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View Full Version : Why no kick serves in doubles?


Kevin-H
12-02-2009, 08:45 AM
I was watching quite a few doubles matches during last week's Masters Cup in London.

I was quite surprised that almost all 2nd serves from the top teams were reasonably fast slice serves, whereas I expected them to be more of kick/twist serves, with the serving team closing in on the net and volleying from there.

I mean, if a kick serve was so good for Rafter (and so many other players before him) in singles play, I would've thought that it would be an even more logical weapon to use in doubles, with both players being able to cover the net and much lesser risk of being passed.

Can anyone explain?? Or am I wrong and they do actually use it?

K.

(P.S. The Brian brothers did use a few kickers but not that many either.)

LeeD
12-02-2009, 08:48 AM
Maybe the players you watched weren't the ones with the good twists and kickers.

andfor
12-02-2009, 09:27 AM
The best answer will come from someone close to the pro game. My guess is the slice stays lower and is harder to return agressivly. If your observation is correct and the pro doubles men are not utilizing the kick it may be because the returners get on top of it better and are able to be more agressive with it.

Kevin-H
12-02-2009, 09:39 AM
The best answer will come from someone close to the pro game. My guess is the slice stays lower and is harder to return agressivly. If your observation is correct and the pro doubles men are not utilizing the kick it may be because the returners get on top of it better and are able to be more agressive with it.

Could be, yes. Although also note that a lot of these top-8 teams were composed of guys with a 1HBH, I would'be thought this is again generally more of an argument for using a kicker.

(They are quite aggressive in their returns, you are right, almost no blocking like a lot of Top-8 singles were doing this week.)

supersmash
12-02-2009, 10:18 AM
Kickers are generally slower and will be pummeled.

Kevin-H
12-02-2009, 10:32 AM
Kickers are generally slower and will be pummeled.

I agree with the first part of what you said, kick-serves are indeed generally slower.

Since pro singles players use them a lot for their second serves, I am not sure about the second part of your assertion, however. (according to your shorthand explanation, they wouldn't be used at all, by anyone)

(in my OP I mentioned if kick/topspin serves were a successful strategy for Pat Rafter in his singles matches, wouldn't they be an even more successful strategy _in general_ for teams playing doubles).

VGP
12-02-2009, 10:39 AM
Kickers are generally slower and will be pummeled.

Maybe not pummeled, but effectively hit to the netrusher's feet.

During the telecast, Justin Gimmelstob said that the court was playing relatively slow with the ball staying low. In singles, favoring players like Federer and Del Potro.....and obviously Davydenko.....and not Nadal.

If there were few kickers in the dubs, it's probably more due to playing conditions and the teams' strategies followed suit.

Blade0324
12-02-2009, 10:40 AM
A lot of this is about angles and strategy. In doubles the serve is really meant to set up your partner at the net. A slice serve is going to stay lower and force the returning team to hit the ball up a bit to get it over the net and thus giving your partner a chance to finish the point. A kicker will allow the returner to hit the ball at a more downward angle thus getting it lower for the server coming in to the net.
My coach is a former ATP pro, having most success in doubles, he has a huge kicker but will only use it in competetive play if the returner will have trouble with it and mostly only in the add court out wide. He uses a slice a great deal as well.
Just what I know from his feedback to me.

jrod
12-02-2009, 11:11 AM
...
During the telecast, Justin Gimmelstob said that the court was playing relatively slow with the ball staying low.
...

Exactly. The bounce off the court did not favor kickers. Slice and flat were far more effective on that surface.

hoosierbr
12-02-2009, 12:39 PM
The better doubles teams have one player that is an excellent server and one that is an excellent returner. Returns in doubles are more important than they are in singles especially with the no ad scoring system and champions tie break. If a player doesn't have a great kick serve it'd get killed especially since the doubles alley is in play. In singles b/c you're getting pulled off the court on a good kick serve even if you get a racquet on it it often times floats wide.

coloskier
12-02-2009, 04:45 PM
I was watching quite a few doubles matches during last week's Masters Cup in London.

I was quite surprised that almost all 2nd serves from the top teams were reasonably fast slice serves, whereas I expected them to be more of kick/twist serves, with the serving team closing in on the net and volleying from there.

I mean, if a kick serve was so good for Rafter (and so many other players before him) in singles play, I would've thought that it would be an even more logical weapon to use in doubles, with both players being able to cover the net and much lesser risk of being passed.

Can anyone explain?? Or am I wrong and they do actually use it?

K.

(P.S. The Brian brothers did use a few kickers but not that many either.)

The biggest reason is that it is easier to return at the net rushers feet the higher the ball kicks, better angle. The top doubles players come in behind EVERY serve, so you can't just loop a high topspin ball back or you will get killed. It is much harder to hit a low return and keep the ball in play on a low serve.

makenakai
12-03-2009, 01:24 AM
Dubs has been about pure power since Mac-Fleming. Everyone (even moi..) can get on top of a kicker and hit down.