Most successful professionals aren’t just very good players but they also have the exceptional ability to stay focused. Whatever your game level is, with the right attitude you can get excellent results; there are also a few rules to follow in order to maintain it.
The night before.
Find your pre-match routine, try to relax, maybe watching your favorite match again while listening to some music or doing what you have always done.
On the court.
In general, it’s a good idea to get early on the court in order to warm up and play a few shots, if possible; eat something light and drink before the match. You can also listen to music (many professionals do it, Nadal is one of them).
Learn to wait.
You are ready to take off, but only if it’s necessary. Professional players don’t always play their shots with the maximum power or as best as they can, but they wait for the right opportunity. However, during the moments of highest tension, when they have to deal with a break point, they get off to a good serve and find an ace that solves their problems. In other words, you don’t have to play always as best as you can. Try to win points by using only a part of your capacities, but try to be ready to play at your maximum potential when the game requires it.
Go back to the base line in order to recover your concentration and strategy.
Between every point, turn your back to your opponent and go back to the base line. In the meantime, start thinking about the next rally and use those precious seconds to calm down and dry off, so that when you go back to the base line you are focused and ready to play. These gestures must become a real ritual.
Visualize the rally.
When you get ready to serve or return, try to foresee how the rally will be, based on the match’s trend and think of where you will address your first shot.
Visualize the shot’s success.
While you align with the ball, imagine the shot’s success. In other words, imagine the shot’s effect on the ball when this leaves the racquet and the trajectory 1 yard over the net in the direction you chose.
Play according to your capacities.
Hit your favorite shots as soon as possible. If you are good at volleys, be often aggressive and go to the net. What’s important is the ease: play the shots that you perform at best as often as possible. Sometimes try a more difficult shot, but bear in mind your limits and also your opponent’s strong points and weaknesses.