Mens Tennis Forums banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
For a 6ft4 guy, his serve sucks. I remember complaining about Berdych serve being crap for such a tall guy, but Tsitsipas serve is worse. His serve speed, ace rate and 1st serve percentage are all lower than other tall guys.

So, how is this relevant to his mental strength? It does, in some ways:

- His relatively low 1st serve percentage (for a tall guy) means that he has to play 2nd serves more and has to work more to win points, and this matters a lot when facing break points, playing tiebreaks or serving for the match.

- His relatively lower ace rate (for example, Zverev ace rate in 2019 was 10%, compared to 8.5% for Tsitsipas) and lower serve speed for big guys mean that he generally has to work more to win points overall compared to guys like Kyrgios, Raonic, or even Cilic/Berdych/Del Potro. His habit of tossing way behind limits his serve speed.

- His rallying and return abilities are fundamentally disadvantaged against 2hbh players at the same level - which is why an inadequate serve affects him more than say, Medvedev.


So, my quick solutions for Tsitsipas is to hire a serve-oriented or serve-specialist coach and immediately work on his serve like Becker or Krajicek, which still has a lot of rooms for improvements.

Of course, he has to work on his backhand and backhand ROS as well, but these will take more time, and also for a tall guy like him, he should be able to improve his serve swiftly and quickly under a right coach, much quicker than backhand or ROS. Juicing up serves also helps him immensely and quickly in the following ways:
  • Allowing him to get through break points or close matches quickly with cheap service winners/aces. Seal a match point, hit an ace. Save a break, hit an ace. Close a game, hit an ace.
  • Generate more weak returns to hit winners, make it easier for him.
  • Allow him to attack the net more with greater success. If he follows his serves to the net, the bigger serves, the better.
  • With an improved serve, he can even go full Mark Phillippoussis and hit 2 first serves instead of a 1st serve and a 2nd serve on faster courts.
  • His NextGen companions generally lack the ability to return big serves, except for Medvedev and De Minaur. That's why I fully believe that 2001-2005 Roddick would have mopped up these NextGeners.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
601 Posts
His serve was really good before the pandemic, he was serve botting a lot of games. He seems to have lost it for now, and only time will tell if this is because of the long break or if it's mental. But technically he knows what to do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
His serve was really good before the pandemic, he was serve botting a lot of games. He seems to have lost it for now, and only time will tell if this is because of the long break or if it's mental. But technically he knows what to do.
No, his toss is a fundamental flaw. He tosses the ball way too far behind, which inhibits his power, placement (by limiting his angles), and the ability to hit aces. He has to toss more to the front (in fact, the optimal toss is the serve-and-volley toss).

As for serve-botting, his serve stats lag well behind Zverev in aces, serve speed and 1st serve percentage, let alone guys like Raonic and Kyrgios. Even a short guy like Wawrinka in his prime seems to have greater bite on first serves than Tsitsipas.

Perhaps my criteria for good serve differ from you, since I literally say Berdych serve sucks (for a 6ft5 guy like him).
 

·
justice for all
Joined
·
16,233 Posts
IIRC I read somewhere during the COVID break Stefanos worked mainly on his serve. Don't know if that's true but if so it didn't pay off really cause I generally agree with the OP his serve is now not good enough for his height.

To my mind 2nd territory that needs major improvement in his game is his ROS (especially off BH side).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
186 Posts
This is a strange year because of the pandemic, but there's been no improvement in his game, though he is still making up for it with his great athleticism, and his mentality is getting worse. Emotionally he seems weird to me, like he's trying to act all cold but it's a fake act. You can still see the storm raging inside and the moment when the seams start to break. He is not a good poker player.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
IIRC I read somewhere during the COVID break Stefanos worked mainly on his serve. Don't know if that's true but if so it didn't pay off really cause I generally agree with the OP his serve is now not good enough for his height.

To my mind 2nd territory that needs major improvement in his game is his ROS (especially off BH side).
He needs a serve specialist coach. Ivanisevic would have been the obvious choice if he has not already been Djokovic's coach right now. The guy was able to improve the serves for everyone he partnered with.

Actually, Tsit is able to increase ace rate by one percent point this year, but this year is unsual so I cannot conclude. Based on eye test, his serve is still not enough for a tall guy like him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
824 Posts
He needs a new coach to give him mental stability. The comfort blanket of daddy is bad for him and inhibiting him.
The ball toss is a massive limitation of his current serve, and will hold his S and V game and his one two punch back until he works on it. He's in dire need of a consistent backhand block return and a competent slice to keep him in rallies. In that respect, he reminds me of Berdych: if he's on watch out; If he's not - this could get ugly pretty quickly, as everything is one paced. Not feeling the backhand? mix the height, pace and spin. In modern tennis, the topspin backhand on a one hander will remain a relative weakness, but it could use some work.
My assessment sounds overly negative, but this kid has a lot of upside and is very good for the game stylistically. Would take me a long time to list his qualities.
 
  • Like
Reactions: grig_shap

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,157 Posts
Great technical breakdown OP, thanks for sharing, a joy to read. This is the real tennis discussion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,271 Posts
Agree that he needs a new coach to improve especially his mental game otherwise he will continue to struggle close out matches.

But question whether his dad will let go and allow another coach to take over full time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Agree that he needs a new coach to improve especially his mental game otherwise he will continue to struggle close out matches.

But question whether his dad will let go and allow another coach to take over full time.
I think his dad is very unlikely to pull the same shit as Bresnik.

I specifically single out the serve because for a tall guy like him, he can improve his current serve a lot in a short time under a right coach. Having a huge serve can boost his ability to close out key games and matches as well, as he will be able to rely on cheap points/aces to get away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
The ball toss is a massive limitation of his current serve, and will hold his S and V game and his one two punch back until he works on it
His serve is Dimitrov/Berdych-sque, but fortunately his service error is clear and can be changed

He's in dire need of a consistent backhand block return and a competent slice to keep him in rallies
Fortunately for him, compared to Dimitrov, his forehand is an actual weapon and his topspin backhand is better. OTOH, Dimitrov has very good slice - note that in AO18, Grigor basically threw slices to let Rublev kill himself.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
3,402 Posts
His serve is Dimitrov/Berdych-sque, but fortunately his service error is clear and can be changed


Fortunately for him, compared to Dimitrov, his forehand is an actual weapon and his topspin backhand is better. OTOH, Dimitrov has very good slice - note that in AO18, Grigor basically threw slices to let Rublev kill himself.
Agreed. Stef's forehand is a consistent weapon and should really have a better serve than he does. Dimitrov used to have a decent serve, esp. 2017, but that's gone forever I think. Better to fix technical issues now than wait until you're a tour veteran with a shoulder injury like Dimitrov did.

I don't expect Stef to reach Zverev's level of serving though. Zverev can casually rip 140mph serves. Stef should be happy with upper 120s that are placed well and a 60%+ percentage in play. His second serve is already better than Zverev's will ever be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Stef should be happy with upper 120s that are placed well and a 60%+ percentage in play. His second serve is already better than Zverev's will ever be.
He can push it to low-130+ mph IMO, and/or he can actually begin to leverage his height to open the angles and go more for the lines/the T - spot serving.

I do remember Djokovic also raised his serve speed under Becker, which is probably a major factor contributing to his 2015 season.

The ball toss is a massive limitation of his current serve, and will hold his S and V game and his one two punch back until he works on it.
Bonus: He can start improving his serving by changing his mindset to trying to ace every 1st serve unless it is body serve - with that mindset, he will naturally toss the ball more to the front and go more for the lines/the T.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Dimitrov used to have a decent serve, esp. 2017, but that's gone forever I think.
His serve is decent at best - he ends up having no big weapons at all. Dimitrov with a Raonic/Kyrgios/Becker/Sampras-sque or even Shapovalov serve would have been a Slam Winner.

I believe that Dimitrov could have had a serve as good as Shapovalov (which means a WMD given his height) had he developed a proper serve techniques instead of trying to imitate Federer.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top