Tennis on the Service Line
Playing from the service line is not the most opportunistic place to be on the court, but in the course of the match you will find yourself there. The only time you will begin a point there is if your partner is receiving serve when playing doubles. By the way, in that position you call the cross service line and your partner calls the service side lines.
This will be a bunch of small tips when at the service line. The shots presented to you will be the volley, swinging volley, half volley, slice forehand or backhand and in some cases a limited ground stroke-so here we go!
When starting the point from the service line, be prepared for three scenarios. First- after your partners’ return passes the net player move forward to net when the server is playing back, also move forward if your partners’ return is low making the server volley up when the server is following in the serve. Third- be ready for a reflex volley if the net player can cut off the return.
If you are coming to net either after your serve or moving in on a short ball from your opponent, in singles or doubles, change your grip to the Continental. This grip will be used for the conventional volley, half volley and the slice forehand or backhand.
Conventional volley- split step as your opponent begins the forward motion to hit the ball (not the backswing) then step on the opposite leg and reach as if you’re trying to catch the ball. The wrist is locked with no backswing and very little follow through.
Half volley- with the oncoming shot low and bouncing almost at your feet, you have already completed your split step; now all that is left is to turn, drop and lift. There is no backswing and the face of the racquet is slightly closed to prevent your shot from floating too high. Again, a firm wrist is required.
When the opponent’s shot is short, low and bouncing in front, not at your feet, a slice approach shot is needed to clear the net and keep your ball bouncing low for a high response from the opponent to give you an easier volley when reaching the net. The slice is an elongated volley. The shot is high to low brushing down the backside of the ball with a firm wrist. Please keep your knees bent and your shoulders turned through the entire shot.
Short high balls allow you to be more aggressive. Playing from your normal forehand and backhand grips allow you to hit either a swinging volley or attacking a high ball that already bounced. The swinging volley will be struck the same as your groundstroke just in the air. After the ball has bounced remember to move in-stop-and shorten the backswing since a quarter of the court is now behind you. A complete, over the shoulder follow through is needed for both strokes.
Good Luck-Have Fun!!