The Return of Serve

At high levels of the game the return is without a doubt the hardest individual shot to get back in the court. You have no control on the location of the ball, its trajectory, the spin applied or the speed of the delivery. Some servers are going to make your life difficult no matter what, but there are some things that you control to keep them adjusting to you. In this article i’m going to go over some things you can do to influence the servers location of serve, some strategies for the return and how to adjust your positioning to take away specific locations and types of serves from great servers, and to generally have a plan to adjust or adapt in your return games to give your opponents the most trouble and make it difficult for them to hold. For this article my primary focus will be the 1st serve return.

Practice Matches

Players shouldn’t be concerned with wins and losses on the practice match court. They should be focused on running plays, trying new tactics, working technique, sharpening your weapons, and developing parts of their games that aren’t 100% ready for live matches. Start looking at your practice matches as opportunities to hone your skills rather than focusing on winning and your tennis will improve. Being able to practice executing these things in a setting that doesn’t officially count allows players to become more confident in areas of their game that they otherwise may avoid in a sanctioned match.

Second Serve Location: Body Jam

2nd serve Win % is one of the major indicators of success in a tennis match. In recent times we have been seeing second serve average speeds from players like Nick Kyrgios and Dani Medvedev that are close to matching their first serve averages. Using this as a mix-up strategy to keep their opponents off…

The Gameplan: Doubles

There are many different strategies and tactics that teams can use to win doubles matches. In this article, I am going to break your doubles gameplay down into 4 parts, suggest some strategies you can use to mix it up and influence your opponents and give you some match play and mental tips that will…

The Tennis Gamesmanship Guide

Players at all levels of the game bend the rules to gain an advantage or rattle their opponents with the aim of throwing them off their game. Sometimes they do it with sinister intent and sometimes not, but knowing these tricks in advance will prepare you to deal with gamesmanship and keep you focused on…

Match Winning Mentality

In this article, I’m hoping to help players who are struggling with their mental game. This was something that I struggled with as an early junior player where I would regularly lose to players I thought I should have beaten, or where my playing level would be far below the level that I practised at….

Staggered Doubles

No doubles team can cover the entire court. This is an enduring fact of this format of tennis. There will always be gaps to hit to on the other side of the net and there will always be gaps on your side of the net. You need to exploit your opponent’s gaps, and cover your…

Flexible Returning

Being flexible in your return position is a huge key to helping you visually change your opponents landscape, influence the server and help you to time your return better. Here are some options if you are struggling with your return game.

4 Reasons you are getting beaten down the alley in doubles.

4 Reasons you are getting beat down the alley in doubles. Your partners shot isn’t good enough. You are misreading your opponent. You are leaning/moving toward the middle too early.  Your opponents shot is TOO GOOD. A common scenario: Standard formation to the deuce side. You are the net player. Your partner hit the ball…

Leading Edge Volleys

The ability to take the pace off the ball at net often separates good from great volleyers. This is equally as important in singles as it is in doubles. If you want to be a complete tennis player you need to be able to absorb the pace of a groundstroke and defend at the net…

Mid court mentality and strategy

If you use your serve, return or ground strokes effectively, you are going to receive short balls from your opponent. Being able to capitalize and prey on these weak balls is often the difference in taking control of the match or losing your confidence and backing off the attack. Punishing your opponent for dropping the…

What strings do the pros use?

Here is the most up to date list of ATP and WTA players string preferences I could find from professional racket stringer Colin. http://www.colinthestringer.com/pros-strings/ When two tensions are shown, the first references the mains (north/south strings) and the second tension references the crosses (west/east strings). When two strings are mentioned, this indicates a hybrid string job with…