How should you adjust to a big server going for 2 1st serves?

EddieBrock

Semi-Pro
There's a tall guy I play against with a huge 1st serve, but a mediocre 2nd serve. When I play him I block the 1st back and commit to attacking his 2nd by moving inside the baseline and ripping the return or doing a drop shot off my backhand. After I beat him a few times doing this he started doing a 1st serve for his 2nd when he saw me moving in and almost knocked the racket out of my hand. How should I adjust to this? Just hope he double faults?
 

WildVolley

Legend
One method would be to start in a first serve return position and then time your move forward to when he is in the middle of the toss when he's hitting the second serve.

To do this well requires that you start picking up the clues early as to whether he's going to hammer down a first serve (stay back) or he's going to spin it (move forward during the motion). Most rec-level players cannot disguise this well. Honestly, most professional players also give away when they're hitting a topspin serve.
 

movdqa

G.O.A.T.
Use a heavy racquet. With a heavy racquet, you only need to get the ball on the strings.

My old 17+ ounce racquets - you could hit the ball on the frame, strings, sideways - you wouldn't feel the ball.
 
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Traffic

Hall of Fame
Start 12' behind baseline and then as he starts he starts his toss, take a couple steps forward and then split step forward some more.
 
Block as many serves back as you can and make him hit extra shots. If you can try to get into a neutral rally situation after a few strokes. Hitting a hard second serve 40-0 is easy but doing it 30 all he likely will get a bit more nervous
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
I think he’s actually doing right job finding solutions, props to him. It’s short term, but despite widely accepted practice of avoiding DFs at all costs, playing against you punishing his weakness it’s ok to raise the bets, as a short-term solution. And the fact you ask, you actually have to respect.
The best advise for you was given: if he’s mixing up, not 100% switched to serving hard, it’s mid-way positioning, reading his toss and early motion, short-blocking hard serves, moving in to still attack weak serves. If you cannot read what’s incoming, either stay back and safe, or play with that late moving in and overall altering your positioning: get deeper in his mind, expect more errors, and do your best to at least return the good serves.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
I talk to junior players sometimes when I notice that an opponent is not hitting winners off of ROS there is absolutely no reason to DF. BUT, if they have figured out your 2nd serve, then think about taking just a little off your 1st serve and make those go in. Or, hit a harder 2nd serve. Or mix in 2nd and 1st serves randomly. Chances are, you'll lose your 2nd serve anyway. So try to keep opponent guessing.
 

EddieBrock

Semi-Pro
I think he’s actually doing right job finding solutions, props to him. It’s short term, but despite widely accepted practice of avoiding DFs at all costs, playing against you punishing his weakness it’s ok to raise the bets, as a short-term solution. And the fact you ask, you actually have to respect.
The best advise for you was given: if he’s mixing up, not 100% switched to serving hard, it’s mid-way positioning, reading his toss and early motion, short-blocking hard serves, moving in to still attack weak serves. If you cannot read what’s incoming, either stay back and safe, or play with that late moving in and overall altering your positioning: get deeper in his mind, expect more errors, and do your best to at least return the good serves.
That's a good idea. I should be able to read his 2nd serve. Usually I'm so focused on what I'm doing I don't watch my opponents serve motion well enough. He's a smart player that adapts pretty well.
 

ubercat

Semi-Pro
I actually think it's worse when they have a big first serve and a really short low slicey second serve. It's always really hard to get in rhythm between the two
 

ubercat

Semi-Pro
I did do a beautiful trick serve last match. Woundup all Hulk like like I was going to hammer and then did a tiny slice serve. guy came sprinting in missed it flopped over the net and looked at me like he wanted to kill me. not a high percentage play but really shakes up your opponent when it comes off. No I don't underarm serve I'm vicious but fair.

Of course it didn't help his mood that I have the ability to drop shot off my shoe laces. This guy kept hanging shots at my feet all night.

I have no idea why I can do that I've got plenty of ability to screw up easy regular shots
 

blablavla

Professional
That's a good idea. I should be able to read his 2nd serve. Usually I'm so focused on what I'm doing I don't watch my opponents serve motion well enough. He's a smart player that adapts pretty well.
what helps me vs strong 1st serves, is to stay on the baseline, or at times even step inside the court + block / chip them.
might sound counter-intuitive, but the more time I have, I will be trying to hit them, but vs a good 1st serve it's difficult to time, while I try to go full swing if I stay behind + this as well opens the angles to the server, and I am not Nadal, to return any ball coming on my side.
so, by forcing myself to stay close, I remove the option of hitting the ROS, thus I don't need to change the grip whether it goes to FH or BH, and chipping also removes the timing issue that comes from the swing.
standing close as well means that it doesn't matter whether it is a down the T, or wide, I will get there relatively easy
this also sometimes takes the server by surprise, which combined with (already) medium chip return, at least neutralizes the serve. if you can excel at chipping deep returns, it is even better.

if you stay pretty much at the same position for the second serve, you can then chip the second 1st service, or attack the weak 2nd service
 
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