I have played a couple of difficult players who have spinny serves, say player A and player B. Both players are heavy-set, with what I imagine must be thick, strong wrists. Player A doesn't serve with a violent brush (US player and writer Danny Seemiller says serves should have such a brush), but his serves have incredible spin. He puts most of them deep into my backhand corner, with heavy back/side spin. They all want to go into the bottom of the net. Worse, he can switch to top/side and I can't tell the difference. Either way he gets a lot of spin. And his serving action is so casual, with a gentle roll of the wrist. Unfortunately, I can't tell which serve is which even when watching from out of the court. He can easily beat many people who have a technically stronger game. And he admits that he doesn't have a clue about the mechanics of his miracle serve.
Player B's serves are totally different. For some reason, the ball seems to hop or jump suddenly after bouncing on my side. I don't know how he does it. Both players have effective serves, and can serve me off. I think the only way to deal with them is to have a big loop, which I haven't.
I can get some spin on my serves, but they don't give me a big advantage. Apart from brushing speed and wrist snap, is wrist strength itself a factor (which it seems to be for players A and B)? and if so, how would I improve it? (My wrists might be too thin)
BTW: I've heard Paul Pinkewich comment on Werner Schlager's serves at one Australian Open and Paul said that Werner does a lot of weight training in order to be able to snap his wrist. He pointed out that Werner has an odd-looking muscle in his arm (?) resulting from his training. Sounds odd. I didn't spot the defect.
and Alois Rosario said...
Wrist strength does not have a lot to do with generating spin. It is more to do with the relaxation in the wrist and the contact.
Player A is stil brushing the ball heavily but is also hitting the ball fast. The speed of the ball also adds a bit of heaviness to it especially with backspin. You need to lift that ball a little more.
You need to persevere with watching the serevs and watching your returns carefully.
As you sdai it is good if you can topspin them. It doesn't necessarily require a big loop, but a gentle brushing contact on the loop to start to put your own spin on it rather than the spin that the server has put. The shorter the amount of time the ball is on your rubber the less effect it will have.
Learning to receive serves is a long process. We will have our Returning Secrets DVD out next month.