Why didn't Thiem Destroy those weak 2nd Serves?

TennisaGoGo

Semi-Pro
I'm reading a lot of people ragging on Zvervev for the slow 2nd serves, but shouldn't we be focusing on Thiem allowing it? I know AV threw in a few 120mph 2nd serves, but not that often to stay that far back.

Have you ever seen what the top WTA players do on 2nd serves like that? Point over, complete with a scream for emphasis. No mercy.
 

kevin qmto

Rookie
Nervous about unforced errors on easily playable balls.

You see some of those 2nd serves in the 70s were dipping towards a double bounce by the time Theim got around to making contact with them? That would be the ultimate ace, a non-underhand-double-bouncer ace.
 

BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
Because he was standing really far back. About as far as a player can go. Can't hit a winner when you're standing like 18 feet behind the baseline.
Which makes Thiem so frustrating to watch, the defensive mindset and inability (or unwillingness) to shorten points. True ATG's with insane talent are able to deal with 140 MPH first serves like this - standing on the baseline and hitting winners. Look where Fed is standing, right on the baseline.

 

phl92

Semi-Pro
thats one of the big questions. Where he stand yesterday returning was ridiculos.Especially on 2nd serves
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
Which makes Thiem so frustrating to watch, the defensive mindset and inability (or unwillingness) to shorten points. True ATG's with insane talent are able to deal with 140 MPH first serves like this - standing on the baseline and hitting winners. Look where Fed is standing, right on the baseline.

The sport has evolved, @BeatlesFan

There is no place for attacking tennis. Hail the modern game.
 

Third Serve

G.O.A.T.
Which makes Thiem so frustrating to watch, the defensive mindset and inability (or unwillingness) to shorten points. True ATG's with insane talent are able to deal with 140 MPH first serves like this - standing on the baseline and hitting winners. Look where Fed is standing, right on the baseline.

Nadal is a true ATG with insane talent and he seems to get by alright with standing as far back as he does. Think the overall quality of return might have more to do here. Thiem’s return just isn’t that special anyway, even if you disregard his position.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
Nadal is a true ATG with insane talent and he seems to get by alright with standing as far back as he does. Think the overall quality of return might have more to do here. Thiem’s return just isn’t that special anyway, even if you disregard his position.
And there it is.

P.S. He should've stepped in a bit and much earlier if/when he realized Zverev was coming to the net a lot though. And I'm not saying he has to stand on the baseline. Halfway from the baseline to where he was standing the whole match would've sufficed.
 
I'm reading a lot of people ragging on Zvervev for the slow 2nd serves, but shouldn't we be focusing on Thiem allowing it? I know AV threw in a few 120mph 2nd serves, but not that often to stay that far back.

Have you ever seen what the top WTA players do on 2nd serves like that? Point over, complete with a scream for emphasis. No mercy.
Zverev won 41% of his second serve points, that is pretty low.
 
Which makes Thiem so frustrating to watch, the defensive mindset and inability (or unwillingness) to shorten points. True ATG's with insane talent are able to deal with 140 MPH first serves like this - standing on the baseline and hitting winners. Look where Fed is standing, right on the baseline.

Nadal is a true ATG and he is standing back too. Different players have different styles.
 

Third Serve

G.O.A.T.
And there it is.

P.S. He should've stepped in a bit and much earlier if/when he realized Zverev was coming to the net a lot though. And I'm not saying he has to stand on the baseline. Halfway from the baseline to where he was standing the whole match would've sufficed.
Yeah. I think he could also work on some nice chip returns like Federer does. Thiem has developed a great BH slice; he should try coming in and using it to block first serves.

Funny thing about Thiem is that he has some solid strokes. Great FH, great BH, great slice. His volleys aren't too shabby either. It's just the serve and the return (more so the return) that he hasn't improved on as much.
 

metsman

G.O.A.T.
Nadal is a true ATG with insane talent and he seems to get by alright with standing as far back as he does. Think the overall quality of return might have more to do here. Thiem’s return just isn’t that special anyway, even if you disregard his position.
Nadal has the movement to stand that far back (and in general he's still had to adjust his court positioning to be really successful on HC) to where he can use his court positioning as a weapon. Thiem doesn't. The only reason he stands so far back is he's incapable of doing anything else without turning into a walking UFE.

Tactics are never uniform in tennis. Zverev net rushing is a bit different than Edberg doing it.
 
I’m 100% serious when I say if Zverev underhanded the second serves in the tie break, he’d be a slam champion. Thiem didn’t hit a single winner of a serve.
No effing kidding

Zed does not have enough neurons firing to figure that out

It would have been totally fair play to slice in an underhand serve with Timothy standing that far back
 

jxs653

Semi-Pro
Which makes Thiem so frustrating to watch, the defensive mindset and inability (or unwillingness) to shorten points. True ATG's with insane talent are able to deal with 140 MPH first serves like this - standing on the baseline and hitting winners. Look where Fed is standing, right on the baseline.

Nadal is a true ATG with insane talent and he seems to get by alright with standing as far back as he does. Think the overall quality of return might have more to do here. Thiem’s return just isn’t that special anyway, even if you disregard his position.
Nadal is a true ATG and he is standing back too. Different players have different styles.
Other things being equal it is always better to receive serve closer to the server. I think Nadal's receiving such a far back has more to do with his lack of capability in that department rather than with quality or return or just different style.
 

Federev

Hall of Fame
I'm reading a lot of people ragging on Zvervev for the slow 2nd serves, but shouldn't we be focusing on Thiem allowing it? I know AV threw in a few 120mph 2nd serves, but not that often to stay that far back.

Have you ever seen what the top WTA players do on 2nd serves like that? Point over, complete with a scream for emphasis. No mercy.
Thiem admitted he was a total nervous wreck - in the presser.
 
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citybert

Hall of Fame
Shapovalov will prove this theory incorrect. And the game has not evolved, it's regressed when serve and volley is moribund. A one more dimensional game isn't progress, it's total regression.
shapo has no gameplan. needs to be attacking w a plan.
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
I’m 100% serious when I say if Zverev underhanded the second serves in the tie break, he’d be a slam champion. Thiem didn’t hit a single winner of a serve.
I honestly think in the future there will be more use of the drop shot serve. They're very effective if someone stands far back or cant play transition well.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
I had posted the same after the match yesterday about Thiem standing so far.

It waa as if both could not understand what was going on. Thiem was standing near the backboard even as Zverev’s serve was crumbling. Zverev would rather hit slow nice bounce first serves than try an underhanded serve against an opponent standing way back and having cramping issues to boot.

Watching the match you could see the difference between the big 3 and the ntext gen. The latter seem very rigid in their games and mindset
 
Other things being equal it is always better to receive serve closer to the server. I think Nadal's receiving such a far back has more to do with his lack of capability in that department rather than with quality or return or just different style.
Nadal has a much higher percentage of won return games than federer.

Yeah it looks great if you can be like agassi but Agassi had days were he got aced a lit too.
 

6august

Hall of Fame
Which makes Thiem so frustrating to watch, the defensive mindset and inability (or unwillingness) to shorten points. True ATG's with insane talent are able to deal with 140 MPH first serves like this - standing on the baseline and hitting winners. Look where Fed is standing, right on the baseline.

It's purely a lucky shot, let's analyze it:

1. Roddick's serve was not only fast, but it also landed right on the line - a little longer than Fedr expected.

2. Thus, we may see that Fedr's backswing was very short, he seemed to be surprised. It's more a block than an agressive drive backhand.

3. However, just like Arod's serve, Fred's return landed right on Arod's feet - this time it's Roddick who was surprised. He was not in the ready position yet.

4. Unlike insane talented players like Nadal or Djokovic, Roddick couldn't flick his wrist to get the ball back. He contacted the ball too late and the ball flew like a wounded bird.

5. Look at Fred's reaction, we can tell that he was surprised with his return too. For a quarter of second, he freezed before continue to move.

And the rest was history. I swear that this return is something like 3 times luckier than Djokovic's return in the USO 11 semi.

Thank you.

:unsure:
 

RS

Legend
Which makes Thiem so frustrating to watch, the defensive mindset and inability (or unwillingness) to shorten points. True ATG's with insane talent are able to deal with 140 MPH first serves like this - standing on the baseline and hitting winners. Look where Fed is standing, right on the baseline.

Thiem is quite attacking to me.
 

jxs653

Semi-Pro
It's purely a lucky shot, let's analyze it:

1. Roddick's serve was not only fast, but it also landed right on the line - a little longer than Fedr expected.

2. Thus, we may see that Fedr's backswing was very short, he seemed to be surprised. It's more a block than an agressive drive backhand.

3. However, just like Arod's serve, Fred's return landed right on Arod's feet - this time it's Roddick who was surprised. He was not in the ready position yet.

4. Unlike insane talented players like Nadal or Djokovic, Roddick couldn't flick his wrist to get the ball back. He contacted the ball too late and the ball flew like a wounded bird.

5. Look at Fred's reaction, we can tell that he was surprised with his return too. For a quarter of second, he freezed before continue to move.

And the rest was history. I swear that this return is something like 3 times luckier than Djokovic's return in the USO 11 semi.

Thank you.

:unsure:
But Federer receives serve even well inside the baseline quite often (I remember so) and this particular case in the video couldn't be dismissed as purely lucky. Rather it is just one example that shows his general tendency to take serve early.
 

Kalin

Legend
Have you ever seen what the top WTA players do on 2nd serves like that? Point over, complete with a scream for emphasis. No mercy.
Well, the WTA has always had players with weak second serves so to be a top player one needs to know how to capitalize on them. And, as you said, they emphatically do. Weak second serves are rarer on the men's side.

Nadal is a true ATG with insane talent and he seems to get by alright with standing as far back as he does. Think the overall quality of return might have more to do here. Thiem’s return just isn’t that special anyway, even if you disregard his position.
Yes, even Wawrinka sometimes moves further away for a second serve (instead of stepping in) but it is in order to allow him to absolutely hammer the ball. Thiem definitely has the firepower to do that but not the mindset.

Yeah it looks great if you can be like agassi but Agassi had days were he got aced a lit too.
Agassi had that great approach where he'd murder 80% of the serves hit at him (basically anything he could reach without too much trouble) and just ignore the other 20%, hence he was often aced a lot. That's one of the reasons he didn't fare so well vs Sampras since Pete could consistently hit those spots where Andre wouldn't ordinarily have to bother with the return vs lesser players. Vs Pete that's all he saw all day.
 

SonnyT

Hall of Fame
Because he was standing really far back. About as far as a player can go. Can't hit a winner when you're standing like 18 feet behind the baseline.
Why do you think all topspin masters (Borg, Vilas, Nadal, and now Thiem) stand way back on the return, and often during rallies?

In contrast, the relative flat-liners (Connors, Mac, Agassi, Djokovic) stand on top of BL and take ball on rise! That I can understand better!

The mystery is why flat-liner Medvedev stand so far back!
 

chrisb

Semi-Pro
I think that guys with extreme grips take longer to change grips thus the variation in position for return of serve
 

6august

Hall of Fame
But Federer receives serve even well inside the baseline quite often (I remember so) and this particular case in the video couldn't be dismissed as purely lucky. Rather it is just one example that shows his general tendency to take serve early.
Don't get me wrong. I don't want to discredit Fred as a great returner. I just want to debunk the myth around that specific return. Actually luck plays a much much more important part than most of people think.

Besides what I've pointed out, you can also consider the following details:

If Fred wanted to make a winner, he would have aimed at the far right side, not somewhere Roddick could still reach. Obviously that was a passive block (you can call it block considering the backswing and the follow through) and the ball somehow surprised both him and Arod. Kudos to his anticipation and reaction, and even racquet skill... but no way he intentionally hit the ball to that spot.

What he had done after contacting the ball give us more evidences. He freezed for a moment, then continued to move sideway, towards to middle of baseline. Yes, he moved sideway! Anyone who know him and his game would agree with me that if he was confident enough, he would have stepped into the court for a killing forehand or charged the net for am easy put away volley.

So, is he a great returner (especially vs big serves)? Yes. Does he take the ball early? Yes. But THAT return is not as great as people always think.
 
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