Return of serve

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Return of serve

Postby CC » 27 Jan 2009, 18:28

Often when playing online (less so right now against the CPU), my foe will hit a good, wide serve, which I usually get to with not much difficulty. The problem, though, is that there is very little time for any type of preparation when I return the serve, as I had to run to it and usually hit it with little time or distance to spare. Because of how the game is designed, my return in this case basically goes right back to the server, who is just waiting there at the baseline (old post, "on the "T" -- which was wrong). So, I am wide to my right, way outside of the lines as I return the serve, and my devious foe, waiting for my return, hits the ball over to my extreme left, often right on the corner. I can often get to this also, but it is the same situation -- little time left for any preparation.

I'm experimenting with different strategies here. The slice return is one option, as it is easy to just press the slice button, and no real preparation is required for that (as far as trying to give direction to the return is concerned). So, this gives me a little more time that if I just return an accelerated strike. Sometimes, of course, my clever foe will see me running back to the center and hit the ball to my right, where I had just been. So clever he is.

Please share some tips or thoughts about a winning strategy here.
Last edited by CC on 28 Jan 2009, 04:57, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Return of serve

Postby btaylor » 28 Jan 2009, 02:46

CC...What I have been having some pretty good success against net rushers with is to hold down B1+B2 (on my keyboard it is the ctrl+alt keys) and for instance, if the CPU serves wide to my forehand in the deuce court, I simultaneously hold down my right arrow key. While it is an accelerated stroke (depending on your forehand power, consistency and precision) I can most often pass him down the right sideline. I also place my player slightly more to the right sideline so as to be in a better position to attack the wide serve to my forehand. This also depends on the opponents serving patterns. Since for the time being I usually load my forehand with more of the above-mentioned skills than for my backhand (if I've built them up enough in World Tour) this seems to work well for me. Keep in mind that even though return of serve is pretty much of a guessing game at best, if you can catch on to his patterns it should work for you (just like in real life!) :wink: p.s. I simply reverse the sequence when returning down the line on the backhand side (B1+B2 and Left arrow key)
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Re: Return of serve

Postby CC » 28 Jan 2009, 04:55

Thanks, btaylor. I use that technique for when the CPU is going to the net. This is not the situation that I have described, though. I am referring to when the serve is very wide and the opponent is staying at the baseline. I said in my first post about this that the opponent waits at the "T," which was wrong; that is probably why you thought that they were going to the net. I just saw on TV that the "T" is not at the baseline :oops: :oops: :oops: . They just wait there for my return, which, because of the design of the game, goes back to the center of the court -- right where they are waiting for it. It is hard to have enough time to give any direction to the return with this wide serve.
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Re: Return of serve

Postby btaylor » 28 Jan 2009, 05:22

Oh...If they serve wide to my forehand (again depending on how well my forehand is amped up) and they stay at the baseline at the spot that they served from, I usually just return AS HARD AS I CAN crosscourt. This usually causes the same problem for them that you experienced from their serve. This USUALLY robs them of time to catch up to it (except Incredible CPU) 8-) and rip the ball down the line, thereby neutralizing them and maybe keeping you in the point. When you're playing against the CPU even at the highest levels (training mode or World Tour) it can still be effective enough to get you another shot to hit to stay in the point. As I've not yet played online I can't really speak too much about that except tactically it still makes sense. Maybe even moreso because then you have the human element and not a computer to deal with, and as in real life humans at best have to GUESS where you might return the ball i.e. hard crosscourt/hard down the line. :wink: p.s. also try not to stand TOO wide when returning, ESPECIALLY when returning against humans. Whereas the CPU I feel serves more or less randomly to spots regardless of where you stand; humans will note where you are standing and serve accordingly. :wink: It usually helps to move your player around a little to distract your opponent and keep him/her guessing :)
Last edited by btaylor on 28 Jan 2009, 05:33, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Return of serve

Postby CC » 28 Jan 2009, 05:32

Thanks. I had just started trying more cross-court, but it is hard, as there just isn't much time (sometimes none) to give any direction to the ball -- the serve is so fast and wide, that I only have time to run to it and return it. Of course, it goes right back to them, and they nail it to the opposite corner (scoundrels :wink: ).
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Re: Return of serve

Postby btaylor » 28 Jan 2009, 05:35

Do you play with a keyboard, mouse or gamepad? Online or World Tour when this happens?
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Re: Return of serve

Postby CC » 28 Jan 2009, 06:01

I play with keyboard. This happens some vs. CPU, and it happens much online. I'm trying to find ways to have more preparation time. Some serves curve so much and are angled so much that it can take much time to reach them. If I put myself too wide while waiting for the serve, then I make myself vulnerable for a serve down the center.
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Re: Return of serve

Postby btaylor » 28 Jan 2009, 06:35

Like I said before, and as Manu himself stated in a post in TE2006 about returning serve, try to keep your player skipping back and forth in place as you wait to return serve. This does 3 things; 1)maybe distracts your human opponent, 2)makes them have to guess as to where you may return, and 3)keeps your fingers on ready alert...similar in real tennis to keeping your feet moving so as to get a quicker start. Most pros, even if they stand in one place, will take a little skip-hop to unweight themselves just as the server is about to make contact so as to be able to react quicker. And virtually everyone has more or less a favorite or go-to serve that they feel more comfortable with, especially under pressure OR if you give your intentions away too soon. Even in a computer tennis game! :) Try to pick up on the server's patterns. Also, When playing humans, how are your skills set compared to most of your opponents? If, as in real tennis, they're serving bombs at 145 mph like Roddick, there's not a whole lot you can do except guess!! ESPECIALLY if your footspeed skills are too slow! Hope this helps :wink:
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Re: Return of serve

Postby Togtdyalttai » 28 Jan 2009, 06:45

I think returning serve is all about finding what works for you. For me, I stand more or less at the default position to return the first serve, I don't attack it unless it's right in the middle, just get it back in play. But for the second serve, I move up inside the baseline and attack the serve then move back a bit if I can see that my opponent will be able to get it back. Again, a key is: how early can you see the ball and react? Which side to you find it more difficult to return from? (As in, do you get aced out wide on the deuce side, down the T on the ad side, or whatever) It's fine to move a bit toward the side you have more trouble with, but don't overdo it against humans because they'll realize that and start serving to the other side. Using these ideas, I usually don't get aced very often.
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Re: Return of serve

Postby btaylor » 28 Jan 2009, 07:00

Ditto on everything you said! :) I also don't often attempt to nail winners too often off of the opponents 1st serve if they serve and stay back; just try for a decent return unless I'm playing a serve/volleyer...I will swat at a 2nd serve though... :wink: p.s. Sometimes on World Tour, if I'm playing against a super loopy topspinner (and I have good a forehand or backhand power trio) I may strike hard on 1st serve returns to hopefully cut down on his topspin and maybe surprise or gain an advantage in the point.
Last edited by btaylor on 28 Jan 2009, 07:08, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Return of serve

Postby CC » 28 Jan 2009, 07:07

Thanks, all, for your tips. I've been trying to shuffle more (split-step) while waiting for serve. That does seem to help.

The issue for me is not so much being able to return the serve, as I usually get to all of these wide ones now. The problem is how the game returns the serve to the center if no direction is given. So, even though I returned the serve, the ball goes right back to the waiting opponent. It is a setup that they have planned for, and it works pretty well. I can usually make it to their next strike which is usually to the opposite corner, as they took me wide, say to the right, waited for my return, and then hit the ball to my extreme left. When I return that one, I have just had to run from way over on the side where I returned their wide serve, so I don't have much time to prepare any special shot. However, I can often get this one back into play. It is just a dangerous tactic -- this one-two, serve wide, hit wide, thing. So, if I could have more preparation on the return shot, I wouldn't be setup so much for the accelerated shot to the other side upon my return. I think that the slice may work well. I just sometimes don't have time for anything else, which is something that I need to improve on. I'm sure there are times when others have this happen -- only have time to run to ball and press strike button but no time to add direction; since the direction button could not be held very long, the ball basically is returned to the center (as the opponents expects). If I manage to get there just a little earlier, then I can add some direction; I am always holding down the direction button when I strike the ball, but there just isn't enough preparation time for that to matter.
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Re: Return of serve

Postby Togtdyalttai » 28 Jan 2009, 07:16

Try moving back a little bit after you return. That should put you in a bit better position.
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Re: Return of serve

Postby CC » 28 Jan 2009, 07:19

Hmmmm. OK. That is interesting. I was experimenting with standing much more back for the return than I normally do, when dealing with those who try this tactic. I think that would result in there being more time (as there would be greater distance) for me to get to the ball and add direction to the return.
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Re: Return of serve

Postby btaylor » 28 Jan 2009, 07:22

I think it may be more an issue with your quickness or reaction time because I rarely have to use the neutral return (that is, NO direction given) I try not to just hit a sitter return down the middle IF I can help it; in ANY kind of tennis (computer or real) Once again, it largely depends on how hard the serve is. Also, with using a keyboard, maybe the sensitivity varies from one keyboard to another, but I can usually react fast enough to aim in one direction or another off of average speed serves. If I'm playing on World Tour against a Nadal or a Federer you BETTER NOT leave the return sitting up in the midddle of the court :shock: so I tend to hit all out on the return because there is virtually NO other choice! :lol:
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Re: Return of serve

Postby btaylor » 28 Jan 2009, 07:26

Good point Togt...It's usually a good idea to attempt to recover somewhat back to the middle of the court after the return, or even most groundstrokes so as to have good position for the next shot...ESPECIALLY if you know your opponent plays an aggressive, not defensive game...I know sometimes if I play TE too long my fingers get a little tired from keeping my player constantly moving, sort of my idea of good footwork! :D
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