Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Perhaps I need to change the name of my blog

"Women Who Can't Serve" seems more appropriate. Watching Flavia Pennetta and Ana Ivanovic last night, and seeing the service stats for Daniela Hantuchova (not to mention watching her serve the day before) made me wonder, yet again: Why isn't learning to serve well a priority for tour players? Lindsay Davenport, one of the tour's great servers, speaking from the Indian Wells commentary booth, remarked last night that very few women on the tour could comfortably hold their serve.

There are two types of service problems on the tour. There are women who have never learned to serve well, and there are women who can serve well, but whose serve goes to pieces way too often--Dinara Safina is a perfect example. So is Patty Schnyder, who has a very good first and second serve, but--like Safina and Ivanovic--her serve is way too inconsistent.

Then there is Jelena Jankovic, who had a terrible first and second serve, improved her first serve significantly, then lost the improvement. Elena Dementieva, long the poster child for poor serving, appeared to get over her service problems, but they have reappeared.

These are all top players, and it is inconceivable to me that their coaches do not drop everything and either focus mainly on serving, or get them temporary serving coaches. A lot of the problem is mental, of course--probably most of it. So if service drills or service coaching do not work for your player, then get her to a good hypnotherapist. Or do all of the above.

Women's tennis is really suffering, in my opinion, from the weak serves of top players.


Vicki said...

Diane I totally agree you and Lindsay. Service brakies makes match really boring to watch. Don't change a thing about your blog it's great just the way it is. Tennis and cute cats were made to go together.

Diane said...

Thanks, Vicki. That is very kind of you to say.

Actually, I do enjoy service breaks, but only when they involve good serving, not these stupid inevitable breaks because of terrible serving.

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