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The effect of artificial side wind on the serve of competitive tennis players

Mendes, P. ; Dias , G. ; Mendes, R. ; Martins, F. ; Couceiro, M. Couceiro ; Araújo, D.

International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport Vol. 12, Nº 3, pp. 546 - 562, December, 2012.

ISSN (print): 1474-8185
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In tennis, the serve is the shot of greatest importance. The serve depends mainly on the player’s technique, however, environmental factors can influence the accuracy of the serve. This study highlights the effect of side wind on the serve of 12 experienced tennis players. The players were asked to hit the intersection point between the central and the service line at maximum speed while a wind effect was artificially generated by a ventilator setup with various speed of Induced Aerodynamic Flow (IAF). Each player’s serve was then analyzed using error ellipses as a statistical measure. This method allowed us to evaluate the effect of ''random wind'' in comparison to “constant wind” on the accuracy of the serves. The truncated Fourier series analysis showed that there was an adaptive pattern in the accuracy of the serve depending on the random wind. However in four players, the more unpredictable the impact of the wind the more accurate they became with the serve. The fact that there was not a linear trend in the accuracy of serves when IAF increased shows that each player adapts differently to the wind influence.