You would think that it would put him at a disadvantage if the serve were to go to his backhand; but actually, as the server tosses the ball, Kei brings his right side forward, parallel to the service line, and does a hop step as the server strikes the ball. This allows him to land just as he needs to decide which way to move to return serve.
A tournament opponent, Dan Garrick started the same way; but since I was in my service motion, I couldn’t see what he did after that.
Is It Right?
It would seem to me that the angular start is just Kei’s way of insuring that his body weight is going forward in anticipation of the serve coming his way. I do something similar, but not at the angle.
Mine came from the Australian doubles champions, The Woodys… they suggested starting your return of serve position two-three feet back from where you want to be; but then moving forward and doing the split step to get your body weight going forward and your body in balance to move.
P.S. As you can see from the score on the TV, Nishikori was down a set in the Memphis semi-finals vs. American Sam Querry. But I believe the TV announcers said the Japanese star’s career three set record was something like 22 and 3 (and he came back from a break down in the third to pull out the victory).
But then again, Sam helped him.
PPS There is a Super Senior tournament going on this week in Sarasota. the link is HERE.
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