The best tennis players are very focused on serving and returning serve. If a player can develop a good serve and/or a good return of serve, they can control more of the points and take advantage of the opponent's weaker shots.
It is a great mentality to think that after serving or returning, you will position yourself just in front of the baseline and look for the ball landing in front of you. There will be some opponents who are capable of hitting a good return off of your good serve or hitting a good reply to your good return of serve. However, more of their shots will land in front of you if you are hitting the serve and return of serve well.
By positioning yourself a step or two closer in after hitting these shots, you are that much closer to the more common reply, and you can get to the shot quickly and keep your opponent in trouble. This positioning is very common on the ATP and WTA tours and is highly underrated. Even Rafael Nadal, who tends to stand very deep in the court to return serve, moves forward (usually right up to the baseline) if he feel that he hit the return well. All of the good servers land inside the court and try to take advantage of the return if their serve was hit well.
Focus on the serve and the return of serve and make sure you are looking for the next ball to land in from of you.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis (http://www.annaconetennis.com) and MyHamptonsPro based in Sag Harbor, NY (http://www. myhamptonspro.com) and Tennis Professional at Ventana Canyon Golf and Racquet Club in Tucson, AZ. For details on lessons, clinics, or coaching, contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 865-300-7323