The serve is a crucial part of a player’s tennis game and can often make the difference between winning and losing a match. It is undoubtedly considered to be the most important shot in tennis. The serve in tennis can be a difficult shot to learn for beginners but since a good serve is a huge advantage in tennis, it must not be an excuse to not learn a difficult shot. And what is the point of playing tennis if you don’t practice your serve since each point begins with a serve in match. It is the only shot that you will play where you have complete control of the timing and execution. Variation in serves will give the extra weapon which is very vital to compete at the highest level.
Good players will often use a mixture of different types of serves. Variation in serve will always keep your opponent guessing which serve in coming. Milos Raonic is a big server usually hits flat serve powerfully averaging around 200 kph each serve. He also added slice serve as his weapon, suddenly drop your pace to 160 kph for an ace. These variations often help you and will get you out of the jail most of the time.
Mainly there are three types of serves:
- Flat Serve
- Slice Serve
- Kick Serve
Players normally use a flat serve or a slice serve for their first serve, as these types can make things difficult for the receiver and are most likely to get aces. The kick serve is often used for the second serve.
- Flat Serve
The flat serve is perhaps one of the most common serve in tennis. The flat serve is usually hit with maximum power with minimum spin to the ball. As a result, when the flat serve hits the court, it tends to bounce low and continue straight forward from where it lands in the court. The key to a good flat serve is power. Big servers like John Isner, Milos Raonic, and Ivo Karlovic are almost guaranteed to hold their service games because of their fierce first serves which are mostly flat.
- Slice Serve
As the name suggests, slice serve will have the spinning effect on the ball. Ever wondered why Rafael Nadal often serves out wide to the right handed players? Because it’s easy for him to hit the slice serve and move the ball diagonally on the court. The slice serve is a highly effective serve that can become a huge weapon when perfected. What makes the slice serve unique is the sidespin applied to the ball which causes it to move from right to left (if you’re a righty) through the air and continue to move in that direction off of the bounce. One other advantage to hit the slice serve is that it is natural to hit. Your swing will naturally be able to make the ball swing during the slice serve.
- Kick Serve
Mostly used in the 2nd serve, kick serve is considered to be a reliable and safe serve which players use to avoid the double fault. In this serve, the ball is tossed slightly back of the body and racket brushes the ball from 7 o’clock to 1 o’clock position roughly. This brushing adds the kicking effect on the ball and the ball bounces extra. Tall players use kick serve so effectively that they often make the ball to raise over their opponents head. It’s consistent, provides players with a significant level of control, and can be used to attack a returner’s backhand.
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