Top 5 servers of the 90's?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Cesc Fabregas, May 21, 2009.

  1. Cesc Fabregas

    Cesc Fabregas Legend

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    Who in your opinion is the top 5 servers of the 90's? Imo its.

    1. Sampras
    2. Ivanisevic
    3. Krajicek
    4. Becker
    5. Stich
     
    #1
  2. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    1. Ivanisevic
    2. Krajicek
    3. Sampras
    4. Philipoussis
    5. Becker
     
    #2
  3. Gemini

    Gemini Hall of Fame

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    1. Ivanisevic
    2. Sampras
    3. Stich
    4. Krajicek
    5. Philippoussis
     
    #3
  4. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    1. Ivanisevic
    2. Krajicek
    3. Sampras
    4. Wayne Arthurs
    5. Philippoussis / Becker / Stich / Rusedski (pick one)
     
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  5. helloworld

    helloworld Hall of Fame

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    Did you mean top 5 serve or top 5 server? If you mean 'server' and not just 'serve' then Sampras would have no competition at all. If you mean just the serve, then here is my list;

    1. Sampras
    2. Ivanesevic
    3. Karlovic
    4. Arthers
    5. Krajicek

    What makes Pete's serve the best by far is his second serve.
     
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  6. Cesc Fabregas

    Cesc Fabregas Legend

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    I meant serve,Goran had the best 1st serve and Pete the best 2nd but nobody does cluth serving better than Pete Sampras.
     
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  7. helloworld

    helloworld Hall of Fame

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    The difference between Goran and Pete is, while Pete has both great first and second serve, Goran's second serve was poor at times, especially under pressure.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2009
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  8. swedechris

    swedechris Banned

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    Ivo Pete
    Arthurs Krajicek Becker
     
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  9. tonyg11

    tonyg11 Rookie

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    LMFAO at anybody not having sampras number 1 in the entire universe of all time on the serve.

    You guys putting Goran and Kraijcek ahead of him need to put away the speed gun.
     
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  10. Xuxa Kuerten

    Xuxa Kuerten Rookie

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    Sampras
    Ivanisevic
    Krajicek
    Becker
    Rafter (best kick serve I've ever seen)
     
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  11. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    His serve alone wasn't like a preemptive point ending atom bomb, but when he was number 1, Rios mixed up his serve like nobody really did at the time.
     
    #11
  12. Cenc

    Cenc Hall of Fame

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    ivanisevic
    sampras
    krajicek
    philippoussis
    becker
     
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  13. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    You gotta have stats to back things up.. :)
    who had the best 1st serve points won?
    who had the best 2nd serve points won?
    who had the best % of service games held?

    btw... for everyone putting sampras on top by default, it is doing his entire game a big disservice. This only adds fuel to the argument that he was great only because of his serve. Sampras had a much more solid overall game (returns, net, baseline) compared to the other big servers.
     
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  14. BorisBeckerFan

    BorisBeckerFan Professional

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    I mainly agree with this list. I'm biased towards Becker but I wouldn't be upset if Stich was up a spot on the list. He's motion was classic. Very fluid whipping speed. Becker had that hammering down action on his. Hard to choose but they both were very effective. I know guys like Roddick can bring more heat but I don't think there's any current player that could serve as well as any of the guys on this list. In many ways serving is a lost art. Not suggesting that the players of today are no good at it but it's just not the same. Roddick has a hard time acing Fed. Old Man Pete seemed to do it with relative ease. I don't think you can draw serious conclusions from exhibitions but those serves weren't going to be returned by anyone even if they had guessed right.
     
    #14
  15. mental midget

    mental midget Professional

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    sampras
    ivanesevic
    krajicek
    stich/becker
    forget
     
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  16. anointedone

    anointedone Banned

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    I dont think Ivanisevic and Krajicek could have done as well as they did vs Sampras with inferior serves to his. The rest of their games were certainly clearly inferior. JMO.
     
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  17. GameSampras

    GameSampras Banned

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    Sampras 3rd on people's list? LOL.. THats hillarious. Sampras was the greatest server of all time, next to Pancho. Hands down the greatest 2nd serve ever, and the most unreadable 1st and 2nd serves. No one could disguise their serve as Pete could

    Hardest doesnt mean greatest serve.
     
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  18. anointedone

    anointedone Banned

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    If people were just picking the hardest Rusedski and Philippoussis would have been 1-2 on most peoples lists. So obviously this isnt the case.
     
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  19. GameSampras

    GameSampras Banned

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    I would still would like some feedback and clarification on why people think Goran or Krajieck served better than Pete. Neither are even in the remote area code of clutch serving and the 2nd serve that Pete had
     
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  20. anointedone

    anointedone Banned

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    Well for starters most times they played Pete they outserved him. It is the reason they did as well as they did with much weaker games in every other area, especialy Krajicek who returned poorly, moved poorly, and had even an iffy ground game alot of times.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2009
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  21. Lefty78

    Lefty78 Professional

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    Anyone who says Sampras is not #1 is just out of their mind. Repeat. You're a f-ing moron if you do not think he has the goat serve ever.

    1. Best serve under pressure. He almost always came up with his best stuff when it mattered most. He made Agassi fans like me weep.

    2. Second serve off the charts. No one could consistently deliver the pace, accuracy, spin, and variety of his ball, all struck from an identical toss. I love Goron, but his second can't compare.
     
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  22. Lefty78

    Lefty78 Professional

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    BY FAR !!!!
     
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  23. dincuss

    dincuss Hall of Fame

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    Ivanisevic
    Sampras
    Edberg (Im in love with this serve)
    Krajicek
    Becker
     
    #23
  24. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

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    Ivanisevic
    Sampras
    Krajicek
    Becker
    Philipoussis
     
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  25. Mikey Fresh

    Mikey Fresh Banned

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    And he can put it anywhere. He can toss it like he is going outside and just skim the T
     
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  26. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    More like you'd have to be a moron to make a statement like yours. More like you'd have to be a moron to pass judgement when your frame of reference, obviously, doesn't extend back further than 15 years.

    Sampras had one of the best serves the game has seen, but that's it. He had the best serve of the 90's and the decade that followed (no-one is close today). But that's it. IF you're talking about greatest of all time, Gonzalez and Fraser were equally as good and might well have been better considering Fraser had a left-handed edge plus greater variety, Gonzalez's serve was able to keep him in the game when he was past 40 and both had to do it with standard sized frames.

    Anyone who blithely puts Sampras ahead of those two guys has the IQ of a dish cloth.
     
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  27. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

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    When I hear this question, I interpret it to mean "Who's 1st serve could dominate?". Sampras was obviously the total package, but he did not have the scariest serve in terms of aces & winners (rather he was one of several who were near the best).

    NO ONE was close to Goran. He made people look silly in a way that no one else could, particularly at Wimbledon. His delivery was unreadable. Wayne Arthurs was a poor man's Goran who could just have people flailing trying to pick up his motion. His delivery looked effortless in person. Krajicek was pure power and less guile. Stich & Sampras just moved people all over the place and had such variety, kind of like a MLB pitcher who has 4 pitches they can throw for strikes.

    Again, Goran in a land slide based on just the serve in isolation

    1. Ivanisevic
    2. Krajicek
    3. Stich
    4. Arthurs
    5. Sampras

    Honorable mention: Becker, Philipoussis, Forget, Rusedski, Magnus Larson,
     
    #27
  28. flying24

    flying24 Banned

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    1. Ivanisevic
    2. Krajicek
    3. Sampras
    4. Philipoussis
    5. Rusedski or Arthurs

    Becker's best serving and tennis were in the 80s otherwise I would have him atleast #4.
     
    #28
  29. World Beater

    World Beater Hall of Fame

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    karlovic >>>anybody on these lists.
     
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  30. flying24

    flying24 Banned

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    Karlovic is the only server today who could compare to the best of the 90s. Not sure if I would rank him #1 or not though. Unlike the greatest servers of the 90s Karlovic can do absolutely nothing well except serve.
     
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  31. 380pistol

    380pistol Banned

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    So explain....

    14 slams - 2 slams
    6 Yr End #1 - ZERO Yr End #1
    286 Weefs @ #1 - ZERO weeks @ #1

    You mean Goran and Krajicek with their serves couldn't accomplish more than this???
     
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  32. 380pistol

    380pistol Banned

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    I don't know (nor do I really care) who people have #2-5, but Sampras is #1. Why what makes a great serve.....

    POWER - Sampras = Ivanisevic/Krajieck
    PLACEMENT - Sampras all day!!!!
    VARIETY - Sampras again!!!
    CONSISTENCY - Sampras
    CLUCTH - Sampras
    WEIGHT -Sampras ...and by a chasm!!!!
    1ST SERVE -
    2ND SERVE - Sampras
    GAME BEHIND SERVE -Sampras

    I mean when you factor in all the aspects of what makes a great serve I fail to see how Sampras is not #1?!?
     
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  33. FedForGOAT

    FedForGOAT Professional

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    Then how do you explain the fact that Ivanisevic outaced Sampras by quite a lot? in His best year, Ivanisevic had 1447 aces. He has four of the top five years in number of aces served (Karlovic had the second highest total in 07').

    Sampras' best year had around 1000 aces.

    Yes, Goran double-faulted a lot, too. But his staggering ace count suggests that his serve had something Sampras' did not.

    I'm willing to bet most players from the 90's were more fearful of Ivanisevic's serve than of Sampras'.
     
    #33
  34. 380pistol

    380pistol Banned

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    Cuz Goran stood 6'4" and was a lefty, that was part of the reason. So a more aces = better serve???

    I broke down NINE aspects and you give me ONE?!? And what did Ivnisevic say about his serve and Sampras' when talking about the 1994 Wimbledon final?? Oh ans what did Ivanisevic say about the pressure of the Sampras serve.

    And ask Henman about what he thought was the differnce about "fast" and "heavy" servers?? And while you at it when Sampras held 87 straight service games at the 2001 US Open, what did Safin say regarding Sampras and other big servers??
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2009
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  35. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Not sure about this one. He mixed it up well, and could hit a dime, but in terms of different spins, level of spin, etc, I would argue that Sampras more or less hit the same kind of serve all the time and maybe that's why his second serve was so good, because in some ways he made little distinction between first and second serve and had his one kind of heavy, top spinny but not quite a kick serve down pat.
    Sampras had a big serve, and I'm not downplaying his accomplishments in any way because the serve is a part of tennis, but like Roddick, Sampras relied on his serve for wins more than the average player.
     
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  36. 0d1n

    0d1n Hall of Fame

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    I think the single most important stat determining who has "the best serve" is the percentage of unreturnable serves (first and seconds). Not aces...unreturnable serves.
    As a result, I disagree with your example stats being the most important in determining who had the best serve. IMO those are heavily dependent on the rest of one's game (how one backs up the serve).
    I do fully agree with the second part of the post, and that's why it is not as clear cut to me that Sampras had "the best" serve.
    I think guys like Krajicek, Ivanisevic and a "peak" Boris Becker were right up there with him. Hard to pick an order from those.

    You want to say Nadal has a better serve than Karlovic ?? What's your point exactly ??
    Was AA's serve better than Stich's serve ?? And yet he has more slams, titles, #1's and whatever else you would want to pick from that "line of thinking". Your reasoning and logic is simply ... outstandingly poor...towards non-existent.

    You just invented a few "categories" and said Sampras after that.
    Power, placement, variety and disguise are IMPOSSIBLE to distinguish between those 3 players you named. All 3 were simply outstanding at hitting their spots WITH power and disguise.
    Sampras owed his disguise perhaps more to his same ball...different serve placement technique + turning back to opponent + huge shoulder rotation.
    Ivanisevic and Krajicek owed their disguise to quick service action, low and similar ball toss on most serves.
    Their serves were "in your face" much faster than you expected, even if you got to know them.
    Ah... the "weight" factor you invented ... you have no way of determining that (yeah I've read the article about his pace + spin...so don't bother quoting it).
    Provide me with a stat of "percentage unreturnable serves" that proves Sampras was above the other 2.
    My "gut feeling" and years and years of watching tennis during the 90's (had a lot of time back then) tells me that he wouldn't be above Ivanisevic/Krajicek in that kind of stat.
    He was a better player than the other two guys because of his MIND and athletic ability. In other words... Krajicek for example had just as ground stroking technique and volleys as Sampras did...and a similarly outstanding serve.
    What he DIDN'T have was Sampras' MOVEMENT. Sampras' movement and speed were always underrated I feel. He was EXTREMELY fast, and as a result he was in position to hit a groudstroke much more often than the Krajicek type of guy.
    That's simply an enourmous advantage he had over K and Ivanisevic, and that (+ confidence + less injuries ... etc) was what made him a much better player...not the fact that he had a better serve...because he didn't.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2009
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  37. MethodTennis

    MethodTennis Hall of Fame

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    i was thinkin kaarlovic and roddick would be up there then remembered the went pro in 2000
     
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  38. Lefty78

    Lefty78 Professional

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    1. Been a fan well over 20 years. Just because I'm not a senior citizen doesn't mean I'm unfamiliar with tennis history. I've seen just about all the classic tennis I can get my hands on.
    2. I stand by everything I said. No one can hit the different spin, direction, pace, and accuracy that Pete did, all from the same ball toss.
    3. Never bragged about this before, but I just can't help myself. My IQ happens to put me in the top 1/4 of the top one percent (.25%) of the population. There was nothing blithe about my criteria for judging Sampras the best, as there must have been in your blind evaluation of my mental prowess. :twisted:
     
    #38
  39. TsongaEatingAPineappleLol

    TsongaEatingAPineappleLol Banned

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    1. Tsongalol
    2. Tsongalol
    3. Tsongalol
    4. Tsongalol
    5. Safin
     
    #39
  40. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    I think this pretty much nails it. Looking strictly at serve, Ivanisevic and Krajicek had better serves. What they didn't have was the total package like Sampras did. The other pros from "the day" all agree that the most feared player at Wimbledon was Ivanisevic. Why? Because of his serve. Ivanisevic was beatable though more due to what was between his ears and his game wasn't as complete. But on a day when he was hot, he was unbreakable.

    And some would define an f-ing moron as someone who can't spell "G*O*R*A*N"

    Congrats! You've defined perspective for some of the challenged members of the boards. :)


    Very good post/analysis and spot on IMO.
     
    #40
  41. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Here's an interesting tidbit....

    and the link:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A610741

    In 2001 when Ivanisevic won the tournament, he averaged 30 aces a match. In 1992 when he lost in the finals of the tournament, he averaged 29 aces a match.

    Sampras, by contrast, only averaged 15 aces per match.

    So what we have is a server's tournament, on a server's surface. I don't know, looking at those numbers, it's hard indeed to argue Ivanisevic's dominance in the serving department.

    Add to this Richard Kraijcek's entry in the record book. He served a then record 49 aces against a fairly good returner in Kafelnikov at the US Open (and lost).

    Looking at total aces in one match, Sampras doesn't register. Again, this in no way denigrates Sampras, rather points to just how much the other two guys relied on their serve. Sampras himself said he hated to play both of these guys and the year he lost to RK said he had the best serve out there.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2009
    #41
  42. Cesc Fabregas

    Cesc Fabregas Legend

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    Theres more to serving than aces.
     
    #42
  43. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    Impossible to measure such a thing. Do you take into account the serve breaking down a bit under pressure? Or are you just talking about the effectiveness of the action? There are so many ways you can look at it. You have to incorporate the second serve into it as well.

    But I say Sampras. He was more clutch with his serving, and I think that should count.
     
    #43
  44. PERL

    PERL Guest

    You might be right overall and I mostly agree although Ivanisevic in that final he won had 27 aces and also 16 double faults. That particular match stat does not really serve your argument and shows how Ivanisevic could break under pressure, a Wimbledon final has to be the ultimate test.
    27-16 = 11. Rafter had 13-4 = 9. That’s pretty close in terms of free points, free errors and overall effectiveness. Now we don’t have the service winners, Ivanisevic relied more on his serve and Rafter on his first volley anyway.

    On a side note, I am even more impressed with the unforced errors made by Rafter that day. 11 ue for a 3 hours match and 5 sets, this is really few even with short exchanges. The guy was a clock at serving and volleying. I guess Edberg would have similar stats, percentage attacking tennis.
     
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  45. Lefty78

    Lefty78 Professional

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    My bad. I thought we were talking about serve overall. Stupid me couldn't realize that all that really matters is aces.

    Seriously though, lots of players have had great 1st serves. No one was ever close to Pete's 2nd, ESPECIALLY UNDER PRESSURE.
     
    #45
  46. mental midget

    mental midget Professional

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    the year stich won wimby, edberg didn't lose his serve THE ENTIRE TOURNAMENT.

    he lost to stich 63 67 67 67 in the semis. stich was out of his mind for those last two matches--if that guy was mentally made of firmer stuff, and kept himself a little stronger physically, he could have been a 7, 8 major winner, on every surface.
     
    #46
  47. Lefty78

    Lefty78 Professional

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    YES! YES! YES!

    All that matters is what you do under pressure.
     
    #47
  48. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    The OP was best serve....I didn't interpret that as anything more...

    Never meant to imply that aces were the sole measure. However, when one considers just how effective a serve is, and serve alone, the number of aces is a stat that should be considered.

    And when you have a disparity like the one I relayed....well....and when Sampras himself and the other pros refer to Goran as a "monster".....that's enough for me
     
    #48
  49. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

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    Aces & service winners are the only objective thing you can look at as a proxy for serving prowess as a stroke in and of itself. Other metrics tend to measure the strength of the rest of their game in many instances. Goran just took it to another level from the field for years in a way that's remarkable in hindsight. Sampras was an extraordinary server, but Goran's serve was a freakshow
     
    #49
  50. Winners or Errors

    Winners or Errors Hall of Fame

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    Is Edberg not really in here because he didn't do much after 1992? I mean, he did play well in 1990, 1991, and 1992, so he should qualify.

    In my mind, Edberg had maybe the most effective serve of the entire group. It was certainly as effective as Sampras', though it didn't yield many free points. Honestly, I think Rafter's serve should be second fiddle to Edberg's, as I see Rafter's game in ways as a tribute to Edberg. As for all the kings of the ace that came out of the 90s, I'm not sure their serves were "effective," because they were too inconsistent to qualify for me as being among the top 5 servers of the 1990s.

    As always, this is MHO. Certainly, those guys, Sampras, Edberg, and Rafter, make my top 3. Not sure who rounds out the top 5, because, as I said, when I think of the best serve consistency of performance has to come into play.
     
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