The tip of the month is amongst the most clichéd expression in tennis: get your first serve in! Getting the first serve in accomplishes two things. First, it takes the pressure off you, especially on big points. I like to pretend that the tennis gods have changed the rules of tennis to say that I only get one serve. This way, I get my first serve in so there is NO CHANCE OF A DOUBLE FAULT. Second, when you get your first serve in, you keep your opponent from knowing ahead of time whether the serve will be hard or soft (second serves are mostly softer), thereby discouraging your opponent from having an offensive mindset. Keeping your opponent from knowing they can attack makes a huge difference in whether you are in trouble from the outset, or on more even ground. So, hit a ¾ pace first serve to your opponent’s weaker side on big points to take the pressure off yourself and put it back where it belongs…on the other side of the net!