Return Positioning?

Where do you stand to return serve … same place every time?  Well, if you watch the pros and your friends, you will see some big differences in positioning.

Nadal on Clay

Check out the picture of Rafa Nadal returning serve on slow, red clay.  He is almost standing next to the back lines people!  You can’t say that he is not effective, considering his incredible clay court record over his career.

But why doesn’t anyone ever try a soft, short spin serve to make him run in?

Clay on Clay

One of our good Naples tennis buddies, Clay Zyerfeld, returns serve standing WELL INSIDE no man’s land – just about three feet from the service line.  He has very strong forearms and takes the serve on the rise and drives it cross court.

Me on Clay

I try to start just behind the baseline and take a hop step into the court as the serve comes my way.  I say “try” because sometimes the server is weaker and just spins in a slow one (especially on second serve); so rather than having to charge in as the ball is coming, I will START in and take the offense.

On the other hand, playing against some younger guys, you will sometimes face the big, first serve boomer (especially on hard courts); and you should not let your ego get in the way to keep you in too close.  Don’t be ashamed to drop back five or ten feet behind the service line – and maybe your doubles partner should start back as well.

How about you … where do you stand to return serve?

Hip Update: On The Court!

On my four-week anniversary of hip surgery this past Wednesday, I ventured onto the tennis court for the first time and used Spike’s ball machine for 20 minutes.  On Thursday, I repeated the process for 35 minutes.

And it felt great!!

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4 thoughts on “Return Positioning?

  1. Two other service line huggers, Jeff Boston and John Swan…..for those of us who USE to have big serves….the temptation is to blast these huggers right off the court…. I have MANY times tried to take a BIG second serve wide on Swanney …most times not successful…but those few times I ace him wide is sweet….but even then….he is right back there the next time….lol

    Dave, all three of those guys are tough to handle. I like the spinning serve that kicks up to their backhands. Thanks. George

  2. Glad you are doing so well. Pretty soon you are going to be the “designated runner”!

    Andy, only for some old guy with a bad hip! Thanks. George

  3. George,
    Its great to hear you are doing so well.
    I have never stood way back. I usually start behind baseline and end up hitting it at service line or so unless I chip and charge which I do quite a bit on second serve. In doubles I usually chip and charge unless serve is to big.

    Randy, if you fight off the big server, all the more power to you! Thanks. George

  4. Nadal is amazing how far back he stands, but then he moves up. I was thinking, why not give him some little sliders just for the heck of it. I thought Del Porto made the mistake of standing too far back on the add side to receive and hit a lot of weak stretched out one hander backhands. On the add against lefties I think you have to take away the wide out. On the deuce it’s okay, because it makes hitting the forehand run around easier.

    George, I am sure good feeling to step on the court. I am now in recovery in NC needing to gain weight and working on my golf game first. Come July time for tennis.

    Larry, after losing a tournament singles match to a good lefty, I complained to Hank Irvine that he kept on beating me wide in the ad court. And he said, “and, what did you do about it?” Feel good and hit them straight down the fairway. George

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