To the uninitiated, tennis is quite a complex game. The scoring to say the least is highly unusual and the court markings
to the beginner can be a bit daunting.
Mostly though it is the different strokes in tennis that confuse the learner or newcomer. Which stroke should be played for what shot, sometimes it is not as obvious as you may think.
Some of the options below might help in selecting the right stroke to play a serve, the selection is often paramount to winning the point.
At the start of every point the serve starts the game. A serve is hit from either side of the centre line on alternative points. In each case the server has two opportuntites to land his serve in play. Which is; hitting the ball over the net into the service box.
There are three different types of serves;
- Flat Serve
The flat serve is played with very little or no spin, this enables the server to play the ball with a lot of power and pace. The problem with this type of serve is that there is not as much control over a flat serve so it is difficult to land in play.
- Kick Serve
A kick serve is delivered with a high amount of topspin, this ensures the ball travels over the net and drops into the service box.
The idea of the kick serve is to get the ball to bounce high so it is difficult for the opponent to return. Due to the nature of the kick serve, it allows for a high margin of error thus is a very popular shot.
- Slice Serve
A slice serve is produced by hitting on side of the ball rather than full on. It is struck to produce slice so the ball skids when it touches the ground and bounces in the direction of the spin.
This often results in the opponent being forced off the court to return the serve. And when hit at the opponent’s body it is extremely difficult to play.
Return of Serve
A return of serve, as the term suggests, is the shot played to return the ball after a service. The shot is played on the opposite side of the centre line to the server.
The return can take several forms depending on what type of serve is delivered. The normal two shots would be either a backhand or forehand, these shots normally have to be played in haste as there is often little time to respond.
In addition to the ball travelling at speed, it is not easy to distinguish what type of serve it is due to the server disguising his shot.
Preparation is the key to a good return, try and anticipate the serve and give yourself more time to play the return. In many cases the goal is simply to get the ball back into play in any way possible, without giving your opponent a simple winner.