Great forehand vs great serve

atp2015

Hall of Fame
#57
Sorry I don’t really have an answer to your question. But that video is a good reality check for rec folks about their serve speed.
You answered the question. Folks just throw 100mph around without realizing 100 mph is good even for ATP pros who do nothing but hit the ball all their life for 20 odd years.
 
#58
This question is left vague purposefully I guess.

I would like to clarify a couple things:
1. What does "great" fh mean?
2. What does "great" serve mean?

This is a bit of the same age old "the greatest spear" versus "the greatest shield" question, the winner depends hugely on the definition of "great".

But to entertain the idea, let me try my answer based on my understanding:

Let's say "great" fh means that your fh is fast enough that your opponent cannot return it, and you can hit about cross court and inside out accurately on the run no matter where you are, and you have very low unforced error rate on pressure.

And let's say "great" serve means that you can have first serve over 100mph anywhere you want with about 70% accuracy and you have a good second serve to back it up with good kick.

If everything else is equal, and equal is very dependent on the situation, court env, wind direction, etc, then
if the question is really about: which one of those would you rather have that can increase your win percentage over your opponent, who is with equal skill level and they are also in the same shoe but would choose a different choice from your choice, then my answer would be: "Great" fh.

My reasoning:
1. In my definition, "great" serve consists only about percentage, placement, but I didn't talk about mental game, if my fh can predict where the serve is going to be, then my fh can crush that serve anytime of the day, while my serve on the otherhand, not so good but good enough that their fh cannot return, then I win.

There is a reason why Federer can win over Pete Sampras, because Federer had a much better FH and overall strategy than Pete.
And the reason why Nadal can have such a relatively bad serve but dominate the clay court and stay on the top 3 of ATP tour.
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
#59
This question is left vague purposefully I guess.

I would like to clarify a couple things:
1. What does "great" fh mean?
2. What does "great" serve mean?

This is a bit of the same age old "the greatest spear" versus "the greatest shield" question, the winner depends hugely on the definition of "great".

But to entertain the idea, let me try my answer based on my understanding:

Let's say "great" fh means that your fh is fast enough that your opponent cannot return it, and you can hit about cross court and inside out accurately on the run no matter where you are, and you have very low unforced error rate on pressure.

And let's say "great" serve means that you can have first serve over 100mph anywhere you want with about 70% accuracy and you have a good second serve to back it up with good kick.

If everything else is equal, and equal is very dependent on the situation, court env, wind direction, etc, then
if the question is really about: which one of those would you rather have that can increase your win percentage over your opponent, who is with equal skill level and they are also in the same shoe but would choose a different choice from your choice, then my answer would be: "Great" fh.

My reasoning:
1. In my definition, "great" serve consists only about percentage, placement, but I didn't talk about mental game, if my fh can predict where the serve is going to be, then my fh can crush that serve anytime of the day, while my serve on the otherhand, not so good but good enough that their fh cannot return, then I win.

There is a reason why Federer can win over Pete Sampras, because Federer had a much better FH and overall strategy than Pete.
And the reason why Nadal can have such a relatively bad serve but dominate the clay court and stay on the top 3 of ATP tour.
That's precisely the point. Well said. It's pure math that explains it. We have seen enough anecdotal evidence to verify the theory.
 
#61
Old retired fat guy with great serve vs World #1 with great forehand:
In this scenario, I noticed having a good return and strategy wins the game, not about serve nor forehand.

Also tennis is all about percentage, you don't just look at one game.

I'm not sure what you are trying to prove here... tell us what your answer is and the reason behind it.
 
#62
I remember a thread in GPPD where people pitched whether, as an amateur player, you would choose Gasquet's serve (decent for pro level, can hit every target and spin with good consistency) or Gasquet's backhand (his best shot). I'd pick the serve 100% of the time. The margin you have is insane over other amateur players: you could serve flat 120mph, serve slices110mph short and moving away (or even in) your opponent, serve kicks 100mph over the shoulder and wide; hell, you can drop your speeds 10mph, add more spin and accuracy and you wouldn't see many -even just decent returns- regardless that are not put-aways... or that can't be cleaned up with an ace/serve winner thereafter. And I say that especially because other rec level players do not serves like that at all. With a serve like that, you'd need to win (according to Tennis Abstract) around 35% of your return points to break once per set (once every six return games). If you assume your groundies stay the same, I see it being definitively workable: your opponent would need equally excellent ability on their own service games (regardless of it being because of their serves or groundstrokes) to prevent that.

Tl;Dr: Can I win 35% or more of points on the return of serve? If yes, pick the serve every time. Because sure as hell you're not getting broken.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
#67
If the hypothetical here is that you can choose only one thing..then of course it has to be the serve. That ensures you winning a bunch of games. If the returner is consistently able to chip and return it then the hypothetical doesn't hold, since it can't be a great serve then or the returner is of very high quality. In that case it's not like he's going to get flustered by the fh either.

Nadal wins because he has a solid serve backed by great movement, great fh, great stamina, solid bh, etc. If you just gave Nadal a great fh and below average on all the other things, he himself would choose a great serve as the answer to the hypothetical.
 
#68
This question is left vague purposefully I guess.

I would like to clarify a couple things:
1. What does "great" fh mean?
2. What does "great" serve mean?

This is a bit of the same age old "the greatest spear" versus "the greatest shield" question, the winner depends hugely on the definition of "great".

But to entertain the idea, let me try my answer based on my understanding:

Let's say "great" fh means that your fh is fast enough that your opponent cannot return it, and you can hit about cross court and inside out accurately on the run no matter where you are, and you have very low unforced error rate on pressure.

And let's say "great" serve means that you can have first serve over 100mph anywhere you want with about 70% accuracy and you have a good second serve to back it up with good kick.

If everything else is equal, and equal is very dependent on the situation, court env, wind direction, etc, then
if the question is really about: which one of those would you rather have that can increase your win percentage over your opponent, who is with equal skill level and they are also in the same shoe but would choose a different choice from your choice, then my answer would be: "Great" fh.

My reasoning:
1. In my definition, "great" serve consists only about percentage, placement, but I didn't talk about mental game, if my fh can predict where the serve is going to be, then my fh can crush that serve anytime of the day, while my serve on the otherhand, not so good but good enough that their fh cannot return, then I win.

There is a reason why Federer can win over Pete Sampras, because Federer had a much better FH and overall strategy than Pete.
And the reason why Nadal can have such a relatively bad serve but dominate the clay court and stay on the top 3 of ATP tour.
Lol you put a 70% "in" percentage for the serve while leaving the forehand's at 100% ?
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
#70
Is it that easy? Where is @Curious when we need him.
Ttw legend maximagq Matt can't break 100 mph and he is supposedly a high level player.

Hope mad dog does not suffer a panic attack after seeing the vid.
what do you mean, he hit 106 into the net.... shorty into the vid....


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
#75
Lol you put a 70% "in" percentage for the serve while leaving the forehand's at 100% ?
I don't think it makes sense to "assume" 100%, but if that's what you got out of my message then I will make one correction: 99%. Happy? :)

Joking aside, I already give 70% a very very high percentage, first serve 70% in under pressure is really good if you think about it.

Here is some old statistics in the pro tour, not sure how credible this source is nor is it recent but I think it is believable:
https://www.braingametennis.com/num3ers/first-strike/

Men First Serve Average = 58%

Women First Serve Average = 60%

First Serve Percentage Goal = 62%

In pro tour, and I assume it is the best case scenario, if you have 58% means that if you keep doing two first serves in a point, you will lose slightly more than half to your opponent by overhitting or hitting into the net, etc. That means first serve will get you to a deuce at best case scenario, sort of.
That means you will have to rely on your second serve a lot more often than you imagine to win the point.

What happens when you do a second serve? Your opponent will be able to return it a lot more often, and then you are in a rally and then fh will become very very important to win.
 
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#76
Interesting dichotomy. A coaching friend of mine always tells me, "you wanna move up in NTRP, play up and hold serve". Then again, to move even further past, a serve only supports you on one side of the points, were a solid forehand would give you ROS and the ability to break.
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
#78
Interesting dichotomy. A coaching friend of mine always tells me, "you wanna move up in NTRP, play up and hold serve". Then again, to move even further past, a serve only supports you on one side of the points, were a solid forehand would give you ROS and the ability to break.
Serve hold can be accomplished in many ways. Hit a good enough serve and win points using a great FH is an option.
In addition, a great fh lets you break serve as well. It's more versatile than serve. Serve cannot help you break the other guys serve.
I'm not saying serve is not important, it's a big ticket item for sure. But if you have to prioritize one over the other it's fh.

Why do most people think and say serve is the important shot? Imo it's because most folks have not modernized their thinking to the current state of affairs. It's no longer serve and volley game where a great serve reigned over everything else. Forehand wasn't much used. The modern game has completely changed the dynamics. Check statistics on critical points, it's the superior ground game, most often the forehand, that determines the winner.
Unless your game is stuck in snv era, serve is no longer number 1.
 
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atp2015

Hall of Fame
#81
Don't think you are going to get the upper hand on me with your fancy words.

J
Man you are too alert, you blew the cover. I was scheming to gain a huge mental edge by drowning you in a sea of real fancy words before I take you on a tennis court for a blow out. BH slice was another strategy to bring you down to your knees and keep you there.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
#82
Man you are too alert, you blew the cover. I was scheming to gain a huge mental edge by drowning you in a sea of real fancy words before I take you on a tennis court for a blow out.
You have to get up pretty early in the morning to pull a fast one on Jolly...

J
 
#83
Man you are too alert, you blew the cover. I was scheming to gain a huge mental edge by drowning you in a sea of real fancy words before I take you on a tennis court for a blow out. BH slice was another strategy to bring you down to your knees and keep you there.
There is dedicated trash talk thread now available.
 
#84
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?
SERVE always wins out. Your logic is flawed. NO , you can't always hit multiple forehands. your opponent will make you hit backhands, he isn't stupid. but Serve, you have complete control, your opponent can't make you Not hit your serve. If your serve is no good to begin with, then this argument don't apply.

So my Advice to you is Practice your serve and put all your energy into hitting good serves,, 1. concentrate on spin and placement first, 2. then add power or power will actually come naturally, once you master the spin and placement.
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
#86
Top 10 players of all time and their best shot should settle the issue -

Federer. Forehand
Djokovic. Forehand
Nadal - Forehand
Sampras - Serve
Laver - Forehand
Borg - Forehand
Lendl - Forehand
Agassi - Forehand
S Williams - serve
Graf - Forehand

Before anyone claims Djoker has a better backhand, check what each wing does when chips are down and what he does really matters. USO 2011 semi vs Fed for example.
 
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#87
The serve is the most important shot in tennis, the only one you have full control over. A player can win with a garbage game and a great serve; they will constant hold.

Trust me having a good ground game and a rubbish serve makes your life very difficult. Alas I know from experience, so I would take a good serve every time.
 

jga111

Hall of Fame
#90
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?
The one who is better tactically, who has better footwork and who is more clutch as this will probably be decided during tie breaks.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
#91
I used to have a 5.0+ serve and a 3.5 forehand. Now I have a 4.5 serve and a 4.5 forehand. I think my overall level has stayed about the same.
Which version of you would you pick? If age and experience would be the same?

In other words would 32 year old you trade some serve for more forehand?

J
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
#92
Top 10 players of all time and their best shot should settle the issue -

Federer. Forehand
Djokovic. Forhand
Nadal - Forehand
Sampras - Serve
Laver - Forehand
Borg - Forehand
Lendl - Forehand
Agassi - Forehand
S Williams - serve
Graf - Forehand

Before anyone claims Djoker has a better backhand, check what each wing does when chips are down and what he does really matters. Uso 2012 semi vs Fed for example.
the key that makes those fh's standouts... isn't necessarily the stroke, but the outstanding movement.
since we're going through the exercise of boosting imaginary attributes like a d&d character... you really have to allocate points to both "fh" and "movement" (arguably multiple points need to be distributed to "movement")... i'd rather take those points and boost my "serve" attribute. IMO, fed&sampras&serena had both serve&fh....
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
#93
the key that makes those fh's standouts... isn't necessarily the stroke, but the outstanding movement.
since we're going through the exercise of boosting imaginary attributes like a d&d character... you really have to allocate points to both "fh" and "movement" (arguably multiple points need to be distributed to "movement")... i'd rather take those points and boost my "serve" attribute. IMO, fed&sampras&serena had both serve&fh....
Young Roddick had the biggest forehand to weakest movement ratio that springs to mind, but he certainly had most of his stat points in serve.

J
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
#95
the key that makes those fh's standouts... isn't necessarily the stroke, but the outstanding movement.
since we're going through the exercise of boosting imaginary attributes like a d&d character... you really have to allocate points to both "fh" and "movement" (arguably multiple points need to be distributed to "movement")... i'd rather take those points and boost my "serve" attribute. IMO, fed&sampras&serena had both serve&fh....
I agree that to execute great forehand the player needs movement. It's not just movement and stroke either - it's anticipation, development and use of strong core to generate heavy ball, the nuts and bolts of execution, movement, very quick decision making and flexibility. It requires a lot more than a serve. It's not as easy as hitting a serve (we agree, serve is complex technique to learn, but once mastered ,the execution itself is a relative walk in the park compared to a running forehand for example).
It's the cost of doing business of dealing with forehand. There's no free lunch - because forehand is so versatile and allows players to dominate even the best of servers, I stated what I did in the OP.
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
#96
Serve is the main key to win the point.
As the two best servers in the history of the game, how many grand slams did Ivo Karlovich and John Isner win? You don't need to answer the question as framed, just think why they could not win any major while a player like Nadal with a sub-par serve (by top 10 standards) won more than a dozen.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
#97
As the two best servers in the history of the game, how many grand slams did Ivo Karlovich and John Isner win? You don't need to answer the question as framed, just think why they could not win any major while a player like Nadal with a sub-par serve (by top 10 standards) won more than a dozen.
but you're asking either/or... grandslam winners will have multiple "great" weapons....

sampras: serve&volley&fh
agassi: decent serve, fh/bh, ability to take the ball early (take away time)
nadal: ok serve, fh/bh, movement
graf: ok serve, fh, unattackable bh, movement
fed: serve, fh, movement
djoker: good serve, fh/bh, movement...

ivo/isner... serve... arguably volley (but IMO nadal has better volleys - despite volleys not being a critical key to his success) - ivo/isner just had more easy volleys due to serve....

that all said, i bet ivo/isner (could beat many college players if they were only allowed to hit with conti grip)... no one would break them... and they'd rely on some random mistakes in the TB to win.

my $0.02
 
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#98
the serve. i play with alot of players at the 4.0 and 4.5 level who have great serves( even if they can only get it in 50-60 percent of the time) with decent ground strokes. if there serve is on its very hard to get a win.
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
#99
I used to have a 5.0+ serve and a 3.5 forehand. Now I have a 4.5 serve and a 4.5 forehand. I think my overall level has stayed about the same.
Do you know why the level has remained the same? Is it because 4.5 forehand is when you can get to the ball, but you may not be getting to as many balls as you did before?
Even though you state that serve is more important, your stats tells me forehand is more useful. While serve declines, forehand has more upside potential.
 
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