Most of us don’t have a big, killer serve; but what do you do when you are trying to return someone else’s? You don’t need to throw in the towel and just assume there is nothing you can do. There is always SOMETHING you can do.
Check out the picture of Rafa Nadal returning the killer serve of Canadian Milos Raonic… he is virtually out of the frame of the camera. By the way, Rafa did get this serve back in play… and he won the point!
Frequently, the Big Servers are so used to their serves NOT coming back that they are not ready to play the point. And if you can just get their bomb back in play somewhat deep in the court (like Djokovic and the Fed do), you can get into a groundstroke rally where they are usually weaker.
If you are facing someone with a big, kick serve, you can also take them out of their game by standing inside the baseline and taking their serve on the rise.
This does two good things for you: it allows you to play the ball before the spin takes it away from you; and it takes time away from the server – especially if he is coming to the net behind his serve.
If you are playing a big server in doubles, Roy Emerson always tells us at camp to start with both players back on the baseline. This takes a lot of pressure off the returner, who doesn’t have to worry about his partner being bombarded at the net after his floater return.
It also takes away the nice target that the net man had; and allows both of you one more chance to get what would have been a put-away volley back in play.
So don’t give up playing the Big Server… make him do something more to win the point.
How do you handle the Big Server?
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
My Book: and if you’d like to get a copy of “Senior Tennis”, just click on the link on the upper right of this web page.