Talk Tennis

Talk Tennis (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php)
-   Former Pro Player Talk (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/forumdisplay.php?f=37)
-   -   Roddick vs Sampras: The Serve (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=451723)

President 01-20-2013 07:32 PM

Roddick vs Sampras: The Serve
 
Roddick and Sampras probably had the two best serves of any players under the height of 6'4''. Who had the better serve? Roddick won 90% of his career service games to Sampras' 89%. I think Roddick had more pace and a much higher percentage of serves in, while Sampras had superior direction and disguise. Both had great second serves, Sampras' was a little more offensive but Roddick's was more reliable and pretty much unattackable.

boramiNYC 01-20-2013 08:47 PM

Sampras hands down.

KineticChain 01-20-2013 09:03 PM

Big Bill Tilden. at 6'2"... no modern player could withstand his height advantage. if he was allowed to jump during serve and have modern racquet technology and modern strings and modern training and modern sports medicine and modern technique... he would be the best server ever in teh universe ever. His 160 mph serves? forget about it. His serves would break the light barrier and einstein would roll in his grave.

FD3S 01-20-2013 09:07 PM

Roddick for pure pace, Sampras for speed/spin combo. They were both good at picking corners and T's (surprised that a lot of people seem to think that Roddick just bashed without aiming) so honestly this is kind of a toss-up.

TheCheese 01-20-2013 09:10 PM

I'd take Sampras's serve. A lot less taxing on the shoulder, I think.

President 01-20-2013 09:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by boramiNYC (Post 7142516)
Sampras hands down.

Even though Roddick won more of his service games on slower surfaces (which favor returners) and with a much less well rounded game?

qindarka 01-20-2013 09:43 PM

Edit: Never mind. Needlessly inflammatory.

NonP 01-20-2013 11:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheCheese (Post 7142560)
I'd take Sampras's serve. A lot less taxing on the shoulder, I think.

I assure you that wouldn't be true for the vast majority of players.

Quote:

Originally Posted by President (Post 7142591)
Even though Roddick won more of his service games on slower surfaces (which favor returners) and with a much less well rounded game?

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showt...33#post6850233

At least check out the last link if you're short on time.

As for your original question, Sampras. As good as he was, and apart from countless eye tests, Roddick is generally a notch below the likes of Pete, Goran, Ivo and Krajicek especially in % of unreturned serves. An interesting thing about this stat is that it usually corresponds with what one would expect from the mainstream consensus (for lack of a better term), which tells us that, wrong as it may be, conventional wisdom isn't entirely without merit.

Also there are other relative shorties whose serves have been nominated as among the best ever. McEnroe and Tanner come to mind, and Curren is another name that pops up in some (if admittedly cliquish) discussions.

And now's a good time to promote the greatest thread in TTW history:

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=306579

(Seriously, the whole thing is worth a read.)

President 01-21-2013 09:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NonP (Post 7142758)
I assure you that wouldn't be true for the vast majority of players.



http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showt...33#post6850233

At least check out the last link if you're short on time.

As for your original question, Sampras. As good as he was, and apart from countless eye tests, Roddick is generally a notch below the likes of Pete, Goran, Ivo and Krajicek especially in % of unreturned serves. An interesting thing about this stat is that it usually corresponds with what one would expect from the mainstream consensus (for lack of a better term), which tells us that, wrong as it may be, conventional wisdom isn't entirely without merit.

Also there are other relative shorties whose serves have been nominated as among the best ever. McEnroe and Tanner come to mind, and Curren is another name that pops up in some (if admittedly cliquish) discussions.

And now's a good time to promote the greatest thread in TTW history:

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=306579

(Seriously, the whole thing is worth a read.)

Roddick still had a higher percentage of service games won with an unquestionably worse game (apart from the serve). How do you take that into account?

big ted 01-21-2013 10:01 AM

their statistics might look similar on paper but sampras usually came up with the biggest serves at the most important points of a match. i think thats what sets them apart.

fed_rulz 01-21-2013 10:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by President (Post 7144331)
Roddick still had a higher percentage of service games won with an unquestionably worse game (apart from the serve). How do you take that into account?

I don't expect you to get a response.... Roddick gets so much ***** from these Pete-hypers (the only reason to trash him is to make Federer look bad and ergo make Pete look better) -- they claim he sucks a net (which he does), sucks from the baseline (which is also partially true), and also claim his serve is not even in the same league as Pete's.. Yet he has a higher hold % than Pete, under conditions that are much more conducive to returning. go figure...

fed_rulz 01-21-2013 10:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by big ted (Post 7144358)
their statistics might look similar on paper but sampras usually came up with the biggest serves at the most important points of a match. i think thats what sets them apart.

then by your reasoning, Federer should be considered a better server than Sampras -- I mean, the stats are similar, and he has faced more "important" moments than Pete, and has been more successful than Pete in those important moments. do you agree?

big ted 01-21-2013 10:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fed_rulz (Post 7144373)
then by your reasoning, Federer should be considered a better server than Sampras -- I mean, the stats are similar, and he has faced more "important" moments than Pete, and has been more successful than Pete in those important moments. do you agree?

no. i think federer is a better player but i dont know if hes a better server. what are federers stats and why do you think hes faced more important moments than pete? i dont really see federer coming up with as many big serves and aces on break points as much as pete did imo...

fed_rulz 01-21-2013 11:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by big ted (Post 7144420)
no. i think federer is a better player but i dont know if hes a better server. what are federers stats and why do you think hes faced more important moments than pete? i dont really see federer coming up with as many big serves and aces on break points as much as pete did imo...

me thinks you haven't watched much of him then?

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/P...x?t=mf&y=0&s=0

Federer's career hold % is 88%; similar to Pete's 89% (if Pete's 89% is similar to Roddick's 90%). Both faced an average of 0.35 break points per service game, except Federer faced 1000 more bps by virtue of playing more matches. Pete saved 68% of bps faced, while Federer saved 67%. Federer has won more % of points on the 2nd serve than Pete (though I remember someone questioning that stat because of the way ATP kept their stats in the early 90s).

I interpreted important moments as being high-pressure moments (later stages of grand slams, for instance), and Federer clearly has had more of them than Pete.

NonP 01-21-2013 12:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by President (Post 7144331)
Roddick still had a higher percentage of service games won with an unquestionably worse game (apart from the serve). How do you take that into account?

Did you at least follow that last link? To wit, for all the talk about the courts slowing down and players returning better than ever, %s of service games held have actually increased overall since the 1990s. I haven't crunched and compiled the numbers for other stats, but a cursory look told me the 1st-serve %, # of aces and just about every other service stat have seen an uptick. Simply put the whole talking point about the return of serve revolutionizing the game is largely a myth, and I explain why in those posts I linked.

And this disconnect becomes clearer when you go further back. Stats for the previous decades are harder to come by, but it's almost certain that the old-timers got fewer freebies than their '90s successors, let alone today's players, as even the best servers back then generally had a lower % of their serves unreturned than their more recent counterparts by about 10 percentage points (give or take a few). And that was when more players were eager to follow their serves to the net, which forced their opponent to take more risks on their returns. The truth of the matter is that, contrary to conventional wisdom, there has arguably never been an easier time than now in which to hold serve.

Put him in the 2000s and Pete probably wins a slightly higher % of service games. Also you seem unaware that it's really in the return game where the legends distinguish themselves from the one-time Slammers or lesser players. There's actually not much in the service department that separates Pete and the likes of Roddick, Goran, Karlovic, Krajicek, Arthurs, Philippoussis and Johansson, who often post higher numbers. But look at the return stats and you see a big gulp, as you see in this case: over 27% of return games won on average for Pete and 21-22% for Roddick in their respective best years (if we're talking about the very best year the gap widens even more, since Pete won over 29% in '94). And then there's the fact that Pete faced higher-ranked opponents more often, though I personally think this oft-cited factor is minor in most comparisons.

I do suggest that you browse and study the ATP stats carefully, as they confirm what careful observers (including a few here like krosero and Moose) have been saying for years but still remain mostly unknown to the casual fans. And frankly at this point there's no more excuse for remaining ignorant and buying the media tripe. (Not talking about you in particular, BTW. Just making a general point.)

fed_rulz 01-21-2013 01:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NonP (Post 7144955)
Did you at least follow that last link? To wit, for all the talk about the courts slowing down and players returning better than ever, %s of service games held have actually increased overall since the 1990s. I haven't crunched and compiled the numbers for other stats, but a cursory look told me the 1st-serve %, # of aces and just about every other service stat have seen an uptick. Simply put the whole talking point about the return of serve revolutionizing the game is largely a myth, and I explain why in those posts I linked.

And this disconnect becomes clearer when you go further back. Stats for the previous decades are harder to come by, but it's almost certain that the old-timers got fewer freebies than their '90s successors, let alone today's players, as even the best servers back then generally had a lower % of their serves unreturned than their more recent counterparts by about 10 percentage points (give or take a few). And that was when more players were eager to follow their serves to the net, which forced their opponent to take more risks on their returns. The truth of the matter is that, contrary to conventional wisdom, there has arguably never been an easier time than now in which to hold serve.

Put him in the 2000s and Pete probably wins a slightly higher % of service games. Also you seem unaware that it's really in the return game where the legends distinguish themselves from the one-time Slammers or lesser players. There's actually not much in the service department that separates Pete and the likes of Roddick, Goran, Karlovic, Krajicek, Arthurs, Philippoussis and Johansson, who often post higher numbers. But look at the return stats and you see a big gulp, as you see in this case: over 27% of return games won on average for Pete and 21-22% for Roddick in their respective best years (if we're talking about the very best year the gap widens even more, since Pete won over 29% in '94). And then there's the fact that Pete faced higher-ranked opponents more often, though I personally think this oft-cited factor is minor in most comparisons.

I do suggest that you browse and study the ATP stats carefully, as they confirm what careful observers (including a few here like krosero and Moose) have been saying for years but still remain mostly unknown to the casual fans. And frankly at this point there's no more excuse for remaining ignorant and buying the media tripe. (Not talking about you in particular, BTW. Just making a general point.)

I read that last link, and I found that your arguments unconvincing. With higher hold % in the 2000s, you can only deduce that players have gotten better at holding serves (IMO due to a combination of better serves and much better baseline games, despite the advances in return games). I'll give you a couple of counter examples - Nadal and Djokovic 2.0. Neither possess GOAT-like serves, but their hold %s are GOAT-esque. Also, there is not a single player in the top 10 today that has their serve as the major weapon.

which brings us to Roddick.. despite his relatively poor baseline/net game, he has surpassed Pete in hold %. what does that tell you about his serve as a stand alone shot? Put him in a situation where the conditions were faster, poorer returners and poorer baseline games (90s), and you have a more lethal version of Roddick.

Laurie 01-21-2013 02:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fed_rulz (Post 7145187)
I read that last link, and I found that your arguments unconvincing. With higher hold % in the 2000s, you can only deduce that players have gotten better at holding serves (IMO due to a combination of better serves and much better baseline games, despite the advances in return games). I'll give you a couple of counter examples - Nadal and Djokovic 2.0. Neither possess GOAT-like serves, but their hold %s are GOAT-esque. Also, there is not a single player in the top 10 today that has their serve as the major weapon.

which brings us to Roddick.. despite his relatively poor baseline/net game, he has surpassed Pete in hold %. what does that tell you about his serve as a stand alone shot? Put him in a situation where the conditions were faster, poorer returners and poorer baseline games (90s), and you have a more lethal version of Roddick.

Just wondering if you are sure about that?

I am not a stats person but there are guys like Greg Rusedski and Goran Ivanisevic who would be considered to have some of the greatest serves in that era of "poorer returns and poorer baseline games" and yet one player won one slam towards the end and Rusedski played in just one major final. Then Phillippoussis played two finals and lost both, whilst Krajicek and Stich only won 1 slam each.

So it seems that had Roddick played in that era his chances of winning more slams would not have been enhanced judging by players who had similar big serves.

fed_rulz 01-21-2013 02:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Laurie (Post 7145215)
Just wondering if you are sure about that?

I am not a stats person but there are guys like Greg Rusedski and Goran Ivanisevic who would be considered to have some of the greatest serves in that era of "poorer returns and poorer baseline games" and yet one player won one slam towards the end and Rusedski played in just one major final. Then Phillippoussis played two finals and lost both, whilst Krajicek and Stich only won 1 slam each.

So it seems that had Roddick played in that era his chances of winning more slams would not have been enhanced judging by players who had similar big serves.

I'll admit I should've qualified it with "IMO", but here's why I think what I think: Roddick > Goran with his mental blocks, despite Goran's superior serve. If Federer hadn't taken out Pete in 2001, Goran would still be slamless.
I do believe Roddick is a better server than Stich and Rusedski.. Krajicek is a tough call. I always thought his injuries held him back from achieving greater heights.

OHBH 01-21-2013 03:18 PM

The difference is simple. Pete was a serve and volleyer, a style of play that makes it tougher to hold when you are having an off day. Roddick on an off day could still hold because he could grind out a service game fairly easily against anybody outside the top ten. Plus Andy left the game before his game had really declined. Pete's last years on tour were pretty poor expect that final US open title which made it all worthwhile. So that is going to skew the career numbers. At his peak, Pete had the better serve

Fusker 01-21-2013 03:23 PM

It's a great question, and one that could evoke a number of different statistics to prove objectively that one should be favored over the other. When dealing with that kind of comparison, I tend to think about it in subjective terms.

On serve, down 5-6 in a tiebreak, whose serve would you trust more to get the next two points?

I'd say Sampras - hands down.


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:44 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 2006 - Tennis Warehouse