We have just returned from our first special hosted week in Florence for 3 years and it was great to be back! Our location in Florence at the Match Ball Firenze Country Club has to be one of the nicest clubs in Italy regarding its facilities and just such a beautiful place to hang out in an amazing Tuscan setting.
Wimbledon is just around the corner which is something I have always looked forward to from a very young age, but how will this year's event fare with no players from Russia or Belarus, plus no ranking points for the players!?
It's not ideal to be missing your world no 1 (Medvedev) and many other top players and I do feel sorry for the vast majority of Russians (not just tennis players), who may not be supportive of their country's actions and feel unable to protest.
Regarding the loss of points, I can't really understand any player saying that it doesn't matter and is really an exhibition. The prize money is huge which will allow many of the lower ranked players the possibility of earning money to allow them to continue with their dream. For the top players it's a great opportunity to go further in the draw with none of the top Russians or Belarusians playing. And for the few in the running to win it, this is Wimbledon! The opportunity to win the most prestigious tournament in the world is not to be sniffed at! The top players will all want another slam and especially the most famous one!
The Importance of Slice for Wimbledon
Looking at Berrettini winning Queens (Cinch) again reminded me of the importance of slice, especially on a grass court. Matteo's slice has always been good, but it looks like he has taken it to an even higher level.
The Best Slicers in the Modern Game
Murray, Federer, Evans & Berrettini - for the men
Barty was the best by far until recently retired and Ons Jabeur hits the most beautiful slice drop shots - for the women.
Best Slice of all Time?
For me it has to be Steffi Graf as she almost never came over her backhand and still managed to beat even the best topspin clay courters in her time with a slice (and a great inside out forehand!). I just had a look at her 6th French open win against Hingis in 1999 who struck the ball early and efficiently with great topspin precision, but Graf had a razor like backhand slice which allowed her to both defend and attack well. maneuvering her opponent before pouncing with her great forehand.
Ken Rosewall was rated as the best of his era with the slice but it didn't penetrate like Graf's, nor did he split his hands to any great degree to help generate more speed. Probably blasphemy to any old Rosewall fans, but the game has always evolved and no doubt his slice was the best of that era.
Anyone over the age of 50 will know someone with a great backhand slice at a local level - ask them for a few tips or even better put a video of them on our Facebook page.
Let's find the best slicers out there?
Top Tips To hit A Good Backhand Slice
Final thought on the slice
The defensive forehand slice - but that's for another day....
Hopefully we will get to see Andy Murray slice and dice his way to the 2nd week of Wimbledon and then who knows..... A favourable draw would certainly help.
Would you like me or Laura to teach you the slice? If yes then join us on our special hosted week in Florence .....
27th August to 3rd September 2022
Click HERE for full info or email email@example.com
What can I say that hasn't been said already about the amazing Rafael Nadal? Yes he could have lost to Zverev but we will never know and that is part of the game. Nadal has had so many injuries over his career so I think it would be unfair to say that he wouldn't have won.
He lost only 23 games in the first 3 rounds before being severely tested by Auger-Aliassime in 5 sets, but found a way to win. The quarter final against Djokovic was a spectacular battle with many changes of momentum and the beauty of the long deuce games were amongst the key moments of the match. Nadal managed to adapt to the slow conditions with the cooler temperatures and once again found a way to succeed. Novak has been one of the most resilient players in the history of the game but I felt that it was the even greater resilience of Nadal that pulled him through. You can talk tactics all you like but his mental strength to compete point for point no matter what the situation, is quite something to see. As many of the pundits were saying he has to be the greatest ever sporting competitor. It's difficult to measure across the sports but the scoring system in tennis is so brutal that you must have huge reserves of determination and perseverance to pull through in a best of 5 sets match against another mental giant like Novak!
I love Nadal not because he is such a great tennis player and a serial winner but mainly because of the way he handles himself both on and off the court. Never smashing a racket or disrespecting his opponent. Never taking any match for granted. If disagreeing with officials, always in a respectful manner. As a role model it would be hard to think of anyone better.
The last question in his Spanish press conference was "is it worth it, continuing to make so many sacrifices in order to continue his career?"
His answer was along the lines of:
"Sacrifices? Are you joking? I'm so privileged to be able to lead the life I lead, to train every day and to play tennis every day. I love it. No sacrifices!"
Tennis is a game and a great one at that, but we are so fortunate to have the GOAT (in my opinion) as someone with such a great perspective on life.
I love Swiatek too, but there will be plenty more opportunities to speak about her with such a wonderful career still ahead of her.
Clay Court Tennis
I have just finished reading a book by Paul McNamee (famous Oz player and partner of the late Peter McNamara) called "Welcome to the Dance" which is about his love of clay court tennis and why everyone should learn to play on the stuff. It's a great read and Mr McNamee really gets to the heart of the beauty of Italian and other European clubs as sanctuaries where we should pay homage to the beauty of clay and its benefits to our development of our tennis skills.
I quote from Mr McNamee:
" My contention is that the gateway to mastering tennis is mastering clay, because the deep insights you gain by unlocking the mysteries of clay are completely transferable to any other surface, whether hardcourt or grass, indoors or outdoors. The reverse is not true, and I'm talking about hardcourt in particular. Hardcourt is a great leveller, the great equaliser, where both fast and slow court exponents meet in the middle, but its predominant style, based on metronomic hitting, does not replicate the range of skills asked of a player on clay."
Why not join us in Florence on clay?
We might not be able to get you playing like Nadal or Swiatek but we can certainly have a lot of fun trying and help you to explore the joy of playing on a clay court at our lovely club in Florence
Rome 2022 - After 2 years of missing out re Covid we have just finished a great trip to Rome with a lovely group of clients. The weather was amazing, the quality of players on show was of the highest level and there was so much to do at this wonderful event.
So much to tell.....
Il Foro Italico is quite a spectacular venue with 7 courts available on a ground pass, including the beautiful Pietrangeli court surrounded by marble statues. This is one of the best show courts in the world.
The other courts in the grounds also have fantastic viewing for lots of people with banked seating. On court 5 every day you will see all the top players like Djokovic and Nadal practicing.
There are 2 show courts, but my favourite is the Grandstand Arena which is smaller than Centrale and has better viewing with all seats being closer to the action.
Practice Courts - In addition to Court 5 there are 5 other practice courts with excellent viewing and the chance to see up close, players interacting with their coaches.
On one of these courts we had the privilege of watching Jamie Murray and his coach Alan MacDonald. Jamie and Alan were both kind enough to have a quick chat after their session, which was certainly one of the highlights of the week. (For them I mean)
Most of the world's tennis brands are all on sale in the individual shops, plus a special Italian Open sponsored one by Joma for 2022. If you want to get new tennis gear then this is the best place I know to actually shop for it!
Food & Drink in Il Foro Italico
Being in Italy you are spoiled for choice at very reasonable prices e.g. a good cappuccino at only €1.50 and lots of excellent Italian dishes.
Tuscan Tennis Holidays Coaching Venue in Rome
Only a short walk from both the hotel and Il Foro Italico, we have access to tournament quality clay courts set next to the River Tiber.
Coaching is from 9 - 11am each morning with our top Italian coaches Iuri and Andrea, plus of course Ian and Laura. Many of our clients were able to learn from watching the stars in action and then ask questions of the coaches about the various styles and tactics the following day.
WHAT I LEARNED AS A COACH FROM WATCHING/OBSERVING
1. If you are not a good athlete then you have no chance of winning on clay. The physical side of clay court tennis is quite incredible to see close up and live. I will certainly be reinforcing this with all of my juniors who wish to make any efforts to compete in the tennis world.
2. Winning big points is the key to success. This may seem obvious, but especially in the doubles there are so many sudden death points or match tie breaks where the match can be won or lost. I would imagine that Tsitsipas would like another go at his 1st serve when 5 - 6 down in the 2nd set tie break v Djokovic in the final. It almost hit the baseline!
3. Return of serve position. In the men's game, for singles, many stand quite far back for both 1st & 2nd serves but there are also some who stay nearer the baseline, like Brooksby (an interesting player with an unorthodox, but extremely effective style)
In men's doubles the majority return near the baseline on both 1st & 2nd serves and also in the women's singles the majority are closer to the baseline for all serves.
No fixed rule - try and see what works best for you.
4. In the warm up practice sessions most of the coaches appeared to adopt a good humoured, relaxed style and the intensity of players varied depending upon their personality or perhaps work ethic? A good coach will know their player and what works best for them.
Frances "the grinder" Tiafoe as his coach Wayne Ferreira jokingly called him. He is a big hitting shotmaker.
5. A reminder of why the scoring system in tennis is pure genius and the mental/emotional demands that it places on individuals. The car crash of Sakkari playing Jabeur in the quarters when a set, 5 - 2, and 30 - 0 up was a great example. One can never absolutely assume, but it certainly looked like a fear of winning - choking - complaining about everything - Jabeur allowed back into the match and then winning.
Djokovic on the other hand seems to manage his emotional control incredibly well and knows when to get up and when to stay steady which you can see by his careful or more attacking shot selection.
6. There are so many players who hit the ball well, but only a few who really know how to win and they are able to manage their emotions throughout the ups and downs of a match. Swiatek and Alcaraz are another 2 great examples of this i.e. they know how to win! Really looking forward to the French and hope that Alcaraz plays Nadal or Djokovic in the final. (but a fit & healthy Nadal)
What I loved the most?
Watching John Isner and Diego Schwartzman in the doubles was so much fun. Two nice guys having a good time competing and almost taking the title with a match point lost to a very close return by Diego (what a shame!).
The difference in stature and style was lovely to see and it felt like the crowds were more excited by their performances than any of the singles players.
It certainly seems to help the profile and appeal of doubles when the well known singles players take part, as many did in Rome.
If any of our clients who were in Rome with us have any comments I would love to hear them? Or who else has been to this event?
Our next special hosted trip?
Florence - Why not join us? We can work on your clay court game!
27th August to 3rd September
Click HERE for info
Tailor Made Tennis Holidays
If the dates for our Florence week don't suit then don't worry as we can still arrange dates to suit in Lucca, Florence or Sardinia. Why not contact us with your preferred dates and see what we can offer?
Click HERE for Tailor Made info
What clay courts can do for your game.
Watching the clay court events so far reminds me of why I love clay court tennis so much. But just what is it that makes this surface so special and what can we learn from playing on it?
MY CURRENT FAVOURITE CLAY COURT PLAYERS
MEN Nadal & Murray – Nadal is just the King although Alcaraz is the young pretender and may soon dethrone him! Andy Murray on any court surface is always great to watch but on a clay court his variety of spins, drops, topspin lobs and ability to hoist the ball to the sky and land on the baseline when defending defies belief at this stage in his career.
LADIES It was Barty, but now that she has retired I'm really enjoying watching Raducanu on clay as she is such a great athlete who can slide, drop shot, change the rhythm and compete like crazy. When she becomes stronger I think that clay might be her best surface.
SO WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN TO PLAY ON CLAY?
We still have some spaces on our Special Hosted Week in Florence from the 27th August until 3rd September.
Our Florence tennis venue is considered to be one of the best clubs in Italy with a beautiful setting and world class facilities -
ITALIAN OPEN PREDICTIONS
Men – Alcaraz is the man of the moment but Nadal is always the favourite.
Ladies – Difficult to predict as so many different winners in the women's game at the moment but Swiatek has to be the favourite with Sakkari & Halep close behind.
CAN MURRAY BEAT DJOKOVIC?
After watching Andy beat Shapovalov last night in Madrid I would say yes, especially that he will have a day's rest. It will be very interesting to see how they match up after such a long time playing each other and all that they have both been through in recent times.
It would seem that Novak is getting back on track, but Andy is now serving even better than he used to and is also able to defend well and get to drop shots. It's interesting to hear him talk about the hard work he's put in recently and in particular how pleased he is with his ability to get the drop shot back. If you didn't see the match last night please have a look at the highlights and one of the most incredible drop shot gets I have ever seen by Andy! The contrast between their match last year at Wimbledon and this one was startling.
I am so looking forward to seeing him play in Rome next week where Laura and I will be hosting 2 groups during the Italian open. The men's game at the moment has so many exciting players who will all be in Rome and I can't wait to see them all competing and hopefully get to see some of their practice sessions which can often be more interesting than a match. The prospect of seeing Alcaraz for the first time live will be amazing and if Raducanu continues to improve her clay court form (and avoids injury) it could be very interesting.
We will post some photos and keep you up to date with what's happening in the tournament plus of course where to eat!
In terms of quality, role models and box office attraction I would include the following players:
I've left out Djokovic as I don't see him as a role model anymore after the Australia fiasco and obviously Federer would be there if he comes back. There are lots of other players lower ranked on the men's tour who are also very exciting players and too many to mention. The Andy Murray comeback effort will also be extremely interesting and hopefully successful.
For me Alcaraz is a huge stand out in terms of becoming an iconic figure like Nadal or Federer. The game has been so lucky to have had perhaps the 2 greatest role models of all time over the past 20 years or so and at the moment Alcaraz is the most likely player that I can see coming anywhere close to the all round skills of Roger & Rafa. He has just about every shot going, moves like lightning, competes like an animal, stays calm under pressure and most importantly has great humility similar to Rafa. I would imagine that he has a great family but the influence of his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero cannot be overstated. Ferrero was another wonderful competitor with great humility.
If Sinner improves physically, then he would be my 2nd choice as a humble warrior with all the skills to develop into a great player. Medvedev has still to persuade me that he is worthy of being considered as a positive role model for kids but all the rest of the players that I've listed would appear to be relatively sane and humble in this hugely competitive environment.
Obviously with crowds coming back the game is getting back to normal with a much improved atmosphere which makes a huge difference when watching on TV.
Here is my list of players who in my opinion provide the best box office attraction:
I must admit to preferring women's doubles to men's as it represents more of what your average club player is trying to achieve in the one up and one back style of play. Men's doubles has some interesting moments but is too often serve, return and one volley unless on a clay court where you see more rallies. And as much as I get the importance of communication it can become rather tedious to watch players covering their mouth and facing away from each other. Just how many players on the tour can lip read from 20 metres away?
Raducanu beating Fernandez in the US Open was one of the greatest ever sporting stories and brought a huge amount of attention to tennis and the women's game. Fortunately, Raducanu is a wonderful role model who I am sure will produce many other great results in her career, but we need to give her time. From the outside it's always easy to criticise and yes I have been a bit surprised at the amount of endorsements she has taken on which one could argue might be having a detrimental effect on her game. Let's wait and see what happens over the next few years as I'm sure she will improve physically and mentally to the rigours of the tour. When that happens she will be extremely competitive on all surfaces.
Ashley Barty leaving the game is a huge loss and a massive blow to women's tennis. All sports need personalities to attract people to the game and I'm looking forward to seeing if Swaitek, Raducanu, Gauff and Badosa can step up and fill the huge gap left by the departure of Barty?
Full polyester vs Full soft vs Hybrid?
The key point is that you (the player ) should decide and not the stringer or coach. By all means, be guided in the right direction but if finances permit try a few variations of string types & tensions to see what you like best.
In a nutshell:
1/ Full polyester for more spin and control but harder on the arm.
2/ Full soft strings for more feel and less loss of tension. Natural gut is the best but very expensive - only if you play in dry conditions and don't use too much spin as the strings won't last!
3/ A hybrid of polyester and a softer string which provides a mix of good spin, power, and feel
What do the top male players in the world use in terms of strings/tensions:
Novak Djokovic | Babolat VS Team Natural Gut / Luxilon ALU Power Rough 59/56lbs
Roger Federer | Wilson Natural Gut/Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power Rough 48.5/45lbs
Andy Murray | Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power/Babolat VS Touch 62lbs
Nick Kygrios |Yonex Poly Tour Pro 125 51lbs
Rafael Nadal | Babolat RPM Blast 130 55lbs
Gael Monfils | Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power 57/55lbs
Milos Raonic |Luxilon M2 44/46lb
Alexander Zverev | Babolat VS Touch/Head Hawk Touch 62lb
Roberto Bautista Agut | Luxilon Big Banger Original 57lb
Diego Schwartzman | Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power 50lbs
Out of this group of 10 players we have 6 using only polyester and the other 4 with a hybrid of polyester and a softer string. Tensions vary from 44/46lbs - Raonic to 62lbs - Zverev & Murray. Therefore, quite a variation in string types and combinations plus different ideas on tensions.
In general lower tensions provide more power and higher tensions more control. Polyester strings can be strung looser and still have decent control which is probably why all the players using polyester only are no higher than 55lbs - Nadal. (Rafa is one of the few players on tour who never changes his string tension no matter whatever the conditions are)
For young players and lower-level club players, a hybrid restring is generally better to help protect the arm and provide a bit more feel. If a mid-level or slightly older junior likes polyester I would advise no more than 50lbs again to protect the arm and provide easier power for slower racquet head speeds.
If you want a restring that doesn't lose tension quite so much then VS Gut would be the best but as I said previously it's very expensive and breaks easily.
Higher-level club players are probably the ones who will experiment a bit more to find out what suits them best and a huge consideration for aspiring young pros is the cost as they will break strings regularly no matter what the type of string they use!
To sum up... try not to get too fanatical about strings as a good stringer should be able to guide you towards the most appropriate tension and string type for your level of play. The higher the level of player the more they will feel subtle differences. You will sometimes see pro players complaining to their team about string tensions in practice or during matches which can be genuine but can also be players looking for excuses.
Find a string and tension that you like and stick to it - just like Rafa!
How to succeed in competitive tennis.....
I was extremely fortunate last weekend to attend a coach conference at Gleneagles where Jose Higueras was the main speaker. For anyone unfamiliar with Jose he achieved a world ranking of no 6 as a player and then went on to coach Michael Chang (winning French Open (at 17years of age) plus Jim Courier , Pete Sampras, Roger Federer and many others. So, a reasonable pedigree as both a player and coach!
So, what does Jose put down as the secrets to success in tennis? His 4 non negotiables were as follows:
I have just finished reading a book about Pep Guardiola and his methods of management in football. It's interesting how similar an approach that both Guardiola and Higueras have towards creating a culture of success. "Barcelona my way" is certainly worth reading.
My experience of Spanish players and coaches in both tennis and other sports is quite similar in that they show great humility and work extremely hard. The idea is always to develop the person first and then the player will follow. Obviously the greatest example of this is Rafa Nadal who in my view is the greatest competitor I have ever seen. And just listen to him speak to appreciate how much he believes in respect and humility.
How does this relate to club level players?
I would argue that you can follow these guidelines even at club level and you will have greater success. Most people who compete in tennis at any level will experience difficult moments especially when they lose to someone they perceive to be of a lower level! If you truly respect your opponent and at no time during the match are worrying about losing to an "inferior" player I will guarantee that there will be fewer losses to this person. You may well lose but try not to let it be for a lack of respect.
Respect and humility are the key areas for competitive club players as the other 3 attributes are generally easier to commit to (engagement, effort, punctuality). After all, it's your choice to play tennis! Full time players of any age sometimes struggle to find the motivation every day to be engaged, working hard and to be on time! The element of fun instilled by coaches, parents, and others combined with the other key factors listed above is what will give a young player the best chance of success.
My favourite lines from Jose Higueras
"Federer and Rafa are great people. I love the way they treat others"
"Use your strengths on big points" (Good to have a plan)
"Quality is always better than quantity" (Smart training)
"Roger is how to play the game" (His opinion)
"McEnroe, Borg and Connors played every point" (Great focus)
"I don't need a palace to help players" (No excuses)
"At a recreational level inspire them and have fun" (What we try to do on TTH)
Do we need both the Davis Cup and the ATP Cup?
As much as I enjoyed many of the matches in these competitions it would appear that the general consensus in the tennis world (apart from the organisers) would be to create an amalgamation of them both. Nadal has been the most outspoken on this front stating that “a deal needs to be reached between the ITF and the ATP”.
The original idea for changes to the Davis Cup were to create something that would help to encourage more of the world’s top players to take part and one of the necessary requirements would be to reduce the playing load over the course of the year. So, we now have 2 events immediately before and after the turn of the year (not to mention the Laver Cup which has grabbed a prime slot at the end of September!)
It would appear that the top players season is busier than before we had these 3 competitions and is creating very little of an off season which is necessary to help players recover, train sensibly and avoid injuries for the following season?
As a viewer, fan and tennis nut, I have enjoyed all of these competitions but we need to look at what is better for the mental & physical health of the players, not to mention the clarity of the sport itself! The Laver Cup is a one off individual event similar to golf’s Ryder cup but the Davis/ATP events would appear to be 2 similar forms of a revamped Davis Cup itself and both played within a short space of time at the end of the year! Surely it has to be what is better for the game and the players at the same time? If that is agreed then what might be a solution?
In my view I would go back to the old Davis cup format of home and away ties (many matches in both new competitions struggled to get crowds) but make it only 2 singles with best of 3 sets and a doubles to decide the outcome if required. (A great part of the new events)
Maybe being one day only it would be easier to get players to commit and doubles gets a necessary boost being the deciding match. Many of the main highlights in the new competitions were the doubles decider which could still be played even if the match is over. That way the crowd get value for money and doubles still gets some much-needed media coverage. And perhaps most importantly every match would have the special atmosphere created by any home/away tie?
I’m not sure that my idea would hold much interest in the real world of big business and competing interests of the ITF and ATP but I think it’s vital to have the discussion amongst the fans and players who I imagine could come up with something better. So….over to you to tell me that I am totally wrong and you have a better idea or maybe that you like the new events just the way they are?
Air Pollution at the Australian Open
The humour of Nicolas Mahut may well be lost with the organising committee of the Oz Open!
The rain falling in Melbourne at the moment will hopefully help to ease the terrible the air pollution that the city is experiencing as a result of the never-ending bush fires.
Unfortunately, the forecast for the next coupe of weeks doesn't include much rain at the moment which may mean that the tournament might suffer some serious disruption.
They do have 3 indoor courts with retractable roofs and a further 8 permanent indoor courts in the National Training Centre which is on site. These courts have been seen as a potential escape route in the event of air pollution continuing. But, when GB's Jay Clarke tried to warm up for his match in the NTC, he found the courts unusable after smoke founds it's way in through the ventilation system.
Even if 11 indoor courts were available, only 3 of them would have the necessary seating capacity required. And more importantly the health and safety of all the players must surely be a priority.
Reducing the number of events and/or making the men's singles event the best of 3 sets instead of 5 could be among the more radical options. Otherwise, I am struggling to see how this Slam will be able to go ahead.
The only hope might be that with Melbourne's weather being so unpredictable it will hopefully rain quite often and overnight only!
So, Nadal has lost in 2 finals, Federer is about to make his clay court comeback and Fognini & Thiem both played unbelievable tennis to win Monte Carlo and Barcelona. Nadal was a bit out of sorts against Fognini but the Italian was awesome especially in the 2nd set. Hopefully he will use this huge win to make a serious challenge for the French? Thiem, in my view, is the main contender for the French outside of the big 3 (see Uncle Toni below) and has taken the game to a new level in terms of consistent bludgeoning of the ball!
It was great to see David Ferrer bow out of the game after a few great wins and then losing to Nadal but with his competitive spirit entirely intact! One of the games greatest warriors and a true sportsman.
Is Federer a serious contender for the French Open?
Uncle Toni certainly thinks so as he named Djokovic, Thiem & Federer as Nadal’s biggest threats for the title.
Paganini is tasked with getting Federer in optimum physical condition for clay and the fitness guru says Federer should have no injury worries on the surface.
He told Swiss publication Blick “He was rarely injured in the course of his career and in principle no more often on a certain surface. It is important when changing surface to quickly adjust to something new in your head, so you have the right reflexes in the implementation"
Luckily, that's one of Roger's most underrated qualities.
If Paganini is right how good would it be to see a Nadal/Federer final??
How does Nadal win so often?
And what can we learn from him?
Apart from the obvious physical qualities and great desire Uncle Toni explains the reasons why Nadal has been so successful.
Uncle Toni said: “He manages to cope with adversity. It is in his head, and it is the same gift that Djokovic and Federer have. Turning negative situations upside down [and] getting out of adversity. [It is] a gift that young people do not have. If all goes well, they win, they are happy but they are not able to win playing badly.
It is not normal to still see 37 and 33-year-old players winning the most important tournaments and this depends on their tendency to often reach an unjustified level of frustration.
They want to be told that they are good, that everything is fine, they don't accept criticism”
In my view this applies to the vast majority of players who compete at all levels throughout the world. Taking knocks on the chin, recovering and finding a way even on the poorer days is fundamental for any tennis competitor. Moaning all the time serves no purpose if you can’t use that negative energy and do something positive with it!
Doubles Tip on when/how to move for an interception?
When exactly should you move for a doubles interception? As per usual “it all depends” but what does it depend upon? There are a variety of factors and their combinations:
1/ How fast are you?
2/ How good is your partner’s serve?
1. So….assuming you are reasonably quick and your partner’s serve is also reasonably rapid/precise then the ideal time to move is when your opponent has initiated their forward swing. If you move before the forward swing then they will have a better chance of passing you down the line.
2. If you are quick but your partner’s serve is slow it could still work but much more chance of the returner seeing you and will have time to pass you just by using their wrist off a slow ball! So you could at least fake going or go as late as possible with your good court speed?
3. If your speed has gone and your partner’s serve is not the quickest then you are in trouble and unlikely to be all that successful on interceptions! However, if the returner is particularly weak on one side then it may still be possible but you may need to move before the returner has started their forward swing in order to get there! Or call a taxi?
4. The good news regardless of your physical speed or the quality of your partner’s serve is that you can still be annoying at the net by looking like you might move or faking or going early on the first point etc. There are so many possibilities for all levels of play without having to call for a taxi!