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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
You could feel it even in set 1, 4 DFs, a few coming near the end of the set almost jeopardising closing the set on serve.
It got worse as the match wore on, including 3 in one game. I lost count but it was at least 14 DFs all up.

Many of these were half up up the net, no forward power whatsoever. Frightening for a player as tall as he is. As the saying goes, what use is a big johnson if you can't get it up in bed or get your girl to achieve orgasm?

To me, the coaching team should make one immediate change to that second serve. If you watch closely at some videos, you will see what the issue is.
Tonight it was rather obvious from the TV angle as he served from the far end. Zverev has a very high ball toss. It's high for the first serve already relative to many players, but it's even higher on the second serve, so much the ball toss disappeared off the top of the screen. I don't think I've seen an ATP player with such a high ball toss, not even the Anderson serve. I'm no expert when it comes to serving, but it seems to me that he loses leverage on second serve by having such a high ball toss. This might seem counterintuitive, but it seems to make sense.

On the women's tour, you will see most ladies use a high ball toss. They use the height to help them get a bit extra power that they are lacking from their bodies (technically speaking; some women like Serena have good serves by making better use of their whole body/kinetic chain). But male players of average height or tall generally should have enough natural leverage through their trunk, legs and shoulder, working the kinetic chain as a speed multiplier. On the first serve, he uses more legs and forward action so there's not a big issue with the high toss (actually the ball kicks off very well). But on second serve, Zverev tossing the ball so high just gives him a far more difficult ball to work with, and certainly provides more room for him to decelerate during the shot, hence some really sloppy looking serves that keel over at the net. If I were to do one thing to the Zverev second serve, it would be to dampen that ball toss a bit, because clearly he is trying to catch up to it rather than go after it.

What are your thoughts?
 

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How is it even possible to be a 200cm top 10 player to not have a reliable kick serve to fall back on? That's basic stuff.
 

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what worries me even more is his natural tendency to play passive as the tension rises. he had this match under control as long as he was using controlled aggression, but his patterns get extremely predictable at times.

Delbonis has a higher ball toss i think?

he looks frail like a little boy tossed in the lime light and doesn't know what to do. the coaching situation in the box was also very very weird, to say the least
 

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Zverev is a waste of energy. Guy thinks he is 5'8(7) David Ferrer , but even David probably had a better and more consistent serve. Also dude loves retrieving like he has to be on defense every point.
 
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Delbonis has a higher ball toss i think?
Yes he has but anyway Sasha Zverev's ball toss never stroke me as abnormally high, similar to Tomas Berdych I think who didn't have such issue with his second serve.
Leng Jai is right though, a kick serve is a "safe" serve when mastered properly and it's surprising he can't develop such serve.
 

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Yes he has but anyway Sasha Zverev's ball toss never stroke me as abnormally high, similar to Tomas Berdych I think who didn't have such issue with his second serve.
Leng Jai is right though, a kick serve is a "safe" serve when mastered properly and it's surprising he can't develop such serve.
Particularly because his serving technique isn't entirely shitty either (in fact it is pretty good). Not entirely sure about why that's the case, but I always thought he uses a slight FH grip for his serve which is particularly bad for kick serves (similar to Janowicz').

It's obviously still a bad kick serve, but I still feel he gets more kick on it now compared to let's say pre-USO. Doesn't matter though when you fail to generate the necessary racquent head speed because you are trying to play it safe which doesn't work for kick serves.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Yes he has but anyway Sasha Zverev's ball toss never stroke me as abnormally high, similar to Tomas Berdych I think who didn't have such issue with his second serve.
Leng Jai is right though, a kick serve is a "safe" serve when mastered properly and it's surprising he can't develop such serve.
Tomas Berdych didn't really have a good second serve. It was stable but I wouldn't call it great, rather predictable actually - why Nadal, Federer et al. abused him later on that front. Reliable at least that said. I think the Berdych service motion is far more minimalist relative to the Zverev one. There's not too much unnecessary motion. Certainly, Berdych keeps his back straight and has a simple push off the legs. Zverev's motion feels a lot more gangly in comparison.

The combination of the toss plus mechanical deficiencies make Zverev's stand out quite badly.

what worries me even more is his natural tendency to play passive as the tension rises. he had this match under control as long as he was using controlled aggression, but his patterns get extremely predictable at times.

Delbonis has a higher ball toss i think?

he looks frail like a little boy tossed in the lime light and doesn't know what to do. the coaching situation in the box was also very very weird, to say the least
nothing is ever truly in isolation. Delbonis does have a high ball toss but the kinetic chain at the end leading in is actually solid - the rhythm is consistent to contact. Thus he can still control the serve. Zverev on the other hand doesn't feel very secure at all and involves too much work moving into the contact. He doesn't quite connect the ball in the right place to produce as leng jai has said - a kick serve, or even a moderate one. So either fix the kinetic chain, or fix the toss. The toss is easier to fix relatively speaking, and it is hoped that might make it easier then to fix the chain (or at least make the serve more sustainable). He is young so he has time to improve on it. If it continues I really don't see why he shouldn't try at least this.

And yes, his attitude means he cannot channel his level over the long run, he can blank out and resort to listless tactics. Certainly he looked like a deer in the headlights after losing his set and break lead.
 

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Tomas Berdych didn't really have a good second serve. It was stable but I wouldn't call it great, rather predictable actually - why Nadal, Federer et al. abused him later on that front. Reliable at least that said. I think the Berdych service motion is far more minimalist relative to the Zverev one. There's not too much unnecessarily motion. Certainly, Berdych keeps his back straight and has a simple push off the legs. Zverev's motion feels a lot more gangly in comparison.

The combination of the toss plus mechanical deficiencies make Zverev's stand out quite badly.
You are right Tomas's serve was not great, both first serve and second serve, it was average for his height, I was just pointing out he didn't have a double fault issue. I was taking him as an example as he was the last top player I remember with a pretty high ball toss. Sasha's problem could be only mental though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You are right Tomas's serve was not great, both first serve and second serve, it was average for his height, I was just pointing out he didn't have a double fault issue. I was taking him as an example as he was the last top player I remember with a pretty high ball toss. Sasha's problem could be only mental though.
There is a mental problem for sure, but I imagine that the toss just compounds that. The toss isn't the problem on its own but just makes things worse imo if the technique goes off. It's a bit like attempting more weights while having bad form. The solution is not to adapt to the weights but rather to learn good form with lower weights, then progress to higher weights. If the team find a way to make the serve simpler through toss adjustment, that could deal also with the mental aspect. Not easy though, it's largely built off habit. Athletes though must expect to have to make adaptations, even tricky ones.
 

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if he needs to protect his second serve because it is so bad and likely to break down so why he won't take the pace off his first delivery and make it more reliable? at this point any change might be a good idea, he can't afford DFs coming in clusters at his ranking and pretence.
 

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if he needs to protect his second serve because it is so bad and likely to break down so why he won't take the pace off his first delivery and make it more reliable? at this point any change might be a good idea, he can't afford DFs coming in clusters at his ranking and pretence.
He does that regularly when DFing becomes too bad and he wants to get the serve into play at any cost. But there's hardly any reason to drop the FS speed when you serve at around 80% though. Also his FS is his arguably biggest weapon and in most matches he can't afford not using it as such.
 

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I really think Zverev might try serving two first serves. His 1st serve % is comparable to his 2nd serve %. For example today: FS% = 65%, SS% = 72%. I'm sure that with the amount of DF-s he makes these days there are (and there will be) matches where his FS% will be higher than his SS%. On the other hand today FS points won = 75%, SS points won = 32%. So he actually might win more points on serve serving only 1st serves all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
if he needs to protect his second serve because it is so bad and likely to break down so why he won't take the pace off his first delivery and make it more reliable? at this point any change might be a good idea, he can't afford DFs coming in clusters at his ranking and pretence.
He did that once today, hit a 138 kph first serve...into the tape.
 

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Was fine in WTF.

Nothing to see here...
 

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Its clearly a psychological problem. Normally, a mental coach could solve it easily. There are thought processes that can be practiced to be less tense during the second serve.

Of course the problem is Zverevs dipshit father who does not give him confidence in such difficult situations, but pressuring his son. It must be hard for someone to know getting his ass kicked by his own father when he fucks up.

Zverev senior already fucked up his brother, and now he is doing it to him, too. He should learn something from Thiem, who finally managed to ditch Bresnik, hence playing stronger than ever before.

I like Zverev, and I think the tour needs him. Its just so sad to see someone crumble under the high expectations.
 
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I wanna know why you drew out that saying so much
 

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I really think Zverev might trying serving two first serves. His 1st serve % is comparable to his 2nd serve %. For example today: FS% = 65%, SS% = 72%. I'm sure that with the amount of DF-s he makes these days there are (and there will be) matches where his FS% will be higher than his SS%. On the other hand today FS points won = 75%, SS points won = 32%. So he actually might win more points on serve serving only 1st serves all the time.
The funny thing is is that while that normally sounds like an absurd suggestion, it actually wouldn’t necessarily be a bad idea for Zverev cause his percentage would hardly drop and he would win a lot more free points off 2 first serves. He could at least go for some first serves off second serves more often until he fixes his second serve.
 
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