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JJ’s Tennis Tip – Return of Serve

JJ Mahony JJ Mahony, Tennis Director at the UBC Tennis Centre joins us as a guest contributor with tips and advice on how to improve your tennis game. Adult Tennis Programs start May 13th at the Tennis Centre.


A lot of players struggle to return serve and as a result donate a lot of free points to their opponents. Before any technical issues come into play, start by addressing your mind set and what the true goal of the return of serve is. The goal of the return is simply to get the ball into play and give yourself a chance to get involved in a rally. Players tend to try and do too much and over swing resulting in unforced errors. Technically, players need to understand that the return of serve is not the same as a rally phase forehand and backhand stroke which has a larger backswing. The goal on the return of serve is to take a short back swing dropping your racket head down low under the ball as quickly as you can and focusing on a nice impact point out in front of you. This is a rehearsed technique that should never waver. Remember, give yourself a chance to compete and get involved in a rally. Make your opponent work to have to beat you. It is not about hitting winners or feeling like you have to win the match, change your mind set to “allowing your opponent to lose to you” As the great Roger Federer said at Wimbledon 2009 when he defeated Andy Roddick facing serves of 140mph, “I just tried to bunt the ball into play, and force Andy to rally with me” Roger's returns if you review the Wimbledon final were actually really slow. Remember your focus and change the mindset... you will be amazed with the results! JJ Mahony, Tennis Director, UBC Tennis Centre.
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