Roddick vs Sampras: The Serve

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by President, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. President

    President Legend

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    Roddick and Sampras probably had the two best serves of any players under the height of 6'4''. Who had the better serve? Roddick won 90% of his career service games to Sampras' 89%. I think Roddick had more pace and a much higher percentage of serves in, while Sampras had superior direction and disguise. Both had great second serves, Sampras' was a little more offensive but Roddick's was more reliable and pretty much unattackable.
     
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  2. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    Sampras hands down.
     
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  3. KineticChain

    KineticChain Professional

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    Big Bill Tilden. at 6'2"... no modern player could withstand his height advantage. if he was allowed to jump during serve and have modern racquet technology and modern strings and modern training and modern sports medicine and modern technique... he would be the best server ever in teh universe ever. His 160 mph serves? forget about it. His serves would break the light barrier and einstein would roll in his grave.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
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  4. FD3S

    FD3S Professional

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    Roddick for pure pace, Sampras for speed/spin combo. They were both good at picking corners and T's (surprised that a lot of people seem to think that Roddick just bashed without aiming) so honestly this is kind of a toss-up.
     
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  5. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    I'd take Sampras's serve. A lot less taxing on the shoulder, I think.
     
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  6. President

    President Legend

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    Even though Roddick won more of his service games on slower surfaces (which favor returners) and with a much less well rounded game?
     
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  7. qindarka

    qindarka Rookie

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    Edit: Never mind. Needlessly inflammatory.
     
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  8. NonP

    NonP Professional

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    I assure you that wouldn't be true for the vast majority of players.

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=6850233#post6850233

    At least check out the last link if you're short on time.

    As for your original question, Sampras. As good as he was, and apart from countless eye tests, Roddick is generally a notch below the likes of Pete, Goran, Ivo and Krajicek especially in % of unreturned serves. An interesting thing about this stat is that it usually corresponds with what one would expect from the mainstream consensus (for lack of a better term), which tells us that, wrong as it may be, conventional wisdom isn't entirely without merit.

    Also there are other relative shorties whose serves have been nominated as among the best ever. McEnroe and Tanner come to mind, and Curren is another name that pops up in some (if admittedly cliquish) discussions.

    And now's a good time to promote the greatest thread in TTW history:

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=306579

    (Seriously, the whole thing is worth a read.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
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  9. President

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    Roddick still had a higher percentage of service games won with an unquestionably worse game (apart from the serve). How do you take that into account?
     
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  10. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

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    their statistics might look similar on paper but sampras usually came up with the biggest serves at the most important points of a match. i think thats what sets them apart.
     
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  11. fed_rulz

    fed_rulz Hall of Fame

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    I don't expect you to get a response.... Roddick gets so much **** from these Pete-hypers (the only reason to trash him is to make Federer look bad and ergo make Pete look better) -- they claim he sucks a net (which he does), sucks from the baseline (which is also partially true), and also claim his serve is not even in the same league as Pete's.. Yet he has a higher hold % than Pete, under conditions that are much more conducive to returning. go figure...
     
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  12. fed_rulz

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    then by your reasoning, Federer should be considered a better server than Sampras -- I mean, the stats are similar, and he has faced more "important" moments than Pete, and has been more successful than Pete in those important moments. do you agree?
     
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  13. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

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    no. i think federer is a better player but i dont know if hes a better server. what are federers stats and why do you think hes faced more important moments than pete? i dont really see federer coming up with as many big serves and aces on break points as much as pete did imo...
     
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  14. fed_rulz

    fed_rulz Hall of Fame

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    me thinks you haven't watched much of him then?

    http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Players/Top-Players/Roger-Federer.aspx?t=mf&y=0&s=0

    Federer's career hold % is 88%; similar to Pete's 89% (if Pete's 89% is similar to Roddick's 90%). Both faced an average of 0.35 break points per service game, except Federer faced 1000 more bps by virtue of playing more matches. Pete saved 68% of bps faced, while Federer saved 67%. Federer has won more % of points on the 2nd serve than Pete (though I remember someone questioning that stat because of the way ATP kept their stats in the early 90s).

    I interpreted important moments as being high-pressure moments (later stages of grand slams, for instance), and Federer clearly has had more of them than Pete.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
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  15. NonP

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    Did you at least follow that last link? To wit, for all the talk about the courts slowing down and players returning better than ever, %s of service games held have actually increased overall since the 1990s. I haven't crunched and compiled the numbers for other stats, but a cursory look told me the 1st-serve %, # of aces and just about every other service stat have seen an uptick. Simply put the whole talking point about the return of serve revolutionizing the game is largely a myth, and I explain why in those posts I linked.

    And this disconnect becomes clearer when you go further back. Stats for the previous decades are harder to come by, but it's almost certain that the old-timers got fewer freebies than their '90s successors, let alone today's players, as even the best servers back then generally had a lower % of their serves unreturned than their more recent counterparts by about 10 percentage points (give or take a few). And that was when more players were eager to follow their serves to the net, which forced their opponent to take more risks on their returns. The truth of the matter is that, contrary to conventional wisdom, there has arguably never been an easier time than now in which to hold serve.

    Put him in the 2000s and Pete probably wins a slightly higher % of service games. Also you seem unaware that it's really in the return game where the legends distinguish themselves from the one-time Slammers or lesser players. There's actually not much in the service department that separates Pete and the likes of Roddick, Goran, Karlovic, Krajicek, Arthurs, Philippoussis and Johansson, who often post higher numbers. But look at the return stats and you see a big gulp, as you see in this case: over 27% of return games won on average for Pete and 21-22% for Roddick in their respective best years (if we're talking about the very best year the gap widens even more, since Pete won over 29% in '94). And then there's the fact that Pete faced higher-ranked opponents more often, though I personally think this oft-cited factor is minor in most comparisons.

    I do suggest that you browse and study the ATP stats carefully, as they confirm what careful observers (including a few here like krosero and Moose) have been saying for years but still remain mostly unknown to the casual fans. And frankly at this point there's no more excuse for remaining ignorant and buying the media tripe. (Not talking about you in particular, BTW. Just making a general point.)
     
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  16. fed_rulz

    fed_rulz Hall of Fame

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    I read that last link, and I found that your arguments unconvincing. With higher hold % in the 2000s, you can only deduce that players have gotten better at holding serves (IMO due to a combination of better serves and much better baseline games, despite the advances in return games). I'll give you a couple of counter examples - Nadal and Djokovic 2.0. Neither possess GOAT-like serves, but their hold %s are GOAT-esque. Also, there is not a single player in the top 10 today that has their serve as the major weapon.

    which brings us to Roddick.. despite his relatively poor baseline/net game, he has surpassed Pete in hold %. what does that tell you about his serve as a stand alone shot? Put him in a situation where the conditions were faster, poorer returners and poorer baseline games (90s), and you have a more lethal version of Roddick.
     
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  17. Laurie

    Laurie Professional

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    Just wondering if you are sure about that?

    I am not a stats person but there are guys like Greg Rusedski and Goran Ivanisevic who would be considered to have some of the greatest serves in that era of "poorer returns and poorer baseline games" and yet one player won one slam towards the end and Rusedski played in just one major final. Then Phillippoussis played two finals and lost both, whilst Krajicek and Stich only won 1 slam each.

    So it seems that had Roddick played in that era his chances of winning more slams would not have been enhanced judging by players who had similar big serves.
     
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  18. fed_rulz

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    I'll admit I should've qualified it with "IMO", but here's why I think what I think: Roddick > Goran with his mental blocks, despite Goran's superior serve. If Federer hadn't taken out Pete in 2001, Goran would still be slamless.
    I do believe Roddick is a better server than Stich and Rusedski.. Krajicek is a tough call. I always thought his injuries held him back from achieving greater heights.
     
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  19. OHBH

    OHBH Semi-Pro

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    The difference is simple. Pete was a serve and volleyer, a style of play that makes it tougher to hold when you are having an off day. Roddick on an off day could still hold because he could grind out a service game fairly easily against anybody outside the top ten. Plus Andy left the game before his game had really declined. Pete's last years on tour were pretty poor expect that final US open title which made it all worthwhile. So that is going to skew the career numbers. At his peak, Pete had the better serve
     
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  20. Fusker

    Fusker Rookie

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    It's a great question, and one that could evoke a number of different statistics to prove objectively that one should be favored over the other. When dealing with that kind of comparison, I tend to think about it in subjective terms.

    On serve, down 5-6 in a tiebreak, whose serve would you trust more to get the next two points?

    I'd say Sampras - hands down.
     
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  21. big ted

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    if you want to compare federer and sampras here is an intersting article.
    http://www1.realclearsports.com/art...d_but_sampras_more_dominant_server_96423.html

    i still think sampras serve was better than roddicks. those statistics may be similar but sampras was a better clutch server and sampras played better players more often in bigger matches
     
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  22. big ted

    big ted Hall of Fame

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    i agree with you
     
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  23. Steve0904

    Steve0904 G.O.A.T.

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    Besides the fact that I don't think it matters what style you play if you have an off day, I'm not so sure about the bolded part either. Sampras was a shell of his former self when he retired, but so was Roddick.

    Look at their records in their last 3 years on tour. 2000, 2001, and 2002 for Sampras, and 2010, 2011, and 2012 for Roddick. They're eerily similar.

    2000 Sampras: 42-13
    2010 Roddick: 48-18

    2001 Sampras: 35-16
    2011 Roddick: 34-16

    2002 Sampras: 27-17
    2012 Roddick: 23-16
     
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  24. NonP

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    There are several issues with this reasoning, and it's not just the higher hold % but the totality of facts that debunks or at the very least calls into question the standard talking points about today's so-called advances in return game.

    First, you say neither Nadal or Djoko possesses a GOAT serve. But how can you tell? After all their hold %s are up there. Because you can tell by an eye test? OK, fine, but it doesn't explain the startling increases in service stats throughout the 1990s and the steadier ones in the 2000s (more on this shortly), unless you really believe players improved their serves across the board at such a fast rate over such a short period.

    Then what? Because they hit fewer aces than a Karlovic or an Isner? Well, if you've been following this discussion closely (and frankly you should have, since one of the long posts I wrote on this very topic was meant directly for you) you should know that ace counts can be misleading, especially when we're talking about different eras. (And there's the fact that Fed isn't not exactly an ace-dispensing machine, which I doubt you'd want to call attention to.)

    But let's say # of aces is a good barometer. After all what could be better than outright free points on serve, right? But here's the thing: the ATP, the magisterial authority we defer to in all things tennis, has collected stats dating back to 1991, and in that year not even a Goran or a Krajicek served over 10 aces per match. Yes, the same Goran who would come close to matching his Wimbledon ace record the very next year, and the same Krajicek who would be lighting up the stat sheets in the years to come.

    Now, I think it safe to say even some of the most biased this-era-is-da-bomb fanatics would admit that these two had a better serve than the likes of Tsonga, Fish or Soderling, let alone the lower-tier servers like Monfils, Llodra, etc. So you've got two possibilities: 1) these guys really discovered some magical technique or potion unbeknownst to the tennis world in the antediluvian era of 1991 that allowed them to improve their serves so quickly, or 2) there was something else at work here. Which is more likely?

    And again it's not just the # of aces, but the 1st-serve %, % of service games won and other service stats that saw steady improvements (perhaps except for DFs, but I've talked about this already) after 1991. Now think about this for a second: the courts are supposed to be slower these days, with players returning better than ever, but per just about every service statistic players are arguably enjoying more advantages than ever on their serves. You say this is due to better serves and much better baseline games despite the return revolution. OK, then you acknowledge, though maybe not intentionally, that there's more to this issue than simple statistics, since there's no way to gauge the degree of these so-called advancements without some sort of an eye test. And eye tests tell us that a Goran and a Krajicek were already serving bombs in 1991, but perhaps they didn't do it as often as they would in later years. What factors other than technology, strategy and mentality explain this evolution? We know it wasn't the technique, unless we're suddenly to discount the value of our eye tests. And it's not like they suddenly grew several inches. Then what? Some advances in nutrition maybe? Unlikely, these two weren't sticks who were barely hanging with the top guys. Then what? That they were at least part-time S&Vers? OK, that could explain why they didn't win more service games, but not how their serves as stand-alone shots saw steady improvements in their own era.

    This is not rocket science. You just have to use a little bit of practical logic and common sense.

    I've already addressed these points in my other posts. To summarize, Pete would likely hold a marginally higher % and Roddick's own would likely drop a little given each other's conditions. The difference would still be minor, and the decisive factor for me is that Pete probably gets a tad more freebies (unreturned serves), and is IMO the more clutch and unreadable server. I have no problem if you or anyone else wants to go with Roddick.
     
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  25. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Sampras had the better serve without doubt. The main reason for this is Roddick had a narrower range of variety and his American junior level thinking that pace alone would suffice. Playing against the top guys he was simply too predictable - 225km/h flat bombs served well within the service box don't trouble the top guys as much as variety and disguise. That's what makes a truly serve great and Sampras (as does Federer) had these things in spades.
     
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  26. piece

    piece Professional

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    NonP, what do you think the reason for the increase in hold percentages since the 90s is?
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
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  27. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    First of all, two interesting articles for this matter.
    One about clutch players, understood as the ability to rise his game level when facing a break point, which shows that Sampras played less well when facing break point than when facing other point: http://www.tacticaltennisblog.com/clutch-players/
    It doesn't tell however, if he served less well.

    The other is a video about the slowing of Wimbledon, and also the higher bounce: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Gjxf8RjhKXI#!

    The increasing of service hold might have to do with the homogenization of surfaces, which allow the better players to dominate on every surfaces because they play, in comparison as how they used to play, roughly the same.
    It might as well have to do with the slowing of the surfaces, which give an advantage to the better baselined. A lesser server can still defeat a big server because he can hold is own serve, not with a big serve, but with a better ground game.

    None of these reasons could fit for Roddick though, as he isn't one of the best baseliner for a long time now.
     
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  28. helloworld

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    Would you rather have a serve that won 14 slams or a serve that won only 1 slam? Go figure.
     
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  29. qindarka

    qindarka Rookie

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    Going by this logic, you would take Federer's serve that won him 17 slams.
     
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  30. helloworld

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    Federer didn't win 17 slams because of his serve. Sampras won 14 majors mainly because of his serve. Roddick also won his only slam 99% because of his serve.
     
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  31. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    We need HD Video illustration of both serves or this thread won't work
     
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  32. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Yes, Sampras' success on 2nd serve, in the ATP stats, is lower than it should be, because double-faults were counted twice.

    Aces were also counted twice, which inflates his success on 1st serve.

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=6127075#post6127075
     
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  33. helloworld

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    The video illustration would show that Sampras has the most perfect serve motion in history, whereas Roddick has a dorky service motion, almost forced manner.
     
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  34. Blocker

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    How does that quote from some American President go? “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”?

    Well ask not what a player can do with his serve, ask what his serve can do for him.

    There’s no contest here. Sampras’ serve contributed to him winning 14 slams and . Roddick’s serve contributed to him winning 1 slam.

    Yes, yes, I know, Sampras was a far superior player to Roddick, but alot of that had to do with his serve. Clowns like Fed Rulz and Prisoner of Fed, the anti-Sampras members of this board, will try to use any statistic to argue against Sampras in anything, but let’s be realistic, Sampras’ serve is the single biggest weapon in open tennis history. Fed Rulz wants to talk about career serve holds, I think his stats show a 1 per cent difference, but as someone already pointed out, Sampras’ stats are skewed by the fact he held off peaking for anything other than Wimbledon and the USO in his final 2 years. At his best, Sampras’ serve is the GOAT serve.
     
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  35. slice serve ace

    slice serve ace Rookie

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    i compared roddick and sampras service games won at slams and in these categories

    -total service games won for each slam
    -round 1 to round 4 for each slam
    -quarterfinal to final for each slam

    since roddick never advanced past 4R at roland garros, we can leave that out (enough to say sampras has better stat at rg, 82.9% against 81.7% for roddick)

    i got some really interesting results, here they are;


    australian open


    total

    sampras 89.3%
    roddick 90.5%


    R1 to R4

    sampras 90.1%
    roddick 93.1%


    QF to F

    sampras 87.6%
    roddick 82.3%


    wimbledon


    total

    sampras 94.1%
    roddick 93.4%


    R1 to R4

    sampras 94.2%
    roddick 94.6%


    QF to F

    sampras 94%
    roddick 90.2%


    us open


    total

    sampras 91.6%
    roddick 91%


    R1 to R4

    sampras 92.3%
    roddick 93%


    QF to F

    sampras 90.2%
    roddick 84.8%


    - so roddick leads in their total at AO, and is only slightly behind at USO and W

    - roddick leads at all 3 slams in first 4 rounds, even at wimbledon, and is quite better at AO

    - sampras leads huge at all 3 slams from QF to F


    i'll let you draw the conclusions, can't write anymore
     
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  36. helloworld

    helloworld Hall of Fame

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    And this is why Sampras is sitting with 14 slams and 6 year-end no.1 while Roddick is just a 1 slam wonder. Sampras serve MUCH better than Roddick in big matches where it REALLY matters.
     
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  37. mxmx

    mxmx Semi-Pro

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    Yes
    Which is probably why Roddick was not as successful as everyone may have expected. He relied too much on his serve, and fast flat serves come back harder. His serve became predictable. Federer's serve is not as fast, but often harder to return. Sampras was even better.

    I never really liked Roddick's technique on the serve. Reminds me of a baseball player just pitching/slugging away.
    Anyone see Roddick play McEnroe in world team tennis? Roddick almost lost when Mac was already 50 years old. A lot of respect should go to Mac and his serve was also very good.


    Someone like Michael Stich had a very smooth serve.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
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  38. coloskier

    coloskier Legend

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    Sampras won his 14 because of his serve AND volley. Even if you got the serve back, he was usually there to put the volley away. If you got Roddick's serve back, you got into a grindfest (except when Roddick was young with stones and actually hit his forehand).
     
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  39. mattennis

    mattennis Hall of Fame

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    I am interested in NonP opinion about the service-related statistics constantly improving since 1991.

    Are you implying that ATP-statistics are mainly wrong?

    I don't believe for a second that Goran Ivanisevic didn't hit more than 10 aces in a tennis match prior to 1992. (I know for a fact that he had matches with more than 20 aces even in 1989).
     
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  40. President

    President Legend

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    This doesn't necessarily mean that Sampras had a better serve, just more tools to back up the serve when it came back with some interest. Better players (i.e. those you can find from the QF to F) are generally better returners, so its not surprise Roddick suffered in those comparisons with Petros, having a mediocre ground game and volleys. But as a pure shot, his serve must surely be up there with Petros.
     
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  41. pc1

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    In all seriousness it could be the best thread.
     
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  42. mattennis

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    I don't know what statistics say, but I wouldn't be surprised if service-related statistics favour Roddick.

    Why?

    Because players with absolutely great serves there have been dozens in every decade, and most of them never even reach a GS final.

    And all these players with great serves (Forget, Wheaton, Stich, Krajicek, Ivanisevic, Rosset, Larsson, Arthurs, Johansson, Philippoussis, Isner, Karlovic...), they may have some (or many) service-related statistics with better numbers than those of Sampras or Roddick. I would not be surprise if that were the case.

    Why? Because you don't win many GS tournaments and be nº1 in the world for years because of a great serve (as I said, most of the great servers of each era don't won GS tournaments, don't even reached GS finals most of them, even if they win almost as much service-games as Roddick or Sampras).

    It is the whole package that is important, and it shows most in the return-games.

    It is possible that Sampras won many more return-games than the rest of those great serve players (even though Sampras usually never tried hard for a second break of serve if he was already up a break).
     
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  43. NonP

    NonP Professional

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    Well, I've written on this very topic at length in those posts I linked upthread and you can go back and read them for details, but to wit the top three reasons are technology, strategy and mentality.

    Now I don't think the latter played as big a role as the first two, at least not as far as the '90s are concerned. For example in the past you could hear even a top-notch server like Gonzales dismissing flat serves as "for show-offs," which displays a mindset foreign to more recent players who, of course, try to win points outright on their serves.

    Part of that mentality was due to the prevalence of S&V. That is, if you were coming to the net it was generally better to take a few mph off and get higher %s of 1st serves in, which resulted in fewer freebies. In fact the difference is stark when you compare the %s of free points on serve between the eras: before the '90s the average %s of unreturned serves rarely broke the 40% mark, even for big servers like Tanner and Becker, whereas now 40% is relatively common and even 50% isn't entirely unheard of.

    And of course there's the matter of technology. Again it's s a myth that the modern racquets boost your maximum serve speeds significantly, but they do allow you to impart more spin, which helps increase your 1st-serve %s and thus your average serve speeds. And your speeds get an additional boost because the extra spin allows for bigger 2nd serves, too, and again since players are not following their serves to the net anymore and it's not as important to ease on the pace and get more 1st serves in. People usually ignore this serve part of the equation when they talk about how the new racquets have aided the return.

    As you can see all these factors are related to each other, and it's hard to say which one contributed most to the steady increases in service stats. In any case people should've realized by now that all the chatter about surfaces slowing down or the supposedly improved return, spin and/or athleticism making S&V/all-court tennis obsolete is ultimately irrelevant, for the following reasons:

    1) We know, contrary to popular belief, that players today are holding serve with more ease than perhaps ever.
    2) We know, again contrary to popular belief, that the racquet/technology/spin/fill-in-the-blank revolution didn't drive S&Vers out of the game, since they were already becoming extinct in the '90s, well before the so-called revolution took root.
    3) There are more than enough examples of players, some from the '90s, enjoying success thanks to S&V in the '00s and beyond, which belies the boilerplate talk that it is no longer a viable strategy today.

    And really, people have no more excuse for remaining in the dark about all this, especially since they often happen to be the same ones who engage in all kinds of statistical contortions to prove their case and they could easily look up the above stats with just a couple clicks.

    Yes, and I'm sure you already know that, at least at Wimbledon, Pete won a higher % of service games in the finals overall than in the earlier rounds. Which is pretty amazing if you think about it--even if you were to believe that Pete switched gears for the big matches you'd still expect the %s to be lower in Slam finals.

    BTW do you have the 1st- and 2nd-serve stats (including unreturned serves) for all of Pete's Wimby finals? I've been meaning to compare and perhaps start a thread on Pete's & Fed's Wimby title runs (along with another one on unreturned serves in general--lots of work involved there), and so far I have every one of Pete's except those for the 1997 and '98 finals. I do have roughly accurate numbers for the '97 because I once watched the whole thing and wrote down whatever match stats I could think of (I'll definitely do a thread on this match once I verify everything), for the '98 final I have nothing but the 1st-serve stats.

    I know you have lots of other obscure stats at hand that I'd be interested in, so let me know if you want to exchange private messages instead of posting everything here and possibly hijacking the thread. As my contributions of sorts I have Fed winning 75.6% of his 1st-serve points (68/90) and 48.8% on 2nd (20/41) in last year's Wimby final, and winning 19/21 service games in the final and 92.44% (110/119) for the whole tournament (4/20 and 33.33% or 38/114 of return games respectively). Those numbers should not be easy to come by, if you don't have them already. :)

    The '90s ATP stats can be unreliable, especially the %s of 2nd-serve points won which can be off by as high as 12% (at least among those I've seen) as the double faults are often counted twice, but both the # of aces and the %s of service games won should be mostly accurate. Trust me, I actually crunched a few numbers to assure myself that Goran's total ace count in '91 wasn't just a simple data entry error.

    See above for a detailed explanation of how the improved service stats came about.

    Sure it is. :twisted:
     
    #43
  44. slice serve ace

    slice serve ace Rookie

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    hijacking the thread? with the number of trolls in this forum, nobody will notice:twisted:


    so, service stats for pete, wimby 97 and 98? here


    1997

    1st serve 45/76, 59%
    1st serve pts won 39/45, 87%
    2nd serve pts won 21/31, 68%
    unreturned serves 45/76, 59%


    1998

    1st serve 85/155, 55%
    1st serve pts won 69/85, 81%
    2nd serve pts won 44/70, 63%
    unreturned serves 71/155, 46%
     
    #44
  45. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    The ATP has him with several matches with 20+ aces in '91. They have no stats on any matches prior to '91.

    And they don't track Davis Cup, which has been the site of some rather high ace counts(Guga's 47 ace match etc) or Grand Slam Cup(some 40+ ace matches for Goran there)
     
    #45
  46. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

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    The numbers you cite are indirect measures of the serve and are confounded by the other factors that affect service holds (ie, strength of ground game). They suggest Sampras is a better player, but do not really prove anything about the serve.

    The stats that are most important for assessing the serve as a stroke are
    - Aces
    - Winners
    - 1st serve %
    - Double faults
     
    #46
  47. slice serve ace

    slice serve ace Rookie

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    indirect, yes. the total % of unreturned serves would be the closest to direct measurment of the stroke itself (aces are only subsection of that stat)

    my intention with stats that i posted is to show that pete's service game held much better when the going gets tough. sure, everybody knows that his game outside of the serve is much better than roddick's, but i also think that unpredictabillity and better placement of pete's serve is more usefull against better opposition than predictable roddick's 140 mph bomb down the T
     
    #47
  48. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Hall of Fame

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    Sampras had this ability to pull out huge first and second serves at critical times. Roddick would win service games easily during the first few games of the set but towards the end when he really needed some first serves and easy games, he couldn't do it(esp. against top players).
     
    #48
  49. brettsticker86

    brettsticker86 Rookie

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    roddick for sure. could hit it 10-20 mph harder, clutch city and had a huuuuuge kick serve. no question.
     
    #49
  50. fed_rulz

    fed_rulz Hall of Fame

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    if by "tough" you mean later rounds, you might want to reconsider that. One oft-mentioned point in this forum is the notion that the 16-seeding system in slams resulted in huge upsets more often... which translates to easier rounds later in slams more often for the top seeds that made it. also, the concept of "surface specialists" --- a term invented to refer to folks who sucked on surfaces, other than the ones they're "specialists" in. These "specialists", while great on their surface, lacked big match clutchness (naturally.. grass specialists get one tournament per year to fine-tune their mental strength)... which could also explain the higher hold stats.

    either that, or we could just analyze stats without adding caveats to it when it doesn't suit our view points (e.g. explaining away consistency of current top seeds to a 32-seed system, or homogeneity in surfaces or bemoaning lack of surface "specialists")?
     
    #50

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