How can you counter the Kevin Anderson serve?

Kevin Anderson is one of the form players on the ATP tour right now and whatever happens in the final at Queen’s Club tomorrow he has to be considered as a one to watch at Wimbledon. The South African saved match point in the first round of the tournament against Lleyton Hewitt in the Australian’s last ever match at Queens. He has also only been broken once this tournament that by Lleyton in the first round. So the big questions are, how can you stop that serve and break Anderson?

When you think of the tall players on the tour… Isner, Karlovic, Raonic, Anderson etc… I wouldn’t say Anderson’s serve is the best on the tour but it’s been unplayable this week. He’s serving 130mph+ and has served 96 aces in the tournament so far with his serve.

anderson serve

I’ve put this graphic above together showing the serve down the T and the serve out wide. These are the two serves he has used mostly throughout the tournament and has produced ace upon ace off it the problem is returning it. Even when Anderson has been break point down I am surprised we haven’t seen much of a body serve which is shown by the blue line and the blue circle signals the receiver. I think the body serve is a good serve to have when you are in trouble however you have to make sure you’re getting 130mph+ on it and nothing less as you don’t want to give the opponent time to position and return.

Returning serve is so tough against Anderson. On the first serve I would say a slice return to take some of the pace off the ball. However if you are hitting the slice there are two things you have to consider. Number one being, getting the depth on the ball to push Anderson onto the baseline. You don’t want to be slicing the ball 1-2 metres inside the baseline and giving Anderson the opening to go left or right. The second thing you have to consider is where to play the slice. Not only is Anderson a good server but his movement has improved a lot. I would say slice the ball into where he is stood into the corner he served from.

Getting it into the corner the serve came from gives Anderson less opportunity to settle himself and produce the power we know he can. You have to be quick no matter what you do as we do see Anderson come towards the net but has been passed quite a few times. Anderson’s serve is quite predictable but you have to make sure as the returner your return isn’t predictable.

It’s easy to write this and say what could be done to help counter the serve from Anderson but in all honesty it’s difficult and it’s about remaining calm, patient and taking the chances when they arrive and not wasting them.

I think Murray is more suited to returning this serve as he is one of the best servers in the game and can push Anderson back behind the baseline by taking some of the pace of rallies with the slice.

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