and sit back a little. His advice to club players was to always play on the front foot and be aggressive to opponents who think they are better than you.
This philosophy is borne as the better player will enter the tiebreak thinking they should win, they will not expect you to come out all guns blazing and this could put them off their game.
Without doubt the first couple of points are hugely important, if you can get off to a good start it will put your opponent under considerable pressure. It is highly important to focus on every single point especially on your own serve as these points are the most vital.
To summarise it is always advisable to try to control the tiebreak and the best way of doing this is by being aggressive and taking the game to your opponent. Concentration is a must, every point should be fought after as best you can.
No matter what, try to keep positive, this will help your concentration and will aid your aggressive tactic.