Great forehand vs great serve

atp2015

Hall of Fame
#1
Which one will win ? Imo, fh triumphs serve.
You can hit only one good serve per point, but if you have a great forehand you can keep hitting it until the point is won.
Thoughts? Everyone go get a great forehand and practice serves a little less. Is there a universal agreement?
 
#3
Serve.

The serve and the return of serve are the two most important shots in tennis.

Doesn't matter how great your forehand is, if someone hits to your backhand.

If your serve or return of serve is poor you lose points easily and if you get into play you are not in control of the point and on defense from the start.

If your serve is great then you can easily hold ur service games, hit aces and errors and get lots of short balls where you don't need a great forehand to really put the point away because your in control of the point.
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
#4
Serve.

The serve and the return of serve are the two most important shots in tennis.

Doesn't matter how great your forehand is, if someone hits to your backhand.

If your serve or return of serve is poor you lose points easily and if you get into play you are not in control of the point and on defense from the start.

If your serve is great then you can easily hold ur service games, hit aces and errors and get lots of short balls where you don't need a great forehand to really put the point away because your in control of the point.
You can't keep serving to bh all the time , returner will adjust. And there's enough time on second serves to run around to your stronger side and hit a good return. Then whoever has a better gs weapon will win.
 
#5
You can't keep serving to bh all the time , returner will adjust. And there's enough time on second serves to run around to your stronger side and hit a good return. Then whoever has a better gs weapon will win.
First you don't need to serve to the backhand and shouldn't, you should keep him guessing, and forehand means groundstroke right, return of serve is a different thing, and in any case you can't attack a good serve no matter how good ur return of serve forehand is.
2nd serve you cant attack either if its a great serve, good serve means good 1st AND 2nd serve.

And its not true at all that who has better groundstroke wins, that couldn't be further from the truth, and to make things worse we are not even discussing having great groundstrokes vs great serve, you said only the forehand, one single shot.
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
#6
First you don't need to serve to the backhand and shouldn't, you should keep him guessing, and forehand means groundstroke right, return of serve is a different thing, and in any case you can't attack a good serve no matter how good ur return of serve forehand is.
You are making assumptions and assertions that are not reasonable imo. Let me leave it at that.
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
#8
Lets say you are a 4.5 player, and you can choose to add Delpotro's forehand to replace yours or Sampras's serve.

Which do you think would make you harder to beat and win you more matches?
I'll take peak Fed or peak Nadal's forehand over Sampras serve. Delpo fh is great but not as superlative. In my view, Sampras would win zilch against those two. Isner and Ivo serve much better than him.
 
Last edited:
#9
Hard to answer, it depends on the rest of the players ability. For the sake of the argument let's assume both players are 4.0 since most of us can relate to that level. So decent all around strokes. Great serve and great forehand is 5.0 level. It will turn into a typical John Isner match. 7-6, 6-7, 7-6,6-7, 50-48(Mahut). Great server holds serve and loses on great FH serves since he can't rally against a great FH. Sets goes to tiebreaker where it's now a 50/50 situation. But over a lot of matches great server wins more matches because it's hard to defend against a great serve. It's the only time in a point where you have total control of the situation. Great FH can be defended by hitting to backhand or bring great FH into the net where the FH is useless. Most rec players overlook the serve because it's boring as hell to hit buckets and buckets of serves to get better. It's more fun to go out and hit forehands with your friends.
 
#10
Which one will win ? Imo, fh triumphs serve.
You can hit only one good serve per point, but if you have a great forehand you can keep hitting it until the point is won.
Thoughts? Everyone go get a great forehand and practice serves a little less. Is there a universal agreement?
I prefer to have a balanced game! We’ve all seen those guys at the gym with really well developed upper body muscles sitting on top of chicken legs so I would work to develop a great serve and a great forehand! :)
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
#11
I prefer to have a balanced game! We’ve all seen those guys at the gym with really well developed upper body muscles sitting on top of chicken legs so I would work to develop a great serve and a great forehand! :)
Sure, but if you can get only one what would you pick?
 
#13
I'll take peak Fed or peak Nadal's forehand over Sampras serve. Delpo fh is great but not as superlative. In my view, Sampras would win zilch against those two. Isner and Ivo serve much better than him.
no way.
i'm with @FiReFTW serve > fh
heck, if you told me that i could ONLY play with *conti* grip, in exchange for an amazing serve... i'll take that.
i'd just switch to an s&v, c&c game,...
or if you force me to the baseline, become a santoro-like-junker with an amazing serve
 
#14
You can't keep serving to bh all the time , returner will adjust. And there's enough time on second serves to run around to your stronger side and hit a good return. Then whoever has a better gs weapon will win.
lol, i have a lousy serve, and i still do a good job finding the bh consistently... just think what i could do with a great serve.
 
#17
IMO, you need them both. We’ve all seen players with great serves facing a returner who is somehow able to chip or block nearly everything back deep to neutralize that great serve. Now you need the great forehand.
 
#27
I didn't say I had a lousy serve! Excited for you to see the current version. I've put in a lot of work the past couple of years.

I've hit 4 world class serves according to the ATP coach, which isn't much, but it's a start.

J
looking forward to it.
so as a guy with a good fh and serve... which would you give up, to boost the other?
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
#29
I understand that in theory the forehand is more useful, but having a great serve does psychological damage to your opponents and makes them do dumb things. I know because I have been on the receiving end of such serves.

J
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
#31
no way.
i'm with @FiReFTW serve > fh
heck, if you told me that i could ONLY play with *conti* grip, in exchange for an amazing serve... i'll take that.
i'd just switch to an s&v, c&c game,...
or if you force me to the baseline, become a santoro-like-junker with an amazing serve
How do you answer this?
Serve gives one chance to hit a winner. forehand gives you several. If you have to pick ONLY ONE, what would you go for?
 
Last edited:
#34
How do you answer this?
Serve gives one chance to hit a winner. forehand gives you several. If you have to pick ONLY ONE, what would you go for?
but having a great serve sets up the easy volley.
i play with a few guys that have great serves... decent pace (~110+), but really good placement... and it's a nightmare playing them, because they breeze through their service games, and i'm struggling to hold mine.
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
#35
but having a great serve sets up the easy volley.
i play with a few guys that have great serves... decent pace (~110+), but really good placement... and it's a nightmare playing them, because they breeze through their service games, and i'm struggling to hold mine.
110mph? That's ATP first serve average...
Can 4.5s really return ATP level serves.
 
#36
Serve is waaaaaay more important, and it's not even remotely close. This coming from someone who long ago won prize money in open tournaments in both doubles and singles with a 3.5-level forehand.

I've played entire doubles matches without having to hit a single forehand. Can't say the same about the serve.

Heck, I think I've played singles matches without hitting more than 5 forehands the entire match.

Sadly, my serve sorta sucks these days. But at least my forehand is better now.
 
#39
110mph? That's ATP first serve average...
Can 4.5s really return ATP level serves.
Your not really viewing the whole picture.

@mad dog1 is right

110mph is only an ATP serve if it has ATP placement and precision and ATP spinrate.

Many higher level players can hit 110mph, and WTA players who are shorter than guys generally can hit 110mph aswell.

But that 110mph serve has extremely little spinrate compared to the ATP serve that has nightmarish spin.
 
#41
Even moreso than the speed or the spin rate, I'd say the consistency is what separates a pro player from a rec player on most shots, including serve. Unless you are talking about Karlovic, Isner, or Opelka, who can literally hit serves from a whole 'nother level.
Consistency but also placement, pros can place the ball very close to their aim and hit corners quite accurately.

Most non pro players don't really have good placement, and most don't even work on placement which is sad, all they work is how to get the most powerful serve, but I think their serve would be more effective if they worked on placement instead.

Heck I watch a ton of youtube tennis matches and even D2/D1 college players which are quite a high level of tennis, the majority that I watch play hit the serve extremely hard and quite flat, rarely do they slice or spin it much and they don't often place it in the corners just blast it.

Pros always place it with intention, either down the T, wide, body, and always add various spins to vary their serve and placement.
 

AM75

Professional
#43
Id'd take the serve at any time. It's enough if you just constantly can bring a ball back deep and with decent top spin with your forehand. But if you have a mediocre serve a good returner can beat a sh*t out of you.
 
#45
Serve all the way. There's a reason servebots dominate tennis up to the elite levels.

If you have a great serve in rec tennis, you almost always win all your service games from what I've seen. I've seen people play keep away from a guy with a single great groundstroke. You can't avoid the serve.

If I'm facing a great FH, I'm going to the BH make him hit the FH on the run, slicing balls low at him. Doing anything to avoid him getting time and space to use it as a weapon. If I'm facing a great serve, I'm lucky to get a racket on it and never have any control. And then my service game becomes immensely important as one service break and I'm done for.

Now if you asked great serve vs great return, well then I'm in a quandary. Selfishly I'd love a great serve, but being a great returner and able to neutralize a great serve would likely win me more games as many rec level great servers have a lot of weaknesses in the rest of their game (or they'd be pros otherwise).
 
#46
Serve all the way. There's a reason servebots dominate tennis up to the elite levels.

If you have a great serve in rec tennis, you almost always win all your service games from what I've seen. I've seen people play keep away from a guy with a single great groundstroke. You can't avoid the serve.

If I'm facing a great FH, I'm going to the BH make him hit the FH on the run, slicing balls low at him. Doing anything to avoid him getting time and space to use it as a weapon. If I'm facing a great serve, I'm lucky to get a racket on it and never have any control. And then my service game becomes immensely important as one service break and I'm done for.

Now if you asked great serve vs great return, well then I'm in a quandary. Selfishly I'd love a great serve, but being a great returner and able to neutralize a great serve would likely win me more games as many rec level great servers have a lot of weaknesses in the rest of their game (or they'd be pros otherwise).
That's not the answer @atp2015 was looking for; please try again.
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
#47
If you have a great serve in rec tennis, you almost always win all your service games from what I've seen.
What if the returner has great gs? It means he is able to neutralize the first serve occasionally and take charge on second serves most of the time.
The number is against the server. It's 1 vs many. The server has 1 shot to take over but the gs player has unlimited.
How do you explain away the true, brutal number that's not in favor of you?

If someone can't hit a good running fh, he is probably not a good gs player. If he can't blast a slice away, is he really good in gs? I doubt it.
 
Last edited:

atp2015

Hall of Fame
#48
lol, i have a lousy serve, and i still do a good job finding the bh consistently... just think what i could do with a great serve.
The guys you play don't have good enough gs to hurt you may be? Just think what he could do with a great gs once he neutralizes your serve. You have just one shot and the other guy has unlimited number of shots to hurt you and win the point.
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
#50
This coming from someone who long ago won prize money in open tournaments in both doubles and singles with a 3.5-level forehand.
If you had a much better fh than serve, you could have claimed "this is coming from someone who won millions in prize money".
Just ask Nadal and ivo.
 
Top