Thoughts on Returning a Fast Serve

Published 10/20/2008 4:56:42 AM by Shane Barrow from Dallas, Texas

The return of serve is the key to being succesful in any tennis match....especially if you are facing a big server.   Anticipation, positioning and hand speed are keys to surviving and winning points on your opponents serve. The thing about the fast serve is that the time you have to make your return shot is short and so you will have to react quickly.  When playing against a big server you have to learn to make your shot more compact as you will not have the time to take a big swing at the ball.

Using a short backswing is one of the keys to facing a fast serve. The other alternative which is something you see many players including Federer and Nadal employ is to block the ball back.To do this just keep your tennis racket up and in front of you. All you need to do from there is step forward to punch/block the ball over the net (just like a volley). 

Just use the pace of your opponents serve to your advantage. The other alternative is to move back a bit to give yourself more time but as you will see that can cause you problems if they have a good variety of serves and can mix serves up on you to take advantage of your positioning.

Finally, you must hang in there against a big server.  Big servers usually make alot of errors.  Don't get frustrated and wait for your time to take advantage of their mistakes.