Is it Ever OK to Poach on a Wide Serve?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Drew_a_blank, Sep 3, 2013.

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Is it OK to poach on a Wide Serve?

  1. Yes! Why wouln't you?

    9 vote(s)
    36.0%
  2. Sometimes, on a really good serve

    9 vote(s)
    36.0%
  3. rarely, it depends on the situation

    7 vote(s)
    28.0%
  4. No, Never! Are you crazy?!

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Drew_a_blank

    Drew_a_blank New User

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    Like the Title asks, do you think it is Alright to poach when your partner serves out wide? Why, why not? When would it be ok to do so?

    What about as a planned poach?
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
    #1
  2. Bergboy123

    Bergboy123 Semi-Pro

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    I say yes, because if it's a good enough serve out wide it will probably give up a weaker reply, desperate to only get the serve back and not so likely to rip for a dtl winner
     
    #2
  3. Baxter

    Baxter Professional

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    It leaves the down the line return open, and if it's a good crosscourt return it might not get the job done AND keep the server back, losing the point.
     
    #3
  4. ProgressoR

    ProgressoR Hall of Fame

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    if its a very good serve and the server can see the receiver going wide and having to stretch to reach, then the server should probably start making his own way in, at least ghosting in
     
    #4
  5. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    If the wide serve is fairly strong and the returner is not particularly adept at going down the line, then the poach would be a reasonable gamble. Alternately, if the net player steps of fakes to the alley and then takes off to poach on the forward swing of the returner, it might be ok. The server should still move quickly to cover the other (abandoned) side.
     
    #5
  6. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

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    If the serve is good enough, and if the poacher does not commit too early, it should be a fairly low risk/reward situation. Don't telegraph your move and there is a good chance the ball will be coming back over the center of the net, so the poach need not be extreme.
     
    #6
  7. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Put it this way, the more a player gets pulled out wide the tougher it is to hit crosscourt because the contact point ends up being later. Poaching off an out wide serve is entirely possible, but not something thats recommended. Its all about angles in tennis and in that situation it doesn't work to the net players advantage if he/she moves across. The returner doesn't even need to hit a hard return up the line, just well placed right at the singles sideline is good enough.
     
    #7
  8. 2ndServe

    2ndServe Professional

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    wide serve to the forehand, probably not a great idea. I like to lean towards the middle and even when I'm sort of guarding the alley on the deuce court I've been burned way too many times on wide serves to the forehand. Guys run to the forehand return better, they can hold their shots better or till the last instant, they have more reach, they have more angle, the return is on you a little faster, they can wrist flick, they can hit it down the line with some speed from odd positions (low, high, stretched), they have a little more topspin on that side.

    Wide serve to a 1hbh, you can definitely go, they don't get as much top, their range of motion is a lot less, any out of position shot is usually floaty, if you're leaning towards the middle you actually stand a chance of going back down the line if you somewhat guessed wrong.

    The 2hbh wide return is a little different, I find they handle heavy top, kick and slice serves a little easier, they can hold their shots a little longer, they hit more acute angles. Once they take the 2nd hand off the racket I definitely think you can poach.

    But this is highly dependent on the quality, movement and depth of the serve.

    But I think you have to do it a few times on the wide forehand, it's good game theory, makes the returner think a little and you gain those extra few points maybe when it gets tighter and he thinks he may have to hit it a little sharper crosscourt.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013
    #8
  9. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    Louis Cayer says yes.
     
    #9
  10. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Only in certain circumstances. Assuming that everyone is RH, the wide serve is likely to be on the deuce side into the returner's FH. As others have stated the server's netman really has to cover the alley for the easy pass (not poach the nonexistent CC FH).

    However when playing against better competition, savvy returners will start putting the ball down the center of the court (where the netman was standing before they shifted left to cover the alley).

    In this case a fake into the alley followed by a "poach" back to the original stance location will "poach" off that center return.
     
    #10
  11. Rui

    Rui Semi-Pro

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    Typically, a wide serve tends to pin the netman to his alley. Therefore, it opens up the CC return. The CC return will be a more acute angle, which draws the server more off the court. Of course, all that goes out the window with an ace or forcing serve.

    A poach must, therefore, be timed almost perfectly. OTOH, a fake poach early should draw a dtl return, which can be cut off.
     
    #11
  12. Baxter

    Baxter Professional

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    I'm a lefty and this happens almost every time I serve wide into the ad court. The angle of the BH return is almost always very acute, sometimes almost parallel to the net, and impossible for the net man to cover. I have two solutions after getting pummeled by these sharp cross court returns:

    1. Serve and volley and let the net man stay put. The server goes straight ahead, not towards the center of the court.
    2. I formation, and we each break one way after the serve, usually with the net man covering the CC and the server covering DTL.

    This applies only to a lefty serve out wide to the AD court.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013
    #12

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