I'm sometimes accused of 'winning ugly' which I take as a great compliment. It means I've 'found a way to work it out' even if I haven't performed at my best that day. Brad Gilbert of course was the master of this and I take the tip of the week out of his fantastic book.
For some pros (the ones not making any money) and most recreational players there are two kinds of points: ad points and all the rest. Wrong. I treat the point the can get me or my opponent to an ad point as a major moment because it offers a major rewards. That reward is the opportunity to win (or convert) a game. I call any point that precedes an ad point a Set-up Point. The point played a love-30, 30-love, 15-30, 30-15, 30-30, and deuce are all Set-UP Points for one or both players.
When I'm looking at one of those scores bells are ringing inside me, especially at 30-30 (or deuce) when we both have a chance to step up and get to an ad point. Each one is a big swing because it decides who gets a chance to cash in on the game. And if the set or match comes with winning that game the Set-up Point's value is multiplied (I think of those moments as Super Set-up Points).
If I win a Set-up point at 30-30 or deuce I'm only one point away from winning the game. My opponent is three points away. A big difference. If I win a point at 30-15 (to go up 40-15) the spread is even bigger. Psychologically it's all positive......
So, this week, just look to improve your 'awareness' of the Set-up Points and next time, we'll look at how best to 'play' them.