TV coverage rarely comments on it, but the coin/racquet toss choice can impact the start and structure of a tennis match. This reader question focuses the issue …
To Serve or To Receive?
“Brad Gilbert says you should choose to receive if you win the coin toss. A pro here says you should ALWAYS serve first as it will give you a slight edge if you go to a tie break plus you can establish momentum early. What do you think??,”
Dave Spilseth, MN
Dave, Good question! There are many variables to consider. The first one is (in singles or doubles), are you a better server or a better returner? I, for one, think I am a better returner, so I normally choose to receive.
- If you receive first and break, you are ahead of the game. But if your opponent(s) hold serve, they were supposed to.
- If there is a strong wind or blinding sun, choosing serve OR receive then puts the choice of side to start in the hands of your opponent. You can also choose to “Defer” and make them choose serve/receive and then you choose side.
- If you choose to serve first, you will be serving in the “less pressure game” e.g. 4-4, 5-5, etc.; as compared to 3-4, 4-5, 5-6.
- But on the other hand, if it is a brutally hot day and you choose to receive, you will always be starting to serve right after the change of ends rest, rather than after another grueling game.
- And if you are playing doubles with a lefty partner, you want to arrange it so you are both serving with the sun NOT in your toss.
What do YOU think?
Know someone who should read this? Send them a link and 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 GeorgeWachtel@gmail.com
My Book: if you’d like to get a copy of “Senior Tennis”, just click on the link on the upper right of this web page to go to Amazon.com, look at the list of places under “My Book” on the bar above, or ask me what clubs are carrying it!