Former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek recently spoke to Tennis Magazin about Roger Federer's serve, which is an important part of the Swiss' arsenal. Krajicek, who himself had one of the best serves in the world when he was active, claimed that what makes Federer's serve so special is its unpredictability.
The Swiss didn't fare too well in this regard on Thursday against Nikoloz Basilashvili, as he won a measly 67% of his first serve points. But the shot has helped Federer dominate many of his opponents in the past, as well as get out of crunch situations.
"Roger Federer's serve is one of the best in the world for its accuracy," Richard Krajicek replied when asked about some of the best serves in tennis. "Reading his serve is almost impossible. The way he hides it, it's unbelievable. He developed this shot and 2-3 years ago in tough moments, he would serve on the T. Now it's unpredictable."
Roger Federer takes risks and mixes up the variants more on his serve: Richard Krajicek
Richard Krajicek went on to name his top six servers over the years - Ivo Karlovic, Milos Raonic, Goran Ivanisevic, Nick Kyrgios, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. While the first four names are usual suspects, the inclusion of Federer and Djokovic in the list comes as a bit of a surprise.
Krajicek gave a nod to Djokovic due to the Serb's drastic improvement in the second serve, the credit for which he believes goes to his coach Ivanisevic.
"He (Ivanisevic) is now working as a trainer with Novak Djokovic, and Novak visibly benefits from this," Krajicek said. "His second serve has become an average of 10 km / h faster. That makes a lot. He visibly benefited from this, for example, in his triumph at the 2021 Australian Open."
The Dutchman then recalled his experience of returning Roger Federer's serve during his playing days, at the 2000 Vienna Open and 2002 Ordina Open. Krajicek lost both his matches against the Swiss maestro in straightforward fashion.
"I played against him twice before," Krajicek said. "He wasn't that good at that time, but still won both times! Roger doesn't have the hardest serve. But his precision makes his serve the best in the world. He hits a lot of aces."
"If he had a break point against him two or three years ago or it was under pressure, then his serve almost always came in the center," the Dutchman added. "You can no longer rely on that. In the meantime, he also plays more risk-taking, mixing up the variants more."
At the end of the interview, Richard Krajicek was asked which ATP player had a lot of untapped potential on their serve. The Dutchman named Dominic Thiem, particularly for his famed kick serve.
"I think Dominic Thiem is really good," Krajicek said. "His kick serve is particularly strong. In my opinion, he has the best serve of the not-so-tall players."