Dink serve is a free point generating slot machine

Saw a match in the next court.
Server was 2.5 or 3.0 or whatever.
Untrained player.

EVERY dink serve was smashed long by the returner
The dink server was winning at 40-luv

All he had to do was make sure his first serve never went in.

I was so glad I am not the only one who demolishes dink serves, only to lose the point

Dink serve is harder to return than a 5.0 rally ball.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Yes but only up to a certain level and not against all players, against "pushers" or similar players not because they just dink or push it back in.
 

time_fly

Hall of Fame
Many rec players practice by rallying from the baseline and aren’t comfortable with the footwork and setup for short balls.
 

shamaho

Semi-Pro
Saw a match in the next court.
Server was 2.5 or 3.0 or whatever.
Untrained player.

EVERY dink serve was smashed long by the returner
The dink server was winning at 40-luv

All he had to do was make sure his first serve never went in.

I was so glad I am not the only one who demolishes dink serves, only to lose the point

Dink serve is harder to return than a 5.0 rally ball.
Dink serves are so tough... I have a player in my club that to add to his dink serve is a tireless runner and practically a wall on electric skates.... his second serve is quite dinky with a side-spin... so tough

For me the best solution is to soft-slice and approach net and prepare for the smash.... since the easy volleys will dry up after a couple for each side....
 
Dink serves are so tough... I have a player in my club that to add to his dink serve is a tireless runner and practically a wall on electric skates.... his second serve is quite dinky with a side-spin... so tough

For me the best solution is to soft-slice and approach net and prepare for the smash.... since the easy volleys will dry up after a couple for each side....
I play a guy with a dinky back chop side slice serve. Same serve both times. Impossible to attack. I crush it for a winner 1 of 5 times. The other 4 are errors. His serve is impossible to break. Easier to break a 4.5 serve

If I soft slice, he will lob or pass with ease. . He can lob to the baseline from anywhere on the court. Guy is a legend
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Played recently against a 4.0 lefty female who had a very spinny but soft serve. I was pleased that I had it dialed in quickly and was able to return aggressively. Then on about her 4th service game suddenly a fast paced body serve. Was caught totally unaware.
 

mmk

Hall of Fame
Played recently against a 4.0 lefty female who had a very spinny but soft serve. I was pleased that I had it dialed in quickly and was able to return aggressively. Then on about her 4th service game suddenly a fast paced body serve. Was caught totally unaware.
During warmups I used to only hit soft serves, then on my first service point I'd hit as hard a serve as I could.
 

shamaho

Semi-Pro
I play a guy with a dinky back chop side slice serve. Same serve both times. Impossible to attack. I crush it for a winner 1 of 5 times. The other 4 are errors. His serve is impossible to break. Easier to break a 4.5 serve

If I soft slice, he will lob or pass with ease. . He can lob to the baseline from anywhere on the court. Guy is a legend
If he can pass you with ease, there's something wrong with your slice or approach so, there you go, your prescription for practice, training and improvement (as is mine btw :) you MUST soft slice wither deep or short you'll create lots of uncertainty OR... make a moon ball to the baseline, while he's looking up you sneak to the Net. so three types of approaches.... all you need then is a confidence in your overhead !

If He's a legendary lobber, position yourself mre to the middle (but alway ready to pounce on a volley) of the court and work your smash with more precision than power...

happy training :)
 

thehustler

Semi-Pro
As I said earlier you should already have your return in mind. If you know a dink serve is coming you should know what you want to do. If it's on the deuce side maybe slice it DTL with some good side spin to keep it down and force your opponent to hit up. Maybe hit to the middle of the court and deep, maybe angle it away so they're lunging for it and you can approach and end it with a volley. Same on the AD side. It's important to mix it up to keep your opponent off balance. Hit a few deep ones first to keep them pinned on the baseline. When they start to expect it then hit a short one inside the service box to force them to run in. They're not expecting it and will be forced to hit an uncomfortable shot. Probably an attempted lob, but if you hit your shot good enough they'll just pop it up and you can put away an easy volley or overhead. This will start forcing your opponent to panic. They may try to not hit a dink serve and might wind up putting up more DF's which leads to easy points for you and a loss of confidence for them. They may just keep it up because they're afraid of that and you'll be done with the match quickly. Good luck.
 

undecided

Rookie
Saw a match in the next court.
Server was 2.5 or 3.0 or whatever.
Untrained player.

EVERY dink serve was smashed long by the returner
The dink server was winning at 40-luv

All he had to do was make sure his first serve never went in.

I was so glad I am not the only one who demolishes dink serves, only to lose the point

Dink serve is harder to return than a 5.0 rally ball.
Well, the returner was obviously also a 2.5 or 3.0. Anyone past 3.5 should destroy dink serves.

p.s. Now, if they can mix in some BIG serves with dinks that complicates matters because you can't camp at the baseline for the dink.
 
You don't have to approach on a dink return, in fact probably best you don't. If they dink serve, dink return. If they lob, lob back. If they drop shot, drop shot back. Just do it better than them.
Real life doesn't work like a recipe.
Dink pulls you into the service line.
The lob now has you scrambling back to the baseline.
Point is good as over. Got Tweener? 99.9999% don't.
 

stapletonj

Professional
returning the dink serve is not as hard as it sounds, but.....

a. you have to hustle up to it, lollygagging will let it get below net height and them you are popping it up from mid court.
b. shorten your backswing....a lot n (if you dont, the ball will sail long)
c. hit through the ball, flattish with moderate topspin
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Many guys can't decide whether they are going to continue to go forward to the net after returning the short dink serve, or to move back.
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
Well, the returner was obviously also a 2.5 or 3.0. Anyone past 3.5 should destroy dink serves.

p.s. Now, if they can mix in some BIG serves with dinks that complicates matters because you can't camp at the baseline for the dink.
Disguising that dink serve might be kind of hard though. Don’t you think someone would have a different motion for a dink than a rocket?

Now if you could solve that problem I know a certain Spaniard who likes to hang out at the back fence when returning. Might be useful there.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
At 3.5 and under the dink serve is not a liability at all.
It is a liability in one situation against a 3.5 (me, anyway).

I cannot crush a dink serve with enough power or consistency to hurt a 3.5 server at the baseline.

But I can stand 2 feet behind the service line and hit a drop shot into the server's alley. Again and again and again.

Having had enough of this, the server will decide to serve and volley. Still not a problem because she's not use to it and is just running in, so a slice to her feet will get the job done.

If there is another effective way to deal with these dink servers, I'm unaware of it. The drop shot is all I've got, but it's all I need.
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
It is a liability in one situation against a 3.5 (me, anyway).

I cannot crush a dink serve with enough power or consistency to hurt a 3.5 server at the baseline.

But I can stand 2 feet behind the service line and hit a drop shot into the server's alley. Again and again and again.

Having had enough of this, the server will decide to serve and volley. Still not a problem because she's not use to it and is just running in, so a slice to her feet will get the job done.

If there is another effective way to deal with these dink servers, I'm unaware of it. The drop shot is all I've got, but it's all I need.
Ok here’s another one. No power needed. Just hit a decent shot right at their feet. Another good one is a looping topspin shot to the alley that lands near the service line. You can get a laugh as they watch it moving further away from them while they swing wildly at the air.
 
Oh, you mean like top 100 ATP player Peter Polansky?

Some of us aren't playing granny tennis.
Real hitters have struggles you can only dream of.

In that video Mackie isn't pushing over dink serves, and even Mackie was double faulting trying to hit extreme underhand side spin serves into the box.
 

kevrol

Hall of Fame
It is a liability in one situation against a 3.5 (me, anyway).

I cannot crush a dink serve with enough power or consistency to hurt a 3.5 server at the baseline.

But I can stand 2 feet behind the service line and hit a drop shot into the server's alley. Again and again and again.

Having had enough of this, the server will decide to serve and volley. Still not a problem because she's not use to it and is just running in, so a slice to her feet will get the job done.

If there is another effective way to deal with these dink servers, I'm unaware of it. The drop shot is all I've got, but it's all I need.
Shots like this are why you made it to 4.0.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Dink serve, I have one of two attempted responses: 1. roll with good TS deep to opponent's backhand 2. slice deep to opponent's backhand ..... just depends on how high the ball sits up as to which I choose.

But guaranteed, that opponent is getting the return to their BH .... not trying to win the point of the return, but going for the weak response.
 

Cawlin

Semi-Pro
The dink serve is only a weapon against an opponent who feels that they have to crush it... (or if the server can crush anything that isn't crushed - though that's much less likely to be the case if they're "dink" serving).

For me, the dink serve is just something I try to place as a dropper or an angling slice, and that's only because I don't have enough confidence in my ability to rip a mid-court sitter... yet. Sometimes though, particularly in dubs, dinkers are moving forward with their crap serve, expecting the steep crossing angle. When I see that, I also find that a deep crisp return of serve, wide near or in the alley and bouncing within a couple feet of the baeseline and/or at the server's feet (ts if they stay back, slice if they're moving forward) is quite effective, and while it may not generate a winner, will put the server on the defensive often and at best a neutral ball is coming back... no need to "crush" it, just need to hit it deep with enough spin for good margin of error on the baseline.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
Is there an actual definition of a "dink" serve?

I face all sorts of low pace serves and they can all be very different requiring different responses:

1) 2.5-3.0 lady patty cake second serve. Typically taken from NML. Bounce is high enough to hit a good groundstroke. Response is to rip a FH past the net guy or deep to the ladies feet. Secret is to stay in control and accentuate your focus as the ball has a ton of vertical movement. Easy to overhit.
2) The flat low bouncer or 3.5 women and 3.0 men. Doesn't get much above the knees so hard to hit a solid groundstroke. Response is to hit a drop shot or slice return (DTL in singles, CC in doubles) or to pop a lob over the net guy.
3) The angled slice of the 4.0 male. This one has to be hit on the run and its low bounce again tends to mean limited options. Response is to hit a safe deep lob return to the middle and recover. On occasion if you get a jump on it, a DTL winner can be struck but thats a high risk-reward play.
4) The topspin/kicker of 3.5-4.0 men and occasional 4.0-4.5 women. This one bounces high and at unpredictable angles. So footwork is key to get into position to return. Since it bounces high, you can hit a topspin return provided you get lined up properly. Response is to line up with bounce, if it kicks straight up, drop step to the left and hit FH groundie CC. If it kicks to your left, drop step right and hit a Topspin BH CC.
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
Dinking might help you win some low level matches, but teaches you nothing improve as a player. Just as much as trying to crush everything does the same.
 

Cawlin

Semi-Pro
Is there an actual definition of a "dink" serve?
This is really the crux of the whole discussion, isn't it? It would be worth it to have some defining characteristics of what that means in order to have a better discussion of the premise of the thread.

Certainly a "dink" serve could vary based on your level - i.e. what a 4.5 player may consider a "dink" serve may be considered a "reasonable" serve to a 3.0 player...

For the purposes of this discussion, I'm defining a "dink" serve as one that bounces in the middle of the service box, or maybe slightly deep, but it's still a rainbow and won't make it to the baseline before it bounces a second time. Of course, that's my definition because anything better than that at my level (3.5) is not considered too much of a "dink".
 
Dink serve, I have one of two attempted responses: 1. roll with good TS deep to opponent's backhand 2. slice deep to opponent's backhand ..... just depends on how high the ball sits up as to which I choose.

But guaranteed, that opponent is getting the return to their BH .... not trying to win the point of the return, but going for the weak response.
We are talking about men's tennis. 100% of dink serves are got to your backhand. Your are not in control. The dinker is. If you run around, your are outside the doubles alley in singles
 

NastyWinners

Professional
Well geez, why have I been working on a big kick serve when all I needed to do was have a dink serve to make it professionally.
 

Chelsie1

Rookie
Why not dink return a dink serve? Surely it's easier to put a dink return into play (off a dink serve) when you have the whole court open as opposed to just one service box? Dink the dinker.
My go to reply for a short, soft second serve is a drop shot, with an occasional drive should they come storming in.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
I used to return dink serves with a shallow ts FH. Just get the ball to clear the net and then drop. If you are baseline, you have to run up. If you are approaching the net, it will bounce near your shoelaces.

But lately I've been driving a slice back. It sets me up a little better for my next shot as it's difficult to pick up a low driving slice and do anything meaningful with it.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
We are talking about men's tennis. 100% of dink serves are got to your backhand. Your are not in control. The dinker is. If you run around, your are outside the doubles alley in singles
You may not be in control against a male's dink serve .... when I get a dink serve from the 3.5-4.5 male in mixed I am absolutely in control unless they have put insane spin on it ... which they usually don't.

Why would I be running around to hit a FH when I can hit a TS BH or slice BH?
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
This is really the crux of the whole discussion, isn't it? It would be worth it to have some defining characteristics of what that means in order to have a better discussion of the premise of the thread.

Certainly a "dink" serve could vary based on your level - i.e. what a 4.5 player may consider a "dink" serve may be considered a "reasonable" serve to a 3.0 player...

For the purposes of this discussion, I'm defining a "dink" serve as one that bounces in the middle of the service box, or maybe slightly deep, but it's still a rainbow and won't make it to the baseline before it bounces a second time. Of course, that's my definition because anything better than that at my level (3.5) is not considered too much of a "dink".
I can only speak to what a dink serve is for my level (3.5 ladies). The dink serve of a 4.5 guy would in my world be an awesome first serve. I haven't seen a 4.5 guy in the wild with what I would call a dink serve.

A dink serve for me is any serve where I can stand well inside the baseline and can dictate whether I will play it as FH or BH before it is struck. Say I decide I would like to return the dink from the ad side with my FH. I can stand way out near the alley, secure in the knowledge that the dink server cannot reach my BH and cannot ace me up the middle.
 
Why does this guy think a terrible shot that wins points in the trenches of 2.5 whatever the actual **** that level is - means it's a good shot worthy of mentioning is baffling. Guys playing 2.5 or 3.0 can't play tennis lol...they're literally hackers who have barely touched a racquet.

Here's how you return a dink serve if you keep missing - hit with more control and more margin, you are not required to hit it for a winner.
 
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