One handed backhand return - slice or topspin?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by SouthboundAgain, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. SouthboundAgain

    SouthboundAgain Rookie

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    To all one-handed backhand players, what's your default return of serve on first and second serves?

    I have typically always used slice/chipped returns with some effectiveness: usually my return lands reasonably deep and I miss very few of them, even if the serve is big. The downside of the slice return is that I usually don't gain any advantage starting the point. Smart and aggressive players will also sometimes start to serve/volley on the chipped returns too.

    Lately, I've started hitting more topspin returns with mixed results: I miss more returns, but when they go in I usually have control of the point. When returning kick serves, it works well if my timing is perfect (can take the ball early and really rip it cross court usually), but if the timing is a bit off, things get ugly fast.

    What do you guys think? Especially on the kick serve what do you think is the best approach? Slice it back? Take the ball early and hit with topspin? Or go the Gasquet route? (take three steps back and take a big cut from far behind the baseline).
     
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  2. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    No one here steps in and bunt it back?
     
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  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    The best approach is the one that works best for you.
    Some players can hang back and slice low skidders.
    Other players NEED to knock off that winner attempt.
    While a third might be happy just blocking a lob back deep to a backhand corner.
    Which are you? And there are several other's to boot.
    And often depends, how confident are you? How relaxed? How important is THAT point?
    You don't need much swing to return a sub 115mph first serve, a quick shoulder turn often does the job plenty early.
    And that head high kick, what is your plan? Do you want to pin the server to the baseline? Would bringing him up into deep NML work just peachy keen? How about bringing a baseline basher into net position? What if the server doesn't like high deep, overhead bouncing balls? Is the server coming to net?
     
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  4. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I like doing that a lot. Gets back to the server before he can finish his motion and recover - especially with hard serves.
     
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  5. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

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    Depends on what's natural. If I can hit a clean winner off the serve, I go for it. If I can't, I do whatever puts the serve back in play.
     
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  6. winstonlim8

    winstonlim8 Semi-Pro

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    If I'm facing a strong server, I'll stay a little further back and try to drive it back at every opportunity, otherwise I'll chip or bunt it back if his serves are really good.

    If his serves aren't good enough to give me much trouble then I'll have a lot of alternatives, especially if I manage to run around and hit a backhand. I can -

    a.drive it back with topspin

    b.drive it back with flat slice

    c.chip it deep or angled

    d.dropshot

    e.play a short, very low soft slice that skids around ankle height (especially when he's using a SW or Western forehand grip)

    f.club it flat if it bounces high

    g.stand in 8-10 feet from the service line, take it on the rise and either drive it, chip it or dropshot it, with almost no takeback

    h.play a crosscourt topspin moonball or lob.
    (Sorry I forgot to include this before)

    Off my forehand, I can only drive it (with topspin or sidespin), chip it or bunt it back if I can't stand in 8-10 feet from the service line or play a lob. I can't dropshot off the forehand to save my life.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
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  7. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    Often it is not a slice or a topspin. Hard first serves are much easier returned with a flat block or a chip backhand 'volley'. 2nd serves you can do pretty much anything you want.
     
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  8. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    I chip it in, or slice.
     
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  9. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    Bunting it back or just placing it as oposed to trying to hit it hard usually works better for me then topsin 1H BH return. Even on the FH side at times.
     
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  10. President

    President Legend

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    Hell, I have a 2HBH and I still slice almost every 1st serve that comes to my BH. Below 5.0, consistency is just extremely important IMO. I rarely miss a return, which is important to me and gives me a lot of chances to actually use my groundstrokes properly and eventually break serve.
     
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  11. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    It is and I've learned this the hard away, in my second to last ladder, when I realized that I've lost matches mainly b/c I was going for too much on my returns (that might still be ok on the FH side, at least at times, but not on the BH).
     
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  12. winstonlim8

    winstonlim8 Semi-Pro

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    I think there's a difference between driving a ball back with the focus on accurate placement rather than trying to hit a booming winner right off the ROS. At least there is for me as I seldom try to rip the ball off ROS nowadays - had to learn that the hard way.

    But I do try to put the ball deep or at an angle of around 45 Degrees for variety off my FH, to keep my opponent guessing since I don't have much else I can do consistently off my right side, other than play a high, deep moonball or lob to the backhand. That's frequently quite effective, too, especially when unexpected.

    Off my left, I would only try to hit an outright put away if I'm up 15-40 or better against serve. I prefer to drive the ball deep with topspin, heavy slice or a flat slice to get a weaker return most of the time against a weak serve - or break my opponent's rhythm with different shots.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
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  13. cjs

    cjs Semi-Pro

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    I generally chip it back in but its become a bad habit because I do it too much. There are times I definitely need to be more aggressive and hit a topspin drive return, especially against better players because I'm allowing them the chance to dictate the point from their first shot after the serve.
     
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  14. Edburger

    Edburger Rookie

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    Mostly chip first serve. Will try come over top of second serve unless it is very good. Once get to higher rec levels, most important with service return is to get it back for neutral rally. If you get neutral rally on majority of opponent's serves, usually win the match (unless he much better than you).

    At lower rec levels, serve often very weak and attackable. Then, of course try to come over ball. But as long as not missing too many returns.

    Remember, server playing lots of rallies is server under pressure. Usually, servers not getting free points will give up break opportunities. So, above all, get serve back.
     
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  15. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    i try to attack anything that's attackable.
    that includes a lot of 1st serves i receive.
    even when they're hard.
    but i use 2HBH so i guess it's a bit different.
     
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  16. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    even fed slices a lot of returns with the BH (5-6 years ago even more than now). against good first serves a 1H topspin BH is not easy to do even for very good players.
     
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  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    For most 1hbh players, a slice backhand is the main service return.
    On slower serves, and when confident, a 1hbh topspin can be used for variety.
    It takes the same amount of time to prepare for a topspin 1hbh as for a topspin forehand.
    Some servers don't give you time to hit a topspin forehand return, so a slice is still needed on both sides.
    Even Nadal sometimes slices a forehand return when the serve goes into his body or really wide.
     
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  18. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Typically, I hit a topspin return and it's mostly because I like hitting it.
     
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  19. ProgressoR

    ProgressoR Hall of Fame

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    I try to drive my BH returns (1H), and it can be a more gentle drive for a good serve, or drive with intent if I can set up. I dont slice back much, but do occasionally. For hard serves, if I cant even set up for a drive, I just block it back.

    I don't go for topspin shots (the drive might have a bit of top spin but not much I wouldnt call it a TS shot), unless you have time to proper set up, which means the serve is slow.

    Oh and for some reason, if i just find myself in an awkward position, I find it not too hard to just lob it back, even if it is straight at the server, its not easy to win the point outright from there.
     
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  20. winstonlim8

    winstonlim8 Semi-Pro

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    I agree. The lob is an under rated return. I had so much trouble playing people who lobbed every ROS that I decided to add it to my repertoire as a change of pace, height and spin shot to break my opponent's rhythm.
     
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  21. Whiplash169

    Whiplash169 New User

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    I usually opt to bunt it back cross court on a first serve, and slice it short on a second (if I can).
     
    #21
  22. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    Both. I wouldn't say the slice shot is like a normal slice stroke - its more of a block, bunt or half volley. I find you can hit this shot even with a topspin grip on the backhand side.
     
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  23. tennis_hack

    tennis_hack Banned

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    I have an extreme grip, so I cannot really take a low and flat ball early, so I have to chip back 1st serves.

    However, if someone hits me a nice high kicker, it goes into my strike-zone and I topspin those.
     
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