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

Kevo

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
Federer rarely hits a flat first serve.
 

TennisCJC

Legend
Federer rarely hits a flat first serve.
True, but that's my point. He hits a lot of spin on average on his 1st serve and even a lot more spin on his 2nd serve. Pete Sampras was very similar too in that his 1st serve had a lot of spin. So, that's 2 of the greatest servers in history that hit a lot of spin on their 1st serves. Even Isner at 6' 10" tall hits a lot of spin on his 1st serve on average. Yet, you go down to the local tennis court and see a 5' 8" tall tennis player hitting serves with near zero spin as hard as they can and then wondering why only 10% go into the court.
 

Kevo

Legend
True, but that's my point. He hits a lot of spin on average on his 1st serve and even a lot more spin on his 2nd serve. Pete Sampras was very similar too in that his 1st serve had a lot of spin. So, that's 2 of the greatest servers in history that hit a lot of spin on their 1st serves. Even Isner at 6' 10" tall hits a lot of spin on his 1st serve on average. Yet, you go down to the local tennis court and see a 5' 8" tall tennis player hitting serves with near zero spin as hard as they can and then wondering why only 10% go into the court.
Pete Sampras first serve did have a lot of spin, but it was often "flat". Federer's has a lot of spin, but it's not often "flat".

I was just trying to explain how to hit a "flat" serve with a lot of spin like Sampras did. I'm not trying to say that's the way you should always hit your first serve. In fact I mentioned earlier I also rarely hit it. I do on occasion hit it, and sometimes it even goes in. This past weekend playing doubles my partner was having a bad time up at net and missed 3 put aways. So down 0-40 I hit the "flat" serve (with spin) for an ace. My partner says, "Smart. Just don't let me touch it and we might win this game." I believe that was the first time during the set I tried to hit the big flat.

Anyway, I was trying to address the OP's question directly, but a better answer for many people might be to just not bother with the flat serve in the first place since it's frequently over rated. It is however a lot of fun to hit unreturnable bombs every now and then. :)
 
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