To the OP, to take inspiration from a serve it is really important to look at what are the broad, important movements and separate them from the superfluous extras or particular traits which rely heavily on some special ability (Sampras's foot point and his freaky shoulder flexibility for example). Not all great serves can be easily scaled down to a club player.
Sampras's serve was a piece of artwork and many people say they were inspired by his despite not obviously having much commonality with his at all. Federer definitely did. He and guys like Almagro probably provide better all-round lessons for a club hack than someone like Sampras because they lack the amount of extras and the slight timing quirk that Systematic Anomaly mentions above - they are straight-forward motions which are both reliable and not overly height or body-type dependent (like Roddick or Isner's serves for example). A player of almost any height or build could do well with a reliable Federer-esque serve for example.
I'd say, for someone starting out, not having a fluid 'throwing' motion (to be clear I'm referring to the swing, not the ball toss) is the single biggest factor which limits a person's serve potential. So, get onto that aspect really early on and look at who has a really nice throwing motion like Federer, Sampras, Almagro etc and getting that part sorted will be a great accompaniment to the other advice you will no doubt get in this thread. Hopefully CharlieFederer posts as he is really astute on matters relating to the serve.
Last edited by Bobby Jr : 12-03-2013 at 07:03 PM.