The spin of the racquet

Brad Gilbert feels that most players do not give enough thought to the spin of the racquet to start the match. What choices should you make?

First, the protocol: at the start of the match, you should spin the racquet BEFORE starting the warm up. That way the practice serves for the first server will be on the side they start on (and all servers should take their serves at the same time… not “as you go”).

I have a friend who invariably rushes to the side facing the sun to warm up; and then when you toss racquets, puts you in the sun to start serving.

Then, the question of “serve vs. receive.” I usually go with the Gilbert philosophy (in his book “Winning Ugly”) of starting out receiving. That gives you a little more time to relax and let the match tension go by; and if you break, you already have the edge.

If you are playing doubles, either with a lefty or against one, choosing the sun side is very important. There is a way to always construct it so that you have the serving rotation you want and on the sun sides you want: if your opponents win and choose to serve or receive, you then can easily set it up the way you want. But what happens if YOU win the toss? Then, you “defer” (which is one of the options you have. You can choose: side, serve/receive, or defer) and make them choose first; so you can again set up the serving rotation you want.

Thinking this out before you get on the court makes the start of the match smoother, and hopefully to your advantage.

P.S. No tennis for three whole days! Going to Cold Connecticut for biz.

2 thoughts on “The spin of the racquet

  1. First, I agree with Brad that people don’t give this enough thought. I’m also lucky to be a lefty and know I can work this somewhat in my favor given sun, etc. But I strongly disagree with Brad’s advice that one should elect to receive. That’s a concept for pros, but my feeling for recreational players is that it’s best to be ahead on the score. While pros break infrequently, recreational players break often, and so with that in mind, when push comes to shove, I want my opponent serving at 3-4. So I always elect to serve first.

  2. I agree with you 100% and many players do not take enough time to think this out ahead of the spin of the racquet. I think like you that receiving gives you a better chane to settle down and see what your opponents have in their tank!!!!

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