This is perhaps the most important game situation at least as far as playing matches is concerned. Why? Because every point starts with a serve. Unfortunately, more often than not it is the stroke least practiced.
2.Returning the serve
For obvious reasons this is a very important stroke as well. If you can’t do anything else, make sure you keep the ball in play with your return. In that way you will give the opponent a chance to make a mistake…
When beginners first are capable of hitting 5, 6, 7 times over the net with me, I tell them: “You see, it’s not that hard! You’re playing tennis now!” Usually this happens during the first lesson and their faces always lighten up when I tell them. I think this is because the basic idea of tennis (to hit the ball over the net in the opponent’s court) is expressed so clearly in this situation.
4.Approaching + playing volleys
When you get to the net at the right moment (you get a shorter ball and your opponent is [slightly] out of position) and you can play a decent volley it makes the game of tennis much more fun. Play can get more exciting and unexpected when one or both players show up at the net from time to time.
5.Hitting passing shots + lobs
Most people at first have a tendency to ‘panic’ when their opponent shows up at the net. (Some people never leave this stage… 😉 Once you realize you can go for the winner, or first play a subtle ‘dinky’ shot and then blast it by your opponent, or choose to play a lob, this situation can become a fun and challenging one.
When your opponent hits a lob you cannot put away with a smash, you can often run after it and keep the ball in play, for example with a lob of your own. You’ll see the craziest shots in this situation. People will apply the ‘pancake method’ and try to flip the ball over their shoulder holding the racket with both hands, or they will go for the ‘Sabatweeny’ (named after the Argentinean player Gabriela Sabatini who would on occasion hit the ball between her legs with her back to the net), some people will try to smash the ball either keeping their backs to the net or trying to turn while hitting.
So the six game-situations are:
2.Returning the serve.
3.Playing a baseline rally.
4.Approaching and hitting volleys
5.Hitting passing shots and lobs
So what are you supposed to do in these situations? Let’s talk some more about that later.