Two Contrasting Styles of Tennis

Dr. Paul Ebben has served Insight Psychological Consultants, PSC, in Frankfort, Kentucky, as a forensic neuropsychologist since 2002. In his time away from the office Dr. Paul Ebben leads a physically active lifestyle that includes duathlon training and playing tennis.

Tennis is a sport with a rich history. Over the years a number of distinct tactical approaches to the game have developed, headlined by two major styles of play. The majority of professional tennis players, and by extension amateurs and recreational competitors, play aggressive baseline tennis. This type of player generally stays at the back of the court for the duration of a point. Unlike a counter-puncher, who may stand several feet behind the court, an aggressive baseline player will stay as close to the baseline as possible in order to dictate play with ground strokes. Usually, a baseline player’s only forays to net will come after powerful, angled shots to put away easy volleys.

In stark contrast to the aggressive baseliner is the serve-and-volley player. While this style of play has almost completely vanished from the modern professional tour, serve-and-volley play defined tennis for several generations and is still popular with older club players. A serve and volleyer will possess a powerful or accurate serve, ideally both, that allows him or her to get to the net with strong positioning. A perfect serve and volley point consists only of the serve and a single wining volley, and many players in this style will rush the net on both first and second serves. When returning, serve-and-volley players use a technique called chip and charge, hitting a low, slicing return and rushing the net.