I have been playing for over 2 months now, and I'm putting in a solid 4-5 hours play per day yet the one area I have no improvement on is returning.
When I play people even my own level (400 elo) they seem to be on top of every serve I hit, even if it is 200+km on the corner. It is like they know where to be AND have time to charge so when they return they aren't just managing to get it back they are hitting it with pace and placement and its far too consistent to be a fluke.
Now, as far as I am aware we're supposed to be playing on No Auto-pos settings (the lowest) so the only assistance you get when returning is to press/hold any button when your opponent tosses the ball into the air, right?
So, if I'm getting this right, at the point of impact (from the server) your player will move slightly in relation to the shot? Though the reality is that the movement is so minor and at such a late stage that I find by the time my brain registers that minor movement the ball is already on it way at 200KM+ which leaves pretty much no time to do anything else but lunge and hopefully get the tip of your racket onto the ball never-mind having the time to get on top of it so you can Hold the button + direction and place your return, getting anything back is lucky.
So I try to compensate by moving behind the baseline, but that widens the gap between angles so if I get anything on the ball it is usually a looping return to the centre yet if I move toward the baseline I'm still wrong footed and usually mishit because of the sheer pace of the ball or get tricked with a kicker.
For returns I really have hit a brick wall, I stopped using accel after the first week and now only use topspin or normal return but find slice can work too, but even so compared to others they seem to have time to get centre with my serve line and I find that this reaction is actually impossible. I just find it physically impossible to look at my player and use the tiny auto-pos movement as a means of assistance. Simply because it occurs too late, as in the moment you know where to move you have 3-4 yards to make up just to get there and because the ball is hit as the exact moment you know so by the time you register where to move there is no time for anything else, yes I can guess the direction right a lot of the time but everything after that I find is impossible and I cannot understand how this is done for it is not simply down to reactions as there just isn't enough time to position yourself ahead of the ball so you can dictate which direction to return, the fact that other players are guessing right 100% is ok but that's not the main problem the main problem is that before their return is hit they seem to be in line/centre with the return and from my end this just isn't possible because for me to be in the same position I need to pre-emptively guess and move to the side just before the serve is hit, as in just a few steps in from centre, THEN if I have guessed right and the ball is played to me I have the time to return the way its being returned to me.
I just think there is some other way, some lag loop or something, perhaps turning up auto-pos in the .ini file because although people say it just take practice, this area is not improving (at all) simply because I am met with something that I cannot improve or overcome and that being there for me there physically isn't enough time to do anything with a precise 200+ return, from a positional perspective.
So how do they do it?
When you sit in the middle of the return box and someone hits a 200+ serve to the corner you have at least 3-4 yards to make up in less than a millisecond, which I understand can be done, fair enough, but to go beyond that where you get your player level with the ball (5-6 yards) or even ahead of it is impossible, the timing simply doesn't allow NOT TO MENTION YOU NEED TO HOLD DOWN THE BUTTON AND HOLD A DIRECTION which again eats more time - and although I practice practice practice this is something that cannot be changed as there simply isn't enough time! I cannot get, what seems like actual seconds, from anywhere, again there is not time! Yet when I play online everyone seems to be able to do it - if someone could make a serving video or point out a place to learn returning because I understand that returning is the hardest thing to do, yea I take that on board and the good players keep telling me, but I'm up against average players who are on top of every corner point I hit at 200+ and are returning with interest and its every time, so there is def a nack to it.
Any tips would be greatly appreciated as I am at my wits end here.