Whether it's due to a height advantage or natural ability for a powerful serve, opponents with big serves can be very intimidating to play. The size difference itself can often times seem downright unfair.
Because of this, a lot of players give up early thinking that there's no chance to ever break such behemoth serves.
But as players grow wiser and more experienced against a big-serving opponent, they are often able to come away with a win despite their opponent's height and power. So, when facing a Goliath serve, what is the best way to neutralize its power?
Here are some tips that will help:
1. Try not to back up when hitting returns. Backing up only increases the distance that you have to cover in order to return. Although the server's angle can be the same, the further back you go, the greater the side of the triangle that you have to cover. If anything, try to move in so that you can be closer to both sides of the triangle that make up the potential trajectories of the serve.
2. Being closer to the court equals a quicker reaction time. This is really not the time to be a hero when it comes to hitting returns. Cut back on your back-swing and try to "smother" the serves like a soccer goalie. The object is to get as many returns in play as possible. You may prefer to keep a relatively tight neutral grip and block the return off both sides. If you're strong enough, you should be able to redirect the return deep without much swing and position yourself in the middle of the court right away.
3. Keep mental tabs on the server's peculiarities. Sometimes it is easier to "read" a taller person than a short person. A taller person tends to telegraph his movements a lot sooner so once you notice something out of the ordinary (be it toss, shoulder movement, hip turning, etc.) make a mental note of it and see if it pops up again next time he aims for the same target. Then, the third time, you can start anticipating.