The Federer second serve
Originally published on: 20/06/12 00:00
Roger uses a platform base (he doesn’t draw his right leg in towards his left), his weight is evenly distributed at the start of his wind-up and you can already see the beginnings of an excellent shoulder rotation.
His shoulders rotate further than his hips which helps the pre-stretch of the powerful chest muscles, his knees bend with his bodyweight still evenly spread on both legs. Lastly, notice how his heels are raised slightly.
Roger employs a classic ‘trophy’ position with the left arm up and because of his excellent shoulder slope the racket is perfectly parallel to the left arm. His heels are now very high off the ground, aiding spring off the court.
Key point: His left hand has released the ball yet remains open, almost like a flower, which is helpful for consistent ball placement.
As he begins the explosion off the ground and the unleashing of the racket up towards the ball his chest is facing up towards the ball. His eyes are watching the ball and his head is tilted back and will stay up throughout the serve.
The drive from the legs is so powerful he is now airborne by around a foot. His head and eyes remain up and the angle of the racket suggests this is a second serve. Roger’s left arm begins its neat curl in towards his stomach.
Key point: Roger's hips are still side-on but are in the process of rotating fast to finish parallel to the net. This is similar to an ice skater getting into the air to achieve a high speed spin.
The huge kick-back of the right leg and the fact that Roger has landed just inside the baseline confirms that this is a second serve. Federer’s balance on landing is exceptional with a straight back and his head still held up high.
Golden rule: Gettin the ball toss right is so important if you're looking for a serve that doesn't go wrong under pressure. Roger demonstrates exactly how to do it in image 3 – a straight arm and an open plam putting the ball just in front of his body.
'The Federer second serve' features in the June 2012 issue of tennishead magazine. Why not subscribe here.