Stefan Edberg's serve

from Tenis Tie-break 
by Alejandro Cerúndolo
translated into English by Mauro Cappiello


Stefan Edberg serves in Rotterdam 1988 (picture contributed by Dutch Dodger)

Stefan Edberg is one of the players I most watched while I was on tour this year. This Swede doesn't look like a product of the school of his country, characterized by the style of Bjorn Borg and some of his  followers, like Mats Wilander or Kent Carlsson, able to retrieve countless balls over the net without losing patience.

Edberg, by contrast, is distinguished by his skill to attack, almost constantly, on any type of surface, relying on his serve, both the first and the second, which has been repeatedly voted by his colleagues as the best of the tour.

Edberg's serve is based on coordination and on an excellent movement of his legs. Edberg is ejected forward and upward as if he were a spring and comes to the net with an ideal strength and position to play that first volley with huge chances of winning the point in a single attempt.

The Wimbledon champion tosses the ball quite high before the impact. Which makes his back arch on the left, thus causing the so-called "american twist" or lifted serve, recommended to come to the net in singles or doubles. With this sequence, Edberg achieves a remarkable efficacy and dreadful spin on the ball.

Obviously, it's not easy to serve like Edberg. His efficient timing allows him to correct the little harmony of the action of his arms, tossing the ball in the air and the right arm well below to suddenly accelerate like a whip, generating surprise and an impressive ball speed.

For all these reasons Edberg has become one of the most dangerous players on the tour; he has got a letal weapon in his serve, conveniently exploited thanks to a perfect body (he's about 1.90m tall), that gives him great court coverage with little effort.

But if these arguments are valid to justify his condition of great tennis player, his excellent physical and mental preparation are also to be mentioned. Mixing all these qualities, Stefan Edberg won Wimbledon, the Australian Open (twice) and the Davis Cup.


Enlarge images to see the animations (thanks to TennisForAll.com)

Stefan Edberg's serve