Return of Serve:
The First 3 Principles
Mastery of the return of serve is crucial to achieving your tennis potential. How important?
I have long contended that, directly or indirectly, 40% of your effectiveness is attributable to your serve and another 40% to your return. Notice I say directly or indirectly.
Aces and other unreturned serves are not the only factor contributing to the 40% figure for the serve. What an effective serve sets up is also critical.
For example, take the common "serve plus one" pattern where the server hits a strong serve which is weakly returned and the server steps in and hits a forehand winner. The match statistics show that the forehand won the point but, in reality, the serve played a pivotal role in the point's outcome.
Similarly, if the returner effectively neutralizes a good serve, or even better gains an offensive position with the return, and then subsequently wins the point, the effective return played a significant role in the point's outcome.