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Attacking a Weak Second Serve
By:  Scott Baker | Tennis4you  | Tennis Forum  | E-mail

Playing someone with a weak second serve is a huge advantage to the player returning serve. A weak second serve is like a short ground stroke that you can hit offensively to take control of the point. Being aggressive and taking control of the point from the return of serve will increase your chances of winning and staying ahead in the match.

There are several advantages to attacking a weak second serve. "Attacking" the serve does not mean that you have to hit the ball hard or even hit a winner. You may wish to attack by hitting aggressive topspin to your opponent's weaker side, or slice a ball low to the side they have trouble hitting low balls with. The point is that you have more time to prepare and to execute your shot, so take advantage! Hit to their weaker side, hit the ball in the corners or hit an approach shot and come to the net, then finish off the point. Your options really open up when you play someone with a weak second serve.

Mentally there is a large advantage as well. When your opponent knows you are going to attack their second serve it puts more pressure on them to get their first serve in. It also may force them to try and hit too much on their second serve and force some double faults, especially on the big points. This makes it much harder for your opponent to hold serve and can help you to have more confidence trying to break serve.

Here are some strategies for attacking weak second serves. There are a lot of options, being able to use all of them and mix them up will be to your advantage.

Chip and Charge:
This is a dying art of tennis because there are not too many serve and volley players anymore. However, this does not mean that this form of attack cannot be effective. Chip and charge is when you take the serve on the rise and slice your return, close into the net and wait for the return. I like this tactic because it keeps the ball low and puts immediate pressure on your opponent.

Immediate Attack:
Hit a hard approach shot off of the serve and come to the net. Even though this sounds similar to the chip and charge it is different. This allows your opponent less time to get to the ball and hit their next shot since you did not slice the shot. You can hit with tons of topspin to make it bounce high or just hit the ball flat, either way it puts immediate pressure on your opponent while putting you in a great position!

Hit to Their Weaker Side:
Be sure to pick on their weaker side. Once you hit to their weaker side and take control of the point look for the next opening and put the ball away.

Use Angles:
Hit a short angle. If you can hit the ball with a short angle and move your opponent off of the court you may be able to take your next shot and easily punch it into the open court for a winner.

Run them Around the Court:
Start the point by hitting heavy high topspin to one corner then start to really move your opponent back and forth. By hitting so much topspin you may force them back behind the baseline and help to open up the court, just like Agassi does.

Go for the Winner off of the Return
Play it like Venus or Serena Williams would and just line up the winner and go for it. This is probably the least consistent, but probably the most fun. If your opponent's serve is really so bad that you can consistently go up the line for winners, you will most likely be done with your match quickly.

Put them in an Uncomfortable Position:
If you have a good drop shot and your opponent does not like to play the net, try hitting the drop shot. If they are uncomfortable playing the net then you should have an easier time executing a winner.

With all of that said, it comes down to this: If you do not attack a weak second serve and try to put pressure on your opponent you are wasting a great opportunity. Remember, you do not have to hit winners each time to be effective. Move your opponent around the court, hit to their weaker side or any of the other options listed above. Either way, if you attack the weak second serve your matches will become a lot easier!

If you have a weak serve second do not fear! Check out my article "Beefing Up Your Second Serve".

Good Luck on the Court!
Scott Baker