Nick Kyrgios Tennis Serve Analysis – 3 Reasons Why It’s So Good.
Nick Kyrgios has one of the best tennis serves in the world, he routinely holds his service games to love or fifteen, can out-ace almost anyone in the world, even giants like Karlovic and Isner and is currently ranked fourth in the ATP serve stats, just behind Isner, Raonic and Opelka. In the last fifty-two weeks, he’s won 79% of all points on his first serve, has held serve 88.5% and hits on average seventeen aces per match. In comparison to this, Roger Federer hits on average seven aces per match, Novak Djokovic five and Rafa Nadal only four.
Kyrgios’ serve is not only fast, but it’s also extremely hard to read and even the best returners like Djokovic and Federer find it very difficult to return on good days.
In this video, Top Tennis Training coach Simon Konov will analyse the Nick Kyrgios tennis serve in great depth and show you three reasons why it’s so good.
The Grip
Kyrgios like most pro players uses the continental grip to serve with. This grip allows you to hit the flat serve, the slice serve and also the kick serve whilst helping you achieve pronation during the contact zone.
Stance
Kyrgios uses the pinpoint stance, which is the stance that Nadal and many other pro players use. To begin with, you start with quite a wide gap between both feet and during the service motion, the back foot lifts off the ground and joins the front foot creating a pinpoint stance with both feet very close together often touching one another.

Reason One
The first reason why Kyrgios’ serve is so good is his weight transfer during the motion. Nick starts off with his weight on the front foot, his left leg, then transfers his weight onto the back foot, his right leg and as he joins his feet together in the pinpoint position, he’ll then have a massive weight shift forwards into the court creating great momentum that pulls him far inside the baseline after contact. This style of serving has also been used by many powerful servers in the past including Richard Krajicek and Goran Ivanisevic.
By starting off with a wide base, the player can really exaggerate the weight shift and create great forward momentum.

Reason Two
Kyrgios’ ball toss is exceptionally good and sets him up perfectly to execute his fast serve. Nick tosses the ball quite low compared to most tennis players, on average he makes contact with the ball 1-2 inches lower than the apex of his ball toss. This low ball toss eliminates any unnecessary waiting around during the action and reduces the chances of a break in the kinetic chain. It also makes it extremely hard to read where he’s going off the ball toss. Good returners will often spot a slight change in the ball toss which will indicate where the server is likely to go and with which type of spin.

Reason Three
Kyrgios has great disguise on his serve. His ability to disguise his serve, along with the power of the shot makes him a very hard player to break. The speed of his service action, which is much faster than most pros, gives him the disguise as the returner doesn’t have much time to spot slight changes with his body alignment and ball toss.
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38 COMMENTS

  1. A timestamp of the lesson:
    00:35 Intro to the three elements
    01:10 Weight transfer on Nick's serve
    02:20 Reference to Krajicek and Ivanisevic serves
    02:48 What happens when you use a narrow stance to start your serve (pinpoint)
    03:28 Simon trying out the Kyrgios serve
    03:31 What happens when you have a pause in your motion
    04:24 Why Nick uses a low ball toss and the benefits
    06:48 What happens when you toss the ball high
    08:18 Why Nick has great disguise on his serve

  2. Interesting in that there are multiple ways to disguise the serve. Federer and Sampras disguises it differently by being able to hit any serve off the same toss. The concept is similar where the key is the ability to hit multiple different serves using that one toss. But the way Kyrgios does it really disrupts any rhythm a returner may have. Djokovic has also praised Kyrgios’ serve being able to make him feel utterly helpless. Though I would like to see a rematch and see if Djokovic can adjust.

    Edit- this may be the one case where Rafa’s usual return position may help slightly in giving him more time to react, to try to put more returns in play. Problem is that serve is still damn good. Aside from his attitude, Kyrgios is unique compared to his NextGen comrades in that he is one of the few who has a game primarily centered around the serve. Difference between him and Federer is that Federer protects his serve really well with the rest of his game, similar to how Sampras would protect his serve.

  3. Great analysis, thank you! Loving the rocking motion, so natural.. it works amazing for me, adjusted to platform stance!
    There is also something about his way of shadowing a pronation during is serve motion (see from 2:09 to 2:11), that helps him get a good whippy action on second serves. He basically just has to repeat that wrist action he just did, into the contact point. Raonic does the same. Not sure if it's desirable though.
    As for the low ball toss, I think it's a lot easier when you are 1.93m tall tbh 😉

  4. Guys, great videos! I have a question about Nick's serve. Personally, I always thought it looks a bit odd and now seeing your analysis I am getting a better understanding. I have never seen a follow thorugh like this at 0:30 His left arm is going outwards for balance as opposed to tucking in towards the stomach area. It works for Nick but is this normal today? It seems to me like a player who has learned his own way, off the cuff than consulting a coaching manual. So the question is, would you recommend that to amateurs? And / or young upcoming players? Does it matter as long as he gets good results on the serve?

  5. Funny, I just tried that today and it worked really good! I feel the momentum/longer swing path(in one motion) gives me way more power on the flat serve. Good analyzing as always! 🙂

  6. Hey Simon, do you think height plays a large role? As a tiptoe 5’4, I don’t know if I can toss the dang ball high enough to clear the net and hit it fast enough😂😂

  7. Excellent video as always. Any thoughts on his take back of the racquet? It seems like it’s briefly pointed to the ground and then “whiplashed” above his head in a millisecond. The timing of that is the secret sauce. I know of zero rec players and only a few high level college players that can consistently hit at the apex. I’m working on it!

  8. @Top Tennis Training A bit off topic so not about serve but rather return of serve. What do you recommend for tracking the ball on serve return? Concentrate on the ball in servers hand and follow all the way through toss until racquet contact and react to direction? Something else?

  9. He's still offensive, unsportsmanlike, foul mouthed, angry, unignified and contemptuous of everyone.
    He's the worst possible ambassador for tennis and is bringing the game into disrepute.
    Talent for tennis – 8/10.
    Talent for good behavior – 0/10.

  10. Simon. Please allow me to respectfully challenge your idea about using a forward weight transfer by sliding the back foot to the front foot in the tennis serve. I call this the one-legged serve and I'll limit my comments to just the player's lower body.

    The type of horizontal movement you espouse might help taller servers, say above 6'6" in height, but in my opinion that is questionable too. This technique should not be taught by coaches or used by players for several, very crucial reasons. Let me explain.

    Having good balance is a major attribute in playing any sport well and tennis is no different. When a player moves overtly in a horizontal manner by sliding her back foot to the front when serving makes it more difficult and produces undesirable results, for the vast majority of players. These include; increasing the likelihood of shoulder injuries, increasing the likelihood of double faults, reducing power and decreasing deception capability. The one-legged serve requires the server's head-to-ball spatial relationship to increase in variability. More head moving forward equals more changes in the spatial variability between the two. This is exacerbated because as the weight is transferred forward it also means the arm tossing the ball is moving forward, adding to more head-to-ball spatial variability. This added degree of timing difficulty usually results in a decrease in serve consistency. It also increases the chances for shoulder injuries because the server is more apt to move too far forward and hit the ball behind her optimal biomechanical strike point. Thirdly, the leading hip is biomechanically restricted and therefore reduces its kinetic potential. This also reduces deception as that is produced primarily from the ball toss and leading hip relationship. Recent and past examples of tennis pros who had and have difficulties with their serves because of this were Guillermo Vilas and Felix Auger Aliassime. Vilas, a 4-time Grand Slam winner and Masters Champion was notorious for mishitting serves and FAA has suffered from bouts of serving consecutive double faults.

    Let's look at a better solution by advocating a two-legged serve. Many players use this technique including Sampras, Federer, Djokovic, Roddick, and Raonic. I have included video links showing their serves in slow motion along with about a dozen others below.

    There are many reasons why a two-legged serve is a much better choice to teach and use when coaching and playing tennis. I touched on them above. Less horizontal head movement, better leading hip torque, more consistent ball toss, greater power, and more deception potential. The two-legged serve means that the back foot DOES NOT SLIDE UP to the front foot before the contact is made. Why is it so much better? Firstly, it reduces the horizontal head movement, which means lower head-to-ball spatial variability. The result is a more consistent ball toss with fewer faults. Secondly, it compels the server to move more up vertically into the ball so that she can make contact at her highest comfortable point, a key factor in increasing the margin of error because the ball can then travel higher over the net. Secondly, with a better-balanced base, the leading hip can protrude into the court more, thereby increasing the kinetic potential of upper body torque and disguise. Finally, using a solid foundational base also reduces shoulder injury. It accomplishes this because the ball toss to head relationship has less variability and therefore easier to master, which results in fewer serves being hit behind the player.

    Reducing the head movement is on display in golf. One of the main principles of hitting a good golf ball is to keep the head still. Why is that? I believe it reduces, almost eliminates the head-to-ball spatial variability.

    The two-legged serve biomechanics are on display in baseball. For those of you who are familiar with how a baseball pitcher throws the ball you will see a striking similarity. The right-handed pitcher pushes off the rubber with his right foot. He does not slide his right foot up to his left foot prior to throwing the ball. Some of his power, not unlike the tennis server, emanates from his legs, primarily the right leg for right-handed pitchers.  

    Nick Kyrigios is a super talented tennis player but his serve is not one to emulate. He's got exceptional timing and for the average player to try to model their serve after him is just way too difficult. In a comparison with Raonic and Kygrios a few years ago at the US Open, they showed that Raonic, who's 1 inch taller makes contact with his serve 6 inches higher than Kyrigos. That higher margin of error really makes a huge difference at their level of play but the principle is the same for everyone. Raonic's role model was Sampras, not surprising. Both of these great servers had the advantage of a solid base by using the two-legged serve technique.

    The video links below are of slow-motion videos of tennis pros with two-legged serves. It lists their name, height and video link.

    pete sampras 6-1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzaXFny9Tg4

    novak djokovic 6-2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyTtZE6LSek

    roger federer 6-1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKXtVQnqhB4

    andy roddick 6-2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZbxKuLEP_o

    marin cilic 6-6 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dqkF9NXgtc

    milos raonic 6-5 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xzs3cc_rG2Q

    milos raonic 147 mph https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdY2hlrFehU

    stefanos tsitsipas 6-4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rpDDxdzwWA

    taylor fritz 6-4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSOtAbQ4I6Q

    benoit paire 6-5 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yL3xEDrFF-E

    denis shapovalov 6-0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvD9JgrcR1I

    dominic thiem 6-1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKJ4INgHDaE

    fabio fognini 5-10 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0n07k1YnP9s

    dan evans 5-9 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8z68BSQ1d1g

    tommy paul 6-1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uE5tYB5h8BE

    vasek pospisil 6-4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0JlQc3fyxs

    kevin curren 6-0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQAJyXKxuG4

  11. Great analysis as usual…How can one incorporate some of the techniques you have outlined to a platform serve. Toss and quickness are no brainers but how would you do the rocking motion and hence building momentum…I may be coming to wrong conclusion but seems applicable to pin point style only…Thank you

  12. I've seen nick at the us open several times and I noticed everything you mentioned when I watched him. My only question is how do other players such as roger who DO stop in between, achieve power? Do they compensate somehow?

  13. Don't know why, but you left on the real third part of his serve, which is his racket arm take-back motion. His wrist is inward, and he keeps the racket hanging down before he does his one-motion hit; he doesn't go up into the trophy position on his toss as other servers do. He tosses with his racket down, then strikes, like a whip. I believe this is one of the most important parts of his serve.

  14. 100 likes Please and Top Tennis Training will do a video on what I requested. Thank you for the likes. Can you do a video about serve placement not just about the flat serve but also about slice serve and kick serve please and thank you?

  15. Hi TTT, Well done guys, Could you please film next about the "Implementing Strecth Shortening Cycle on Tennis Strokes and Analyzing some Pro Tour Players using that technique well" Thank you, hope to see that important topic in your awesome videos.

  16. I’ve read that players who have this kind of a serve are very convenient to get injured. Do you recommend to have that kind of a serve or a serve like Federer’s where it’s a low possibility to get injured? Thanks!

  17. is the low ball toss only effective for tall players ? i mean nick basically towers over the net. i wonder if the low ball toss would be effective for players under six feet

  18. Great video, thank you Simon! One thing i noticed is Kyrgios seems to have almost no shoulder turn on the windup (about 90 degrees from starting position to contact), compared to say Roddick with almost 180 degree shoulder turn, any thoughts on that?

  19. I've seen you guys talk about the "lightning serve" (short toss, quick motion) before. I think the best benefit of a lower toss is you're more likely to keep a continuous motion and less likely to pause (which kills the racquet head acceleration).

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