Super Tall Servers Are Ruining Tennis

1stVolley

Professional
Oh FFS, are you even remotely serious?
If you're talking about Fognini, yes. Of course his play is often erratic (mental issues, not technique). But he has a terrific backhand, drop shot, solid volley, etc. Plus he's unpredictable, sometime by intention.
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
If you're talking about Fognini, yes. Of course his play is often erratic (mental issues, not technique). But he has a terrific backhand, drop shot, solid volley, etc. Plus he's unpredictable, sometime by intention.
Leaving aside your dillusions of Fognini's ability, would you really describe RBA the same way?

He's possibly top 10 for most boring one dimensional baseliners in the history of tennis.
 
The era of servebots dominating the tour has passed. Even today's tall players have solid ground game and know how to construct a point without relying on their serve too much. Zverev, Tsitsipas, and Medvedev are all 6'5 and over, but none of them are as serve-reliant as Sampras or Ivanišević were back in the 90's.
 

timnz

Legend
A good serve was always a weapon, but when you are a 6'10" Isner or a 6'11" Opelka, the serve becomes practically a different stroke and approaches taking the net out of play. I don't find it interesting to see someone pound serves at high speeds, vicious angles and leaping bounces off the court. So how to equalize things?

I suggest reducing the serve from 2 balls to just 1 and getting rid of the service let (a la the NCAA). I think this will force the hard servers to be more conservative and removing the service let will benefit especially the shorter servers. This also has the advantage of speeding up the game and not altering it fundamentally by changing the court dimensions.

Thoughts?
Nobody taller than 6 ft 6" has won a slam in the entire open era. Nobody taller than 6ft 4" (or however tall Marat Safin and Stan Smith are) has won multiple slams in the open era.. Nobody greater than 6ft 3" has won more than 2 slams in the entire open era. 6ft 10" guys aren't taking over.

Optimal height for a male tennis player is still around 6ft 1" to 6ft 2". (6ft 1" - Federer, Nadal, Sampras; 6ft 2" Djokovic - that's 70 slams between them)
 
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Greatgatsby

Professional
How about only one ace per game and then u must hit second serves. Must be a real ace and not allow a cheater to allow the first ball by him and then face second serves the rest of game.

Return to Jack Kramer rackets. Oh the joy of actual a variety of tennis again.
 
A good serve was always a weapon, but when you are a 6'10" Isner or a 6'11" Opelka, the serve becomes practically a different stroke and approaches taking the net out of play. I don't find it interesting to see someone pound serves at high speeds, vicious angles and leaping bounces off the court. So how to equalize things?

I suggest reducing the serve from 2 balls to just 1 and getting rid of the service let (a la the NCAA). I think this will force the hard servers to be more conservative and removing the service let will benefit especially the shorter servers. This also has the advantage of speeding up the game and not altering it fundamentally by changing the court dimensions.

Thoughts?
How in the world could you think that one serve ball would specifically punish tall players? The taller the more.....(?)

The speeder game/match is quite questionable because more points would probably be played in the game.

If the service boxes were on the backcourt your idea would have some sense.
 

1stVolley

Professional
How in the world could you think that one serve ball would specifically punish tall players? The taller the more.....(?)

The speeder game/match is quite questionable because more points would probably be played in the game.

If the service boxes were on the backcourt your idea would have some sense.
I don't think extending the service boxes to the backcourt would have a beneficial effect. It would only encourage the big servers to serve even bigger by reducing serves going long. It would also push back the receiver making his job even more difficult (receiving server is the toughest shot in tennis).

Even super tall servers sometimes go for too much (depth, angles). Having only one serve will make them more conservative without eliminating completely the full-out flat serve.
 
The efficiency difference between the first and the second serve is very great.

Allowing only one serve ball would mean an increase in serving "sensitivity" in tennis. That's why anyone could beat anyone on his good serving day. In fact, even in a major tournament, there would be 128 good candidates to win even if it takes 7 lucky days.

I would also like to emphasize that this does not mean nice surprises but that the GS winner has chosen a very risky serving strategy. That’s worth using because the prize is so big and sometimes he can succeed until the end. In the next major tournaments he then will drop right from the beginning, so what! No matter he has one but major-tournaments have lost a lot!

Rankings would constantly saw back and forth.

The majority of the points would come from aces and serve errors and I simply don’t think only following the point situation provides enough public interest.

Tie-break sets could become decisively rare.

Padel's bouncy serve has given popularity precisely because of the smaller importance of the service.

In the current system, there is an enormous sense of drama at important points when it comes to the second serve. It would not be easy to give it up.

That's why 2 serve balls, By the way women would need 3!
 
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a10best

Hall of Fame
Sure, no problem with that. But look at the rosters of some D1 college teams. You see a lot of 6'4"+ players. If there are a dozen Isners, I don't think that's going to be the best thing for ATP tennis
The avg. height of men and women was shorter 50-75 years ago. You can see it in some neighborhoods where the homes were built for people who are 6'1" or shorter. Nowadays ceilings are built very high, at least 9 feet, in all rooms of a house.
Tall people cannot be confined to basketball or volleyball teams.
What's the problem with watching Cilic 6' 6" or 6' 8" Kevin Anderson?
These two have real baseline power games.
 

1stVolley

Professional
The avg. height of men and women was shorter 50-75 years ago. You can see it in some neighborhoods where the homes were built for people who are 6'1" or shorter. Nowadays ceilings are built very high, at least 9 feet, in all rooms of a house.
Tall people cannot be confined to basketball or volleyball teams.
What's the problem with watching Cilic 6' 6" or 6' 8" Kevin Anderson?
These two have real baseline power games.
No problem with Cilic's or Anderson's quality of tennis. My problem is with guys who are 5'10" or 5'11" trying to compete with them. The best of the latter may be able to break into the top 20 but it's unlikely you'll find them in the top 5. Currently the only sub 5' player in the top 10 is Goffin. He's #10 at 5'11". As good as he is, I doubt he'll go higher. He's 29 and has been on the tour for about 11 years. That's a pretty good sign he's around his peak.

Of course, tennis won't be ruined of all players were 6'4" or higher; it would just become even more serve-dominated. What we have now is a bit like watching an NBA game with a few 5-footers mixed in with the big guys just trying to survive.
 

citybert

Hall of Fame
A good serve was always a weapon, but when you are a 6'10" Isner or a 6'11" Opelka, the serve becomes practically a different stroke and approaches taking the net out of play. I don't find it interesting to see someone pound serves at high speeds, vicious angles and leaping bounces off the court. So how to equalize things?

I suggest reducing the serve from 2 balls to just 1 and getting rid of the service let (a la the NCAA). I think this will force the hard servers to be more conservative and removing the service let will benefit especially the shorter servers. This also has the advantage of speeding up the game and not altering it fundamentally by changing the court dimensions.

Thoughts?
Maybe Get rid of the fake toss. Seen Opelka do this a lot where he tosses it up and lets it drop during a big point usually BP and sees where the returner moves as a guess then he has that data to make his real serve.

Not sure what we can do about it maybe 3 tosses per set or something.
 

1stVolley

Professional
Maybe Get rid of the fake toss. Seen Opelka do this a lot where he tosses it up and lets it drop during a big point usually BP and sees where the returner moves as a guess then he has that data to make his real serve.

Not sure what we can do about it maybe 3 tosses per set or something.
I'm not sure about this. A smart receiver can always do a fake move even during a toss that will be hit. Of course a really good server (like Federer for example) is very hard to read so moving before the ball is hit would be largely guesswork.
 

a10best

Hall of Fame
No problem with Cilic's or Anderson's quality of tennis. My problem is with guys who are 5'10" or 5'11" trying to compete with them. The best of the latter may be able to break into the top 20 but it's unlikely you'll find them in the top 5. Currently the only sub 5' player in the top 10 is Goffin. He's #10 at 5'11". As good as he is, I doubt he'll go higher. He's 29 and has been on the tour for about 11 years. That's a pretty good sign he's around his peak.

Of course, tennis won't be ruined of all players were 6'4" or higher; it would just become even more serve-dominated. What we have now is a bit like watching an NBA game with a few 5-footers mixed in with the big guys just trying to survive.
I remember watching 6' 1" Sampras bomb first serves and the big serving Safin 6' 4", 6′ 5″ Richard Kraijcek, 6'2" Roddick' huge serves .. Rios, Haas, Hewitt, Agassi still made it to the top.
I don't agree that big tall guys are making ATP bad. College yes, I agree. I had thought under 6 foot is an anomaly and rare. Really tall & under 6 foot just adds variety.
Diego and Isner was fun to watch. We all cheer for Schwartzman anyway. There'll never be a lot of very tall guys dominate ATP or those under 6 feet.
USA's D1 colleges with majority of team players over 6' 6" is dumb because the American power tennis game has proven to be flawed and does not translate to success on the ATP except maybe doubles. where points are shorter.
I recall the avg height for American men was over 6 feet a decade or so ago. Now it is under. I think the US' avg height of men is shrinking likely due to immigration but I am cool with int'l people so no gripes there. (https://time.com/4423589/americans-shorter-new-height-study/
 
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Subway Tennis

Hall of Fame
I love watching the big servers ply their trade. I wish there were a few more servebots on the WTA so we could see how that style fares in the women's game (I think that type of player could be effective with a dictating style first serve used the same way Serena does it).

Serve specialists have a world class weapon (in some cases weapons) and it is fascinating to see how they set up patterns of play to maximise what they've got.

I also like seeing the way other players figure out ways to neutralize them.

We always lament contrasting styles being taken out of the game, so we shouldn't want the servebots to disappear. They are one of the few specialist playing styles on the tour.

Long live the big men and women.
 
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