How Important Is A Good Serve?

Timm Rinehart
Timm Rinehart
In senior tennis (on clay), how important is it to have a good serve? One tournament player at Colonial today proved it is “not important”!

Timm Rinehart, the #6 seed in the 70s singles, has a bad shoulder and cannot serve the ball over-handed; so, he played his first-round match today serving all under-handed … and won 6-0, 6-3!!

Granted Timm is a solid baseliner; but he was matched against a good player, Pat Dineen, a friend of Willy Hoffmann’s from NJ. Timm explained his situation before the match and just “started the point” by serving a reasonable groundstroke-type of service motion and used his solid play to win the points.

So, what does that tell you about the importance of the serve?

My Singles Match…

Was vs. 69-year-old (turning 70 this year) Jim Feely, a very solid lefty from Washington, DC. As my scouting reports told me (Thanks guys), he runs very well, gets all balls back in play, is very “tenacious,” but doesn’t hit the ball real hard.

He started out playing his game; but I was a little overly-aggressive, so he took a quick 4-0 lead. Playing to his backhand, I found his slice backhand had a lot of bite on it; so I could not really hit over the ball on my backhand. I started slicing back his slice and going for more on my forehands and was able to win three of the next four games.


As I was moving him side to side, he reverted to using the moonball effectively and took the set at 6-3. The second set was much like the first; but under the heading of “What did you do about it?” I tried to come in and take his moonballs in the air.

The points were close. The games were close. But he outlasted me 6-3, 6-2 in something under two hours.

P.S. Play to his forehand

After the match, two friends (one of whom watched and one of whom lost to him last year), said, “his backhand is stronger than his forehand.” Next time!

For all the results (Fred Drilling seemed to be somewhat challenged when I left), click HERE.

Know someone who should read this? Send them a link and if you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at

My Book: if you’d like to get a copy of “Senior Tennis”, just click on the link on the upper right of this web page to go to, look at the list of places under “My Book” on the bar above, or ask me!

4 thoughts on “How Important Is A Good Serve?

  1. It’s my sense is that the serve is not all that important in today’s senior game. I think the % of first serves in (particularly in doubles) carries more weight. It would be interesting to see the stats on Timm’s first serve % serving over-handed vs his first serve % serving under-hand.

    Jim, he said he didn’t double fault once today! george

  2. George, what a delight having this site available for me to follow all the various results. Much appreciation!

    Joe, it is positive feedback like yours that keeps me goin’! thanks. (hope you are doing better) george

  3. Just saw your interview with Peter Freeman and ordered your book on Amazon Prime. I am 82 and play tennis about 2 or 3 times per week and have to play with younger players as our club (Idle Hour Club, Macon,GA) just does not have many older players. Enjoyed reading your site.

    Floyd, tks for both. did you see the post on the 85 year olds?! Come on down to SW Florida and i will hook you up with Gordon Hammes (age 83 and #2 or 3 in the USA). george

  4. George,great interview with Peter Freeman and motivating: hope to play you in our nineties! Just one thing George Bernard Shaw was Irish not English.
    Cheers, Don Thomson.

    Don, thanks… and Thanks for the clarification. George

Comments are closed.