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Fast court tactics - Part 2/2

Power, speed, athleticism and close matches are hallmarks of fast court tennis. Those that have the courage to hit out and go for it; taking the play to the opponent, rather than reacting to whatever might be offered, are often in the winner’s circle.

Tactics in the Five Game Situations:


The serve itself and how it is used tactically is of great importance in fast court tennis. The ability to slice the serve allows the player to swing the ball out wide or into the body of the receiver since the ball continues to curve after the bounce. The serve can be used to win points outright, create openings, or, at the very least, prevent opponents from attacking you. While serving predominantly to the weaker side is an obvious tactic, there are many players today that receive very effectively off both wings. So, moving the serve around regularly will keep the receiver from developing good rhythm and confidence. The body serve, which is particularly effective on fast courts, is underutilized and adds another variable for the receiver to contend with. Heavy topspin can be used for variety, but is less effective than on slower courts. Serving out wide to a receiver’s strength opens the court to volley to the weakness. For big servers, the second serve can be a huge weapon. Many players seem to feel that the benefits of trying for big second serves outweigh the risks of occasional double faults. It is certainly possible to win on fast courts without a tremendous serve, but the volleying or aggressive baseline skills must be executed at a near perfect level.


Return of Serve

Ideally, the service returns on fast courts should be hit as aggressively as possible. However, rather large target areas should be chosen.The receiver should endeavour to plan the return against big serves, yet be prepared to hit many “emergency” returns, where putting the ball into play, through whatever means, becomes the overriding priority. The ready position of the receiver should generally be fairly close to the baseline, even against fast serves. Typically, standing way back and taking full swings is not that effective on fast courts.

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