Which pro has the best serve action to copy?

A

AllCourtHeathen

Guest
Henin used an abbreviated motion, obviously, which was different than the beginning of Fed's motion. Also Fed was a lot like her in that they both are lithe and great movers. No way Stan can move like Fed. Imagine Stan doing ballet, not a great vision. :) Henin, like Federer, was a one in a million athlete.

Also, people like to list injuries yet never mention Fed's back injury. All tennis players get injuries, tennis is truly brutal on the body. However, there is just enough tilt on Stan's serve to avoid serious impingement so far.

You can also ask Djokovic about Stan's serve. :) One of the great things about tennis is that techniques are proved out on the court and if you're defeating current and former world #1s we must acknowledge the serve's effectiveness. Perhaps when you're looking at slow-mo video you forget to look at actual results. Stan has made over 21 million dollars in prize money with that serve of his and the geniuses on the board tell me it's no good.

Stan turned pro in 2002, surely the devastating injuries involving his motion would have taken place by now, so there goes that theory.

You should learn from Stan's serve rather than be closed minded.
I totally agree, and have wondered why stan's serve hasn't been the subject of more conversation.
My serve was strong a year ago, when I just served the way my body wanted to, but the more I've read and the more youtube vids I've watched, the worse my serve has become, to the point it is my main liability IMO. When I just served in a very simple "roscoe tanner" type way, the way I naturally wanted to, I seemed to be able to bomb down strong 1st serves at a good percentage. Now I am lucky to get 1 first serve in outta 20.

Point being, whether you like it or not, you DO have to work with your own physiology.
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
Actually for rec players I think Nishikori is a good model because of the simplicity of his load and motion.
 

Karma Tennis

Hall of Fame
SERENA WILLIAMS.

IMO, Serena has the greatest service motion of them all (Female or Male). Fluid, easy on the body, and totally unpredictable. At her prime she would always place the ball toss in exactly the same place.

Unfortunately, not a lot of coaches are going to advise junior male players to copy Serena's serve. More power to the ones that do.
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
If speed was the only criterion.
Well, Groth IS the son of Thor so it is understandable that a mere human may be unable to emulate the crushing perfection of a demigod.

Isner, despite being 9'14 tall, has an elegantly simple step up pinpoint stance serve that I wish I could perform. A real efficiency of motion, all perfectly timed.

For a rec player, I was thinking the other day, since my serve has contracted Hepatitis C it seems, I was thinking something like wawrinka.

Arms up together, no real issues with incorporating the legs, just has a fluid arm and a good snap, quite fast, and it all looks simple and repeatable under pressure.
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
If speed was the only criterion.
Well, Groth IS the son of Thor so it is understandable that a mere human may be unable to emulate the crushing perfection of a demigod.

Isner, despite being 9'14 tall, has an elegantly simple step up pinpoint stance serve that I wish I could perform. A real efficiency of motion, all perfectly timed.

For a rec player, I was thinking the other day, since my serve has contracted Hepatitis C it seems, I was thinking something like wawrinka.

Arms up together, no real issues with incorporating the legs, just has a fluid arm and a good snap, quite fast, and it all looks simple and repeatable under pressure.
 

ron schaap

Professional
Your racquet arm is way, way too stiff. You should feel like you're whipping the racquet face freely through the ball; it should feel like a weight on the end of a string.
That's never a Roscoe Tanner serve. Looks more a variation of the dreaded waiters service. Please consult a instructor because your grip!
 

MotoboXer

Professional
Isner/Anderson. If you're going to do a pin-point stance, do it like these guys
(starting with the back leg bent at almost a 90 degree angle), Jack Sock does something
very similar but adds a few things.
 

Steady Eddy

Hall of Fame
None of them. At least for 99% of us. Most touring players toss too high. Not for them. But if we copy that high toss, our toss will be out of control.

You need a serve that is consistent, but also, has some pace so it doesn't get destroyed. Better to double-fault than to patty-cake in a serve, IMO. Rec player should have a simple serve, (no unnecessary movements), with some pace, and that can be done even without any warmup.

P.S. I think something is wrong if you need "practice" just to put a serve in. Also, you shouldn't need to do a 2nd serve immediately after a fault. The 1st serve shouldn't be a warmup. Be confident that you can put a serve into play, even if ice cold.
 

Karma Tennis

Hall of Fame
None of them. At least for 99% of us. Most touring players toss too high. Not for them. But if we copy that high toss, our toss will be out of control.
So the most important ingredient is the ball toss. You are never too young to practice a ball toss.

100 ball tosses every day for 100 days. What a difference that makes!
 

MotoboXer

Professional
Marin Cilic

Easy motion to copy that gives big effortless power but most important will put your body through proper motions so you can learn.
 

Keendog

Semi-Pro
I prefer Kyrgios and Stan. Stan's shows importantance of balance over superfluos movements, and Kyrgios has no lag or pauses in backswing which can make timing harder. Just back, up, and swing. low ball toss, not tonnes of knee bend

 

Keendog

Semi-Pro
None of them. At least for 99% of us. Most touring players toss too high. Not for them. But if we copy that high toss, our toss will be out of control.

You need a serve that is consistent, but also, has some pace so it doesn't get destroyed. Better to double-fault than to patty-cake in a serve, IMO. Rec player should have a simple serve, (no unnecessary movements), with some pace, and that can be done even without any warmup.

P.S. I think something is wrong if you need "practice" just to put a serve in. Also, you shouldn't need to do a 2nd serve immediately after a fault. The 1st serve shouldn't be a warmup. Be confident that you can put a serve into play, even if ice cold.
(Accidental) patty cake is my most effective serve. People over-estimate their ability to hit a winner from mid court with no pace
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
So the most important ingredient is the ball toss. You are never too young to practice a ball toss.

100 ball tosses every day for 100 days. What a difference that makes!
Oh man not again. Why don't you also add that the toss is the beginning of the serve? How many cliches are necessary?

100 ball tosses every day for 100 days does not make much of a difference for adults. There are players who have been doing not 100, but maybe 50 tosses every day as part of regular play, and their toss still sucks.

It is an issue of body flexibility, coordination, and separate control over separate parts of the body, like juggling. Either you have it genetically, or you build it up to a decent level as a junior, but not as an adult.
 

Karma Tennis

Hall of Fame
Oh man not again. Why don't you also add that the toss is the beginning of the serve? How many cliches are necessary?

100 ball tosses every day for 100 days does not make much of a difference for adults. There are players who have been doing not 100, but maybe 50 tosses every day as part of regular play, and their toss still sucks.

It is an issue of body flexibility, coordination, and separate control over separate parts of the body, like juggling. Either you have it genetically, or you build it up to a decent level as a junior, but not as an adult.
Oh No! Here we go again! Your reputation precedes you. I should ignore you but I can't resist.

1/ Recent research indicates that the brain and muscle memory can continue to be influenced by repetitive activities well into the fifth decade of life. The idea that only junior players can enhance their abilities by repetition is now defunct and a somewhat limiting mindset.

2/ WHAT IS THE POINT OF A GREAT SERVE? The whole point of a great serve is to win points, hold service games and win tennis matches. The best serve is the one that cannot be easily read by the opponent. That type of serve starts with a consistent ball toss that is the same regardless of the type of serve executed.

If your ball toss "sucks" then you need to practice your ball toss more. Trying to improve a service motion in order to compensate for a poor ball toss is sheer folly.

SORRY MAAAAAAATE !!!!
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
The whole point of a great serve is to win points, hold service games and win tennis matches.
You sure of that? Because it is a revolutionary idea, you know.

But seriously I wasn't saying compensate for a bad toss (though I am a believer in not catching the ball and just serving regardless of a bad toss). I said the conventional ideas of teaching tosses to adults, like don't toss it but place it, keep your hand straight, look up at the eventual ball height without constantly moving your head, don't bring the tossing arm down quick, ball flat on palm without spin, ice cream cone grip etc - haven't worked. Club players, including me, have hit great practice serves by just landing up cold on the court and tossing casually, and then the quality of serve goes down with time as we try to do all the things mentioned above.

There is something else going on whose mystery we haven't cracked yet.
 

Karma Tennis

Hall of Fame
Club players, including me, have hit great practice serves by just landing up cold on the court and tossing casually, and then the quality of serve goes down with time as we try to do all the things mentioned above.

There is something else going on whose mystery we haven't cracked yet.
Tennis is 90% a "Mental Game" so there is your proof!
 

Mitcheson

New User
I have tried to copy quite a few of them. My final opinion is the more simple, fewer movements, rolling, the better. So the answer is definitely Djokovic's serve. Yes Federer's and Lopez' serve are beautiful to watch and very effective but it's not easy to do. For example Federer bends over a lot during the ball bounce and suddenly straightens up with a huge racquet take back all of which makes it difficult to coordinate and time. Djokovic stands upright, he doesn't even bring the tossing arm all the way down his leg or knee at the start, so nothing exaggerated. To me that's the perfect serve.
Very much agree with this comment. I too have tried modelling on Sampras, Ivanisevic, Federer and Lopez ... all who were/are superb servers. On the women's side Serena and Kvitova have lovely serves. But I agree that Djokovic with his narrow platform serve and simple ball toss has a very effective but simple serve to emulate with far less to go wrong. He got his serve analysed and rebuilt and it has transformed his serving effectiveness.

Always consider the pro's longevity and injury history. Murray and Hewitt have incurred nasty injuries so I wouldn't emulate anything they do, especially not serving. Lopez and Federer are doing great at almost 38 years old so they must be doing a lot right! Rafter had a bad shoulder problem with his abbreviated kick serving etc.
 
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undecided

Semi-Pro
What about a good serve for older players? I don't expect to be jumping and bending that much at 50+. Can any of the pro serves be adapted for older players?
 

Mitcheson

New User
What about a good serve for older players? I don't expect to be jumping and bending that much at 50+. Can any of the pro serves be adapted for older players?
You could try Francoise Durr, it'll be safe from stress and injury - that's for sure. There again just enjoy delusion like I do as I'm in my sixties! Actually I still hit a few aces with a fair bit of spin and pop on them ... the problem is what it does to my body! Fluidity and rhythm are the keys. Arrive early and warm it up very gradually before you play like the pros do - don't try to muscle it and never let your ego get in the way.
 
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