Originally Posted by tennis_balla
You should have a clear idea of what you are going to do with your return and where you're going to hit it. Just like you decide where you will hit your serve, its the same on the return and in doubles more so.
Pro's do not decide to run around their backhands on a second serve and hit a forehand inside out after their opponent hits the serve. This is pre-determined before the opponent even tosses the ball.
That's makes sense on a second serve where they are trying to be aggressive and take control. On a lot of first serves it seems like people react to the ball more and are forced to hit backhands.
In doubles I was taught to always go cross court with the return. But I usually just hit a backhand or forehand because of where their ball placement was, not because of what I decided to do before hand.
I feel like on certain big points it works well to have a preplanned play, but if I tried to do it on every point, I would be hitting a ton of unforced errors.
I remember that monster forehand return Djokovic hit against Federer down double match point at the us open. I feel like he only takes chances like that in certain situation, because if he did every time, he would be giving away too many free points.
In singles I feel like I react a lot more to what I'm given, instead of going cross court every time. You clearly know what you're talking with first hand experience at the highest levels, so I can't argue. But I feel like even pros as good as Fed have to be flexible and hit a lot of improvisational returns, especially in singles.