A new way of learning the serve

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by sureshs, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    From USTA, a reader-coach conversation:

    http://www.usta.com/USTA/Global/Imp...ture/2009/0115_Tips_For_Improving_Serves.aspx

    Last week's question from Malea:
    (Please note: There's no need to send additional responses to this question)


    I have been playing tennis for nearly three years now. I play a lot and am improving fast. I love the sport, and I love competing, but I'm really struggling with my serve, and it is really holding me back.

    I have never had a good serve. I know how to serve the correct way and can copy all the movements without a ball, but as soon as I toss the ball up, my serve gets messed up again. I have videotaped my serve, tried to get help from a pro, but I am stuck. I practice my serve nearly every day, but nothing ever changes. It is my one main weakness, but I don't know how to get past this major roadblock. I would love any tips on how to serve the way I know how to.



    From John, Glen Carbon, Ill.:


    As a certified PTR Pro and MTM coach, I have seen your case hundreds of times. People take lots of lessons, work very hard, and yet can't serve until they are given the correct data. In fact, if you know how to simplify things using a learning gradient (per Oscar Wegner), I don't know anyone who can't learn a decent serve in a short time with just average athletic ability. I had an 18-year-old recently take his first-ever tennis lesson in July '08 because he heard from the varsity players tennis was an easy sport to learn. Because he had no bad habits and I gave him the correct data to start with, in five months, he now serves 120 mph at 70 percent first-serve rate, rarely double faults, and dropped baseball because he discovered tennis is simple to play well. He is a good athlete but never underestimates the power of simplicity.


    In Modern Tennis Methodology, we teach the most important thing in any shot in tennis is to "find' the ball. You find the ball with your hand, the racquet simply being an extension of the hand. Given the facts you stated, I would recommend you start from scratch. I do it all the time with experienced players who can't execute the correct data because they have so much incorrect data. The fact you lose your form with the ball in the hand means your attention is dispersed elsewhere when the only thing that matters is your "finding" the ball with your hand. You are so worried about your mechanics you can't even get your hand (strings) to "find" the ball. If you find the ball per instructions below, your backswing and footwork will fall into place. You can't put the cart before the horse.


    Try forgetting everything you've learned. It didn’t work, correct? So either the data was incorrect or you misunderstood how to apply it. Simply start over and place the ball in your left hand and lift it high, ready to toss. With a continental grip, simply point the butt of the racquet in your right hand directly at the ball from below. This will force a loose grip, essential to playing your best tennis. In your case, it might be best to start over from an "arm-already-cocked position." Agassi did it awhile when he had an injury. and he still beat top-ranked players. Roddick has the hardest serve in tennis yet the shortest backswing, so don't believe all that mumbo jumbo about needing a windup and such. Simplification is the key.


    With the left arm held straight up and the hands fairly close together while the butt points at the ball, visualize hitting the ball up, feeling the strings brush up and the edge of the racquet moving up and to the right. The weight of the racquet will guide the ball, and experiment letting the head hit up and then descend downward and watch the ball propelled over the net. The most important arm muscle is the triceps, which propels the ball up and forward. Do that a few times slowly until you feel control and contraction of the triceps. Then start moving your hands apart. The back scratch by the racquet is a myth. As you move your hands further apart, the key is to point the butt at the ball before serving and hit up and to the right, as if you were literally extending your hand upward and through the ball. Start right here, and I suspect you will be more than satisfied with your feel and control, and then slowly start speeding up your acceleration of the racquet after contact, always moving the racquet slow to the ball, then fast after contact. Feel the strings brush across the ball to the right. You can add a backswing later, but shorten and simplify everything for now.
     
    #1
  2. aphex

    aphex Banned

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    hahaha







    hahahahaha
     
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  3. fruitytennis1

    fruitytennis1 Professional

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    Ditto hahaha
     
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  4. benasp

    benasp Semi-Pro

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    The guy was a college baseball player !!! Same muscle group, very simmilar mechanic, why not.

    If I can give you one simple advice for the serve: do everything humanly possible to get the ball the higher you can, if you do that, thing will be kept simple and effective.
     
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  5. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    ^^^ Said the kid was a baseball player, if you can throw a baseball 80, you can serve 120.

    That is believable.

    J
     
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  6. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    What do you guys think of:

    "always moving the racquet slow to the ball, then fast after contact"

    What does this even mean? Is it an advice to do a vigorous wrist snap into the ball at impact, after swinging slowly till before impact? Seems that the laws of physics will not allow a rapid change of speed (due to inertia), and only a weak delivery can be accomplished with something of this type.

    What do pro videos show? I thought they always accelerate into the ball for the serve, then the racquet decelerates on its own due to impact? The advice here is the opposite. Quite revolutionary may I say.

    Can someone who is familiar with the teaching methodology adopted by this coach please clarify?
     
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  7. aphex

    aphex Banned

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    you do realize that the world no.2 can't serve 120mph 70% of the time--right?
     
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  8. benasp

    benasp Semi-Pro

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    I think it's a way to tell people to accelerate throught the shot, push the ball rather than get pushed by it. Also it teach that it's more important to make good contact than swing fast. If you look at pro video that seem to be true


    Of course people shouldn't take it first degree and stat still until contact then start to swing, that would be ugly
     
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  9. benasp

    benasp Semi-Pro

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    maybe the article should read "he can serve about 70% serve in and some of them are 120mph "
     
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  10. aphex

    aphex Banned

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    yeah, that's completely different--it would be (barely) believable.
     
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  11. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    NOt sure about that. Man i am serving bigger and bigger everytime i use that NEW pure drive GT. I was serving around 102-103 or so yesterday in a match. USTA 4.5-5.0 guys couldn't get the ball back in the court even..... But on the sad note,,,, My shoulder were hurting a bit after the match.... Little worried about that..
     
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  12. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    Brian Gordon

    Articles by Brian Gordon ( some of them at www.tennisplayer.net
    address some of those issues
     
    #12
  13. aphex

    aphex Banned

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    you are lost between threads again doctor
     
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  14. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    Can you ever be productive?

    Post 1 is quite informative. If you want to add to it, do so; or just read and try to learn and then apply it on-court if possible.
     
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  15. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    The world #2 can serve 125mph 100% of the time if he wants to. Just because he chooses to hit sliders and kickers has nothing to do with ability.

    Verdasco and Gonzo are more than content to hit slice serves in the low 100s but can summon 135 just about at will when they want.

    J
     
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  16. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Jolly, you bring up a great point here. I currently believe that these guys who hit in the 100 range and going slower, use earlier elbow extension, then delay that extension when bumping it up into the 130s ( along with some other minor adjustments)

    This may also align with the MTM idea of moving slow the accel into the contact, as the elbow delayed extension is really slowing things down while you find the ball. This could be a good example of how Oscar describes the accel into contact as more important than trying to get early racket speed and holding into contact.
     
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  17. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    Tough for me to think of the difference in my own serve, since I serve with my shoulders, so try not to at all think of my elbow.

    Basically I know my angle of attack, coil, and then I pull my left shoulder down and throw my right shoulder up at the ball. Everything else just follows behind.

    J
     
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  18. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Probably a good way to think about it. We have to have our keys, which can be very different than the way things actually work. This probably leads to half the arguments on here. lol
    you would not be expect to be able to see or maybe feel this, but it is revealed on high speed vid in many cases.
     
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  19. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Played a singles match today and won 6-0, 6-2. Just posting about modern tennis has improved my game. Must be a subliminal effect.
     
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  20. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    How do you know the speeds?

    BTW, many USTA "4.5" guys are not really 4.5, from my experience.
     
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  21. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Mahboob, please look at my post #6 and answer it
     
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  22. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I think the original post had some "amplification" in its claims.
     
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  23. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    What seems to be true? Pros swing fast and make good contact. That doesn't seem to me to prove that one is more important than the other.
     
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  24. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    The original post talks about acceleration after contact. Usually people talk about acceleration into contact. You have it reversed.

    But then as I said in the other thread, I suspect you don't teach modern tennis at all. If you can take a sentence which says to accelerate after contact, and uses "after contact" twice, and you distort it to acceleration "into contact", you are capable of reading anything and teaching something just the opposite. I believe you teach the right thing, which is the opposite of what you are supposed to.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
    #24
  25. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Even Oscar doesn't agree:

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=4210623&postcount=45
     
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  26. aphex

    aphex Banned

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    is this in the same fantasy realm as your claims of serving in the 130s?
     
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  27. SirSweetSpot

    SirSweetSpot Banned

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    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA















    bwahahahahahahaha
     
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  28. SuperDuy

    SuperDuy Hall of Fame

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    Why does people always do the 'hahahha' if it is a non sensable post?
     
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  29. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I'm fully behind Jolly on this one.....
    Almost any normal sized pro tennis player, or even 5.5, should be able to serve into the higher 120's every time.
    BUT, in match play, you don't hit your fastest all the time, as the opponent gets used to the speed, so you throw in a few 115's for variety. Then, when you slice wide, that speed drops to 100, throwing the whole AVERAGE speed thing askew. AVERAGE means nothing! Sometimes, you even throw in a topspin first serve, which can't possibly speed much over 110, unless you are named Sampras.
    And Jolly's mention of wood racket into the 120's is backed up by my timed serves about 32 years ago. 3 out of 7 with a new WilsonProStaff strung with gut at 62 lbs. But when I switched to the YonnexOPSGreen, as super stiff aluminum racket and added another $30 :)):)), my speeds went up another 5mph.
    Then, in 1978, at the age of 28, I could throw a football easily 75 yards, a baseball well over 320', but never pitched a baseball ever (me wild).
     
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  30. SFrazeur

    SFrazeur Legend

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    Absolutely nothing new here. Just more MTM grandstanding. Moving on. . .

    -SF
     
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  31. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    Sorry, I misunderstood your intent, I thought you were trying to have a serious discussion.

    My bad.

    J
     
    #31
  32. samster

    samster Legend

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    Who did you beat? Somebody who learned tennis the traditional way?
     
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  33. samster

    samster Legend

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    What's so tough with the concept of accelerating after contact?
     
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  34. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    Those who have knowledge of tennis technique will tell you that if someone has accelerated "after" contact it actually occurred just before, during, and after contact!
     
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  35. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    OK, now I see.

    You have correctly resolved the problem.

    It is of no use to accelerte after contact; it's not even possible/useful to accelerate after contact because the ball is already gone. If at the time of contact the racket was slow and the ball is gone, the racket head acceleration will not cause the ball to move faster!

    The slow-fast saga can be explained as follows:

    On serve, the take-back (component 1) is slow, as you come into comp 2 (the power point/trophy style) is bit fast; comp (3) the backscratch-upward lift is faster, and comp 4 (contact zone) is the fastest; comp 5 (follow-through) decelerates! But there is no pause. All the components are woven together in one continuous motion. Remember, if you like to drive your car at 150 kph, you start from 0 gear 1; you do not start with top gear unless you are this Aphex guy!

    On FH ground stroke with Loop C: start (the upper part of the loop (take-back) is slow, the forward part (lower part of the loop) through contact is the fastest, and then leave the rest to the nature.
     
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  36. paulfreda

    paulfreda Hall of Fame

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    This is a fabulous idea !
    Partly because it is reality and partly because it is counter-intuitive.
    That is one is not likely to discover it for themselves without actually hitting some balls.
    If you try to accelerate AFTER contact, you will inevitably accelerate just before contact and this will develop wrist/forearm snap.

    Thanks Mahboob !
     
    #36
  37. gzhpcu

    gzhpcu Professional

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    Right. How many times has this picture been posted....

    [​IMG]

    source: http://wings.avkids.com/Tennis/Project/serve-01.html
     
    #37
  38. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    Very good model of Pete Sampras.

    I have printed it. All the five components are present.

    Thanks.
     
    #38
  39. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    So you are saying accelerate after contact is a visual aid for accelerating into contact, like advice of follow thru. But the way it was worded - slow before contact, and fast after contact, seems like a strange way to express it. It is also wrong. Follow thru advice is factually correct - the arm does make a follow thru. However, after impact, the racquet decelerates. So this way of expressing things (if indeed it was what was intended) is both confusing and wrong. The correct way to say it is to accelerate into impact.
     
    #39
  40. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    exactly my thoughts. These MTM coaches are in fantasy land. There isn't one thing provided by that instructor that is modern or revolutionary.
     
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  41. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Yeah he was a leftie guy with hardly any topspin shots. Flat hitter. He could not handle my modern tennis with top spin.
     
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  42. samster

    samster Legend

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    Attaboy! Traditional flat hitter is no match up for modern tennis with heavy topspin.
     
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  43. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Yeah, all you heavy topspinners have no problems beating Federer, the #1.
     
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  44. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I think you and jolly are right. Nadal purposely has a non-dominating serve.
     
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  45. gzhpcu

    gzhpcu Professional

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    IMHO, things are not so black and white. Picked up lots of good things from tennis books from different authors, and found some of Wegner's points helpful for topspin shots, which were not so clearly explained by other authors. A selection of the best from all authors was helpful.

    Online sites like FuzzyYellowBalls have supplanted the need for books, for me at least. Videos are worth a thousand words...

    MTM coaches certainly did not invent sliced bread and the marketing of the method is questionable, but this still does not mean that all of Wegner's points are not good.
     
    #45
  46. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    IF Nadal hit some flat first serves, the points would end quickly, either in his favor or his opponents, and Nadal wouldn't be able to use his best strength in the match.
    Nadal practices his serves, but his primary emphasis is groundies and movement. You only have so many hours a day to practice, or the body breaks down.
    OTOH, someone like Karlovic or Celic, Q or I, can't move much, so NEED a big fast forcing first serve.
    It'd be silly for a fast moving groundie player to hit fast first serves, as it would negate his best strength.
     
    #46
  47. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Its silly to think that a guy with knee problems wants to drag out points and chooses not to hit his big serves that he's perfectly capable of hitting.
     
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  48. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    I think you need to read my post again.

    I am simply saying there isn't one thing MTM is teaching that is "modern/revolutionary". Contrary to what this coach is leading the readers to believe, the instruction he is providing has been taught for many, MANY years, and MTM did not invent it.
     
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  49. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Agreed. The tip about holding the left hand up, abbreviating the swing, and just focusing on getting the serve across the net is a staple among many coaches with beginning juniors or intermediate juniors who are struggling with their serve. A junior girl at my club tried this for a few weeks till her serve came back again. Some coaches go to extreme lengths by kneeling down and just showing how to get the ball in with the upper body alone, so as to not bring the feet into the equation. Standard stuff. Problem with adults like the one who posted the question is that they don't want to go back to the basics but just try to hit harder every time.

    An MTM advice seems like a godsend to them, but what it is really doing is taking them back to the basics which they probably never learned properly.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2009
    #49
  50. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Nadal certainly didn't start his tennis rising career with already injured knees, back, groin, and various other injuries. Those injuries are the result of his grinding style of tennis.
    His brain isn't wired for first strike, take the initiative style of tennis, so he has to rehabilitate those injuries so he can resume grinding his opponents down, breaking them down physically.
    Look at Nadal's serve. His path is all circular, nothing direct, a short stunted motion with no real body rotation or trunk work. That similar short motion might work for Roddick, but if you look at his long groundie swings, you'd know he's not built for short quick violent swings. He takes LONG violent swings.
    He'd have to update his service motion to get short quick points, something his mind is not able to embrace, yet.
     
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