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View Full Version : Why Doesn't Venus Have a Kick Serve?


CJ07
Sep 14th, 2007, 12:10 AM
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!?

Donny
Sep 14th, 2007, 12:15 AM
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?

CJ07
Sep 14th, 2007, 12:37 AM
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 :shrug:

Serenidad.
Sep 14th, 2007, 12:47 AM
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

CJ07
Sep 14th, 2007, 03:56 AM
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

-VSR-
Sep 14th, 2007, 04:00 AM
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.

VeeReeDavJCap81
Sep 14th, 2007, 04:02 AM
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.

Mr.Kardashian
Sep 14th, 2007, 04:02 AM
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?

Venus+Serena#1fan
Sep 14th, 2007, 04:20 AM
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.

Apop66
Sep 14th, 2007, 04:55 AM
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

brent-o
Sep 14th, 2007, 05:10 AM
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.

brent-o
Sep 14th, 2007, 05:11 AM
Great topic, by the way, CJ07. Haven't seen this discussed before.

kittyking
Sep 14th, 2007, 11:00 AM
I would think that Venus would find it more comfortable to do her slice serve than Serenas Kick serve

laurie
Sep 14th, 2007, 08:47 PM
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.

stickwitju(ju)
Sep 14th, 2007, 09:50 PM
Why Doesn't Venus Have a Kick Serve?

Other.

She has a life outside of tennis.

:rocker:

jrollaneres25
Sep 14th, 2007, 09:53 PM
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.

So pretty much, if she practices speeding up her racket head, and use more of her legs to jump into the ball, then it's very likely that she could develop one. It's never too late

sweetpeas
Sep 14th, 2007, 09:55 PM
She has a life outside of tennis.

I like that.:wavey: Thanks:bounce:

sweetpeas
Sep 14th, 2007, 09:56 PM
It's never too late

So true.One should never,say never!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!right on.

laurie
Sep 14th, 2007, 10:14 PM
Other.

She has a life outside of tennis.

:rocker:

Cute answer but Tennis is actually her main job, and it's what she's most famous for.

When I do a job I want to make sure I'm good at all aspects of it. Personal and professional pride ensures that.

Apoleb
Sep 14th, 2007, 10:19 PM
Very true about the ball toss. I can't see how she can build a kick serve with her toss that much to the right. I think she'd have to replan almost her whole service motion. It's possible, but I don't see her doing that right now in her career. I don't think the issue is psychological at all. It's really technical.

Max565
Sep 14th, 2007, 10:21 PM
"She has a life outside of tennis." ?? Is developing a kick serve going to prevent her from having a social life or something?

LH2HBH
Sep 14th, 2007, 10:37 PM
If a pros slice serve is going to win them more points than their kick serve than that is the shot they are going to develop. The kick serve is very complicated and can be very frustrating to learn. At some point in her development they must have simply decided it was in her best interest to develop the less effective, yet easier to execute slice serve.

laurie
Sep 14th, 2007, 10:45 PM
If a pros slice serve is going to win them more points than their kick serve than that is the shot they are going to develop. The kick serve is very complicated and can be very frustrating to learn. At some point in her development they must have simply decided it was in her best interest to develop the less effective, yet easier to execute slice serve.

It's interesting in the women's game how many players seem to settle for the slice serve almost exclusively as the second serve. I can also think of Conchita Martinez.

Talking about players with really good technique on the second serve, I should also mention Patty Schnyder and Mary Pierce.

Did anyone notice that in the French Open final, from the second service game to the end of the match, Ana Ivanovic was tossing the ball further and further to the right? Double faulting a lot as a result.

I've been watching her since 2005 and I never noticed that before. So was it nerves? Or does Ana always toss the ball to the right anyway. Any Ana fans out there to answer this?

rod99
Sep 14th, 2007, 11:34 PM
sam stosur probably has the best kick serve. pierece, schnyder, and serena also have good kick serves. i think it's too late for venus. her second serve is all arm and you really have to use your legs for a good kick serve. plus, her ball toss isn't conducive to a kick serve.

Corswandt
Sep 15th, 2007, 12:03 AM
It's interesting in the women's game how many players seem to settle for the slice serve almost exclusively as the second serve.

I'd say most.

There are few WTA players who always or almost always use a kicker for the second serve like the ATP players do; Szavay is one of them.

I suppose the only top player who simply doesn't know how to hit a kick serve is Dementieva. But the number of players who can hit effective, high bouncing kick serves is quite limited. I'd say Molik, who wins many free points off it, has the best one. Safina and Kuznetsova also have very good kick serves (including kickers to the deuce court, which even fewer women hit).

The effectiveness of the kick serve also depends on the opponent. Take Stosur. Her kick serve wide to the ad court is completely ineffective against Vaidisova (all the more surprising considering what a piss poor returner Vaidisova is, particularly on the BH side), as their H2H attests. But on clay and hit to the one-handed BH of the much shorter Schiavone (this year's Rome 1R), it was devastating. During the recent USO SF, Chakvetadze was returning Kuznetsova's kickers to her BH from well above shoulder height. Bottom line it also depends on matchups, much like Schnyder's CC FH moonballs to her opponent's BH side are hell for Henin and useless against Sharapova.

LCS
Sep 15th, 2007, 12:10 AM
I'd say Venus has a nice kick-serve, not the best but certainly not the worst...

Craigy
Sep 15th, 2007, 12:11 AM
It's never too late

So true.One should never,say never!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!right on.

It's never too late

So true.One should never,say never!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!right on.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111for real!

Apoleb
Sep 15th, 2007, 01:55 AM
It's interesting in the women's game how many players seem to settle for the slice serve almost exclusively as the second serve. I can also think of Conchita Martinez.

Talking about players with really good technique on the second serve, I should also mention Patty Schnyder and Mary Pierce.

Did anyone notice that in the French Open final, from the second service game to the end of the match, Ana Ivanovic was tossing the ball further and further to the right? Double faulting a lot as a result.

I've been watching her since 2005 and I never noticed that before. So was it nerves? Or does Ana always toss the ball to the right anyway. Any Ana fans out there to answer this?

I haven't followed her that much, but from my observation it's something she tends to do but not always. It does seem that she throws the ball to her right side when she gets tight, on both her first and second serves. And ofcourse that happens when she's serving like shit.

Apoleb
Sep 15th, 2007, 01:56 AM
I'd say most.

There are few WTA players who always or almost always use a kicker for the second serve like the ATP players do; Szavay is one of them.

I suppose the only top player who simply doesn't know how to hit a kick serve is Dementieva. But the number of players who can hit effective, high bouncing kick serves is quite limited. I'd say Molik, who wins many free points off it, has the best one. Safina and Kuznetsova also have very good kick serves (including kickers to the deuce court, which even fewer women hit).

The effectiveness of the kick serve also depends on the opponent. Take Stosur. Her kick serve wide to the ad court is completely ineffective against Vaidisova (all the more surprising considering what a piss poor returner Vaidisova is, particularly on the BH side), as their H2H attests. But on clay and hit to the one-handed BH of the much shorter Schiavone (this year's Rome 1R), it was devastating. During the recent USO SF, Chakvetadze was returning Kuznetsova's kickers to her BH from well above shoulder height. Bottom line it also depends on matchups, much like Schnyder's CC FH moonballs to her opponent's BH side are hell for Henin and useless against Sharapova.

What do you think of Serena's second kick serve? I'm surprised you didn't mention it since it's so celebrated. Personally I don't think of it that much, or maybe it isn't what it used to be. Henin wasn't having problems attacking it on both sides, even though we know she hates high balls on her backhand.

Donny
Sep 15th, 2007, 02:08 AM
What do you think of Serena's second kick serve? I'm surprised you didn't mention it since it's so celebrated. Personally I don't think of it that much, or maybe it isn't what it used to be. Henin wasn't having problems attacking it on both sides, even though we know she hates high balls on her backhand.

Take a look at match point in the Miami final. Serena hit a second serve that twisted through the air, landed, then kicked up reallll high into Henin's backhand. Henin couldn't even get it in play.

In general though, Serena's second serve is like Federer's to me- it's not so much the height of the bounce, but how it moves the air- it's really hard to get a bead on- for everyone but Henin.

Corswandt
Sep 15th, 2007, 02:16 AM
What do you think of Serena's second kick serve? I'm surprised you didn't mention it since it's so celebrated. Personally I don't think of it that much, or maybe it isn't what it used to be. Henin wasn't having problems attacking it on both sides, even though we know she hates high balls on her backhand.

It has very good pace, good placement as well, but it doesn't bounce that high (which explains why it doesn't trouble Henin all that much). Certainly not as high as say Kuznetsova's or Molik's. And for me the high bounce/vicious spin is the defining element of the kick serve.