Links to videos go here.


1 Step Up and Split
To start your return of serve you need to step up and hit your split step. Timing this first step is very important. The key is to be in the air — in the process of hitting your split step — at the instant your opponent makes contact with the tennis ball.

2 Close on the Ball / Racket Back
Having hit your split step, the second part of the return of serve is to close on the tennis ball and take your racket back. It’s important that you shorten your backswing when you take the tennis racket back because you have less time to prepare when returning a serve. A good example of someone to copy is Andre Agassi.

3 Step Across and Hit the Tennis Ball
Now that you have your tennis racket back you’re ready to hit the tennis ball. However, there is some additional footwork involved as you swing. As we alluded to in the introduction to this video series, this is one of the elements that makes the tennis return of serve unique. As you will see, you will be hitting many returns with a closed stance.

Return of Serve Summary
This video summarizes the tennis return of serve from start to finish.

Backhand Return of Serve
The technique for a backhand return of serve in tennis is virtually the same as it is for a forehand. This video demonstrates how the backhand and forehand returns share many similarities.


Return Footwork Variation
The technique for returning serve we outlined in the several videos in this series is one of several ways you can approach the return. This video looks at another way of returning the tennis ball — a technique that is relatively common on the pro tour.

Moving Up on a Second Serve
Generally, you want to stand closer in when returning a second serve in tennis. This allows you to be more aggressive and, hopefully, take control of the point. It also can make it easier to deal with the increased amount of spin most good players put on the tennis ball when hitting a second serve.


  1. Anonymous says

    i want to know if it is ok to practice your return of serve during warmup

  2. says

    Thanks for the tips. I would like to add that if a serve is very powerfull you should try and block it back instead of hitting it. Of course all of the above stand before the impact.
    Tennis Forum
    Tennis Matches

  3. TennisFan says

    Djokovic has the best return. No doubt.

  4. Pat3233 says

    My doubles partner has a first serve that almost always goes into the net. I don’t want to correct her on the court. What should I do?

    • KD Guest says

      —as long as she doesnt constantly double, try not to get on her too much. get on a court alone with her to practice. get your point across in as few words as possible, like sentence fragments. going into long winded discussion may not sit well with her. i say all this obviously assuming your first serve is technically sound and much better than hers. and most of all be sincere; youre her friend, so make sure she knows you do it to help her and b/c you care.—

  5. big fella says

    well pat3233 you should probly teach her off the court, thats what think you should do

  6. sampras fan#1 says

    The best way to practice return of serve is to practice returning serve against a Big serve on a fast surface

Post a comment