One of the great things about the other player’s second serves, is that it can be the greatest opportunity you will have to break your opponent’s serve. When you are playing someone who is not taking good care to have a high percentage of first serves, then this advantage is accentuated.
Wish For Misses
Competitors who are making their first serve are going to have a very healthy winning percentage. In contrast, not one single professional player won over 45% of their second serve points over the course of a year. Any match where a player wins over 50% of their second serve points, it’s usually because the other player is simply overmatched. If you want to play down to the competition, missing first serves is the best way to do it.
Players who have great second serves generally mix up their spins and locations. Having a predictable second serve speed and location can only work if it happens to be a difficult for your opponent to handle, like a very high bouncing kick serve. So don’t assume that every player you play is going to have an extremely attackable second serve, it might take some time to figure out the best way to attack it.
Second Serve Return Approach
The bravest and most effective second serve attack involves returning down the line and following it up to the net. The pressure on the server is immense, they must go from feeling the pressure to make the serve or lose the point, coiling up to hit a kick serve that make them momentarily off balance. The immediacy of having to hit a passing shot directly after serving a defensive serve breaks a lot of players. Two additional effects may occur. The first is that your opponent might start to go for more on their second serve, outside of their comfort zone, and being to double fault. The other outcome is that they may take something off of their first serve, to increase their percentage, but then they will give up some offense on that shot. This can be a pressure time/space, movement, or disruptive play.
Return Into Their Space
The next best way to attack second serve is by going right at the opponent in a way that makes them move out of the way of the ball. This also functions as a pressure time/space, movement or disruption.
Power Player’s Delight
The power player may go for a winning return down the line or sharp cross court. In going for a winner, if the result is a forced error, that’s just as good, in fact more desirable, because winners are not sustainable, and the power player has more to gain forcing errors because of the psychological effect it has on the opponent, making them miss. The power player may also go right at the opponent now and then, but not as a primary tactic, but one that opens up the shots to the sides.
The Shot Unique To The Disrupter
We have mentioned two plays for the disruptive player, and they probably want to vary those plays so as to be unpredictable, and also throw in the the periodic drop shot no more than 1 in 10 second serve returns.
Don’t You Wish You Weren’t A Grinder?
The retrieving baseliner, grinder doesn’t really have the toolset to create an advantage against second serves, except for their normal full court press. The one thing your opponent might feel pressured by is knowing that after having attempted two serves, which is taxing, they will then have to play a longer point than they want. It’s for more advantageous to have the tools to approach, power it, angle it, or hit a drop shot.
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