Better serve: McEnroe or Federer

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by gennosuke, Aug 14, 2012.

?

vote

  1. Federer

    62 vote(s)
    68.1%
  2. McEnroe

    20 vote(s)
    22.0%
  3. close

    9 vote(s)
    9.9%
  1. gennosuke

    gennosuke Banned

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    Not sure if this belongs here or Former players forum.:?
     
    #1
  2. sunof tennis

    sunof tennis Professional

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    Hard to compare since Mac played much of his career with very different equipment. I believe he says that he can serve as hard now as he could in his prime because of the new technology. Both rely on placement and spin as opposed to pure speed. Fed's serve might be objectively better but Mac's serve was just as effective because he took full advantage of his being left handed.
     
    #2
  3. helloworld

    helloworld Hall of Fame

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    Mcenroe was one of the best server in his generation. Federer is not even top 5 server in his generation(Karlovic, Isner, Roddick, Johansson, Querry were better servers). I'd take McEnroe on the serve department, but not by much.
     
    #3
  4. tennis_pro

    tennis_pro G.O.A.T.

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    Gooby, please.

    When did McEnroe face sticks and trees like Isner or Karlovic who do nothing all day but practice their serves? Name one.

    I take Federer's serve without thinking twice and it's not even close.
     
    #4
  5. Golden

    Golden Semi-Pro

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    This is Talk Tennis. Of course Federer is going to win it.
     
    #5
  6. smoledman

    smoledman Legend

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    Of course Goderer wins the poll.
     
    #6
  7. AnotherTennisProdigy

    AnotherTennisProdigy Professional

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    Accuracy wise I think Federer wins, but I'll pick McEnroe just because his lefty serve was harder to deal with.
     
    #7
  8. Praetorian

    Praetorian Professional

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    Well seeing as most people are judging the geriatric McEnroe serve they see in WTT, and comparing it to Federer's server we can readily watch today, I'd say Federer's as well. But if you take into account the effectiveness against the competition (Federer vs. today players, vs, 80s McEnroe vs 80s players), I say Mac had the edge. Now if they both were born in 2012, who knows who would have a better serve, though I would give the nod to Mac.
     
    #8
  9. veritech

    veritech Hall of Fame

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    he would probably win it on most forums.
     
    #9
  10. mental midget

    mental midget Professional

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    what do the statistics say? it's obviously a weapon for both of them. without checking the numbers i would guess that federer's second serve is the better of the two.
     
    #10
  11. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    My vote goes to McEnroe: better variety, great disguise, wicked spin.
     
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  12. The Meat

    The Meat Hall of Fame

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    I'd pick Federer because of the variety(kick, slice, flat, haven't seen him do a reverse serve yet but still waiting), and aesthetics(smooth and almost effortless).
     
    #12
  13. AnotherTennisProdigy

    AnotherTennisProdigy Professional

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    Here are some serving stats-

    Federer-

    First serve - 63%
    First serve points won - 78%
    Second serve points won - 60%
    Service games won - 91%
    Service points won - 71%

    McEnroe

    First serve - 52%
    First serve points won - 67%
    Second serve points won - 42%
    Service games won - 70%
    Service points won - 55%

    The stats are favoring Fed even though I voted McEnroe:oops:. It seems that McEnroe struggles much more with his second serve than Federer does.
     
    #13
  14. gennosuke

    gennosuke Banned

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    Stats are so meanigless here it's not even funny. :lol:

    These include Mac after his one year break.

    Also, if you come in after your serve all the time, it makes your winning percentage lower obviously.
     
    #14
  15. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    Fed's up there with the best all time servers, not the fastest serve, but boy is it fundamental to his dominance
     
    #15
  16. Smasher08

    Smasher08 Hall of Fame

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    I probably should have voted "close", but when it appeared on the scene back in the late 70s, Johnny Mac's serve was the wickedest thing around.

    Fed's is great and efficient and deadly, but Mac's had just that little bit more style.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2012
    #16
  17. tennis_pro

    tennis_pro G.O.A.T.

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    It certainly wouldn't be higher if Mac decided to stay behind the baseline:lol:
     
    #17
  18. AnotherTennisProdigy

    AnotherTennisProdigy Professional

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    ^^

    I was about to say that, it would probably be lower if he didn't come to the net :wink:
     
    #18
  19. NadalDramaQueen

    NadalDramaQueen Hall of Fame

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    Right, better to talk completely out of your ass rather than attempt to back it up. :lol:
     
    #19
  20. hcb0804

    hcb0804 Hall of Fame

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    Fed for sure.
     
    #20
  21. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

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    Federer.

    This is not even close, which is supported by the serve data. J-Mac's got that iconic delivery going, but it's just not as big a shot for him.
     
    #21
  22. Evan77

    Evan77 Banned

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    JMac for sure for many different reasons but most of kids here voting for Ballerina never saw any of JMac's matches. so much ignorance. If we made a poll, let's say, Ballerina is faster than Bolt, Ballerina would certainly win.
     
    #22
  23. 2ndServe

    2ndServe Professional

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    apples and oranges? To compare a serve and volleyer (Mac, Edberg) who use their serve more like an aggressive approach shot vs Fed's serve who uses it for different purposes is going to be difficult. Also it's tough to compare as the top 4 guys now are all probably in the top 8 of best returners I've ever seen. And Fed has to play three of them consistently making his serve stats look a little worse than they should (and they are pretty good). I'd say Federer though, if you hypothetically gave him Mac's serve he wouldn't do as well. If you gave Mac, Federer's serve he'd probably be about the same efficiency wise.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2012
    #23
  24. MTF07

    MTF07 Semi-Pro

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    List them then if there are so many reasons.
     
    #24
  25. NadalDramaQueen

    NadalDramaQueen Hall of Fame

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    No need. Once you reach a certain age, everything you say is true.
     
    #25
  26. Biscuitmcgriddleson

    Biscuitmcgriddleson Professional

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    And if you were to be entered into a poll with 6-1 6-3 6-0 for who the most vile poster is, well that is too close to call. Maybe you're ignorant of the modern game and development of players today? I mean, no one knows everything and if you're claiming to know all about JMac due to his past matches, how do we know that you have seen Federer or observed him without your obvious bias?

    Either way, I guess 70s and 80s ftw.
     
    #26
  27. Gut Check

    Gut Check Semi-Pro

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    Ummm, Mac seems like a reasonably intelligent fellow on the court. Why would he come in behind his serve almost all the time if he didn't feel like it increased his chances of winning each point?
     
    #27
  28. gennosuke

    gennosuke Banned

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    1. Tradition. Back then, the equipment didn't allow for consistent agression from the baseline, so you had to aproach if you wanted to be aggressive.

    2. I never said he'd win more if he stayed back. However, looking at SnV guys even as late as the 90s, their holding stats are lower than baseliners. SnV is risky, if you are a little sloppy, you miss the volleys.

    Also, about statistics:

    Statistics are like miniskirts, they reveal alot, but the most important things remain hidden. :lol:
     
    #28
  29. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    While Fde´s serve is a weapon ( a bit like Laver´s serve was an addition to his game), he does not rely so much on his serve as Mac did on his.

    Mac´s serve, while not the fastest, always memmerized me.That baseball swing and angled wicked serve was just so unmatchable, and that stance...
     
    #29
  30. Evan77

    Evan77 Banned

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    yup, I'm ignorant 'of modern game' because I see it the way it is. JMac - better than Ballerina period.

    thank you for putting in the same sentence with 6:1, I feel flattered as I dearly love him:).
     
    #30
  31. MTF07

    MTF07 Semi-Pro

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    17 slams is a whole lot better than 7.
     
    #31
  32. Evan77

    Evan77 Banned

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    lol, love it, a good one :) ... haha, can't stop laughing, so happy to see some guys here with a good sense of humor
    cheers,
     
    #32
  33. Smasher08

    Smasher08 Hall of Fame

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    Good poast, but do remember that Fed didn't have racket technology completely change on him when he was 23. Had rackets stayed wood, J-Mac would've won a lot more than 7.
     
    #33
  34. smoledman

    smoledman Legend

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    What happened in 1982?
     
    #34
  35. Towser83

    Towser83 Legend

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    funny cos mac always reminded me of a ballerina when he hit his backhhand
     
    #35
  36. paulorenzo

    paulorenzo Hall of Fame

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    you guys just got bannedtrolled, contributing thoughtful reasoning to a thread whose OP has been banned shortly after.
     
    #36
  37. Smasher08

    Smasher08 Hall of Fame

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    The advent of the graphite racket era. It forever changed how the sport is played by eliminating the touch game, J-Mac's forte.

    It's no coincidence that a couple of years later Lendl's career took off, and allowed 17 year old Boris Boom-Boom Becker to win SW19.

    Once Lendl figured out how to blow McEnroe off a court, Mac never won a slam again. Would've been very different had Ivan et al. been stuck with wooden rackets.
     
    #37
  38. Smasher08

    Smasher08 Hall of Fame

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    Nah I knew he was trolling, but it allowed for some thoughtful discussion anyway.
     
    #38
  39. Magnetite

    Magnetite Professional

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    Can't compare them .. waste of time.
     
    #39
  40. TheFifthSet

    TheFifthSet Hall of Fame

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    I'd say it's pretty debatable. And for the poster that said otherwise, Federer sure does rely A LOT on his serve - 2007/2009 Wimby final, 2012 Olympic Semi can vouch for that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2012
    #40
  41. AnotherTennisProdigy

    AnotherTennisProdigy Professional

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    ^^
    Agreed. During the Olympic semi vs Delpo the only thing keeping Fed in the match was his serve.
     
    #41
  42. TheFifthSet

    TheFifthSet Hall of Fame

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    yup, agreed. its not krajicek or sampras's serve but it's pretty prolific.
     
    #42
  43. namui

    namui Rookie

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    McEnroe's serve has never been off. Its deception is one of a kind. So on effectiveness, I vote for his. But on efficiency, Fed's serve, belonging to the modern era, is clearly faster and probably more heavy. Overall, I vote "close".
     
    #43
  44. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    But....

    McEnroe himself benefited from the arrival of graphite. He switched to graphite around April of 1983 - and immediately beat Lendl (narrowly though - 5th set tie breaker) in his first tournament with it - the WCT finals. He then had his great 1984 year - I don't think he would have had that year if not for the new racket. (Obviously his skill and talent was a big part of that - but I dont' know if it would have been as dominating without that new racket).
     
    #44
  45. Gut Check

    Gut Check Semi-Pro

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    You are over reaching. The simple answer is that Mac, even with his clever use of modest baseline abilities (limited largely by the same grip that was so effective for him in other aspects of the game) was always going to win more points and hold more often by taking the net than hanging back. Mac isn't stupid. If he thought he'd hold more often playing the baseline, that's what he would have done.
     
    #45
  46. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    its close, but I'll take federer's ...
     
    #46
  47. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    add the wimbledon 2012 semi as another example. Djoker couldn't even make a dent on his 2nd serve ......
     
    #47
  48. TheFifthSet

    TheFifthSet Hall of Fame

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    yeah he really put on a clinic there, 26/36 points won on his second serve, amazing....
     
    #48
  49. Smasher08

    Smasher08 Hall of Fame

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    Sorry, I disagree completely with you here. Mac's game was based on touch -- his continental finesse game was a product of the wood era. He caused Borg to retire while still playing with wood. And it took a couple of years for players like Lendl to figure out that their new sticks would allow them to go for huge shots right off the bat.

    At first players kept playing their wood games with the new sticks, then by 1985 it changed. Touch games were suddenly obsolete and the power game arrived.

    Mac's talent and playing style would've enabled him to dominate in 84 no matter what the material of his stick. His 200G didn't fundamentally change the style of his game.
     
    #49
  50. Wilander Fan

    Wilander Fan Hall of Fame

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    Tough one. Mac's was more of a weapon and Fed can get a little too cute with all his variety. They were both similar in that they were location servers but Fed has better accuracy and deception as well as consistency but Mac also had unreal movement.

    I dont think Mac would be as effective today with his serve as he was then simply because he relied so heavily on his slice wide and HCs today have taken the bite out of the slice. OTOH, Fed would probably be even better in the 80s since his serve would set up so many volley winners.
     
    #50

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