Serve: Sampras vs Roddick?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by a529612, Sep 9, 2004.

  1. a529612

    a529612 Semi-Pro

    May 16, 2004
    How come Sampras's serve looked even more unreturnable compared to Roddick's even though the ball was about 20mph slower?
  2. rlbjr

    rlbjr Rookie

    Mar 3, 2004
    Location, location, location.
  3. mlee2

    mlee2 Rookie

    Feb 22, 2004
    It's the spin factor. Roddick averages more aces per match so you can't say he doesn't hit serves in the corners.
  4. Jltn713

    Jltn713 New User

    Sep 8, 2004
    power is nothing if it dont got placement
  5. MChong

    MChong Semi-Pro

    Aug 3, 2004
    Well, I would say that Sampras's serve isn't really 20 mph slower than Roddick's serve. Remember that the current radar guns are more accurate so Sampras was probably serving around 10-15 mph slower, not 20... Though both their serves are great, Sampras' was harder to return due to how heavy the ball was; it had a tremendous amount of spin.
  6. fastdunn

    fastdunn Legend

    Feb 19, 2004
    Roddick's serve is somewhat more predictable and readable
    (not that I would go out and face his serves...), IMHO.
    Lots of pace and spins.

    I disagree somwwhat with MChong. Sampras was not fastest
    server in his time. There were Rudseski, Krajicek, Stich and even Becker and Forget just to name a few.
    Sampras serve's is the perfect one; variety, pace, spin, accuracy and disguise..

    One time, I has really erratic toss. My toss would be randome.
    By product was that I hit all kind of serves because of bad toss.
    A lot of opponent got frustrated with my serves. I hit a dinker
    1st serve and then hard serve next and so on...
    One huy walked off the court telling me " I don't want to play
    with you anymore. It's no fun to return your serves. It's
    no good to improve my game !".

    Then a very good player told me that the variety of my serves
    is a great asset. I replied, "My serves ? No I'm having a major
    slump in my toss. It's all random error.." . Go figure...
  7. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

    Jun 16, 2004
    Roddick all the way, baby!
  8. no.1retrieverUK

    no.1retrieverUK New User

    Aug 26, 2004
    gimme a break, Roddick's serve cant compete with sampras'. Just like the rest of his game
  9. ragnaROK

    ragnaROK Professional

    May 31, 2004
    Sampras could always count on cracking two aces down the T when he was down break points. Sampras has better location and spin on the ball. The serves he hits are always very heavy so while he may not have a many aces as Roddick, he has lots of unreturnables. Sampras' toss was pretty much the same for all his serves, so it was hard to get a read on it. And lots not forget he also had one of the best second serves ever, one that equals first serves of some pros.
  10. Defcon

    Defcon Hall of Fame

    Jun 3, 2004
    Its quite funny people are even trying to compare Roddicks (or anybody else's) serve to Sampras. Pete had the best serve (1st and 2nd) in history, for reasons already mentioned. Technically his motion was far more sound, less prone to injury, and much more reliable.

    It is written so in scriptures and that is the way it shall forever remain.

    Thread over.
  11. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

    Apr 13, 2004
    Sampras served faster than Becker fastdunn :)

    Let's not forget how hard the Sampras serve was to read. The pro's are that good that 145MPH is pretty returnable if they know where it is going. Look at the semi and final of the 2003 Wimbledon. Sampras also hit the spots better than probably anyone ever, and he could hit them all. Then you have his amazing second serve.
  12. !Tym

    !Tym Hall of Fame

    May 6, 2004
    Less prone to injury? Um, Roddick's shoulder's FINE. He's been bombing it for YEARS now, and even if his shoulder did eventually get injured; it wouldn't prove anything. After, he'd be just ONE example; and the fact is that injuries happen and they can happen to any pro at any time irrespective of their respective techniques. Goran, Rafter, and Bruguera all developed serious sholder injuries near the end of their careers, and all are basically from the same generation and have different service motions. It's not the motions that cause injuries at this level on the serve in my opinion, the basic biomechanics remain the same for any "pro" level serve in my opinion as far as contacts points, shoulder action, and wrist snap. They have to be in order to constently get the ball in the court with a certain minimum degree of pop, anything less and you'd have a clear amateur serve. What differs between the pro's service motions are not the actual nuts and bolts biomechanics so much as the idiosyncrasies...i.e. how much to turn your shoulder, should I leave my back leg hanging in the air like Forget, should I bend my knees very much like Becker or very little Kaflnikov. What doesn't differ is that ANY pro serves zillions of balls over the course of their lifetime and at maximum intensity. This simply increases the odds of wear and tear taking its toll, doesn't mean everyone will succumb to injuries though. Some bodies will break down sooner than others, but it doesn't mean this is because of technique...mileage varies, just like given the same conditions one person might live to 100 and another till just 67. There's no hard and fast rule.

    The biggest factor is simply the fact that you serve so many balls, it's like in war. Of course, there are going to be some casualties of war and then there will be survivors, to me its a rather random selection process, anything can happen, so you just take it as it comes. I mean Krajicek and Rios had some of the most compact, and efficient techniques of anyone on tour on ALL of their shots, but they were also RIDDLED with injuries like few others. Was that because of their *allegedly* easy on the body technique? If so, I'd really like to see some definitive studies on that, actual hard data proving that seemingly friction-free technique leads to more injuries. Do you see the irrelevancy in this?

    You can have more traditional swings like Magnus Norman and Harel Levy or you can have gi-normous swinging from a tree swings like Gustavo Kuerten; ultimately, they ALL suffered from the same debilitiating hip injury. Again, it's not the technique, it's over-use...and some bodies just naturally break down sooner for whatever reason.

    I mean why did Safin who has relatively traditional technique have to get wrist surgery and not Bruguera who looked like he used by far more wrist on his forehand than anybody Cliff Drysdale's ever seen? Makes no sense, if you're looking at this from an injury point of view and trying to establish an immediate causal connection.

    I can understand your opinion that Sampras has a better serve on a results basis, but bringing in the less prone to injury card is irrelevant because for one Roddick's shoulder is fine right now and has been fine, and two because using *one* single player who used a particular service motion and was able to stay injury free throughout his career is not a large enough sample to really determine anything with any conclusivity. After all, should we determine than Nolan Ryan had the GREATEST technique on his delivery of all time, becuase his shoulder lastest as long as it did? Of course not, he's just one example. And if you gave the same exact mechanics to 100 different pichers, you would be VERY lucky to find even one whose body would be able to hold up that long.

    I know this is a bit overboard on my part, but I just always see this myth popping up about how a certain pros technique is better because it's less injury prone, and to me that is a fallacy.

    Oh well, it's not really a big sticking point, but at least I got my two cents in for whatever that's worth.
  13. Correct me if I am wrong, but serve speeds are taken as the racket leaves the ball. Sampras packs both speed and spin. A ball is not only harder to return with every increasing rpm, but the ball retains more speed after the bounce. I don't know how much rotation is on Sampras' fastest ~133 mph serves down the T, but on Roddick's it's not much. Also, Sampras' serves and other shots would spin away from the opponent with slice, reverse-slice, what have you. He used so much spin that he could hit routine second serve aces without thinking. Spin made serves so good but so easy for Sampras to strike with a big comfort zone. Roddick serves fairly flat, and that's why Agassi can not only return a 150 mph serve, but win the point. There's a slew of other reasons as pointed out why Sampras is a far better server than Roddick so far. Another is variety.

    Spin, spin, spin. Some say Sampras also has better placement, and it's true. Since returners must wait for the ball to bounce to hit it, what the ball does after it lands in the box is really important. A box is only two-dimensional, but a down-the-T serve with crazy slice shows you how important it is to utilize all the new planes from the third dimension.
  14. laurie

    laurie Guest

    I know the thread is about the serve but everyone here is sort of missing the point. Sampras had an arsenal of volleys and groundshots to back up his serve. Its the whole package. In other words, if Roddick has even half the shots Sampras had, he may well go on to win multiple slams. However, I'm not convinced this is the case so Roddick will do well to win even 5 slams throughout the course of his whole career.

    Also, with his abbreviated service action that has known to cause shoulder problems later on. Rafter had an abbreviated service action.
  15. degreefanlindi

    degreefanlindi Rookie

    Jun 20, 2004

    I think Pete had better location and placement too. Roddick does put a spin on his serve, but Sampras utlized the spin more effectively I always thought. Sampras has one of the game's trademark best serves in my opinion. Although Andy definitely can generate more power, I would take Sampras' weaker velocity but more efficient pace and placement over Andy's serve. Andy does do a good job in his movement though, with the knees bending. That's how he is able to serve at such a high speed.
  16. callitout

    callitout Professional

    Jul 23, 2004
    The biggest difference is that Pete repeatedly came up with his best serves on big points in big matches. How many times did he dig himself out of love-40 with big second serves. Roddick's serve looked invinicble against Jenkins, Nadal, Canas. But against Agassi in Cincinnati, for example, on the big points he was returnable. Of the current crop of players, Fed is looking like the guy whose serve is most like Pete's--in that the location is impeccable on big points.
  17. Pete Sampras

    Pete Sampras New User

    Feb 20, 2004
    I'm going to vote for me, but I'm biased.
  18. !Tym

    !Tym Hall of Fame

    May 6, 2004
    Did Goran have MAJOR shoulder problems later on? Yeah. He also did not have an abreviated service motion either. As I said before, it's random. Why did Bruguera have every kind of injury *except* his wrist, when he's got the wristiest forehand ever? Yet, guys like Agassi and Safin who use relatively little wrist, both needed wrist surgery?

    It's like with all sports, some will get injured and others won't. It's random, assuming that all keep in shape...which as a professional athlete shouldn't be too hard. Take two NBA players, and some will have zilch cartileage left in their knee after a mere few years, others like Karl Malone and John Stockton seem like freaks from another the Ennergizer bunny. You can't predict these things. Penny Hardaway and Grant Hill are hard workers, but they've both been walking cripples for years now. They also run and play in a manner which is not too dissimilar from everyone else in the league.

    You've gotta expect that in professional sports, overuse injuries will occur over time. Some will escape this fate, others won't. But in any case, I think the simple issue of volume, i.e. sheer overuse, is what caused Rafter's injury, not his service motion.

    After all, Stich was having pretty bad shoulder problems from 96 onward, and his motion is perhaps the silkiest and most effortless, non-abreviated, motion of all time.

    Once again, I think this is a myth, this notion that a certain style of hitting or whater leads to more injuries. I've not seen any hard data or conclusive proof to prove this everywhere. Everyone said Edberg's back would break from his service motion, but who's back broke first and more severely? Lendl or Edberg? Lendl by far, and Lendl arched his back very little on the serve. Heck, Moya's got as easy going a motion as any and he was crippled by back problems and Bruguera virtually needed back surgery his back was so bad pre-93 in the infancy of his career...he bent his back not at all on his serve.

    You've gotta understand that with every pro, they use their shots over and over and over for an entire young lifetime which to the average person is like ten lifetimes. It's like with a marathon runner. They run more in one average day of training than the average couch potato such as myself runs in one year, haha. It's no wonder I won't be needing any overuse surgeries on my legs anytime soon.
  19. !Tym

    !Tym Hall of Fame

    May 6, 2004
    I think this is a myth, not Sampras, but Roddick. Roddick serves with EXTREME spin. To initimate that he doesn't, is to me going against what I see. Roddick can kick the ball out wide higher than probably anybody on tour right now. That's a well-established fact, so I don't how anyone can claim he's lacking in the spin compartment. All you have to do is watch the trajectory of his serves. If you want to see a flat, laser bomb type serve...look at Philipoussis. Philipoussis' serves are the equivalent of Korda's one-handed backhands.

    "Scud's" serves skid through the court. Roddick's serves JUMP through the court.

    And the notion that Roddick can't hit with pinpoint placement, again, I think is a myth. I've routinely seen Roddick paint the lines on his serve.

    The only real chink on his serve is that the particular spin he's going to use and where he's going to aim is more predictable than it was with say Goran, Sampras, and Stich.

    As Ljubicic said, as Haas said; they feel like Roddick's serve is readable.

    That tells all I need to know, about why Roddick doesn't get as many aces as one would theoretically guess he would.

    My intuition tells me that if you're going to bomb the serve down the T at 153mph, an inch or so here or there is not going to make a big difference between an ace or not.

    I have several Sampras matches on tape, and it's a myth that he literally PAINTED the lines. He didn't. Painting the lines usually can be understood in actual conxtext as discernably *close* to the line...that's a far cry from literally on the line.

    What Sampras had going for him was disguise, every serve looked the same coming off his racket.

    If you want to get an ace, and considering how tall most pros have been for awhile now; it's not about hitting the line exactly, it's about getting your opponent to lean the wrong way. THAT is what leads to aces, not an inch or two here or there, the pros reflexes are too good for that. If they're near there, they can at least touch the ball with their racket. Get them leaning the wrong way? It's like with Chang, no matter how fast he was, the key to beating him was wrong-footing him. Get him sprinting one way, and hit the ball the other way? Then, you could be freaking Carl Lewis on the Ben Johnson diet and you still wouldn't be able to make up the difference.

    Federer's secret to returning Roddick's serve is being in the right place at the right time, he may barely get his racket on the ball, but he does. That's enough to fluster him. In other words, Federer reads Roddick's serve exceptionally well as does Nalbandian. It's not like they literally take full cuts at the ball, they can't. Roddick has too much power AND spin for that to be the case. Having a lot of spin is not going to produce an ace anyway, it'll just make the opponent's reply a lot more wobbly.
  20. mlee2

    mlee2 Rookie

    Feb 22, 2004
    Thank you !Tym.

    You are an eloquent and explicable voice of balanced reason in this TW realm of pundit myths and unfair Roddick bashing.

    As you've said, Sampras' biggest serve asset was his disguise with his spin as second. Even the most mediocre serve will hurt a good player if the opponent has no inkling of where it's gonna go.

    As much as I respect Sampras and admire his game, he played a generation of mental and severely unlucky midgets. Whenever he was down break points and his opponents would get his serve back, there were many (and I mean MANY) a time where an unforced error would come completely out of nowhere, thus saving Sampras' ass time and time again.
  21. mlee, in all your years of watching Sampras/midget matches, if you have noticed anything, it should be that good luck follows those that are insanely good at what they do. Nobody serves three aces after being down 15-30, or pulls out five-set wins after being down 2-1, or wins almost every finals, for ten years because of their opponents' unforced errors. Is Agassi another unforced-error-prone chump midget? Becker? Get a clue. The better the competition, the better Sampras played. Perfectly fine players were scared for a reason to see their name next to Sampras'. Even if they did approach their match with Sampras kamikaze-style, then there would be all of Sampras' intangibles that would virtually force many unforced errors. As said, a couple of these is the heavy ball and the ability to hit the ball through and along imaginary planes that other players cannot find.

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