Why Doesn't Venus Have a Kick Serve? - TennisForum.com
View Poll Results: Why Doesn't Venus Have a Kick Serve?
She never learned one properly, and its too late at this point. 17 33.33%
Her service motion isn't conducive to a good kick serve. 11 21.57%
Its all mental. She knows how, always has. 18 35.29%
Other 5 9.80%
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old Sep 13th, 2007, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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Why Doesn't Venus Have a Kick Serve?

One thing that has always baffled me about Venus is her lack of a true kick serve. At her height, and her racket acceleration, her kick serve should be nasty. In my honest opinion, if she had a real (not one of her fantasy land "my kick serves were bouncing pretty high") kick serve, she wouldn't have lost at least 20 matches over the years.

Now the question is, why? Kick serves are fairly easy to hit. Women have some problems with it, but women also have problems hitting 120 MPH serves. So that excuse doesn't work. People could say well its her coach, but Serena has about a good of a kick serve as you can expect from a female, and last time I check they have the same coach.

Venus has had this problem from day 1. Her second serve has gotten marginally better, but it still always goes to the forehand side or in the middle of the box more time than not. And she obviously reduces her racket head speed (which you are NOT supposed to do. Good players actually increase it) and bobs her head down. I remember reading an interview when Venus was 10 saying how she needed work on her second serve.

Personally, I think its a combination of things. First of all I think Venus is in denial that her second serve is relatively poor, and secondly I think its her service motion. It has so many flaws, but her racket head acceleration on the first serve smooths them out as her body can balance itself out, when its slower, not so much.

I also think it shows that Serena got substantial outside instruction. It has always seemed to me that Serena would go elsewhere if she wasn't satisfied with her parents. She is a far more complete player than her sister, not because of more talent per se, but because shes gone to others to learn how to hit shots. For example, many posters on this board could probably lob or hit a kick serve better than Venus can. Serena went and learned those shots to perfection - I really don't think it came from Richard or Oracene.

Obviously, she is a great player and I'm a huge (huge) fan, but I'm one of the realistic ones, and I'm not too confident of her consistently beating Henin without a kicker, and I dont' see her getting one at this point.

So the questions is....why!?
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old Sep 13th, 2007, 11:15 PM
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Re: Why Doesn't Venus Have a Kick Serve?

Maybe she just can't?

Tennis players, even Venus, are still human. Hitting a good kick serve consistently requires muscle memory, hand eye coordination, flexibility, wrist strength, etc.- and not everyone has that. I'm sure she can hit a kick serve- a lot of club level players can- but maybe her slice is more reliable, powerful, easier to place, etc.

In fact, Serena's the only woman player I know who gets nasty kick on her serves when she wants.So maybe a better question would be: why CAN Serena hit a good kick serve?
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old Sep 13th, 2007, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Why Doesn't Venus Have a Kick Serve?

Davenport has one, Henin has one, Molike has (a good) one. Hell Hinigs has one, its crappy, but its still a kick serve.

Anybody can hit a kick serve - its not that hard. Its just that as you said, not everyone can implement it properly.

But Venus has tremendous wrist strength, otherwise she wouldn't hit 135 mph faults. So that excuse doesn't hold with me
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old Sep 13th, 2007, 11:47 PM
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Re: Why Doesn't Venus Have a Kick Serve?

Her motion has too many moving parts. If you look at her balltoss and her motion in general she just can't. I don't know why she doesn't have Serena's simple and effective motion

Last edited by Serenidad.; Sep 13th, 2007 at 11:58 PM.
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 2007, 02:56 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Why Doesn't Venus Have a Kick Serve?

If you look back to the early days, it looks like Venus had a B version of Serena's service motion. I think her different body type though makes it difficult for her to implement
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 2007, 03:00 AM
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Re: Why Doesn't Venus Have a Kick Serve?

I notice that Venus doesn't use enough legs on her second serve. She just doesn't put as much effort. Serena is always using her legs on her serve, that's why it's so great.

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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 2007, 03:02 AM
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Re: Why Doesn't Venus Have a Kick Serve?

Venus slows down her racquet head speed a lot on her second serve, which is why she can't get a true kick like Serena can.

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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 2007, 03:02 AM
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Re: Why Doesn't Venus Have a Kick Serve?

perhaps its a combination of factors... but maybe i ts to do with her service motion... the best kick serves in the womens game belong to serena, molik and stosur and their motions service motions are brilliant.... maybe venus has problems with the technique or maybe she prefers the slice second serve?
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 2007, 03:20 AM
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Re: Why Doesn't Venus Have a Kick Serve?

Many players don't have a kick serve. Serena for ex has always had a natural feel for it, Venus hasn't and I'm not sure it's something she'll be able to pick up though she has recently claimed her "2nd serve has a lot of kick these days...." which to me wasn't really true.
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 2007, 03:55 AM
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Re: Why Doesn't Venus Have a Kick Serve?

Well if you dont have a good kick serve the ball is not going fast enough and you will be eating returns (i used to have a kinda weak kick serve and it caused me lots of trouble until i got it to really kick up)

A decent slice second serve is better than a poor kick serve
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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 2007, 04:10 AM
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Re: Why Doesn't Venus Have a Kick Serve?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apop66 View Post
Well if you dont have a good kick serve the ball is not going fast enough and you will be eating returns (i used to have a kinda weak kick serve and it caused me lots of trouble until i got it to really kick up)

A decent slice second serve is better than a poor kick serve
I agree, if you want to hit a kick serve, it better be good.
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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 2007, 04:11 AM
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Re: Why Doesn't Venus Have a Kick Serve?

Great topic, by the way, CJ07. Haven't seen this discussed before.
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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 2007, 10:00 AM
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Re: Why Doesn't Venus Have a Kick Serve?

I would think that Venus would find it more comfortable to do her slice serve than Serenas Kick serve

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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 2007, 07:47 PM
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Re: Why Doesn't Venus Have a Kick Serve?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ07 View Post
One thing that has always baffled me about Venus is her lack of a true kick serve. At her height, and her racket acceleration, her kick serve should be nasty. In my honest opinion, if she had a real (not one of her fantasy land "my kick serves were bouncing pretty high") kick serve, she wouldn't have lost at least 20 matches over the years.

Now the question is, why? Kick serves are fairly easy to hit. Women have some problems with it, but women also have problems hitting 120 MPH serves. So that excuse doesn't work. People could say well its her coach, but Serena has about a good of a kick serve as you can expect from a female, and last time I check they have the same coach.

Venus has had this problem from day 1. Her second serve has gotten marginally better, but it still always goes to the forehand side or in the middle of the box more time than not. And she obviously reduces her racket head speed (which you are NOT supposed to do. Good players actually increase it) and bobs her head down. I remember reading an interview when Venus was 10 saying how she needed work on her second serve.

Personally, I think its a combination of things. First of all I think Venus is in denial that her second serve is relatively poor, and secondly I think its her service motion. It has so many flaws, but her racket head acceleration on the first serve smooths them out as her body can balance itself out, when its slower, not so much.

I also think it shows that Serena got substantial outside instruction. It has always seemed to me that Serena would go elsewhere if she wasn't satisfied with her parents. She is a far more complete player than her sister, not because of more talent per se, but because shes gone to others to learn how to hit shots. For example, many posters on this board could probably lob or hit a kick serve better than Venus can. Serena went and learned those shots to perfection - I really don't think it came from Richard or Oracene.

Obviously, she is a great player and I'm a huge (huge) fan, but I'm one of the realistic ones, and I'm not too confident of her consistently beating Henin without a kicker, and I dont' see her getting one at this point.

So the questions is....why!?
That's an interesting question. Can a player hit a convincing kick serve when they consistently toss the ball to the right?

The players who have technically poor second serves all have a common trait, they toss the ball quite far to the right, hoping to come over it with slice hence the reason their serves going to the opponents forehand more often than not, these players include Dementieva (of course), Venus, Jennifer Capriati, Jankovic.

The players who technically have the best second serves all toss the ball above their head or slightly to the left so they can keep their form and get the racquet acceleration required. I think of Svetlana, Serena, Lindsay Davenport, these girls never suffer a crisis of confidence on the serve because of rock solid technique.

I find Henin, Sharapova and Mauresmo are in between. Sharapova initially had very good form but has still managed to lose confidence but that could be due to shoulder problems. Henin and Mauresmo are prone to double faults. Henin doesn't have a kicker as such but she uses a lot of spin so the ball bites off the court and shoots so it can still be very effective.

It will be quite difficult for Venus to improve her second serve at this stage of her career unless she is prepared to put a lot of work in during the off season.
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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 2007, 08:50 PM
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Re: Why Doesn't Venus Have a Kick Serve?

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Why Doesn't Venus Have a Kick Serve?
Other.

She has a life outside of tennis.

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