Learn How To Throw
The Topspin Serve

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There are several advantages to developing a good topspin serve:
  • the spin applied to the ball creates a dipping flight allowing high net clearance
  • the serve breaks high and fast to the receiver's left, (to the receiver''s right if you're left-handed)
  • the serve can be used either as an aggressive first serve or a consistent second serve

Use the Continental serving grip for this type of service. See the tennis serve page for the illustration.

I personally prefer the topspin serve for either my first or second serve. It's relatively easy to control and after consistent practice, you can easily acquire this very reliable service stroke.

You need to alter slightly your service stance, ball toss, and position of your feet for this service.

Here are the steps to the topspin serve:

1. Stand sideways to the baseline. Let both racquet and ball-tossing arm move down a little together before they part to start the take-up. With your weight moving forwards over your bent front knee, swing the racquet down past your body and and turn your hitting shoulder well away as you release the ball (toss the ball a little higher above your front shoulder).

2. As you lean in, bend the racquet arm elbow bringing the racquet up.

3. Drop the racquet into the throwing position as the ball begins to fall. Keep the tossing arm up as long as you can, using it to track the ball.

4. Straighten your legs and at the same time your racquet arm, elbow, and wrist, throwing the racquet head up almost edge-on so that the strings bite the ball, brushing up and across it.

5. Snap the wrist forwards so that the racquet face strikes the ball a glancing blow from below.

6. Completing its up and across action, the racquet leaves the ball and arcs up and out to the right as the rear foot begins to swing across the baseline.

7. Follow through with racquet down past the right side. Your back foot will come down inside the court but not so far over the baseline as for the first service.

Tennis Serve: Flat or Basic Serve, The Slice

Return of Serve

The Forehand

The Backhand

The Volley

The Lob

The Overhead

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Additional Resource: Check these tennis articles published in All-About-Tennis.com

Additional Resources:

Learn more about the topspin serve with this excellent video (below). Just click on the buy button to purchase it.

USTA's High-Performance Tennis: The Serve Video (Copyright 2001)

USTA's High-Performance Tennis: The Serve Video (Copyright 2001)

Great servers dominate the game of tennis with consistency, accuracy, power, disguise, and variety. Learn the technique of the top pros and apply it to your game! USTA's High-Performance Tennis: The Serve video features the top servers in the game: Pete Sampras, Venus Williams , Serena Williams, Marat Safin, Richard Krajicek, Lindsay Davenport, Lleyton Hewitt , Shot with a high-speed camera capable of producing super-slow-motion images, the video gives you an unparalleled ability to analyze every facet of serving. With this footage you'll be able to see precisely how top players deal with each phase of serving. You'll learn how to study the topspin serve and improve your ability to analyze serves for yourself or your players. The Serve takes you through the four phases of the serve: preparation, loading, hitting, and follow-through. Super- slow motion, stop action, graphics, and superb instruction help you analyze every facet of the stroke and see exactly what elements are needed for a dominating serve. Replays from numerous angles during U.S. Open television coverage allow you to see the servers' technique and see how to transfer that technique to the court. About the Author The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is the governing body for tennis in the United States. The USTA's membership consists of more than 500,000 individuals and nearly 6,500 organizations, including schools, park and recreation departments or community tennis associations, and tennis clubs. Learn more about the topspin serve with this useful video.

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