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.