I don't find Schalkens to be the one that I like the most, exactly, but it is certaintly the most memorable for me. I spent his entire first round match at the US Open, admiring it, trying to figure out exactly what it was that made him look like such a robot
I could go on about how surprisingly effective the Schalken serve is, like the fact that it's always deep in the service box and is hit so flat that it skids off the line or else is sliced away from the returner, and the fact that he always gets a high percentage of first serves in making him tough to break, but it's never going to be a major weapon.
The truth is that he changed it years ago in order to stop a potentially crippling shoulder injury, and like most people who remodel their serves because of injury (e.g. Gaudenzi, who has a similar motion) it ended up looking very stiff, static and jerky. But I love it, it makes him look as though he's so laid-back and casual that he isn't even bothering to spring off the ground when he serves.
The part about Schalken's serve that freaks me out is the fact that he has virtually no knee-bend. Almost everyone goes on and on about how important a good, deep knee-bend is for the effective serve, but Schalken seems to have proven them wrong
I actually don't pay that much attention to how a player serves unless he's conspicuous or especially weak on his serve (hard when you only get to watch tennis on TV). So now that I have a chance to review my Australian Open tapes, I'll get back to you on the poll question
ok, this is the first time i've posted so i just want to say hi first!
i have to say i like Marat's serve the best (but that's also cos i just love marat). Schalken's is the weirdest. Moya's is the funniest, he does a little plié before he hits the ball. of the players u can choose from i have to say escude.. i dunno why, i saw him play in rotterdam last week and i just thought he had an amazing serve.
Chela, Zabaleta & Gonzo have the weirdest service motion. My personal fave is Srichaphan's, it's so awsome! Kafelnikov's, Marat's & Costa's are also nice, & Schalken's & Hewitt's are just plain strange.
Srichaphan's serve always looks rather odd to me, when you watch him he seems to arm it in because he stands so straight and rigid, but it certainly works very well. The key to Grosjean's serve is that he leaps quite high off the ground to deliver it, but it can fail him at times. At the moment, he has the dubious distinction of having had the lowest first serve percentage that I have ever seen in a match, during the first set of his Davis Cup match with Rafter in 2001. The stats at the end of the set showed Rafter at 70% first serves in, Grosjean at a less than dazzling 12% - and this when you consider that Escude had been serving at an incredible 92% first serves in during the final set of his match with Hewitt.
And I agree with Dina about Karsten Braasch - if anyone hasn't seen this guy serve, you don't know what you're missing. He's a left-hander, and he swings the racket back and forth in his hand before hurling the ball upwards and physically leaping several feet into the air, twisting his body as he does it. The fact that he wears glasses on court only adds to the weird effect.