The ball is merely the object about which we compete.
Look intensely as it approaches and contacts your strings, but not beyond that. Instead focus your attention on your opponent and how their body is positioned and how their feet and racket are moving as they field your return. You’ll pick up the ball much sooner.
Many players make a simple mistake that costs them points and sets.
Players will watch their departing balls course to their opponent’s racket and then are surprised by the return pace, especially when fielding a change-of-pace half volley return. The moment the ball leaves you look beyond the net and departing ball to your opponent.
Many players hit a rising ball to rush their opponent – especially effective to those whose stare their own balls down. Players who look too long at a departing ball are also the ones who fail to recover and find themselves two steps out of position defending the returning ball.
When the ball approaches you train your eyes to also recognize your opponent’s position and movement. Look myopically at the approaching ball but also peripherally at your opponent.