Konta victorious, yet loses 40% of points – Coaching Thoughts
What a win for Johanna Konta. Her first Semi Final appearance at Roland Garros, after failing to make it past the first round on 4 occasions, and what a way to do, beating a Grand Slam champion and last years Runner up.
Her victory against Sloane Stephens has been described as an ’emphatic win’, and that ‘Konta blows Sloane Stephens away’, with the scoreline a comfortable 6-1 6-4. But is that really the case?
FYI before you think I am being a pessimist, this is a coaching article, and I am not taking anything away from Kontas amazing performance.
If we look at the total points won, Stephens won 41 to Kontas 61. That means for every 3 points Konta won, Stephens would win 2. Not sure about you but that’s not very emphatic to me. Now obviously across the course of a match, winning a point more after every 5 will make a difference, but if you say to a player to try and win 3 out of every 5 points, that is a much more achievable and applicable target then to just go out and win a match.
Lots of junior players also struggle to deal with losing a point. They get grumpy, throw their racket, shout out. But that is part of the game. Konta ‘storms’ through her match, yet only won 6 out of 10 points. The fact is you will not win every point as a tennis player. It is very different to football where you can go multiple games without conceding a goal. In Haleps 6-0 6-1 victory over Swiatek in the 4th round, Swiatek won 21 points out of 73. Ok, so not loads, and I am sure she wishes she could have got more, but Halep still lost nearly a 3rd of her points, yet recorded nearly a double bagel. Tennis scoring is not straight forward, and I’m not just talking about why the scores go up 15, 30, 40, but how points go into games, and then games into sets. You could win 12 points in a row, and the score will be 3-0, or you could win 24 points, lose 18 and the score could be… 3-0. If we go back to the Konta match, she lost only 1 point on her serve in the second set, yet the score
of that set was 6-4.
As a coach, you want to help prepare the players the best for their match. For those who struggle to deal with certain situations, or get carried away during the match, strategies such as winning 3 every 5 points will help them along the way, but at the end of the day, points don’t matter. In every match you will win some, you will lose some, you will lose some you shouldn’t, and win some you shouldn’t. Lose 2 points when your 40-love up, no big deal. Lose 2 points on deuce, game over! The best players are the ones who capitalise on the important ones, such as break points and game points, because once you get the game, thats all that matters. As much as its nice to win a game to love, hitting 4 beautiful aces, the scoreboard doesn’t know that, it just knows its 1 love.