| By Steve Annacone
Photo courtesy of Getty Images


I have emphasized how important the serve and return of serve are in a tennis match. Most players have something other than these shots that they like to use to get the opponent in trouble, or to win the point.

For some it is hitting their big forehand. Other players have a great backhand down the line. Another simple idea that is effective and is usually a winning strategy, is to get the opponent on the run, look for a ball to step in on, and put it away. My go to play is to follow the serve and the return of serve into the net and try to win the point with my volleys. This strategy has gotten more difficult to execute due to the equipment improvements and overall faster speed of most shots. This can still be a very tough situation for your opponent to deal with if the serving and returning is done well, and the player has good volleys and net instincts.

Regardless of your preferred style of play or favorite shot, keep your focus on the serve or return of serve, and then look to use your strengths to finish the point off. If things don't go as you would like, make sure your first shot is hit well and in the direction you are going for. The outcome of the point is often determined by the first strike of the ball on your side of the court, as well as the first shot your opponent hits.


Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis (http://www.annaconetennis.com) MyHamptonsPro (http://www. myhamptonspro.com) and Baron’s Cove Resort In Sag Harbor, NY, as well as Volunteer Assistant Coach for the University of Arizona Women’s team. For details on lessons, clinics, or coaching, contact Steve at info@annaconetennis.com or call 865-300-7323