The serve and return of serve are the two most important shots in tennis. These shots usually determine who will take control of the point.
A high percentage of first serves hit three-quarters speed will produce better results than a low percentage of first serves hit at maximum speed. In doubles, serving directly towards your opponent is a great serve and often results in the return going directly to your partner at net or floating back to your side. This is also a good tactic in singles to keep the returner off balance (Federer used this a lot against Wawrinka in the BNP Paribas Open finals).
It is also a great strategy to hit the return directly back towards the server. Pick a spot that you would like the ball to land. A good plan is to try to get your return to land close to where the server is standing. Try to keep the return of serve deep if the server is staying back, and low if they are coming in. In doubles most return of serves should be hit diagonally. Mix in a return towards the net player every once in a while as the match progresses.
The bottom line is to keep your idea simple and make a high percentage of both serves and returns. This puts a huge amount of pressure on the opponent and puts the odds in your favor. The better players execute these ideas consistently in their matches.
Steve Annacone, an USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis (www.annaconetennis.com). For details on lessons and camps in Sag Harbor and throughout the Hamptons this summer contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org