Mens Tennis Forums banner

Has there ever been an ATP-player with such a good first serve, that have had such a bad second serv

  • Absolutely not.

    Votes: 1 20.0%
  • Don't think so.

    Votes: 4 80.0%
  • Can't think of anyone, who should that be?

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No, never in the modern era.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
865 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The young German has quite a few detractors who bash him for his serve-bot pushing style. This is not such a thread, though. On a good day, Zverev can play great. Also, I think those complaining about his bratty behavior are exaggerating.

This doesn't change the fact that his second serve the last two seasons has been absolute shit. His first serve is harder than most, has a high percentage, and is one of his main strengths. The second serve, though...

I tried to come up with as many poll options I could think of that made sense. Please prove my options too limited, by providing names of players that I may have forgotten.
 

·
Administrator | Chaos Theory
Joined
·
54,685 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
865 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Paire is also a good choice. If one compares the stats for first and second serves won, he may almost challenge Zverev.

On the other hand, Paire usually has a rather low first-serve percentage in play, which means his first serve is not really as good as the win percentage suggests.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
865 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Murray is also a good choice. The speed of his second serve is super-slow for a player of his caliber. On the positive side, he makes few double faults and defends the weak second serve well thanks to his good movement.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,037 Posts
Some good guesses here. Let's look at differences between 1st serve won % and 2nd serve won %:

Zverev: 73.5% 49.8%
Bublik: 75,1% 44.5%
Paire: 74.6% 46.1%

The difference is the biggest for Bublik but this is not the whole story. One has to look at 1st serve % as well (some players have high 1st serve won % cause they risk a lot with it, which lowers their 1st serve %).

Zverev: 63.7%
Bublik: 58.3%
Paire: 51.8%

Zverev hits 1st serve most often while Paire hits it at barely over 50% (which signals he risks a lot with it). Now let's look at the product of 1st serve% and 1st serve won% (this tells us about real efficiency of 1st serve i.e. if a player hit it instead of 2nd serve):

Zverev: 46.8%
Bublik: 43.8%
Paire: 38.7%

In case of Bublik his 1st serve efficiency approaches his 2nd serve won%, which means he may as well apply 1st serve strategy on his 2nd serve! (I guess he does that pretty often) In case of Zverev it's also pretty close. Now let's analyze Zverev's interesting case in recent years (I think I did it some time ago in another thread): 2nd serve won% vs 1st serve efficiency (product of 1st serve% and 1st serve won%):

2017: 53.4% 47.7%
2018: 52.3% 47.6%
2019: 44.2% 50.1%
2020: 43.6% 53.4%


Stats from 2017-2018 looks normal but not last two years: it turns out that it's much better for him (by 6-10%) to apply 1st serve strategy on 2nd serve as well! This is an anomaly but the numbers don't lie: somebody tell the guy not to use 2nd serve, lol!

I found this anomaly for Bublik (earlier in his career) as well:
2016: 33.9% 41.3%
2017: 42.4% 43.4%
2018: 39.1% 43.3%

2019: 46.4% 43.9%
2020: 44.9% 44.5%

I watched few Bublik's matches: does he regularly risk with his 2nd serve? It seems like somebody told him to go for 2nd serve more and the stats levelled.

To sum things up: Zverev's case in recent 2 years is an anomaly but Bublik had it as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
865 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
To sum things up: Zverev's case in recent 2 years is an anomaly but Bublik had it as well.
Thanks for this ambitious analysis.

Both you, me, and probably many others, have thought about the idea to hit the second serve as hard as the first serve. In Zverev's case that would be unusually motivated, as he often has a lower percentage in play when kicking the second serve at a modest speed than he has for the first serve.

The argument against using such a strategy could be that it would be too tiresome in the long run. If so, a possible strategy would be to go for big second serves mainly on the important points, not to drain too much energy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,037 Posts
The argument against using such a strategy could be that it would be too tiresome in the long run. If so, a possible strategy would be to go for big second serves mainly on the important points, not to drain too much energy.
True, hitting 1st serve all the time might have negative long-term consequences (i.e. injuries). There's also a mental aspect - Zverev would have to accept an even bigger number of UEs (about 10% compared to 7-7.5% in recent years, which was already very high).
 
  • Like
Reactions: Henrik

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,639 Posts
I remember big Dick Norman although probably not to Zverev extant. His first serve was pretty good but 2nd serve nothing special and would leak a lot of double faults.

Also players like Chris Guccione and Samuel Querrey have pretty poor 2nd serves in relation to their 1st serve but nowhere near the same amount of double faults.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,457 Posts
Hard to top Zverev here given how strong his first serve is. Murray and Rublev are also good choices when it comes to shitty 2nd serves, but then again the difference is much bigger for Zverev. I mean hitting DFs is one thing (not necessarily a service problem in case you are going for 2 first serves intentionally) but hitting a shit load of DFs while rolling the 2nd one in is another.

He's never had a great kick serve and therefore always had a slightly above-average DF count, but since last year it has pretty much become laughable. He might manage to get back to an acceptable level of DFs at some point, but overall I don't see how this problem should vanish entirely. He isn't suddenly growing a first class kick serve over night.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Henrik

·
Registered
Joined
·
701 Posts
Hard to top Zverev here given how strong his first serve is. Murray and Rublev are also good choices when it comes to shitty 2nd serves, but then again the difference is much bigger for Zverev. I mean hitting DFs is one thing (not necessarily a service problem in case you are going for 2 first serves intentionally) but hitting a shit load of DFs while rolling the 2nd one in is another.

He's never had a great kick serve and therefore always had a slightly above-average DF count, but since last year it has pretty much become laughable. He might manage to get back to an acceptable level of DFs at some point, but overall I don't see how this problem should vanish entirely. He isn't suddenly growing a first class kick serve over night.
Good point. Obviously it's a mental block for Zverev. I think he needs a coach tbh. It's such a strange deficiency to have for someone of his stature and as you say it started last year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,853 Posts
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top