Incoming short slice returns

#1
My opponent has some difficoulties with my ad first serve to his bh (we both are righties), he usually returns it with slice, some of them are out , some of them are deep, some of them are short and some of them are net.
I have a lot of problem to deel with his short cross return, i do not think he plays it on purpose short, i see it comes rather natural short from his racket.
On groundies are his slices rather deep, they do not cause so much trouble.
What can be a reason that his slice returns are often natural short (and this is why uncomfortable to deel with)?

Thank you for your answer
Toth
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
#2
Maybe he's bringing you to net position, so come to service line and slice your backhand deep dtl spiced with short cc angles.
 
#3
My opponent has some difficoulties with my ad first serve to his bh (we both are righties), he usually returns it with slice, some of them are out , some of them are deep, some of them are short and some of them are net.
I have a lot of problem to deel with his short cross return, i do not think he plays it on purpose short, i see it comes rather natural short from his racket.
On groundies are his slices rather deep, they do not cause so much trouble.
What can be a reason that his slice returns are often natural short (and this is why uncomfortable to deel with)?

Thank you for your answer
Toth
What are you doing after your serve to recover to a balanced position? It sounds like you are not ready, even though you know that's one of his tendencies.

Also, what do you do after you hit that short, CC slice? Do you retreat to the BL or continue to the net? You might want to consider continuing to the net as your momentum will already be forward: slice it DTL which has the added bonus of catching him further away since he just returned a wide serve on the Ad court.

Start at 1:00:

 
#4
I do not favour my bh slice dtl, becouse my slice is not good enough to cause his super fh difficoulies...
I feel this is a bad pattern for me anyway...
 
#5
I do not favour my bh slice dtl, becouse my slice is not good enough to cause his super fh difficoulies...
I feel this is a bad pattern for me anyway...
sounds like u need to practice your dtl slice approach shot


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#8
Until i did not practise my slice enough, i would try to step forward a bit to have more time to react...
Moving forward will decrease the time you have to react because you will be closer to the contact point and less distance means less time.

What stepping forward will do is allow you to get to the contact point more quickly [and maybe stop the ball from getting so low]. But it depends on how well he hits the shot: if he hits it deep, you could be caught in an awkward position.
 
#9
I return like this against decent serves quite a bit. 2 important things: stay low and approach shot.
The ball coming back is low and have little pace. So stay low.
Play an approach shot with good placement. You don't have to play a put-away, center court short return will be pretty good since returner is already out of the court. If you can place the ball on the other side, its best but very risky.
Be ready for a volley next.
 
#10
My opponent has some difficoulties with my ad first serve to his bh (we both are righties), he usually returns it with slice, some of them are out , some of them are deep, some of them are short and some of them are net.
I have a lot of problem to deel with his short cross return, i do not think he plays it on purpose short, i see it comes rather natural short from his racket.
On groundies are his slices rather deep, they do not cause so much trouble.
What can be a reason that his slice returns are often natural short (and this is why uncomfortable to deel with)?

Thank you for your answer
Toth
If you can S&V, that's a great way to deal with BH returns that are mostly slices (especially if the slices are floaty and/or short).

If I see that an opponent almost always slices/blocks my serve to his BH, I'll start coming to net on my serve to take advantage...
 
#14
If you can S&V, that's a great way to deal with BH returns that are mostly slices (especially if the slices are floaty and/or short).

If I see that an opponent almost always slices/blocks my serve to his BH, I'll start coming to net on my serve to take advantage...
Isn’t short slice one of the most reliable options to make SnV player struggle?
 
#15
I do not favour my bh slice dtl, becouse my slice is not good enough to cause his super fh difficoulies...
I feel this is a bad pattern for me anyway...
serve to his forehand? at least occasionally, so that your opponent has to cover a larger area, which makes it more difficult to prepare for short slice
serve & volley?
be ready for the short slice and slice back cross court, but if you only slice back cc, he will be staying there and waiting for the ball, so he can pass you, so you need to slice down the line, make drop shots, and increase the variation, so he doesn't know what is coming at him
be ready for the short slice, hit it with your backhand top spin cross court, but might be dangerous if your opponent is still thee. If you don't make a winner, he has options to pass you, so you need to play dtl as well
be ready for the short slice, run around & hit forehand, in this case you need both: inside in (down the line, to his forehand), inside out (cross court, to his backhand).

I think there are 2 tricks here:
1. is to make him guess where your shot will fly, hence he has to defend a larger area, both the serve and first shot after the serve. Very often players have solid forehand from static position, but make them run, and it becomes manageable
2. is to work on your preparation after the serve
 
#16
Isn’t short slice one of the most reliable options to make SnV player struggle?
I think the kind of short slice (bunt?) that the OP is talking about isn't going to give a decent S&V any trouble.

Furthermore, if you know it's always going to be a slice/block, it's easier to deal with.

Sampras used to just take a step back on these kind of balls, and then would hit a topspin put-away from around the service line.

Fed OTOH moves aggressively towards the net when he sees a slice, so that he's volleying practically on top of the net. Nadal usually does the same. Check out Nadal's sweet S&V versus Thiem's short slice at 1:52, he hits the first (and only) volley from between the service line and net.

 
#17
Another strategy is simply to not give him that serve if it causes trouble for you. Don't play to your opponent's strengths, play to his weaknesses. Serve somewhere else, or change the spin (kick it, for instance, can he do that return off a shoulder high slice too?) That of course is predicated on you being able to modify your strategy this way.
 
#18
I think the kind of short slice (bunt?) that the OP is talking about isn't going to give a decent S&V any trouble.

Furthermore, if you know it's always going to be a slice/block, it's easier to deal with.

Sampras used to just take a step back on these kind of balls, and then would hit a topspin put-away from around the service line.

Fed OTOH moves aggressively towards the net when he sees a slice, so that he's volleying practically on top of the net. Nadal usually does the same. Check out Nadal's sweet S&V versus Thiem's short slice at 1:52, he hits the first (and only) volley from between the service line and net.

Well, I agree pro players can do it well. Roger hits great volleys from behind the net. Nadal pushed Thiem pretty far back, and was very fast to get to the ball. Still didn’t get very easy of a volley. Imagine that same return hit from 2 ft closer to the baseline while SnVer split stepping in front of the service line, ball likely bouncing at service line... So enjoy half volleying it or fall back to hit a FH. With such a good can opener serve it still may be a winner situation...
If a weak slice expected, I’d definitely step in, keen to take a short one off the bounce or volley a deep floater.
 
#19
I think these shots would work against a slice returner like me:
- Serve to my forehand
- Hit deep slice to my forehand side
- Hit dropshot or a short slice on my forehand side and if I reach there, be ready to volley.
- Hit lob to my forehand side to neutralize my attack (works wonders)

But then again, execution matters and sadly most rec players don't practice these shots. Also, even if you're able to execute well, what you do next is also important. E.g, if you hit deep to my forehand and stay at the net but your smash sucks, I would just get to the ball and lob you.
 
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#20
I would add that at recreational level precision is key, not the speed.
Very often we are tempted to go for massive shots, because our opponent can hit it once a while, because that is what we see in highlights reels, etc.
But, numbers don't lie, at a recreational level you don't need to hit 130 mph serve to go for the forehand side of your opponent. If you can alternate: down the T + wide + ideally mix it with body serves -> the speed limit goes significantly down.
You slice down the line from the short slice you received -> your opponent hits a massive forehand... well, the higher the speed of the ball, the faster it will return from the volley. So if you can re-direct that shot on a constant level, you'll be surprised that instead of firing massive forehands, your opponent might try lobs, crazy angle short cross-court, etc.
 
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