Mac's Distinctive Service Motion - when?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Frankc, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. Frankc

    Frankc Semi-Pro

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    I had heard that Mac changed his service motion at some point (was it due to injury) , but I was watching a 1978 Forest Hills Invitational Match and that distinctive Mac service motion is not there. He has a very orthodox service motion. Did the change come much later - when? Newk as commentator doesn't note a change from usual. Interesting that Newk says of Mac's serve - "It's not a great serve... not too bad..." I believe that Newk lost to young Mac the day before...
    "Not a great serve"...Hmmm...
     
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  2. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    the '77 W semi between Mac & Connors is on youtube, the Mac serve isn't there either. Plus he actually serves & stays back sometimes which is a shocking sight to see.

    I haven't seen matches between the Forest Hills match(do you know dates on it?) and the '78 Masters(played Jan '79) but you can see he had the Mac serve by then.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmphcQohodw&feature=channel

    I wonder how true that is considering these youtube matches. And he went on a tear at the end of '78, so it seems unlikely he didn't have the Mac serve by then.

    Injury or not, the new serve took him to another level. it had a lot more pace than the traditional serve he was using at Forest Hills & '77 Wimbledon.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2012
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  3. Frankc

    Frankc Semi-Pro

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    Yes, it's there by then. But some of the more pronounced motions are not fully developed yet - that long , twitchy pause as he is in that ready position. As referred to in the Tignor book - " a broken toy motion..."
     
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  4. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    its there by '79 USO

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAmXhDePRfk

    he has a ton of Mac videos, you should look through his videos
     
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  5. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    If I remember right in his autobiography, he mentioned that the service motion "just happened" one day with no preconceived thought behind it and he stuck with it because it seemed to work.
     
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  6. LttlElvis

    LttlElvis Professional

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  7. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    Even in the Jrs he did have the "swooping motion" where he came across his body after his take back - but until mid 78 he had a normal ready position. He claimed then he was having minor back issues and soreness and that's when he started with both feet along the base line...etc again at he time he claimed it took pressure off his lower back by he end of his spring semester at Stanford he had already started the new motion. Also JMac never had a super hard serve - he had a SUPER Heavy ball and the damn thing moved all over the place and kicked like a ***** but he never had a serve like Tanner or Walts......Luis Tiant who pitched for the Bosox and then went to the Yankees in 78/79 had an almost identical pitching motion that Jmacs serve was compared too.
     
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  8. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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  9. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Yet Mac had more aces per match than Tanner in '82

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=357452

    I think Mac's serve is a bit underrated, he got a lot of free points off it in his prime years. Got more free points vs Borg in the '80 W final than Tanner did in the '79 final.
     
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  10. Doug_Hartley_2012

    Doug_Hartley_2012 Rookie

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    I wish Roy Emerson had changed HIS service action. Quite simply, the most retarded service action I've seen in top flight tennis.
     
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  11. Stuart S

    Stuart S New User

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    I can't say I've seen this Aussie in action; just a tad too long ago for me. But I do know that he won a heck of a lot of majors just before the Open era. Retarded service action or not, it worked for him!
     
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  12. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    I thought it was pretty odd too, have only seen him once - the '71 W Final between Laver/Emerson & Ralston/Ashe. Laver hit a cracking winner between Ralston & Ashe on match point.
     
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  13. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I think McEnroe's serve was a great serve. Speed is overrated. McEnroe's serve was clearly more than fast enough but the spin and disquise was incredible. You add that he was a lefty and I think it was an all time great serve.
     
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  14. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Tinling wrote in 1984 in the face of Mac's serve, that the lefthander shouldn't be allowed by the rules to hit the serve wide out on ad or break point, that instead the lefty should serve from the left to the ad court first. He feared that nobody was able to read Mac's curling serve wide out for some time to come.
    But i think from memory, that Mac changed his stance a bit in the mid-80s to a more sideway stance. In his early years, he started his serve motion standing completely with the back to the net. In his early Wimbledons you could see a dirt track on grass behind the baseline, whre he had played, i think from his left foot, which rubbed over the grass court.
     
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  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I don't get it.
    So Mac widens his stance 9", faces even more sideways.
    What's the big deal?
    EVERY pro tennis player who relies on a serve to set up points is constantly adjusting his stance and swingpath. If he's a clear No1, maybe not.
    YOU change your stance and swing. Why can't he?
     
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  16. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    Let me clarify - JMac had the BEST serve at the time - wasn't the fastest by any means - but it dominated on pretty much all surfaces. It's was so well disguised you had no idea where it was going. Add the movement and bite it had - in fact the speed was just perfect enough that when he followed it in he was almost always in perfect position for his first volley -
     
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  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Placement over power? With a huge aid from the best first volley in tennis at the time.
     
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  18. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    Deception is a great skill in tennis ... the ability to hold a stroke until the opponent reacts and then go the other way. In Macs case with his serve, the stroke mechanics were partially hidden with his unique stance making it very deceptive and hard for the returner to read. In addition, he put lots of lefty spin on very difficult placements making it probably the most difficult serve to return during that era. Other great SV'ers like Edberg were similar with big spin and tough placements and fast approaches to put away most returns. I sure do miss the SV tactics in the modern game. Not effective anymore with the slower hard courts and better returners ? I think Not !
     
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