A serving masterclass from coach Tanya Williams

If you’ve met Tanya or seen her play, you will know that she’s an amazing tennis player. As a former Ukrainian no. 1 junior, she has fantastic technique which we can all learn from. In a recent doubles match her husband took some photos of her serving. Here they are with some comments from me……..

1. She is positioned sideways – in fact, close to 45 degrees to the baseline, using a ‘chopper’ or ‘hammer’ grip, left arm nearly straight, releasing the ball at about eye level. Ideal for the perfect ball lift, which you will see in the next photo.

Notice that her backswing hasn’t even start yet. This kind of delayed backswing isn’t the only way to serve, but it is common in very good players. It means not only that her racket will maintain momentum because there is not a long pause in the middle, but also that her racket will need to rapidly accelerate to play ‘catchup’, creating power.


2. See her arm fully extended after the ball has left her hand. Still not much of a backswing yet. Legs just starting to bend. I’ve put a black line around the ball as it was hard to make out in this photo.






3. The ball is out of view now. Left arm still extended. A nice high ball lift – out in front. Legs bending.

An interesting thing to note here. See how her racket face is pointing down (closed). Something else you will see from any good server. We do the ‘hat drill’ to try to encourage this position.




4. Left arm still extended, nice bend of the knees, racket face still closed. Great position.







5. She’s now thrusting up with her legs and the racket has dropped to the extent that the butt of the racket is pointing up at the sky. We have an exercise where we get people to start by pointing the racket butt up at the sky to try to get a feel for this position.





6. The thrust of the legs has lifted Tanya off the ground. Notice how she is throwing the edge of the racket towards the ball. Another very important factor in a powerful serve. Vital for spin as well.






7. This is just after the racket has contacted the ball.







8. Her forward momentum has carried her into the court. She lands on her front leg / left leg with her right leg kicking back behind her. The racket comes down on the right side of her body.






9. Finally, the racket naturally follows through to the left of her body. She will shortly recover, ready for her next shot.


So this is a great example of a serve. It contains all of the elements which make up a powerful, accurate and consistent serve.

Don’t try to do all of these things at once. It’s just not possible to learn that many things at the same time. Work on one aspect of your serve at a time – for example, the ball lift.

We have particular drills / exercises to help you develop all of the above aspects of your serve. All of these exercises come from the system of tennis we teach developed by Modern Tennis International


If you’d like any help with your serve………

Book a tennis lesson with Tanya

Book a lesson with me (Karl)

Book a lesson with James

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