Originally Posted by SystemicAnomaly
Gotta disagree that this is a myth/misconception. In at least one respect, it is the most important stroke in the game. Coaches say this for a reason. If a player cannot get their serve into play, they will lose at least 1/2 the games in each set. For this reason, the serve is elevated to the most important stroke.
I've seen a numerous players who practice their groundies for hours on end but do not practice the serve much at all. I have seen tons of players with 4.0/4.5 strokes have 3.0 serves. They can put up a great fight when the other player serves but almost never hold their own serve.
OTOH, if a player can put a reasonable serve (for their level) a reasonable % of the time, then we have a different situation. If the rest of their game is fairly solid, then the serve might not be the most important stroke at some levels as you have indicated.
And yet serving is a very solitary practice. Unless you got a coach who will guide you when you practice, you are on your own. You are on your own even if somebody is standing on the other end to return you serve. It has little to do with your practice unlike any other shot in the game. You have to reset and start the serve by your own toss of the ball.
So my point is serving perfection is a very long and lonely road. I see most tennis player takes shorter time to upgrade their ground strokes, volley, etc. because somebody or a machine can constantly feed balls to you to do that. And they can play live ball with you too. Therefore there should be less people who can crack serves that is high percentage and powerful even on a bad day. And they need to worry about everything else.
I don't know. Do these people exists in the numbers? I see ppl getting creamed because they got a low % 1st serve on a bad day. And their 2nd serve is not exactly un-returnable. So they got broken within the first 12 games and then the set is over.
Even in situations like every game is broken on both sides it is the one who hold serves first wins.
May be in those middle age moms tourney, with everybody serving floaters or underhand, and nobody would step in to punch a return, then the serve is taken out of the equation.