For every tennis player there is a season; for every season, there is a big match.

For this micro-cosmic Wimbledon, you'll want to put your mind, body and spare parts in optimum working order.

Here's how: BODY CHECK

Head-to-toe examination of old injuries and susceptibilities, getting needed braces and tape for blisters.

Loosen up stiff joints; take aspirin for arthritic twinges.

Back and/or ego massage always helps. APPAREL CHECK

Get out the all-cotton whites for hot days, plus extra shirt for quick changes.

Look over shoes for gaping holes and irregular tread-wear.

Load up on accessories -- head and wrist bands, neckerchief, etc. -- sound fancy, but they work.


Look for warping, cracks, fissures and vibrations in frame. (One-racket players beware: In a grudge match, your opponent may refuse to lend you his extra in a mid-game emergency.)

Watch strings for unraveling or fraying.

Replace sweat-soaked grips, rewrap separated ones. WARM-UP

The aim is to loosen up body and strokes, not necessarily to establish (false?) sense of superiority, waste best shots or use up energy reserves.

Do it at least an hour before game-time, on a neutral court if possible.

Your warm-up partner needn't be a pro or anything near that -- Ken Roswall warmed up quite satisfactorily with ballboys.

Emphasize deliberate execution of all shots -- forehand, backhand, serve, serve-return, volley and overhead -- you plan to use in the game.

Remember, a good or bad warm-up may have a little or no effect on actual match play. HEAD CHECK

Butterflies and mild anxiety is probably good, but overwhelming nausea may indicate overburdening of pressure.

Analyze what you have to gain (trophy, esteem, fame -- don't get carried away) or lose (face, friends -- oh come now); then disregard the analysis and fantasize about playing a perfect game. Consult a hypnotherapist if need be.

Giggle a lot -- it helps dissipate tension.