Federers 1st serve not that good... - MensTennisForums.com

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post #1 of 99 (permalink) Old 03-04-2007, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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Federers 1st serve not that good...

I dont know why there is so much talk about how Federers serve is so effective even if he doesnt hit that many aces. The last 3 years or so I have always followed the stats of 1st serve % won and Federer is constantly around 77-78% on 1st serves won. That is just enought to be top 10 every year, but far behind players like Roddick and Ljubicic who always are +80% and even behind Hewitt who is around 79%.

Ofcourse 77% is not that bad, but if you take into consideration that Federer is such a great player beyond serving, most of these he probably wins because of his baseline skills. HE should atleast be above Hewitt in 1st serve points won. Maybe Federers serve is his most overrated weapon, only in wimbledon I think it is a great weapon, elsewhere it is not reliable. Players like Kuerten, Safin and maybe even HEwitt have greater 1st serves, harder and flatter. Give Federers 1st serve to Roddick and I am sure he would only win 60% of his 1st serves.

Federers 1st serve sometimes looks very good against bad 1st serve returners like Roddick, Nadal and the old Agassi (who he constantly hit +20 aces). However against great returners like Nalbandian and Murray it is even often attacked directly on the return.

I think Federer should put some effort to improve his 1st serve, on clay a serve with great velocity can be such a weapon, it may have been one of Kuertens most underrated weapons (also one of the weapons which makes me think he would defeat Nadal on clay). Federers slow 1st serves get the velocity on grass, but on clay it is a nonfactor.

Sometimes it almost doesnt matter if he gets the 1st serve in as his 2nd serve is amazing. He definetly has the best 2nd serve on the tour, he can hit it really close to the line with alot of kick and still hit so few DFs. He can also find great angles and he is one of the few who hits the 2nd serve constantly both to the forehand and backhand of his opponents (making it completely unpredictable).

If his 1st serve could be a weapon too outside grass, he would be truly unbeatable.
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post #2 of 99 (permalink) Old 03-04-2007, 01:59 PM
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Re: Federers 1st serve not that good...

I think you are doing him a disservice by just looking at his first serve in terms of how many aces / cheap points he wins off it.

Many times his first serve is used to set up the point- i.e. get a short mid court return from where he can dictate the rallies.

And the most potent component of his first serve has never been sheer power- it is the deceptiveness of the toss whereby the toss remains constant and the opponent doesn't usually know where he is going to hit it and his accuracy to be able to hit the ball exactly where he wants to.
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post #3 of 99 (permalink) Old 03-04-2007, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Federers 1st serve not that good...

Before I used to complain also about Federers 2nd serve return which always was lame slices to get the point started. He used to wi naround 52-53% of points returning the 2nd serve and it was terrible to slice it back to Nadal on clay. Federers 1st serve return is in my opinion the greatest the game has ever seen and he constantly leads statistics winning 35-38% returning the 1st serve.

Federer has now improved his 2nd serve return by much since last year and is 2nd in the statistics winning 61% this year!

He is praticaly leading stats on 1st serve, 2nd serve returns and also ofcourse the 2nd serve statistics (he always wins it every year winning +60% of points on 2nd serve). But on 1st serves won he is only nr16 this year and last year I think he was nr 10, just not good enought for Roger Federer. I know he has it in him improve any weakness, if he wants he could work hard on his serve like he did on his backhand since last year. By the end of the year he would be winning +80% of points on 1st serve and hitting +10 aces every match.
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post #4 of 99 (permalink) Old 03-04-2007, 02:05 PM
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Re: Federers 1st serve not that good...

His game isn't built around his serve. I do agree that he needs some oomph on that serve from time to time..could well be the key in beating Nadal on clay imo.
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post #5 of 99 (permalink) Old 03-04-2007, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Federers 1st serve not that good...

Quote:
Originally Posted by RonE View Post
I think you are doing him a disservice by just looking at his first serve in terms of how many aces / cheap points he wins off it.

Many times his first serve is used to set up the point- i.e. get a short mid court return from where he can dictate the rallies.

And the most potent component of his first serve has never been sheer power- it is the deceptiveness of the toss whereby the toss remains constant and the opponent doesn't usually know where he is going to hit it and his accuracy to be able to hit the ball exactly where he wants to.
No I am not, I am talking about 1st serve % won, not aces or cheap points won.
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post #6 of 99 (permalink) Old 03-04-2007, 02:10 PM
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Re: Federers 1st serve not that good...

Very interesting point. I don't know enough to comment, but it's certainly a good looking argument to me.
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post #7 of 99 (permalink) Old 03-04-2007, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Federers 1st serve not that good...

Nadals greatest weakness is his 1st serve return, come with only a monsterserve and no game and even on clay you can take him to a tiebreak (which u cant do against Federer). If Federer had that monster serve I would say all his problems against Nadal would disappear.
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post #8 of 99 (permalink) Old 03-04-2007, 02:13 PM
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Re: Federers 1st serve not that good...

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No I am not, I am talking about 1st serve % won, not aces or cheap points won.
I realize that but in the beginning of your first paragraph:

Quote:
Originally Posted by marcRD View Post
I dont know why there is so much talk about how Federers serve is so effective even if he doesnt hit that many aces.
I was addressing that part of your post.

Still, there is no doubt if he could increase the % of first serves won he would be even more difficult to beat than he already is.

But then again, if he does go for more "oomph" on the first serve to do that he might do it at the expense of consistency and accuracy and that could negatively impact the rest of his game.

Roger being Roger I trust he knows what he is doing and he has found the right balance between power and precision where the first serve is concerned, even if it means he is not the outright best player in % of first serves won.
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post #9 of 99 (permalink) Old 03-04-2007, 02:17 PM
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Re: Federers 1st serve not that good...

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Originally Posted by marcRD View Post
Nadals greatest weakness is his 1st serve return, come with only a monsterserve and no game and even on clay you can take him to a tiebreak (which u cant do against Federer). If Federer had that monster serve I would say all his problems against Nadal would disappear.
I wouldn't go so far as to say "all his problems against Nadal would disappear" but the less he has to rely on the 2nd serve against him the better.

However, as I said in my previous post there is a danger that if he does up the pace in his first serve to try to do that it could have a negative impact on the rest of his game. Remember, there are many other players against whom he needs to compete, not just Nadal, and changing such an aspect of your game that could potentially impact other aspects for only one player is a rather risky thing to do.
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post #10 of 99 (permalink) Old 03-04-2007, 02:18 PM
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Re: Federers 1st serve not that good...

Most of the time he holds routinely, sometimes when 40-0 up he lets himself play a couple of loose points, and that appears in the stats.
If you look at his AO final, for instance, he didn't even face a single break point (I don't think there was even a deuce situation) in the last two sets.

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post #11 of 99 (permalink) Old 03-04-2007, 02:19 PM
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Re: Federers 1st serve not that good...

So you are saying for Federer to beat Nadal on clay, he all of a sudden needs more power on his serve?

On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

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I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
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post #12 of 99 (permalink) Old 03-04-2007, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Federers 1st serve not that good...

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Originally Posted by RonE View Post
I realize that but in the beginning of your first paragraph:



I was addressing that part of your post.

Still, there is no doubt if he could increase the % of first serves won he would be even more difficult to beat than he already is.

But then again, if he does go for more "oomph" on the first serve to do that he might do it at the expense of consistency and accuracy and that could negatively impact the rest of his game.

Roger being Roger I trust he knows what he is doing and he has found the right balance between power and precision where the first serve is concerned, even if it means he is not the outright best player in % of first serves won.
There is no power, only precision. He rarely hits above 200 kph. The serve is great on grass, just good enought on hc and a nonfactor on clay. He should take a look at Gugas serves to get an idea of an effective clay 1st serve.

How many oppurtunities have Federer had against NAdal on clay where only holding his serve would be enought to win a set and still he blows it?
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post #13 of 99 (permalink) Old 03-04-2007, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Federers 1st serve not that good...

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So you are saying for Federer to beat Nadal on clay, he all of a sudden needs more power on his serve?
Yes.
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post #14 of 99 (permalink) Old 03-04-2007, 02:24 PM
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Re: Federers 1st serve not that good...

RonE, the effectiveness of Rogers first serve can only be measured objectively by how many percent of the points he actually wins with it.
It doesn't matter if he plays it to prepare points or goes for clean aces, obviously the result of whatever he does isn't even in the top 10.

The fact that Roger has the best baseline game makes the stat look even worse for him in relation to other players.

Of course, now one would have to look at the percentage of first serves that he get's in. If it is higher, it may show that Federer is relying more on placement on his first serve to actually get to play more on his first serve, instead of winning over 80 percent on it, but 80 percent of a much lower number and consequently more points lost on second serve.
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post #15 of 99 (permalink) Old 03-04-2007, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Federers 1st serve not that good...

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Originally Posted by Rogiman View Post
Most of the time he holds routinely, sometimes when 40-0 up he lets himself play a couple of loose points, and that appears in the stats.
If you look at his AO final, for instance, he didn't even face a single break point (I don't think there was even a deuce situation) in the last two sets.
I wonder that is? Is it because of the 82% 1st serve points he won?

Or is it because of the amazing 77% 2nd serve points he won?
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