Returning Second Serves

Don’t you just love it when your solid, deep groundstroke creates a short ball over the middle that you can attack? Well, that is exactly what most second serves are … short balls over the middle that you can attack.

Too many people are concerned about “just returning serve”; but all too often, they are passing up a golden opportunity to go on the attack. Most of us club players do not have a deep, hard, penetrating second serve; so our second serves are mostly very attackable.

When you assume that an average first serve percentage is probably 50-65%, that means a full one third of what you will be seeing during matches are second serves.

I think you should take those opportunities to really “send a message” to your opponent and hit an aggressive return solidly cross court or down the line. And maybe even come to the net behind that shot.

Even if you miss, the server will see what you are trying to do; and it will surely impact his following first and second serves. He may be concerned about your play on the next second serve and double fault; or he may want to avoid the second serve scenario and take something off his first serve to just get it in.

Roy Emerson advised me at camp to “show him your forehand” when your opponent is hitting an important second serve. What he meant was, stand well to your left (for righties) when your opponent lines up to hit his second serve. A full one-third of the time, he will then go for too much and double fault.

So, seize the opportunity to attack that second serve and you will start out in control of the point.