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View Full Version : Best 1st serve from 1975-2009


TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-11-2009, 07:16 AM
...By this i mean WHO HAD/HAS GOT the serve that generated most winners, was the hardest to return,didnt break down at crucial points and who hit lots of aces at all times!?
What do you guys think? Remember... i can only pick 10 choices in the poll so if i "forget" someone it might be because there was no room for him. This is the best of the best!
Plz go with the poll. Thank you.

dincuss
08-11-2009, 07:18 AM
Gilles Simon.

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-11-2009, 07:24 AM
Gilles Simon.
Try and pick one from the poll would you...?

tikkimonkey
08-11-2009, 07:25 AM
It's between Santoro and Spadea.

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-11-2009, 07:25 AM
It's between Santoro and Spadea.
Ok...thats good...

tikkimonkey
08-11-2009, 07:27 AM
Sorry :p, didn't see the poll when I posted

drwood
08-11-2009, 07:29 AM
...By this i mean WHO HAD/HAS GOT the serve that generated most winners, was the hardest to return,didnt break down at crucial points and who hit lots of aces at all times!?
What do you guys think? Remember... i can only pick 10 choices in the poll so if i "forget" someone it might be because there was no room for him. This is the best of the best!
Plz go with the poll. Thank you.

BEST serve = Sampras
BIGGEST serve = Roddick, Ivanisevic, Tanner, Karlovic, Rusedski, Krajicek

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-11-2009, 07:32 AM
BEST serve = Sampras
BIGGEST serve = Roddick, Ivanisevic, Tanner, Karlovic, Rusedski, Krajicek
There you go, Rusedski?? No way! His serve was mainly good on fast carpet where he could slice it wide in the add-court. It often broke down though, ur other picks were great.

President
08-11-2009, 07:35 AM
It's Karlovic for me. He really only has one facet to his game: his first serve. It's honestly the best I've ever seen. Sampras's first serve was great, but it was backed up by great volleying skill, which allowed him to win the majority of his first serve points. Karlovic, on the other hand, relies solely on his serve, having nothing else to back it up.

The angle at which Karlovic's serve comes at the opponent is incredible. It's also extremely fast. All in all, it's probably the best serve ever in men's tennis.

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-11-2009, 07:38 AM
It's Karlovic for me. He really only has one facet to his game: his first serve. It's honestly the best I've ever seen. Sampras's first serve was great, but it was backed up by great volleying skill, which allowed him to win the majority of his first serve points. Karlovic, on the other hand, relies solely on his serve, having nothing else to back it up.

The angle at which Karlovic's serve comes at the opponent is incredible. It's also extremely fast. All in all, it's probably the best serve ever in men's tennis.
Yeah, it could be, its a lot easier hitting your serve from the sky:)

NamRanger
08-11-2009, 07:41 AM
I'd say Johansson had the potential to have the best serve. That guy could serve aces in his sleep.



Best = Sampras

Biggest = Roddick

dropserve
08-11-2009, 07:42 AM
Karlovic.
He is No 30 in the world relying only on his 1st serve.

TheFifthSet
08-11-2009, 07:44 AM
I don't see how anybody can deny Karlovic the title of best 1st serve/serve overall. The guy has no ground game, wins 12% of his return games, yet manages to win 90-92% of his service games.

Sampras had a better forehand, backhand, volleys, movement, footwork, court coverage, etc. etc. etc. . . . EVERYTHING, yet even in his prime he couldn't best that, or at least not by a significant margin. Karlovic is the slam-dunk choice here, IMO.

NamRanger
08-11-2009, 07:45 AM
I don't see how anybody can deny Karlovic the title of best 1st serve/serve overall. The guy has no ground game, wins 12% of his return games, yet manages to win 90-92% of his service games.

Sampras had a better forehand, backhand, volleys, movement, footwork, court coverage, etc. etc. etc. . . . EVERYTHING, yet even in his prime he couldn't best that, or at least not by a significant margin. Karlovic is the slam-dunk choice here, IMO.



I think Karlovic has the best 1st serve, but his second serve let's him down alot IMO.

President
08-11-2009, 07:46 AM
I don't see how anybody can deny Karlovic the title of best 1st serve/serve overall. The guy has no ground game, wins 12% of his return games, yet manages to win 90-92% of his service games.

Sampras had a better forehand, backhand, volleys, movement, footwork, court coverage, etc. etc. etc. . . . EVERYTHING, yet even in his prime he couldn't best that, or at least not by a significant margin. Karlovic is the slam-dunk choice here, IMO.

Agreed.

I think many people are going to vote Sampras just based on the fact that he was a much better and more well known player than Karlovic. However if you just look at their serves, it is clear that Karlovic's is better.

President
08-11-2009, 07:47 AM
I think Karlovic has the best 1st serve, but his second serve let's him down alot IMO.

The poll says best 1st serve, so you shouldn't be taking 2nd serve into account.

akv89
08-11-2009, 07:48 AM
Karlovic easily. Holds over 90% of his service games every year despite having the worst ground game in the top 100 (maybe even top 200). He can hit the corners as well as Sampras or Federer and serve as hard as Roddick. Nobody even compares to the frequency at which he hits aces (roughly 20 a game).

TheFifthSet
08-11-2009, 07:48 AM
I think Karlovic has the best 1st serve, but his second serve let's him down alot IMO.

Agree, but I think his 1st serve alone compensates for that . . . . I mean just imagine . . . . the guy barely has a top 1000 ground game, yet manages to win over 90% of his service games. If he had even one of Sampras's weapons, he would almost never drop serve.

NamRanger
08-11-2009, 07:49 AM
The poll says best 1st serve, so you shouldn't be taking 2nd serve into account.


Woops :P




I think it's tough though. Karlovic is not a clear winner. Goran and Pim Pim had serves that are comparable to Karlovic's.




I mean come on, Goran did essentially serve his way to victory at Wimbledon.

akv89
08-11-2009, 07:53 AM
Agree, but I think his 1st serve alone compensates for that . . . . I mean just imagine . . . . the guy barely has a top 1000 ground game, yet manages to win over 90% of his service games. If he had even one of Sampras's weapons, he would almost never drop serve.

He already almost never drops serve :)

dragonfire
08-11-2009, 07:53 AM
anyone with a brain would know karlovic has the best 1st serve, but only because of his height.

NamRanger
08-11-2009, 07:56 AM
anyone with a brain would know karlovic has the best 1st serve, but only because of his height.



Disagree, Goran had just as lethal of a first serve, along with Pim Pim. In fact, both Goran and Pim Pim have more variation on their first than Karlovic. Half the time Karlovic is just bombing it in there.

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-11-2009, 07:56 AM
anyone with a brain would know karlovic has the best 1st serve, but only because of his height.
Im a former professional player and id say i have (still) a decent 1st serve, i once tried to stand on a board that took me up to Ivo Karlovic height, amazing how easy it is to serve up there!

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-11-2009, 07:57 AM
Disagree, Goran had just as lethal of a first serve, along with Pim Pim. In fact, both Goran and Pim Pim have more variation on their first than Karlovic. Half the time Karlovic is just bombing it in there.
I might actually agree on this one, Federer broke Karlovic fairly easy 3 times in Wimbledon

akv89
08-11-2009, 08:01 AM
Another stat to think about: Karlovic wins 85% of the points when his 1st serve goes in. Most of the guys in that list (including Sampras, Federer, Roddick, Krajicek, etc) struggle to break 80 over the course of a year despite having significantly better ground games to back up their serve.

NamRanger
08-11-2009, 08:03 AM
Another stat to think about: Karlovic wins 85% of the points when his 1st serve goes in. Most of the guys in that list (including Sampras, Federer, Roddick, Krajicek, etc) struggle to break 80 over the course of a year.



Another stat to think about : Karlovic's quality of opponent up until this year are of much lower quality than most of the names listed. Which IS true. Karlovic's stats are skewed slightly because he simply does not face that many high quality opponents.

wyutani
08-11-2009, 08:04 AM
so a 7 foot player can hit a serve bigger than karlovic....ever heard of the great khali from wwe? i bet he can be top 30.

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-11-2009, 08:05 AM
Another stat to think about : Karlovic's quality of opponent up until this year are of much lower quality than most of the names listed. Which IS true. Karlovic's stats are skewed slightly because he simply does not face that many high quality opponents.
You also have to think about that the surfaces now is a lot slower than in the 90`s, and the racket-technology pretty much the same.

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-11-2009, 08:06 AM
so a 7 foot player can hit a serve bigger than karlovic....ever heard of the great khali from wwe? i bet he can be top 30.
Well hey! Imagine Shaquille O`Neal !:shock:

fps
08-11-2009, 08:07 AM
karlovic's 1st serve stats are improved by his not often playing against the very best players in the world.

Andres
08-11-2009, 08:09 AM
Goran, of course :D

TheFifthSet
08-11-2009, 08:11 AM
Another stat to think about : Karlovic's quality of opponent up until this year are of much lower quality than most of the names listed. Which IS true. Karlovic's stats are skewed slightly because he simply does not face that many high quality opponents.


In 137 return games vs. Karlovic, Federer has only broken him 13 times.

Andres
08-11-2009, 08:12 AM
TheMagicianOfPrecision has started more threads since February than I have started in my four and a half years here :p

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-11-2009, 08:14 AM
TheMagicianOfPrecision has started more threads since February than I have started in my four and a half years here :p
Is that right? Well its a forum, its legal to do so, ive got a lot on my mind so...??

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-11-2009, 08:15 AM
In 137 return games vs. Karlovic, Federer has only broken him 13 times.
3 times last time they played.

dragonfire
08-11-2009, 08:16 AM
Disagree, Goran had just as lethal of a first serve, along with Pim Pim. In fact, both Goran and Pim Pim have more variation on their first than Karlovic. Half the time Karlovic is just bombing it in there.

oh, i meant that ATM karlovic has the best serve, not sure who has the best serve ever as no one tops every serve stat.

dragonfire
08-11-2009, 08:17 AM
TheMagicianOfPrecision has started more threads since February than I have started in my four and a half years here :p

lol

10 chars

akv89
08-11-2009, 08:17 AM
Another stat to think about : Karlovic's quality of opponent up until this year are of much lower quality than most of the names listed. Which IS true. Karlovic's stats are skewed slightly because he simply does not face that many high quality opponents.

Doesn't make much of a difference. Against the top 20 this year, Karlovic still wins 86% of the points when he gets his first serve in and holds serve 91% of the time.

Chadwixx
08-11-2009, 08:18 AM
Another stat to think about : Karlovic's quality of opponent up until this year are of much lower quality than most of the names listed. Which IS true. Karlovic's stats are skewed slightly because he simply does not face that many high quality opponents.

Tell us this, why is it hewitt steps into pete's serve like its a ball machine, yet barely gets a racket on karlovics?

pmerk34
08-11-2009, 08:18 AM
Doesn't make much of a difference. Against the top 20 this year, Karlovic still wins 86% of the points when he wins his first serve and holds serve 90% of the time.

Mark Philopousis

akv89
08-11-2009, 08:21 AM
Mark Philopousis

What about him?

NamRanger
08-11-2009, 08:22 AM
Doesn't make much of a difference. Against the top 20 this year, Karlovic still wins 86% of the points when he gets his first serve in and holds serve 91% of the time.



*shrug* I still think though that Karlovic gets broken far more often when he plays the top 20. Before his serve stats years before were extremely skewed.



I think at some point his hold serve percentage was 95% a couple of years back.

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-11-2009, 08:24 AM
What about him?
Agree, doesnt belong here.

dragonfire
08-11-2009, 08:25 AM
well, if we are talking about the serve effectiveness - then karlovic tops it - simply because of his height.

players like sampras, roddick and others (who have a modest height) developed a great serve without help from fluke genetics.

if karlovic was smaller - then his lethal serve wouldn't exist. period. goran too. However, the other great servers listed above are tall, but not tall enough that their height gives them an advantage.

effectiveness - karlovic & goran (due to height)

Give there serve technique to a person who is 5"1', and they serve normal, like anyone else.

So sampras' and other players who haven't the height have to most skilful serves, karlovic & goran have the most effective serves.

pmerk34
08-11-2009, 08:26 AM
What about him?

He had an awesome serve

President
08-11-2009, 08:27 AM
I think the reason voters in this poll think Ivanisevic and Sampras have better serves than Karlovic is because they are vastly superior in other aspects. Karlovic only has his serve, nothing else, yet his statistics for holding serve are better than either of them.

NamRanger
08-11-2009, 08:28 AM
I think the reason voters in this poll think Ivanisevic and Sampras have better serves than Karlovic is because they are vastly superior in other aspects. Karlovic only has his serve, nothing else, yet his statistics for holding serve are better than either of them.



Oh no no no. In fact, Goran is only marginally better at a few things than Karlovic. Goran essentially was a serve.

Andres
08-11-2009, 08:28 AM
well, if we are talking about the serve effectiveness - then karlovic tops it - simply because of his height.

players like sampras, roddick and others (who have a modest height) developed a great serve without help from fluke genetics.

if karlovic was smaller - then his lethal serve wouldn't exist. period. goran too. However, the other great servers listed above are tall, but not tall enough that their height gives them an advantage.

effectiveness - karlovic & goran (due to height)

Give there serve technique to a person who is 5"1', and they serve normal, like anyone else.

So sampras' and other players who haven't the height have to most skilful serves, karlovic & goran have the most effective serves.
Goran's serve effectiveness had nothing to do with his height.
Yeah, he was 6'4'', but his serve was what it was because it was unreadable. Low toss, rhytmic delivery, BOOM, ace. His toss was a blur, his motion was too damn fast.

dragonfire
08-11-2009, 08:29 AM
Goran's serve effectiveness had nothing to do with his height.
Yeah, he was 6'4'', but his serve was what it was because it was unreadable. Low toss, rhytmic delivery, BOOM, ace. His toss was a blur, his motion was too damn fast.

oh shame, i thought he was taller, my apologies

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-11-2009, 08:29 AM
Goran's serve effectiveness had nothing to do with his height.
Yeah, he was 6'4'', but his serve was what it was because it was unreadable. Low toss, rhytmic delivery, BOOM, ace. His toss was a blur, his motion was too damn fast.
Yes, impossible to read due to the speed of the motion. And with good variety, compared to Karlovic, and being a leftie didnt make things easier for the returners either

akv89
08-11-2009, 08:31 AM
*shrug* I still think though that Karlovic gets broken far more often when he plays the top 20. Before his serve stats years before were extremely skewed.



I think at some point his hold serve percentage was 95% a couple of years back.

It has more to do with the fact the best returners have almost as much trouble returning his serve as anybody else. His serve really is THAT good. As someone mentioned, Federer broke Karlovic's serve 13 out of 137 times. That corresponds to a 90.5% service games held against someone who is known for being able to put the serve into play.

pmerk34
08-11-2009, 08:38 AM
Goran's serve effectiveness had nothing to do with his height.
Yeah, he was 6'4'', but his serve was what it was because it was unreadable. Low toss, rhytmic delivery, BOOM, ace. His toss was a blur, his motion was too damn fast.

Being 6'4" helps. Don't say it had NOTHING to do.

Clydey2times
08-11-2009, 08:47 AM
I can't believe anyone thinks Sampras has a better serve than Karlovic.

Give me a break.

President
08-11-2009, 09:01 AM
I can't believe anyone thinks Sampras has a better serve than Karlovic.

Give me a break.

Agreed. Sampras's serve, while very good, wasn't the same as Karlovic's.

In their lone meeting, Pete Sampras managed to hold his serve 89.6% of the time against Roger Federer. According to a previous poster, Karlovic holds serve against Federer an average of 90.5% of the time. This is not a substantial difference. However, when you take into account the incredible superiority of Sampras's volleys, groundstrokes, and movement over Karlovic's, the implications are clear. Karlovic's serve is quite a bit better than Sampras.

While one match can't give a complete idea of how Sampras's serve would have held up against Federer, it does give some indication of what would have happened.

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-11-2009, 09:02 AM
Agreed. Sampras's serve, while very good, wasn't the same as Karlovic's.

In their lone meeting, Pete Sampras managed to hold his serve 89.6% of the time against Roger Federer. According to a previous poster, Karlovic holds serve against Federer an average of 90.5% of the time. This is not a substantial difference. However, when you take into account the incredible superiority of Sampras's volleys, groundstrokes, and movement over Karlovic's, the implications are clear. Karlovic's serve is quite a bit better than Sampras.

While one match can't give a complete idea of how Sampras's serve would have held up against Federer, it does give some indication of what would have happened.

I agree, the ones who voted for Pete is probably thinking about Pete the player not Pete the server.

akv89
08-11-2009, 09:05 AM
Agreed. Sampras's serve, while very good, wasn't the same as Karlovic's.

In their lone meeting, Pete Sampras managed to hold his serve 89.6% of the time against Roger Federer. According to a previous poster, Karlovic holds serve against Federer an average of 90.5% of the time. This is not a substantial difference. However, when you take into account the incredible superiority of Sampras's volleys, groundstrokes, and movement over Karlovic's, the implications are clear. Karlovic's serve is quite a bit better than Sampras.

While one match can't give a complete idea of how Sampras's serve would have held up against Federer, it does give some indication of what would have happened.

And keep in mind that the match between Sampras and Federer was on fast grass, where holding serve is somewhat easier.

President
08-11-2009, 09:06 AM
I agree, the ones who voted for Pete is probably thinking about Pete the player not Pete the server.

Yeah, I think they are unable to believe that a mediocre player like Karlovic who will never win a Grand Slam (or even come close, for that matter), could have a better serve than the great Pete Sampras.

Btw, his name is Ivo, not Iva :)

THUNDERVOLLEY
08-11-2009, 09:19 AM
So sampras' and other players who haven't the height have to most skilful serves, karlovic & goran have the most effective serves.

Interesting POV.

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-11-2009, 09:32 AM
Yeah, I think they are unable to believe that a mediocre player like Karlovic who will never win a Grand Slam (or even come close, for that matter), could have a better serve than the great Pete Sampras.

Btw, his name is Ivo, not Iva :)
Agree, yes im well aware of that but when i noticed it it was to late:)

drwood
08-11-2009, 09:38 AM
I agree, the ones who voted for Pete is probably thinking about Pete the player not Pete the server.

No, I'm actually being very objective. NO ONE had more aces/service winners in crucial situations than Sampras. There were several people who have had bigger first serves (i.e. Karlovic, Ivanisevic, Roddick), but no one was better.

Plus, NO ONE could match Pete's second serve -- Karlovic' second serve is good, but not great.

President
08-11-2009, 09:41 AM
No, I'm actually being very objective. NO ONE had more aces/service winners in crucial situations than Sampras. There were several people who have had bigger first serves (i.e. Karlovic, Ivanisevic, Roddick), but no one was better.

Plus, NO ONE could match Pete's second serve -- Karlovic' second serve is good, but not great.

This poll is about 1st serve only, so 2nd serve should not be taken into account.

Secondly, Karlovic holds his serve even more frequently than Sampras, and with a far inferior game to back up the serve.

Karlovic's serve isn't just about speed. It's about the angle. He is 6'10'': it's like serving from a tree.

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-11-2009, 09:43 AM
No, I'm actually being very objective. NO ONE had more aces/service winners in crucial situations than Sampras. There were several people who have had bigger first serves (i.e. Karlovic, Ivanisevic, Roddick), but no one was better.

Plus, NO ONE could match Pete's second serve -- Karlovic' second serve is good, but not great.
Petes serve was terrible on clay, if you look at statistics Pete always had a much lower 1st serve percentage on clay than on the fast surfaces,mentally? Maybe, a fact? Yes. It didnt give him nearly as many points as he would have liked. He was extremely dependant on a fast court, and this thread treats only 1st serves

drwood
08-11-2009, 09:46 AM
Petes serve was terrible on clay, if you look at statistics Pete always had a much lower 1st serve percentage on clay than on the fast surfaces,mentally? Maybe, a fact? Yes. It didnt give him nearly as many points as he would have liked. He was extremely dependant on a fast court, and this thread treats only 1st serves

I wouldn't say his serve was terrible on clay, its just that on clay he didn't get as many free points, and his inconsistent backhand was continuously exposed by good (and not so good) claycourters b/c of the longer rallies. Pete's serve on clay + Federer's groundgame = severe challenge to Nadal and Borg as best claycourter ever.

akv89
08-11-2009, 09:48 AM
No, I'm actually being very objective. NO ONE had more aces/service winners in crucial situations than Sampras. There were several people who have had bigger first serves (i.e. Karlovic, Ivanisevic, Roddick), but no one was better.

Plus, NO ONE could match Pete's second serve -- Karlovic' second serve is good, but not great.

Karlovic and Ivanisevic frequently smack down aces/unreturnables when down break points. The only reason they're not known for it as much is because they don't get as much attention or coverage as Sampras.

drwood
08-11-2009, 09:50 AM
This poll is about 1st serve only, so 2nd serve should not be taken into account.

Secondly, Karlovic holds his serve even more frequently than Sampras, and with a far inferior game to back up the serve.

Karlovic's serve isn't just about speed. It's about the angle. He is 6'10'': it's like serving from a tree.

That's b/c Karlovic plays against and loses to far inferior players than Sampras ever did. When you can't consistently beat top-50 guys for most of your career, then the majority of your matches are going to be against guys that are subpar-to-average returners at best.

Most of Sampras' key matches were against people who were prime returners in this or any era -- i.e. Agassi, Chang, Courier -- and even his second-rate opponents (i.e Kucera, Rios, Moya, etc.) were far better returners than those Karlovic faced most of his career.

You'll see Karlovic's service percentage games held drop as he starts playing against more top-level competition. That's not to say he doesn't have a phenomenal serve, he does. But lets compare apples to apples when it comes to quality of competition.

akv89
08-11-2009, 09:54 AM
That's b/c Karlovic plays against and loses to far inferior players than Sampras ever did. When you can't consistently beat top-50 guys for most of your career, then the majority of your matches are going to be against guys that are subpar-to-average returners at best.

Most of Sampras' key matches were against people who were prime returners in this or any era -- i.e. Agassi, Chang, Courier -- and even his second-rate opponents (i.e Kucera, Rios, Moya, etc.) were far better returners than those Karlovic faced most of his career.

You'll see Karlovic's service percentage games held drop as he starts playing against more top-level competition. That's not to say he doesn't have a phenomenal serve, he does. But lets compare apples to apples when it comes to quality of competition.

I've addressed this. Looking only at his matches this year against players in the top 20, Karlovic still wins 86% of his 1st serve points and holds 91% of his service games. So there's not much of a drop at all in his stats.

In comparison, Sampras held 89% of his service games in all his matches (not just the top 20) in 1994, arguably his best year.

President
08-11-2009, 09:54 AM
That's b/c Karlovic plays against and loses to far inferior players than Sampras ever did. When you can't consistently beat top-50 guys for most of your career, then the majority of your matches are going to be against guys that are subpar-to-average returners at best.

Most of Sampras' key matches were against people who were prime returners in this or any era -- i.e. Agassi, Chang, Courier -- and even his second-rate opponents (i.e Kucera, Rios, Moya, etc.) were far better returners than those Karlovic faced most of his career.

You'll see Karlovic's service percentage games held drop as he starts playing against more top-level competition. That's not to say he doesn't have a phenomenal serve, he does. But lets compare apples to apples when it comes to quality of competition.

Have you read this post?

Doesn't make much of a difference. Against the top 20 this year, Karlovic still wins 86% of the points when he gets his first serve in and holds serve 91% of the time.

Karlovic's serve is still pretty much the same even against top players.

On a sidenote, Karlovic has the record for most aces in a match. The amazing thing about this is that it was at the French Open (clay!!!!!) against Lleyton Hewitt (great returner). The sad part is...he still lost the match:neutral:

FiveO
08-11-2009, 09:56 AM
Goran's serve effectiveness had nothing to do with his height.
Yeah, he was 6'4'', but his serve was what it was because it was unreadable. Low toss, rhytmic delivery, BOOM, ace. His toss was a blur, his motion was too damn fast.

+ left-handed. For all those reasons a slight tick to Ivanisevic over Karlovic.

5

drwood
08-11-2009, 10:01 AM
Have you read this post?

Karlovic's serve is still pretty much the same even against top players.

On a sidenote, Karlovic has the record for most aces in a match. The amazing thing about this is that it was at the French Open (clay!!!!!) against Lleyton Hewitt (great returner). The sad part is...he still lost the match:neutral:

I saw Karlovic get broken twice last week against Roddick, who is at best an average returner. He plays a far lower percentage of his matches against top-20 players than Sampras ever did.

Plus, a big reason Karlovic has the most record for aces is b/c (until this year) his return game was HORRIBLE, allowing inferior opponents to hang around when he should be beating them sooner -- if he did, he wouldn't have as many aces.

And, again, aces are only part of the story -- a service winner is just as good as an ace. The only time aces really make a difference are in tight spots (15/30, break point down, 0/30).

drwood
08-11-2009, 10:04 AM
Karlovic and Ivanisevic frequently smack down aces/unreturnables when down break points. The only reason they're not known for it as much is because they don't get as much attention or coverage as Sampras.

And they don't get as much coverage b/c they don't do it when it really matters (except for Goran at 2001 Wimbledon); Sampras did that all of the time.

Example: Karlovic vs. Federer at Wimbledon; Roddick' serve was MUCH better against Federer in the final.

Andres
08-11-2009, 10:05 AM
+ left-handed. For all those reasons a slight tick to Ivanisevic over Karlovic.

5
And with just one toss. Everyone expects a 118 mph serve out wide to the ad side, and then BAM! He cranked the 130 to the T, curving from outside in.

On the deuce side, off the same toss, he could crank the 125 mph topspin-slice serve to the T (his money serve), or the 136 flat serve out wide.

When he was on, it was unreturnable. When he got his serve grooving, there was nothing you could do about it, except praying for a 1st serve fault.

And of course, if he was confident enough, he would crank the 2nd serve too.

Check these two videos, against Roddick (mainly) and against Kafelnikov. The Kaf. one is particularly good (serve-wise)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKIUYkop5tY (kafelnikov)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRCEcL62_U0 (a mix)

Chadwixx
08-11-2009, 10:05 AM
Have you read this post?



Karlovic's serve is still pretty much the same even against top players.

On a sidenote, Karlovic has the record for most aces in a match. The amazing thing about this is that it was at the French Open (clay!!!!!) against Lleyton Hewitt (great returner). The sad part is...he still lost the match:neutral:

So hewitt has a harder time returning karlovics serve on slow clan than he did pete's on a semi fast hard court?

FiveO, watch fed vs goran. Fed had little trouble returning his serve. Speaking about the match where they both had the funky hair style

President
08-11-2009, 10:07 AM
I saw Karlovic get broken twice last week against Roddick, who is at best an average returner. He plays a far lower percentage of his matches against top-20 players than Sampras ever did.

Plus, a big reason Karlovic has the most record for aces is b/c (until this year) his return game was HORRIBLE, allowing inferior opponents to hang around when he should be beating them sooner -- if he did, he wouldn't have as many aces.

And, again, aces are only part of the story -- a service winner is just as good as an ace. The only time aces really make a difference are in tight spots (15/30, break point down, 0/30).

Did you read the post? Even against top 20 players, he holds 91% of his service games. It doesn't matter how frequently he meets them; when he does meet them he holds just as well as against inferior players.

Andres
08-11-2009, 10:09 AM
Plus, a big reason Karlovic has the most record for aces is b/c (until this year) his return game was HORRIBLE, allowing inferior opponents to hang around when he should be beating them sooner -- if he did, he wouldn't have as many aces.
Not true. Count aces per service game, and you'll see. It's not like he plays marathonic matches every time. He's averaging something like 1.20 aces per service game. On grass, it was closer to 1.60.

akv89
08-11-2009, 10:11 AM
I saw Karlovic get broken twice last week against Roddick, who is at best an average returner. He plays a far lower percentage of his matches against top-20 players than Sampras ever did.

Plus, a big reason Karlovic has the most record for aces is b/c (until this year) his return game was HORRIBLE, allowing inferior opponents to hang around when he should be beating them sooner -- if he did, he wouldn't have as many aces.

And, again, aces are only part of the story -- a service winner is just as good as an ace. The only time aces really make a difference are in tight spots (15/30, break point down, 0/30).

On your first point, making an argument based on a single match is never a good idea. Sampras' serve was broken even more frequently by Roddick in individual matches. Nevertheless, Karlovic was still broken in only 2 of the 12 service games he played last week. And that's one of his poor serving performances.

On your second point, if you think that the only reason Karlovic serves a lot of aces is because he plays long games, you must not have seen him play. As you said, Karlovic often goes out early in tournaments and doesn't get to play in as many matches as someone like Sampras. Yet he still hits more aces in a year.

And regarding your last point, Karlovic isn't just about aces either. Chances are if he didn't hit an ace, he probably hit a service winner.

akv89
08-11-2009, 10:16 AM
And they don't get as much coverage b/c they don't do it when it really matters (except for Goran at 2001 Wimbledon); Sampras did that all of the time.

Example: Karlovic vs. Federer at Wimbledon; Roddick' serve was MUCH better against Federer in the final.

They don't get as much coverage because the rest of their games isn't good enough for them to consistently get deep into tournaments, not because they can't serve when it matters.

Roddick served well in the final, but a big reason why he was able to stay unbroken till the end was because his ground game held up throughout the match. You can't expect the same from Karlovic. And again, you're making judgments based on individual matches, instead of looking at the big picture.

Andres
08-11-2009, 10:18 AM
They don't get as much coverage because the rest of their games aren't good enough for them to consistently get deep into tournaments, not because they can't serve when it matters.
Are we talking about the same Ivanisevic, who won 22 singles titles and was a consistant toptenner for 10 years?

akv89
08-11-2009, 10:20 AM
Are we talking about the same Ivanisevic, who won 22 singles titles and was a consistant toptenner for 10 years?

Fine, in comparison to Sampras :). I guess that statement applied more to Karlovic than Ivanisevic.

Carsomyr
08-11-2009, 10:23 AM
He had an awesome serve

He had an awesome nickname derived from his serve.

As others have said, Pete Sampras had a great serve (how else would he get 1,000 aces in a season?) but isn't in the same league as Karlovic. It's not just the angle, which is an enormous enough advantage in itself, but he also has the power of Andy Roddick, hitting a 153 MPH ace out-wide a couple of years ago, and holding the record for fastest ************, which he hit somewhere in the neighborhood of 145 MPH.

In comparison, Sampras held 89% of his service games in all his matches (not just the top 20) in 1994, arguably his best year.

Just curious, where do you get your stats from? Unless you know something I don't (which is very likely) about the ATP website, they don't have stats up from seasons past. For some things, I've had to go through matches individually and it's certainly been a pain.

GameSampras
08-11-2009, 10:25 AM
Karlovic for years could barely get out fo the first round of Wimbeldon.. If his first serve was so deadly, that should have guranteed him at a least 2nd-3rd round loss.

Im going to go with Goran as the best 1st serve ever.

akv89
08-11-2009, 10:26 AM
He had an awesome nickname derived from his serve.

Just curious, where do you get your stats from? Unless you know something I don't (which is very likely) about the ATP website, they don't have stats up from seasons past. For some things, I've had to go through matches individually and it's certainly been a pain.

I compiled it myself from his individual match statistics on the ATP website.

I put together his service and return stats from '94 in a thread in the Former Pro Section:
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=280245

President
08-11-2009, 10:29 AM
Karlovic for years could barely get out fo the first round of Wimbeldon.. If his first serve was so deadly, that should have guranteed him at a least 2nd-3rd round loss.

Im going to go with Goran as the best 1st serve ever.

The reason he couldn't get very far (until this year) was that his ground game was absolute rubbish. Karlovic has a higher % of games held throughout his career (even against top players) than either Ivanisevic or Sampras.

DarthMaul
08-11-2009, 10:29 AM
My vote goes to Sampras.

ubermeyer
08-11-2009, 10:35 AM
I think Karlovic has the best 1st serve, but his second serve let's him down alot IMO.

I think Karlovic's 2nd serve is amazing as well, but anyway the poll is about the best 1st serve.

I think it's tough though. Karlovic is not a clear winner. Goran and Pim Pim had serves that are comparable to Karlovic's. I mean come on, Goran did essentially serve his way to victory at Wimbledon.

Yes, but Karlovic has a better serve. The reason Ivanisevic hit so many aces is because the courts were faster back then. If Karlovic played back then, his serve would have been even bigger.

Fedfan1234
08-11-2009, 10:38 AM
Karlovic is a REALLY BAD PLAYER, but his first serve is simply the best. No matter what you say, nobody can look past that angle he produces with that type of speed with that consistency. If you vote for another guy it is mostly because of sentimental reasons. Either this or you never seen Karlovic serve. He even aced an underhand serve:D The talk about service games won is futile because 2nd serves are also included and we are not discussing his 2nd serve nor his other strokes.
Only angle, Speed and consistency matter and based on this Karlovic is clearly the best. The reason for this would ofcourse be that he is extremely tall, talent has nothing to do with it. If we would exclude Karlovic Sampras would be a little bit in front of Federer.

President
08-11-2009, 10:40 AM
Karlovic is a REALLY BAD PLAYER, but his first serve is simply the best. No matter what you say, nobody can look past that angle he produces with that type of speed with that consistency. If you vote for another guy it is mostly because of sentimental reasons. Either this or you never seen Karlovic serve. He even aced an underhand serve:D The talk about service games won is futile because 2nd serves are also included and we are not discussing his 2nd serve nor his other strokes.
Only angle, Speed and consistency matter and based on this Karlovic is clearly the best. The reason for this would ofcourse be that he is extremely tall, talent has nothing to do with it. If we would exclude Karlovic Sampras would be a little bit in front of Federer.

I wouldn't say Karlovic's height is the only factor. John Isner is about the same height, but his serve is not nearly as effective as Dr. Ivo's.

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-11-2009, 10:42 AM
I wouldn't say Karlovic's height is the only factor. John Isner is about the same height, but his serve is not nearly as effective as Dr. Ivo's.
Wrong. Karlovic is 4 foot taller than Isner, thats a huge difference when it comes to angles, consistency.

Bilbo
08-11-2009, 10:43 AM
I HATE how the 70's get NO love in this forum! WHYYY??!!! Orantes, Borg and crew were part of the greatest era in tennis HISTORY! Roscoe tanner generated a massive number of winners and aces for his time. If Tanner played today, damn near every first serve he hit would be over 135. The guy had the greatest service motion EVER (lowest ball toss), and the smoothest motion. When Psycho-T hit his serve, you literally NEVER knew where it was headed. Easily the biggest serve of All Time.

FiveO
08-11-2009, 10:44 AM
So hewitt has a harder time returning karlovics serve on slow clan than he did pete's on a semi fast hard court?

FiveO, watch fed vs goran. Fed had little trouble returning his serve. Speaking about the match where they both had the funky hair style

Both of those matches were after a back injury in '99 and then the recurrent shoulder injuries which plagued him throughout 2000 and 2001. In 1998 he led the ATP in aces after that he was not close to the server he had been and dropped to #2 in aces in 1999. For his '01 Wimbledon title Ivanisevic knew that one way or another he faced shoulder surgery and made the decision that he was taking his final shot, willing to completely blow out that shoulder before going under the knife. I'm not saying that it would have changed a thing v. Fed in 2000 and 2001, but Ivanisevic's serve was not what he had been from 1988-1998.

5

President
08-11-2009, 10:44 AM
Wrong. Karlovic is 4 foot taller than Isner, thats a huge difference when it comes to angles, consistency.

Can't tell if you're joking or not...but Isner is 6'9'', while Karlovic is 6'10''. Forgive me if you were just joking:oops:

Fidelio
08-11-2009, 10:44 AM
What about him?

Philippoussis hit 46 aces in Wimbledon 2003 against Agassi ''the best returner of all time''.

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-11-2009, 10:46 AM
I HATE how the 70's get NO love in this forum! WHYYY??!!! Orantes, Borg and crew were part of the greatest era in tennis HISTORY! Roscoe tanner generated a massive number of winners and aces for his time. If Tanner played today, damn near every first serve he hit would be over 135. The guy had the greatest service motion EVER (lowest ball toss), and the smoothest motion. When Psycho-T hit his serve, you literally NEVER knew where it was headed. Easily the biggest serve of All Time.
I gave the 70`s some love by including Tanner and Johnny Mac:)

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-11-2009, 10:47 AM
Can't tell if you're joking or not...but Isner is 6'9'', while Karlovic is 6'10''. Forgive me if you were just joking:oops:
Are u sure?? Hm , i was thinking of Sam Querrey, u r right.

President
08-11-2009, 10:48 AM
Are u sure?? Hm , i was thinking of Sam Querrey, u r right.

That's what I like to hear:twisted:

akv89
08-11-2009, 10:49 AM
Philippoussis hit 46 aces in Wimbledon 2003 against Agassi ''the best returner of all time''.

Philippousis had a great 1st serve for sure. But it's not in the same league as Karlovic's or Ivanisevic's. Although Agassi is a great returner, he was aced quite often because he would try to return closer to the baseline than anyone else.

Andres
08-11-2009, 10:55 AM
I wouldn't say Karlovic's height is the only factor. John Isner is about the same height, but his serve is not nearly as effective as Dr. Ivo's.
Karlovic:
Service Games Won: 92%

Isner:
Service Games Won: 91%

President
08-11-2009, 10:57 AM
Karlovic:
Service Games Won: 92%

Isner:
Service Games Won: 91%

I stand corrected :-?

Karlovic still gets more aces than him though:)

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-11-2009, 10:57 AM
Karlovic:
Service Games Won: 92%

Isner:
Service Games Won: 91%
Impressive BUT Isner has a much better baseline-game (i know that is off topic but still)

ubermeyer
08-11-2009, 10:58 AM
Look, there is no way Sampras had a better serve than Ivo Karlovic. Anyone who thinks so is dumb. The rest of his game was much better, but his 1st serve is incomparable to Karlovic's.

FiveO
08-11-2009, 11:09 AM
2 things about the Sampras serve it was more about the way he backed it up. Agassi has been quoted as saying just that. AA said in and of itself Sampras's serve was great but that if Pete had Wayne Arthurs' serve he would have been that much "nastier". Yes...Arthurs was the example AA used.

IT: Sampras' serve?

AA: There are others with better serves, but he defended his serve well and that makes a difference. When you talk about a serve versus a hold game, you're talking about two entirely different things. Wayne Arthurs has one of the most beautiful serves you'll ever see. If you gave Pete Wayne Arthurs' serve, he would have been that much nastier.

http://www.insidetennis.com/archive/0906_agassi.html


That being said, the second and most important element of the Sampras serve, was he was an incredibly clutch server, which was not by chance. What was notable about Sampras that he could produce high quality serve after high quality serve especially in the most pressure packed situations. While even the "better" servers of his day and since often fold or suffer that inopportune patch, so in that sense he was the "better" server.

However purely as a single shot, viewed in a vacuum I would still stick with Ivanisevic followed by Karlovic.

5

zagor
08-11-2009, 11:13 AM
Best 1st serve? Goran,no contest IMO.His second serve is nothing to talk about but his first serve is the best ever IMO.

Cesc Fabregas
08-11-2009, 11:18 AM
Goran or Pete.

darthpwner
08-11-2009, 11:23 AM
Goran Ivanisevic

darthpwner
08-11-2009, 11:25 AM
Im a former professional player and id say i have (still) a decent 1st serve, i once tried to stand on a board that took me up to Ivo Karlovic height, amazing how easy it is to serve up there!

what is your name?

darthpwner
08-11-2009, 11:27 AM
Tell us this, why is it hewitt steps into pete's serve like its a ball machine, yet barely gets a racket on karlovics?

Hewitt stands further back than most to return petes serve so that the serve doesnt kick as high. when u have a giant like karlovic the ball is gonna jump high even if ur 10 ft behind the baseline.

darthpwner
08-11-2009, 11:31 AM
i bet if i had karlovic's height id have the GOAT serve:)

darthpwner
08-11-2009, 11:38 AM
Wrong. Karlovic is 4 foot taller than Isner, thats a huge difference when it comes to angles, consistency.

wth r u talking about? 4 feet taller?

darthpwner
08-11-2009, 11:39 AM
Philippoussis hit 46 aces in Wimbledon 2003 against Agassi ''the best returner of all time''.

4 sets also i think

darthpwner
08-11-2009, 11:40 AM
Are u sure?? Hm , i was thinking of Sam Querrey, u r right.

querrey hit 10 straight aces against blake

TheMagicianOfPrecision
08-11-2009, 12:29 PM
what is your name?
Tobias
10 char

ubermeyer
08-11-2009, 04:32 PM
I can't believe the amount of ***********s on here. Sampras is the better player. Karlovic has the better serve. The reason Sampras's serve was so good is because the courts were faster back then, but even if you ignore that, Karlovic clearly has a better serve. Sampras has the all around better game, Karlovic has the better 1st serve. It's not even a matter of discussion, really. It's like arguing with someone who thinks Murray's 2nd serve is better (consistency aside) than Karlovic's 1st serve.

JeMar
08-11-2009, 04:34 PM
Goran.

(10)

drwood
08-11-2009, 05:21 PM
2 things about the Sampras serve it was more about the way he backed it up. Agassi has been quoted as saying just that. AA said in and of itself Sampras's serve was great but that if Pete had Wayne Arthurs' serve he would have been that much "nastier". Yes...Arthurs was the example AA used.

http://www.insidetennis.com/archive/0906_agassi.html

That being said, the second and most important element of the Sampras serve, was he was an incredibly clutch server, which was not by chance. What was notable about Sampras that he could produce high quality serve after high quality serve especially in the most pressure packed situations. While even the "better" servers of his day and since often fold or suffer that inopportune patch, so in that sense he was the "better" server.

However purely as a single shot, viewed in a vacuum I would still stick with Ivanisevic followed by Karlovic.

5

Thanks for the link...awesome interview

Blade0324
08-11-2009, 05:24 PM
Sorry to you all but I gotta go with a former top 100 player named Scott Warren. Not the best game as I'm sure most of you have not heard of him but I'd give him credit for the best serve.
Also he had the record for the biggest serve before Roddick broke that record.

dincuss
08-11-2009, 05:43 PM
Tobias
10 char

Awesome name :D

tiebraek
08-11-2009, 05:49 PM
surprised by this list ..the king is missing non other than BoomBoom aka Boris Becker!!..It's just awesome!!!

ChanceEncounter
08-11-2009, 09:43 PM
I saw Karlovic get broken twice last week against Roddick, who is at best an average returner. He plays a far lower percentage of his matches against top-20 players than Sampras ever did.

Plus, a big reason Karlovic has the most record for aces is b/c (until this year) his return game was HORRIBLE, allowing inferior opponents to hang around when he should be beating them sooner -- if he did, he wouldn't have as many aces.

And, again, aces are only part of the story -- a service winner is just as good as an ace. The only time aces really make a difference are in tight spots (15/30, break point down, 0/30).
Stop the presses, everybody!

Nevermind that Karlovic holds 91% of the time against Top 20 players, drwood saw Roddick break him, so his serve must suck! Who cares for overall statistics, it's only drwood's personal barometer that makes a bit of difference!

All hail.

egn
08-11-2009, 09:51 PM
Joachim =[ was amazing..Goran definitely imo but Joachim was an amazing server

Deuce
08-11-2009, 11:03 PM
How about Steve Denton - the Texan from the '80s?
Kevin Curren's doubles partner.

Denton took a step - or two - into the ball on his serve, which was regarded as one of the biggest on the tour in the early '80s.
Denton was a perennial top 30 - top 40 player in singles - much like Zivojinovic (whose name is good to see in the poll).
Without 'Bobo', there may not have been a Djokovic - and maybe not even an Ivanisevic or Ivanovic.

federerGOAT
08-12-2009, 10:15 AM
How is it most people think that Sampras has a better 1st serve than Federer? I can see the valid arguments comparing Karlovic and Federer, but not Sampras.

I've seen some people on here quote that the fastest serve of Sampras was 139mph, but I can't seem to find any credible sources except one that mentioned a 136 mph serve at Wimbledon.

Even the great Federer had a serve timed at 137 mph and Murray broke 140mph. Sampras's serve is inferior to serves of today's players who match him in every department.

l_gonzalez
08-12-2009, 10:30 AM
1st serve I would give it to Goran.

jevonclyde
08-12-2009, 10:49 AM
IVO - hands down. Purely based on what you asked.

egn
08-13-2009, 09:21 PM
How is it most people think that Sampras has a better 1st serve than Federer? I can see the valid arguments comparing Karlovic and Federer, but not Sampras.

I've seen some people on here quote that the fastest serve of Sampras was 139mph, but I can't seem to find any credible sources except one that mentioned a 136 mph serve at Wimbledon.

Even the great Federer had a serve timed at 137 mph and Murray broke 140mph. Sampras's serve is inferior to serves of today's players who match him in every department.

It's about the placement also, not simply just power. Sampras had an amazing placement he could serve 135-140 consistently right down the T of the court. Not many can do that.

federerGOAT
08-13-2009, 10:18 PM
It's about the placement also, not simply just power. Sampras had an amazing placement he could serve 135-140 consistently right down the T of the court. Not many can do that.


Where did you get the 140 mph from? I could only find a 136 mph figure as his fastest serve from the internet. Besides the great Federer can hit the lines consistently with his serve as well and he doesn't double fault as much.