When is it unsporting for the guy to hit his biggest serve in mixed?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, Aug 21, 2012.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I play 8.0 mixed, and one of my partners is a 4.0 guy. I enjoy him very much. Good serve, solid off of both wings. Pretty typical.

    Anyway, we lost a close match this year. As we were leaving, he mentioned something about how he wished he hadn't held back on his serve to the woman. I replied i wished he hadn't held back either.

    In light of our recent thread here in which a 3.5/4.0-ish guy said he held back to avoid hurting others, I put the two things together. Are guys in league mixed genuinely worried that they cannot hit their best serves for fear of hurting the woman?

    I think it is reasonable to hold back on serving to the woman to avoid having to hit a weak second serve. Or because spin is more effective than pace. Or to avoid a DF, as there is no greater sin than DFing to the woman in mixed. But holding back on a serve to spare her a trip to the hospital?

    Has anyone ever hurt a female opponent in a league match with a serve?
     
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  2. jservoss

    jservoss Rookie

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    I have certain rules I abide by when serving to the women. Basically no flat serves at the body and no spin serves that spin towards the body. I would rather get broken than be a dick.
     
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  3. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Professional

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    Personally, I don't hold back on serve unless I'm winning quite comfortably. As far as I've seen, the best players in this county are pretty much the same.

    Still, it seems like common sense that, if you're facing a team that is good enough to beat you unless you hit your biggest serves, then they're good enough to face your biggest serves without getting hurt. That said, I go for angles rather than trying to jam people, so I'm not likely to hit too many.

    (On a side note, I did get hit by a guy's biggest serve one day. I was playing on some courts foolishly built facing east and west, and I was blinded by the setting sun. I completely missed the ball and got hit on the stomach, but all I got was a bruise.)
     
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  4. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    I've got a very big serve for my level (or likely for most levels), and have played a lot of mixed. I rarely flatten out to the woman, mostly due to not wanting to appear to be any more of a jerk than I already am ;). When I do flatten out, I'm aiming at corners and certainly not hitting body serves. I've hit serves that were "flat" for me that crossed the baseline at shoulder height for my opponent, and I've had a 4.5 man duck out of the way of a flat serve (this was after he was previously hit in a sensitive area with a serve earlier in the match). I certainly wouldn't want a 3.5 or 4.0 woman getting pegged, no more than I would any other opponent, but it's a little bit more acceptable if you're playing same-sex than mixed.

    It's not just the fact that it seems unsporting, but also, I have yet to meet a woman who has seen enough kick serves that she can judge the bounce and do much, if anything with the return, so that's a higher percentage play anyway.

    An effective server should have more tools in his pouch than just the big flat serve anyway - I hit more slice and kick than I do flat playing doubles. The big flat one gets reserved for singles.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
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  5. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    I haven't played mixed competitively in a few years. But, I always found that a kick to the backhand or a slice that made them take a few steps was a better-higher percentage play.

    Unless I was in a multiple deuce service game, I wouldn't bother going big to the woman. But, if they can handle kicks and slices, they would start to see some more pace.

    No, I've never hurt someone with my serve. Can't think of a time when I ever hit someone with enough pace to even threaten injury.
     
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  6. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    4.0 (or 8.0) mixed is not a beginner's league. Women playing 8.0 mixed should understand what they are getting into - and many are very good. Most of them are not at all afraid to take advantage of you when you ease up your game.

    If you are winning comfortably, there's no reason to scare anyone. Otherwise, play your game and expect them to abuse your shots if you ease up.
     
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  7. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    I would never hold back on my serve out of fear of hurting anyone... my most 'fearsome' serves barely break 100mph... that's not going to hurt anyone.

    But I am curious to see how others respond - you know, that large group of TT posters who have 110-120+ mph serves...
     
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  8. olliess

    olliess Semi-Pro

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    I'm not sure I see the problem at 8.0 mixed. Anyway, from what I've seen, a lot of 3.5-4.0 women return (pretty) big flat serves reasonably well (sometimes more often than the guy) if you give them a ball they can reach, especially on the backhand side. As previous posters already said, kickers and slices seem to work better against the female partner anyway, so I'm going for most result for least risk/effort here. If the lady can obviously handle the kickers and I need to throw in some flat serves for variety, then I don't think it's jerky at all to hit right the flat serve at them once in a while, especially if they're standing way behind the baseline. Now if they stand well in, then I don't know if I'd slam a body serve right at them, but I haven't really seen that happen on a first serve anyway.

    Now obviously if you're playing for fun with someone at lower level (male or female) and you can see that they aren't handling the pace on your flat serve, what are you going to do? Obviously it's jerky to keep hitting the flat serve right at them.
     
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  9. Alchemy-Z

    Alchemy-Z Professional

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    Mixed I mostly do to enjoy playing with my wife....so looking like a D-bag in front of her by hitting body serves at some 120lb girl is not a good idea.

    I always hit a top spin serve out wide...and if it;s the add court I can usually hit a kicker that can go over most shorter women.

    so I get the points without blasting my flat serve.

    it's also help me work more variety into my game since I had only stuck to my flat serve 80% of the time before.
     
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  10. goober

    goober Legend

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    I don't know if the woman got hurt, but I have seen a 4.5 M hit a twist serve that spun right into the opposing woman's chest. Obivously she hadn't seen too many of these and was not expecting the bounce to go the opposite direction right into her.

    I haven't really noticed anybody holding back on serves in mixed at 8.0 or 9.0 unless they are easily winning.
     
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  11. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    First of all it should be clarified that this is talking about league matches with teammates. Pick up matches, social mixers, or even flex doubles leagues there is more leeway.

    Even take out hte people with a good kicker where that is their most effective serve against women.

    But other than that I think that guys should feel free to hit their biggest serve against the woman. The woman always has the ability to step back where there isn't any significant injury risk. If they stand way back then the wide serves become dramatically more effective. Plus I think that women who play mixed have mostly gotten to the point where they can block back pace so I really don't think its a big issue.

    But I'm sort of on the outside of this conversation as I'm in the camp of thinking my kicker is a higher percentage play for us. I'd rather have the woman get stretched out and have to swing at a ball that is outside of her strikezone.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
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  12. jservoss

    jservoss Rookie

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    I am willing to hit my hardest serves, just not body serves. That being said, against women, spin serves are so much more effective that I don't think I have had to hit a flat serve all season.

    I did manage to give a 4.5 guy a bloody nose last weekend at sectionals and I feel guilty enough about that. Had it been his partner I wouldn't show my face in the tennis community for a while.
     
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  13. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Clearly his reason to be there is different than yours. You are there to win and he is there for social reasons to meet other women. He doesn't want to look bad, losing potential dates with opponents and spectators. This is semi-elite social tennis. Next time have him serve big with topspin, it's harder for the 3.5/4.0 ladies to return than big flat serves and the guy doesn't look like a big meanie. Bribe him with an offer he can't refuse.
     
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  14. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    They always get my second serve for a number of reasons - risk of hurting someone isn't one. (Really? Can one get hurt by a serve assuming remotely similar playing levels??)
    - don't find it sporting
    - not to generalize but most women I play with aren't active at the net and strong serve doesn't set up a winner
    - spin seems to be effective enough to win the service game
    - DFing to the woman is inexcusable

    The real issue I struggle with is going hard at the net woman; am mortified when I try to take a return down the line and miss a bit inside. There's a balance between competition and winning points looking like a real jerk. I know it's mixed but it's a shallow win when I feel as though I picked on the woman and not the male.

    (All above assumes the typical mixed; woman .5+ less than me. I do occasionally bump into the .5 better and I wish she'd go easy on me! -- Although they are typically better due to consistency and placement, not heavy pace.)
     
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  15. escii_35

    escii_35 Rookie

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    8.0 Attracts attracts hard nosed 3.5 female doubles players and solid 4.0's . 7.0 and 7.5 is where things get a little more social. Since the strongest formation in 8's is 4.5/3.5 (look at sectionals and see what percentage of teams are 3.5/4.5), there will be more then a few cannon serves from ex-small collage players. My serve ain't not'in compared to those.
     
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  16. Mike Y

    Mike Y Rookie

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    Maybe it is a regional thing. In my experience here Mixed is very competitive. I play 8.0 and 9.0, and I've never heard of anyone taking it easy on the girl in matches. In fact, it is completely expected to hit it as hard as you can at the girl and to target the girl. My team and partners would not be happy with me if I was taking it easy on a 3.5 girl, and I probably wouldn't be put into matches if I did that. The 4.5s with the huge serves will absolutely take it to a 3.5 girl, and they will be the target of every overhead. The 3.5 girls that are playing 8.0 Mixed are playing because they can handle those shots and can often return those serves often enough that it is not an automatic hold if the 4.5 is serving. I'm at somewhat of a disadvantage in Mixed because I don't have that huge fast serve or huge kicker, but I can usually make up for it in that if I hit it to a 3.5 or 4.0 girl, I hit it well enough and I am fast enough that they usually can't direct the ball away from me.

    But I have been nailed in a match, my 3.5 female partners have been nailed multiples times, and I have hit women and men with many overheads, it is just a part of Mixed, and I have never seen any hard feelings shown from hard shots directed at the women. And I have never seen any injury from a tennis ball, as all these shots are mostly at the lower body.

    Social matches are a different story, of course, you should use your own discretion.
     
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  17. KineticChain

    KineticChain Professional

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    It always surprises me that women don't understand the social stigma of a man exerting maximum force when physically competing with a woman. You have to understand men are brought up to respect women and treat them with extra care. It is seen as socially unacceptable between male peers to "go all out" when competing with a woman in a sport. I believe this social stigma is the underlying cause for taking it easy on a woman.
    Tennis is a little unique in that below the pro level, the amount of skill/technicality a person has determines who is better. The more physically imposing player does not necessarily have an advantage. Despite this fact, I and most guys will still take it easy on women because it is pretty much hardwired in our brains. Now if I'm playing a D1 girl or higher... no mercy.
     
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  18. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    I hadn't really given this much thought, but I actually was involved in this situation over the weekend.

    I went easy on the serves for most of the match, but I hit them harder and flatter towards the end of the 2nd set (to make sure we won a close one). I don't have a monster serve, but it's fast enough. I didn't even think of easing up on the woman (who was good enough).

    Maybe they thought I was a ******?
     
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  19. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    its a chivalry thing. females wouldnt understand lol
     
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  20. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Yes but . . .

    Who here has hit an opponent with a serve when the receiver was standing in a normal receiving position? I mean, it is really not that hard to duck or sidestep a ball struck from the opposite baseline?

    I guess I can see getting tricked by spin -- I once had to catch a twist serve from a 4.0 guy. But . . . I *caught* it. Where's the risk of injury?

    I mean, the biggest pro servers in the world do not send linespeople to the hospital. It is a rare thing to see a linesperson get nailed by a serve in a pro match. So why would a 4.0 guy think he is going to hit or even hurt a 4.0 woman with his serve?
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
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  21. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    As I mentioned, I hit an opponent in the jewels with a flat serve last fall. The serve was barely out - I'd estimate no more than a couple of inches past the service line. He was standing 2-3 feet behind the baseline. This is a 4.5 male who wins most of his singles matches. Maybe he mis-timed it, but either way - it was uncomfortable for both of us, in no small part due to the fact that he and I are very amicable, having played in a casual doubles league together as well.
     
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  22. leroy_sunset

    leroy_sunset Rookie

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    I've hit a few women with a kick serve that they misjudged. I didn't kill it, just a bit faster than my second serve. It happens, no harm no foul. I feel bad, but that's why there's a racquet in their hands. *shrug*

    I have hit plenty of guys with kickers to the body, including both father/son in the jewels in a doubles match. They thought I was trying to end their family lineage.

    I rarely hit 100% serves to women. Only if they prove they are up to the task and have the competitive "killer instinct." Those ladies are fun to play with :D

    Now overheads are a different story...
     
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  23. 2ndServe

    2ndServe Professional

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    isn't it fair game to hit the best shot in the situation. Is it not insulting to the woman to easy up in a competitive match. In a social match there should be boundaries and implied rules, in a competitive match you play your hardest against men/women/aliens etc. It's best to do this out of respect for your partner, yourself, and the opponent. It'd be pretty insulting to hit a puff ball to the woman and crank serves against the men. I might be wrong, if that is the case I was a huge jerk last season.
     
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  24. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    What's your level, Slapshot?

    It's funny. If a 3.5/4.0 guy hits serves that I can return, I don't assume they are being gentlemen.

    I assume their serve just isn't very good. Maybe that will encourage some of you dudes to bring your best stuff? :)

    Seriously, I would far, far prefer the guy hit a flat body serve than hit flat serves to the corners. I can't return what I can't touch. With a body serve, I can try to block it with a 1HBH. The pace might make it go way up in the air, but that is better than getting aced.
     
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  25. NJ1

    NJ1 Professional

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    I don't play in a mixed league so I hope my response is allowed.

    I once hit a girl in the face with a kick serve after it deflected, luckily it was only at about 90 as even my flat serves only top out at 110 max on a good day.

    It cut her face (I'm assuming there was some gravel in the felt) and I was both sorry and embarrassed. She was a great sport about it and reminded me it was her idea to try and return these but, despite me being only a 5.0 who has been humbled many times, it has ensured I will always take at least 25% off serves to any women without a WTA rank.
     
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  26. KoaUka

    KoaUka Rookie

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    Gotta watch out for those 3.5s with 130mph serves... They should do the gentlemanly thing and cut it down to 120... Yeah right
     
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  27. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    I was just bumped to 4.5, but I've been playing 4.5 almost exclusively for 2 seasons, as well as 8.0 mixed. My serve is easily my biggest weapon, and the only reason that I have a shot at 4.5. I've been serving probably within a few MPH since I was a 3.5, it's just that my consistency and placement is better now - I was hitting 115 on radar as a 3.5, I just couldn't get the damn ball in play. :)
     
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  28. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    What is a competitive, mixed match?
     
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  29. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    Just another 3.5 with a 115 mph serve for cindy to handle.
     
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  30. Mike Y

    Mike Y Rookie

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    I love how everyone here has a minimum 110mph serve. I had no idea it was so commonplace.
     
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  31. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Hey, I'm impressed! :)

    Was this on a serve? I can barely get a flatish serve to get up to nose level by the time it gets to my opponent, and even then he/she would have time to get out of the way. My best serves are maybe 105. I can get a kicker to bounce higher but then it is even slower... probably 90ish.

    Heh - the only way I draw blood on my serve is if my opponent insists on deliberately moving his/her face into the flight path of the ball.

    Of course overheads are a different story - I have (unintentionally) drawn blood once that I can remember and maybe a few other times.
     
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  32. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    It's not. But there are a couple of accomplished TTW posters who can vouch for me. I can't speak for anyone else who claims to have a live arm.
     
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  33. tennisplayer1993

    tennisplayer1993 Semi-Pro

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    yeah i have the same mentality as you.
     
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  34. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, I play with a fairly large group of mostly 4.5s but also a few 5.0s and 4.0s...

    Most of the 4.5s top out at mid-90s; I have one of the bigger serves ( :mrgreen: ) and can *sometimes* break 100 and max out at 105, and I've seen one of the 5.0s hit 113 (but he is usually in the 105-110 range).

    These numbers are all actual radar-gun numbers.

    So I am in awe of the multitudes on TT that routinely top 120... :rolleyes:
     
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  35. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    We will discuss that in detail later
     
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  36. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    A 4.0 guy is holding back on his serve? LOL I am shaking with fear.
     
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  37. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I don't often play doubles, especially mixed doubles, but when I do I try to mame and humiliate the female opponent. "Try" is the key word here. Usually their returns are faster than my serves. :)

    But if I could hit 100 + mph serves, then I probably would give the woman a break ... unless she was really good or extremely sarcastic, then I would target her mercilessly. :) Or maybe not. See, this is one reason why I don't like mixed doubles.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
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  38. jk175d

    jk175d Semi-Pro

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    Presumably your partner was broken since otherwise doing anything different with his serves to the woman would have no impact on the outcome. If you are down 30-40 and serving to a woman, you don't think about "holding back", you think about getting an easy point with your serve... he couldn't get it done so is making excuses after the fact, that's all.
     
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  39. Mike Y

    Mike Y Rookie

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    Yes, I had a tough schedule of opponents in league play this year, including at least three guys that were very recent bumpdowns from 5.0, probably undeservedly, and I can almost guarantee that I never saw a 110mph serve in any of my matches. Rafael Nadal's average first serve is usually 110mph or below. Most people don't realize how fast that is. I'd estimate the majority of 4.0 male first serves are in the 70mph range.
     
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  40. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    I can serve hard when I want to. However usually I do not hit my hardest serves more than a handful of times (usually early) in a match because my serves with more margin are just as effective ... especially once they have seen a few of the big ones early.

    One time I was suckered into playing corporate WTT league (never again). I was playing the mixed set and hit a big serve wide to the woman. Any who, she stretched to hit the ball and the torque the ball provided back to the racket knocked the stick out of her hands and injured her wrist. She iced and sat out the rest of the match. Next week she showed up with a cast on the wrist and made sure to search me out and explain that I had fractured her wrist. We have played against each other a couple times since in USTA mixed matches without incident.

    Sometimes injuries happen and while I felt very bad and wished she had not been hurt ... I feel like it was a fluke injury and not my fault. I still occasionally hit big serves to the women but usually very spinny serves are more effective anyhow.
     
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  41. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    I only hit spin serves at women in mixed. Most of the decent players I am familiar with around here feel it is a dick move to hit flat serves at the woman in mixed. I won't hit overheads at the woman either, and I am careful with hard volleys.

    I'm not that good. I accidentally beaned a guy in the side of the head with a "put-away" volley the other day (I was trying to hit it at his feet). It took a few minutes for him to shake it off. I would really hate to do that to a woman.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
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  42. Joeyg

    Joeyg Semi-Pro

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    One of the reasons I do not play mixed is questions like the OP's. When you get on a court in any match, the object is to win. If my best serve is a hard, flat serve, look out! I feel it is more of a disservice to the woman to not try your best. I also think that some guys use this as an excuse when they lose a mixed match. "Oh, I wish I could have gone with the heater, but we were playing mixed"!
     
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  43. stapletonj

    stapletonj Semi-Pro

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    I have accidentally hit a surgeons wife in the eye with an overhead before and was very lucky she wasnt injured. I was looking up at the overhead and didn't realize she had gotten the "deer in the headlights" look and was standing right in front of me. And I had backed off my overhead b/c it was social.....

    On serves, even in tourneys, I'm just not gonna go for the flat bomb and I'm sure not gonna go for it right at the woman's body. I just can't bring myself to do it, even if she is a good player. As a previous poster said, it's a chivalry thing. Probably disappearing now, but there you are.

    AS far as a serve hurting you....I was calling center service line for a 40 some year old Ilie Nastase vs. Vijay Armitraj match once. Ilie hit a twist serve that jumped the opposite way, I ducked the wrong way and it caught me square in the side of the head behind my ear. It was hard enough that I literally was knocked down and that was at the windscreen. So, yeah, It is possible, although unlikely, that you could get hurt from a unlucky blast.....
     
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  44. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    How was it to watch Vijay in person from so close?
     
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  45. jservoss

    jservoss Rookie

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    It was a kick serve into the body. He pretty much did move his face into the path of the ball. He had figured out that by crowding the service line he could reach my wide kicker before it got too far away, so I changed it up and he wasn't prepared for it. I wont say any serving speeds because I don't want the TT Police coming after me.
     
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  46. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Did it look like the punch to the face the baby took from Will Ferrell in The Campaign?
     
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  47. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    short answer: its unsporting to use your big serve in mixed when you are NOT keeping score.


    i have injured a female with my serve, but it was my 2nd serve spinner that confused her and bounced up and hit her in the eye.
     
    #47
  48. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Messages:
    2,632
    Location:
    Newtown, PA
    A couple comments:

    1) I would not hold back to avoid injuring an opponent unless it's clear that we are going to win 6-0 6-0 AND it seems as though a big serve actually might cause injury.

    2) I don't have a huge serve that could hurt someone, so this is not a big concern of mine.

    3) In doubles, I typically prefer to spin serves in rather than really rare back try to kill a flat one. A kick serve both gives you more time to come in behind it and increases the odds of a mishit return. I just find it's usually a more effective doubles shot. Usually, I'll hit a kicker with a little more gusto for the first and then a normal spin second serve.
     
    #48
  49. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
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    14,152
    We play to win. Hammer her
     
    #49
  50. NTRPolice

    NTRPolice Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2012
    Messages:
    515
    Depends on the level and "for what".

    If its 4.0 I wouldnt hold anything back, especially if I knew the person. The more I know a person, the harder I play. I dont really care if I bean my friends, because they're my friends, but I do care if I bean someones grandma in a pick up match in the park.

    If the girl is a legit 4.0 and the guy isnt like a 5.5 I dont see why he should hold back. A solid 4.0 girl should be able to not get hurt even by a 5.0's serve. I serve all out on the 4.0+ girls I know.

    The only time I ever had a "that was probably a bad idea" moment was hitting a full power swinging volley while both of us were at the net. I tried to turn it line but it went right about the singles line which is where she was standing. It didnt hit her, but if it did, I would have felt like a dbag.


    Also, if its a league match, the guys are going to play the girl 90% of the time. Even as the 3.0 guy in the 7.0 mixed, they played my partner most of the time. And once someone gets beaned, its almost open season. That doesn mean bean people whenever you can, it means once someone gets beaned people loosen up and just play w/e shots they want and dont try to necessarily avoid people.
     
    #50

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