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-   -   The Edberg kicker (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=299499)

SirSweetSpot 11-25-2009 08:56 AM

The Edberg kicker
 
A few things I've noticed about the legendary Swede and his service motion:

What's with the "crook" in his wrist/hand? A lot of people are proponents of bending the wrist before the ball toss. How long do you keep it "cocked"? I've always had a straight wrist/hand. Have I been cheating myself all these years? I've noticed some pros do it and some don't. Could someone tell me the practicality of doing such?

He never looks at the ball at impact! You'll notice he is always looking into the service box well before he strikes the ball. Is this a bad habit that he never overcame? Staring the felt off the ball is immensely crucial to a successful kick serve.

He seems to employ a continental grip as opposed to the EBH.

He keeps his tossing arm up in the air like perfection...so textbook, a la David Nalbandian. He stays sideways for so long and then explodes.

LeeD 11-25-2009 09:05 AM

Crook is cocked. You release it when you feel like it.
Low consistent toss doesn't need you to stare at it, ala Tanner. Pulling your head down lowers your ball arc, so maybe he's hitting high, but pulling it down with his head.
His grip is conti because he's anticipatin a VOLLEY. Conti's work best, next best is conti towards EFH side, and conti towards EBH works worst, except for backhand volleys.

35ft6 11-25-2009 09:12 AM

I never really thought of Edberg's serve as a true kicker. To me it was a slightly loopier version of a Sampras serve, which to me wasn't a true kicker either. They both hit a really solid, heavy, spinny ball but one that continuously moved forward with decent pace, not a true kicker in that it exploded up off the court on the bounce after almost a lazy arcing flight through the air. Like Sampras, also, his first and second serves often were indistinguishable in terms of speed.

SirSweetSpot 11-25-2009 09:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 4141767)
Crook is cocked. You release it when you feel like it.
Low consistent toss doesn't need you to stare at it, ala Tanner. Pulling your head down lowers your ball arc, so maybe he's hitting high, but pulling it down with his head. His grip is conti because he's anticipatin a VOLLEY. Conti's work best, next best is conti towards EFH side, and conti towards EBH works worst, except for backhand volleys.

Very interesting.

Lee can you explain the release of the crook? Is it a forced yet fluid motion, or is it part of the overall arm being as loose as possible?

AAAA 11-25-2009 09:28 AM

I think his serving grip was more eastern bachhand than chopper. Supposed to give him a better kick/topspin serve. I tried it a few times stopped because my wrist isn't strong enough.

LeeD 11-25-2009 01:42 PM

Looked EBH because of his cocked wrist. Try it, conti with cocked wrist and have someone look at it.
You release it by relaxing. WHEN you relax it depends what you're trying to hit and where to.

Dino Lagaffe 11-25-2009 03:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 35ft6 (Post 4141794)
I never really thought of Edberg's serve as a true kicker. To me it was a slightly loopier version of a Sampras serve, which to me wasn't a true kicker either. They both hit a really solid, heavy, spinny ball but one that continuously moved forward with decent pace, not a true kicker in that it exploded up off the court on the bounce after almost a lazy arcing flight through the air. Like Sampras, also, his first and second serves often were indistinguishable in terms of speed.

Who would you say have the best example of a true kicker?

35ft6 11-25-2009 04:18 PM

^ Not sure. Maybe I underestimate the kick serves of some players, but I've seen Ljubicic, Federer, Agassi (on the ad side), and Rafter hit some nasty kick serves. Watching videos of Edberg on Youtube, his opponents are hitting returns in their wheelhouses more or less without having to move in to take the ball on the rise.

vive le beau jeu ! 11-25-2009 04:18 PM

did rafter "kick" more than edberg ?...

EDIT
^^
ok, the answer kinda arrived while i was posting my question ! ;)

LeeD 11-25-2009 04:25 PM

Vids of Edberg were mostly during Finals matches against an equally top player. Nowadaze, vids of the other players are edited "highlights" which show only the very best serves.
No way anyone had a much better kicker than Edberg. He mixed higher speeds with lower bounces to lower speeds and higher bounces at will. That'
s why he was so effective.

35ft6 11-25-2009 04:35 PM

Not positive, but it seemed to me like Edberg expected the serve to come back, he wasn't afraid to hit 2 volleys to win the point. Maybe I'm underestimating his kick serve, but to me, he hit the same serve spin every time. He didn't have a flat serve, a slice serve, american twist, and kick, etc. I mean, he moved the placement around, but it seemed like his serve, like Sampras, was fast and heavy, more about placement than the spin being tough to manage. The spin was more about giving them margin for error. And again, like Sampras, his first and second serves were the same, the 2nd just had slightly less pace, and in Sampras' case, maybe the same pace often times.

Tennis magazine did a study years ago where they measured pace and spin on serves. At the time, Greg Rusedski had the most sheer speed. Rios had the most spin. And Pete had the highest combination of both. To me, it seemed like Edberg was another spot server with great combo of speed and spin. Of course, Pete's serve was more of an ace machine and better, but just saying. Both hit very deep serves, too, and I usually associate a true kick serve landing a bit shorter to not allow the returner to charge in and take it on the rise.

I would almost generalize and say the kick serve is more of a clay court weapon, and the great serve and volleyers were more about mixing up the placement.

edit: this post wasn't a response to LeeD...

35ft6 11-25-2009 04:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 4143999)
Vids of Edberg were mostly during Finals matches against an equally top player.

I'm not just going by Youtube videos. I'm old enough to have seen Edberg play many times.

LeeD 11-25-2009 05:03 PM

The fact Edberg regularly went 3-5 rounds in most tournaments means his serve was nothing to sniff at. Yes, he had great volleys, but you know he's coming in, so your returns are better. Yet Edberg still could win his service games.
I suspect his serve was better than most observers thought. Ask the guys who lost to him multiple times. And at his 6'1", should be high kicker with good placement, backed up by one of the best volleys of his day.

tennisdad65 11-25-2009 05:06 PM

Edberg could vary his pace, and kick. His first typically was 100-110 mph and his second ~80-85 mph with larger kick. But his main weapon was where he hit his serve from (3-4 ft into the court) and how close to the net he got in for his first volley.

I have seen him consistently kick it up over courier's shoulder in the USopen finals. Same thing against sampras the next year.

I think he had the best kick serve considering he was comming in after every one of them. Agassi, Fed etc had great kick serves but they just go up and hit it.. they are not even remotely thinking of comming into the net most of the time.

LeeD 11-25-2009 05:09 PM

I concur and agree his S/V serve was just above Rafter and Cash's....

robow7 11-26-2009 07:19 PM

I saw him play several times in his prime at court level and believe me, his serve exploded off the kick. It gave him time to close off the net and he moved it around well. He also would swing it wide in the deuce and kick it out wide in the add opening up the court for that volley. Probably the best or at least most consistant right hand s&v in the last 40 years. (Not counting Samprass as he didn't quite live and die by the s&v, just the serve.)

mental midget 11-26-2009 09:11 PM

edberg had the misfortune of choosing a style of play that was rendered less than optimal by changes in racket and string technology towards the middle to the end of his career.

having said that, his success is a testament as to just how good he was at it. he was one of the best natural athletes to ever play the game, and in this fan's purely speculative opinion, were he to come of age in this era, with a more 'modern' game, he would have been a major threat at the very highest level. the guy knew his way around a tennis court--a rare talent that would have thrived in any era.

tennisdad65 11-26-2009 09:52 PM

To me Edberg's serve looked like an abbreviated arm serve with not much racquet head speed (compared to rafter/sampras), yet kicked up tremendously.

The reason I say 'abbreviated arm serve' is because his body was moving forward about 3-4 ft into the court. Consequently, it looked like his body and arm where not linked in a kinetic chain, like sampras or rafter's body and arm did in their kick serves.

AndrewD 11-26-2009 11:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 35ft6 (Post 4144034)
Not positive, but it seemed to me like Edberg expected the serve to come back, he wasn't afraid to hit 2 volleys to win the point.

Mate, that's why they call it serve AND volley. You use your serve to set up the first volley. If you can't win the point on the first volley you use it to set up the second volley. It's why McEnroe, Rafter, Cash and Edberg were serve-volley players but Pete Sampras was NOT. Sampras served to win the point, the others served to set up the volley.

Quote:

Originally Posted by 35ft6 (Post 4144034)
I mean, he moved the placement around, but it seemed like his serve, like Sampras, was fast and heavy, more about placement than the spin being tough to manage. The spin was more about giving them margin for error. And again, like Sampras, his first and second serves were the same, the 2nd just had slightly less pace, and in Sampras' case, maybe the same pace often times.

Edberg's serve wasn't really like Sampras's at all. I called service line in enough of their Aus Open matches from 88 to 2001 to be able to make a very informed comparison and you're talking apples and oranges.

Quote:

Originally Posted by 35ft6 (Post 4144034)
I would almost generalize and say the kick serve is more of a clay court weapon, and the great serve and volleyers were more about mixing up the placement.

The kick serve is a weapon on all surfaces, especially hard (that's why Rafter won the US Open and not Wimbledon). The kick forces a weaker and high return, especially if you can get it up to your opponent's backhand and/or moving away. It also gives you extra time to get in to the net in order to make best position for the first volley.

hoodjem 11-27-2009 05:49 AM

BSSOAT (?)

Best second serve of all time.


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