Who's the best server of the 1990s?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by laurie, Apr 7, 2007.

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Who is the very best server of the 1990s?

  1. Goran Ivanesivic

    28.4%
  2. Richard Krajicek

    4.7%
  3. Boris Becker

    4.1%
  4. Michael Stich

    1.2%
  5. Stefan Edberg

    0.6%
  6. Pete Sampras

    58.0%
  7. Greg Rusedski

    1.2%
  8. Patrick Rafter

    1.8%
  1. laurie

    laurie Guest

    I don't think we've ever done a poll to answer this definitive question. There were about 8 guys who brought something special to the art of serving plus had the games to back up their serves. Consequently unlike players like Dent, Karlovic and Myrni today - these players had good results on all surfaces and all won 15 tournaments or more in their career (except Rafter who won 11 but two were slams).

    So, as a package of first and second serves, the ability to hit pace, topspin and slice and backing up their serve, who is the definitive best?

    Goran Ivanesivic
    Richard Krajicek
    Boris Becker
    Michael Stich
    Pete Sampras
    Stefan Edberg
    Patrick Rafter
    Greg Rusedski

    I decided not to include Mark Phillipousis because his career has been so wayward it's hard to judge him sincerely.
     
    #1
  2. bigfoot910

    bigfoot910 Rookie

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    Sampras is arguably the best server in the open era, not just the 90's. His dominance with his serve was not because of un-godly pace, it was the result of spins, placements, and the ability to hit any of his serves perfectly disguised by the same toss. His first serve isn't really what sells me on this topic, it was his second. He defined what a second serve should be. There are players on the tour that did not have as dominant a first serve as Pete had for a second. He could bring the same heat as his first, but put unreal amounts of spin and placement to confound his opponents. How else could he go so long without being broken all those years. Figuring out when Sampras would be broken next is kinda like figuring out when Federer will lose again.
     
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  3. jmsx521

    jmsx521 Hall of Fame

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    Marc Rosset :)
     
    #3
  4. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    The question is screwy. You're either asking who had the best serve or which player with a great serve had the best overall game ("backing up their serve"). If the latter is the case, why would you include Rusedski?

    Regardless, if you're asking who had the best " package of first and second serves, the ability to hit pace, topspin and slice" then it wouldn't be any of the guys you listed. Sampras pulled out the big serves when needed HOWEVER, he didn't have anything like the variety on serve of John McEnroe or, at the end of the 90's, Wayne Arthurs.
     
    #4
  5. laurie

    laurie Guest

    Well, whether we (or you) like Rusedski or not, he got to number 4 in the world, reached a US Open final, won Paris Bercy, won the Grand Slam Cup in Munchen (Munich), won 4 grass tournaments (Henman never even won 1 grass tournament in his career) and he won 16 tournaments. that's not bad by anyone's book. So I think he deserves to be in the poll.

    After all, having a good serve is just part of the validation of been a good player. That's why we talk about these players on a daily basis and not the likes of Wayne Arthurs or Ivo Karlovic. In fact, until I read this the name Wayne Arthurs never even entered my head.
     
    #5
  6. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Pete Sampras. No doubt!
     
    #6
  7. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    Goran Ivanisevic. Count the aces, the services winners!
    It's all there, baby!!! :D
     
    #7
  8. WhiteSox05CA

    WhiteSox05CA Hall of Fame

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    No brainer. PETE SAMPRAS! FO-SHO!
     
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  9. mardy_fish

    mardy_fish New User

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    two words: pete sampras
     
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  10. MEAC_ALLAMERICAN

    MEAC_ALLAMERICAN Legend

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    Pete Sampras: Motion, Placement, Speed, Angles, 2nd Serve... U name it, he had it by a long shot
     
    #10
  11. Shaolin

    Shaolin Hall of Fame

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    Ivo when he was "on". Becker indoors. Sampras overall. I miss the 90s, such awesome tennis.
     
    #11
  12. pj80

    pj80 Semi-Pro

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    goran, pete was close second
     
    #12
  13. gonzo2000

    gonzo2000 Rookie

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    Pete's first serve had power, accuracy and consistency. His second was no slouch either.
     
    #13
  14. oscar_2424

    oscar_2424 Legend

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    Pete first, Ivanisevic second.
     
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  15. chiru

    chiru Professional

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    I think Ivanisevic had the most devastating serve ever. However he was real inconsistent with it. He had the sort of "blow you away" ability but day in day out Pete Sampras is best server in open era.
     
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  16. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    The question in the title is, 'Who's the best server of the 1990's?', not 'Who was the best player to have had a big serve in the 1990's?'.
     
    #16
  17. laurie

    laurie Guest

    Andrew, by trying to make yourself look clever, you are in fact making youself look stupid.

    Everyone knows Stefan Edberg nor Patrick Rafter are not big servers and I put them in the poll. There were great placement servers, had great kick serves and backed it up with good volleys. It's got nothing to do with big serves.

    Give it up, you don't like Rusedski - admit it. he actually has a vote in the poll.

    Sorry, no Wayne Arthurs ( he looked like Blakey from On the Buses - British comedy from the 1970s).
     
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  18. whynot

    whynot Guest

    I think Shoalin hit it perfectly. When Goran had his serve going, it was almost unstoppable, best ever, but Sampras served huge practically every match. We forget sometimes how good Becker served on the big points. Those are my top three.
     
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  19. vkartikv

    vkartikv Hall of Fame

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    Forget the 90s, I think all those names will be there in the all-time best list!
     
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  20. vkartikv

    vkartikv Hall of Fame

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    Many people here haven't seen BB and Edberg play. BB was all power while Edberg had pinpoint precision and kick that helped him get to the net quickly and put away easy volleys. Rafter had great kick too and didn't mind getting down and dirty. Sampras had everything. But Ivanisevic had the best.
     
    #20
  21. Pushmaster

    Pushmaster Hall of Fame

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    Sampras, of course.
     
    #21
  22. andreh

    andreh Professional

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    In 1990-1991 Edberg's statistic for holding his service games were above 90%, better than Becker for instance in the same years. And yet, not a single vote??? (The numbers are quoted in Gilberts "winning ugly")
     
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  23. larlarbd

    larlarbd Banned

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    I second that . The King of Swing .
     
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  24. larlarbd

    larlarbd Banned

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    Umm , Yeah man Edberg did deserve atleast a 2nd/3rd place in the 90's category - he earned the respect.
     
    #24
  25. Jules

    Jules Rookie

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    Pistol Pete
     
    #25
  26. sarpmas

    sarpmas Rookie

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    For total package, Sampras hands down. But Goran is just a whisker behind. Even Sampras would like to own Goran's serve!
     
    #26
  27. caulcano

    caulcano Hall of Fame

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    I agree with that.
     
    #27
  28. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    I love to watch Richard Krajicek serve and volley. IMO, he had the best serve and volley game on the planet. On the down side, he was injured quite a bit but provided Sampras with more than enough trouble. I think RK and Ivo were the two Sampras feared most.
     
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  29. gdsballer

    gdsballer Rookie

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    honestly guys nadal has the best serve i think any of us has ever seen
     
    #29
  30. Pro Staff Pete

    Pro Staff Pete Semi-Pro

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    Absolutely :) Well said.
     
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  31. vive le beau jeu !

    vive le beau jeu ! G.O.A.T.

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    i agree with this... i'll take this one ! ;)

    goran is the king of aces !
     
    #31
  32. BounceHitBounceHit

    BounceHitBounceHit Legend

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    Petey and b/c of his other-worldly, hard to comprehend just how good it was, SECOND serve. ;) CC
     
    #32
  33. haerdalis

    haerdalis Hall of Fame

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    My thoughts exactly! Krajicek was one hell of a player. Very clean serve and also very devastating and superb volleys. He didnt move as well as Edberg but his volleys were as good I think.
     
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  34. laurie

    laurie Guest

    I'm surprised Richard Krajicek hasn't got more votes.
     
    #34
  35. supertennis

    supertennis New User

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    Pete Sampras
     
    #35
  36. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    1. Sampras
    2. Ivanisevic
    3. Becker
     
    #36
  37. Dark Victory

    Dark Victory Rookie

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    First serve, it's Goran. Second serve, Pete. Down the T, Krajicek. Out wide, Goran. Pete had the best spin and disguise on his serve, Krajicek on the other hand, hit it flat the best. All in all though, I think it's general knowledge that Pete had the best overall service package. I picked Krajicek though seeing as how I think he at least deserves more votes. That guy arguably had the cleanest, most economical and least effort-requiring serve. His ball toss was very low and when he whacked it, the ball flew like a bullet from a shotgun.
     
    #37
  38. !Tym

    !Tym Hall of Fame

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    Agree with much of this, except the disguise part.

    Down the T and flat, it's as you said, Krajieck. First serve, definitely, Goran. Swing you WAY out wide, it's definitely Goran again. Overall well-roundedness and clutchness, it's Sampras and Becker, but Sampras just a little better overall. Second serve, definitely Sampras. However, in terms of disguise, it's definitely Stich in my opinion. Goran said Stich's serve was actually the hardest serve for him to return of all the big servers of his day, he said it was because every one of his serves looked the same to him, he couldn't read it at all. Stich's motion was so laid-back, it looked like he didn't put an ounce of energy into it, but boy could he move it around the box with pin point placement and tremendous reach. Goran was right though, it was REALLY hard to read Stich's serve simply because everything was so laid-back about it, then BOOM, it went somewhere and you were either there or you ain't.

    Still, I think it's safe to say all of these guys when they were having a good serving day and on the lightning fast courts of the 90s, you could pretty much forget about it.

    Guy Forget and Marc Rosset were also unbelievably good servers, but they're not mentioned as much because overall they were never quite elite players. Though Forget, according to John Lloyd, had the game and talent to be, should have been, in fact; but his head was never good enough to allow him to take the next step.
     
    #38
  39. !Tym

    !Tym Hall of Fame

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    Edberg and Rafter, by the way, have NO business being on this list period. Edberg with Rosset or Forget's serves would have been unfair! Can you imagine what Edberg could have done with the ammount of sitting duck volleys he would have got had he had those guys serves? It would have been game over for practically everyone.
     
    #39
  40. !Tym

    !Tym Hall of Fame

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    Btw, Goran should get the #1 vote in my opinion, simply because he got the most mileage out of having just one single, formidable weapon than anyone. All of the other guys had something else too, whereas Goran was more or less average in every category except his serve, so when you consider how much success he did have in his career, coupled with how positively WISHY-WASHY his competitive effort and focus was from match to match, AND add that he was basically a choker when it came right down to it?

    That's SINGULARLY pretty darn impressive what he did.
     
    #40
  41. chrisplchs

    chrisplchs Professional

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    Sampras had the best serve package of the 90s. His first serve was good, but it was his second serve that really stood out.

    Goran's serve is probably the most dominant though but his lack of expertise on the other aspect of his game
     
    #41
  42. Ronny

    Ronny Hall of Fame

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    where is karlovic on that list? surely he is better than greg rudeski
     
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  43. laurie

    laurie Guest

    You are in Former Pro Player talk my friend. The thread clearly states from the 1990s although 5 of them did play into the noughties.

    Karlovic does serve in the spirit of the 1990s guys. Having seen him play once he does seem to put a lot of spin on his 1st serve at pace. Many players today hit their 1st serve too flat unles they are going out wide.
     
    #43
  44. Samp

    Samp Guest

    pete sampras for both first and second serves
     
    #44
  45. Pete Semper

    Pete Semper Rookie

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    C'mon yall, Michael Stich serve is way underrated ! In a french interview Courier said Stich was the best server he ever met.
     
    #45
  46. oscar_2424

    oscar_2424 Legend

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    Pete Sampras.
     
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  47. EZRA

    EZRA Rookie

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    Goran Ivanisevic - best server ever... not just the 90's. Pace+Placement .. Sampras just seems like an obvious choice `cause he's got the game and results to back up his serve. But if we're merely talking about serve alone... Goran got the be all and end all of all serves. Too bad he's got 3 people up in his head arguing on how to play after he serves.

    Michael Stich's serve has the most graceful and fluid motion ever. He make it seem so easy.. effortless.

    My top 3 would be:
    Goran
    Pete
    Stich
     
    #47
  48. vive le beau jeu !

    vive le beau jeu ! G.O.A.T.

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    eheh... the good goran, the bad goran and the 911 goran ? ;)
     
    #48
  49. A.Davidson

    A.Davidson Semi-Pro

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    Ivanisevic did pick up plenty of aces and winners, but Pete's serve wasn't just powerful - it scared people. Plenty of good players who were normally very solid "choked" facing that godly touch, power, and spin. Pete Sampras was the best player of the decade largely because he had the best serve of the decade. We could argue about the GOAT serve, but...That's for another day.
     
    #49
  50. EZRA

    EZRA Rookie

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    Exactly - and sad thing is, the 911 Goran doesn't show up most of the time to control the other 2.

    Pete's service game is feared throughout the tour not mainly because of his serve itself but partly because of the game that supports his serve. In Goran's case .. it's his serve that is feared by everyone... not so much on his game though.
     
    #50

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