Nadal 2010 USO serve.

Polvorin

Professional
How was it that Rafa could serve 130 mph bombs for just one tournament in his life? What are the fan theories? Why has he not attempted to hit more aggressive serves before or since? ...surely this is something he could do that would improve his chances on faster courts? Should he try it or is it better to stay inside his comfort zone?
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
Rafa does very well getting in a high percentage of first serves, placing it well and dictating off the next ball. I believe he also said when he serves fast like that the returns come back quicker as well, which would make it harder for him to hit his next shot as a forehand. He brought that big serve out a couple of times in 2011 IIRC. Such as Wimbledon and maybe IW? It didn't help him with Djokovic.
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
How was it that Rafa could serve 130 mph bombs for just one tournament in his life? What are the fan theories? Why has he not attempted to hit more aggressive serves before or since? ...surely this is something he could do that would improve his chances on faster courts? Should he try it or is it better to stay inside his comfort zone?
Looking back, it just gave him a handful of aces though, and he prefers precision. As much as I wish he'd serve harder, when you think about it, it's unnecessary, and it was his uber-aggressive ground game that really won him the 2010 USO, same with 13 and 17.
 

DRII

G.O.A.T.
Rafa does very well getting in a high percentage of first serves, placing it well and dictating off the next ball. I believe he also said when he serves fast like that the returns come back quicker as well, which would make it harder for him to hit his next shot as a forehand. He brought that big serve out a couple of times in 2011 IIRC. Such as Wimbledon and maybe IW? It didn't help him with Djokovic.
:rolleyes:
no he didn't. unless by a couple of times, you mean literally a couple of times.

the 2010 USO serve was a one-off as far as Nadal consistently serving bombs at, near, or over 130 mph consistently during a tournament.

like User123 said, it provided strain to Nadal's shoulder so he stopped.
 

George Turner

Hall of Fame
Big serves are overrated these days, otherwise Raonic would be a multiple major winner.

In the 2016 Wimbledon tournament Murray got 77% of all serves back. In the final vs big serving Raonic he got 73% back, a drop of just 4%

You need more than a big serve to win majors in todays game.
 

aman92

Hall of Fame
As people have alluded to it caused him some shoulder problems but I do wonder whether he should have used it against Djokovic in 2011 US Open final or the 2013 Aus Open final. In both those Djokovic was returning his serve with ease
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
He still does it quite often. Reports that he brought it out for just that one tournament are hyperbolic.

In Shanghai he was regularly serving in the mid 120s, and in Barcelona last year I think, he hit out a serve that was clocked at 137 mph or so, against Nishikori, if my memory serves me right.
 

Surion

Hall of Fame
Just not necessary.

Look at Roger, he barely serves over 120, let alone 125 these days and his serve is still one of the most dangerous serves out there.
It's all about disguise and placement, and placement is easier, if you don't go "all in" with your serve.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
:rolleyes:
no he didn't. unless by a couple of times, you mean literally a couple of times.

the 2010 USO serve was a one-off as far as Nadal consistently serving bombs at, near, or over 130 mph consistently during a tournament.

like User123 said, it provided strain to Nadal's shoulder so he stopped.
Nadal's average first serve speed was higher in the 2011 Wimbledon final than it was in the 2010 USO final. His max serve was quicker at the USO though.
 

peakin11mugs

Semi-Pro
Nadal has very clearly answered this question in his own words. He says he purposefully serves slower and specifically does not want to serve faster as the ball comes back quicker. He says he serves slower to set up the point as a pose to outright winners. In US open he had to change his strategy due to knees where he didn’t want to bend low. Now with moya clearly there has been a change in approach and tactics and he might go back to trying to serve like this which won’t be easy

His serve game is excellent. Yes the specific serve is sinply good/gréât but that’s not how tennis works - the serve is part of your overall serve game and his serve game is excellent. Just as his volley game is excellent. Yes the actually volleying is not excellent but his overall how he uses his volleys in his game is excellent. Obviously against fed now he is having problems with the serve but he just needs to go back to the drawing board. He might find a great strategy. He might not though of course. He obviously has variety but no where the options as fed so it isn’t a given he can change these things to win again - also the stratégies are winning against the field just not federer so it would be hard to get the balance right
 
D

Deleted member 77403

Guest
Is there a You Tube video that highlights his awesome serving from 2010? If so, please provide link. Thanks.
 

ibbi

Legend
Looking back, it just gave him a handful of aces though, and he prefers precision. As much as I wish he'd serve harder, when you think about it, it's unnecessary, and it was his uber-aggressive ground game that really won him the 2010 USO, same with 13 and 17.
It wasn't just a handful of aces! When he served like that he didn't drop his serve until the quarter finals, and didn't drop a set until the final. I get his issue with it taking him out of his comfort zone, but at his age he needs to end points as quickly as possible, and that can only contribute to that, certainly on the quicker surfaces.
 
N

Nashvegas

Guest
Watching 2010 against Fed. No serves over 120, but 40 seconds between points!
 

GaryRoy2017

Banned
How was it that Rafa could serve 130 mph bombs for just one tournament in his life? What are the fan theories? Why has he not attempted to hit more aggressive serves before or since? ...surely this is something he could do that would improve his chances on faster courts? Should he try it or is it better to stay inside his comfort zone?
Too much strain on shoulder
 
D

Deleted member 742196

Guest
Just not necessary.

Look at Roger, he barely serves over 120, let alone 125 these days and his serve is still one of the most dangerous serves out there.
It's all about disguise and placement, and placement is easier, if you don't go "all in" with your serve.
Great post.

Speed+Accuracy are related. People forget this. Of what particular use is a 140 mph flat serve if it isn't also placed effectively?

Look at a history of huge servers that could rarely/never get to the next level - Roddick, Raonic, Isner, Dr. Ivo immediately come to mind.

Fed is a great example of using the serve to set up the point - its effective and has margin for safety.

Nadal has historically had one of the best service game holding % over his career. Serve isn't a problem.
 

tennis_pro

Bionic Poster
Rafa does very well getting in a high percentage of first serves, placing it well and dictating off the next ball. I believe he also said when he serves fast like that the returns come back quicker as well, which would make it harder for him to hit his next shot as a forehand. He brought that big serve out a couple of times in 2011 IIRC. Such as Wimbledon and maybe IW? It didn't help him with Djokovic.
If not Djokovic I think he would've brought it more often. IIRC he served like 80%+ 1st serves in in the 1st set of the 2011 Wimbledon and still ended up losing it.
 

LetsGoRoddick

Professional
Great post.

Speed+Accuracy are related. People forget this. Of what particular use is a 140 mph flat serve if it isn't also placed effectively?

Look at a history of huge servers that could rarely/never get to the next level - Roddick, Raonic, Isner, Dr. Ivo immediately come to mind.

Fed is a great example of using the serve to set up the point - its effective and has margin for safety.

Nadal has historically had one of the best service game holding % over his career. Serve isn't a problem.
All those guys have better service hold %s than Roger or Rafa. Their serves are just as accurate while being faster. The thing with those big servers is that they don't have to expend the extra energy to hit 130mph at all. It's just natural power that they have so they're not sacrificing any accuracy at all. If Roger and Rafa could serve that fast and not ruin themselves, they would. But physically speaking, they can't.

It seems as if you're implying that those huge servers' service games are what holds them back from slam success. Which is asinine to imply simply because they have other, really obvious holes which better returners are able to exploit in the ground game. Like, imagine if Rafa could serve like Ivo Karlovic. You wouldn't say his service speed is holding him back now, would you?
 

Polvorin

Professional
Great post.

Speed+Accuracy are related. People forget this. Of what particular use is a 140 mph flat serve if it isn't also placed effectively?

Look at a history of huge servers that could rarely/never get to the next level - Roddick, Raonic, Isner, Dr. Ivo immediately come to mind.

Fed is a great example of using the serve to set up the point - its effective and has margin for safety.

Nadal has historically had one of the best service game holding % over his career. Serve isn't a problem.
I agree his serve has been effective historically but right now Roger has been breaking him pretty frequently in their matches so it might be time to try something different?

I agree that pace isn't the only necessary ingredient and that accuracy can be as or even more important. And that despite claims by posters like TennisATP who claim that Fed is a "servebot," his success is more due to consistently hitting the lines than outright pace.
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
It wasn't just a handful of aces! When he served like that he didn't drop his serve until the quarter finals, and didn't drop a set until the final. I get his issue with it taking him out of his comfort zone, but at his age he needs to end points as quickly as possible, and that can only contribute to that, certainly on the quicker surfaces.
What I mean is he only served over 130 a few times.
 

kevaninho

Hall of Fame
His 2nd serve isn't the best. Guys like Fed just eat it up, so he cant afford too often to be missing his 1st serve. That's likely his issue so he takes a bit off of it.
 

Rafa the King

Hall of Fame
Rafa does very well getting in a high percentage of first serves, placing it well and dictating off the next ball. I believe he also said when he serves fast like that the returns come back quicker as well, which would make it harder for him to hit his next shot as a forehand. He brought that big serve out a couple of times in 2011 IIRC. Such as Wimbledon and maybe IW? It didn't help him with Djokovic.
You are right, many point to the 2011 IW final where the serve failed him completely halfway and kinda lost him the match, how would that year have gone had he actually won that match
But it makes sense, especially against Novak, for Rafa not to serve big. When it comes back big at him it ruins his point construction which is vital to him holding so ofton. That serve won him the USO, it helped him out a lot in the final too (3 served to come out of 15-30 to hold and win the 3rd), but it didn't suit his game and that's the key in the end
 
You are right, many point to the 2011 IW final where the serve failed him completely halfway and kinda lost him the match, how would that year have gone had he actually won that match
The funny thing is, as bad as Nadal's 1st serve % failed, it wasn't just that losing him the match.

The TA chart reveals the weirdness of that match. After Nadal went up a break in the first set for the second time (*4-3), he made 1st serve on 2 of the next 18 points (!) - and won them all (!!). Yes, Nadal won 18 consecutive service points against Djokovic with no 1st serve to speak of. Only 6 of those 16 2nd serves were returned (and 0 of 2 1st serves).

And then Nadal got broken 4 times in a row until 0-4 in the 3rd. Continued inability to hit 1st serves in in the 2nd set is what cost him, apparently. Not much better % in the 3rd, but it didn't matter since Djokovic himself turned into an unbreakable titan and lost 1 point in 4 service games, so he wasn't losing at that point.
 

metsman

G.O.A.T.
Pretty sure he ditched the big serve in Miami 2011 because it was hurting his shoulder. Nadal's serve mechanics aren't exactly the greatest to be generating a lot of pop. Federer's aren't either for that matter but still better than Nadal's. Both have insanely quick arms, which is why they can get above 130 when they want to.
 

Surion

Hall of Fame
Pretty sure he ditched the big serve in Miami 2011 because it was hurting his shoulder. Nadal's serve mechanics aren't exactly the greatest to be generating a lot of pop. Federer's aren't either for that matter but still better than Nadal's. Both have insanely quick arms, which is why they can get above 130 when they want to.
Federer has one of the best and technically soundest (is that correct? No native here, sorry) serve motions out there. Not Pete's level, but not far behind.
 

Chanwan

G.O.A.T.
Posted this in another Rafa serve thread, but think it's relevant here too.
Rafa's holding 90 % of his service games vs. the field as a whole this year, Fed included. That's as good as his best serving year (2010).

Then you look at it vs. Fed.
There he's 34/49 for the year, that's 69,4 % for the year vs. Fed (I'd imagine his numbers vs. Novak in 2011 looks similar to this).
AO: 16/22 = 72,7 %
IW: 5/9 = 55,6 %
Miami: 7/9 = 77,8 %
Shanghai: 6/9 = 66,7 %

Remove Fed from the field percentage and it probably climbs to 92 %, which is outrageous for a guy like Rafa.
His problem is Fed is beating him off the ground this year. And that he's got a much harder time to break and read Fed's serve than ever before.
 

Surion

Hall of Fame
Posted this in another Rafa serve thread, but think it's relevant here too.
Rafa's holding 90 % of his service games vs. the field as a whole this year, Fed included. That's as good as his best serving year (2010).

Then you look at it vs. Fed.
There he's 34/49 for the year, that's 69,4 % for the year vs. Fed (I'd imagine his numbers vs. Novak in 2011 looks similar to this).
AO: 16/22 = 72,7 %
IW: 5/9 = 55,6 %
Miami: 7/9 = 77,8 %
Shanghai: 6/9 = 66,7 %

Remove Fed from the field percentage and it probably climbs to 92 %, which is outrageous for a guy like Rafa.
His problem is Fed is beating him off the ground this year. And that he's got a much harder time to break and read Fed's serve than ever before.
That's actually insane considering that Fed isn't exactly the greatest returner out there.
But as I've always thought, he is seriously underestimated in that department of his game.
 
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