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'Boom Boom' Becker: A Serve Built on Confidence

I've been bombarded with questions about service technique, asked to analyze serve motions down to the quiver of a single cell, begged relentlessly for that "miracle" tip that will send the ball 140mph over the net and in the corner of the service box - I'm going to tell you, no matter what the magazines print in bold on their covers, no such miracle exists. A good serve is a confident serve, and confidence is the payoff of having a whole lot of self-discipline.

Tennis announcers have a field day naming pros after their "signature shot". It's a tribute to the old cliche, "what you do defines you". In a way, players become their most confident shot. Agassi had his return of serve, Sampras his serve and volley, but Becker had the serve, plain and simple. The serve was his ritual. He ended every practice serving ball after ball in "boom, boom" style... thus the legend of Boom Boom Becker was born.

When Becker took practice serves before a match he would visualize himself actually in the match. The match began then and there, or even earlier - when Becker walked confidently into the locker room with his head high and shoulders square, for him the match had already begun. When he danced on court after a great point or launched his racquet after a not-so-great one, it was his own seriousness and commitment to perfection that drove him wild.

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Page updated on Tuesday, September 02, 2014
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