What Is A Return Of Serve In Tennis?

What Is A Return Of Serve In Tennis

In tennis, the “return of serve” refers to the moment right after a serve has been made. The receiving player has just a split second to respond and send back the ball towards the server's court and continue play.

Return of Serve

The first hit by the receiver during a point is called the “return.” Although many players practice their serving over and over again, the return of serve is just as important, and can be even trickier than perfecting one’s serve. Serves are hit at such high speeds that the receiver has just about a second to move, swing, and make contact with the ball to send it back over the net.

How to Hit a Return of Serve

While you may be serving half of all points that you play in a match, you will be receiving for the other half. For this reason, it is vital that you are well-equipped with a good return of serve. Below are some tips that can help you return your opponents’ serves with greater success:

Move in on Kick Serves

Kick serves (serves where the ball bounces high into the air as it reaches the receiver) are tools that the server uses to gain control of the point early and apply pressure to you, the receiver. By moving in toward the ball and net during the serve, you’ll catch the serve before the ball has a chance to bounce too high, and you’ll be able to take control of the point back.

Plan Before the Serve Happens

Your ready position is your best friend. Your eyes need to be focused, and your knees must be bent in an athletic stance, poised to allow you to move anywhere you need to.

Besides making sure you’re in a ready position before the serve, knowing what you’re going to do before you actually do it can be very effective. Even though you can’t be sure where your opponent is going to place their serve, having two or three general plans of action based on where the opponent might possibly serve will help you make faster decisions, and every second counts when returning a serve.

Shorten Your Backswing

One reason that people can struggle when returning serves is that the velocity of a serve is so fast, there isn’t much time to get a full backswing before you make contact with the ball. You can combat this by intentionally shortening your backswing, so that you make full contact with the sweet spot of your racket. This will give you better control of the ball. And don’t worry too much about power, a lot of your hit’s strength will actually come from the serve itself.


Why is a return of serve important in tennis?

The return of serve is important because it can help players score points and gain a competitive advantage. The return of serve is the first shot a player hits in half of all games, and a strong return is much more effective at scoring points than a weak or neutral return. A poor return of serve will also immediately expose a player’s weaknesses to their opponent, allowing them to exploit these to their advantage.

Can you return a serve before it bounces?

Those returning a serve in tennis must remember to allow the serve to bounce once in the service box before returning the ball. The rules of tennis state that the ball must bounce once before being returned on a serve. After a serve and the subsequent return, players are allowed to hit the ball without it bouncing on their side, but during the serve, the returner must allow the ball to bounce.