I have started playing this guy who has a monster serve. I consider myself a decent returner of slow and medium-paced serves, but this guy is just at a whole other level. We are pretty well-matched in other areas of our games, but his serve is too much to handle. He's the type of guy who has two first serves; he doesn't take pace off it. The only times I broke him were when he served 3 double faults.
Although he's comfortable at the net, he doesn't really serve and volley, so it's not like that is pressuring me...
90% of his serves go down the tee, but I still can't handle them. If I stand on or just behind the baseline, I am late getting my racket on the ball and can't control it. If I back up a few feet, the ball kicks up unpredictably and I can't find it either, even though I have more time.
As for my normal return game against more ordinary opponents: I use a very short backswing when returning, and I have a two-handed backhand. I like to be aggressive when possible, but I am comfortable just blocking the ball back if I'm not in good position (even with one-handed backhand if necessary). I am not used to slicing the return back, however, but that's something I could work on.
I'm sure it will all get easier the more I play him, but if anyone has any tips that would be
They don't even have to be tips for me specifically; this thread could be a place to talk about this issue in general too.