What is a flat serve in tennis?

In tennis, players can serve in different ways that results in the ball approaching the returner in a variety of ways. One of these serves is called a flat serve. 

The name flat serve is suggestive of the fact that the ball does not have any extra movement in the air or after bouncing off the court. It involves the player hitting the ball in a way that the full face of the racquet powers the ball without brushing it. A flat serve generates a lot of pace.

Players often surprise their opponent by targeting the flat serve towards the body of their opponent. This makes the serve difficult to return as the returner has no room for freeing his or her arms for the service return. A returner can have the best chance to return a flat serve if it is fired towards any of his or her sides. A controlled grip on the racquet followed by a soft push on the ball can lead to a successful return of serve. 

A flat serve can often result in errors if not directed properly. The pace generated because of this serve can lead to the ball land outside the service box. It is often advised that while hitting a flat serve, players should target the lowest point of the net towards the side they are supposed to land their serve.

Flat serves are usually executed when a player is comfortably leading in a game. For example, a player leading by 40-0 or 40-15 can go for a flat serve and try to close the game. An error in this situation will still keep the opponent in pressure as he or she would now have to return your slower and much tricky second serve.

Flat serves take time to be perfected. But when the hard work pays off, the speedometer is likely to read a 190 to 200 km/hr serve flying off your racquet. 

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