Gonzalez Serve

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by gzhpcu, Nov 24, 2009.

  1. gzhpcu

    gzhpcu Professional

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    #1
  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Nah, just an old style serve.
    If you go back another 50 years, you'll see top pros hitting underspin forehands without any footwork. They were the top in their day, but that day has past.
    M-1 Garand was the rifle of choice in 1943. Nobody would use one now. Couple years ago, M-1A2 was working on it's 5th gen. Progress keeps going, the past is just history.
     
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  3. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    Agree. Pancho Gonzalez results from over 2 decades of playing against many of the greatest players ever proves that the PG serve was one of the best ever. Also, many dont realize that the players were not allowed to launch into serves (jump) in that era.
     
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  4. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    So why copy something used under different rules, and 50 years ago, outdated, outmoded, and out of style.
     
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  5. the little dasher

    the little dasher New User

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    Exactly right. Yet they were timed at some pretty heady speeds even with that handicap and wooden racquets.
     
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  6. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Holy chicken legs!
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Since where were you guys when wooden rackets were played?
    In 1978, I was timed over 125 with ProStaff M 5/8th and VS gut at 62lbs.
    ColinDibley used a extra layered glassed MaxPly at slightly more tension for 149mph.
    DickStockton, on a Kramer H 3/4 that I strung at 60, at 125, but for 3 out of 7 tries.
    Even whimpy serving RaulRameriz did over 120 on rackets my boss strung. Kramer 5/8th with overgrip, VS 16, but I don't know the tension.
    None of the Wilson guys had what was considered a threatening serve. StanSmith might have, but we didn't string his rackets and his speeds were barely above mine.
    This with wood rackets. COE farther from the hand for longer leverage arm, mostly new rackets and new gut strings.
    My 129's, and LowellBarnhardt's (who won amateur class) were done with Yonex OPS Greens, the stiffer ones.
     
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  8. the little dasher

    the little dasher New User

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    Did they hit the service box?
     
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  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Serve contests those days, you had 7 timed serves. Only serves IN the box counted, as the other's were just thrown out.
    I got 4 out of 7 in, worst right at 124 with Yonex, best 129.4.
    Lowell got 3 in, but his worst was 129 something and his best beat mine by .5.
    The pros, except for Dibley, used their normal playing rackets.
    Lowell and I borrowed then brand new OPS Yonex greens.
    Nobody with red HeadPros did any good, or over 120.
    HeadMaster was up around mid '20's.
    Woods barely off the pace, maybe 4mph at most for everyone.
     
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  10. the little dasher

    the little dasher New User

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    All of that with wooden racquets?
     
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  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Head pros were stiff aluminum and small heads.
    Head Masters were softer aluminum and maybe 69 head.
    Yonex OPS Greens were stiff oval aluminum wid small heads.
    T-200 in theory should be the fastest, but lack of air resistance made them the least consistent.
    Maxplys you know, but Dibley's was one of two specials laid up by PrimoCarnera, our head stringer. One layer of 8 oz each side, including the full head.
    ProStaffs were lighter and softer than Kramers, but new ones had extraordinary spring. Older ones, after maybe 5 hours play, felt soft and dead.
    No Bancrofts, as HaroldSolomon didn't bother to enter.
    No TADS
    Lots of guys tried the new glass layup Spauldings, but I don't know how they did.
     
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  12. the little dasher

    the little dasher New User

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    Who are you Lee? Coach, fmr player...?
     
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  13. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    I remember all these rackets...

    Head Pro was my racket of choice for years... it had a hex cross-section and a higher carbon content which made it a stiffer frame than the Master

    The Head Master was a really popular frame most notably used at the time by Bob Lutz, as mentioned a softer oval shaped frame

    Yonex OPS Series... I swear to this day it is probably the stiffest racket I have ever hit with... the frame was crushed at just below the throat

    T-2000 what can I say... most popular steel racket of the day... attribute it to Jimmy Connors

    Dunlop Maxply... what hasn't been said

    Jack Kramer Prostaff the one with the diamond pattern in the throat (I assume)... this was a very flexible racket in the throat

    Bancroft the only one I ever used was the Borg version... bamboo inlays... solid frame

    TADs... loved these rackets... only ones I knew that had a 12 ply hoop, high quality frames that were too expensive for me at the time

    Spalding Speedshaft is my guess I believe it was used by Rosie Casals.... a flexible frame but had a soft feel to it

    All I know is back then I was just starting to play... and my serve was no where near 125mph

    Impressive numbers for the times...
     
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  14. Shellovic

    Shellovic Rookie

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    What a nice fluid motion!
     
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  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    LeeD...
    Failure as a pro surfer. Local Cal 4A.
    Failure as a pro tennis player.. got entry fee back for going multi rounds in Q's.
    Failure as a pro roadracer.. but was one of 4 sponsored by BSAWest on the twin carb Daytona500's.
    Failure as a pro motocrosser... but got enough stadium points to qualify for the OaklandSupercross final day.... crashed out 3rd turn, what else?
    Failure as a pro windsurfer, but got free gear, flight and board to Sylt, Tenerife, Schvenigen, and all around USA.
    Failure as a human being....homeless... :):):) my lifelong dream
     
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  16. fruitytennis1

    fruitytennis1 Professional

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    It brought tears to my eyes.
     
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  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Yeah, thos a failure mostly, I"m pretty happy with what I've accomplished, considering all the handicaps.
    I laughed till I cried, and forever at peace, for I've never let it be said... "what if I tried" .....:shock:
     
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  18. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    That's all you can do is try my friend. Anyway, if you serve at 125 mph, I salute you.:)

    Frankly I think the Gonzalez serve motion is a thing of beauty.
     
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  19. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I cannot serve nearly 125 nowadaze, I'm SIXTY.
    Form and function are seldom the same, and hardly ever exist in one body.
    Fed and Sampras maybe some exceptions.
    Gonzalez's serve nowadaze, maybe 5.5 at best. Heck, even I can occasionally hit a 5.5 level serve.:mad::mad:
     
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  20. the little dasher

    the little dasher New User

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    Well done Lee. some great adventures there.
     
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  21. the little dasher

    the little dasher New User

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    Gonzales is still the all time great though.
     
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  22. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Of course, Gonzalez ranks right up there with Tilden, Sampras, Fed, Edberg, Connors, Borg, McEnroe, Rosewall, Laver, and a whole slew I didn't mention.
    Some would say "greatest", and I won't argue.
    But we're talking about his serve compared to TODAY'S serves, which his is lacking in technique and practice.
     
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  23. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    With the feet on the ground, maybe. I'd like to see what Federer can do with the old equipment and rules.

    Also, these highlights don't show everything. An excellent serve is not simply a fast serve, but also a well-placed one.
     
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  24. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    It's lacking in technique and practice because it's different. Interesting.

    Let's add another failure to your already growing list.
     
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  25. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    The Pancho Gonzales serve was one of the best ever in all respects including effectiveness, power, placement, and mechanics. Many of the old greats really had much more beautiful and effective serves than the best servers of today. This was probably because with the heavier, smaller head racket, the players could not get away with "Roddick" type serves, which is ugly but very effective, IMO. Would not work with a standard head woody. Bet very few know the the tennis trophy was actually modeled after Les Stoefen, who may have been the best and most powerful server ever. BTW, he was an American tennis player of the 1930s. He won three Grand Slam doubles titles: 1934 Wimbledon Championships, 1933 and 1934 U.S. National Championships. If you ever get the chance the watch the tennis greats from the 1920s .. 1960s video narrated by Adrain Quist, he points out Les serving saying "Watch this" and its a truely amazing serve ... Les is like 6'8" and has a beautiful swing that looks to be as fast as Roddick's even on that old video.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2009
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  26. gzhpcu

    gzhpcu Professional

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    Could you please tell me what old video that would be? Thanks...
     
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  27. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Vic Braden, the noted tennis teacher wrote in Tennis 2000 that he had no doubt Gonzalez would serve in the 140 mile per hour range today but without any strain.

    Edit--Here's a quote from page 145 of Tennis 2000-
    Even in the 1960's, when he was winning matches at Wimbledon at the age of forty-one, Gonzalez was still the greatest server in the game because he generated the power with rhythm and the proper use of each body link, rather than brute strength. At the old Madison Square Garden, wrestling mats were hooked up in the corridors down stairs and you could find Pancho warming up there before a match, working on his serving motion. He would throw the ball up and just swing nice and easy, trying to make sure there were no hitches in his swing. Sometimes he wouldn't even use a ball; he would almost close his eyes and go through the serving motion, trying to sense the rhythm of his swing rather than the isolated movements of his body.

    Out on the court, whatever he did while serving or preparing to serve was calculated to keep himself relaxed. He never bounced the ball hard on the court. He never gave his motion excess gyrations. When he walked to the line he would try to shrug his shoulders and shake his arms loose. He looked so calm you would think, "Why doesen't he get excited?" The first time one of my students, Jeff Austin, faced Gorgo's serve, his motion was so easy that Jeff thought Gorgo was going to take it easy on him 'cause he was just a kid. But when Gorgo uncorked the ball right down the middle, Jeff wasn't ready and it scared the heck out of him. I have no doubt Gonzalez would have served in the 140 m.p.h. zone with today's rackets. But a bigger issue is that he would have done it with very little force on his shoulder and elbow. In contrast, power servers like Greg Rusedski (143 m.p.h. in the 1997 U.S. Open) and Pete Sampras hit with a style that places their shoulder and elbow in great jeopardy.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2009
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  28. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Vic Braden, the "expert" instructor who's currently putting out tons of potential male pros to be crowding the top 100 in future tennis? That one?
     
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  29. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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  30. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    LeeD,

    I always thought of Braden not just as an instructor but a person who often uses cameras and computer analysis of strokes so I just thought I'd give his opinion because it was appropriate for the thread.

    Arthur Ashe also thought (in the 1980's) that Gonzalez's serve was the best he had seen.

    Of course you're right, serving techniques have changed in recent years and I'm positive that you know a lot about it. Thanks for the information on Gonzalez.
     
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  31. jnd28

    jnd28 Rookie

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    There is a story that I believe is true that when Gorgo was playing the early days of the pro tour, he was so dominate with his serve a promoter thought he would try a tournament where the players were allowed only one serve. The thinking was that this would neutralize Gorgos serve. The opposite happened. He won the tourney going away. Never lost his serve.

    Many others besides Braden believe that Gorgos serve was either the best or one of the best of all times. He not only served with tremendous power he moved the ball around the service box similar to what you see relative weaker servers like fed do today.
     
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  32. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Yes, the "expert" who has done numerous studies on the biomechanics and psychology in tennis, written several books, run several schools, made many videos, done commentary for TV, worked with COUNTLESS pros from the 50's to current players....vs you. In any case, others who have commented on the beauty and effectiveness of the Gonzalez serve: Arthur Ashe (who modeled his serve after Gonzalez), Greg Rusedski's father (he and Greg watched videos of Gonzalez, Mcenroe and others), Roscoe Tanner, Billy Jean King, Gladys Heldman, John Mcenroe, and many, many others
     
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  33. gzhpcu

    gzhpcu Professional

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  34. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    You got a problem with that?

    JR, representing spindly folk spanning all nationalities and timelines.

    J
     
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  35. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    Oh, and for the record I don't buy the with modern technology these old guys would serve harder crap in the least. I can break 120 with the most worn out bogus wood racquet around, and can't muster much more than 125 with my own personal 418% more power 718% more control, nano, micro, flux capacitorized, ultra hyper carbonated, 8 hour energy modern racquet.

    By my calculations if I can hit in the 120s with a Kramer, then tabulating out all of Wilson's advertisements over the past 30-40 years, I should be serving slightly under the speed of sound now.

    If you are talking about getting more action, or the slow spin serve, because the bigger head allows you to use a more aggressive swing path, that I will buy, but for pure MPH, I call BS on anyone claiming more than 5mph.

    J
     
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  36. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    Yes, email me and I can give you some details
     
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  37. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    Im not sure what the exact diff in mph would but suspect it would differ by player and skill. Flipper is a great server and Tennis Mag did that comparison where he was within 10% diff (dont remember details) using wood vs graphite. I suspect Andy roddicks serve would suffer more since his modern service form is not suited to a heavy small head racket.

    Like the case in many trades, the best tool for the task. I can play classic tennis (eastern grip, flat hits, slices, half-volleys) better with a woody and modern tennis (SemiW grip, lots of topspin, big service returns) better with a modern racket.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2009
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  38. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I remember more the other way around. JK Pro Staff seemed stiffer and heavier, more powerful to me. JK Autograph seemed lighter, flexier, and maybe had more touch IMO.

    I played with a Kramer Pro Staff for about eight years before moving to the PS 6.0 85 in the 80s.
     
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  39. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Jolly totally nailed it, in accordance with my observations.
    If someone can serve 124 with a new KramerProStaff M with VS strung at 65lbs., they would serve around 129 with an AluminumYonexOPS with VS strung at 67lbs.
    Difference, of course. And with new higher drag carbon composite rackets, about the same as the stiff aluminum OPS shafts.
    COE was higher from the hand in older rackets. Smaller head gave less air resistance than newer basketball hoops. VS was VW gut. Longer leverage arm gave more head speed.
    ProStaff M 5/6th weighed in right mid 12 oz., like my Mfil 200. YonexGreens weighed high 11's, YonexGold the same but head lighter.
    Pancho had a good motion for his time, compared to others of his time. Compared to today, it's like anything else in sports.
     
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  40. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    I will continue to disagre. Pancho and many of the other great vintage tennis players mentioned in these threads had as good or better service forms than modern day players. The modern light stiff rackets allow as good or faster serves than ever before with abbreviated (not as good) forms IMO. I also think that the modern strokes offer the same level of comparison. With todays rackets, players can take much more open up/down strokes to hit more topspin using a bigger sweetspot. These strokes have a much higher level of tolerance for hitting off the sweet spot and still hitting hugh, ie baseline bashing. Its a different game but the service motion has Not improved.
     
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  41. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    Weight of the frames not accounted for... I thought the JK Prostaff was much more flexible through the shaft... and the JK Autograph was a much more solid firm frame allowing it to be more accurate. IMHO but that was back in the 70's and I play tested a lot of rackets during my search for the perfect frame.
     
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  42. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    The email address you sent me failed to deliver
     
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  43. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Well, let's revisit a bit...
    I've strung maybe 200 JackKramerAutographs.
    Maybe closer to 30 ProStaffs.
    Probably around 50 StanSmiths.
    Easily 50 CrissyEverts, but latter in my stringing career.
    JK's, the white ones, were head heavier and stiffer shafted than PS's.
    PS',s the medium brown ones, were close to equal total weight, but balance was different, and the wood in the shaft was softer but more layered. The head was also softer, leading me to believe PS's were good for about 3 string jobs total, before they turned into flexi flyers without rebound.
    Why would I think PS heads were softer? Easy, you run string thru the wooden holes to deburr. Smiths and Kramers resisted, PS's not, nor did Everts.
    For one season, before I got PS's, I bought my own Kramers and Smiths. They were bricks to be sure, but they were durable. Once I got on the ProStaff bandwagon, I'd stress the top layers of the throats on all my PS's within 2-3 string jobs. That allowed me multiple PS's thru my 2 following years of decent tennis. I think I wore thru more than 10 of them. Stress fractures on the throat and jello soft heads. NONE broken.
     
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  44. gzhpcu

    gzhpcu Professional

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    Sorry, corrected it with the new email address...
     
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  45. gzhpcu

    gzhpcu Professional

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  46. 2ndserve642

    2ndserve642 Semi-Pro

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    Sorry If I'm a little late but, my coach fixed my serve using this method because I was off balance on my serve this serve taught me balance on the serve and eventually I went back to jumping but on balance.
     
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  47. the little dasher

    the little dasher New User

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    What about the leap? Would you add another 5 or 10 mph making perhaps another 15 mph overall? Some older guys like Les Stoefen would start to crowd Roddick's modern record.
     
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  48. gzhpcu

    gzhpcu Professional

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    The jump rule was changed in 1960. What I have not managed to find is a video of how Gonzales was serving after 1960. I would think he probably jumped but retained the crossover step, as did many initially. Would be nice to find some old footage of his record 1969 match against Charlie Pasarell in Wimbledon.
     
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  49. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    I am in agreement with Jolly. My max recorded speed with graphite was 130mph, I can hit 120mph with HORRIBLE wood racquets that probably have ORIGINAL strings in them. Nor does switching to the most powerful widebody add much. Incidently, Flipper hit 122mph with the wood on average, and 124mph with the graphite on average.
     
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  50. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    I don't really know how much it adds.

    J
     
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