Speed of serve estimation

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by jussumman, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. jussumman

    jussumman Semi-Pro

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    I've been struggling with my serve for years and only recently got it going. This is not a big deal for me but I'm just wondering what do you think is a good estimated speed of a flat serve down into the middle/edge of the box with ball hitting the back fence about 2-3 feet up (standard tennis courts). Should be at least 100 right??
     
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  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Should be 100, BUT....
    Air temps make a huge difference.
    What kind of balls? Wilson's fly like missiles, while Dunlops cut down your speed by easily 7mph on first serves.
    What court surface? Abrasive surfaces, a 70 mph flat serve might bounce that high after going in. A worn slick painted cement court might skid a lot, so even 145 mph serves bounce thigh high.
    Example. 58 degrees, fog blocking the sun, DunlopHDHardcourtChamp balls, painted cement 3 year old courts, first flats your 2-3' high, maybe 95-105.
    But, 75 degrees, WilsonHarcCourtChamp balls, same courts, 2.5-3.5' high, maybe 105-115 mph.
     
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  3. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    I'd say you are serving between 125-130. Maybe faster.
     
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  4. Tight Lines

    Tight Lines Professional

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    I just recorded a few of my son's first serves that landed about a foot above the back fence and used an iphone app servespeed to measure the speed. It's roughly around 100 mph. That day, he used practice balls and the temperature on that day hovered around 70 degrees.

    Harry
     
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  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    How high was the backfence?
    At our courts, it's 18' high, so probably not the same as your courts.
     
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  6. Avles

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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Sorry, you don't get backwall hits.
    1. Your serve looks a foot long.
    2. You vid doesn't show where the ball bounces after it's initial LONG bounce.
     
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  8. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    Cmon LeeD, it was definitely in and you can hear it hit the fence without bouncing again. That court was recently resurfaced and is pretty rough so I'm sure that helped-- the point is that you can hit the back fence without serving all that fast.
     
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  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Sorry, it looks a foot long, maybe 9".
    As for hearing, I turned up the volume fully, and no sound came out.
     
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  10. jussumman

    jussumman Semi-Pro

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    The balls I use for practice serves are ProPenns. I find that they are real high quality in keeping the felt for a long time and they bounce pretty good. Actually I find them too bouncy when fresh to make them my preferred balls to play with but for practice, after they sit around for a while for weeks and are hit often, their felt is still good and they never really go totally dead. I like them for practice and used them here.

    The surface is hard court in red color/outside green in pretty decent shape and I'd say somewhat faster than many of the blue/green courts I've played at.

    The temperature is 65 F.

    When I hit the ball right it makes the beautiful crushing sound and then medium top spin to hit the back end of the box and flies pretty straight on to hit around 2-3 feet up on the backfence. Of course the more towards the end of the box/on line the ball bounces the higher it hits on the back fence, but these are 1 foot in the box serves.

    Before my serves never even hit the fence, always landed about 2-3 feet before the fence with the most power I can hit them. Pretty pathetic and would prevent me from wanting to play/join a league. The key difference now? Well besides tweaking the motion, there is now lead on my racquet. I had to try several placements and sizes, many of which didn't work that well and made the racquet really unbalanced and cumbersome. The heft gave more power but it screwed up my motion too, until finally found the right combo now. Thank God lol So freaking annoying tweaking the racquet for such a long time. It's over (hopefully).

    I think the measuring of the speeds, the pros they get the ball measured at the very start of the ball tragectory, when it flies off the racquet. When we use these apps to measure it (deduced from video footage) I think we get a much slower mph result and I think it's an underestimation of our serve. People who get the 80-90 mph tops result, are probably serving around 100 real time.
     
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  11. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    Nope, the ServeSpeed app and the webpage I posted are both estimating initial speed based on time to first bounce, and the number they spit out is initial speed, just like in the pros.
     
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  12. KineticChain

    KineticChain Professional

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    despite what anyone here says.. there are far too many variables to extrapolate serve speed from the height up it hits on the fence. Post a video and I can estimate your serve speed to with in a couple mph. Make sure, in the video, you get the points of contact where the racquet hits the ball and where the ball hits the ground. If you don't want anyone to see.. then you can just do it yourself. Go to this website to estimate your serve based on video. Make sure you input the proper frame rate of your camera
     
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  13. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    Since you're offering and I'm lazy, how fast are these haha:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkpQJkPMXnw ---------->I think the second serve is fastest?


    This was shot with an iphone 5, 50 deg F weather, Wilson balls. This should be interesting:)
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
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  14. Avles

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    Hard to be really precise there because of all the blur and the lowish frame rate (24 fps). My estimates were 105, 111, 101, 110-- all are give or take at least 5 mph I think. I'd be interested to hear if KineticChain's were anywhere close to that.

    Bonus points for the awestruck cameraman :)
     
    #14
  15. RetroSpin

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    Careful, that's LeeD territory.
     
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  16. Avles

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    By the way, just for LeeD, here's an example of an even slower serve that landed well in and somehow managed to reach the back fence on the fly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMVXY97IkLk

    I think 80 mph may be a generous estimate there.

    If you suspect that I keep a video of every time I manage to hit the back fence....I can neither confirm or deny that.
     
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  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    err. ,no chance.
    Based on your other thread, maybe 78 at best.
    If you had a 100 mph service speed, like I do, you can boast that you have the FASTEST serves of ANY 4.0 player out of at least 50, your serves can bother 4.5 thru 5.0 players, and even Div1 college players stand 3' behind the baseline to recieve your first flat fastest serves.
    Almost every court I go to, I have the fastest or amongst the fastest serves of anyone, including league 4.5 players, during a match between BerkeleyTennisClub and SanPablo. BTC had one guy who definetely served faster than me, but he's 6'5" + tall, 225 lbs, is under 28 years of age, and played No.4 singles for Cal Poly.
    You DID post a thread showing your serves, didn't you?
     
    #17
  18. psv255

    psv255 Professional

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    Sounds about right. My usual first serve hits 2-3 ft up the fence, and I think are around 100 on avg. Here's a reference if interested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH97-fjsjjs
     
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  19. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Read post 2 again.
    Your courts are almost new, and if it's warm out, like over 70 degrees, you only need to hit 70 mph to reach 2' high at the backwall.
    But can you say you have the fastest serve out of everyone short of Open players at your courts?
    I do, and my first serves, while averaging something over 95, can hit 110 with new balls and 65+ air temps.
     
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  20. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    Ok, then we are basically in agreement on the original question-- hitting the bfence is no guarantee of a fast serve speed.

    For the rest, I'm sure your serves are awesome, and I know that mine aren't, but that doesn't really seem too relevant here.
     
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  21. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    I was going to guess 105-ish, seems i was close. Thanks for doing that
     
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  22. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    No prob! Let's see if KineticChain agrees...
     
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  23. jussumman

    jussumman Semi-Pro

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    Thanks. I'm beginning to doubt your "Talk Tennis Guru" status though. I'm sure you have the fastest serve out of everyone here at 4.0 level. So where are the videos of your serves? I watched both psv's and ballingbob's videos and I think mine are similar and we all agree these are at least 100 give or take. These courts were at least 5 years old and temp in 60s. Anyway, thanks for the replies, I'll try to get around some day to make a video to post.
     
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  24. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    BallinBob....
    All your serves are top/slices.
    You might get up to 25 mph more speed if you flatten out those serves so they go POW every time you hit it.
    I claim my second top/slice serves poke in at 75.
    So my fast top/slices, first serves, might approach 88.
    But my fastest flats are maybe 110.
    BTW, I"m only 5'11" tall, don't jump up, and my top/slice first serves all bounce about the same height as yours.
    NONE of my true second serves can hit the backfence after it's initial bounce, but they do go in 48 out of 50 tries.
     
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  25. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    View your serve from perpendicular to the ball's trajectory with a video camera in bright sunlight. Before moving anything hold your racket up and point it in the direction that the ball travelled and video it. Most likely in sunlight the camera's frame rate will be 30 fps.

    100 MPH is 1760"/sec

    If 30 fps a ball at 100 MPH travels

    1760"/sec / 30 fr/sec = 58.7" per frame

    59" per frame at 30 fps equals 100 MPH

    Measure your racket and use it as a scale.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
    #25
  26. Avles

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    If your serves look like ballinbob's and psv's I agree that you are right around or above 100 mph.

    Since you asked, LeeD's serves can be seen here: http://vimeo.com/21713707 (they start at about 25 seconds in).

    They're pretty good but clearly not as good as psv's or Ballinbobs. The serve speed website puts them at right around 90 mph, which sounds pretty close to me.

    (Whenever that video is posted LeeD points out that his serves were slower because he was using his backup racquet, or was hungover, or was suffering from a bad case of gout, or some such thing. His true serves have never been recorded).
     
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  27. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    LOL, depends on how far back the fence is....
     
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  28. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    I would say Avles's serves are in the 80s, and psv and Ballinbob's are in the 100s. Lee's seem to be high 80s or low 90s. Since we're having fun here, anyone want to estimate mine? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ginT7RGLmY
     
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  29. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Problem here is, if my serves are 90, then your's really can't go much faster than 70.
    That vid, if you noticed, my WIDE serves, going the long court, hit around 30" high at the backwall.
    Look at where the serves landed inside the service line!
    All other serves are up the middle serves, much shorter court.
     
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  30. jussumman

    jussumman Semi-Pro

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    LeeD is this not you? I'm just messing. I see now you're a character over here and having fun. I'm only a 4.0 player myself, but I know I can't compete with your serves that go over the the fence!

    In the vimeo which one are you, the 1st guy? Both are really good at hitting the camera too, world class accuracy. The 2nd guy actually hits some nice 2nd serves and very clean.
     
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  31. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Lefty is me.
    Alex is the 6' 180 lbs rightie, and that's the only serve he hits, the top/slice.
    Don't know what you're refering to when you say "go over the fence. My serves hit the the camera set on a tripod, possibly the tripod was not set at full extension, since 48" is higher than I can normally bounce a serve, and almost impossible to bounce out wide, unless it's an ATP level serve, which mine aren't close to.
    Post 29 refers to Alves serves, and he posted a vid of his serves.
    BallinBob can serve faster than me.
    Topspin, who knows. Roddick motion, but so blurry we can't see the ball.
    Shroud here mentioned my first flats approach 120.
    RobFL, a nationally ranked 4.5 player, will not dispute my service speed claim.
    PapaMango has also played doubles with me, and won't argue I can serve well over the 100 mark.
     
    #31
  32. AtomicForehand

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    This cannot be.

    I am a 4.0 woman (who does admittedly have an unusually good serve), and my serves regularly hit the back fence with a good THUD, maybe 2-3 feet up. I doubt they are more than 75 or 80 MPH.
     
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  33. jussumman

    jussumman Semi-Pro

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    I suspect you underestimate yourself.
     
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  34. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    You must be 3.5....

    4.0 GOATs serve 100 MPH bombs with 4-5 feet up.
     
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  35. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You have a good serve.
    We mentioned that with an abrasive court surface, warm temps, a 70 mph serve hits the backwall 24" high easily
    But can your wide serves bounce that high after going IN? How about 30" high, wide serve?
    Both the junior girls at our courts hit first serves that bounce about 20" high, but one is under 5' tall, while the 13 year old is 5'2" tall.
    Question is, does you first serve, when you get it IN, often result in an ace or a weak floaty return every time, and can the returner take a groundstroke swing at it, or does he need to just block it back in desperation?
     
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  36. AtomicForehand

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    That would be the first time someone has done that on Talk Tennis. :)
     
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  37. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Giirl who is a friend of mine, a windsurfer, can bounce her first flat serves about chest high at the backfence, 21' behind the baseline.
    She doesn't really play tennis. Oh, she's 6'6" and about 225 lbs, and yes, she has lots of vids of herself posted everywhere dressed up in heels and skirt. Amy.
     
    #37
  38. AtomicForehand

    AtomicForehand Hall of Fame

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    I do get a lot of aces and unreturnables, yes. Occasionally people can block one of my good serves back for a decent return.
     
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  39. Ballinbob

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    Lee your serve isn't bad you old dog:) First time I've seen you play.

    I've always been fascinated with serve speeds-mainly because I've never officially been clocked and I've always been left guessing about how fast my peers and I serve.

    This has been a good eye opener
     
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  40. AtomicForehand

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    How about you, dear Overdrive? All I know is you have that evil backspin dropper that comes back over on your side of the net. :)
     
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  41. Ballinbob

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    #41
  42. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    BTW I was just experimenting with the frame rate method on this video and got an initial serve speed of 83-87 mph. (30 fps ,59 feet, t-serve, 16.5-17 frames ). Not sure this is right but this method matched some video of pro serve speeds that I've tried in the past. Not sure what you used for an estimate.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
    #42
  43. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    Just to double check, I tried the FPS method on Ballinbob's second serve and got an initial serve speed of 110 mph so it checks out well with 111.


    Can't do Topspin's serve video because it is too dark to see the where the ball bounces.
     
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  44. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Someone try this one. You should be able to see the ball. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ca8aOI6h1mk&feature=c4-feed-u Don't forget to take into account that I'm standing pretty far out wide. :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
    #44
  45. KineticChain

    KineticChain Professional

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    Sorry for the wait.. just checked back on this thread. Using that website I originally linked, your second serve in the video comes out to be around 96-97 mph.

    Edit: Alvis, what numbers were you using to plug into the website? Your estimates seem to be high. I counted 12 frames of ball flight (you must include the 2 frames where the ball instantaneously changes direction with racquet impact and ground impact). A video editor I'm using indicated the video was 24 frames per second. You must change the default of 29.97 FPS on the website to 24 FPS.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
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  46. Ballinbob

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    Interesting, thanks. I have no idea if it helps but in case you missed it I filmed this using an iPhone 5
     
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  47. KineticChain

    KineticChain Professional

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    That video is shot at 10 frames per second.. your estimate won't be very accurate because of the low frame rate. I did the calculation anyways and it came out to be 96 mph.. but it could be +-5 mph (or more)
     
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  48. KineticChain

    KineticChain Professional

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    It doesn't really matter.. I think the iPhone5 shoots at 30 FPS, but somewhere along the way, the file was compressed with an output frame rate of 24 FPS.
     
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  49. Avles

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    I think the 5 may have a variable frame rate...lower frame rates in lower light.
     
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  50. Avles

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    Ah, I think we're counting the frames differently-- I had something more like 10.5 frames as I recall. Which frame counts as #1 for you? I don't include a frame where the ball is contacting the racquet in the count (that frame would be zero, the first frame after it would be one).

    This video is trickier because frame rate is lower and the lower light makes for a blurrier image (and that's why I think I used half frames to to get closer). But honestly on an eyeball level serve 2 looked faster than 96 mph to me.

    I'd go back and check my work now, but the baby is sleeping in the room with the computer where I DLd the video....
     
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