Earth to Fernando Verdasco: You're Only As Good As Your Second Serve

ZipCorrespondent IMarch 20, 2009

INDIAN WELLS, CA - MARCH 19:  Fernando Verdasco of Spain tosses the ball up before serving to Roger Federer during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 19, 2009 in Indian Wells, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Don't get me wrong, Fernando Verdasco is a great tennis player. He has power ground strokes, the lefty advantage and he's in tip top shape. Plus, he has an indomitable serve. Umm scratch that last one. 

Verdasco's serve is far from a weapon. In fact, it is probably the one thing keeping him from beating the elite players. 

Breaking into the top 10 is a nice accomplishment, but it means nothing if a player can't win when it comes down to the wire. 

Although Verdasco was down 3-6, 1-4 in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells) against all-time great Roger Federer, Verdasco was primed for a comeback. And come back he did. Verdasco rattled off three straight games and eventually had a chance to serve out the second set ahead 6-5. 

However, the final score of the match read 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) Federer. What happened?

Pretty simple—Verdasco's serve fell apart and thus the rest of his game followed suit. 

Certainly there is pressure for anyone to close out a set. Nevertheless, a top ranked player should walk up to the baseline with confidence and get the job done.

Verdasco did just the opposite. Instead of putting pressure on Federer's return game, Verdasco put in weak first serves because he lacks confidence in his second.

In turn, he gave away points with errant double faults or produced such a weak serve that Federer had no trouble evening out the playing field with a solid return.

There is a saying in tennis, "You are only as good as your second serve." In the case of Verdasco, the saying seems to ring true. 

In all honesty, even if he had pulled out the second set, he still had an uphill battle in order to beat Federer. But Verdasco at least needs to give himself a chance.

If he never seizes opportunities, then he will never have a chance to rise above the challenges. Please stop sinking below your potential and giving away points. 

Verdasco played a marathon five set match against Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the Australian Open. We were witness to some of the greatest tennis shots ever, but the shot that won the match for Nadal was far from great.

Verdasco dumped a second serve into the net, and with it, handed Nadal a first class ticket to the finals. That hurts. While I feel his pain, that just can't happen—not if he wants to truly compete against the top players on the tour.

He needs to grab a bucket of balls and work out the kinks in his second serve. Not just for himself, but also for me and the other fans out there who would like to bear witness to more Verdasco fist pumps, quality Mohawk hairstyles, and brilliant tennis matches. 

I'm pulling for you—I really am. But you are only as good as your second serve Fernando, so get working.