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View Full Version : Greatest Serve Meltdowns


Ted Ghost Shackley
05-16-2007, 03:39 AM
I am currently discussing with a friend the worst serve meltdowns. Was it Miloslav Mecir that got so nervous that he had to serve underhand late in a match against Jimmy Connors at Wimbledon one year? Mecir was such a fluid and talented player; can anyone verify that "The Cat" had this meltdown?

Kournikova at the A.O. one year and Dementieva at many tournaments also come to mind. Any other exceptional serving nervous breakdowns?

l_gonzalez
05-16-2007, 03:48 AM
Guillermo Coria last year... he was averaging about 8-9 double faults per set.

michaellashan
05-16-2007, 04:29 AM
Guillermo Coria last year... he was averaging about 8-9 double faults per set.

Wasn't that more of a shoulder "breakdown" rather than a meltdown?

l_gonzalez
05-16-2007, 04:41 AM
I'm sure it was after the shoulder injury... he just broke down mentally and forgot how to serve, which affected his confidence which in turn destroyed his game.

andreh
05-16-2007, 04:42 AM
Chang FO in 89 against Lendl. He had to serve underhand, but I think it was more due to cramps than nerves.

007
05-16-2007, 04:56 AM
Elena Dementieva in pretty much any match in her career - avergae club player has a better serve than this WTA 'pro'. Her's was emabarrasingly bad until about a year ago....now it's just less bad.

Ted Ghost Shackley
05-16-2007, 05:13 AM
007:

Elena Dementieva actually had a decent serve in the first few years of her career. She developed a shoulder injury, moved her toss to the right, and could only slice out wide. She then developed a psychological barrier regarding her serve. Sabatini and Kournikova had their careers effectively stopped by their serves. Coria is another great example. It's bizarre how some pros lose that shot.

suwanee4712
05-16-2007, 05:19 AM
Anna Kournikova's serve became a head thing. The kind of DF #'s that she used to put up was staggering. I think I remember some people putting down money on how many DF's Anna would hit in a match.

Before her, Hana Mandlikova's serve literally disintegrated and her game around it. For a serve and volleyer, your game is really centered around your serve. She changed her service motion so much to adjust to her back injury from 1982 to 1989, and it really cost her. As King once said of her, she had changed her motion so often that she suffered breakdowns in her technique when she got tight.

Thinking back to the 1987 Amelia Island final vs. Steffi, she was mostly just putting in cream puff 2nd serves as her 1st serve. It was sad to see. By 1989 she had Anna Kournikova-like DF #'s. It was all about confidence, or a lack thereof.

In 1988, a lot of Martina's problems were centered around her serve. With that hip injury, it really affected what she was getting on the ball. Then she changed to that funky high-handed service motion. As far as her serve was concerned, her head was all over the place.

McEnroe had similar problems to Martina on his serve later in his career. Eventually people caught on to Edberg's serve too. When you're used to dominating matches with your serve, and suddenly you aren't, that starts to affect your mind.

Dave M
05-16-2007, 05:47 AM
Novotna in the Wimbledon final against Graf,I think Steffi just went for broke as a last chance but novotnas' whole game just crumpled around her after loosing her serve when going for the match and then the rest just followed.

gdsballer
05-16-2007, 05:51 AM
coria, in rome last year against nadal, had 29 double faults in a 6-1 6-2 or somethign like that...the match before he had 41

z-money
05-16-2007, 05:53 AM
Guillermo Coria last year... he was averaging about 8-9 double faults per set.

11-15 per match!

Moose Malloy
05-16-2007, 08:36 AM
Chang FO in 89 against Lendl. He had to serve underhand, but I think it was more due to cramps than nerves.

It was due to neither, he only hit ONE underhand serve the entire match, when he was down breakpoint in the 5th. It was purely tactical(was just messing with Lendl's head, & was very lucky to win the point- Lendl hit a return that hit the baseline)
Its kinda funny to see how people remember it today(I saw someone in aother thread say they thought Chang served underhand the entire match!)

Was it Miloslav Mecir that got so nervous that he had to serve underhand late in a match against Jimmy Connors at Wimbledon one year? Mecir was such a fluid and talented player; can anyone verify that "The Cat" had this meltdown?


It was at the '85 World Team Cup(I have some of this match on dvd)

Mecir was up late in the 3rd in that match & just got so nervous he hit underhand serves the rest of the way. Jimmy practically stood in the service box to return. I can't figure out why the World Team Cup would mean so much to Mecir, it was just a warmup for the French Open, maybe any sort of international competition meant a lot to Czechoslovakia in the 80s?

NoBadMojo
05-16-2007, 08:50 AM
Karol Kucera (sp?) in a match vs Agassi once kept doing his ball toss and catching it..over..and over again..to the point where Agassi really got bent up about it and totally lost his cool. Kucera had a very high ball toss and had absolutely no control over it that day.

I would say that just now Sharapova has been having the yips with her serve

andreh
05-17-2007, 01:53 AM
It was due to neither, he only hit ONE underhand serve the entire match, when he was down breakpoint in the 5th. It was purely tactical(was just messing with Lendl's head, & was very lucky to win the point- Lendl hit a return that hit the baseline)
Its kinda funny to see how people remember it today(I saw someone in aother thread say they thought Chang served underhand the entire match!)





Ahh, then I stand corrected.

CEvertFan
05-17-2007, 02:07 AM
One match that sticks out for me is the US Open quarterfinal between Navratilova and Garrison in 1988. Martina served terribly in that match and lost to Garrison, to whom she had never before lost. Going into that match the head to head was 21-0 in favor of Martina. They played quite a few more times and Martina never lost another match to Garrison after that and ended their head to head 33-1. There's even a quote from Ted Tinling on that match: "The last glimmer of twilight -- I'm afraid Madame M has lost her nerve," said Martina's friend and former couturier, Ted Tinling, after Garrison's 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 upset.

Martina's whole game revolved around her serve and when it went astray as it did in that match her nerves would just fall apart. I did notice that Martina in '88 and '89 was having a lot of trouble with the consistency of her serve.

atatu
05-17-2007, 07:34 AM
I remember the Mecir meltdown. Also, what about when Mac and Graf were playing Wimbledon mixed together and they got some British WC team in the first round. The woman could not put a serve in the box, at the changeovers Mac and Steffi were trying very hard not to start laughing. This woman serioulsy looked like a 4.0 player when she was serving.

Mark Vessels
05-17-2007, 12:54 PM
Karol Kucera (sp?) in a match vs Agassi once kept doing his ball toss and catching it..over..and over again..to the point where Agassi really got bent up about it and totally lost his cool. Kucera had a very high ball toss and had absolutely no control over it that day.

I would say that just now Sharapova has been having the yips with her serve

Ha, then Andre started imitating him.

edmondsm
05-17-2007, 01:05 PM
Mary Pierce in FO final a couple years ago was pretty bad. Mainly she was just at the mercy of a better player in Justine. I think she only won 1 game the entire match.

JMac in 84' will always be the greatest collapse ever in my mind.

vive le beau jeu !
05-17-2007, 01:26 PM
Karol Kucera (sp?) in a match vs Agassi once kept doing his ball toss and catching it..over..and over again..to the point where Agassi really got bent up about it and totally lost his cool. Kucera had a very high ball toss and had absolutely no control over it that day.
oh yes i remember that match... agassi was totally unclassy that day. :?
but kucera finally managed to beat him in 5 sets (USO 1998 i think).

funny that mecir is also mentionned in this thread, because kucera is his kinda "tennistical son" ! ;)
he coached him, didn't he ?... then it must be him who taught kucera how to lose his serve !

edmondsm
05-17-2007, 01:34 PM
Sorry, forgot about the "serve" part of the meltdown.

In the 05' French Open semi against Nadal, Fed couldn't get a first serve in to save his life.

James Blake's serve completely fell apart against Mirnyi at last years Wimbledon. I think he ended up losing the last two sets 0 and 1. It was pathetic.

NoBadMojo
05-17-2007, 01:57 PM
Ha, then Andre started imitating him.

ya man....andre asked the chair ump 'how many times can he do that?' and then proceeded to do the same thing repeatidly tossing and catching his service toss in mockery of Kucera....i dont think Kucera was doing any of this as gamesmanship....i dont think he was that sort of guy..he really had no control over his ball toss

FiveO
05-17-2007, 04:46 PM
Ha, then Andre started imitating him.


Yep. Agassi's meltdown was so complete that he lost that USO R16 match in five: 6-3 6-3 6-7(5) 1-6 6-3.