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tennis_balla
01-25-2012, 01:50 PM
I asked this question in another thread but so far its gone unanswered. I wanted to give it more exposure and see peoples opinions on this topic.
The scenario goes like this....

You're playing an opponent who is serving hot. Hitting his lines and is really on with his serve. There isn't much you've so far been able to do in the match during his service games. How do you approach the situation?

skiracer55
01-25-2012, 01:54 PM
...take care of your service games. If you hold serve, you're still even stephen while you wait for him to cool off. On his serve, do whatever you have to to get the ball back. Get the return in, and make him play...

fruitytennis1
01-25-2012, 02:09 PM
1. Focus on cutting down angles and blocking back a deep return.
2. If that doesn't work give the server a different look; stand closer to the T or stand farther out wide; anything to get the server off his game.

arche3
01-25-2012, 02:16 PM
As a smaller guy. 5'9" and fit. I don't have an overwhelming serve. In this situation I would do whatever I had to do to hold serve.
On the returns I would stand back. If that does not work because he is using a lot of angles I would stand in and block my returns. Then pray he can't keep it up. I hate that feeling of being dominated by a serve. On the second serves I would take a crack at every one until I got into his head that he better not miss the first serve. Maybe get him to pull back a bit on the first serve because if it.

fuzz nation
01-25-2012, 02:22 PM
Agree ^^^.

Remember that one thing you have control over when receiving is your own positioning. Give that opponent some different looks by moving in, backing off, or cheating to one side. It can't hurt. The change in perspective can even coax a few serves to miss those lines instead of land on them.

If a tough server is putting the ball on a dime almost at will and also has really good disguise, well hey, all you can say is "well played Mr. Federer". The bad news is that you'll have to guess a little. You'll get a racquet behind a couple of balls, but you'll also get caught leaning the wrong way.

Sometimes I have enough of a clue during a match to actually keep tabs on where my opponent goes for either the deuce or ad box placement when it's time for a clutch serve. If you can keep a tally in your head over the course of a few games, it may come in handy and let you predict that placement later on. For those "must have" points, many servers are peculiar creatures of habit.

LeeD
01-25-2012, 02:42 PM
1. Complement him on his great serves ..
2. Of course, focus on holding yours.
3. Disrupt his service rythum, take your time, stand in weird spots, and when you do finally get a return, concentrate on running him, not necessary trying to win the point outright.

user92626
01-25-2012, 03:59 PM
I kinda like Leed's approach. Stand in weird, distracting spots. Begin to call out on the slightest doubt which you have the right as receivers. LOL.

Maui19
01-25-2012, 04:43 PM
I would try different return tactics. Stand deep behind the baseline, or come inside the baseline and take it early. Just try different return techniques and see which one gives you the best opportunities.

I wouldn't try any gamesmanship baloney. That's completely bush league IMO.

dennis10is
01-25-2012, 04:56 PM
Start calling all his serves out.

dennis10is
01-25-2012, 04:57 PM
1. Complement him on his great serves ..
2. Of course, focus on holding yours.
3. Disrupt his service rythum, take your time, stand in weird spots, and when you do finally get a return, concentrate on running him, not necessary trying to win the point outright.

LeeD, have you no sense of honor?

5263
01-25-2012, 04:58 PM
compliment him on the change over about what a nice toss and service motion he has, and ask how he gets so much pronation at contact, lol.

andry16
01-25-2012, 06:03 PM
if he is a big server then he should be expecting to get easy/short points on his serve, what you should do is try to make the point as long as you can even if you lose the point you will tire him a little and that can lead to poorer serves, also it sends the opponent the signal that it is not going to be enough with the serve wich will make him think about not only serve better but to have long rallies wich will make him uncomfortable and put pressure

Fuji
01-25-2012, 06:34 PM
I would just work on my positioning. MAKE him hit the spots that he is aiming for.

A lot of the time I'll cheat over to one side if I see he's really hitting well there, then it will force him to serve to where he's not as comfortable. Eventually it will lead to mistakes! :)

-Fuji

Limpinhitter
01-25-2012, 07:21 PM
First of all, no matter how big my opponent's serve is, or how well he's serving, I approach the situation the same way because I want to bring that level down and give myself the best chance to break, if I can.

There is a combination of gamesmanship and tactics that I generally employ to distract my opponent and get him out of his rhythm depending on the surface. For example, I'll may fake moving to the left when he begin's his service motion but can still see me in his peripheral vision. On a hard court, I'll squeek my shoes when the toss is in the air as I step forward and split step. If he's got a lot of movement on his serve or he's just hitting the lines, I'll step in to cut off the angles as best I can and block the serve back. If he's just got a big serve, but, he's not hitting it away from me, I'll step back and give myself more time.

I find that stepping in generally works better on hard because of the more predictable bounces, and stepping back generally works better on clay because the bounce slows the ball down more and gives you a better opportunity to take a full swing, and a better chance to get a racquet on it, even if it is hit away from you.

ace_pace
01-29-2012, 04:34 AM
Start calling all his serves out.

By far the most effective tactic :twisted: but really I try to get him mentally unstable. Mind games like stand to one side of the service box, then quickly bolt to the other side on serve contact. Sure it sounds dumb, but it makes your opponent somewhat more predictable.

If that dont work i tend to drag what i control longer e.g. my serve, my service game. If i drag on my game long enough he may 'forget' his serve.

papa
01-30-2012, 05:00 AM
Hold serve & start getting your returns in. Forget about trying to paint the lines - generally doesn't work. Be patient and don't try to force things.

charliefedererer
01-30-2012, 07:15 AM
Another vote for be patient, play your own game, hold your own serve.

Since he's not a pro, chances are his serve will eventually break down, especially if you can tire him out by running him every points that are is in play. Consistent leg push off is part of a consistently good serve, and often what betrays the player who started out serving well.

Most servers will favor a particular pattern of either DTL or out wide in the deuce and ad courts. Watch for this pattern, then be more prepared for it.

As you see more and more of his serves, your eye/brain/muscle processing and reaction to his serve should be getting better and better. As time goes on your chance of returning better keeps going up. Believe in this so you don't get discouraged - have the mental strength to continue to concentrate and finally be able to act with your great returns.

It may take until you are down 4-6, 4-4 to get that first break. Having been patient and fully concentrating has finally paid off. Up 5-4 in the second set, finish it off with you hold, then steel your concentration for the third set. If your opponent is mentally and physically tough, it still is going to be a battle. But for you, the tide has changed and a third set victory is likely if you can battle as tough as you have the first two.

[If the guy continues this hot for the whole match (unlikely) just shake his hand and congratulate him. Get him next time.]

rkelley
01-30-2012, 07:46 AM
First make sure that you're holding your own serve. It doesn't matter if it's Andy Roddick on the other side of the net, if you're holding your own games then you'll eventually get to a tie breaker.

On doing some damage on his serve:

Get your racquet on the ball. Don't swing, don't worry about placement, just get it over somewhere on his side and at least make him hit another shot.
Look for any sign that can tell you which way he's going. Does his toss vary when he goes DTL, different racquet position, body position, etc.?
Experiment with moving in and back. Sometimes the extra time from moving back helps, and some times cutting off angles by moving in helps.
Mentally I tell myself that every ball I get back in play is a win for me. He didn't get the free the point.


There have been some other suggestions around gamesmenship: squeeking shoes and moving around during the serve with the intent to distract, making comments meant to mess up the server's rhythm, stuff like that. Some of this is actually illegal (intentionally trying to distract the server). IMO some of it is just poor sportsmanship. It's a game of tennis. Hit the ball. Move in, move out, block, slice, lob, whatever, but get it done with your racquet. If the other dude's better than you then good on him. Go have a beer afterwards and be happy that you got to hit a tennis ball for a couple of hours.

jdubbs
01-30-2012, 10:17 AM
I have a regular opponent with a very hard serve probably in the 110+mph range. I just started moving 3-4 feet behind the baseline and started returning most of them.
Try to get a read on his setup before he hits the serve to get an idea of where it's going to go.
But move back and give your self some time to get it back.

LeeD
01-30-2012, 10:26 AM
"Serving hot" can mean different things...
Usually, if it's pure ball speed, standing well back can work. For most good serves, I"m already standing back 3-4', and for some top servers, just behind there. Not too much farther back to go, because...
Every good server can hit at least one corner consistently. The really good servers can hit either corner at will, and standing back just gives them spin serve aces, which are easier to hit consistently than flat serve bombs to the lines.
Since calling close servers "out" is bad berries, we can only try to run him as often as possible, as we know Usain can't serve when winded.

Limpinhitter
01-30-2012, 03:26 PM
First make sure that you're holding your own serve. It doesn't matter if it's Andy Roddick on the other side of the net, if you're holding your own games then you'll eventually get to a tie breaker.

On doing some damage on his serve:

Get your racquet on the ball. Don't swing, don't worry about placement, just get it over somewhere on his side and at least make him hit another shot.
Look for any sign that can tell you which way he's going. Does his toss vary when he goes DTL, different racquet position, body position, etc.?
Experiment with moving in and back. Sometimes the extra time from moving back helps, and some times cutting off angles by moving in helps.
Mentally I tell myself that every ball I get back in play is a win for me. He didn't get the free the point.


There have been some other suggestions around gamesmenship: squeeking shoes and moving around during the serve with the intent to distract, making comments meant to mess up the server's rhythm, stuff like that. Some of this is actually illegal (intentionally trying to distract the server). IMO some of it is just poor sportsmanship. It's a game of tennis. Hit the ball. Move in, move out, block, slice, lob, whatever, but get it done with your racquet. If the other dude's better than you then good on him. Go have a beer afterwards and be happy that you got to hit a tennis ball for a couple of hours.

Here's the rule:

C. Service and Service Returns
1. No more than twenty seconds between points. Both the server and
receiver must be ready to begin the next point within twenty seconds
of when the ball went out of play. Each player has the right to the full
twenty seconds to prepare for the next point.
2. Server’s appeal of a first serve that receiver calls good. The server (or
server’s partner in doubles) may make a first volley or half-volley of
the return of an out first serve which was played before appealing to
the Chair Umpire or Roving Umpire for an overrule. But if the server
(and the server’s partner in doubles) remains in the back court, the
appeal must be made before hitting the ball.
• If the appeal is granted, the server gets a second serve.
• If the appeal is not granted, then the point goes to the receiver.
A server whose appeal is denied is not subject to penalty under the ITA
Point Penalty System by virtue of the failure of his appeal.
3. Feinting, changing position, and intentional distraction. A player may feint
with the body while the ball is in play. A player may change position at any
time, including while the server is tossing the ball. Any movement or
sound that is made solely to distract an opponent, including, but not
limited to, waving the arms or racket or stamping the feet, is not allowed.
The receiver’s partner shall not stand in the receiver’s service box
before or during the serve. If a player does so, he shall be warned that
if he does so again he is subject to being penalized under the ITA Point
Penalty System.
4. Player should not return obviously out serves. A player should not
return a serve that is obviously out even when the return is
accompanied by an “out” call. This is a form of rudeness or
gamesmanship. A player may return a fast serve that just misses the
line inasmuch as the return is often a matter of self-protection.
5. Receiver who corrects his fault call to good loses the point. If the
receiver returns a ball and simultaneously calls a fault and then changes
his call to good, then the receiver loses the point because of
interference of play, even if the return is good.

arche3
01-30-2012, 03:42 PM
Here's the rule:

C. Service and Service Returns
1. No more than twenty seconds between points. Both the server and
receiver must be ready to begin the next point within twenty seconds
of when the ball went out of play. Each player has the right to the full
twenty seconds to prepare for the next point.
2. Serverís appeal of a first serve that receiver calls good. The server (or
serverís partner in doubles) may make a first volley or half-volley of
the return of an out first serve which was played before appealing to
the Chair Umpire or Roving Umpire for an overrule. But if the server
(and the serverís partner in doubles) remains in the back court, the
appeal must be made before hitting the ball.
ē If the appeal is granted, the server gets a second serve.
ē If the appeal is not granted, then the point goes to the receiver.
A server whose appeal is denied is not subject to penalty under the ITA
Point Penalty System by virtue of the failure of his appeal.
3. Feinting, changing position, and intentional distraction. A player may feint
with the body while the ball is in play. A player may change position at any
time, including while the server is tossing the ball. Any movement or
sound that is made solely to distract an opponent, including, but not
limited to, waving the arms or racket or stamping the feet, is not allowed.
The receiverís partner shall not stand in the receiverís service box
before or during the serve. If a player does so, he shall be warned that
if he does so again he is subject to being penalized under the ITA Point
Penalty System.
4. Player should not return obviously out serves. A player should not
return a serve that is obviously out even when the return is
accompanied by an ďoutĒ call. This is a form of rudeness or
gamesmanship. A player may return a fast serve that just misses the
line inasmuch as the return is often a matter of self-protection.
5. Receiver who corrects his fault call to good loses the point. If the
receiver returns a ball and simultaneously calls a fault and then changes
his call to good, then the receiver loses the point because of
interference of play, even if the return is good.


LOL at you limpin for the below! :)

"There is a combination of gamesmanship and tactics that I generally employ to distract my opponent and get him out of his rhythm depending on the surface. For example, I'll may fake moving to the left when he begin's his service motion but can still see me in his peripheral vision. On a hard court, I'll squeek my shoes when the toss is in the air as I step forward and split step."

sounds like what you are doing is "solely to distract an opponent"

you really squeak your shoes? lmao

Limpinhitter
01-30-2012, 05:26 PM
LOL at you limpin for the below! :)

"There is a combination of gamesmanship and tactics that I generally employ to distract my opponent and get him out of his rhythm depending on the surface. For example, I'll may fake moving to the left when he begin's his service motion but can still see me in his peripheral vision. On a hard court, I'll squeek my shoes when the toss is in the air as I step forward and split step."

sounds like what you are doing is "solely to distract an opponent"

you really squeak your shoes? lmao

Ahh, LOL at you arche. The operative word is "solely." I'm allowed to step in and split step. If my shoes squeak a little, oh well. Hahaha!

Roddick33
01-30-2012, 07:16 PM
HEHEHEHE

SOLEly to distract the opponent with your shoes.

Hehe I'm funny. xD

arche3
01-31-2012, 03:10 AM
Ahh, LOL at you arche. The operative word is "solely." I'm allowed to step in and split step. If my shoes squeak a little, oh well. Hahaha!

You admitted yourself your intent by moving is to distract by moving and squeaking. While it is within the rules technically it violates the spirit of the rules. I personally find that cheap and the acts of a loser. But your your own man so carry on switching around the service return and squeaking your shoes.

papa
01-31-2012, 04:07 AM
I certainly don't have problems aith squeaking shoes and don't really think it an issue. We have grunting that lasts for several seconds to deal with and we're discussing shoe noises?

arche3
01-31-2012, 04:30 AM
I certainly don't have problems aith squeaking shoes and don't really think it an issue. We have grunting that lasts for several seconds to deal with and we're discussing shoe noises?

Its not the squeaking. Its the admitted deliberate intent to distract I find lame. I don't care about guys moving on the other side and their shoes squeaking. I just find it lame that the tactic is to try to distract the server instead of trying to beat them.
I don't think squeaky shoes bother anyone either but while what limp advocates is within the rules it is cheap and a losers mentally.
If this same conversation came up with my son and his tennis coach and the coaches tactic is what limp described I would fire the coach on the spot.
Is really what limp suggests OK with most of you guys?

papa
01-31-2012, 05:25 AM
Its not the squeaking. Its the admitted deliberate intent to distract I find lame. I don't care about guys moving on the other side and their shoes squeaking. I just find it lame that the tactic is to try to distract the server instead of trying to beat them.
I don't think squeaky shoes bother anyone either but while what limp advocates is within the rules it is cheap and a losers mentally.
If this same conversation came up with my son and his tennis coach and the coaches tactic is what limp described I would fire the coach on the spot.
Is really what limp suggests OK with most of you guys?

OK, I see your point. I happen to work with lots of kids (HS. Middle School coach & tennis instructor) and I want to hear a lot of squeaking - to me, its a great indicator that the kids are moving. I think you would agree that it would be difficult to distract your opponent this way - "maybe" by stomping at certain times but squeaking?

I've seen a lot of tennis, at all levels, and never known it to be a problem. Shoes these days are on the expensive side unless you have a shoe contract. I go through about three-four pair a year and not interested in wearing them out any faster - happen to be using Prince P22's for the last couple of years which I've found to be very good. TW has a good selection of shoes at excellent prices.

woodrow1029
01-31-2012, 07:59 AM
Here's the rule:

C. Service and Service Returns
1. No more than twenty seconds between points. Both the server and
receiver must be ready to begin the next point within twenty seconds
of when the ball went out of play. Each player has the right to the full
twenty seconds to prepare for the next point.2. Serverís appeal of a first serve that receiver calls good. The server (or
serverís partner in doubles) may make a first volley or half-volley of
the return of an out first serve which was played before appealing to
the Chair Umpire or Roving Umpire for an overrule. But if the server
(and the serverís partner in doubles) remains in the back court, the
appeal must be made before hitting the ball.
ē If the appeal is granted, the server gets a second serve.
ē If the appeal is not granted, then the point goes to the receiver.
A server whose appeal is denied is not subject to penalty under the ITA
Point Penalty System by virtue of the failure of his appeal.
3. Feinting, changing position, and intentional distraction. A player may feint
with the body while the ball is in play. A player may change position at any
time, including while the server is tossing the ball. Any movement or
sound that is made solely to distract an opponent, including, but not
limited to, waving the arms or racket or stamping the feet, is not allowed
The receiverís partner shall not stand in the receiverís service box
before or during the serve. If a player does so, he shall be warned that
if he does so again he is subject to being penalized under the ITA Point
Penalty System.4. Player should not return obviously out serves. A player should not
return a serve that is obviously out even when the return is
accompanied by an ďoutĒ call. This is a form of rudeness or
gamesmanship. A player may return a fast serve that just misses the
line inasmuch as the return is often a matter of self-protection.
5. Receiver who corrects his fault call to good loses the point. If the
receiver returns a ball and simultaneously calls a fault and then changes
his call to good, then the receiver loses the point because of
interference of play, even if the return is good.

Not completely on topic, but I would like to point out that the rules quoted here were from the ITA section of the Friend at Court and apply to Collegiate Tennis. While most of the rules here are the same as USTA tennis, the parts that I have bolded are not. In USTA tennis, the receiver's partner CAN stand in the service box. And in USTA tennis, the receiver is not entitled to the full 20 seconds, but must be ready to receive at the server's reasonable pace.

Limpinhitter
01-31-2012, 08:31 AM
Not completely on topic, but I would like to point out that the rules quoted here were from the ITA section of the Friend at Court and apply to Collegiate Tennis. While most of the rules here are the same as USTA tennis, the parts that I have bolded are not. In USTA tennis, the receiver's partner CAN stand in the service box. And in USTA tennis, the receiver is not entitled to the full 20 seconds, but must be ready to receive at the server's reasonable pace.

Oops! You're right. I did a word search for distraction and didn't notice that it only appears in the ITA section of the FAC. However, FYI, the ITF/USTA rules also state that "the server shall not serve until the receiver is ready."

woodrow1029
01-31-2012, 08:39 AM
Oops! You're right. I did a word search for distraction and didn't notice that it only appears in the ITA section of the FAC. However, FYI, the ITF/USTA rules also state that "the server shall not serve until the receiver is ready."

But there is a difference. In ITF/USTA, the server shall not serve until the receiver is ready, but the receiver must be ready at the reasonable pace of the server. If not the receiver is subject to a time violation.

In (ITA) college tennis, the server shall not serve until the receiver is ready, but the receiver is entitled to the entire 20 seconds to become ready.

Limpinhitter
01-31-2012, 08:46 AM
But there is a difference. In ITF/USTA, the server shall not serve until the receiver is ready, but the receiver must be ready at the reasonable pace of the server. If not the receiver is subject to a time violation.

In (ITA) college tennis, the server shall not serve until the receiver is ready, but the receiver is entitled to the entire 20 seconds to become ready.

I understand. I just wanted to add that caviat to your prior post for clarity.

BTW, the ITF/USTA rules seem to be silent about the issue of "fainting," foot noise, etc. But, I think that the ITA rules are informative on the subject and reflect reality. I'm trying to remember, maybe it was Del Potro in his match against Federer at the AO this year, in which Del Potro hit a short lob against Federer at the net, and, knowing that he was out of the point, started jumping up and down and waiving his arms to distract Fed who was in the process of smashing the lob into the open court. Classic!

woodrow1029
01-31-2012, 08:50 AM
I understand. I just wanted to add that caviat to your prior post for clarity.

BTW, the ITF/USTA rules seem to be silent about the issue of "fainting," foot noise, etc. But, I think that the ITA rules are informative on the subject and reflect reality. I'm trying to remember, maybe it was Del Potro in his match against Federer at the AO this year, in which Delpo hit a short lob and, knowing he was out of the point, started jumping up and down and waiving his arms to distract Fed who was in the process of smashing the lob into the open court. Classic!

It is in the USTA rules as well, in the Code.

35. Body movement. A player may feint with the body while a ball is in play. A
player may change position at any time, including while the server is tossing a ball.
Any other movement or any sound that is made solely to distract an opponent,
including, but not limited to, waving arms or racket or stamping feet, is not allowed.

Limpinhitter
01-31-2012, 08:54 AM
It is in the USTA rules as well, in the Code.

35. Body movement. A player may feint with the body while a ball is in play. A
player may change position at any time, including while the server is tossing a ball.
Any other movement or any sound that is made solely to distract an opponent,
including, but not limited to, waving arms or racket or stamping feet, is not allowed.

Thanks! Makes sense. I guess Del Potro didn't read that rule. Hahaha!

arche3
01-31-2012, 10:56 AM
Thanks! Makes sense. I guess Del Potro didn't read that rule. Hahaha!

yeah thats Delpos main tactic. making arm motions. And feds tactics against Delpos big serve is to shuffle quickly from left to right as Delpo tosses and then split step with the emphasis on a loud squeak of the shoes to return serves. really that's what all the top pros do.