slice return against lefty


What are the points to remember when choosing the safe dtl slice return vs lefties?

I can hit topspin CC with good pace, a slice CC with moderate success but i struggle for the dtl and especially slice.

I already gathered from this excellent site that balls to my left are curving away (need to get closer), balls to my right curve into my body (need to create space). Do i have to be almost above the ball for the slice and do i need to brush the left side of the ball?


Bionic Poster
It should not be celebral, but should be intuitive based on your experience playing lefties.
By the time your thinking rational brain tells you where to position yourself, the ball is already by you.
Play a bunch of lefties, but notice not all ball curve the same from every lefty.
Some lefty's hit very little curve, while other's hit hooking balls from right field.
Knowing what to do beforehand is only useful if you have already experienced the weirdness.
From scratch, playing a lefty, the experience is just plain different.
I'm lefty, and some player's adjust quickly, some never do.


sorry i should have been specific,

talking about the low curvy/skidding lefty slice serve.

I simply don't have that many LH players to hit with. And not as good as the servers i come to face in toutnaments. I feel what you're saying about overthinking, it's a bad habit that i (and many players) tend to have. Oth i learned through the years that knowing what happens at contact is invaluable : short crosscourt, serve variations (hand/ball approach angle), slice, dropshot. Of course i don't think about that when i play but i learned it before kicking competition.

I'm pretty sure you don't adjust easily when returning kick serves for the first time you're right. But you have two ways of learning: experience and learning from a coach who exlains what the ball does after bounce and what spin is preferable for the return, at what height, with a specific timing and finish.

You're probably right thoug; in meantime if somebody has insight, i'll listen : )


DTL slice out of an outwide slice is already a low percentage shot. The net is higher, the court shorter, the slice floats, and it's easier to change direction on a DTL shot than on a CC one. The "safe" idea is to play it safe cross court with good volume (deep with spin) or in the returner's feet and get in a neutral rally. And a neutral rally isn't exactly the end of the world either.

If the lefty abuses the slice outwide, might as well position yourself accordingly and see if they can hit it on the T. You'd be surprised to see that many, many lefties cannot punish such a positioning. They're not Nadal who himself will serve the T if he sees that because he practices both serves equally even if he favours the outwide slice. Actually, I often see them take longer to serve when they see that. If the slice isn't that fast, you may even want to get inside the court to cut the trajectory and try to take time away from the server.
I position myself 3-5ft more to the left when returning lefty serves. Doing that, I actually return better against lefties! I don't have to think anything different, after that positioning change.


i already changed my position to the left :) I often see better players hitting slow-high slice/chop return to the backhand.

Maybe the best advice is to not care at all but it's like i'm playing another game!