Wide serve… Federer uses it beautifully, every smart tennis player uses it often. Why should you too? Actually, why shouldn’t you too?
We all know that our opponents have a harder time hitting/controlling balls on the run, therefore we should make them run often. When on the run, the player must control balance, change direction quickly and recover as soon as possible. Serving the ball wide has the following advantages: 1. getting your opponent off the court – as a result, you will have the open court to attack with the next ball; 2. making your opponent hustle to cover the open court (hitting the ball on the run). These two situations give you control of the point. That means you can either hit the ball to the open court or behind the recovering player. Either of these options will make your opponent struggle to get the ball in play. Rarely you will find a player that is comfortable hitting great shots while running full speed.
How do you angle the serve wide (as close as possible to the side line)?
1. From the deuce side, if you are a right-handed player, use slice. Practice aiming for a cone (or, as I saw Djokovic do at Indian Wells a couple years ago, use cans of balls placed inside the service court) that you sit about 1 foot inside the singles line and roughly 5 feet inside the service line. Do this tennis serve practice drill: hit 10 balls and see how many land within 1 foot from the cone (or even hit the cone/can of balls). Technically, you must visualize that your strings will, at contact, brush the outside of the ball: if you are right-handed, see the racquet brushing the ball toward the right and over 3 o’clock (if the ball would be seen as the face of a clock).
2. From the ad side, if you are right-handed, use the kick serve. As you did with the slice, practice hitting kick serves to a cone placed very close to the right side line and service line in the opposite ad service box. Technically, visualize your racquet’s strings brushing the ball up and away on the back of the ball (or from 7 to 1 on the face of a clock).
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