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View Full Version : Serve speed in 1997 - how Pierce improved


Calimero377
Jun 2nd, 2005, 07:50 PM
Flash back in time - how fast Mary Pierce served in 1997.

102.4 mph. Today 16 miles faster.

Better nutrition (energy bars)?
Better technique?
No, different equipment.



SPORTSTICKER TENNIS NOTE * * * *

(through February 23rd, 1997) *

(Courtesy IDS - Information & Display Systems, Inc.) *

Player (Country) * * * * * * * * * *MPH * * * * * * * Site
---------------- * * * * * * * * * *--- * * * * * * * ---- * * *

*1. Brenda Schultz-McCarthy (NED) * 118.1 * * * * * * Paris
*2. Jana Novotna (CZE) * * * * * * *113.1 * * * * * * Paris
*3. Kristie Boogert (NED) * * * * * 111.2 * * * * * * Paris
*4. Yayuk Basuki (INA) * * * * * * *107.5 * * * * * * Melbourne
* * Gloria Pizzichini (ITA) * * * * * * * * * * * * * Melbourne
*6. Irina Spirlea (ROM) * * * * * * 106.3 * * * * * * Melbourne
*7. Helena Sukova (CZE) * * * * * * 105.7 * * * * * * Melbourne
*8. Chanda Rubin (USA) * * * * * * *105.0 * * * * * * Melbourne
*9. Els Callens (BEL) * * * * * * * 104.4 * * * * * * Melbourne
* * Jennifer Capriati (USA) * * * * * * * * * * * * * Sydney
* * Steffi Graf (GER) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Melbourne
* * Maria Strandlund (SWE) * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Paris
13. Larisa Neiland (LAT) * * * * * *103.8 * * * * * * Melbourne
14. Corina Morariu (USA) * * * * * *102.5 * * * * * * Melbourne
* * Mary Pierce (FRA) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Paris
* * Lisa Raymond (USA) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Melbourne
* * Sandrine Testud (FRA) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Melbourne
* * Radka Zrubakova (SVK) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Melbourne
19. Dominique Van Roost (BEL) * * * 101.9 * * * * * * Melbourne
20. Lindsay Davenport (USA) * * * * 100.7 * * * * * * Sydney
* * Martina Hingis (SUI) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Melbourne
* * Miriam Oremans (NED) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Melbourne
* * Natasha Zvereva (BLR) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Melbourne


Graf served faster than Pierce in winter of 1997.
And we have to consider that Graf played really bad at AO 97 (was injured).
Her fastest serve ever was 111 mph (at USO 96, IIRC).
With today's rackets she would serve at 120+ mph. Add to that her superior versatility especially at the serve and you know who would be the most fearsome server in women's tennis even today.


And have a look at Davenport!


It's the racket technology, stupid!

twight6
Jun 2nd, 2005, 07:52 PM
i don't understand this :confused: :sad:

Knizzle
Jun 2nd, 2005, 07:53 PM
How come other players serve speeds haven't improved because of technology.

VRee_Willario
Jun 2nd, 2005, 07:55 PM
Flash back in time - how fast Mary Pierce served in 1997.

102.4 mph. Today 16 miles faster.

Better nutrition (energy bars)?
Better technique?
No, different equipment.



SPORTSTICKER TENNIS NOTE * * * *

(through February 23rd, 1997) *

(Courtesy IDS - Information & Display Systems, Inc.) *

Player (Country) * * * * * * * * * *MPH * * * * * * * Site
---------------- * * * * * * * * * *--- * * * * * * * ---- * * *

*1. Brenda Schultz-McCarthy (NED) * 118.1 * * * * * * Paris
*2. Jana Novotna (CZE) * * * * * * *113.1 * * * * * * Paris
*3. Kristie Boogert (NED) * * * * * 111.2 * * * * * * Paris
*4. Yayuk Basuki (INA) * * * * * * *107.5 * * * * * * Melbourne
* * Gloria Pizzichini (ITA) * * * * * * * * * * * * * Melbourne
*6. Irina Spirlea (ROM) * * * * * * 106.3 * * * * * * Melbourne
*7. Helena Sukova (CZE) * * * * * * 105.7 * * * * * * Melbourne
*8. Chanda Rubin (USA) * * * * * * *105.0 * * * * * * Melbourne
*9. Els Callens (BEL) * * * * * * * 104.4 * * * * * * Melbourne
* * Jennifer Capriati (USA) * * * * * * * * * * * * * Sydney
* * Steffi Graf (GER) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Melbourne
* * Maria Strandlund (SWE) * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Paris
13. Larisa Neiland (LAT) * * * * * *103.8 * * * * * * Melbourne
14. Corina Morariu (USA) * * * * * *102.5 * * * * * * Melbourne
* * Mary Pierce (FRA) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Paris
* * Lisa Raymond (USA) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Melbourne
* * Sandrine Testud (FRA) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Melbourne
* * Radka Zrubakova (SVK) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Melbourne
19. Dominique Van Roost (BEL) * * * 101.9 * * * * * * Melbourne
20. Lindsay Davenport (USA) * * * * 100.7 * * * * * * Sydney
* * Martina Hingis (SUI) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Melbourne
* * Miriam Oremans (NED) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Melbourne
* * Natasha Zvereva (BLR) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Melbourne


Graf served faster than Pierce in winter of 1997.
And we have to consider that Graf played really bad at AO 97 (was injured).
Her fastest serve ever was 111 mph (at USO 96, IIRC).
With today's rackets she would serve at 120+ mph. Add to that her superior versatility especially at the serve and you know who would be the most fearsome server in women's tennis even today.


And have a look at Davenport!


It's the racket technology, stupid!
Amazing with Lindsay. Even nowadays she doesn't have the biggest serves on tour, but she wins the most points out of it for sure, it's so accurate and she's good at serving her way out of 0-40. Steffi's serve would be among the most superior for sure. She was the first player to serve at 100 mph.
By the way, what's Martina's fastest serve, i thought it was 105 mph :confused:

Albireo
Jun 2nd, 2005, 07:59 PM
Flash back in time - how fast Mary Pierce served in 1997.

102.4 mph. Today 16 miles faster.

Better nutrition (energy bars)?
Better technique?
No, different equipment.

[...]

It's the racket technology, stupid!

And here I thought it was the creatine... ;)

Calimero377
Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:00 PM
How come other players serve speeds haven't improved because of technology.


Which "other players"?


We have Pierce, Capriati and Davenport in that 1997 stats.
I think they are the only ones of those 1997 players who still play today.

And they all serve considerably faster today.
Because of different rackets.
Rackets that give them a lot more power AND at least moderate control at the same time compared to 8 or 10 years ago.

Calimero377
Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:02 PM
And here I thought it was the creatine... ;)


Pierce took it already 8 years ago ...

bandabou
Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:03 PM
Thing is Mary never was the bar for serving...never was the best server and isnīt now.

fammmmedspin
Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:05 PM
How come other players serve speeds haven't improved because of technology.

I suspect if you look at the players still around from 1995-1998 it has. Patty is certainly faster and doesn't look like a weightlifter. Maggie is faster? Sandrine got faster. Might even be true too of the williams sisters and the Belgians as time has gone on this century but other things have changed there and some is down to injuries slowing things and weight training improving them.

Graf, Novotna and Mary were three of the biggest servers of their day but you noticed then when you saw a serve over 100 mph. its an interesting point that Mary, the same Mary with a few more years and shoulder injuries, is now hitting it so much faster. She's not looking more muscular and I don't think her serve has changed - its just faster.

jimbo mack
Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:07 PM
Thing is Mary never was the bar for serving...never was the best server and isnīt now.

she's certainly up there with the best servers

Calimero377
Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:09 PM
Thing is Mary never was the bar for serving...never was the best server and isnīt now.


Have a look at the other current thread about serve speed (at FO 05).
Pierce is right up there at the top.
Today 118 mph (189 kph).
And 102.4 mph (164 kph) in 1997.

Tells us a lot.

bandabou
Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:11 PM
Yeah..itīs harder, but what is the point?

blumaroo
Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:15 PM
Harder doesn't mean its better. Serving hard AND accurate is impressive.
In 1997, you didn't even have to try to serve hard cause it wasn't necessary. Nowadays every girl is trying to speed up her serve in order to keep up.

Calimero377
Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:22 PM
Yeah..itīs harder, but what is the point?


Many young fanboys and -girls here in GM suggested the the bar had been raised in the last years because "oh, they hit sooo hard today!".
Some even maintained that ASV, Sabatini, Navratilova, Novotna and EVEN Graf would have trouble to beat today's top 10 players! :eek:

:lol:

bandabou
Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:28 PM
Many young fanboys and -girls here in GM suggested the the bar had been raised in the last years because "oh, they hit sooo hard today!".
Some even maintained that ASV, Sabatini, Navratilova, Novotna and EVEN Graf would have trouble to beat today's top 10 players! :eek:

:lol:


And you of course think that NONE of todayīs players would have even taken a game off Steffi et al, huh?

Only say: respect all greats....greats are greats regardless of era.

Calimero377
Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:45 PM
And you of course think that NONE of todayīs players would have even taken a game off Steffi et al, huh?

Only say: respect all greats....greats are greats regardless of era.


Even yesterday's players took a game off Graf.
They even won a set or :eek: a match now and then.

With this thread I - successfully - tried to debunk all this "bar-was-raised" idiocy here.

ASV, Seles, Sabatini, Novotna and especially Graf would hold their own even with their yesterday's rackets. With TODAY'S rackets they would be top 6 (together with Enna). Those Davenport, Sharapova and Mauresmo types would be toast ...

bandabou
Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:50 PM
Even yesterday's players took a game off Graf.
They even won a set or :eek: a match now and then.

With this thread I - successfully - tried to debunk all this "bar-was-raised" idiocy here.

ASV, Seles, Sabatini, Novotna and especially Graf would hold their own even with their yesterday's rackets. With TODAY'S rackets they would be top 6 (together with Enna). Those Davenport, Sharapova and Mauresmo types would be toast ...

Just the odd question...where does that leave Serena? ASV, Sabatini AND Novotna AND Enna too were/are all better than her?

Stamp Paid
Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:50 PM
OK Cali, the level of tennis has dropped dramatically since Steffi dominated. Meaning that Steffi dominated an even harder field than the current one.

We all understand everything. Please, stop the redundancies then...

RenaSlam.
Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:51 PM
Didn't Venus set the record in '98 for the fastest serve EVER?

IT was 127.4 MPH i believe.

Venus was ONLY 17!!!!

VRee_Willario
Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:54 PM
Didn't Venus set the record in '98 for the fastest serve EVER?

IT was 127.4 MPH i believe.

Venus was ONLY 17!!!!
Yeah, It was really stylish. On Match Point against Mary Pierce
in Zürich, it was an amazing serve, and venus' expression :eek: !! :D . But she had already turned 18

AlexB
Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:56 PM
Even yesterday's players took a game off Graf.
They even won a set or :eek: a match now and then.

With this thread I - successfully - tried to debunk all this "bar-was-raised" idiocy here.

ASV, Seles, Sabatini, Novotna and especially Graf would hold their own even with their yesterday's rackets. With TODAY'S rackets they would be top 6 (together with Enna). Those Davenport, Sharapova and Mauresmo types would be toast ...

not true at all...new raquets are only part of the story, cause in order to get the most out of these raquets the mechanics of the shot have to change too..for example, i was watching a borg documentary and he was hitting a one handed backhand and his non raquet hand was mostly in foront of him, compare this 25 years later and one handed backhands are hit with the non raquet hand behind you...if borg hits the backhand with 1982 strokes, the raquet can only go so far....similarly in order for the 80's girls to get more of the raquets they have to change their mechanics as well and then the question is, how effective are the skills they had back then translate...in other words if graf changed her forehand motion even slightly, what happens if it becomes worse, or if she keeps the one she used throughout her career, and hits the same as withthe old raquets, then how much does the raquet really help? no one ever mentions that teaching/mechanics have changed as well....ide love to see video of pierce serving then and her serving now side by side to see if any changes have been made...is her serve has changes then that may explain her faster serve as a result of better raquets AND mechanics....if her mechanics are the same then the raquets have to be given ALL the credit...just a thought

bandabou
Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:58 PM
So for Venus her serve has become SLOWER......interesting.

darrinbaker00
Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:59 PM
Even yesterday's players took a game off Graf.
They even won a set or :eek: a match now and then.

With this thread I - successfully - tried to debunk all this "bar-was-raised" idiocy here.

ASV, Seles, Sabatini, Novotna and especially Graf would hold their own even with their yesterday's rackets. With TODAY'S rackets they would be top 6 (together with Enna). Those Davenport, Sharapova and Mauresmo types would be toast ...
No, you once again voiced your opinion, which is no more or less valid than anyone else's. Have a nice weekend. ;)

DA FOREHAND
Jun 2nd, 2005, 09:05 PM
Harder doesn't mean its better. Serving hard AND accurate is impressive.
In 1997, you didn't even have to try to serve hard cause it wasn't necessary. Nowadays every girl is trying to speed up her serve in order to keep up.


exactly Harder doesn't mean better. Just as the groundies are harder today than in 97, but it doesn't translate into better tennis, just faster...and more ue's

Calimero377
Jun 2nd, 2005, 09:09 PM
Just the odd question...where does that leave Serena? ASV, Sabatini AND Novotna AND Enna too were/are all better than her?


OK, I include your fave Serena.
Enna and Serena are the only current players who could have held their own against Graf, Novi and the three S ...

Calimero377
Jun 2nd, 2005, 09:11 PM
OK Cali, the level of tennis has dropped dramatically since Steffi dominated. Meaning that Steffi dominated an even harder field than the current one.

We all understand everything. Please, stop the redundancies then...



Not "dramatically".
But yes, dropped.
At least at the very top (top 3 or 5).

bandabou
Jun 2nd, 2005, 09:23 PM
OK, I include your fave Serena.
Enna and Serena are the only current players who could have held their own against Graf, Novi and the three S ...

Those would have been some matchups..

mboyle
Jun 2nd, 2005, 09:59 PM
Davenport famously improved her serve over the summer of 1998. Every tennis book I have ever read confirms that. Hingis' serve actually went downhill after 1997 in terms of MPH. Capriati's and Rubin's stayed about the same.

switz
Jun 3rd, 2005, 03:00 AM
Patty is certainly faster and doesn't look like a weightlifter.

Patty's serve is miles more effective weapon these days but she doesn't really serve much faster though - perhaps with a little less spin on the first. I remember in 98 Patty served one of the fastest serves of the year at 188 kmph.

Racquet technology has certainly helped players serve faster but it's not only factor. Mary actually improved her service technique considerably in 99-00 years.

Doublebackhand
Jun 3rd, 2005, 06:13 AM
Calimero doesnt have to watch women's tennis anymore if he/she thinks Sabatini or Novotna would be easily winning Slams nowadays. Its one of those people saying..oh the old times were always better. The game has evolved a lot. Graf with only a sliced backhand can dominate tennis for 10+ years and won 22 Slams, can that happen nowadays? never! FYI, I aint one of those young fans, I am in mid-30s and have been watching tennis since the moonballs of Chris Evert's times.

tennisrox
Jun 3rd, 2005, 11:13 AM
Calimero doesnt have to watch women's tennis anymore if he/she thinks Sabatini or Novotna would be easily winning Slams nowadays. Its one of those people saying..oh the old times were always better. The game has evolved a lot. Graf with only a sliced backhand can dominate tennis for 10+ years and won 22 Slams, can that happen nowadays? never! FYI, I aint one of those young fans, I am in mid-30s and have been watching tennis since the moonballs of Chris Evert's times.

I agree.I love Steffi and everything, but i really doubt she would be able to win 22 slams with that slice BH.She'd still win slams, but i doubt she'd be as dominant as she was with the kind of depth there is in women's tennis now.A lot of players have great forehands (not like steffi's but good enough), big serves and great athleticism.And novotna wouldn't have a chance(outside grass anyway).But thats all just speculation.Different eras different players.Who's to say Steffi wouldn't have worked really hard and developed a good backhand if she'd been playing today.

switz
Jun 3rd, 2005, 12:39 PM
I agree.I love Steffi and everything, but i really doubt she would be able to win 22 slams with that slice BH.She'd still win slams, but i doubt she'd be as dominant as she was with the kind of depth there is in women's tennis now.A lot of players have great forehands (not like steffi's but good enough), big serves and great athleticism.And novotna wouldn't have a chance(outside grass anyway).But thats all just speculation.Different eras different players.Who's to say Steffi wouldn't have worked really hard and developed a good backhand if she'd been playing today.

do yourself a favour and just say steffi is the second coming of christ. there is no point trying to debate anything in these threads.

Calimero377
Jun 4th, 2005, 01:54 PM
Calimero doesnt have to watch women's tennis anymore if he/she thinks Sabatini or Novotna would be easily winning Slams nowadays. Its one of those people saying..oh the old times were always better. The game has evolved a lot. Graf with only a sliced backhand can dominate tennis for 10+ years and won 22 Slams, can that happen nowadays? never! ...


It has evolved so much that old journeywoman Likhovtseva makes the FO sf this year.
That old journywomen Sugiyama and Suarez make the top10 for the first time in their long careers in 2004.
That over-the-hill Davenport STILL is #1!
And that superflakes like Mauresmo and Demented are top5!!
Wow ...

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Calimero377
Jun 4th, 2005, 02:03 PM
I agree.I love Steffi and everything, but i really doubt she would be able to win 22 slams with that slice BH.She'd still win slams, but i doubt she'd be as dominant as she was with the kind of depth there is in women's tennis now.A lot of players have great forehands (not like steffi's but good enough), big serves and great athleticism.And novotna wouldn't have a chance(outside grass anyway).But thats all just speculation.Different eras different players.Who's to say Steffi wouldn't have worked really hard and developed a good backhand if she'd been playing today.



She wouldn't need a top-spin BH today.
But it was there when she needed it against the S&V-players in the 80ies and 90ies (Navi, Shriver, Novotna, Sukova).
Graf's forehand/slice-BH/footwork combo would dominate women's tennis even today.
We have had slam winners as Kuzzy & Myskina last year. We have slam finalist as Demented and over-the-hill Davenport. And semi-finalists like Likhovtseva and Petrova. Peak Graf would have no difficulties whatsoever against those opponents.


Novotna served with more than 115 mph already in 1997, BTW ...

bandabou
Jun 4th, 2005, 02:03 PM
Cali....thing is that Novotna and Sabatini would be what they are in any era: mental cases....and that is something that really would remained a handycap. Yeah...they might be more talented, more skilled, more this, more that....but at the end of the day when it was 5-5 in the 3rd, itīd be Novotna and Sabatini who would get nervous first as opposed to say a Serena, a Justine....

bandabou
Jun 4th, 2005, 02:06 PM
She wouldn't need a top-spin BH today.
But it was there when she needed it against the S&V-players in the 80ies and 90ies (Navi, Shriver, Novotna, Sukova).
Graf's forehand/slice-BH/footwork combo would dominate women's tennis even today.
We have had slam winners as Kuzzy & Myskina last year. We have slam finalist as Demented and over-the-hill Davenport. And semi-finalists like Likhovtseva and Petrova. Peak Graf would have no difficulties whatsoever against those opponents.


Novotna served with more than 115 mph already in 1997, BTW ...

Peak, peak, peak...of course peak Graf wouldnīt have trouble with this field. Neither peak Serena, peak Justine, peak Martina N, etc..

Whatīs your point?

Calimero377
Jun 5th, 2005, 05:08 PM
Peak, peak, peak...of course peak Graf wouldnīt have trouble with this field. Neither peak Serena, peak Justine, peak Martina N, etc..

Whatīs your point?



With "peak Graf" I don't just meant Graf of Wim 88 final, Wim 92 final or AO 94 final.
I meant Graf of 1987-89 and 1993-96.

bandabou
Jun 5th, 2005, 05:12 PM
With "peak Graf" I don't just meant Graf of Wim 88 final, Wim 92 final or AO 94 final.
I meant Graf of 1987-89 and 1993-96.

Yep....but again: whatīs the point?