An Insider’s Look at Rafa Using Video to Improve His Serve

So much has been written about how Novak Djokovic dominated Nadal this year in tournament finals, including the U.S. Open. But it wasn’t just that Djokovic stepped in, opened up the court with short angles, and rifled backhand winners down the sideline.

There was a hidden problem with Nadal’s serve, as well. Nadal actually lost roughly 19 mph of serving speed since his spectacular serving during the 2010 US Open, where he was averaging an astonishing 126 mph when he took the championship.

This setback has now been nicely documented by Tom Allsopp, founder of, with a really cool posting that shows how a little-known Spanish coach named Oscar Borras was instrumental in improving Nadal’s serve in 2010. This video shows Oscar working with Nadal, and a reluctant coach, Uncle Toni.

It’s a must-see video for anyone struggling to improve their serve. Borras’ breaks down the stages of Nadal’s serve into the very basics. Something we all should do. Plus, you’ll see Borras, Nadal and coach Toni watching videos of Nadal’s serve later on their own laptop. Sound familiar?

Of course, like all of us, Nadal may have slipped back into bad habits in 2011, because his average serve speed dropped by that 19 mph year over year. And that means he couldn’t serve his way out of trouble nearly as much this past season.

It’s eye-opening stuff. Check it out at at

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2 Responses to An Insider’s Look at Rafa Using Video to Improve His Serve

  1. Fitness has really stopped me lately as far as my tennis skills go. I started playing recently and I’ve really been trying hard to improve my game. The problem is I just can’t seem to keep myself going! Plus my strength is absolutely horrible, do you have any tips to get me back on track?

  2. Barnaby says:

    It’s a cliché … but the journey starts with the first step. In terms of fitness, you just have to start with small goals but stick to them every day or every week. It could be as little as walking 20 minutes a day if you’re recovering from injury or illness. To working your way up to jogging, doing a few basic exercises (more on the in a future post), then actual training sessions. The key is to set easily achievable goals and to take your time. The feeling of satisfaction you’ll get from achieving small goals will carry you forward.

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