Tennis Serve - Advantage to being shorter?

mpnv1990

Semi-Pro
I’m only 5’8”, so you’d think I’d be at a disadvantage when it comes to the serve. However, my ball tends to land very deep in the service box, which limits how much people can step in and attack.
 

Jst21121

Rookie
Sorry to say- I’m 5”8 and I think us shorties are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to serving.

Taller people have better angles for slice/flat/kick and they have more overall clearance of the net.

A lot of shorter people at higher levels just go with kick serve and placement as it’s a safer bet. Plus they will never be able to “bomb” serves like tall people.

I’m assuming you haven’t versed a tall player who bombs serves. It will def humble you.
 

jimmy8

Legend
I'd rather be tall and bomb serves right over the net than have deep serves that are manageably fast. Right over the net increases your serve percentage and the extra speed gets more aces or return errors.
 

Rosstour

G.O.A.T.
I’m only 5’8”, so you’d think I’d be at a disadvantage when it comes to the serve. However, my ball tends to land very deep in the service box, which limits how much people can step in and attack.

You're onto something. I hit a serve in a recent match that left me gaping and I don't think a taller player could have hit it.

It was a slice/twist serve on the deuce side, extremely hard and landed deep in the box (wide corner) and stayed low, hitting the back fence hard off one bounce, but only a few inches off the court.

For every advantage there is a disadvantage, up to a point.
 

RyanRF

Professional
limits how much people can step in and attack.

Exactly. Short players can develop their serves to a place where they are not a liability. Hard to attack.

But developing the serve into a reliable weapon gets harder the shorter you get.

Silver lining I guess: Serena is only 5'9" and had arguably the best serve in WTA history.
 

Icsa

Semi-Pro
You need more accuracy for first serves as a shorter player due to smaller angles, but a well executed serve could do damage by having a flatter trajectory. Nevertheless, in the world of probabilities and margins of error, taller players will always have an advantage.
 

LuckyR

Legend
I’m only 5’8”, so you’d think I’d be at a disadvantage when it comes to the serve. However, my ball tends to land very deep in the service box, which limits how much people can step in and attack.
Well Justine was 5' 6" and could serve 122 mph, so you can serve north of that at 5' 8".
 

mpnv1990

Semi-Pro
Exactly. Short players can develop their serves to a place where they are not a liability. Hard to attack.

But developing the serve into a reliable weapon gets harder the shorter you get.

Silver lining I guess: Serena is only 5'9" and had arguably the best serve in WTA history.
My serve is a reliable weapon at the 3.5 level.
 

mpnv1990

Semi-Pro
My ability to call score is a reliable weapon at the 2.5 level.
You can laugh all you want, but I can hold serve very consistently. I held four out of five times in my last match and held all three times in the second set tiebreaker.
 

ppma

Professional
Because I naturally have to hit with a flatter trajectory. Taller players naturally hit with a more vertical trajectory.
While being true cualitatively, cuantitatively, the difference is not much more than a couple of degrees. However, this makes a big difference in attainable serve speeds with reasonable topspin effect.
 

Yamin

Hall of Fame
Definitely can't say it's an advantage to be short on serve, but some of the biggest servers I know are short. Wilson rackets with Forty Five really work well if you have a fast arm, as does high swing weight.
 
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