Frances Tiafoe – American tennis hope – service remarks

Frances Tiafoe (*1998 / USA) is with his enormous talent and almost an ideal tennis body of 188 cm (6’2”) one of the biggest hopes of American tennis, which is waiting for the next American men’s Grand Slam winner since 2003 when Andy Roddick capture his US.Open title and is missing a man in the top 10 of the ATP rankings for over 2 years already now. Frances is being handled as one of the potential candidates to fill this void.

With his 1st service, Frances could have quite a potential weapon at his disposal (after all his fastest service during the 2016 US.Open was clocked at 142 mph, same like the fastest service from John Isner), but small details are in my opinion often taking a bit away from its potential. The main issue is for me in the rather suboptimal integration of the body energy into the stroke in the moment of impact at many of Frances’ services. Below, we can have a look at his service in both 2015 and 2016. The 2015 photos are from a practice during the US.Open and the 2016 photos are from Frances’ epic 1st round 5-set losing US.Open match against John Isner (USA). For comparison purpose, I have added also one 1st service from Andy Roddick at the age of 18 years, Frances and Andy have almost the same body size and both use shortened service backswing, even though not fully identical.

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in practice 1of 4 - start - 2015 US.Open

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 1st service in practice – 1 of 4 – start in a wide base with visible low-back hyperlordosis – 2015 US.Open – NYC

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in practice 1of 4 - start - 2015 US.Open

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 1st service in practice – 2 of 4 – push-off / toss seems to be not very much in front, the racket is nicely set-up with its axis behind the intended impact – 2015 US.Open – NYC

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in practice 1of 4 - start - 2015 US.Open

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 1st service in practice – 3 of 4 – follow through 1 = targeted pronation – the right hip and the right shoulder stay rather back, the left palm seems to stay open for a bit too long – 2015 US.Open – NYC

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in practice 1of 4 - start - 2015 US.Open

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 1st service in practice – 4 of 4 – follow through 2 = relaxation – 2015 US.Open – NYC

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in practice 1of 4 - start - 2015 US.Open

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 1st service in practice  – 1 of 4 – toss / delayed stortened backswing – 2015 US.Open – NYC

 

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in practice 1of 4 - start - 2015 US.Open

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 1st service in practice – 2 of 4 – push-off towards the impact – excellent eye control – 2015 US.Open – NYC

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in practice 1of 4 - start - 2015 US.Open

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 1st service in practice – 3 of 4 – follow through 1 = targeted pronation, which looks very nice, but the right hip doesn’t seem to get fully involved and the hitting (right) shoulder didn’t come much to the front, also the left palm seem to stay open and far in the front for  a bit too long – 2015 US.Open – NYC

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in practice 1of 4 - start - 2015 US.Open

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 1st service in practice – 4 of 4 – follow through 2 = relaxation – 2015 US.Open – NYC

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in practice 1of 4 - start - 2015 US.Open

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 1st service in practice – 1 of 6 – start with a wide base and quite visible hyperlordosis in the low back area – 2015 US.Open – NYC

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in practice 1of 4 - start - 2015 US.Open

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 1st service in practice – 2 of 6 – toss / stortened backswing, rather limited coiling – 2015 US.Open – NYC

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in practice 1of 4 - start - 2015 US.Open

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 1st service in practice – 3 of 6 – racket goes with a rather open face into the cocking position, rather limited body coiling / transfer from platform to pinpoint – 2015 US.Open – NYC

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in practice 1of 4 - start - 2015 US.Open

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 1st service in practice – 4 of 6 – push-off to the impact – low-back hyperlordosis seems to limit the hip involvement a bit,  good eye focus – 2015 US.Open – NYC

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in practice 1of 4 - start - 2015 US.Open

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 1st service in practice – 5 of 6 – follow through 1 = targeted pronation with a nice control but rather limited body energy involvement – right hip and shoulder are rather more back than with the most dominant servers – 2015 US.Open – NYC

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in practice 1of 4 - start - 2015 US.Open

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 1st service in practice – 6 of 6 – relaxation – 2015 US.Open

 

Andy Roddick (*82 / USA) - 1st service in a match - follow through 1 = targeted pronation - 2000 Junior French Open - Paris / France

Andy Roddick (*82 / USA) – 1st service in a match – follow through 1 = targeted pronation – Andy has almost the same body parameters like Frances, but he seems to integrate the body energy into the stroke more – his right hip and right shoulder go more to the front – already 3 years later Andy won the 2003 US.Open – 2000 Junior French Open – Paris / France

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in the match - 1 of 3 - 2016 US.Open - NYC

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) vs.  John Isner (*85 / USA) – service speed comparisons around the middle of their epic 5-set match in the 1st round of the 2016 US.Open – it’s surely tough to measure up to John Isner, but mainly the 24 mph difference in the 2nd service has surely played quite a role –  by the way, they both clocked their fastest service at 142 mph during this event – NYC

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in the match - 1 of 3 - 2016 US.Open - NYC

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 1st service in the match – 1 of 3 – toss – the arch in the low-back area (=hyperlordosis – red arrow) might be part of the mentioned limited hip integration and could also lead to several health issues in both low-back as well as shoulder area after years – 2016 US.Open – NYC

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in the match - 1 of 3 - 2016 US.Open - NYC

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 1st service in the match – 2 of 3 – push-off towards the impact, excellent eye control – 2016 US.Open – NYC

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in the match - 1 of 3 - 2016 US.Open - NYC

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 1st service in the match – 3 of 3 – follow through 1 with targeted pronation, right hip/shoulder are staying rather back – 2016 US.Open – NYC

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in the match - 1 of 3 - 2016 US.Open - NYC

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 2nd service-topspin in the match – 1 of 2 – push-off – 2016 US.Open – NYC

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in the match - 1 of 3 - 2016 US.Open - NYC

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 2nd service-topspin in the match – 2 of 2 – end of follow through 1 – right hip and shoulder stay significantly back, this might be the main reason why the 2nd service is rather slower, left arm far in the front can also have rather slowing effect – 2016 US.Open – NYC

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in the match - 1 of 3 - 2016 US.Open - NYC

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 1st service in the match – 1 of 2 – push-off – 2016 US.Open – NYC

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in the match - 1 of 3 - 2016 US.Open - NYC

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 1st service in the match – 2 of 2 – follow through 1 = targeted pronation – right hip and shoulder staying rather less back this time –  2016 US.Open – NYC

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in the match - 1 of 3 - 2016 US.Open - NYC

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 1st service in the match – 1 of 3 – 2016 – start with quite arched lower back (=hyperlordosis) – 2016 US.Open – NYC

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in the match - 1 of 3 - 2016 US.Open - NYC

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 1st service in the match – 2 of 3 – follow through 1 =  targeted pronation – looking very nice, but the right hip and shoulder are rather more back than with the greatest servers – 2016 US.Open – NYC

 

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) - 1st service in the match - 1 of 3 - 2016 US.Open - NYC

Frances Tiafoe (*98 / USA) – 1st service in the match – 3 of 3 – follow through 2  – relaxation while entering the court – 2016 US.Open – NYC

This article addresses certain details and should be not seen as a complete stroke analysis. In my personal opinion, it would be possible to further develop Frances’ service or rather stabilize it at a high level by going the path of a better body energy integration (optimation of the entire loading/unloading process). The same issue would need to be addressed in his other strokes. More detailed information and photos (service and other strokes) are available upon request – drmgb11(at)gmail.com

Photos (June 2000, August 2015/2016) and text (January 2017) copyright by Dr. Martin G. Baroch

DrMGB

Dr. Martin G. Baroch (alias DrMGB) - CPTA's Vice-president - Director of Education and Certifications, long-time USPTA International Head Tester and member of the USPTA Education Committee, owner of the Martin Baroch Tennis Academy & Human Performance Center (MBTA & HPC)

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