How do you return serves from very tall people?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by CrispyFritters, Mar 1, 2013.

  1. CrispyFritters

    CrispyFritters Rookie

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    I am 5'8" and I play against a guy that is a 6'4". His serve comes in at a very steep angle. It usually lands short in the box but it's got respectable pace on it.

    If I return at the baseline, the ball is well above my shoulders and still rising. i can't really get a good swing at it. If I move in to take it early, I'm robbed of time, because the serve is still decently quick.

    In singles, I can just slice/block it back. But in doubles, the net guy is having a field day off the weak returns.

    Any suggestions?
     
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  2. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    Nadal's solution... stay even farther back, a couple of steps behind the basline, take one step forward as he makes contact (still behind teh basline, but momentum going forward) and hit heavy topspin?

    Make sure your doubles partner knows to rush the net to cover any volleys as you'll be a couple of steps behind your usual position.

    Or just get better at taking it early. Watch Davydenko. Easier said than done.
     
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  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    High volley it back low with some direction. A volley return gives you more time than any groundstroke. Stand in far enough you take it at some height you can handle.
    If you can't do it, you can't. But, OlivierRochus can return JohnIsner's serve.
     
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  4. eman resu

    eman resu Semi-Pro

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    If you can slice/block on singles, you can also do it on doubles - just try to practice this stroke's placement (an angled and low crosscourt chip, for example)
     
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  5. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    short players are inherently disadvantaged in returning against very tall and good servers. fast serves at the corners are unreturnable and need to accept that. your just have to be ready to make most of the ones you can return. and very importantly use pressure to lower the first serve % and accuracy by attacking second serves and win majority of them.

    for doubles I'd say back up by quite a bit but should be able to return powerfully accurately to both CC and DTL and lob return. and mix it up and try to make it hard to guess. again tall players tend to serve much better when there's no pressure. so find a way to apply pressure.
     
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  6. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    You're not allowed to volley a serve.
     
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  7. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    I think what Lee means is that you need to block it back with a volley motion. You are correct that you have allow a serve to hit the ground before you hit it.

    Basically though you have two choices. Stand in and punch it back, or stand way back and take a cut at it. Even a shorter player that can get some good topspin on their first serve can make +100 mph serves kick up to your head as well.
     
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  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Thank you, RKelly....
    AlwaysCC, if I wanted to stop a taller fellar from pummelling me with high bouncing serves, I'd just kick him in the nuts. After that, I'd break his rackethand fingers.
    Please, we all play tennis here, and your comments are lower than 3.0 level thinking.
     
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  9. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    You can't return a strong low serve Mr. Lee... :cool:
     
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  10. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You are probably correct.
    OTOH, nobody has a strong low serve..:shock: One of my buds at Albert'sField in Marin is 6'2" and hits a hard sidespin serve with some backspin component, so it skids around lower thigh high. I just slice it back to his backhand. This guy is #5 on the team, which is the winning 4.0 team in California two years ago.
    I do have trouble with one of my practice partner's forehand. He hits it sidespin, REALLY hard, and the ball skids just below my knees. I cannot hit a neutralizing or offensive shot against it. OTOH, neither can the 5.5 we were hitting against.
     
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  11. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    I have a high toss and serve it deep, the results are that they are very low and the opponent has to bend their knees to return it.. similar to a low slice. :)

    It sucks when my opponent yesterday did it to me.. He was in a bad doubles team and I still can't believe we lost to them....

    "Oh my goodness, we finally beat you..."

    Jerkface.. :mad:
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I never said I could beat you.
    A low serve works pretty well, unless that is the only serve you can hit. Then the opponent just lowers his backswing and deals with it like a feed ball to start a rally.
    Personally, I like the idea of having a twist that goes around 5'10" at the baseline, a flat that hits maybe mid tummy, a top/slice that goes mid chest, and a pure slice that slides past around upper thigh heights.
    I could use a lower backspin slice, but then I could use a reverse serve and a 150 heater, but those won't come in my lifetime.
     
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  13. CrispyFritters

    CrispyFritters Rookie

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    Today, I watched some senior guys to this effectively. I think it's the way to go, but unfortunately, I'm in the "I can't do it yet" camp. Just not enough practice with it to make it reliable yet.
     
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  14. CrispyFritters

    CrispyFritters Rookie

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    I tried the Nadal method for awhile, but it really gives up so much time for the opponents to get into position. I found myself doing a lot of scrambling. Honestly, I don't know how Nadal does it.
     
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  15. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    I didn't say that Mr.Lee. :)

    I try to vary my serve. I can't find a correct way to hit a proper slice though.
     
    #15
  16. DakotaM

    DakotaM New User

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    The way I do it is to go about 2 feet in front of the baseline, and use an extremely short backswing to push it back (usually down the line). The more time I have, the larger the backswing I use.
     
    #16
  17. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Move even further into the court in doubles and block it back. By moving in further, you are taking away the net person's time to respond to your shot.
     
    #17
  18. tennytive

    tennytive Semi-Pro

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    I've had luck with blocking it short to the cc alley in dubs. Tall guys usually can't run that fast. If they do, then make sure you lob over their partner.
     
    #18

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