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  • Andy Murray's Serve

    Let's discuss my latest Tour Strokes article, "Andy Murray's Serve"!

  • #2
    Hope he reads the article. We discussed this issue 5 years ago here:
    http://www.tennisplayer.net/bulletin...e+forum+murray

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    • #3
      Tennis player articles do travel...and travel well.

      Originally posted by johnyandell View Post
      Let's discuss my latest Tour Strokes article, "Andy Murray's Serve"!
      I think this article is terrific. It breaks Andy's serve down real nicely in a way that is easy to understand and, better still, is something coaches can look at with their own students.

      Having witnessed Andy play at Wimbledon many times, the article goes some way to explaining why his serve looks like a "slap" at times. But I still feel the flailing left arm is more dramatic and less controlled than Roddick and others that do it.

      I think analysing serve effectiveness in players is tricky. Andy can serve really well some days. But very, very often when it comes down to the crunch on the really big points and in the really big matches, it lets him down. I think it's an area that has let him down when he's played the top three.

      Teaching "wrist snap" was (still is) commonly taught over here so John could well be right in his theory about that one. I would like to confirm that for him but doubt anyone would own up to it. The trouble with coaches is that we are experts which makes us terribly vain.

      Rest assured, these articles travel worldwide. At Wimbledon this year I am willing to put money that Andy's internal rotation and incomplete racket turnover gets mentioned in commentary.
      Stotty

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      • #4
        The grip

        I am wondering if the serve is just a symptom of a greater flaw in Andy's game. He plays very tight. We know about his back problems and he is constantly pulling at his leg as well. Somehow he learned to grip the racket tighter and that this gives him more control. He is, of course, a world class athlete and so he has the ability to win even with this flaw. But my sense is that the ball does not really explode off of his single-handed wing. Both his forehand and serve are too tight and so he doesn't seem to get the "whip" that other players get. Compare his forehand to Fed's forehand. My sense is that it is the same problem. He is trying too hard to get the ball in by gripping the racket more tightly. Under pressure he grips it even tighter and thus his strokes fail him.

        On a personal note, I have experimented with an extremely loose grip on both forehands and serves. I am not even close to Murray in talent but I do experience a loss of control but much more spin and speed. But I have to literally have the racket almost falling out of my hand at the beginning of the stroke since the tendency is too tighten up during the stroke when the racket is about to make contact with the ball.

        My sense is that Murray is trying to control the ball too much and so he tightens up too early. This does not allow him to whip the ball as well on any stroke on the right side of his body which uses a single hand.



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        • #5
          Nice analysis. It always seemed that Murray's serve was missing a certain something. He is capable of hitting it in the 130's but it always seemed to be forced and not as natural or explosive as some other players. The slo-motion video shows the issue with the upper arm, hand and racquet. Same issue as Sharapova from a stroke analysis article from a few months ago. Perhaps this arm, hand and racquet rotation is the critical piece of the puzzle for all high level players that despite what seems like a technically sound serve, still struggle with getting that serve to the next level. Amazing that players of Sharapova and Murray's level have this flaw.

          Kyle LaCroix USPTA
          Boca Raton

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          • #6
            Implying that Andy does not have as much wrist snap as Roger means he is not ACTIVELY moving his racket thru the ball as much. This is effectively true.
            But I think Andy is decelerating the racket as it approaches the ball due to lack of confidence in his second serve. He is doing this instead of RELEASING the racket into the ball, just like a golfer releases the club into the ball and lets it loosely fly into and thru the contact zone.

            Roger is releasing the racket and using his trunk to generate energy that flows thru his arm and into the racket head. Andy is a more muscular deliberate player who does the best with what he has. And he does a great job of maximizing what he can do. But that capacity is just limited compared to Roger and Novak. Even Rafa is more like Andy in how he serves and plays, generally speaking.

            If someone could get a total body energy expenditure graph of the players as they hit a stroke, you would see Roger and Novak at the low end and Rafa and Andy at the upper end. That's why Novak can last forever out there, and Rafa and Andy get hurt all the time.

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            • #7
              Great technical breakdown of the serve. It's something I've noticed for years. It looks like the contact point would be the cause for less internal rotation. He does this on his overheads as well. I experimented with tossing to the right and moving contact above my right shoulder. I definitely lost some action on the second but found I could (and still can) control the flat serve much better. I would like to speak to people within his camp but it seems the combination of flat first serves and weaker second serves allows Andy to play a balance of attacking and defensive tennis that keeps players out of rhythm. Andy is a guy who does significantly more scouting than other players and he seems to read or anticipate where players will direct aggressive returns. He does this in return games as well. Despite being one of the best returners in the world he often chooses to roll returns when it seems he could have driven the ball a lot more. Against the top players this leaves him vulnerable because he cannot defend against such high level attacking. Perhaps an adjustment should be made to the pace of his second serve and mindset on returns against the other guys in the big four.

              At that level I find it hard to believe technical flaws are simply overlooked. Maybe this is a technical element we will see in the future for flat serves? It wasn't too long ago that a reverse forehand was frowned upon. Now it is commonplace in teaching any high performance player. I remember learning the "buggy whip" to be used on the run but was told never to use it when behind the ball. Now we see the best players at all levels applying it from everywhere in the court.

              Comment


              • #8
                Sun

                Tangentially, I've noticed Andy takes far more pace off his serve when dealing with the sun than his peers. In their Miami final, although both players were broken far more often on the North side when serving into the sun, Djokovic was hitting at near-normal pace while Andy dropped his first service speed by 30 mph, I believe it was.

                I don't know if I can post a question for John here, rather than in the dedicated Q section of the forum, but here goes. It looks to me like Andy copes with the sun by moving his toss back rather than making contact into the court, while other pros move their tosses to one side or the other, or shorten their toss. See my photo of him from Indian Wells, where the sun is also bad {and why do they design pro stadiums that way?, but I digress ...). Andy's head is further into the court than the ball.

                John, is what Andy's doing in the sun an inferior approach or not? Is it related to his right-toss / straight-racket-at-impact issue?

                MurraySunServe BNPIW15 © jfawcette by james.fawcette, on Flickr

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                • #9
                  That's an awesome picture Jim! Love the detail

                  Kyle LaCroix USPTA
                  Boca Raton

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                  • #10
                    Jim I cannot mind read Andy...but the contact points of the players don't tend to vary.

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                    • #11
                      Great article. In looking at Andy's serve I also see three other possible issues. In getting to trophy position he doesn't really load his back hip. He appears to be hyper angulating his shoulder. He brings back foot up to the outside of front foot again not best loading mechanics. His leg drive is far less than other players at the top level. Comparing with Dartfish. Wondering if these are the causes of lack of internal rotation relative to the elite servers.

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                      • #12
                        Bobby those are certainly good questions. My experience with even low level players is that if they are shown the fully rotated position at the extension of the forward swing, they can make it happen. All the other factors you mention are also worthy of pondering.

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                        • #13
                          Pre-apologizing, but ...

                          Originally posted by johnyandell View Post
                          Jim I cannot mind read Andy...but the contact points of the players don't tend to vary.
                          I can't resist ...You can't read minds? But John McEnroe always tells us what players are thinking. He can even read minds in Japanese and Spanish <g>

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                          • #14
                            Thx

                            Originally posted by klacr View Post
                            That's an awesome picture Jim! Love the detail

                            Kyle LaCroix USPTA
                            Boca Raton
                            Thanks, Kyle !

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              No I just said I couldn't read Andy's mind--not that I couldn't read minds.

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