MTF sacred cows: Sampras' serve [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

MTF sacred cows: Sampras' serve

Fed=ATPTourkilla
01-31-2007, 09:18 PM
I remember there was a thread on here where MTF voted 80-20 that Pete's serve was better than Roddick's and better than any of the current players' serves, bar Karlovic - even though several of today's players register much faster speeds. I don't agree with this (and I'm often called a Fedtard Pete-hater for this reason!) But let's look at the evidence.

I've posted links to Federer-Sampras and Federer-Roddick in Shanghai 06. A lot of people believe that Pete's disguise and placement compensates for the slower pace of his serve compared to today's big servers (Roddick, Ljubicic). I think a comparison between these two videos (or pick any Fed-Roddick video you want, even AO 07) shows that view to be a myth. Federer is able to take a full swing at a lot of Pete's first serves and hits several clean winners on first serve returns. Lleyton Hewitt did the same. Against Roddick, however, Roger simply doesn't have time to attack. He can only float a blocked return back, relying on his superior skill to win the point from there. People often talk of how Federer is able to handle Roddick's serve - but Andy usually gets a defensive, floaty response to his first serves from Roger, it's just that he can't take advantage of it. Watch the videos and see for yourself. Andy's serve has a lot more bite on it than Pete's does and draws weaker responses from Roger, even though Andy is facing a far stronger version of Roger than Pete did. Furthermore, the Andy-Roger match is on a relatively slow surface whereas Pete-Roger is on grass.

Fed-Sampras (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XSje6Aptac)

Fed-Roddick (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pUGEhHALFg)

Fed=ATPTourkilla
01-31-2007, 09:19 PM
For Andy, the point generally goes downhill after he gets the floaty return. I chose Shanghai and not a grass game (which would have been a better comparison) because Andy serve-volleys a lot in that match and I wanted to compare his volleys to Pete's. And it seems pretty clear that Pete's volleys and movement are several levels above Roddick's. I don't agree that the way to play Roger is to try and dominate him. But maybe if you had a player with Roddick's serve and Pete's volleys/movement to come in and pick off the floated returns, that player would be able to cause Roger some problems, especially on grass where the big serve would get a lot of floaty blocks. In 2001 Pete's serve wasn't big enough to trouble Federer, and in 2007 Roddick's volleys aren't good enough to take advantage of his blocks. But still, Andy does often get 70%+ first serves and if he could sort his volleys out, maybe he'd be onto something.

Of course, the implication of all this that if Pete played Roger, he would come under a lot of pressure in his service games and would probably lose - even on grass. But I mean this as a thread on serves, not a Pete v Roger thread. :)

Lee
01-31-2007, 09:21 PM
Why don't you use the search engine and find the thread? Now the mods have to merge this thread. :p

R.Federer
01-31-2007, 09:24 PM
Great effort putting these together. Thank you.

almouchie
01-31-2007, 09:32 PM
comparing roddick's serve to sampras
yeah right

keep on dreaming

madmanfool
01-31-2007, 09:42 PM
I think this is a way off comparison, you're watching highlights. Off course you see all the returns were Federer could take a good swing and hit a winner against Sampras. Those are great points against a serve and volleyer. He can't just float the ball because Sampras would have the easy volley. He has to take some chances. That's exactly why people want Roddick to volley. You wont see the points were Sampras had the easy volley in the highlights or the missed returns.
Roddick serves harder then Sampras, but in my opinion no way he got more bite on the serve. One of the biggest disappointments to me is that Roddcick almost never serves to the body and that could be a big weapon.

Btw did you notice the court speed at Wimbledon, i wish they speed it up again a little bit, it was just perfect back then in 2001 and what a pitty Federer doesn't serve and volley anymore.

Fed=ATPTourkilla
01-31-2007, 09:52 PM
I think this is a way off comparison, you're watching highlights.

Well watch full matches if you want a better comparison. :) I doubt most people have the time. But I think the point stands. I can't remember Roger ever hitting clean winners off Andy's first serve in the same way he does off Pete's. The highlights point goes both ways - if Roger had hit even a single winner from Andy's first serve, that would show up in the highlights.

People just say things like "oh Roddick's serve, better than Pete's, yeah, you must be joking" without being able to back it up at all, other than with unsubstatiated claims about better placement and variety.

madmanfool
01-31-2007, 10:09 PM
Well watch full matches if you want a better comparison. :) I doubt most people have the time. But I think the point stands. I can't remember Roger ever hitting clean winners off Andy's first serve in the same way he does off Pete's. The highlights point goes both ways - if Roger had hit even a single winner from Andy's first serve, that would show up in the highlights.

People just say things like "oh Roddick's serve, better than Pete's, yeah, you must be joking" without being able to back it up at all, other than with unsubstatiated claims about better placement and variety.

yeah, but Roddick is not serve and volleying all the time like Sampras, just every now and then, so he doesn't have to hit the big winners on the return. He can just float the ball in play and then beat Roddick with his eyes closed.

edit: you get a lot better comparison from this if you ask me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktOo4CNo_H4

GlennMirnyi
01-31-2007, 10:40 PM
You're on dope mate. You're comparing a 30-something year Sampras to Roddick. Find something from 94-98 then. Nobody ever served like Sampras.

madmanfool
01-31-2007, 10:44 PM
You're on dope mate. You're comparing a 30-something year Sampras to Roddick. Find something from 94-98 then. Nobody ever served like Sampras.

You don't get the point mate. I find Pete's serve at 30 years a lot bigger then Roddick, so where does that leave the Pete from 94-98...If i can prove it for 30 year i also prove it for 25, no? mate?

GlennMirnyi
01-31-2007, 10:46 PM
You don't get the point mate. I find Pete's serve at 30 years a lot bigger then Roddick, so where does that leave the Pete from 94-98...If i can prove it for 30 year i also prove it for 25, no? mate?

I'm talking about the thread starter. Trying to diss Sampras' serve.

nkhera1
02-01-2007, 12:54 AM
Sampras had a ton of spin on his serve. If i'm correct, he had some of the higest rpm for any player during his era. It would be interesting to see what Roddick's service rpm is.

deliveryman
02-01-2007, 01:38 AM
yeah, but Roddick is not serve and volleying all the time like Sampras, just every now and then, so he doesn't have to hit the big winners on the return. He can just float the ball in play and then beat Roddick with his eyes closed.

edit: you get a lot better comparison from this if you ask me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktOo4CNo_H4

Are you comparing Roddick's return of serve to Federer's? :rolleyes:

Denise
02-01-2007, 01:52 AM
You're on dope mate. You're comparing a 30-something year Sampras to Roddick. Find something from 94-98 then. Nobody ever served like Sampras.

I agree
We can't compare Sampras with someone else :rolleyes:

Mimi
02-01-2007, 02:06 AM
i don't know much about tennis skills, but i think, the most important thing is that pete's serves seem to be more effective and won him more matches, and if his serves were off, he still has other weapons, while in roddick's case, if his serves are off, then there is a high chance that he will lose :p

GlennMirnyi
02-01-2007, 02:20 AM
I agree
We can't compare Sampras with someone else :rolleyes:

Serve-wise, you can't.

Liverpool4ever
02-01-2007, 06:15 AM
The question is if Roddick's forehad is worse, his backhand about the same, his volleys far worse, his movement far worse then how does he hold serve as much as Sampras? Not only does he hold serve at a similar percentage, but he plays players better than him and on far slower surfaces.

Dougie
02-01-2007, 09:33 AM
The question is if Roddick's forehad is worse, his backhand about the same, his volleys far worse, his movement far worse then how does he hold serve as much as Sampras? Not only does he hold serve at a similar percentage, but he plays players better than him and on far slower surfaces.

What do you mean plays better!? Sampras wasn´t spectacular on clay, but I haven´t seen Roddick perform anything special on clay either. Sampras was far better player than Roddick, much more complete.

David Kenzie
02-01-2007, 10:28 AM
To compare serves you have to take into account both first servers and second. In fact the second is more important.

Experimentee
02-01-2007, 03:06 PM
I doubt the thread starter was even watching tennis in the 90's :rolleyes:

There is no way Roddick's serve is better than Sampras'. And its no use comparing Roddick's serve now to Sampras when he was declining and on the verge of retirement.

sykotique
02-01-2007, 04:32 PM
The reason Federer is able to take a big swing at Sampras' serve is because Sampras is going for placement, but Federer's wingspan sort of negates the effectiveness of a wide serve, even though there may be ridiculous spin on it.

Roddick, on the other hand, is more concerned with power than placement, so that his serves end up much closer to Fed's body, forcing Fed to block them back. The result is that Roddick's serve seems to trouble Fed more, but what the highlights don't show is exactly the differential between aces and aces out wide or down the T.

Also, a faster serve can actually hurt your serve and volley game. With an extremely big serve, a player might find it hard to make ground between the baseline and the net, which reduces his own percentage at the net when the ball is returned, even if it is blocked back. Sampras' serve had to be placed well enough so that his volleys could be 100% effective, but he also had just enough pace to make the return difficult as well. In this instance, Roddick's pace of serve actually hurts him.


With regard to disguise, there is no comparison really. Federer being able to take long swipes at Pete's serve is more about Fed's wingspan and reaction time than Pete's lack of disguise. On the other hand, no matter how fast Roddick serves, Federer will usually know exactly where the ball is going, even if he is unable to reach it. Another thing the highlights won't show is the unreturnable serves. I'm sure Roddick takes a ton of points off of unreturnable serves, but the reason they are unreturnables and not aces is because Fed is aware enough of Roddick's serve to at least get a racket on it.

Fed=ATPTourkilla
02-01-2007, 09:19 PM
I doubt the thread starter was even watching tennis in the 90's :rolleyes:

There is no way Roddick's serve is better than Sampras'. And its no use comparing Roddick's serve now to Sampras when he was declining and on the verge of retirement.

This is just the sort of post I started the thread about... no substance to it at all, just "Pete's serve is better or you are an idiot." And yes, I was watching tennis in the 1990s. :) FYI I don't think Pete's serve was any worse in 2001 than it was in the mid 90s and Pete himself has said so. In fact, one of his most famous serving performances was in 2002 v Agassi.

DrJules
02-01-2007, 09:25 PM
The reason Federer is able to take a big swing at Sampras' serve is because Sampras is going for placement, but Federer's wingspan sort of negates the effectiveness of a wide serve, even though there may be ridiculous spin on it.

Roddick, on the other hand, is more concerned with power than placement, so that his serves end up much closer to Fed's body, forcing Fed to block them back. The result is that Roddick's serve seems to trouble Fed more, but what the highlights don't show is exactly the differential between aces and aces out wide or down the T.

Also, a faster serve can actually hurt your serve and volley game. With an extremely big serve, a player might find it hard to make ground between the baseline and the net, which reduces his own percentage at the net when the ball is returned, even if it is blocked back. Sampras' serve had to be placed well enough so that his volleys could be 100% effective, but he also had just enough pace to make the return difficult as well. In this instance, Roddick's pace of serve actually hurts him.


With regard to disguise, there is no comparison really. Federer being able to take long swipes at Pete's serve is more about Fed's wingspan and reaction time than Pete's lack of disguise. On the other hand, no matter how fast Roddick serves, Federer will usually know exactly where the ball is going, even if he is unable to reach it. Another thing the highlights won't show is the unreturnable serves. I'm sure Roddick takes a ton of points off of unreturnable serves, but the reason they are unreturnables and not aces is because Fed is aware enough of Roddick's serve to at least get a racket on it.

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Really.

Federer broke the Roddick serve 7 times in the 3 set semi-final.

Fed=ATPTourkilla
02-01-2007, 09:26 PM
The reason Federer is able to take a big swing at Sampras' serve is because Sampras is going for placement, but Federer's wingspan sort of negates the effectiveness of a wide serve, even though there may be ridiculous spin on it.

Roddick, on the other hand, is more concerned with power than placement, so that his serves end up much closer to Fed's body, forcing Fed to block them back. The result is that Roddick's serve seems to trouble Fed more, but what the highlights don't show is exactly the differential between aces and aces out wide or down the T.

Are you suggesting that Pete aced Fed more than Roddick does? If so, I'd like to see some evidence...Fed is very difficult to ace, even at age 19 - I don't believe Pete got a particularly high number of aces against him.

To me, it just looks extremely clear cut that Pete's serve is less effective. At least against Roger. Just watch the videos, or any other Fed-Roddick video. I think the people disputing this just aren't opening their eyes to what's in front of them. On the other hand, maybe you could find someone else who's returned both Pete and Andy's serves and it'd look different. I don't know.

I'm not saying Roddick is a better player than Pete. I'm saying his serve is better than Pete's was.

Fed=ATPTourkilla
02-01-2007, 09:28 PM
:lol: :lol: :lol:

Really.

Federer broke the Roddick serve 7 times in the 3 set semi-final.

Yes, because of what happens after the return of serve. The return itself is almost always a floated block. Against Pete it was often an attacking shot, with several clean winners from first serves.

Black Adam
02-01-2007, 09:33 PM
Serve-wise, you can't.
You probably never heard of Goran Ivanisevic.

DrJules
02-01-2007, 09:37 PM
Yes, because of what happens after the return of serve. The return itself is almost always a floated block. Against Pete it was often an attacking shot, with several clean winners from first serves.

So many top players do not return enough Roddick serves to even start the point. At least Federer can return it and those returns are not as easy for Roddick to handle as many imagine.

DrJules
02-01-2007, 09:42 PM
You probably never heard of Goran Ivanisevic.

Under pressure Sampras served better. Not surprising because he was emotionally more under control than Ivanisevic who was far too emotional to dominate like a Sampras.

That tennis kid
02-01-2007, 09:42 PM
Well watch full matches if you want a better comparison. :) I doubt most people have the time. But I think the point stands. I can't remember Roger ever hitting clean winners off Andy's first serve in the same way he does off Pete's. The highlights point goes both ways - if Roger had hit even a single winner from Andy's first serve, that would show up in the highlights.

People just say things like "oh Roddick's serve, better than Pete's, yeah, you must be joking" without being able to back it up at all, other than with unsubstatiated claims about better placement and variety.

AO semi-final, second point. Can't find a replay, but for those of us who saw that match it was pretty clear that Federer can handle Roddick's serve. He perhaps doesn't hit as many return winners as he did against Sampras, but as that point has been made he doesn't need to - Sampras was serve and volleying on just about every serve; Roddick doesn't.

Also, it is not easy to make a direct comparison at how Federer was able to handle their respective serves with only one match against Sampras (stats here (http://www.atptennis.com/5/en/players/playerprofiles/popMatchStats.asp?sd=Singles&trnnum=540&trnyear=2001&rnd=4&plyr=F324), by the way) and 14 against Roddick.

Which serve was better? Both great, Roddick's certainly has it's pace, but Sampras just seemed to have this untouchable serve - though I am not sure if this would be reflected by statistics.

oz_boz
02-01-2007, 09:46 PM
Are you suggesting that Pete aced Fed more than Roddick does? If so, I'd like to see some evidence...Fed is very difficult to ace, even at age 19 - I don't believe Pete got a particularly high number of aces against him.

Ace stats in Wim R4 2001: Fed 25-Sampras 26
Wim SF 2003: Fed 15-Roddick 4
Wim F 2004: Fed 12-Roddick 11
Wim F 2005: Fed 16-Roddick 7
AO SF 2007: Fed 10-Roddick 4

and more. Fed almost always aoutaces ARod by a few, he didn't do that to Pete in their only meeting.

Fed=ATPTourkilla
02-01-2007, 10:05 PM
Ace stats in Wim R4 2001: Fed 25-Sampras 26
Wim SF 2003: Fed 15-Roddick 4
Wim F 2004: Fed 12-Roddick 11
Wim F 2005: Fed 16-Roddick 7
AO SF 2007: Fed 10-Roddick 4

and more. Fed almost always aoutaces ARod by a few, he didn't do that to Pete in their only meeting.

This is selective use of stats. It's true that Fed has the upper hand but there are matches going the other way eg Cincinatti 05: Roddick 11 Fed 5, Basel 02: Roddick 14 Fed 4. There are also a few draws. You also need to factor in the facts that Federer's serve and return weren't as good when he played Pete as they are now, and that he has significantly more experience of reading Roddick's serve than he did of Pete's.

Fed=ATPTourkilla
02-01-2007, 10:07 PM
So many top players do not return enough Roddick serves to even start the point. At least Federer can return it and those returns are not as easy for Roddick to handle as many imagine.

Well I agree with that. There are a lot of players on tour who would be able to work Roddick round the court if only they could get into the points on his serve.

angiel
02-01-2007, 10:53 PM
This is selective use of stats. It's true that Fed has the upper hand but there are matches going the other way eg Cincinatti 05: Roddick 11 Fed 5, Basel 02: Roddick 14 Fed 4. There are also a few draws. You also need to factor in the facts that Federer's serve and return weren't as good when he played Pete as they are now, and that he has significantly more experience of reading Roddick's serve than he did of Pete's.


It seem that nothing anyone say you will never be satisfy you at all, let me put it like this then, dont even start to compare Roddick with Pete in any form, you will lose that argument hands down, so stop it.:sad: :sad:

thrust
02-02-2007, 12:10 AM
In NO respect is Roddick^s game as good as Pete^s. His serve may be faster, but speed isn^t the whole story. His backhand is nowhere as good as Pete^s was. Pete did win the Italian Open on clay, and beat Agassi in Monte Carlo on clay. He could play well on clay and should have done better at the FO. Roger is the only player today who is anywhere nearly as good as Sampras was, perhaps even better. Time will tell.

General Suburbia
02-02-2007, 01:42 AM
It seem that nothing anyone say you will never be satisfy you at all, let me put it like this then, dont even start to compare Roddick with Pete in any form, you will lose that argument hands down, so stop it.:sad: :sad:
Is this guy talking out of his ass? Maybe, but from the way this debate is going, he's certainly the more convincing out of anyone opposing him in this thread so far. If you want to prove him wrong, prove him wrong; don't just talk in absolutes.
In NO respect is Roddick^s game as good as Pete^s. His serve may be faster, but speed isn^t the whole story. His backhand is nowhere as good as Pete^s was. Pete did win the Italian Open on clay, and beat Agassi in Monte Carlo on clay. He could play well on clay and should have done better at the FO. Roger is the only player today who is anywhere nearly as good as Sampras was, perhaps even better. Time will tell.
We're not talking about their overall games, we're talking about their serves specifically.

TennisLurker
02-02-2007, 01:44 AM
I have a tape of Korda´s victory over Sampras in 1997, and one of the 2002Sampras Agassi US Open final, and Pete´s serve looked more impressive in the 2002 match, but I think the impressiveness of Pete´s serve depended much on his opponent.

fooolingu
02-02-2007, 02:03 AM
Maybe you should use tapes of Agassi who played them both in several times.

fooolingu
02-02-2007, 02:09 AM
Ace stats in Wim R4 2001: Fed 25-Sampras 26
Wim SF 2003: Fed 15-Roddick 4
Wim F 2004: Fed 12-Roddick 11
Wim F 2005: Fed 16-Roddick 7
AO SF 2007: Fed 10-Roddick 4

and more. Fed almost always aoutaces ARod by a few, he didn't do that to Pete in their only meeting.


We could explain this by saying Pete was able to ace Fed more often, but also gave up more winners to him. Whereas, Rod rarely aces Fed, but Fed rarely hits winners against -- he just blocks them back. Then again, if Roddick had a big forehand or was better at S&V Fed might choose to try to hit winners off his serve rather than just block them. We don't really know, because his strategy right now is so effective against Andy, since Andy can't do shit with the weak returns and Fed makes very few errors with them, he doesn't need to try to hit winners.

GlennMirnyi
02-02-2007, 02:09 AM
You probably never heard of Goran Ivanisevic.

Under pressure Sampras served better. Not surprising because he was emotionally more under control than Ivanisevic who was far too emotional to dominate like a Sampras.

Do I need to answer that?

sykotique
02-02-2007, 03:51 AM
:lol: :lol: :lol:

Really.

Federer broke the Roddick serve 7 times in the 3 set semi-final.

But Roddick wasn't broken because of a poor first serve percentage and Fed hardly hit clean winners. After the point was started, Roddick was either a) passed, or b) thumped from the baseline.


And I do think it's fair to say that Roddick's serve would trouble Fed more than Sampras'. Pete had great disguise on his serve, but Fed is good at reading almost everyone's serve. He doesn't need to be able to read all of Pete's serves either, because he has lightning quick reflexes and a larger than average wingspan.


The difficulty Fed has with Roddick's serve lies in the pure pace of the serve. The effectiveness of Fed's wingspan and reaction time are vastly reduced when the serve is coming at him at 150 km/h, so most of the times, all he can do is block the ball back in play. HOWEVER, that's all he really needs to do against Roddick, because he knows that once the rally has begun, he will almost inevitably win the point. Roddick's inability to hold serve against Fed has nothing to do with his serve and everything to do with what happens after Fed has returned his serve.

GlennMirnyi
02-02-2007, 04:02 AM
Oh my, please stop with that. Sampras was going down when he played Federer.

sykotique
02-02-2007, 04:11 AM
Oh my, please stop with that. Sampras was going down when he played Federer.

...but his service speed wasn't.


Look, I know you're a Sampras fanatic and everything. Don't get me wrong, Sampras has a much better, much more effective serve than Roddick. But all I'm saying is that, because of the mere pace of Roddick's serve which negates Fed's wingspan and reaction time, Roddick's serve is more likely to trouble Fed than Sampras'.


Is that such a ludicrous statement? Was Sampras not serving at 130+ km/h versus Federer in 2001? Was Fed not able to clock a few?


Of course, Sampras will win more points on his serve than Roddick because he has a far superior all-round game. But Roddick's serve does put Fed on the backfoot, as far as blocking back the return goes. There, I laid it out and made it simple to understand. I'm not saying that my opinion is the right one, but I can't do much better than explain in simple language what I'm trying to convey. Please let's make this a civil debate.

GlennMirnyi
02-02-2007, 05:14 AM
How many aces Roddick gets against Federer? Just a few. That's the difference. Federer returns them all.

Don't forget that match against Sampras was just a lucky shot by Federer. How much time did he take to be able to repeat such a performance?

sykotique
02-02-2007, 05:20 AM
How many aces Roddick gets against Federer? Just a few. That's the difference. Federer returns them all.

Don't forget that match against Sampras was just a lucky shot by Federer. How much time did he take to be able to repeat such a performance?

Take the time to read my posts and you'll see that I'm actually agreeing with you.

GlennMirnyi
02-02-2007, 05:25 AM
Take the time to read my posts and you'll see that I'm actually agreeing with you.

Well, you're saying Roddick's serve would give Federer more trouble than Sampras' would (we don't know exactly, as Sampras only played Federer once). I disagree with that. :)

sykotique
02-02-2007, 05:46 AM
Well, you're saying Roddick's serve would give Federer more trouble than Sampras' would (we don't know exactly, as Sampras only played Federer once). I disagree with that. :)

Well, it depends on your definition of "trouble."

Here's what we agree on: Sampras can ace Fed more than Roddick (for the stats of the Wimbledon match, aces were 26-25, in Sampras' favour, so that supports the argument).

Here's what I think: Sampras' style of serve, though effective for picking up aces, would be susceptible every now and then to Federer's excellent return game, which is based on the ability to read a serve, his large wingspan and his quick reaction time. Sampras' disguise makes it harder for Fed to read the serve, but Fed can still every now and then hit clean hit winners because of his huge wingspan and reaction time if Pete's serve is even slightly off.

Now Roddick does not have Pete's disguise, which means Roger is able to read his serve like a book. However, Fed's reaction time and wingspan are somewhat negated by the fact that Roddick serves so fast. So even though he knows EXACTLY where the ball is going, he may not be able to do little more than block back the return. Sometimes, the serve is marked down as an unreturnable, because Roddick's serve is so fast that even when Fed gets a racket on it, it does not necessarily make it over the net.

Now, the variables when Fed blocks back the return are like this: Roddick can finish off the point with a forehand or, as is more often the case, be on the backfoot from the time the ball is returned.


To me, the measure of effectiveness of a service game is how effective it CAN be, not how effective it actually is. Roddick's serve troubles Fed in the sense that there's not much he can do with the return, which kind of leaves him at the mercy of Roddick's front and midcourt game. However, considering how poor Roddick's front and midcourt game is, for the most part, he is unable to take advantage of the blocked returns. What's more, the pace of his serve makes it harder for him to time his approaches to net: he's serving is so fast that, by the time Fed has blocked back the return, he may still be behind the service line.


Now Sampras has great placement and disguise, but Fed's combination of ability to read serve, huge wingspan and quick reaction time negate the placement effect somewhat. So what Pete has left is the disguise. Sometimes Fed will get it right, sometimes he won't. But as the game wears on, he will probably get it right more often than he gets it wrong and because Pete's serve lacks the raw pace generated by that of Roddick, Fed could be able to take large, accurate swipes at the ball, resulting not only in a lot of return winners, but also difficult volleys for Pete.


And this is why I think Roddick's serve (not his service game, just his serve) could give Fed more trouble.

GlennMirnyi
02-02-2007, 06:03 AM
Mercy? Roddick has no clue of what to do when Federer blocks the serve.

The thing is: a S&V like Sampras can't serve flat (or even with spin) bombs down the middle all the time because just hitting the return, without any swing, can be the necessary to make a winner. The power of the serve is used by the returner. This said, Sampras, as a S&V, takes the pace of the serve to be able to get to the net in time to volley. This, of course, leaves him vulnerable to a return winner, especially by a guy that was on fire that day. This said, Sampras probably was used to gettin' return winners from good returners having good days, but for a S&V, it's better to lose the point than giving the other player a rhythm when returning.

Roddick can only serve fast. He has no variety and/or placement. When Federer blocks his serve, he's clueless of what to do. That said, he can't S&V all the time with those bombs because Federer then would hit the return and expose the ridiculous net-play Roddick has. So he has no other option, he must stay at the baseline.

I'm expecting someone giving me the "in Shanghai he S&V a lot". Big deal, he got a Federer in a bad day, still lost and couldn't deliver when it mattered the most.

Apemant
02-02-2007, 09:33 AM
Under pressure Sampras served better. Not surprising because he was emotionally more under control than Ivanisevic who was far too emotional to dominate like a Sampras.

Precisely, and that means that Sampras was mentally stronger, not that his 1st serve was better.

Goran's 1st serve was clearly better, taken alone. Sampras's serve was awesome, but it was coupled with amazing volleying, so he didn't depend so much on aces and unreturnables. That fact further allowed him to be more relaxed than Goran, whose volleys were average (nowhere near Sampras' at any rate).

Also, Sampras' 2nd serve was better, even though Goran's was also among the best.

Overall, Sampras' combination of 1st and 2nd serves, together with his volleying and mental fortitude, made him the greatest service player I can think of. But when you consider just the 1st serve alone, there's no denying Goran's was the best. Many years he led the list of most # of aces throughout the year. His 1477 aces '96 is still the all-time ATP record.

madmanfool
02-02-2007, 09:44 AM
Precisely, and that means that Sampras was mentally stronger, not that his 1st serve was better.

Goran's 1st serve was clearly better, taken alone. Sampras's serve was awesome, but it was coupled with amazing volleying, so he didn't depend so much on aces and unreturnables. That fact further allowed him to be more relaxed than Goran, whose volleys were average (nowhere near Sampras' at any rate).

Also, Sampras' 2nd serve was better, even though Goran's was also among the best.

Overall, Sampras' combination of 1st and 2nd serves, together with his volleying and mental fortitude, made him the greatest service player I can think of. But when you consider just the 1st serve alone, there's no denying Goran's was the best. Many years he led the list of most # of aces throughout the year. His 1477 aces '96 is still the all-time ATP record.

Let's not forget Goran was a lefty.

Mimi
02-02-2007, 09:59 AM
goran, the good old crazy goran, if not for pete, he should have 1 more wimby :mad:

throughout the year. His 1477 aces '96 is still the all-time ATP record.

Apemant
02-02-2007, 10:10 AM
Let's not forget Goran was a lefty.

Hmm you have a point there. But still, I'd say him being a lefty is a part of his monster 1st serve, the same way as his height. If he was 5'10 he certainly wouldn't be able to serve so many aces, lefty or not.

But I just wouldn't consider mental strength to be a part of 1st serve quality assessment. The fact that Goran used to self-destruct in frustrating situations (a scoreline 7-6 7-6 6-0 comes to mind) just doesn't mean his 1st serve wasn't better than Sampras'. It was.

sykotique
02-02-2007, 01:08 PM
Mercy? Roddick has no clue of what to do when Federer blocks the serve.

The thing is: a S&V like Sampras can't serve flat (or even with spin) bombs down the middle all the time because just hitting the return, without any swing, can be the necessary to make a winner. The power of the serve is used by the returner. This said, Sampras, as a S&V, takes the pace of the serve to be able to get to the net in time to volley. This, of course, leaves him vulnerable to a return winner, especially by a guy that was on fire that day. This said, Sampras probably was used to gettin' return winners from good returners having good days, but for a S&V, it's better to lose the point than giving the other player a rhythm when returning.

Roddick can only serve fast. He has no variety and/or placement. When Federer blocks his serve, he's clueless of what to do. That said, he can't S&V all the time with those bombs because Federer then would hit the return and expose the ridiculous net-play Roddick has. So he has no other option, he must stay at the baseline.

I'm expecting someone giving me the "in Shanghai he S&V a lot". Big deal, he got a Federer in a bad day, still lost and couldn't deliver when it mattered the most.

That's the point I was making. Roddick forces Fed to block the return (which is my definition of a "troubling" serve), but once the return is blocked, he is lost (at least against players like Fed).

So, to me, Roddick's serve IS effective against Fed, except that Roddick does not have the tools to utilise his serve effectively (and Fed knows this). So his serve is effective...until it gets back to him. Sampras' serve is effective in a different way, in that it sets up the point for the rest of his gameplan, which is really a risky gameplan depending on how 'on' his service game is and how 'on' his opponent's return game is. And Fed's return game was definitely 'on' at Wimbledon, while Pete was a step slower in closing to net than usual.


But, to my mind, I find that these days, Fed's return game is one of the most constant things about him. His movement can disappear for one or 2 shots, he might shank an easy forehand or a difficult backhand every now and then, but if he is able to stay in the match for a good 2, 3 sets, he seems able to work himself into a very good returning rhythm. So, it's just speculation, but I think Sampras might have re-considered constantly attacking the net against Fed. Perhaps, he would have attacked the net, then to throw him, hit from the baseline a bit, but I think it would take more than one strategy to get you through the match.

silverarrows
02-02-2007, 02:10 PM
Well, it depends on your definition of "trouble."

Here's what we agree on: Sampras can ace Fed more than Roddick (for the stats of the Wimbledon match, aces were 26-25, in Sampras' favour, so that supports the argument).

Here's what I think: Sampras' style of serve, though effective for picking up aces, would be susceptible every now and then to Federer's excellent return game, which is based on the ability to read a serve, his large wingspan and his quick reaction time. Sampras' disguise makes it harder for Fed to read the serve, but Fed can still every now and then hit clean hit winners because of his huge wingspan and reaction time if Pete's serve is even slightly off.

Now Roddick does not have Pete's disguise, which means Roger is able to read his serve like a book. However, Fed's reaction time and wingspan are somewhat negated by the fact that Roddick serves so fast. So even though he knows EXACTLY where the ball is going, he may not be able to do little more than block back the return. Sometimes, the serve is marked down as an unreturnable, because Roddick's serve is so fast that even when Fed gets a racket on it, it does not necessarily make it over the net.

Now, the variables when Fed blocks back the return are like this: Roddick can finish off the point with a forehand or, as is more often the case, be on the backfoot from the time the ball is returned.


To me, the measure of effectiveness of a service game is how effective it CAN be, not how effective it actually is. Roddick's serve troubles Fed in the sense that there's not much he can do with the return, which kind of leaves him at the mercy of Roddick's front and midcourt game. However, considering how poor Roddick's front and midcourt game is, for the most part, he is unable to take advantage of the blocked returns. What's more, the pace of his serve makes it harder for him to time his approaches to net: he's serving is so fast that, by the time Fed has blocked back the return, he may still be behind the service line.


Now Sampras has great placement and disguise, but Fed's combination of ability to read serve, huge wingspan and quick reaction time negate the placement effect somewhat. So what Pete has left is the disguise. Sometimes Fed will get it right, sometimes he won't. But as the game wears on, he will probably get it right more often than he gets it wrong and because Pete's serve lacks the raw pace generated by that of Roddick, Fed could be able to take large, accurate swipes at the ball, resulting not only in a lot of return winners, but also difficult volleys for Pete.


And this is why I think Roddick's serve (not his service game, just his serve) could give Fed more trouble.




Crystal-clear explanation. I agree. ;)