Serve big like Andy Murray
Originally published on: 12/10/10 14:21
‘Serve big like Andy Murray’ featured in the July 2010 issue of tennishead magazine. For more details on how to subscribe, click here.
Objectives: Anticipate the return
Few players can serve aces at will, so make your preparations for the next ball a part of your serving routine. The key is balance – Murray’s right leg will quickly come down as he hops off his left foot to be ready for the next ball. If you are unbalanced after the serve, the extra step you take to recover could delay you enough to drastically affect your ability to deal with a hot return.
Conditioning: Give yourself a leg up. Leg strength is extremely important to virtually every stroke in tennis, in particular the serve. The power and weight of shot begins from driving upwards, biomechanically known as ‘ground force’. Powerful legs increase the power, the weight of shot and the height from which you hit the serve, giving you the maximum angle from which to hit down into the service box.
Murray starts the winding up process, taking his racket back as he prepares to toss the ball. His feet and shoulders are in the classic side-on position to the target box.
Key point: Murray’s left foot position is slightly unorthodox – it is almost parallel to the baseline
Both Murray’s arms move up together in sync as his legs start bending to prepare for the drive upwards towards the contact point. Simple and efficient.
His arms are still in sync with the upper body in a lovely bow position, and his legs are now fully loaded. Murray begins to bring his back foot up next to his leading foot for take off.
The sloping straight line from left wrist to his right elbow gives Murray the perfect pre-stretch of his chest muscles, leaving him poised to drive his racket up at the ball and into the court.
Key point: Look how his shoulders are slightly more rotated than hips, so he can rotate his torso into the serve for more power
Murray’s racket is travelling from right to left as we look, so we know this is a kick serve. His head is up, his racket arm is fully extended, and his legs have pushed him upwards.
Key point: His upper body remains strong and tall throughout the serve – a sign of a strong core
Golden rule: Aim to make contact with the ball at the highest point possible as Murray does here. That way, you can generate more power and hit a greater proportion of the service box
As he lands inside the court, Murray’s head has not dropped an inch. His right leg and left arm are extended backwards to counterbalance the momentum taking his body falling forward.
Key point: That strong core has prevented Murray’s upper body from buckling during his serve, and let him keep his head up – two typical serving errors