Alright, so I've been playing for around 1.5 years and I believe I am NTRP 4.5 (with some caveats), based on what I saw on youtube etc. I have a friend who is now a professional fencer (just outside top 100 in the world). Before he decided to train to be a professional fencer he was going to be a professional tennis player. He was a junior champion of this province at some point. Here's the deal. I have no chance of beating the guy, or currently keeping it competitive against him. For some reason, he's glad to play me, even though he's beating me 6-0 or 6-1 every time. I can't keep my composure when playing with him, it really takes me out of my comfort zone. If we just rally, I can often WIN a rally against him, but in a match play situation I don't have the confidence to go after those shots. My return of serve is generally poor and his serve is good so I can rarely make an impact on his service games. If I try to chip the return, he whips a winner. If I try to go for the return, I can't make it. I can play an all court game against other opponents but I have never been successfull coming to net against this guy. He actually just gives me easy balls (float slices) and I screw them up completely. The only way I can get points is by getting my first serves in, and that's currently a low percentage shot. Second serve is currently not good enough. If I give an easy one, I lose the point. If I go after it I double fault a lot. I have strokes which can win points against him, but they are not dependable enough in a match situation. I played him yesterday and missed my down the line backhand more than half the time - one of my favorite shots. What I have - 1) Good 2HBH (flat) and I can crack it. 2) Good forehand, except I can't defend well with it. I am working on making the stroke more compact. 3) Average volleys (which I love playing, so I am practicing them) 4) Average anticipation. 5) Good fitness level and athletic ability. 6) Poor serve receive Questions 1) How can I make it more fun and interesting for him? 2) What should I do to extract the most out of playing him for myself? Go for broke? Go for easy shots? Try to come in? Try to bring him in? 3) Any way to practice serve receive on your own? What I plan to do 1) Develop the second serve variety and dependability 2) Increase first serve percentage 3) Try to relax and take it easy and be comfortable - I am not playing for my last socks anyway PS I played a set against a ~4.0 player today. I think my serve brought him out of his comfort level, and although I played like **** I beat him 6-3.