I feel footwork is the biggest challenge in the wind. Your
footwork cannot be lazy when playing in the wind. Lots of
little steps are needed to make sudden adjustments. If you
take large steps to prepare to hit the ball and the ball suddenly
moves before you swing, you can be way off balance trying
to hit the ball. This can cause you to miss-hit the ball.
Keep the steps small for careful adjustments of your position
to strike the ball cleanly.
Playing in the wind will force you to make adjustments in
your ground strokes. It is never a good idea to aim for the
lines when the wind is a factor. (Or even when the wind is
not a factor) Give yourself a larger margin of error when
you aim for those corners and passing shots. The harder you
hit the ball the less the wind will affect the ball as it
travels to it's destination. The slower you hit the ball the
more that wind will play havoc with the ball. This can be
a good thing or a bad thing. If the wind is giving your opponent
troubles you may want the wind to push your shots around to
keep your opponent off balance. The swing of your stroke may
slightly need adjusted to. If you are someone with a huge
back-swing, you may consider shortening the back-swing to
hit your shots. The bigger your back-swing the more time the
ball has to move around from the start of your stroke to the
point of contact.
When you are playing against the wind (hitting into the
wind) try aiming a little higher than usual. If you use your
normal ground strokes the wind will make your shots land shorter
in the court, allowing your opponent to attack your shots
more often. You also need to hit the ball harder to keep your
Drop shots are always very effective when hitting into the
wind. The wind will keep the ball from getting too deep in
the court and will force your opponent to run further to get
to the ball.
Approach shots should be hit short and low. This will force
your opponent to hit up to try to pass you at the net, which
is tough to do, especially in the wind.
When you play hitting with the wind I feel you have the bigger
challenge. If you hit too deep the ball can easily sail out.
I recommend a lot of topspin when hitting with the wind. Hitting
high topspin shots will cause your opponent all sorts of problems
since the ball will stay deep and bounce high. It can really
force your opponent to move deep into the back-court to return
your shots and can force them to hit a lot of shot balls.
Keep an eye out for the short ball anytime your opponent is
hitting into the wind. Being able to get to the net is a good
idea when it is windy since the conditions make it tough to
hit passing shots.
When the wind is blowing sideways rather than with or against
you, side spins can be very effective. I have a slice backhand
which I can also use a lot of side spin with. If the wind
is blowing to my right, I use a lot of side spin on the slice
to force the ball to curve more to the right. The more you
can get the ball travel sideways the more problems you can
cause your opponent.
Slice and kick serves can be even more effective when the
wind is blowing sideways. Again, get the ball to move as much
as you can to the left or right to really keep your opponent
on his/her toes. If you are someone with a very high toss
the ball is really going to do some serious movement in the
air before you hit the ball. If the wind pushes your toss
around do not be afraid to not swing and catch the ball and
start over. You have the luxury to do this as many times as
necessary, although your opponent may not like it.
Overheads can be tricky to hit when the wind makes them
do a song and dance while they are up in the air. If the ball
is high enough, you may consider allowing the ball to bounce
before you hit the overhead. Allowing the ball to bounce will
make it easier for you to adjust to the movement after the
bounce since there will be much less movement from the wind.
The thing to remember when playing in the wind is that you
both have to fight each other and the wind. There is not reason
to get fancy, just know what works and really think about
which way the wind is blowing and use it to your advantage.
Good Luck on the