Think of the irony of this situation…
The shot you miss the most is the shot you practice the least. Yes, it’s the return of serve. Look at these numbers from The Championships last year.
2019 Wimbledon: Unreturned Serves
- Unreturned 1st Serves = 39% (6983/18020)
- Unreturned 2nd Serves = 20% (1897/9502)
- Combined = 32% (8880/27522)
- Unreturned 1st Serves = 28% (3183/11364)
- Unreturned 2nd Serves = 17% (1009/5836)
- Combined = 24% (4192/17200)
The first thing to consider is that the numbers above are derived from the best returners in the world. That’s their living to put the return of serve back in play…
So basically the men missed one out of three returns and the women missed one out of four.
Think of it like this…
If you missed one out of three forehand groundstroke rally balls, you would freak out, shut the rest of your game down, and work on fixing this “broken link” in your game immediately. The same can be said for missing one out of four backhand groundstrokes. It’s just too much hemorrhaging.
But we actually miss that amount of returns or more depending on your level, and it does not slap us in the face enough to work on it more. The return of serve is by far the least practiced shot in our sport. When we look at the return metrics, they scream to us to work more on returns!
In the following 2019 Wimbledon Channel video, I analyze the return technique and strategies of the top four women’s seeds.
2019 Wimbledon: Top Four Women’s Seeds
- Ash Barty
- Naomi Osaka
- Karolina Pliskova
- Kiki Bertens
Where is your No. 1 return target? Deep down the middle of the court right at the server. Watch the video for my analysis of return technique and return strategy.
In my first singles strategy course, The 25 Golden Rules of Singles Strategy, there are six rules dedicated to different return situations.
2019 Wimbledon Channel: Top 4 Women’s Seeds Return Analysis