the Becker serve

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by barnes1172, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. barnes1172

    barnes1172 New User

    Apr 16, 2009
    Portland, OR (3:00 mark)

    Some things I noticed:
    1) The long, smooth, circular take-back of the racquet. In Becker's book, I recall him comparing this motion to the winding of a clock, or a pendulum (I forget the exact term)
    2) The pause at the trophy position
    3) In the second video above, there is some similarity between the take-back of the racquet that Becker does, and the smooth and circular take back that the first server in the video (Gerald Patterson) does. Can this be attributed to using a heavier racquet?

    I tried imitating Becker's service motion recently, and I did notice an increase in power on the serves I was hitting.

    Becker has the best service motion, IMO. I am wondering why more instructors do not teach this motion, which seems to have some clear benefits in terms of increased power. Has it gone out of style?
  2. Mike Bulgakov

    Mike Bulgakov Hall of Fame

    Aug 12, 2007
    The Future
    Becker used an unusual grip on his serve; it edged towards an Eastern forehand grip.
  3. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

    Jun 10, 2010
    ^^^ Becker's service grip was very close to what is considered a Continental grip by modern definitions. As you can see from your pic, the beel of his palm is on, or very close to, the 2nd bevel, and no where near the 3rd bevel.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2012
  4. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

    Jun 10, 2010
    Given the widely varying serving styles that have always pervaded tennis, there is no such thing as a service motion going out of style absent a rule change ie: no longer having to keep one foot on the ground at contact.

    Having said that, I think Becker's service motion, in particular the hitch at the peak of his toss, looks a lot like Alex Olmedo's serve which can be seen in this video at about :29 and :36 seconds:
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2012
  5. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

    Jun 20, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Regarding Becker's serve, what seems apparent is the great timing. He seems to me to toss the ball pretty high ... hitting it on the way down. Which, in my mind, requires better timing than the first guy in the second video (from the olden days, but who still looked like he had a great serving motion) who was hitting the ball at the top of it's trajectory.

    Wrt Sampras, what I see (aside from great timing ... and turn as with all the good servers ) is a really pronounced hip movement ... even moreso than Becker's.

    What might I be missing, or seeing incorrectly?
  6. Tshooter

    Tshooter Hall of Fame

    Sep 12, 2007
    The pre-serve clearing throat/cough was the key to his serve. When I first heard it close up I thought he had a cold.
  7. gsharma

    gsharma Professional

    Jan 28, 2008
    Becker's pronation is amazing. I tried to ape his style when I was younger.
  8. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

    Feb 2, 2007
    The physicality of his serve is pretty amazing. He needed those tree-trunk legs to do that over and over. Not for the weak of knee.

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