Steffi Graf: underrated serve

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Lionheart392, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. Lionheart392

    Lionheart392 Professional

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    I really think it is. We always talk about her amazing forehand but why don't we ever talk about her serve too? It's surely one of the greatest women's serves in history. It was one of the most powerful serves of her era and the placement was sublime, it was extremely effective both out wide and down the line. Plus the service motion was beautiful.
     
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  2. scootad.

    scootad. Semi-Pro

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    she had a great 1st serve but an average 2nd serve. although i will say her 2nd serve was reliable (although mediocre and attackable).
     
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  3. grafselesfan

    grafselesfan Banned

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    Name who in the 90s had a better second serve. Thanks. Actually other than Serena who today has a better 2nd serve then Graf. Venus, Safina, Dementieva, Jankovic, ROTFL!!
     
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  4. scootad.

    scootad. Semi-Pro

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    they all have crappy 2nd serves
     
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  5. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Stosur's second serve is actually pretty good... along with her first serve.
     
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  6. grafselesfan

    grafselesfan Banned

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    So Serena and possibly Stosur, who else is there. Scootad. my point is if you dont think Steffi has a really good 2nd serve for a women you are expecting way too much from a female players 2nd serve (I just named most of the top women players in the world today and you said their second serves all suck which pretty much shows my point). If you cant get it in the court without being prone to double faults you are already ahead of 90% of the top 100 atleast, and obviously Graf goes beyond that. I will say hands down Serena Williams, the greatest server in womens tennis history IMO, has a better 2nd serve than Graf. There arent many others though.

    Even the greatest womens returners are not able often to attack the Graf 2nd serve. Seles, the William sisters, and Davenport were not able to attack her 2nd serve that often, most times Graf was able to start rallies in neutral, whereas vs most women those 4 are hitting countless clean winners off the 2nd serve. That alone speaks to Graf having one of the best 2nd serves, hardly anyone was able to truly attack it more than once in awhile.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2009
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  7. pug

    pug Semi-Pro

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    You are spot on. Her whole game was a joy to watch and near impossible to beat.
     
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  8. Darth_Timmaayyy!!

    Darth_Timmaayyy!! Banned

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    Sukova. Navotna. Although nearing the end of their careers..
     
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  9. grafselesfan

    grafselesfan Banned

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    Novotna was far too prone to double faults to have a better 2nd serve than Graf. Sukova had an excellent 1st serve but her 2nd serve actually sat up.
     
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  10. drwood

    drwood Hall of Fame

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    2nd best woman's serve of all time to Serena; the high ball toss gave her trouble sometimes, though.
     
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  11. LDVTennis

    LDVTennis Professional

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    Average?

    Well, this is what I know. From 1988 to 1992, Steffi primarily hit a slice second serve. She fully pronated, however, even on her slice serve; so it had some kick on it. Look on youtube for the clips from the 1988 Wimbledon Final. You can see for yourself. (I hope to have some higher quality clips from this match soon. On one of them, I'll point out how she fully pronates even on her slice serve.)

    By 1996, Steffi was hitting both topspin and slice second serves. Here's two topspin second serves from 1996:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYs0Y7OJ8Dc
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30mqLLUoSJw

    In the clip of the first one, you can see the service motion in slow-mo. The position of her forearm at the end of the motion clues you into what she is trying to do with the ball. In the second clip, it's the trajectory and the bounce of the ball that clues you into the type of serve it is.

    I think Steffi's service motion is more innovative than Serena's. I showed you Steffi's in slow motion. Here's Serena's: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoNhZtPO5S4.

    Both very good motions, but I like how Steffi keeps her right shoulder up longer, the effect of such extreme pronation. You'll see on the follow-through how Serena's arm falls naturally to her left and with it her shoulder. That's very old school.

    On the other hand, Steffi's motion is more like what you see from today's male players. At hi-techtennis.com, there's a visual analysis of Djokovic's topspin serve which could be an analysis of Steffi's topspin serve. It is a subscription site. But, go to this thread http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=267. On the second page of this thread, second to last post, you'll find a link to that visual analysis.
     
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  12. grafselesfan

    grafselesfan Banned

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    Serena has the best womens 1st and 2nd serve of all time.
     
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  13. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Isn't Venus's serve harder and faster than Serena's?
     
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  14. Lionheart392

    Lionheart392 Professional

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    Possibly when at its best (don't think there's much in it) but Serena's serve is much more consistent than Venus's. Serena can usually rely on her serve to get her out of sticky situations whereas Venus's is more likely to break down under pressure.
     
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  15. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Ahh. Makes sense. OK, thanks.
     
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