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View Full Version : Dementieva Serve: Why so flat?


bjk
01-20-2009, 02:35 AM
Dementieva is a notoriously bad server, and her worst serve is a slice second serve that gets crushed regularly. Dementieva's problem, to my untrained eye, is that she gets no arch in her back, so all she can hit is a flat serve or the slice. The best servers, like Becker or Federer, get a huge amount of arch in their whole bodies, but especially the back. Dementieva though looks so tight out there, and he body is so rigid, that I don't think she can arch her back like that. And she seems to be squeezing her racket so tight that she's trying to choke it. Girl needs to loosen up a bit . . .

bjk
01-20-2009, 02:36 AM
And because she gets no arch, she can't even hit a decent kick serve, or any sort of kick serve at all. It's very strange.

halalula1234
01-20-2009, 03:37 AM
notice how she lands not in the court but on the left side from where she started and a tiny bit into the court

bjk
01-20-2009, 03:49 AM
Yeah, the toss is more up above her (Navratilova called it high noon) instead of leading her into the court. Navratilova said the big problem is the toss, but an elite athlete should be able to master tossing a ball . . . I think the problem is that she's stiff as a plank. There's no bend and no she's not very limber, the ball toss is just a symptom.

halalula1234
01-20-2009, 05:31 AM
Yeah, the toss is more up above her (Navratilova called it high noon) instead of leading her into the court. Navratilova said the big problem is the toss, but an elite athlete should be able to master tossing a ball . . . I think the problem is that she's stiff as a plank. There's no bend and no she's not very limber, the ball toss is just a symptom.

yep shes a stiff lady. u can tell. even by looking at her at my first impression was like stiff! but still i dont think shes a bad lady. She is still a nice lady

Andres
01-20-2009, 05:50 AM
Dementieva is a notoriously bad server, and her worst serve is a slice second serve that gets crushed regularly. Dementieva's problem, to my untrained eye, is that she gets no arch in her back, so all she can hit is a flat serve or the slice. The best servers, like Becker or Federer, get a huge amount of arch in their whole bodies, but especially the back. Dementieva though looks so tight out there, and he body is so rigid, that I don't think she can arch her back like that. And she seems to be squeezing her racket so tight that she's trying to choke it. Girl needs to loosen up a bit . . .
They don't really ARCH their back. They get a very deep knee bend that aligns their back almost 45 with the floor. The only guy I can remember who actually ARCHED his back was Rafter, and he screwed up his lower back and shoulder because of that.

Davydenko looks like he has a huge back arch, but he actually gets a huge knee bend.

random guy
01-20-2009, 06:07 AM
I've misread Dementieva: why so flat? and totally misinterpret the content of this thread.

FiveO
01-20-2009, 06:13 AM
Yeah, the toss is more up above her (Navratilova called it high noon) instead of leading her into the court. Navratilova said the big problem is the toss, but an elite athlete should be able to master tossing a ball . . . I think the problem is that she's stiff as a plank. There's no bend and no she's not very limber, the ball toss is just a symptom.


Martina also related a story of Dementieva working on her serve for a period of time with Richard Krajicek with very positive, albiet short term results. Ultimately she overdid it and ended up injuring her shoulder taking her out of competition for a while.

I believe the toss thing is the mechanical cause, not the arch. Without the toss being in the right place the rest of her body can't be. The two elements aren't flippable like the chicken/egg. IMO her toss issue though is mental and being a pro doesn't mean that much, the pros are human, with all the same complicated mental dynamics we all have. Obviously they are better overall and better at managing those psychological dynamics than the rest of us, but it doesn't mean they are immune to them.

It's not unique to her in tennis. In the R16 of the '98 US Open Andre Agassi came unglued and eventually lost to Karol Kucera after Kucera went through a skin crawling case of the yips on his toss, a problem he always had but was so bad in this match the crowd didn't know whether to pity or lynch him during that encounter. Agassi actually lost the crowd's support by mimmicking Kucera's toss, re-toss, re-toss, etc. cycle, several times on his own serve, as an ill-advised form of "retaliation".

And these types of things are not unique to tennis. Look no further than baseball and pitchers Steve Blass and Rick Ankiel who suddenly couldn't find the plate, catcher Mackey Sasser who suddenly couldn't throw back to the pitcher, second basemen Steve Sax and the most vivid example, former gold glover Chuck Knoblach who both lost the ability to make throws to first base. Knoblach got so bad in fact that he once hit former ESPN Anchor Keith Oberman's mother who was seated about 20 rows deep in the stands along the first base line at Yankee stadium. Oberman actually presented that as a hi-light on ESPN.

Whether you call it the yips or, as some baseball people do, "The Little Man" syndrome (I suppose for the little men apparently running around in our heads) its not without precedent, even at the most elite levels of sport.

5

boredone3456
01-20-2009, 07:12 AM
Dementieva's problem with her serve is mainly it has no power. When she serves, she barely bends her legs, and in the serve thats where you generate a lot of power, from the ground up. Her serve relies on wrist snap and upper body alone, she generates no power and therefore her serve is susceptible, especially to the heavy hitters of todays game.

FiveO
01-20-2009, 07:21 AM
Dementieva's problem with her serve is mainly it has no power. When she serves, she barely bends her legs, and in the serve thats where you generate a lot of power, from the ground up. Her serve relies on wrist snap and upper body alone, she generates no power and therefore her serve is susceptible, especially to the heavy hitters of todays game.


It still goes back to the toss. It's misplaced and often not even consistently misplaced. All the knee bending, arching, everything, or, as Navratilova also alluded to yesterday, shoulder turning, aren't going to help. If she tried to cram all those things under the same flawed toss, she'd be in even worse shape, more severely out of balance both during and after the serve.

5

bjk
01-20-2009, 09:52 AM
Dementieva has quite a deep knee bend, so that's not the problem. And if it was just the toss, how come she can't hit a kick serve? She's got bigger problem than the toss. She tosses the ball where she's comfortable hitting it.

FiveO
01-20-2009, 10:07 AM
Dementieva has quite a deep knee bend, so that's not the problem. And if it was just the toss, how come she can't hit a kick serve? She's got bigger problem than the toss. She tosses the ball where she's comfortable hitting it.

Are you aware of where her toss would go until recently? It was consistently about two feet outside (to the right) of her hitting shoulder. Yesterday the one toss she placed in a spot which would facilitate a kick, she caught. She has struggled so badly tossing the ball that her comprimise toss has placed it just between her shoulder and right ear, and very close to the baseline. I don't care how talented a player is, its in the wrong place for power and/or spin of any kind. She is reaching up and has to clear her body for room, which is why her follow through and first step has her finishing left and not in the direction of her target. She can't create an angle of attack facilitating power and or spin where she places the ball now. No one could. It is a comprimise toss and a bad one at that. For lack of a better term her toss sets her up to hit the ball "late" or behind where her center of gravity should be, and forces her to arm it.

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rommil
01-20-2009, 10:09 AM
I've misread Dementieva: why so flat? and totally misinterpret the content of this thread.

I could picture you clicking to this thread saying "Gigity gigity".

bjk
01-20-2009, 10:10 AM
I'll take your word for it. I still think that, if you can't start your car, don't always blame the ignition.

split-step
01-20-2009, 10:13 AM
Dementieva had a shoulder injury years back. She continued playing but 'side-armed' her serve during this period so her serve was 99% slice at this point.

After the injury healed she was still hitting her serve this way. Apparently in practise she could hit her regular serve but in matches would revert to the side-arm slice.

Her serve today is much better than it was but she still has the tendency to slice.
Anyways she has insane groundstrokes, and a very reliable serve return so she makes up for it.

rommil
01-20-2009, 10:16 AM
^^^I have heard this pointed out by commentators. That and maybe some mental pressure. The funny thing is that her second serve might look like a sitting duck, the players don't really take advantage of it. Maybe there's some crazy spin to it that prevents them from doing so.
Anyways I agree with her groundies. I have seen her play and practice upclose and they are brutal.

WillAlwaysLoveYouTennis
01-20-2009, 08:54 PM
Her 1st serve was abyssmal the other day. Like 32% first serve in! Ridiculous at that level..

mrDamien
01-20-2009, 09:51 PM
At least she serving better than Jankovic. The Serbian the worse ever server as world No 1 player thus far.