View Full Version : need help returning serve

09-01-2004, 07:54 PM
when opponent serve to your BH, do you slice it or hit it w/ topspin?
Right now I'm trying to return it with topspin, but sometimes the ball end up going out or net, it's probably because of my timing. The safer way is to just slice back, but when I slice it, sometimes it just floats and doesn't have any pace and my opponent can easily hit it for a winner.

so, I wanna know when opponent serve to your BH, do you slice it back or hit it w/ topspin?
is there anyway to practice my timing and reaction against fast serve to BH side?

09-01-2004, 08:28 PM
Depends on the type of serve and how comfortble you are with your backhand..;

If I get a kickserve and goes too high, I'll just slice it back (more of a block)... If I get a fast serve then obviously id slice/block it back... If I see the serve or antipate a backhand coming I might take a risk topspin it back.

The percentage play for me would be to slice/block it since that gets me in the point and its not that difficult to return with a block. Its also more difficult for me to setup my onehanded in time to be aggressive.

Totally depends on your backhand skill, comfort level, how fast you can react, and what the point in the game is.

09-02-2004, 05:34 AM
I usually just slice it back as I can then use the same grip for forehands and backhands(Eastern f/h). I have enough trouble changing grips as it is without having to face a pacy serve whilst doing it

09-02-2004, 01:33 PM
I agree with TwistServe, it depends.
I usually hit it flat facing fast serve and for slower serve, I will try to put more topspin in it. But if I have hard time returning that day, I will slice it to get some ball in. So it really depends.

On the other side, it also depends on the opponent. What kind of shots your opponent like to hit? If he hates paceless ball, maybe slice it is better. If he has fast serve but slow to react after the serve, punch it back flat.

And the most important, how good are you in each type of shots? For me I use to slice all the time from my bh, but now, I got a decent flat bh, so I use that a lot more now.

09-02-2004, 01:35 PM
I block it back on hard serves, but on soft ones, I hit back a good topspin or flat drive.

09-02-2004, 05:52 PM
BTW, if opponent serve fast to your FOREHAND side, do you try to hit it with topspin(SW/W grip) just like normal groundstroke or do you hit it flat(eastern grip) to block it back?

because I find that switching from eastern forehand grip to BH slice(continental grip) is easier and faster than to switch from SW grip to BH slice, but I'm not used to hitting flat shots.

09-02-2004, 06:10 PM
I block it with an efh because I also find the transition to a bh easier. My serve returns are surprisingly well placed and not very puffy. I've never had a problem with a s&v player.

09-04-2004, 01:26 PM
I remember Agassi saying that he imagines the racket being attached to his chest/abs and he would twist his waist to block it. I doubt he means to take this literally, but something to that affect.

James Brown
09-04-2004, 03:32 PM
you want aggresive return, you pound it. if you want to put it in play or if its defensive, slice/block.

09-04-2004, 09:47 PM
My attitude is always to be aggressive on return of serve, but in the end, I'm just doing what I instinctively think I can do best with the return.

-If the serve is flying into my contact zone, and I can hit a compact stroke in time, I'll hit a compact stroke.

-If the serve is hard to read, I'll go for something along the lines of a rally stroke so long as I can react to it with footwork.

-If the serve is really imposing, either a really fast serve or a serve flying into my backhand but it's hard to read, then I either block, slice, or take away the pace of the ball with a very defensive (but hopefully controlled) shot.

On the backhand side, it's split between aggressive returns and defensive returns. I try to make my defensive returns aggressive in nature though (whether slicing deep, or killing the pace for something like a dropshot or very low bouncing short ball).

On the forehand side, virtually everything is aggressive, because I'm comfortable returning things either with a rally stroke or initiative-winning shot.

An excellent way for me to practice reflex and compact returns was to have a friend serve from the service line, into the box, and I had to return. You mostly get higher than normal returns however, so it doesn't prepare you for the usual slice or very flat serve.

Split-stepping right before the opponent makes contact with the ball on serve has helped me a ton on the return as well. before that, I'm usually bouncing lightly on the balls of my feet with my weight slightly forward to feel more ready and assertive so I can take the serve on.