Marat Safin – Big Service 3.0 as the time went

Model athlete Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) was one of the most gifted players of the past decades. He reached the #1 ATP ranking at the young age of only 20 years in the year 2000 and won 2 Grand Slam singles titles. Even though this must be considered a fantastic success, in Marat’s case it was, at least in my personal opinion, actually rather an underachievement. Would he have had a bit more ideal surrounding and team around him through his career, he might have belonged to one of the players considered for the best of all time. As it was, he ended his career after an ongoing performance decline already at the age of 29.

Marat’s service belonged to the most dangerous ones on the tour. His body size of 193 cm (6’4”) was surely very helpful, but also his service technique was very solid and Marat was well fulfilling the Service 3.0 requirements. As unstable as Marat was in general, his 1st service percentage through his career was just 55%, but of those 1st services in, he has had a 75% winning percentage and also his ace probability of 67% was quite high.

Below, we can see decisive technical elements of Marat’s service through his career and beyond. Mainly almost an ideal loading, excellent high reach towards the impact while perfectly using the splendid bodily parameters, perfect eye control of the tossed ball (unlike his also famous sister..) and very fast targeted pronation are to be mention.

 

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) - 1st service in a match - follow through 1 - 2005 US.Open

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) – 1st Service 3.0 in a practice match – follow through 1 with perfect targeted pronation and eyes still remaining focus towards the impact zone – 2005 US.Open – New York

 

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) - 1st service in a match - follow through 1 - 2005 US.Open

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) – Service 3.0 in a match – cocking / push-off – excellent body engagement and eye focus – 2007 US.Open – New York

 

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) - 1st service in a match - follow through 1 - 2005 US.Open

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) – 1st Service 3.0 in a match – follow through 1  = targeted pronation – 2007 US.Open – New York

 

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) - 1st service in a match - follow through 1 - 2005 US.Open

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) – 2nd Service 3.0 in a match – follow through 1 = targeted pronation – racket is going more to the outside (right here) as typical for the topspin service – 2007 US.Open – New York

 

The photos below show Marat during an ATP Senior Tour match in Zurich in 2012, the quality was still there!!

 

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) - 1st service - 1 of 2 - start - 2012 ATP Champions Tour - Zurich / Switzerland

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) – 1st Service 3.0 in a match – 1 of 4 – toss/loading/transfer perfectly combined – 2012 ATP Champions Tour – Zurich / Switzerland

 

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) - 1st service - 1 of 2 - start - 2012 ATP Champions Tour - Zurich / Switzerland

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) – 1st Service 3.0 in a match  – 2 of 4 – initioation of the push-off – 2012 ATP Champions Tour – Zurich / Switzerland

 

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) - 1st service - 1 of 2 - start - 2012 ATP Champions Tour - Zurich / Switzerland

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) – 1st Service 3.0 – 3 of 4 – moments after the impact with racket already torn over 70° into the full pronation position – very few players were ever able to accomplish this!!! – 2012 ATP Champions Tour – Zurich / Switzerland

 

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) - 1st service - 1 of 2 - start - 2012 ATP Champions Tour - Zurich / Switzerland

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) – 1st Service 3.0 in a match – 4 of 4 – follow through 2 = relaxation – the entire energy was spent already – 2012 ATP Champions Tour – Zurich / Switzerland

 

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) - 1st service - 1 of 2 - start - 2012 ATP Champions Tour - Zurich / Switzerland

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) – 1st Service 3.0 – 1 of 1 – well-controlled targeted pronation right after the impact – 2012 ATP Champions Tour – Zurich / Switzerland

 

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) - 1st service - 1 of 2 - start - 2012 ATP Champions Tour - Zurich / Switzerland

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) – 2nd  Service 3.0 – topspin – 1 of 1 – moments after the impact – 2012 ATP Champions Tour – Zurich / Switzerland

 

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) - 1st service - 1 of 2 - start - 2012 ATP Champions Tour - Zurich / Switzerland

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) – 1st Service  3.0 – 1 of 2 – loading – 2012 ATP Champions Tour – Zurich / Switzerland

 

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) - 1st service - 1 of 2 - start - 2012 ATP Champions Tour - Zurich / Switzerland

Marat Safin (*80 / RUS) – 1st Service 3.0 – 2 of 2 – folow through 1 = targeted pronation – 2012 ATP Champions Tour – Zurich / Switzerland

 

This article is just a partial analysis of Marat Safin’s service. More analytic photo documentation of him as well as of most other dominant players of the past over 20 years is available upon request at drmgb11(at)gmail.com.

 

Photos (August 2005, August 2007, March 2012) & text (March 2017) copyright by Dr. Martin G. Baroch. Further publication of any photos and/or text with written permission of the author only!

 

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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