Nadal’s serve was initially considered a weak point in his game, although his improvements in both first serve points won and break points saved since 2005 have allowed him to consistently compete for and win major titles on faster surfaces. Nadal relies on the consistency of his serve to gain a strategic advantage in points, rather than going for service winners.However, before the 2010 season, he altered his service motion, arriving in the trophy pose earlier and pulling the racket lower during the trophy pose. Before the 2010 U.S. Open, Nadal modified his service grip to a more continental one. These two changes in his serve have increased its average speed by around 10 mph, maxing out at 135 mph (217 km), allowing him to win more free points on his serve.
Roland Garros, Paris, France – 05/2011. Nikon D3s. Photo by © Johan Le Bail.