Originally Posted by Djokovicfan4life
Never come in on a kicker, huh? I guess we'll have to inform Pat Rafter that he was doing it wrong.
Oh give him a break. He's like what? A 3.0-4.0? He wouldn't know any better.
The best serve to use is the one that your opponent doesn't see coming.
Focus on placement more than spin and spin more than pace.
You need a body serve, a wide serve, and a T serve you can use as perfectly as possible whenever you want, on both first and second serves (assuming you wish to come in on both serves). Now you also need to be able to hit topspin, slice, kick, and flat. Granted you might not need to hit many flat serves, but it's good to have in the bag for a change-up.
Next, you want to be as good with disguising the ball as possible. This makes it even tougher for the returner to get a solid return back consistently.
Having a high first serve percentage is ALWAYS good in the game of tennis. It can NEVER hurt you more than it helps unless you're throwing in creampuffs for first serves. Anything with solid racket acceleration hit at a high percentage works, which means spin is your friend.
As for second serves, you want one that can hopefully push your opponent back, move them around, and keep them from putting returns down low on you. The very minimal is keeping them from putting returns down low on you.
You don't want to hit nothing but kickers for first serves, but use heavy topspin/slice with a bit of pace. Kickers are for change-ups on first serves.
Now, for volleys, you must learn to block volleys above the net either deep to a corner or at a wide angle. You must also learn to block low volleys deep (or at an angle if you're close enough to the net). The overhead is crucial! Don't skip out on practicing the overhead (both standard and backhand). And develop a good half volley! It will save your *** more times than you can count just like the low volleys.
So the strengths of a great serve and volleyer are as follows:
-The second serve (meaning their first serve is even scarier!)
-The low volley
-The half volley
The weaknesses of a serve and volleyer are as follows:
-The low return off the serve (hence why the best volleyers master this aspect of their net games more than anything else)
-The high, deep lob off the second passing attempt (if they hit a good one off a solid approach shot or serve, then too good, but let them try to hit a good one past you all day long; but off a second passing attempt where you might not have done enough with the ball, they can seriously punish you with this shot)
-The sharp crosscourt dipper. Not only is this shot hit at a great angle that's difficult to cover, but by the time you're there you have to hit a low volley or a full stretch half volley. Generally you're lucky to put this ball back into play unless you anticipated it and covered it early.
Overall, don't let them hit these 3 shots. Make sure your approach shots and serves are solid and force defensive or conservative returns. Next, make sure the first volley puts them off balance or on the full run. Finally, make sure they don't have enough time to hit the last 2 shots. The low return is one thing since it will likely have pace that you can use (and that you should have practiced these shots extensively), but the other 2 are going to tear you apart if you let your opponent get too many looks at hitting them. Force them to hit either a standard crosscourt or down the line shot past you.