How To Return Serve

Wayne and Yohan

Monday morning started off at a cool 55 degrees for our morning of training, team positioning, and drills.  A stated goal for the morning is “don’t work too hard” (save yourself for the afternoon start of the team matches and two-a-day matches that start on Tuesday). 

After breakfast, we had a clinic on the return of serve from Yohan Kreik and Wayne Ferreira …

  • If you constantly stand to return serve “like a giraffe at a water hole” (picture it), then the server will have the advantage. You need to give the server different “looks”
  • Tennis is not always about playing great all the time; but more about how you play on the “mega points”
  • The more important side in the return game is the ad court; because you have more opportunities to convert game points.
  • People do not practice return of serve enough
  • If your opponent is serving big, stand back to give yourself more time; and then move in for the second serve.
  • When returning the lefty serve, cover the wide serve.
  • If you watch Djokovic return serve, he hops and split steps, landing on both feet so he can move in either direction
  • Try to take the return on the rise, especially if the server has a kick serve.
  • The return is a modified swing… no time for the full forehand or backhand stroke; so you have to really shorten the backswing – and make up for the power with your body weight going forward
  • On occasion drive the ball at the net man
  • On the second serve, the return should be like an approach shot for a short ground stroke … attack and move forward.
  • When your partner is returning, stand a an angle, facing the opposing net man
  • And don’t watch your partner return; but watch the net man to see if he is moving or not. If not, you then move forward.

Morning Tennis

Then all the teams went off to play some doubles for about two hours, with different pairings to see how we match up together.  I was on our third court … which means there are at least eight doubles players above me – a pretty solid Wanker team.

I was teamed most of the time with Jim Bumgartner, a neurologist  from Charleston, SC; and will probably play with in the afternoon. … and I am taking Aleve “just in case.”

Afternoon Doubles

Following lunch, they moved the normal schedule up due to the pending rain and we played the “Tuesday morning” matches.  I was teamed with Jim B; and we played my Naples friend John Berry and his partner Bill ____.

On “paper,” Jim and I should win; but found ourselves down 5-4, set point.  I was able to get three balls just back in play and john’s partner missed an overhead.

That was all it took to change the MO … we came back to win the first set 7-5 and took the second one 6-2.

Overall, our Wanker team lost two match tiebreakers and ended the day down 10-9.  Surprisingly too, the Musclemen lead Newk’s Kangaroos 10-8.

After Tennis Tennis

At the end of the day, Roy Emerson gave a clinic right below our balcony; but after a full day of morning and afternoon tennis, Willy and I shared some beer, nuts, and relaxing time watching from on high.

Then we went to Happy Hour and dinner of barbeque chicken and ribs.

The evening’s entertainment was an “AUSSIE panel” of Emmo, Laver, Mark P. and Newk, who talked about the history of Davis Cup play … and how they think the ITF changes have ruined 118 years of great Cup tradition.

Afterwards, while others went to the bar for more drink and talk, I went off to my room to try to get a decent night’s sleep before the Tuesday team competition, with doubles for me in the morning and in the afternoon (weather permitting!).

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