Is Murray's Service Action Causing His Weak Second Serve?

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Post by temporary21 on Tue 17 Mar 2015, 1:29 am

No polls on this one, but its something I've mused about, and I would like to hear the rest of the 606 philosophy brain trust's view on it.

Murrays second serve is almost certainly the weakest part of his game, and its particularly weaker than most of his peers. Part of that must be confidence... but I wonder if some of it is his service action?

People mention on other forums that his first serve has a lot of forward "slinging" motion on it, something you don't do as much on second serves. The result being that Murrays first and second serve motions could be quite different.

Ive always thought that Murrays serve relied a lot on "snapping" the ball with his wrist, which gives him a lot of power. The problem is his serve motion doesnt look very flexible, it looks quite rigid and upright. His ball toss sometimes looks a little variable too. Its as though his action makes it very hard for him to put in a three quarter pace ball, hence all he feels comfortable to do if he cant power it is to kick in a weak one.


I dont expect my views to be the be all on this so what does the collective legion think? Please don't all eat eachother in the process though.

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Post by It Must Be Love on Tue 17 Mar 2015, 3:45 am

Interesting post Temp.

I think it may be due to the action, that does play a part, but I think Murray's mental side of it also important.
There was a time under Lendl where his second serve looked to have a bit more bite.
I think when Murray has a confidence issue, so he takes a safety first approach on it... this may be caused by general fear of giving away cheap points or lack of confidence in the service action itself.

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Post by LuvSports! on Tue 17 Mar 2015, 8:01 am

He has a different action and flow to his second serve. It's not a natural movement like say a Feds or Feli for instance.
What I have noticed is that he cannot do a fast serve out wide now. It rarely gets above 105mph. It's like his body movement doesn't allow it and for me it seems like that with the second and that gets ridiculously slow.
It's inexcusable for me how he's been on the tour for 10 years or so and he hasn't addressed it at all.

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Post by sirfredperry on Tue 17 Mar 2015, 12:13 pm

Part of the problem is Murray's ball toss. Was studying it during the DC matches in Scotland recently. You can pretty much tell if he's going to get his service in as soon as he tosses the ball up.
When he serves long or into the net it's because he's not throwing the ball up high enough or he's throwing it too far ahead of him.
Mind you, he won 59% of his second service points in the match last night which is quite respectable.

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Post by banbrotam on Thu 19 Mar 2015, 9:31 pm

LuvSports! wrote:He has a different action and flow to his second serve. It's not a natural movement like say a Feds or Feli for instance.
What I have noticed is that he cannot do a fast serve out wide now. It rarely gets above 105mph. It's like his body movement doesn't allow it and for me it seems like that with the second and that gets ridiculously slow.
It's inexcusable for me how he's been on the tour for 10 years or so and he hasn't addressed it at all.


I actually don't think that Andy sees his second serve as a problem. I think he's quite happy to drop it in court and say 'beat me if you can' and shrug his shoulders when they do

Significantly, he often takes a defensive position as though he's happy for the return to be 60:40 against him because he knows he'll get back in the rally and win the point

It's one of things that frustrates me and also one of the reasons I like him - it's as though he stubbornly refuses to conform with what's expected and he obviously gets far more of a buzz out of a good return game than a service one

I do think that people over-emphasise the second serve, he must have been broken 30 times in his two slam wins and memorable Miami Masters triumph of two years ago!!

Yes, of course it would be better if he had a better one, but we can't have it all

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Post by socal1976 on Fri 20 Mar 2015, 7:44 am

I looked at Murray's second serve numbers and they are actually pretty good well over 50 percent career wise. But it is just that in comparison to Rafa, Novak, and Federer; three of the best second servers on the tour he comes up short. And the second serve is so crucial to your success on tour. Murray I agree with banbro is comfortable just kicking in the second and being much less aggressive. But to me I don't think he can be much more aggressive he can be susceptible to the double fault and if goes for more on second serve he will certainly hit more double faults. And as we have seen a bad double at the end of a big match can be worth more than just the loss of one point, it can snowball mentally.

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Post by HM Murdock on Fri 20 Mar 2015, 8:53 am

The thing I find odd with Andy's second serve is that, in all other areas, he tries to make sure he's a well-prepared as he can be.

He trains hard, he's disciplined, and he's not afraid to make coaching changes. He actively pursues whatever he thinks will improve him as a player and give him an advantage over his opponents.

But he lets his second serve remain average at best.

Odd, really.

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Post by dummy_half on Fri 20 Mar 2015, 10:34 am

I think sometimes people exaggerate how poor Andy's second serve is, because of the speed gun readings. When he executes the kick serve well it has such a lot of movement and bounce that it is very difficult for an opponent to really get their teeth into. It doesn't matter that it's only 90 mph if he gets the required depth and spin.

Admittedly, he does have a few occasions where he really doesn't get through the ball and ends up dollying something in at 75mph and without the revs on the ball, and that's when it can be murdered. Similarly, this is why he throws in some doubles with the ball into the net.

I agree though that there are times I would like to see him utilise different 2nd serves - he does occasionally go for a sliced serve at about 100mph, and even some relatively flat serves at 105mph, but he seems to lack confidence in either of these when it comes to the big points.

Still, it can't be that bad a serve, as he has had a career better than all but 3 active players, and one that 99.5% of former pros would like.

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Post by bogbrush on Fri 20 Mar 2015, 11:01 am

90mph is a very fast 2nd serve for Murray. Let's not try to put lipstick on this particular pig.
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Post by temporary21 on Fri 20 Mar 2015, 11:59 am

A gold medal winning pig I might add.  His heavy kicker at 90 mph is ok but he underpowers his second serve too much. He could do with a good slicer but again his action makes that look quite awkward

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Post by lydian on Fri 20 Mar 2015, 2:24 pm

He just isn't a great kick server, tends to mainly topspin it in so the ball sits there waiting to be thumped. The problem is he throws the ball far too much to the left side on 2nds and there is a lot of fundamental technical issue with his action, its quite different to his first serve action which is much flatter with much more pronation....its why its really hard for him to change. THE great servers have very similar 1st/2nd actions...Murray doesn't.
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Post by socal1976 on Fri 20 Mar 2015, 2:29 pm

Good point Lydian he does seem to change up his action for the second serve. And the quality of your slice serves improve if you get the ball out a bit more to your right it is easier to cut it. Murray does seem like he tosses the second right up over his head as opposed to getting it out to the right side more.

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Post by HM Murdock on Fri 20 Mar 2015, 2:51 pm

lydian wrote:He just isn't a great kick server, tends to mainly topspin it in so  the ball sits there waiting to be thumped. The problem is he throws the ball far too much to the left side on 2nds and there is a lot of fundamental technical issue with his action, its quite different to his first serve action which is much flatter with much more pronation....its why its really hard for him to change. THE great servers have very similar 1st/2nd actions...Murray doesn't.
I love technical analysis like this. clap

p.s. good to hear (read) from you again, Lydian!

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Post by LuvSports! on Fri 20 Mar 2015, 3:12 pm

Finally Lydian is here with knowledge!

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Post by Calder106 on Fri 20 Mar 2015, 3:53 pm

lydian wrote:He just isn't a great kick server, tends to mainly topspin it in so  the ball sits there waiting to be thumped. The problem is he throws the ball far too much to the left side on 2nds and there is a lot of fundamental technical issue with his action, its quite different to his first serve action which is much flatter with much more pronation....its why its really hard for him to change. THE great servers have very similar 1st/2nd actions...Murray doesn't.

Thanks. Good post but still don't understand why it is difficult for him to change. Would have thought that after all these years and a number of different coaches a more potent second serve should have been achievable. It's not as if he is trying to fine tune something that is already working well (and possibly breaking it) so a change of action (or whatever) shouldn't be out of the question.

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Post by bogbrush on Fri 20 Mar 2015, 4:00 pm

I think the argument is that it's far easier to do a 1st serve, take the ball out for 2nd and serve essentially the same delivery, but with some greater emphasis on kick or whatever than it is to try to deliver a completely different shot. It's certainly easier to focus on grooving on ONE shot, with variation, than it is to master two quite different approaches to a shot.

That seems reasonable to me.
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Post by temporary21 on Fri 20 Mar 2015, 4:11 pm

different motion mgiht mean a different ball toss too

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Post by Calder106 on Fri 20 Mar 2015, 4:49 pm

bogbrush wrote:I think the argument is that it's far easier to do a 1st serve, take the ball out for 2nd and serve essentially the same delivery, but with some greater emphasis on kick or whatever than it is to try to deliver a completely different shot. It's certainly easier to focus on grooving on ONE shot, with variation, than it is to master two quite different approaches to a shot.

That seems reasonable to me.

Would agree with that. Might have interpreted the original statement in a different way to how it was meant. Why he hasn't gone down this route is really the question.

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Post by socal1976 on Fri 20 Mar 2015, 8:35 pm

Calder106 wrote:
bogbrush wrote:I think the argument is that it's far easier to do a 1st serve, take the ball out for 2nd and serve essentially the same delivery, but with some greater emphasis on kick or whatever than it is to try to deliver a completely different shot. It's certainly easier to focus on grooving on ONE shot, with variation, than it is to master two quite different approaches to a shot.

That seems reasonable to me.

Would agree with that. Might have interpreted the original statement in a different way to how it was meant. Why he hasn't gone down this route is really the question.

I think Murray, fears the double fault on his second too much to be more aggressive on the second serve. He seems to double fault a lot when he pushes it on the second serve. Maybe he just does a cost benefit analysis and factors in a couple more doubles as opposed to get a few more shorter replies. I don't think he is comfortable enough with his placement and reliability to go for it as much as we all would like.

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Post by bogbrush on Sun 22 Mar 2015, 7:05 am

Whatever it is (and I think it's an irredeemably bad technique), it's getting worse and it does matter. He might be able to rally the weaker players but the handicap is terminal against Djokovic, Federer & Nadal.
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Post by socal1976 on Sun 22 Mar 2015, 7:23 am

Yeah it isn't a smooth service motion ala Fed or Sampras. He gets a lot of aces and hits high mphs with the first serve. But what is odd about this match is not how badly he did on second serve I think he won around mid-40s on second serve. Which is not world beating by any stretch of the imagination. But to win just 50 percent of your points on your 1ST SERVE for an ATP tour player that is hard to imagine. I don't think his serve is as good post the back injury.

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Post by CaledonianCraig on Sun 22 Mar 2015, 9:42 am

bogbrush wrote:Whatever it is (and I think it's an irredeemably bad technique), it's getting worse and it does matter. He might be able to rally the weaker players but the handicap is terminal against Djokovic, Federer & Nadal.

I would agree with this.

When I think about it Andy seems less capable than the top players of his time of adapting his game. Tweaks he can do but mostly what he was brought up with is what has remained with him. Like I keep saying I still think my epitaph thread remains very relevant as he is yet to rediscover form of 2012 or early to mid 2013 since back surgery.
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Post by Silver on Sun 22 Mar 2015, 12:50 pm

socal1976 wrote:I don't think his serve is as good post the back injury.

Definitely agree with this. He did seem to change his action slightly after the surgery, to avoid any discomfort in the lower back - that would throw anyone off. I'm not familiar enough with his pre-surgery action to comment on whether it's significantly different now though. What you and lydian say about the toss is bang on though, he needs to do some drills on a more consistent throw out a little wider than currently.

Ally that technical stuff with the 'safety first' mental approach and you have...well, a glaring weakness to be exploited by the top players. To Murray's credit he's good enough to overcome that hurdle against most of the tour, but the margins are so tight at the top and we saw what Novak did to his serve yesterday. I really hope he has a good rethink about what he wants to do with his serve. It could be worth going away and practising it relentlessly until he gets some sort of groove back.

The last thing he wants to do is let this become a huge issue in his mind - I'm sure we all remember Coria's yips at the end. That's an extreme example and I doubt that'll ever happen to Andy, but if he keeps losing big matches solely on that serve, then it's going to eat away at him.

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Post by CaledonianCraig on Sun 22 Mar 2015, 1:39 pm

I do wonder whether he is bringing Jonas Bjorkmann in to work on this problem?
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Post by socal1976 on Sun 22 Mar 2015, 4:14 pm

Silver wrote:
socal1976 wrote:I don't think his serve is as good post the back injury.

Definitely agree with this. He did seem to change his action slightly after the surgery, to avoid any discomfort in the lower back - that would throw anyone off. I'm not familiar enough with his pre-surgery action to comment on whether it's significantly different now though. What you and lydian say about the toss is bang on though, he needs to do some drills on a more consistent throw out a little wider than currently.

Ally that technical stuff with the 'safety first' mental approach and you have...well, a glaring weakness to be exploited by the top players. To Murray's credit he's good enough to overcome that hurdle against most of the tour, but the margins are so tight at the top and we saw what Novak did to his serve yesterday. I really hope he has a good rethink about what he wants to do with his serve. It could be worth going away and practising it relentlessly until he gets some sort of groove back.

The last thing he wants to do is let this become a huge issue in his mind - I'm sure we all remember Coria's yips at the end. That's an extreme example and I doubt that'll ever happen to Andy, but if he keeps losing big matches solely on that serve, then it's going to eat away at him.

The serve motion is murder on your back. So it could be something where he is favoring the low back and its impinging on his ability to just free up and go for it. Bu here is another thing to take into consideration. We saw yesterday how Murray had more double faults than aces and was both making no impact with his first or second serve and was doubling too much. If Murray knows he can't go for the second serve and doesn't have it in his bag he can't just channel Pete Sampras and start acing people. I think Murray thinks and probably knows better than the rest of us that if he goes for his second serve his number of double faults will increase. And it isn't an easy thing to shake off a couple of bad double faults on big points in a match. Sometimes a bad double at a bad time can be worth more than one point to the server.


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Post by bogbrush on Sun 22 Mar 2015, 4:22 pm

The serve is a funny thing; it seems almost a matter of good fortune to have a right one. When I got really into tennis I had to get my groundies, volleys, etc coached but when my coach invited me to serve he just said 'right, well nothing much to do there'. It was an absolute bullet but never hurt me or went funny, it was just easy (though I feel my shoulder isn't so loose now). I'd remembered seeing a film where someone told a girl that serving the ball involved throwing the racquet to the other side of the court, but not letting go, and I just did that.

I guess even for the pros, if they get a great action very early on its worth more than their weight in gold. You see some pros who look like novices with all their daft tics and routines (not including Nadal here, who's stuff is not serve related) because fundamentally they don't have a natural action to whack that ball right.
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Post by Guest on Sun 22 Mar 2015, 5:05 pm

Ions ago Murray said he was trying to model his serve on the beast serve that was Sampras's. Now the thing with a serve it is usually like a 3 part motion. Example when looking at the Federer serve you have the toss, movement into the execution of the shot which is where the right leg is in front of the left and both a slightly bent as he launches into the shot and then you have the shot itself.

Andy's serve for me has always been too rigid and he seems to struggle with the toss, especially on the second serve. Andy aspired to the Sampras serve which he compacted up before execution and pow got some awesome power on it. I feel Murray's service action is too laboured.


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Post by bogbrush on Sun 22 Mar 2015, 5:14 pm

Pete's serve - like Federers - was a marvel of simplicity. Go to the line, a bounce to feel rhythm, chuck it up in the same place, same action, just a slight tweak to decide direction (so super-hard to pick) and if it misses, do pretty much the same but hit up a bit more to kick it in.

Fairly immune to major defect and no big strain on the brain or the body. Things of beauty, both of them.
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Post by temporary21 on Sun 22 Mar 2015, 5:24 pm

Pete always talked about having that "backwards rock" movement that he thought was key. Pete started on his backward motion, whereas Murray, and to a little extent Roger start forward and rock back as part of the overall motion.

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Post by bogbrush on Sun 22 Mar 2015, 5:32 pm

I think the details aren't too important, the core of the movement being natural are key. I found myself that I could 'play' with different moves - mimic this or that player for instance - and it made no difference to the result because the central movements were unchanged.

Having very similar 1st & 2nd serves seems important. It says you are confident of the basic dynamics and focus only on one approach with a tweak for safety. This big difference Murray has is a significant part of the problem I think, it's like he has to master two completely different shots. Big headache.


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Post by Calder106 on Sun 22 Mar 2015, 5:33 pm

Watching Raonic v Nadal on Friday he seemed to have a similar 'backwards rock' and the whole action seemed so simple.

As for Murray. His serving has never been his greatest strength but I almost get the feel he started to over-think it last year to the extent he is not sure what is best for him now. Don't remember him having so many bad throws and having to reset or having to bounce the ball as frequently up to 2013.

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Post by bogbrush on Sun 22 Mar 2015, 5:36 pm

Yes, overthinking is a clear indication of trouble. Its the same in any activity, if you start to overthink performance can be impaired. Cool Laugh

drumroll
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Post by Jeremy_Kyle on Sun 22 Mar 2015, 6:49 pm

Murray's movement doesn't look as smooth and agile as it was only a couple of years ago. Let's not forget that other players affected by back issues, for example Edberg who was one of the best servers of his age have gone through a similar early decline.
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Post by temporary21 on Sun 22 Mar 2015, 6:59 pm

Pete had a dodgy back near the end, and he managed about 4 years, though he was a bit older.

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Post by Jeremy_Kyle on Sun 22 Mar 2015, 7:34 pm

I don't remember which match it was referred to, but I saw a stat indicating that Murray first serve was averaging around 182 kph. That is a good -10 from what one would expect from him, it is quite a big difference.......
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Post by temporary21 on Sun 22 Mar 2015, 8:18 pm

Well he changed it to accommodate his back last year, which didnt go well, and hes now had to change it back. Would explain a loss iof confidence in it,

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Post by socal1976 on Mon 23 Mar 2015, 3:00 am

I have to be of the opinion that Murray's serve is not the same since the back. I don't disagree that he doesn't have as smooth and or simple an action as Fed or Pete. But I remember his serve two or three years ago being much better. He used to get a lot of aces and free points. The second serve is about what we have seen throughout his career averages. For me it is the first serve that is off. Especially, when he plays another big 4 player since his back injury he seems to make no impact against them with his first serve. Novak especially seems to have no problem reading it.

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Post by erictheblueuk on Mon 23 Mar 2015, 12:03 pm

When I was taught to serve I was always told your service action for 1st and 2nd serves should be exactly the same. The only difference being you hit the 2nd with more spin for control.
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Post by socal1976 on Mon 23 Mar 2015, 2:15 pm

erictheblueuk wrote:When I was taught to serve I was always told your service action for 1st and 2nd serves should be exactly the same. The only difference being you hit the 2nd with more spin for control.

That is fundamentally exactly how it should be. Me too.

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Post by MMT1 on Sat 28 Mar 2015, 3:31 pm

Murray's serve motion is fundamentally flawed - his toss is too far in front of him and to the right.  As a result he must fall into the court and often to the left, in order to generate the power from the legs for his pace.  Furthermore, because of the location of the toss, he cannot pronate his elbow which as a fulcrum adds racquet head speed that others have and he cannot generate without a lot of forward momentum.

Now, whenever any player gets nervous (including the best players in the world) the tendency is to pull back from the serve in order to keep from hitting it long.  Murray's serve, with its fundamental flaw in the location of the toss and the lack of pronation at the elbow, is constructed in such a way that it requires a lot of forward momentum just to function, let alone be effective.  So under duress, if the natural tendency is to pull back, it's manageable if your fundamentals are sound, but when the serve requires you fall into the court in order to work at all, under pressure the serve is unmanageable, and thus shaky. This fundamental flaw exists on both the first and second serve, and part of the problem with his second serve is how often he has to hit it because under pressure he misses his first serve.

I don't believe that confidence really has anything to do with it - of course he would be less confident in his second serve than the others - but that's not the cause, that's the result of being fundamentally flawed, and only correcting the location of his toss will resolve this.  This would require him to reconstruct his toss and necessarily his service motion, and for a 2-time major champion to make such a change at this stage in his career, would risk his current standing (as he struggles to come to grips with his new serve, just like Djokovic did towards the end of 2010 as he was fixing his serve under Todd Martin), even though ultimately the benefits would outweigh this risk and allow him to be even stronger.  Djokovic took that leap of faith because his serve was so bad he had to - he knew he'd probably never win another major if he didn't do something about it. Murray's is not that bad, and my guess is he won't risk reconstructing it. He may win a couple more majors, but he won't ever reach #1 with a serve like that.
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Post by socal1976 on Sun 29 Mar 2015, 2:02 am

MMT1, good post, I don't agree with all of it. But what do you make of the fact that flaw and all Murray was hitting some quality serves on first serve prior to the injury. His second serve has always been weak. But he used to at least get free points on the first serve. In the final against Novak he was winning almost as many points off of his first serve as he was his second. I personally think that since his back injury the first serve has been as bad as his second. Where in the past his first serve got a lot of free points.

Also you brought up Novak. Novak didn't have a poor serve in 2009 when he decided to go with Martin and changing his motion. In fact, Novak of 2007 had a very good serve both first and second serve. He served wonderfully on his way to AO in 2008 and his final run at the end of 07 to the USO. He wanted to have an ace machine of a first serve that could win him points and that is what Martin did. And when he did it he had two horrible serving season in 09 and 10. In fact I think it safe to say that his changes with Martin probably cost him a slam or two, maybe more. When Novak went away from the Martin (new serve) and went back to his old serve (wimby 2010) he started to improve his results as the old serve with the other changes he made to his game produced a power combo. Semi Wimby 2010, final USO 2010, Davis Cup, and then 2011 which we all know about. So your analogy to Novak is a bit backwards. If anything Novak proves you don't change your serve motion at this stage in your career and burn two good years of prime with a WTA serve.

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Post by MMT1 on Sun 29 Mar 2015, 5:10 am

socal1976 wrote:MMT1, good post, I don't agree with all of it. But what do you make of the fact that flaw and all Murray was hitting some quality serves on first serve prior to the injury. His second serve has always been weak. But he used to at least get free points on the first serve. In the final against Novak he was winning almost as many points off of his first serve as he was his second. I personally think that since his back injury the first serve has been as bad as his second. Where in the past his first serve got a lot of free points.

Also you brought up Novak. Novak didn't have a poor serve in 2009 when he decided to go with Martin and changing his motion. In fact, Novak of 2007 had a very good serve both first and second serve. He served wonderfully on his way to AO in 2008 and his final run at the end of 07 to the USO. He wanted to have an ace machine of a first serve that could win him points and that is what Martin did. And when he did it he had two horrible serving season in 09 and 10. In fact I think it safe to say that his changes with Martin probably cost him a slam or two, maybe more. When Novak went away from the Martin (new serve) and went back to his old serve (wimby 2010) he started to improve his results as the old serve with the other changes he made to his game produced a power combo. Semi Wimby 2010, final USO 2010, Davis Cup, and then 2011 which we all know about. So your analogy to Novak is a bit backwards. If anything Novak proves you don't change your serve motion at this stage in your career and burn two good years of prime with a WTA serve.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czE_SxvgJvc

This is an interview from coach Djokovic's coach explaining (among other things) how bad his serve was, and yet he was still #3 in the world, and as such was a testament to how strong he was (at that time) MENTALLY. His serve was terrible - back then he dropped the eblow, barely got in trophy position and stiff armed it often - it was a sight. But he improved it, starting with Martin and by 2011, it became a weapon. I think it's a myth that he "reverted" back to his old serve and was more successful - if you play tennis, and you think you'll be better by reverting, you're in for big surprise.  This article goes into great depth about the changes in his serve:

http://www.optimumtennis.net/novak-djokovic-serve.htm

As for Murray - I'm not saying his serve is bad, just explaining it's fundamental flaws and why UNDER DURESS it fails more often than his contemporaries.  It's not a boolean prostpect of either the serve is good or it isn't - pressure brings out the fundamental flaws in all of us. And that pressure can be technical as well as mental. For example, a guy who's belting returns may cause you to take more risk on the second serve and thus miss it more often. But Murray's serve has issues that Federer's and Djokovic's do not, which doesn't always show itself, but does more often than these other two because they are fundamentally better.
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Post by socal1976 on Sun 29 Mar 2015, 6:41 pm

See MMT1, I watched Djokovic a great deal in 2007 and 2008, his serve wasn't terrible it was quite good particularly the second serve. At AO 2008 he lost his serve one time up till the finals. It is interesting that you believe Martin improved his serve he fired Martin. And at the time he fired Martin he had the worst serve of any player in the top 20. In 2008 before the Martin change Djokovic was number 6 in the ATP with service games won. In 2010 at the end of the Martin experiment he was 23rd in hold percentage and had more double faults than aces. I think it is pretty hard to give Martin the credit for Djokovic's serving today. His risk with Martin didn't pay off if anything probably put his development off by 2 years.

As for Murray, I don't think he can do a complete rework but he could fine tune. I don't agree with you and neither does Lydian on his serve being too far out wide if anything I think he throws it too much directly over his head and watching the Giraldo match I saw the same thing. But I do agree with you that his serve does seem to be one where you finish by going forward and lunging into the court. As opposed to like Roddick who went up and down more on his serve. That is a fine point that he should be able to safely tweak.

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Post by LuvSports! on Sun 29 Mar 2015, 7:10 pm

Giving Martin credit is just flat out wrong!

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Post by MMT1 on Mon 30 Mar 2015, 4:02 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1X_xqZdoOKw

This video is the crux of my point - not to give Todd Martin credit for Djokovic's current success - that belongs exclusively to Djokovic - but to give Martin credit for identifying the mechanics of Djokovic's serve as an issue that needed to be addressed for him to reach his full potential.  Despite Marian Vajda coaching him since 2006, it was only when he took on Todd Martin that he began to address the mechanics of his serve. He didn't complete the job, but to fix a problem, you've got to realize or admit that it exists, and that started with Todd Martin.

Fortunately for Djokovic, the rest of his game was strong enough that he remained competitive to win majors from RG 2008 to USO 2010 (almost 3 years of majors) with a serve that wasn't particularly strong because the rest of his game was good enough to carry the load. But he never managed it, and it's no coincidence that he didn't reach his full potential, until the serve was finally fixed by 2011. It's not perfect, but it's a hell of a lot better than it was in between his first and second majors.

Murray can do the same - it may take time to fix his serve, and he may even lose matches that he feels he should win along the way - maybe drop in the rankings. But in my humble opinion, I don't think he'll ever reach his potential (as did Djokovic) without a serve that stands the test of pressure. But if Djokovic could do it, he certainly can.  The only thing that will prevent him from doing so, however, is if he says to himself, "I won Wimbledon with this serve, why should I change it?" then that's a stone cold guarantee that he'll never transcend his current status as close to, but not equal to, the best of the best.
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Post by socal1976 on Mon 30 Mar 2015, 4:35 pm

I don't know if I agree with your conclusions. Djokovic went through 18 months of abysmal serving, Djokovic was 22 when he experimented, Murray would be 28. Murray doesn't have the time to do that. If he wanted to do something along those lines he would have had to change a long time ago. The best Murray can do with his serve is fine tuning and minor changes. Like maybe going up more on his serve as opposed to into the court as much. A complete overhaul right now would probably be disastrous to his results and he won't ever get the down time back.

In regards to Novak and his serve there is no doubt his serve improved between the end of 2010 and the start 2011. But his serve was not poor in 07 and 08. He just wanted to produce more free points in his game to take it to the next level. He took a risk it didn't pay off. If it did he wouldn't fire the guy and he wouldn't have two abysmal seasons of serving in 09 and 2010.

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Post by HM Murdock on Mon 30 Mar 2015, 6:54 pm

MMT1 wrote:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czE_SxvgJvc

This is an interview from coach Djokovic's coach explaining (among other things) how bad his serve was...
Thanks for posting this. That was a hidden gem of a video!

Some good comments in there.

Interesting to hear that, prior to 2011, they specifically worked on how Novak received topspin into his backhand to help him deal with Nadal. I love the ongoing tactical adjustments in that rivalry.

Such different dynamics in the Big 3 match ups. We have Federer v Djokovic where both players can just play their game. We have Federer v Nadal which absolutely stifles one of them (Federer). And we have Djokovic v Nadal which is an ongoing tactical game of strike and counter-strike.

Interesting also to hear Vajda say that Federer is a tough match up for Novak because he has a lot of decisive shots and plays a quick game. That's not something we don't already know but it's funny to think of them discussing the same kind of things we talk about on here (well, maybe not all the same kind of things...).

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Post by CAS on Mon 30 Mar 2015, 10:18 pm

HM Murdoch wrote:
MMT1 wrote:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czE_SxvgJvc

This is an interview from coach Djokovic's coach explaining (among other things) how bad his serve was...
Thanks for posting this. That was a hidden gem of a video!

Some good comments in there.

Interesting to hear that, prior to 2011, they specifically worked on how Novak received topspin into his backhand to help him deal with Nadal. I love the ongoing tactical adjustments in that rivalry.

Such different dynamics in the Big 3 match ups. We have Federer v Djokovic where both players can just play their game. We have Federer v Nadal which absolutely stifles one of them (Federer). And we have Djokovic v Nadal which is an ongoing tactical game of strike and counter-strike.

Interesting also to hear Vajda say that Federer is a tough match up for Novak because he has a lot of decisive shots and plays a quick game. That's not something we don't already know but it's funny to think of them discussing the same kind of things we talk about on here (well, maybe not all the same kind of things...).

I really enjoyed that video too, brings a smile to your face these giants are tinkering to face each other all the time and like you say HM Murdoch its not too far from what is discussed in here.

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Post by MMT1 on Fri 03 Apr 2015, 4:28 pm

I should point out that I have EXACTLY the same problem on my serve - I'm not that tall so to generate pace I have to lean in hard, but because of this I lack a good kick serve. It's a bit of a trade-off.
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Post by greengoblin on Fri 03 Apr 2015, 5:23 pm

Murray has in the past expressed disdain for attacking tennis. He thinks that tennis should be played by grinding and a weak second serve in that case isn't a problem.

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