Becker's service action!!!

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Roger Sampras, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. Roger Sampras

    Roger Sampras New User

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    Last night I watched an old tape of the 1991 Aus Open final and of coarse I found myself marveling at Becker's enormous serve! Watching his action carefully I could not quite work out how he was able to generate such furious pace from his technique. For example, (as you know) he tended to brush up over the ball rather that hit the ball flat (??) and further more he tossed the ball a great deal behind him, causing him to arch his back and strike the ball behind him rather, than out in front. I use this type of serve to gain top-spin but I strugle to extract pace from it. So what was Boris's pace generating secret! Freak!
     
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  2. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    It's a hell of a service, especially on grass and fast indoor, it has such vicious slice/spin combined with power. Just look at his bend, his knees almost touched the ground, that was the base for a big serve like his...a beauty!


    [​IMG]
     
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  3. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

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    Yup, massive explosion from the knees, he was one powerful dude.

    To the OP: Are you sure he's throwing the ball behind him? Could just be an appearances thing, from memory he'd be springing forward and up...

    Like edberg - massive kick, but at the time of impact he was so far forward and angled into the court he was practically falling over, but very much in control....
     
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  4. Fedfan4life

    Fedfan4life Semi-Pro

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    Great power he gets from his legs. Very compact too
     
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  5. Mad iX

    Mad iX Semi-Pro

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    I always marvelled at his knee bend. I don't think he tosses it behind him, at least not on the first serve.
     
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  6. BounceHitBounceHit

    BounceHitBounceHit Legend

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    Please also note that toss is not behind him. More like a 'neutral' or 'just in front' toss position. He did toss it back a bit for the kicker, which he hit VERY effectively. CC
     
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  7. Roger Sampras

    Roger Sampras New User

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    Thanks for the feedback..i had over-looked the knee bend, makes perfect sence!
    When I said he threw it behind him I didn't explain it very well..and I'm still not that sure how to explain what I mean! I guess he would throw it out to the side (and infront) a great distance - hence the arched back etc.
     
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  8. michaellashan

    michaellashan Rookie

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    Viva La Boom-Boom. Becker's serve was just amazing. Even his second serve was amazing!
     
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  9. Jet Rink

    Jet Rink Semi-Pro

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    True - lots of upward motion - and he lands on his right leg - very unorthodox but a good motion to emulate for its power. That was a serve for the ages and one that when it was on, was unhittable.

    Jet
     
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  10. Roger Sampras

    Roger Sampras New User

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    I think I know why they called him Boom Boom? Because when he made contact with the ball it went "BOOM" and then when the ball smashed off the service court it went "BOOM" again! Hnece BOOM-BOOM!
     
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  11. migjam

    migjam Professional

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    He also had heavy racquet pronation
     
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  12. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    He had a very distictive service motion. I could just glance at the TV and immediately know it was him that was playing just from that motion. In his prime his serve was one of the strongest on the men's tour.
     
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  13. grizzly4life

    grizzly4life Professional

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    why doesn't anyone serve like him anymore (the motion)?.... or even before? (not sure of that though... didn't roscoe tanner do a more kevin curren like motion?)

    boris' service motion was incredible.
     
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  14. hoosierbr

    hoosierbr Hall of Fame

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    Proof that you don't need orthodox or classic technique to get the job done and excel. Not just his ball toss but if you look closely he lands on his right foot instead of the left when he finally hits the ball. Most right-handers land on their left foot after they serve.

    Part of the knee injuries that some players have after years of playing. Most right-handers have left knee injuries.

    Michael Chang did the same thing in the early days but then came down on his left foot later on.
     
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  15. grizzly4life

    grizzly4life Professional

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    hoosier, thanks!!... i remember the footing thing now that you mention it.... what grip did becker use? i think i remember reading it was SW or W? but i can't see how that could be.
     
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  16. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

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    becker used an eastern grip for serve. it's very unusual for a pro.
     
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  17. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    He also finished his serve on the right side of his body.
     
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  18. rfprse

    rfprse Professional

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    About right foot first landing, unlike his eastern grip, it was not regarded as unorthodox at the time.
    It was more or less a classical way of landing around the time (that he learned tennis).
     
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  19. Ted Ghost Shackley

    Ted Ghost Shackley New User

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    The most unique thing about Becker's serve was that Eastern forehand grip. I never understood how he could hit all his serves, especially the slice out wide with that grip. The grip created the illusion of huge pronation (the racquet head looked more rotated after contact); Edberg was at the opposite end of the spectrum. Anyone else serve successfully with the Becker grip?
     
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  20. officerdibble

    officerdibble Semi-Pro

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    I think you've almost got what's going on with your observation. I think his power comes from getting his (not inconsiderable) body weight into his service action. In part this is achieved by getting most of his body through the plane of the ball (by which I mean if you imagine a vertical line down from the ball to the ground his body goes through and his arm and racket follow). I think the knee bend is a bit of a red herring. It's important, but in helping him spring forward rather than up.

    I could be talking out of my K-Swiss shorts though :)
     
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  21. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Hi. Big Boris fan here. What a serve. The guy could bring it. Tough to read. Clutch second server, too. How many aces did Boris come up with at just the right time? Man.My opinion here, for what it's worth.His grip looked more eastern than it was. I believe he was so strong, and got so much upward kick, the slight shift to the right of his hand position made his serve less kicky and more penetrating. Even when he was sixteen, he had that strange grip. Even on FH volleys.Also, if you really look at his 'V' and the base knuckle of his index finger, they are fairly close to continental. The heel of his hand is more of an eastern forehand grip. Add to this the fact that he has smallish but fat hands and used a little grip...it makes for a grip that looks different to me from guys like Mac (somewhere between Boris and a continental) or Pete/Krajicek/Stich (somewhere between continental and slight BH) or Edberg (closer to a BH grip).
     
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  22. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    It's the stance and the flamboyant weird arm movement what I don't like about Boom Boom.
    Once he tosses the ball, ahhhhh, pure beauty.
     
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  23. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Jaa, I like the rocking though, rather than a lot of bouncing. Very heavy, rhythmic feel to it. He's so hard to read. Unless you are Agassi.
     
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  24. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    Naaah, Ad.
    He looks like he's on crack and having an epileptic attack each time he has to serve :D
     
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  25. rommil

    rommil Legend

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    Although it is hard to argue with the results, Boom Boom's serve did him well but it was very unorthodox. It is always funny to see when Johnny Mac does his impression of the Becker serve.
     
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  26. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    One note on the service motion. Before he began the real motion, Boris always lifted his left foot (his forefoot), maybe that was a signal, where he intended to hit hit his serve,.
     
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  27. galain

    galain Hall of Fame

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    In his earlier days he did have problems tossing the ball too far to his left. I remember seeing Ben Testerman just killing him returns to the forehand once. His weight was still moving left when the ball was coming back. That was quite early on though - obviously he went on to greatness.
     
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  28. Jack & Coke

    Jack & Coke Professional

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    Re: Becker's service grip

    From: http://www.tennisserver.com/turbo/turbo_05_12.html

    Click on the link above to read the whole article about the "backspin" serve
     
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  29. fgbowen33

    fgbowen33 New User

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    Becker's serve

    On the first serve he tossed it in front. He got the speed cuz he was almost using a forehand grip and hitting it flat with a little Australian twist to bring it down and get it in the court. His second serve was pure kick but when you weigh 200+ and with the grip that ball is going to almost bounce over the returners head with speed.
     
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  30. WillAlwaysLoveYouTennis

    WillAlwaysLoveYouTennis Hall of Fame

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    Just goes to show the strength in those powerful legs, generated by the deep knee bend. To me, he always looked as if he were hitting simply downward, and not necessarily outward like an Edberg for example. Which shows the quickness for his size, because he was an extremely effective serve volleyer as well, but springing forth with leg strength towards the net, and not just momentum from the serve like Stefan.

    I have boxes and boxes of taped matches on VHS, and overwhelmingly, most are of Boris Becker.
     
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  31. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    Okay, did Becker really use an eastern forehand grip for his serves? Is this backspin serve guy for real?
     
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  32. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    Don't forget that he had a lot of mass in his racquethead. So his racquet speed didn't need to be that fast to generate pace, much like Sampras' motion.
     
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  33. acintya

    acintya Semi-Pro

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  34. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    He may have changed it a bit since he retired. In the old footage, at 0:24 is looks like an Efh grip. At the 2:00 mark it appears that he is using something close to a semi-conti (or weak EFh) grip.
     
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  35. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Becker's service motion was very similar to Alex Olmedo's service motion.

    Here at Wimbledon defeating Laver: http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=35893

    Here in an exo vs. McKay at :31 and :37: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XTR8z5kjWc
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2010
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  36. aphex

    aphex Banned

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  37. aphex

    aphex Banned

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  38. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    According to Dave Smith, author of Tennis Mastery:


    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=149692
     
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  39. acintya

    acintya Semi-Pro

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    i dont care about the grips i just want to know if he used backspin like this guy said or he is wrong. ?
     
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  40. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Becker's service grip was basically the same as his backhand grip which was just a bit more open than a continental, but much closer to continental than Eastern. But, Dave Smith correctly observes that he laid his wrist back a bit on serve making the grip look even more open than it was.
     
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  41. 0d1n

    0d1n Hall of Fame

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    I agree that Becker's so called "eastern" grip on the serve is not really eastern.
    IMO it's a continental, albeit a bit more "conservative/open" than some of the others.
    The fact that he was a huge guy who used a pretty small grip with a very idiosyncratic motion confused a lot of people.
     
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  42. boris becker 1

    boris becker 1 Rookie

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    have heard his 1st coach breshkvar give a presentation on beckers serve. The grip was more of an aussie grip, with the base knuckle between bevel 2 and 3.


    he used a 4/3 8 grip with just an overgrip thus was still able to pronate, any larger of a grip and it would have been impossible
     
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  43. GameSetMatch

    GameSetMatch Banned

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  44. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    LOL! Don't know how many times I've had to argue against Becker used a continental (slightly wrong), and even WORSE Becker used an eastern forehand (really wrong)! Good post...but then...I've said that before, from an old thread:

    "Datacipher wrote:

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by boris becker 1

    "I have watched Boris Breshkvar Beckers 1st childhood coach give a presentation on this.


    He used what is commonly refered to as a aussie grip. The base knuckle was between bevel 3(eastern) and bevel 2(continental). Becker used very small grips. sometimes just an overgrip and no grip on the handles of his racket. Breshkvar claims that if Becker used any larger grip he would not have been able to pronate his wrist on his serve
    "

    EXCELLENT. The Becker forehand grip for the serve myth DRIVES ME NUTS. I've posted many times over the years that Becker's grip was between a true continental and an eastern, but if anything, it was closer to an eastern. Yes, his relatively small grip makes it look a bit more eastern than it is. But it CLEARLY and OBVIOUSLY was not an eastern forehand, despite commentators and other experts, who should know much better, saying so.

    Breskvar doesn't mention this specifically in his book on Becker's tennis, though he does say a continental or "semi-continental" is acceptable.

    Thanks for this info."
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2010
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  45. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    That would make it a forehand grip now wouldn't it.
     
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  46. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    LOL! Yep, I noticed that mistake to, and almost corrected it but for the sake of historical accuracy didn't as I am sure the follow-up sentences show the true meaning. Corrected it should have been:

    "I've posted many times over the years that Becker's grip was between a true continental and an eastern, but if anything, it was closer to an CONTINENTAL."
     
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  47. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Actually, I'll add that really the biggest difference between Becker's serve grip and a grip he might use for a volley, is not so much the position of his hand in regards to say, the V of his thumb/finger, it's that he lets the heel of his hand drop down, and the fingers spread out more, in other words, it's the way the racquet is allowed to rest inside the grip. Very subtly, this allows the heel of his hand to get behind the ball a bit more like a forehand grip, though that change is really not even visible to an observer. You can easily try this yourself by assuming a continental grip, and holding the fingers very close together (no split between them), and then try spreading them out, especially the top finger as far as you can, without actually changing rotation. This alone tends to get your palm a bit more behind the racquet like a forehand.

    So in that sense, he does use a...forehand style...of letting his palm feel as though it's behind the ball, but the grip is clearly nowhere near a real forehand grip.

    Of course the vast majority of players rest the racquet i their hand this way for service, but it is even more like a "forehand" because of Becker's "barely" continental grip.
     
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  48. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    Becker is one of the few pros that used open/ eastern forehand grip for the serves. This grip isn't really conducive to spin serves. Great for flat serves. I would not teach it to the Juniors. Learning to master the spin serves is paramount. they can always add the flat serves later.

    Some pros actually give away what spin they are going to hit with Grip changes prior to serve. :???:
     
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  49. aphex

    aphex Banned

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    Another gem from Dr. Fedace...Thanks for informing the tennis community that Becker served flat...Thank you good doctor...
     
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  50. 0d1n

    0d1n Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, I feel so much smarter now.
     
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