The radar early warning systems in computer games, calls your attention to an incoming missile or enemy attack...and you take evasive, defensive or aggressive action. Boy, would this be useful in tennis!
Some players seem to have that kind of radar; Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Martina Hings to name a few. In lay terms it is called "anticipation", in the players above it is almost an inborn factor that they naturally just use. For us regular humans it is something that one can learn and train.
How does it function? There are several other factors that influence "anticipation" but I am going to focus on just one; ball tracking.
Teachers often keep on telling pupils to "watch the ball", I say, "track the ball". Professional players track the ball from the moment it leaves their rackets to the moment the opponent strikes it and so on. Why tracking and not watching? Because when you track the ball your minds eye automatically produces a directional vector of the ball's trajectory from the point of impact to the point of landing, therefore, giving your brain the exact coordinates where to go next.
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