How to Make a Comeback
The world’s top players excel at a skill that the other players do not possess: they know how to come back from behind. Most often, players in the lead tend to win, so this skill is one of the things that separates them from the rest of the pack. For USTA league players, this skill can be developed when competitors realize a basic fact: it is far easier to stage a comeback when matches use the Super tiebreak as the decider rather than a full third set.
At the most basic level, this means that players need to understand that, if they lose the first set, they only need to win one more set to get the match to a crapshoot (the Super). It doesn’t really matter if the score of the first set was 0-6 or 6-7, tennis is scored by sets. What does matter is the simple understanding that winning the second set ties the match. The shortened format with the Super tiebreak also means that there are more upsets. This is simply because, in a smaller sample of points, the weaker team can play even with a better team. It is only if the match lasts “long enough” that the superior skills of the stronger team will most likely show themselves.
A clear example of this comes from professional men’s tennis. In the Grand Slams, singles matches are 3/5 sets. Quality has a lot of time to reveal itself. The result is that a handful of players have dominated the Slams. In contrast, the doubles events on the regular Tour are 2/3 sets with the match decided by a Super tiebreak. Under this format, there have been multiple champions.
So, if you lose the first set, do not despair. The fact is that making a comeback is not as tough as it might seem. Hang in there and keep playing your game!