How does one add a bit of topspin to the flat serve?

Claes

New User
My first, flat serve, is for my level of play, rather good. Placement is OK (could improve), with good pace.

The problem is that it’s completely flat, too flat I would say. This leads to: 1. Low net clearance, and consequently more misses (a minor issue, % in is alright). And, more importantly, 2. The ball loses too much energy after the bounce. It isn’t as heavy as it could be (it stays low). When my opponents get used to the pace, they can just stand back, and quite comfortably block it back.

Once in a blue moon (every 300th attempt or so) I manage to get the action I’m seaking; and it’s almost always an ace or forced error. Unfortunately I have no idea what I do diffrently those times. I know how to hit a topspin serve, so it should be an easy feat to add a bit of spin one could assume. But to me a flat serve and a topspin serve have totally different swing paths, and to merge the two seems almost impossible.

Does anybody have any pointers on how to get more of that ”returning a bowling ball”-action on the flat serve?
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
What level do you play?
How high are you?
What techniques do you use (what grip also)?
Have you filmed yourself serving?
 

dsb

Rookie
For me, it's the toss... If I toss more towards 12:00 I get a bit of top on my flat serve, 12:30 -ish and it has a bit of slice. If my 'flat' has a bit of top it seems like it 'jumps', if it has a bit of slice it seems like it 'skids' and stays low.

HTH, YMMV, try at your own risk, yada yada yada, etc.
 

Claes

New User
What level do you play? Not a very high one, let's say intermediate.
How high are you? 189 cm.
What techniques do you use (what grip also)? Platform stance with a continental grip. I think my general technique is sound enough.
Have you filmed yourself serving? No.
Answers in italics.

It would be like a patient telling a doctor over the phone, “I don’t feel well. Do you know what’s wrong?”
If I called my doctor and said that my forehead was warm, and that I in one instant felt hot and the other was freezing; I'm pretty sure he could come up with a diagnosis and a remedy.

But sure, you have a point, video footage would be of use, of course; but I have non, and I don't think it's impossible to have a general discussion about this issue anyway. As @dsb above is a proof of (thank's for that, I'll try it out!).

Thank you for your replies.
 
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HuusHould

Professional
You steepen the arc of your swing, instead of hitting through the ball as much as you would going for a dead flat serve you pull the toss back a bit closer to the baseline and hit up more. You stay side on slightly longer than normal.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
Answers in italics.
If your techniques is sound, you can go with toss more to 12:00 (not slightly to the right), focusing on swinging up onto and through the ball, not forward through the ball, and keeping torso from rotating towards the target to soon/overrotating.

But I strongly suggest to make some video to see what you actually do on serve. Or go with qualified coach you trust.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
If your techniques is sound, you can go with toss more to 12:00 (not slightly to the right),
You should be able to hit any type of serve and spot from the same toss, only kick serve is slightly challenging to do so.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
You should be able to hit any type of serve and spot from the same toss, only kick serve is slightly challenging to do so.
You can hit a good pack of serves from similar tossing, not telegraphing placement. However, “any type ... any spot” is too absolutistic. Talkie stuff, not what you see or do on court.
But that’s not the topic actually. To find and learn to execute consistently altered serve you go with anything which helps you get there, then settle it into your whole game. The toss may be just unsuitable for topspin - that’s the point where you try altering it and may find solution. You need particular configuration swinging towards contact. You can put a ball more over the head or push your body under the ball, or combine, but you clearly don’t hit topspin serves when the ball is to the right.
 

Claes

New User
You steepen the arc of your swing, instead of hitting through the ball as much as you would going for a dead flat serve you pull the toss back a bit closer to the baseline and hit up more. You stay side on slightly longer than normal.
If your techniques is sound, you can go with toss more to 12:00 (not slightly to the right), focusing on swinging up onto and through the ball, not forward through the ball, and keeping torso from rotating towards the target to soon/overrotating.

But I strongly suggest to make some video to see what you actually do on serve. Or go with qualified coach you trust.
Alright...You two seems to say about the same thing. And I think I get it. I will try to move my toss more to 12 o'clock and less into the court; and/or get my hip further forward, to get under the ball. These corrections should steepen the sving.

Please correct me if I'm wrong about this, but am I right to assume that the spin, in this kind of serve, comes not from the main strings like in a kickserve, but the crosses (the face of the racquet, pointing up, traveling upwards through contact)?

And a first session with a coach is booked.

You should be able to hit any type of serve and spot from the same toss, only kick serve is slightly challenging to do so.
Well, yes... this is a thought I have come across earlier, but I'm not sure I agree. If I could improve my different serves with different kinds of tosses, I believe that's the right thing to do. I guess there is a point where the marginal utility of a different toss is canceled due to easier reading by my opponent; but I think that point is far away. If I can improve my serve 5% by tossing differently, I'll do it. If it's down to 1%, perhaps not.

I appreciate all the responses, thank you!
 
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Kevo

Legend
Heavy topspin on the big flat serve comes from the racquet moving up and forward at contact. If you toss the ball in the right location and have the right turn of the racquet into contact you will produce it without have to think of brushing. In fact, when I do it I am actually trying to hit down on the ball just slightly using heavy pronation. When I hit it right the ball jumps off the court. I also find I get more of this action when my strings are a bit more loose and grab the ball a bit more.
 

HuusHould

Professional
Alright...You two seems to say about the same thing. And I think I get it. I will try to move my toss more to 12 o'clock and less into the court; and/or get my hip further forward, to get under the ball. These corrections should steepen the sving.

Please correct me if I'm wrong about this, but am I right to assume that the spin, in this kind of serve, comes not from the main strings like in a kickserve, but the crosses (the face of the racquet, pointing up, traveling upwards through contact)?

And a first session with a coach is booked.
100% right, you are putting topspin on the ball with a vertical racquet and hence the topspin comes from the cross strings. The wrist is very quiet (loose, but not active) and it starts slightly toward the supinated side of neutral. The beauty of just steepening the arc of the flat serve is that direction is very easy to control and you're less likely to drop the ball short than if you use the mains to get the spin and brush similar to a groundstroke, kicker spin and slice topspin take more skill to control the depth and direction (think of getting the direction right shaping a golf ball vs hitting it straight- you have to factor in the initial direction as well as the amount of shape, which is a lot more difficult). This serve can be used as a conservative 1st serve (eg when you have a tailwind) or a relatively aggressive 2nd- very difficult for opponent to run around, esp from ad court on that side even when given a bit of margin from the sideline). Oh yeah if you keep your tossing arm up as long as possible (in fact you can initially practice keeping it up the whole swing!) this will encourage shoulder over shoulder rotation on this serve which is mainly what you want (if you turn front on to early it will sabotage the swing path). You want a Novak Djokovic follow through where you could hit 3 or 4 balls a couple of inches apart - the one youre hitting first, then 2 or 3 more 2, 4 and 6 inches further forward and they'd all go over the net. In other words you dont snap down on the ball when you pronate slightly you hit up and you stay up as long as you can, elongating the period your strings face more or less at the target)
 
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Curious

Legend
The single best tip to hit a topspin serve is staying sideways all the way during the whole motion, yes including after hitting the ball! How would that be possible? There’s only one way: cartwheeling motion of the shoulders. And those saying that topspin comes from cross strings should be smoking something very special!!
 

2nd Serve Ace

Hall of Fame
The single best tip to hit a topspin serve is staying sideways all the way during the whole motion, yes including after hitting the ball! How would that be possible? There’s only one way: cartwheeling motion of the shoulders. And those saying that topspin comes from cross strings should be smoking something very special!!
A way to replicate this is to grip the handle slightly more western and that naturally produces more overspin.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Should we call it a dead ball serve? Like a baseball knuckle ball?
Ball does a late drop.
 

Kevo

Legend
The single best tip to hit a topspin serve is staying sideways all the way during the whole motion, yes including after hitting the ball! How would that be possible? There’s only one way: cartwheeling motion of the shoulders. And those saying that topspin comes from cross strings should be smoking something very special!!
He was asking about topspin on a flat serve. That's a different thing.
 

Curious

Legend
He was asking about topspin on a flat serve. That's a different thing.
Doesn’t matter. The racket still needs to go low to high and forward at contact. Play around with the angles based on how much flat or top spinny serve you want to hit. No cartwheeling no topspin if you don’t wanna hurt your shoulder.
 

Kevo

Legend
Doesn’t matter. The racket still needs to go low to high and forward at contact. Play around with the angles based on how much flat or top spinny serve you want to hit. No cartwheeling no topspin if you don’t wanna hurt your shoulder.
You don't stay sideways on a flat serve. The ball is more forward so you have to open your shoulders as you hit it.
 

ubercat

Semi-Pro
Geez r u guys all playing djoker. My toss is all over the place and I still get lots of free points. I doubt there s much reading going on.
 

Born_to_slice

Hall of Fame
This is probably not exactly what you're looking for, but this coach says that if you bend your arm in the elbow after contact, you'll get more spin and ball will go shorter, which combined with good placement will give you more aces. It's prone to making more errors by hitting the net though.

 

Claes

New User
This is probably not exactly what you're looking for, but this coach says that if you bend your arm in the elbow after contact, you'll get more spin and ball will go shorter, which combined with good placement will give you more aces. It's prone to making more errors by hitting the net though.

I would say it's spot on.

He talks about "hitting down" on the ball, if you're after the Sampras style flat serve. To take that literary, I don't think is a good idea; but tweaked a bit to: "hit the top of the ball" which one can hear from time to time (Söderling, among others), it makes a lot of sense. It is something that I have experimented with before. The felling on impact has often felt great, but the ball has ended up in the net. Which, with the discussion above fresh in mind, isn't that surprising. My toss has been too far into the court.

With the proper corrections made, I would say that the risk of netting has to go down, not up as he says. I don't have to hit it shorter in the box just because it possible, I can just aim higher (If one not choose to go for more extreme angles).


I'm eager to take all this into practice, but it's hard to get court time this time of year where I live, so real feedback will be awhile I'm afraid.
 
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Born_to_slice

Hall of Fame
I would say it's spot on.

He talks about "hitting down" on the ball, if you're after the Sampras style flat serve. To take that literary, I don't think is a good idea; but tweaked a bit to: "hit the top of the ball" which one can hear from time to time (Söderling, among others), it makes a lot of sense. It is something that I have experimented with before. The felling on impact has often felt great, but the ball has ended up in the net. Which, with the discussion above fresh in mind, isn't that surprising. My toss has been too far into the court.

With the proper corrections made, I would say that the risk of netting has to go down, not up as he says. I don't have to hit it shorter in the box just because it possible, I can just aim higher (If one not choose to go for more extreme angles).


I'm eager to take all this into practice, but it's hard to get court time this time of year where I live, so real feedback will be awhile I'm afraid.
Guess this practice is safer the more tall you are. I don't get why you're after higher bounce on flat serve, unless it's only for safety. I hit my flat with low net clearance and I even hit down on the ball so the ball stays very low. But I think low bounce is actually a good trait and only thing I'd like is to add more power to it by correcting my technique (which is kind of a mess).
 

Claes

New User
Guess this practice is safer the more tall you are. I don't get why you're after higher bounce on flat serve, unless it's only for safety. I hit my flat with low net clearance and I even hit down on the ball so the ball stays very low. But I think low bounce is actually a good trait and only thing I'd like is to add more power to it by correcting my technique (which is kind of a mess).
It's not the high bounce per se I seek, it's the ball exploding of the court.
 
This is probably not exactly what you're looking for, but this coach says that if you bend your arm in the elbow after contact, you'll get more spin and ball will go shorter, which combined with good placement will give you more aces. It's prone to making more errors by hitting the net though.

Not sure how much I like this advice. Sampras had a bent arm after contact, but his shoulder was super flexible. If your shoulder isn't like Sampras's (which it almost certainly isn't), you won't serve like Sampras, but you might mess up your shoulder.
 

Claes

New User
I have been in a massive slump.

Awful timing, shanking wildly (I couldn't see the ball properly), combined with a bad back, hasn't generated much of a chance to try new things out. Today however, I had much better feel. So I made some attempts to incorporate the things talked about above, and well...it's gone take some practice (as expected), but I think the teori is sound. In addition to placing the toss closer to the baseline and at twelve o'clock, I definitely think @Wise one has a big point in that it also should be higher. Today I often felt rushed in getting my hip out, and lost rhythm, with my normal toss hight.

It's a shame that it probably will be springtime before I can find enough court time to really start practicing it. But it is what it is. Anyhow, I appreciate your help!
 

TennisDawg

Professional
I worked on that type serve over the summer and early fall. I found if I focused on getting the tip down and butt cap pointing up the ball bounced very high with some heat on it. I had to do it very quickly after contact and yes hitting at 12oclock was best. When I hit the ball above the sweet spot (more towards the tip) the ball had great pace and height, but it was by accident. I’ve often wondered if elite players do that deliberately.
 

chic

Rookie
I have been in a massive slump.

Awful timing, shanking wildly (I couldn't see the ball properly), combined with a bad back, hasn't generated much of a chance to try new things out. Today however, I had much better feel. So I made some attempts to incorporate the things talked about above, and well...it's gone take some practice (as expected), but I think the teori is sound. In addition to placing the toss closer to the baseline and at twelve o'clock, I definitely think @Wise one has a big point in that it also should be higher. Today I often felt rushed in getting my hip out, and lost rhythm, with my normal toss hight.

It's a shame that it probably will be springtime before I can find enough court time to really start practicing it. But it is what it is. Anyhow, I appreciate your help!
If you're a member at a community center or otherwise have access to an indoor gymnasium, warehouse, etc you could possibly practice the kick serve there. Since part of the purpose is the higher net clearance it's a bit easier to practice than a flat serve if you just have open space.
 

vex

Hall of Fame
Step 1: toss to 12:00 such that you are bending back, looking straight up at the ball.

Step 2: Combine your normal plow thru action with a swipe up the ball. Rip your racket face up the ball as fast as you can. Continental grip required. You will also probably have to reduced your contact point by a small amount - in other works you can’t strike the ball at max reach. You need a little room for that upward swiping. Swiping at max reach just gives you sideways action and slice. If you hit a little Lower than max reach you have the room you need to brush up the ball en route to your max reach.

Think of it as a TS FH you’re hitting over your head. All the same concepts apply. Hit low to high, swiping up the ball.
 

ubercat

Semi-Pro
I can't say I have a brilliant kick but it does seem to bounce differently and draw errors.

The checkpoints I use:

Eastern BH grip
Toss high directly over my head
Move racquet from 7 to 1
Snap wrist down so racquet ends down with elbow up and on right side of my body
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
100% right, you are putting topspin on the ball with a vertical racquet and hence the topspin comes from the cross strings. The wrist is very quiet (loose, but not active) and it starts slightly toward the supinated side of neutral. The beauty of just steepening the arc of the flat serve is that direction is very easy to comtrol and youre less likely to drop the ball short than if you use the mains to get the swing and brush similar to a groundstroke, kicker spin and slice topspin take more skill to control the depth and direction (think of getting the direction right shaping a golf ball vs hitting it straight- you have to factor in the initial direction as well as the amount of shape, which is a lot more difficult). This serve can be used as a conservative 1st serve (eg when you have a tailwind) or a relatively aggressive 2nd- very difficult for opponent to run around, esp from ad court on that side even when given a bit of margin from the sideline). Oh yeah if you keep your tossing arm up as long as possible (in fact you can initially prsctice keeping it up the whole swing!) this will encourage shoulder over shoulder rotation on this serve which is mainly what you want (if you turn front on to early it will sabotage the swing path). You want a Novak Djokovic follow through where you could hit 3 or 4 balls a couple of inches apart - the one youre hitting first, then 2 or 3 more 2, 4 and 6 inches further forward and theyd all go over the net. In other words you dont snap down on the ball when you pronate slightly you hit up and you stay up as long as you can, elongating the period your strings face more or less at the target)
Do you have the dumb?

J
 

chrisb

Semi-Pro
I would say it's spot on.

He talks about "hitting down" on the ball, if you're after the Sampras style flat serve. To take that literary, I don't think is a good idea; but tweaked a bit to: "hit the top of the ball" which one can hear from time to time (Söderling, among others), it makes a lot of sense. It is something that I have experimented with before. The felling on impact has often felt great, but the ball has ended up in the net. Which, with the discussion above fresh in mind, isn't that surprising. My toss has been too far into the court.

With the proper corrections made, I would say that the risk of netting has to go down, not up as he says. I don't have to hit it shorter in the box just because it possible, I can just aim higher (If one not choose to go for more extreme angles).


I'm eager to take all this into practice, but it's hard to get court time this time of year where I live, so real feedback will be awhile I'm afraid.
if u hit down on a ball u will hit almost all your serves into the net unless u are very tall. gravity effects the ball at a constantly accelerating pace
 

Kevo

Legend
if u hit down on a ball u will hit almost all your serves into the net unless u are very tall. gravity effects the ball at a constantly accelerating pace
The idea is to "hit down" not in the sense of hitting the ball down into the net or ground. It's the feeling of how you swing. If you pronate properly your racquet will turn down. The question is more of where in that rotation are you making contact with the ball. When I hit a "flat" serve clean and proper it feels like I'm trying to rotate the strings onto the top part of the ball more so than the back center of the ball. You can't really hit the top of the ball unless you let the ball drop a lot more, but that feeling of really turning the racquet over onto the ball and continuing that rotation all the way through the ball really puts a lot of pace and spin on the ball. It's way different than hitting more through the ball with the swing of the arm versus the turn of the arm.

I think of it like the crane technique in the Karate Kid. If do right, no can defense.
 

ptuanminh

Hall of Fame
Tips work for some and don't work for others. These tips from @AlexR helped me tremendously:
Since i incorporate these changes, i hold serve 20% more. :) . Yesterday, i was down 0-40 for all 3 serving games of mine. Came back and held serve for all 3. Pretty awesome.

Prior to this year I had real trouble getting a serve to the fence on a single bounce. A few months ago I started really experimenting with lots of different changes. Lately I’ve put it all together in a way I previously didn’t think I’d be able to. It’s no longer surprising when I lodge balls in the fence 1-2 feet up on one bounce, though it hasn’t stopped feeling cool.

Here are the changes I made and what I think they did for me:

1. Setup: standing more upright, and changed from pinpoint to platform.

Lots of pros bend forward into the court as they bounce the ball and then come all the way back into the coil- think Federer.

I’ve realized that was unbalancing me, so I now start more upright with most weight on the back foot. This helped repeatability in the rest of the motion. It seemed more natural to do this from platform so I switched to that.

2. Tie the toss to the shoulder tilt. I realized my shoulder tilt was crap, so I started thinking of the toss and tilting the shoulder up as a unit. Toss arm starts going up as the shoulder goes up too.

This has been a night-and-day change. When I do this, it seems to naturally result in the stuff you hear like “point the hip into the court” and “get on your toes”. I don’t know why this actually just puts me on my toes naturally but I have noticed it’s had that effect. Maybe it’s a natural reaction, the body balancing the weight transfer.

3. Arm speed. In my views serve coaching badly neglects the serve arm action. I just focused on getting the same speed I can get in a dry swing without any other serve motions, really just standing and whipping just the racquet around so it whistles, from roughly where it starts in my drop. A big element of the breakthrough was realizing that I could serve big with little effort when I used a pulling motion to start the racquet toward the ball, rather than the concept being to move the whole racquet or the head quickly. Just pull the handle and the head will whip around naturally.

4. Toss. To put the ball into the path of my optimal arm action, I had to change my toss. This is still the most work-in-progress aspect of the changes. I went from toss-arm parallel to the baseline, as is commonly taught, to about 45 degrees into the court. This allows a more vertical toss that still goes into the court. I seem to have no trouble coiling while doing this. After making this change I started noticing that a good number of pros do toss with their arm into the court. I hated how inconsistently I tossed with the arm parallel. There are three axes to mess up: vertical, how far into the court, and how far left to right along the baseline. With a vertical or near vertical toss, you can only mess up height. Which I still do.

I hope some of this helps someone else! It’s been really satisfying popping serves in lately and I just wanted to share the feeling...
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
The idea is to "hit down" not in the sense of hitting the ball down into the net or ground. It's the feeling of how you swing. If you pronate properly your racquet will turn down. The question is more of where in that rotation are you making contact with the ball. When I hit a "flat" serve clean and proper it feels like I'm trying to rotate the strings onto the top part of the ball more so than the back center of the ball. You can't really hit the top of the ball unless you let the ball drop a lot more, but that feeling of really turning the racquet over onto the ball and continuing that rotation all the way through the ball really puts a lot of pace and spin on the ball. It's way different than hitting more through the ball with the swing of the arm versus the turn of the arm.

I think of it like the crane technique in the Karate Kid. If do right, no can defense.
Interesting, I feel arm and racquet rotation as up and out, or at least at the back of the ball. "Down" for me is associated with collapsing the swing and hitting into the net, or hitting from a not-in-front toss. So while racquet evidently goes down after contact for flat serve, it's not what I intentionally am after. Here's fully-stretched outward follow-through:

 

Kevo

Legend
Interesting, I feel arm and racquet rotation as up and out, or at least at the back of the ball. "Down" for me is associated with collapsing the swing and hitting into the net, or hitting from a not-in-front toss. So while racquet evidently goes down after contact for flat serve, it's not what I intentionally am after. Here's fully-stretched outward follow-through:
I wouldn't classify the serves in that video as flat. I would classify those as slice. On a flat serve with heavy topspin like I am trying to describe the turn of the racquet would be more directly down and less up and out. You have more arm swing through the contact than I would expect to see for a heavy flat serve.

If you'd like to try to develop a heavy flat serve I would suggest two things for you to try in comparison to the video. Toss the ball a bit more toward the center of your body as opposed to the right. Then try to keep more of an L angle between your arm and racquet and turn your strings more through the top half of the ball as opposed to the back. To get the feel of it, try hitting the ball hard into the ground in front of the net instead of over the net. Start slow at first and concentrate on the feeling off of slamming the ball down with the turn (pronation) versus swinging your arm. Just do that for a while until you feel pretty confident in hitting it hard into the ground with just the turn. Then to adjust to hitting over the net, just try to do the same thing, but raise the contact spot just a bit higher a little at a time until you start hitting near the top of the net. Work there for a while and get comfortable again. Some of those serves will probably be going over the net already. At this point you want to start paying attention to how deep in the box the ball lands. If you're hitting it clean with the turn and not as much arm swing you should be landing the ball fairly short in the box. The spin is quite effective at pulling the ball down as it passes over the net. It's important to stick with the arm rotation at this stage. If you lose spin as you ramp up the speed you will start hitting the serve long. It's a tricky balance so I would suggest working for a good while, weeks or months even, at this below max effort level and really pay attention to all the different elements. It's very easy to get off track and end up developing some less beneficial tendencies into this serve. If I haven't hit any heavy flat serves for a while it usually takes me 3-4 hours of practice with it before I start to feel confident in it. A lot of times I don't turn the racquet over enough and I get to much arm in it as I tend to hit slice and kick serves pretty exclusively when teaching and playing rec doubles.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
I wouldn't classify the serves in that video as flat. I would classify those as slice. On a flat serve with heavy topspin like I am trying to describe the turn of the racquet would be more directly down and less up and out. You have more arm swing through the contact than I would expect to see for a heavy flat serve.

If you'd like to try to develop a heavy flat serve I would suggest two things for you to try in comparison to the video. Toss the ball a bit more toward the center of your body as opposed to the right. Then try to keep more of an L angle between your arm and racquet and turn your strings more through the top half of the ball as opposed to the back. To get the feel of it, try hitting the ball hard into the ground in front of the net instead of over the net. Start slow at first and concentrate on the feeling off of slamming the ball down with the turn (pronation) versus swinging your arm. Just do that for a while until you feel pretty confident in hitting it hard into the ground with just the turn. Then to adjust to hitting over the net, just try to do the same thing, but raise the contact spot just a bit higher a little at a time until you start hitting near the top of the net. Work there for a while and get comfortable again. Some of those serves will probably be going over the net already. At this point you want to start paying attention to how deep in the box the ball lands. If you're hitting it clean with the turn and not as much arm swing you should be landing the ball fairly short in the box. The spin is quite effective at pulling the ball down as it passes over the net. It's important to stick with the arm rotation at this stage. If you lose spin as you ramp up the speed you will start hitting the serve long. It's a tricky balance so I would suggest working for a good while, weeks or months even, at this below max effort level and really pay attention to all the different elements. It's very easy to get off track and end up developing some less beneficial tendencies into this serve. If I haven't hit any heavy flat serves for a while it usually takes me 3-4 hours of practice with it before I start to feel confident in it. A lot of times I don't turn the racquet over enough and I get to much arm in it as I tend to hit slice and kick serves pretty exclusively when teaching and playing rec doubles.
What you talk about is not a flat serve since there's strong topspin to shape the trajectory.

Is this a slice serve for you also?
 

TennisCJC

Legend
go to youtube ang search for analysis of Federer first serve vs second serve and study the tapes. Spin is a result of the strings brushing across the ball at contact. The more angle across the ball at contact, the more spin. You'll see from the videos that Federer swings up and across on both his serves. The difference is there is more brush angle on his 2nd serve vs is 1st serve. He also tosses the ball closer to his body and more at 11:30 (to his L) for a 2nd serve. But, he still get up and across in his racket swing path when he toss more to the R and in front for a 1st serve
 

Kevo

Legend
What you talk about is not a flat serve since there's strong topspin to shape the trajectory.
Well, would you call Pete Sampras's first serve flat? That's what I'm trying to describe. All serves have some spin. A "flat" serve just looks flat because it doesn't really break left or right and the trajectory appears to be like a straight line from the racquet to the court. It's not really straight because of gravity and spin, but it's what people commonly refer to as flat.

Is this a slice serve for you also?
Hard to tell from still frames where we can't see what the racquet path was coming into the ball. It looks like it would be flatter than the serves from the previous video judging by toss location, but some players are better at hiding their serve than others and I'm not nearly familiar enough with Kyrgios to speculate on that.
 
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