The "Big Serve" Debate [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

The "Big Serve" Debate

kindling
06-26-2010, 11:36 PM
Isn't complaining about a guy having just a big serve but a weak return kind of like saying a baseball player is no good because he only hits home runs and can't pitch? Or saying a basketball player can only hit 3's but can't rebound? I understand that it may not always be the most exciting to watch aces constantly fly by, but personally I get a kick out of watching those bombs, one after the other.

Mjau!
06-26-2010, 11:44 PM
A big serve is :zzz: if that's all there is to his game.

leng jai
06-27-2010, 01:12 AM
The difference is that your opponent has little chance to stop you from hitting big serves, unlike other shots in the game.

Har-Tru
06-27-2010, 01:32 AM
A big serve is :zzz: if that's all there is to his game.

This.

Mechlan
06-27-2010, 01:36 AM
The serve is a shot like any other. People have complained about it for years and will continue to do so.

Though with new technology, the returner has gained tremendous advantage compared to, say, 10 years ago.

The Magician
06-27-2010, 02:02 AM
I'm a huge Isner fan but I can understand why people don't like his huge serving game. For the really tall guys with huge serves it definitely appears to the untrained eye that they have no talent and are just really really tall. If everyone was Karlovic or Isner the game would be terrible, but if no one could serve you'd get the WTA where no one ever holds and it just becomes a contest in choking.

Har-Tru
06-27-2010, 02:08 AM
I'm a huge Isner fan but I can understand why people don't like his huge serving game. For the really tall guys with huge serves it definitely appears to the untrained eye that they have no talent and are just really really tall. If everyone was Karlovic or Isner the game would be terrible, but if no one could serve you'd get the WTA where no one ever holds and it just becomes a contest in choking.

I will tell you why I was cheering for Mahut and am no Isner fan. He relies heavily on his serve, for which he has an inherent physical advantage. Players like Sampras, Federer, Roddick etc. who had or have big serves without being very tall are a lot more praiseworthy in my book.

Isner has some groundies, granted, but let's face it: if he didn't have that one shot his ranking would be nowhere near as high as it is. And for that shot he has a big advantage that didn't come through skill or hard work.

straitup
06-27-2010, 02:17 AM
I will tell you why I was cheering for Mahut and am no Isner fan. He relies heavily on his serve, for which he has an inherent physical advantage. Players like Sampras, Federer, Roddick etc. who had or have big serves without being very tall are a lot more praiseworthy in my book.

Isner has some groundies, granted, but let's face it: if he didn't have that one shot his ranking would be nowhere near as high as it is. And for that shot he has a big advantage that didn't come through skill or hard work.

That kind of scenario reminds me of Del Potro...he had a nice ground game but his serve was pathetic for how tall he is. He ramped up his serve and now he's won a major. Not saying John will win a major, but he's certainly improved his ground game and fitness, he just needs to keep on progressing and get a better return. And his mental strength is astounding for a tall guy, something Karlovic lacks

Har-Tru
06-27-2010, 02:20 AM
That kind of scenario reminds me of Del Potro...he had a nice ground game but his serve was pathetic for how tall he is. He ramped up his serve and now he's won a major. Not saying John will win a major, but he's certainly improved his ground game and fitness, he just needs to keep on progressing and get a better return. And his mental strength is astounding for a tall guy, something Karlovic lacks

That is why I despise Del Potro. He is just a quality ballbasher who takes advantage from being able to hit the ball from a higher position. I fear tennis is moving to the point where it will be dominated by giant servers and hitters. I hope I'm wrong.

pray-for-palestine-and-israel
06-27-2010, 02:30 AM
del potro is probably the only guy who could have beaten nadal @ the french open no matter how well nadal played

i would say an on fire davydenko would be another who could beat nadal on clay

straitup
06-27-2010, 02:32 AM
del potro is probably the only guy who could have beaten nadal @ the french open no matter how well nadal played

i would say an on fire davydenko would be another who could beat nadal on clay

I love him and he has the shots too...mentally he would be toast though

Quakes
06-27-2010, 02:35 AM
Isn't complaining about a guy having just a big serve but a weak return kind of like saying a baseball player is no good because he only hits home runs and can't pitch? Or saying a basketball player can only hit 3's but can't rebound?

No and no. Tennis is an individual sport, unlike baseball and basketball. Cooperation between individual team mates of different strengths and weaknesses does not exist in tennis. To win, you have to be decent in every respect and have at least one great weapon, simple as that. Any glaring weakness is quickly exploited by your opponent.

foolish pleasure
06-27-2010, 02:41 AM
TBH ten years ago i was pretty bored with big serves, but today the points, even on fast courts, are so dang long you could die and be reincarnated 8 times before a point is over--that shoot out between mahut and isner was pretty fun to watch IMHO. grass is always greener i s'pose....

I will tell you why I was cheering for Mahut and am no Isner fan. He relies heavily on his serve, for which he has an inherent physical advantage. Players like Sampras, Federer, Roddick etc. who had or have big serves without being very tall are a lot more praiseworthy in my book.

:scratch:

mahut was relying pretty heavily on his serve too, if i recall....

mahut is 6'3"--only compared to isner is 6'3" "not very tall." but yeah, sampras and federer are veritable midgets at 6'1" :rolleyes:

Isner has some groundies, granted, but let's face it: if he didn't have that one shot his ranking would be nowhere near as high as it is.

that is true of almost every player but federer--if nadal couldn't run all day, he'd be a pretty medicore player with results like those he achieves from aug-dec, all year long. most players have only one or two strenghts at most. besides, isner has a pretty fierce forehand in addition to his serve.

And for that shot he has a big advantage that didn't come through skill or hard work.

:rolleyes:

isner has terrific touch and placement on his serve--his height only makes it all the more imposing, but it isn't reason for why it is so effective in the first place--delpo is no shorty but his serve is only average. i don't think any shot reaches pro-level without some effort...just sayin'

his mental strength is astounding for a tall guy, something Karlovic lacks

uh...speechless truly...

Topspin Forehand
06-27-2010, 06:51 AM
del potro is probably the only guy who could have beaten nadal @ the french open no matter how well nadal played

i would say an on fire davydenko would be another who could beat nadal on clay
If Soderling couldn't do it, Del Potro wouldn't either. And Nadal's beaten Davydenko many times on clay already.

paseo
06-27-2010, 09:30 AM
If Soderling couldn't do it, Del Potro wouldn't either. And Nadal's beaten Davydenko many times on clay already.

Even though Del Potro doesn't hit as hard as Soderling, but he's far more consistent. That's what makes Del Potro a scary opponent for Nadal. He can bash the ball all day long while only making a few UEs.

MacTheKnife
06-27-2010, 12:40 PM
I will tell you why I was cheering for Mahut and am no Isner fan. He relies heavily on his serve, for which he has an inherent physical advantage. Players like Sampras, Federer, Roddick etc. who had or have big serves without being very tall are a lot more praiseworthy in my book.

Isner has some groundies, granted, but let's face it: if he didn't have that one shot his ranking would be nowhere near as high as it is. And for that shot he has a big advantage that didn't come through skill or hard work.

Being that tall is an asset that is out weighed by it's inherent liabilities. No guy over 6'4" has ever made the top 3. Movement issues seem to outweigh any advantages from mere height.

Also, it's like saying a guy with better eye sight, or fleetness of foot has an unfair advantage because those are skills/talent one is born with.
Just about all top players have "some" natural skills that they were born with, and they each have some specific deficiencies to train against.. Just part of the sport and always has been.

laurie-1
06-27-2010, 12:57 PM
That is why I despise Del Potro. He is just a quality ballbasher who takes advantage from being able to hit the ball from a higher position. I fear tennis is moving to the point where it will be dominated by giant servers and hitters. I hope I'm wrong.

I observed Del Potro closely last year and I often wondered with the way he hits his forehand, whether he was putting his wrist at risk.

Well, now we know that he will be out for virtually 12 months with that problem.

That leads me to think that Tennis will not ultimately go down this path because players at that height are usually injury prone. Krajicek was a similar height and build and although he played a different game, he was also vulnearble to lots of injuries. Like Del Potro, Krajicek was capable of beating anyone when he got going.

I still hope Del Potro wins more slams because he's a good player to watch and is improving his whole game (unless the injury sends him backwards for a while when he returns to the Tour.)

mcnasty
06-27-2010, 01:24 PM
if you're rooting for a big server who has little of anything else, then you feel bad for him for playing with such a small margin of error; whereas if you're rooting against someone like that, then you curse him for magnifying a phase of the game at the expense of all it's other aspects of which there are many once the point gets beyond the serve.

raahaat7
06-27-2010, 01:40 PM
I'm a huge Isner fan but I can understand why people don't like his huge serving game. For the really tall guys with huge serves it definitely appears to the untrained eye that they have no talent and are just really really tall. If everyone was Karlovic or Isner the game would be terrible, but if no one could serve you'd get the WTA where no one ever holds and it just becomes a contest in choking.

this.

Har-Tru
06-27-2010, 01:51 PM
:scratch:

mahut was relying pretty heavily on his serve too, if i recall....

mahut is 6'3"--only compared to isner is 6'3" "not very tall."

Mahut is tallish, but 190cm is nothing compared to 206cm. Hence my view: his aces are more praiseworthy than Isner's (quality of return aside).

but yeah, sampras and federer are veritable midgets at 6'1" :rolleyes:


What the hell is this supposed to mean? Did I say that??

that is true of almost every player but federer--if nadal couldn't run all day, he'd be a pretty medicore player with results like those he achieves from aug-dec, all year long. most players have only one or two strenghts at most. besides, isner has a pretty fierce forehand in addition to his serve.

I'm talking about Isner here, not Nadal. But now that you mention it, sheer speed is something I don't value too high on players, since it's, again, a skill one is born with and not one that is acquired through hard work. Although you have to remain fit to keep it.

Isner also has a physical advantage when unleashing his forehand from a set position.

:rolleyes:

isner has terrific touch and placement on his serve--his height only makes it all the more imposing, but it isn't reason for why it is so effective in the first place

Oh really? So you think his serve would be as big if he was Federer's height?

Isner does make a good job with his serve, not all of it comes from his height. There are other giant players who don't know how to use their serve as wisely as Isner.

Still, his height IS the reason why it's so effective in the first place.

--delpo is no shorty but his serve is only average. i don't think any shot reaches pro-level without some effort...just sayin'

Just saying what, exactly?

uh...speechless truly...

Care to elaborate? With a logical argument for once?

Being that tall is an asset that is out weighed by it's inherent liabilities. No guy over 6'4" has ever made the top 3. Movement issues seem to outweigh any advantages from mere height.

Also, it's like saying a guy with better eye sight, or fleetness of foot has an unfair advantage because those are skills/talent one is born with.
Just about all top players have "some" natural skills that they were born with, and they each have some specific deficiencies to train against.. Just part of the sport and always has been.

We had this discussion already. :) I am analysing Isner's serve, and that is where he has the big physical advantage. When we look at the whole picture, being tall has disadvantages too, mainly regarding movement and fitness.

I am in no way saying Isner doesn't deserve the things he's achieved. He in particular has very limited movement, and struggles a lot to get into position because of his size. He has had to learn (and has done it successfully) to shorten rallies and use his shots so as to give himself time to get back into position. In that regard, he is in my book a superior player to other giants like Karlovic. I just can't picture Ivo hitting those clutch shots to break Mahut at 69-68.

Still, my point is I value a player like Sampras higher than a player like Isner. The reason is, Pete achieved what he achieved without having any significant physical advantage. He wasn't particularly tall, or particularly fast. Him having the serve he had is extremely praiseworthy.

That is not to say a case like Sampras's is the rule rather than the exception. Many (most?) players have physical advantages that have helped them reach their level, that is a part of tennis and sports and will ever be. After all, they are athletes. It's only that merit is to me a very important thing when analysing a tennis player.

Har-Tru
06-27-2010, 01:53 PM
I observed Del Potro closely last year and I often wondered with the way he hits his forehand, whether he was putting his wrist at risk.

Well, now we know that he will be out for virtually 12 months with that problem.

That leads me to think that Tennis will not ultimately go down this path because players at that height are usually injury prone. Krajicek was a similar height and build and although he played a different game, he was also vulnearble to lots of injuries. Like Del Potro, Krajicek was capable of beating anyone when he got going.

I still hope Del Potro wins more slams because he's a good player to watch and is improving his whole game (unless the injury sends him backwards for a while when he returns to the Tour.)

Sad as it is, it sort of evens it out. What their body gives them, their body takes away.

green25814
06-27-2010, 02:06 PM
With the way the game is today, ie returners having a massive advantage, I support Isner. In a way he's an underdog out there. Yes his massive height helps his serve, but it also greatly hampers the rest of his game, so things even out.

Echoes
06-27-2010, 02:43 PM
No guy over 6'4" has ever made the top 3.

Stich? Goran?


Mahut is tallish, but 190cm is nothing compared to 206cm. Hence my view: his aces are more praiseworthy than Isner's (quality of return aside).

And it shouldn't even be let aside, I think. I have the feeling that many of his aces were returnable by a good returner, certainly on Wednesday evening when he really started to hit many because Isner couldn't put one foot before the other.

I've never heard anyone consider Mahut as an ace-machine or whatever, a solid serve certainly but that's it.

ShotmaKer
06-27-2010, 03:04 PM
Stich? Goran?

both are 6'4", not over 6'4". so is Safin.

MacTheKnife
06-27-2010, 03:08 PM
both are 6"4, not over 6"4.


:yeah: Believe it or not, I believe Todd Martin was the closet to attaining the #3 ranking, but he just never could get over the hump.

I may have missed someone, but I don't think so.. Voo ??? Anybody ?? 6'4" seems to be the wall they hit for the big guys to break into the top 3..

Hence, bigger liability than asset. It does appear that eventually this will happen simply due to the number of giants emerging..

Note: I am talking open era. Some of the stats from the 60s and before is questionable for size and weight stats..

Echoes
06-27-2010, 03:17 PM
OK sorry, folks. These measures (I'm from continental Europe :p). :D
It should be correct then. No doubt.

BK 201
06-27-2010, 03:57 PM
I'd rather JMDP 'win' a slam than guys like Murray playing defensive winning big titles. Tennis is a game of getting reward from low risk shots playing off. The most aggressive player on court is the player who is more likely to win.

paseo
06-27-2010, 04:30 PM
I'd rather JMDP 'win' a slam than guys like Murray playing defensive winning big titles. Tennis is a game of getting reward from low risk shots playing off. The most aggressive player on court is the player who is more likely to win.

Not if you have legendary defensive skills like Nadal, though.

BK 201
06-27-2010, 04:33 PM
Not if you have legendary defensive skills like Nadal, though.


Nadal plays aggressive on the big points though and has the match on his racket. He has great defenseive and offensive skills, just like Federer.


Chang was the last pure defensive player to win a slam. Hewitt was primarily a grinder who had zip on his strokes and would play aggressive. There is a reason why Murray has 0 slams.

Mechlan
06-27-2010, 06:29 PM
Chang was the last pure defensive player to win a slam. Hewitt was primarily a grinder who had zip on his strokes and would play aggressive. There is a reason why Murray has 0 slams.

Murray would have a great shot at a slam in Hewitt's era. Circumstances have to be right in addition to having the skills to bag a major. Agreed on Murray needing to play more offensively to win a major in today's game.

laurie-1
06-27-2010, 07:03 PM
Murray would have a great shot at a slam in Hewitt's era. Circumstances have to be right in addition to having the skills to bag a major. Agreed on Murray needing to play more offensively to win a major in today's game.

That's why I find it difficult to get behind Murray.

I remember back in 2001 it was predicted by many (myself included) that Hewitt's style of play would mean that he would burn out quickly and his more talented contemporaries would take over, it happened 10 years previous with Courier. Hewitt also took advantage of the fact that guys in the top 10 were on their way out, especially at 2002 Wimbledon.

But for Murray to be 6 ft 3 and play defensive counterpunching Tennis is unbelievable. I really find him and Gael Monfils unbelievable.

I've been wanting to start a thread about Murray and Monfils but just can't be bothered.

But the class of 2004 produced Murray and Monfils who won all of the junior slams that year. That really cannot be the future of Tennis - 2004 junior Tennis produced a strange scenario.

barbadosan
06-27-2010, 08:22 PM
That's why I find it difficult to get behind Murray.

I remember back in 2001 it was predicted by many (myself included) that Hewitt's style of play would mean that he would burn out quickly and his more talented contemporaries would take over, it happened 10 years previous with Courier. Hewitt also took advantage of the fact that guys in the top 10 were on their way out, especially at 2002 Wimbledon.

But for Murray to be 6 ft 3 and play defensive counterpunching Tennis is unbelievable. I really find him and Gael Monfils unbelievable.

I've been wanting to start a thread about Murray and Monfils but just can't be bothered.

But the class of 2004 produced Murray and Monfils who won all of the junior slams that year. That really cannot be the future of Tennis - 2004 junior Tennis produced a strange scenario.

Gael in particular who is such a superb athlete... standing 20 metres behind the baseline begging for a re-admission ticket to the match is ridiculous.

Har-Tru
06-27-2010, 08:35 PM
:yeah: Believe it or not, I believe Todd Martin was the closet to attaining the #3 ranking, but he just never could get over the hump.

I may have missed someone, but I don't think so.. Voo ??? Anybody ?? 6'4" seems to be the wall they hit for the big guys to break into the top 3..

Hence, bigger liability than asset. It does appear that eventually this will happen simply due to the number of giants emerging..

Note: I am talking open era. Some of the stats from the 60s and before is questionable for size and weight stats..

You also have to take into account giants form a small % of the population.

BK 201
06-27-2010, 09:03 PM
Murray would have a great shot at a slam in Hewitt's era. Circumstances have to be right in addition to having the skills to bag a major. Agreed on Murray needing to play more offensively to win a major in today's game.

Any top 10 player (except for choketasco) would win a slam in 2001-02. Those 2 years were the weakest, although 06 comes close.

Mjau!
06-28-2010, 02:14 AM
:unsure:That is why I despise Del Potro. He is just a quality ballbasher who takes advantage from being able to hit the ball from a higher position. I fear tennis is moving to the point where it will be dominated by giant servers and hitters. I hope I'm wrong.

It is inevitable. Just wait til one of them comes along who moves well. :scared:

leng jai
06-28-2010, 08:37 AM
:yeah: Believe it or not, I believe Todd Martin was the closet to attaining the #3 ranking, but he just never could get over the hump.

I may have missed someone, but I don't think so.. Voo ??? Anybody ?? 6'4" seems to be the wall they hit for the big guys to break into the top 3..

Hence, bigger liability than asset. It does appear that eventually this will happen simply due to the number of giants emerging..

Note: I am talking open era. Some of the stats from the 60s and before is questionable for size and weight stats..


How tall is Marat?

ShotmaKer
06-28-2010, 09:09 AM
How tall is Marat?

both are 6'4", not over 6'4". so is Safin.

that tall.

Sean.
06-28-2010, 12:00 PM
Take away 2nd serves, it would make Roddick/Karlovic matches far more interesting! :p

BK 201
06-28-2010, 12:42 PM
Take away 2nd serves, it would make Roddick/Karlovic matches far more interesting! :p

That would be an advantage for Roddick. He serves at 70% - 85%, meaning he would rarely fault and the opponent would have to serve slower against him, which would help Roddick's weaker ROS. Karlovic would be screwed though.

Sean.
06-28-2010, 03:58 PM
That would be an advantage for Roddick. He serves at 70% - 85%, meaning he would rarely fault and the opponent would have to serve slower against him, which would help Roddick's weaker ROS. Karlovic would be screwed though.

Mission accomplished. :devil: