Returning serve should not be treated like a ground-stroke swing – the ball from your opponent’s serve travels faster and you’ll have less time to react to it.
Therefore, when I teach the return of serve, I tell my students to imagine they have a wall or fence behind them. In this way, they should avoid taking the racquet back otherwise they’ll hit it against the imaginary fence / wall. A slight shoulder turn and abbreviated backswing should be enough to handle fast coming serves (see picture below).
Shorten your backswing by imagining you return the serve having a wall / fence behind your back. That will help you make contact with the fast coming ball further in front of you.
Enjoy your tennis!
Certified Tennis Teaching Professional