Ever get in a tight situation and can't figure out where to serve? The
serve down the middle is to your opponent's backhand but it is the serve
you've struggled with today. The serve wide is your bread and butter but
your opponent has ripped his (or her) big weapon with it. What do you do?
One serve to consider it the body serve. You might have heard John
McEnroe mention how former Davis Cup coach Tony Trabert emphasized this
The serve has several advantages. First it gives you a specific target
which enables you to focus more on your shot. Second, body shots usually
keep your opponent from stepping in on the return, thereby resulting in a
less powerful shot. You also might see your opponent a little unsure as to
take the shot as a forehand or backhand.
But the biggest advantage my coach taught me was in reference to limiting
angles. He always said "when you hit an angle, you create an angle". If
you've ever been passed crosscourt off a wide serve, this needs no
As a lefty myself, I've seen how effective a wide serve can be. I've
also been on the losing end of the point by an opponent ready to hit a big
angle off of my angle.
Continue to add variety to your serves but don't neglect the body shot.
It might be the angle you've been looking for!