Gene’s Tennis Tip of the Month: April 2014

Return of Serve.
The second most important shot in tennis.  If you miss the return, you really let the server off the hook because she doesn’t even need to demonstrate that she has any other strokes.  The foundation of a good return is the split step.  There are two kinds:  the step forward and the neutral, legs apart kind.  Both kinds work well depending on the situation.
In Indian Wells, I saw Federer employed both.  If facing a bigger serve (Djokovic’s first serve) then he stayed more neutral with a wider stance that took less time to split step, but on Djoker’s second serve, he employed the step forward and split method to create a more aggressive return and take the kicking spin earlier.  Watch what your opponent is doing and remember, whichever return you choose, make sure you do some kind of split step right as the server is about to make contact with the ball.  If you stand flat-footed and still, you’ll be flat on your back at the end of the match!
Video of the return of serve split step:


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