Originally Posted by pc1
If you're going to give honorary mentions to the older players, then you should give a mention to Pancho Gonzalez
, who has been called the greatest server in the history of tennis by many. Players like Ashe, Sedgman, Rosewall, Laver, Hoad, Kramer have raved about Gonzalez's great serve. It was a serve that took very little out of him with no hitches so he could serve bombs even in the fifth set.
Here's a link to Gonzalez's serve.
Here's a little info on John Newcombe's serve from Arthur Ashe's book Portrait in Motion--But if you ask me who has the best serve in the world, I would say John Newcombe, and John really hasn't got a fast serve. He hits a heavy serve, which mixes spin with velocity. Neale Fraser had a great heavy serve when I first came up; Pasarell and Tony Roche are acouple of others who hit tough heavy balls. If you are returning a heavy serve, you need more than timing to get it back; you need strength too. A good heavy serve from somebody like Newcombe can turn the racket in your hand.
Here's a link for Newcombe-Connors. Newcombe was probably a little over the hill at this point and it was his last major.
I think we may be talking past each other. For the record I'm well aware of the reputation of Gonzales' serve. The only reason why I've been reluctant to give him an honorary mention is that, unlike with Tilden, Vines and Kramer, I've met a few people here and elsewhere who have seen Gonzales play. If possible I'm hoping to give at least Gonzales, Newcombe and Tanner reasonable rankings.
And speaking of Newcombe, care to estimate where he ranks on the list?
Originally Posted by urban
Ashe himself was an ultra fast server, with a nice swift service motion. Later in his career, he went more for placement than for pure velocity. Neale Fraser's lefty serve was rated by people like Hoad, as even better than Gonzalez'. Fraser could hide the direction very well and could hit very sharp angled serves, that threw the returner off court.
IIRC Laver himself has spoken highly of Fraser's serve, but not quite in such superlatives. Do you know anyone other than Hoad who held it in such high regard? I think Fraser may deserve an honorary mention himself.
Here's the '60 Wimbledon final between Fraser and Laver, which the taller lefty (Fraser) won: