Serve (tennis)

  • Various tennis player on impact

Andre Agassi (2005)

Andy Roddick (2007)

Roger Federer (2008)

J. McEnroe with Foot Fault (2007)

Novak Djokovic (2009)

The serve in tennis is the shock with which a rally is opened.


The ball must be played diagonally opposite two-piece T- box into. Both feet of the server shall have to, at the very moment in which the ball is hit, located behind the line without touching it. Only after hitting the ball he is allowed to touch the baseline or the imaginary extension of the center line or the Seitenausliniezu or to pass, otherwise he commits a foot fault. A foot fault in the second serve is counted as double fault and the point goes to the opponent.

The receiver on the other hand may be located at any position inside or outside the court. The feet do not need to be on the ground at the moment of ball contact. The serve must be made from a rest position, the server shall take, for example, no start. A surcharge applies from the time as having been made from the batter touches the ball.

Is it the player did not succeed the first time, perform a code-compliant markup, so he has a second attempt. A special case arises when, in an otherwise rule- compliant service the ball touches the net and you subsequently falls into the service court: This is considered an error, but the player receives an additional surcharge attempt.. After a game, service alternates.

Surcharge technology

The leg position is oblique or slightly laterally to the base line in the rule. The impact of the hand opposite leg facing forward, in right-handers, consequently, the left leg. For the actual impact movement, various techniques are used. As a rule, the ball is out with a stretched arm, in a quiet movement, up and only slightly higher cast as the meeting place. At the same time the striker drops in counter- movement, so that racket and hitting arm, ideally at the lowest point form a straight line, so the clubhead is almost to the ground. This extreme returning the arm with subsequent acceleration of the racket and meetings at the highest point of the high- pitched ball is used to generate a dynamic movement in the cooperating all muscle groups, starting with stretching the legs, through the rotation of the upper body up to the tilting of the wrist. Here, a part of the acceleration is ultimately achieved through the so-called whiplash effect. In general, the players jump into the field, on the one hand, to achieve a better impact angle, on the other hand to bring the ball over the momentum added pressure and twist.

The surcharge applies to beginners and the most difficult blow.


The serve is the only shock that the opponent can not be influenced. A hard and placed surcharge is a valuable means to put pressure on the opponent to determine the rally from the start and is therefore of paramount importance tactically. In general, the first serve is played with a high risk of second impact with more security.

In principle, all forms of twist can also be used on impact, which are common in tennis: flat beat ( canon surcharge ), Topspin ( Twist ) and slice. Both serve with topspin and slice the surcharge often have a characteristic sideways twist. The twist jumps from the perspective of the right-handed server shall to the right, the slice away to the left.

Of shallow strike is often selected with little forward spin because the ball can reach the highest possible speed and so is the hardest to return the first serve. It is usually played with the intention of a direct point gain (Ace ), but is risky by its straight trajectory.

The topspin serve is especially suitable for a second serve, as this arises due to the Magnus effect with greater security within the charge field. In addition, the return of this highly and quickly coming off premium represents a certain challenge


One of the best male players surcharge of recent decades, among other Pete Sampras, Boris Becker, Goran Ivanisevic, Ivan Lendl, Andy Roddick, Ivo Karlovic and John Isner. A special feature was observed when American John McEnroe, who opened with a foot position parallel to the mains.

It is Samuel Groth, who holds the record of fastest to date premium for an official tournament game: 263 km / h, hit on 9 May 2012 at the ATP Challenger tournament in Busan, South Korea.