Ground reaction forces


Knee flexion


Shoulder velocity


Racquet velocity

In the professional game, the serve is reported to be one of the most important stroke. All the best servers hit the ball with immense power at more than 200 km/h. Serve performance can be defined as the ability for professional players to produce high ball velocity. This is a key element of successful play, because it puts the opponent under stress and may hinder its return. In biomechanics, the serve is a sequence of motions referred to as a kinetic chain that begins with the lower limb action and is followed by rotations of the trunk and the upper limb. The serve is also the most difficult and complex skill to master because the players must combine in the right timing all the body segmental rotations and motions to hit the ball as tall and strong as possible.

Studies and Publications

C. Martin, R. Kulpa, P. Delamarche, B. Bideau. “Professional tennis players’ serve: correlation between segmental angular momentums and ball velocity”, Sports Biomechanics, Special Issue : Tennis and Biomechanics, 2013, 12(1), 2-14.→ Download the paper
C. Martin, B. Bideau, G. Nicolas, P. Delamarche, R. Kulpa.“How does the tennis serve technique influence the serve-and-volley?”, Journal of Sports Sciences, 2012, 30(1), 1149-56.→ Download the paper
C. Martin. « Importance des rotations du tronc lors du service», Technique et pédagogie, Le magazine du club fédéral des enseignants professionnels n°89, Fédération Française de Tennis, 2013, 3-9.→ Download the paper
C. Martin. « Lien entre les rotations des segments du corps vers l’avant et la vitesse de balle au service chez des joueurs de haut niveau », Technique et pédagogie, La lettre du club fédéral des enseignants professionnels n°77, Fédération Française de Tennis, 2012, 6-9.→ Download the paper
C. Martin. « L’impact biomécanique de la technique de service sur l’enchaînement service – volée », Technique et pédagogie, La lettre du club fédéral des enseignants professionnels n°62, Fédération Française de Tennis, 2010, 6.→ Download the paper

Main Results

Players with highest-velocity serves are those who :

  • produce the highest amount of segmental angular momentum
  • have the best energy transfer between segments
  • demonstrate an optimal timing within the segmental sequence from the legs to the racquet
220 km/h

Ball velocity

2000 N

Vertical ground reaction forces


Maximal knee flexion angle


Shoulder internal rotation velocity

50 m/s

Racquet velocity