are old players' volley skills overestimated? - MensTennisForums.com
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post #1 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-14-2011, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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are old players' volley skills overestimated?

when it comes to comparing eras and the shots produced, a legitimate argument is that the racket technology has improved.

I feel like this argument might not hold up for volley skills though. Is it much harder to hit a volley with an old racket?
And more importantly, since the shots were an awful less fast and heavy back in the days, are the volley skills of players like McEnroe that impressive? I mean surely the degree of anticipation needed was far less important. From the couple matches I've seen from that era the volleys don't seem that impressive and McEnroe missed some pretty damn easy ones.
This leads me to think that Federer might be much higher in the list of the GOATS of volleys, maybe third behind Edberg and Sampras in my opinion.

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post #2 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-14-2011, 11:19 PM
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Re: are old players' volley skills overestimated?

Well one could argue passing shots have gotten tougher and tougher to deal with over the decades with the strings and rackets allowing more topspin to hit the ball at a volleyer's feet. However, just as you pointed out, it is quite a bit tougher to hit a clean pounding volley with a wooden racket. I have many in my garage from my parents' time of playing tennis in the 70s and 80s and they are certainly much more difficult to use.

Either way, McEnroe for example, still had amazing hands. It wasn't just the volleys, as his dropshots were absolutely perfect. After all, McEnroe had the best volley in his time during the late 70s/early 80s. No one else really had hands like him during that period. Even as his age increased, better baseliners came and technology was quickly evolving, he was still a top competitor in the late 80s and early 90s. Plus, you see how his volleying skills allowed him to transition into becoming one of the greatest doubles players.

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post #3 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-14-2011, 11:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: are old players' volley skills overestimated?

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Well one could argue passing shots have gotten tougher and tougher to deal with over the decades with the strings and rackets allowing more topspin to hit the ball at a volleyer's feet. However, just as you pointed out, it is quite a bit tougher to hit a clean pounding volley with a wooden racket. I have many in my garage from my parents' time of playing tennis in the 70s and 80s and they are certainly much more difficult to use.

Either way, McEnroe for example, still had amazing hands. It wasn't just the volleys, as his dropshots were absolutely perfect. After all, McEnroe had the best volley in his time during the late 70s/early 80s. No one else really had hands like him during that period. Even as his age increased, better baseliners came and technology was quickly evolving, he was still a top competitor in the late 80s and early 90s. Plus, you see how his volleying skills allowed him to transition into becoming one of the greatest doubles players.
mmm okay point taken for the wooden rackets. However I still think they had plenty of time to hit their volleys compared to nowadays, thus leading to overestimating their volley skills.

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post #4 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-14-2011, 11:29 PM
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Re: are old players' volley skills overestimated?

All you have to do is look at the volleying technique of modern players and its clear most of them are pretty clueless these days, regardless of how much better passing shots are. Constant drop volleys are usually a sign of poor volleying prowess (besides maybe Tsonga) which is the go to shot for a lot of players at the net.

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post #5 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-14-2011, 11:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: are old players' volley skills overestimated?

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All you have to do is look at the volleying technique of modern players and its clear most of them are pretty clueless these days, regardless of how much better passing shots are. Constant drop volleys are usually a sign of poor volleying prowess (besides maybe Tsonga) which is the go to shot for a lot of players at the net.
you make some good points but maybe the use of drop volleys is linked to the fact that the surfaces are slower

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post #6 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-15-2011, 01:20 AM
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Re: are old players' volley skills overestimated?

Very. Today's slower surfaces and better control that players have with modern equipment makes volleying very hard. In the 70/80's volleying was easier on fast surfaces, which were servefests, where volleys were sitters most of the time. Put McEnroe/Edberg in this era and their volleys would fail most of the time...
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post #7 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-15-2011, 01:42 AM
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Re: are old players' volley skills overestimated?

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Very. Today's slower surfaces and better control that players have with modern equipment makes volleying very hard. In the 70/80's volleying was easier on fast surfaces, which were servefests, where volleys were sitters most of the time. Put McEnroe/Edberg in this era and their volleys would fail most of the time...
Lucky for all of us and tennis in general.. we watched two geniuses in some better times

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post #8 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-15-2011, 01:44 AM
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Re: are old players' volley skills overestimated?

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Lucky for all of us and tennis in general.. we watched two geniuses in some better times
Geniuses who could barely play from the baseline.
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post #9 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-15-2011, 01:49 AM
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Re: are old players' volley skills overestimated?

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Geniuses who could barely play from the baseline.
O.k, enjoy in variety of modern tennis

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post #10 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-15-2011, 02:05 AM
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Re: are old players' volley skills overestimated?

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O.k, enjoy in variety of modern tennis
I enjoy modern tennis more, seeing guys like Sampras win Wimbledon losing his serve 3-4 times and net rushing on every point was
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post #11 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-15-2011, 02:14 AM
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Re: are old players' volley skills overestimated?

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Geniuses who could barely play from the baseline.

And yet nowadays, we have uninspiring guys like Nadal that have no net game and at the same time literally no baseline game if you take them off slow as molasses surfaces

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post #12 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-15-2011, 02:21 AM
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Re: are old players' volley skills overestimated?

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And yet nowadays, we have uninspiring guys like Nadal that have no net game and at the same time literally no baseline game if you take them off slow as molasses surfaces
Nadal has good net skills, Djokovic is also slowly improving in that regard.

As for the second sentence, obviously on fast court all you need to do is stand there and serve aces/put away sitter volleys. Ever watched indoor hard events and Wimbledon in the 90's? Servefest with tons of TBs.
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post #13 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-15-2011, 02:32 AM
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Re: are old players' volley skills overestimated?

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Originally Posted by Topspindoctor View Post
Nadal has good net skills, Djokovic is also slowly improving in that regard.

As for the second sentence, obviously on fast court all you need to do is stand there and serve aces/put away sitter volleys. Ever watched indoor hard events and Wimbledon in the 90's? Servefest with tons of TBs.
Nadal has rather mediocre net play at best... He merely plays the percentages, IE come in after hitting a wide angle forehand and hitting a dink into the open court. Rarely do you see him come in when he doesn't necessarily have the upper hand in the rally and hit a blistering volley like many other great volleyers have to go through.

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post #14 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-15-2011, 03:07 AM
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Re: are old players' volley skills overestimated?

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Originally Posted by Topspindoctor View Post
Nadal has good net skills, Djokovic is also slowly improving in that regard.

As for the second sentence, obviously on fast court all you need to do is stand there and serve aces/put away sitter volleys. Ever watched indoor hard events and Wimbledon in the 90's? Servefest with tons of TBs.


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post #15 of 67 (permalink) Old 12-15-2011, 03:21 AM
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Re: are old players' volley skills overestimated?

Nostaliga sure does weird things to peoples memory but todays volleying is poorer.

Juan Martin Del Potro


But he lost 23 times against you.
's right. We have to also throw into the mix. But I do not think it is currently the decisive factor. But he has achieved in my opinion too much. Maybe this is crucial if I move him even closer after major victories. But 14 or 17 Grand Slam titles is a significant difference. At the present time there is no question that he must be the greater player than me.

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