first serve choice, more speedy flat or more reliable topspin

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by kuhdlie, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. kuhdlie

    kuhdlie Rookie

    Jul 8, 2008
    what do you guys think would be a better choice for first serve, a 105-120mph flat serve that goes in 45-65% of the time or a 95-105mph slightly more accurate topspin serve that goes in 65-75% of the time? thx
  2. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

    Feb 13, 2009
    You are going to need both, and need to continue practicing both.
    On the days your flat serve is coming in 65% of the time, you will still want to mix in your topsin serve to keep your opponent off balance. Especially if it seems there are places out wide or down the T you are just not getting your first serve in.
    On other days when warming up and in your first few games, you may be having trouble getting your flat serve in and you will have to rely on your topspin serve. But you will still want to mix your flat serve in, especially if you are up 40-0, or 40-15. And even on a bad flat serving day, you may have a favorite spot that your flat serve has a higher percentage, like down the T on the deuce side.
    Also, you may notice you have an opponent who seems to return flat serves pretty well, but has trouble moving laterally to get to wide balls. Then using topsin/slice or topspin/kick serves out wide will either give you more aces, or set up a better 1-2 combination as you put away his return to the open court.
  3. ms87

    ms87 Rookie

    May 21, 2009
    on an important point (setpoint on a tiebreak, for instance) I will generally hit a particularly big serve at the body, closer to a flat serve than a topspin serve - it should move around 110mph and kick to about head height. it's a little more reliable than a flat serve to the corner and almost always yields an attackable ball.
  4. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

    Oct 4, 2004
    I would develop that first serve to be more reliable (higher percentage). If you go to any high level junior tournament, you will see that every serve is hit with a lot of spin for a high percentage, and as you strengthen, you can hit the spin serve with more and more pace.
  5. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation G.O.A.T.

    Oct 20, 2006

    The better high school players I've seen in recent year are specifically coached to start a majority (if not all) of their points with a spin serve. In basic terms, it works!

    Even though it's not going to blow past many opponents, a high percentage first serve with lots of spin will start points on your terms. The funky bounces that you can get off those spinners can leave opponents off balance more often, too. Flat heaters can be fun, but once opponents gets used to them, they can punish you with no more than a blocked return.
  6. naylor

    naylor Semi-Pro

    Jul 26, 2004
    New Zealand
    Agreed. I would work on developing a sliced first serve, slower than flat but faster than topspin, which also clears the net with a safer margin than the flat one, and which you can move easily between T - middle - corner of the service box on the deuce side. The one in the corner is the ball that goes away and often results in a winner if the returner doesn't step in to take it early. The other two are jamming serves.

    From the ad side, the sliced first serve down the T is a very effective source of winners also - bends in, but then bends away - and when placed in the middle of the box it also works well at jamming the returner. But out wide, it's easier to go for a standard topspin or kicker to the backhand.
  7. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

    Aug 31, 2006
    How exactly does a blocked return punish someone? I must play on a different planet than everyone, but my blocked returns usually result in me being punished.

    Agassi is not one of the best returners because he blocks returns, its because he attacks on his returns. A blocked return usually means a serve is effective.
  8. BU-Tennis

    BU-Tennis Semi-Pro

    Jan 22, 2008
    West Virginia
    Ok, honestly the poster just asked which one would be best. and I would have to go with the flat serve, as you can use the topspin serve as a second serve with some reliable percentages.
  9. Virtua Tennis

    Virtua Tennis Semi-Pro

    Jul 22, 2008
    It's not how hard you serve it's where you put it to be an effective server you have to mix it up like a pitcher go hard down the line or cross court if he's waiting for either ball, topspin it into his body. If you keep the oppent off balance he won't know what to hit.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2009
  10. Trickster

    Trickster Rookie

    May 27, 2007

    I think he is more referring to 'using the pace of the ball'. I'd say a 'positive block' more than anything else. Rather than a full swing like with slower serves, and abbreviated swing played out in front will be very effective against a fast serve.
  11. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Jun 2, 2006
    The Great NW
    The 105-110 flat serve that goes in 65-70% of the time.
  12. ir0-ed

    ir0-ed Rookie

    Jun 11, 2009
    I say mix em up
  13. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

    Mar 1, 2009
    speedy flat
  14. dave333

    dave333 Hall of Fame

    Aug 24, 2006
    I'd go for the 2nd one. Why? Because unless you're playing ATP Pros (in which case neither serve is good enough), most players will have difficulty aggressively returning a serve at 95-105 with topspin, if they are able to return it at all.

    You don't want to hit too many second serves, as your opponent is more likely to step in and try to hurt you off your 2nd. Players are much more likely to try chipping a 1st serve back, which is great for you. Get the 1st serves in.
  15. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

    Jul 19, 2007
    Just curious, but did you ascertain those speeds by means of a radar gun? Or are these estimates based on your experience?

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