Where You Stand To Serve

EmmoWatching the Wimbledon grass wear out for the server’s spot made me think about conflicting advice I got from my Newk Camp Coach, the Legend Roy Emerson on where you should stand while serving a singles match. Emmo says a server in a singles match should “hug the center line” (in both the deuce and ad courts); so that you can better serve down the middle and over the lowest part of the net.

But if you noticed the grass-wear patterns on center court Wimbledon, you would see it is at least two-three feet AWAY from the center stripe. I would assume that is so the server can get a better angle wide when he wants to.


For me in singles, I tend to hug the center when I have the opponent’s backhand down the middle (deuce court for righties); and in the ad court, I stand a foot or two off the center to get a slightly better angle in the other court.

In doubles, it is a different situation. If your partner is playing the traditional net position (e.g. NOT Aussie or I formations), you should stand at least mid-way between the center and singles line. This allows you a better line coming into the net behind your serve; but still lets you scoot cross-court, if your partner is poaching.

Some servers still stand close to the center line; but that makes it difficult to get to a good cross-court return into the alley. And some stand almost on the singles side line – I assume to get a better angle on the wide serve. But most coaches advise against that serve – because it gives the returner too many options coming back across the net down the line or with an extreme cross court angle. If you remember your high school physics… “Angle in equals angle out.”

Where do you stand???


Monday is the start of the Florida Super Senior Grand Prix series of tournaments in Ft. Myers, at the Colonial Country Club. Since i got a seed (very low), i have a first-round singles bye and then play on Tuesday; and Tom McCune and i team up, starting on Thursday.

For the link to all the seeds, draws, and scheduled matches, pls click HERE.

If you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at George@seniortennisandfitness.com

4 thoughts on “Where You Stand To Serve

  1. In senior singles and serving to a right handed player in deuce court, you are well advised to see if the wide 1st and 2nd serves yields a playable return to take cross court angle. Some players hit such an effective return that you lose the advantage but make your opponent show you more than once that it is too risky to serve wide much. If wide serve works, starting the serve a yard or so to the right of service tee helps with the angle. All the good players are going to return the down the tee serve well and you have less angle advantage.

    Winder – and some players (eg Fred Drilling) have such great wide serves in the deuce court to start with! tks, george

  2. Hi George,
    here is where I stand: It is a brave man indeed who has the grit to publicly challenge Emmo on anything Tennis related. I admire your gumption (but I never really answered the question! did I?)
    Cordially, Jim

    Jim – Very political (PS i happen to know that Emmo is not a blog follower too!) george

  3. I was standing out pretty wide to serve in doubles for the above reasons (get the angle/cover the angle) when one of the coaches on my team at Tennis Fantasies, Murphy Jensen, suggested I should move closer to the centerline. He says that serving from way out wide means your serve loses more velocity by the time it reaches your opponent due to the longer distance. Moving in a bit means your serve is harder to return and you can still get in good position to cover the return.

    Geoff – If my serve lost any more speed, it might STOP! tks, george

  4. I like to vary my position just to keep the receiver wondering what I’m up to, and to keep him/her from getting in a groove. Or moving just a little at a time so he doesn’t notice it. But if you don’t have a decent serve, you can get in trouble, as was mentioned in above.

    Hope you are all having fun down there!

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