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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old Nov 11th, 2002, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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Serves and height

Serena has the best serve on the tour.

This is odd. There are AT LEAST ten players in the top 30 who are taller than Serena.

02 WILLIAMS, VENUS
07 SELES, MONICA
08 HANTUCHOVA, DANIELA
12 DAVENPORT, LINDSAY
18 STEVENSON, ALEXANDRA
19 DEMENTIEVA, ELENA
22 DANIILIDOU, ELENI
26 BOVINA, ELENA
29 SHAUGHNESSY, MEGHANN

And that's assuming Serena is 5'10". If I go with her listed 5'8", there are about FIFTEEN taller players in the top 30. It's easy to understand why Alex, or Lindsay or even Elena B would have big serves. They're all 6'2" or better. But how technically sound do you have to be to serve the way Serena does at average top 30 height?

Looing at Serena, I find myself asking why Jenn, or Amelie, or Kim, or Jelena doesn't hae a massive serve.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old Nov 11th, 2002, 01:30 PM
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I think Kim has definately improved her serve a lot - and Amelie's is fantastic. She can't hit the 123mph bombs, but still scores a lot of service winners with it.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old Nov 11th, 2002, 02:57 PM
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Kim isn't going that much for speed anymore, it's more placement now
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old Nov 11th, 2002, 06:40 PM
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The power of a serve is largely generated in the buttocks and thigh area.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old Nov 11th, 2002, 07:13 PM
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LOL


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"If something special happened all the time, it wouldn't be so special.'' - Agassi, Wimby 2003.


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old Nov 11th, 2002, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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Iconoclast - Then why does Hantuchova, just about lacking butt of thighs, hhave a good serve? Venus is pretty spare too. Justine has a nice serve, does a lot with it. She's a twig.

It's a myssssstery.......

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old Nov 11th, 2002, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Volcana
Iconoclast - Then why does Hantuchova, just about lacking butt of thighs, hhave a good serve? Venus is pretty spare too. Justine has a nice serve, does a lot with it. She's a twig.

It's a myssssstery.......
Yes, it is a mystery. But I don't agree that Venus is spare, not compared to Hantuchova at least. Although she is tall and slim, there is no lack of muscle mass. But she does have a remarkably different body type than Serena. Sometimes it puzzles me that they are sisters.

My comment wasn't ironic. I think the science of the serve is rather complicated. A number of factors play a role. But body mass stands out. Not to the extent as it does in shotputting, but it is probably the single most important factor when it comes to generating ball speed.

But tennis is not about pure ball speed, of course. There's that damn net in the way. And this is why height is so important (note: with height usually comes greater body mass, too). A shorter player is restricted, while a tall one can exploit a more advantageous trajectory. It's simply easier for the tall player to a hit a ball of a given speed into the opponents service box then it is for a smaller player hitting with the same speed. The smaller player will be forced to choose a more curvy path to reach the same point, thereby decreasing the speed of the ball.

Arm length has an impact on racket velocity. So does the size of the racket. But the speed of the arm is generated by a forward motion that emanates from the lower body. Here, a pair of muscular thighs and a prominent gluteus maximus come in handy. Check out javelin throwers for instance.

And in this same department, we can probably agree that Serena is well-endowed. While she is somewhat disadvantaged by her height, compared to the really big girls anyway, her body mass more than makes up for it. Or, more specifically, body mass at the right place. And that's why she serves the hardest.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old Nov 11th, 2002, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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Iconoclast - Nice analysis. Well said.

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