Marginal Gains:
Return of Serve Points

Nick Wheatley

It's obvious--though not to a lot of players--move back to return a big first serve.

Let's now move onto the start of point scenario where you are returning serves. If you read the last article on serving (Click Here), you have an understanding of what an intelligent server is trying to do. This is a great starting point for making marginal gains in return points.

If your opponent makes a first serve, the percentage chance of winning the point is the lowest of the 4 start of point scenarios. But there are still ways to find marginal gains and win a higher percentage of these points. And we know just a few more points won over the course of a match can prove critical in determining the winner.

Ultimately, you want your opponent to have to do more than just make the first serve to earn the point. So getting returns in is crucial. Trying risky returns on first serves can lead to cheap points for the server. Even strong servers will struggle to serve accurately enough that you can't get your racket to the ball a decent amount of the times.

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Nick Wheatley is an LTA Performance Coach and head coach at Hawker Tennis in south west London. His junior teams, the Hawker Jets, have won 44 competitions since formation, and over the last 2 years alone, his junior players have won 19 singles tournaments between them at county level.

He has been ranked in the top 75 nationally in 35 and over singles and in the top 5 in Surrey county. Nick has done video analysis for numerous players at all levels, including former British Top 10 player Marcus Willis.

His unique teaching video series, covering every aspect of the game, is available on his website

You can also contact Nick directly via the homepage of his website.

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