Thursday, September 09, 2010

Go for it?

Most tennis players have a huge speed differential between their first and second serves. They take more risk with the first serve, knowing that if they miss they have another, while on the second serve they ease off because there's no "third serve" (thank God).

But does it make sense? Perhaps not:

Nine of the top 20 men as of the Aug. 2 rankings would be better off statistically or virtually unaffected by using their first-serve technique on the second serve. The list includes Novak Djokovic, Nikolay Davydenko, Fernando Verdasco and many of those with dominating first serves: Soderling, Roddick, John Isner and Sam Querrey.

Yet only on occasion — perhaps with a big lead in a game, like 40-love — do any dare to strike a full-strength second serve.

“You need to at least give yourself a chance to win the point,” Querrey said.

The women who could be better served by hitting two first serves include Serena Williams, Jelena Jankovic, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova.

Andy Roddick for one, begs to differ:

“Two double faults in a row and you’re love-30,” Roddick said. “If sports were played on a stat sheet, you know, the look of it would probably be a lot different. One thing you’re not putting into consideration with the numbers is nervous tension.“

"You know, it’s a lot easier on a black-and-white piece of paper with a number. Most people don’t serve a ton better under pressure. So if you’re digging yourself a hole — love-15, love-30 — it’s a totally different ballgame. That can’t be explained by numbers, I don’t think.”

Personally I'd like to see, one serve, no-let, no ad tennis! That would be a hoot.

And, let me add in closing that my first serve and second serve are very similar in speed and power, but that's probably because my first serve is pathetic!

1 comment:

David said...

Very similar to the argument you get with the not going for it on fourth down. Momentum! Of course, that doesn't explain why teams down three touchdowns punt with 8 minutes left in the game.

One would think if tennis players trained to do that, it would cease to bother them so much after a while.