MTF Intellectual Thought Series: Question #1 [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

MTF Intellectual Thought Series: Question #1

Roger The Great
11-07-2006, 11:13 PM
Ok, so I've been around these forums for a couple of years now and I haven't posted a ton. This is mostly due to the endless inane crap around here such as tard fan base #1 vs. tard fan base #2, or how many times did player A pick his ass today, or why does player so and so date such and such a girl.

Now, this may or may not catch on but I say it's worth a shot... What we have here is an attempt at intelligent discussion on MTF. Am I aiming too high? Will I simply face ridicule at trying to stand out with a different type of discussions? Let's find out.

Question #1 of the new intellectual thought series:

Why has serve and volley play all but disappeared from mens tennis as an artform? What's led to this? And beyond that... Could a truly talented serve and volley player be successful in today's mens game of power and topspin? Sampras and other old players talk about how players like Fed have it easy since there's no variety in the game these days. Could a player like Sampras or Edberg play their game today as they did at their peak? Why or why not?

Discuss.

disturb3d
11-07-2006, 11:21 PM
Question #2
Do you think Sampras could beat Federer?

Deboogle!.
11-07-2006, 11:22 PM
Interesting topic :) I hope you're not aiming too high :lol:

I think there are many reasons for the decline of serve-volley players.

I think one is because some of the faster surfaces have been slowed down a bit (see: wimbledon).

I think another is sort of a combination between racquet technology and increased player fitness and speed - they are better returners, it is harder to serve-volley because you are more likely to have a great return struck low at your feet or even down the line right at you. That wasn't possible before.

However, I do think that a truly talented serve-volley player could definitely succeed. Look at a guy like Taylor Dent who is really truly a serve-volley player, he was capable of beating lots and lots of really really good players (his problems were mentally and physically stringing together lots of wins in a row). You also have Tim Henman, who, when healthy, is still capable of going deep in tournaments. I think players like Sampras and Edberg were talented enough such that they would still be successful today.

revolution
11-07-2006, 11:28 PM
Henman as well as being serve-volley also had some guile in there, I mean his shotmaking was very good too. When you have weapons besides serve volley like Ancic can serve volley but also can hit big groundies, it's an advantage.

disturb3d
11-07-2006, 11:28 PM
What about Nadal, do you think Sampras could beat Nadal?

MarieS
11-07-2006, 11:32 PM
Could you be so kind as to include a definition of "intellectual discussion" first? Thanks, you're a doll. :kiss:

NicoFan
11-07-2006, 11:32 PM
Am I aiming too high? Yes. ;) No matter how hard you try, the morons will come on. But I'm willing to try here.

Why has serve and volley play all but disappeared from mens tennis as an artform? What's led to this? Racquet technology - as soon as the power came in, serve and volley went out. Obviously, we're still going to see some serve and volley used to add variety to a player's game. But unless racquet technology changes again, we won't see it as The Strategy as in the past. I'm mixed on whether I'm sad about this change. I enjoy seeing some serve and volley. I love the touch players in the past had - the feel for the racquet. Also the strategy that went into serve and volley. But I enjoy today's game. I like the power, I like the player's going deep and painting the back line, I enjoy the topspin and the ability to go for the big winner. I think the only time I didn't enjoy tennis was when players with just big serves dominated (no names mentioned). That was boring. Ace, ace, ace. It was like watching a no hitter in baseball every game....you want some offense too.

Could a truly talented serve and volley player be successful in today's mens game of power and topspin? Maybe on grass - but not on other surfaces.

Sampras and other old players talk about how players like Fed have it easy since there's no variety in the game these days. Could a player like Sampras or Edberg play their game today as they did at their peak? Why or why not? No variety? I think there's variety - but its different than in the past. Serves are more important - you can't always power it in, you have to be able to go down the T, but also go wide...and know when to use which - kind of reminds me of a pitcher knowing which pitch to throw - and his opponent trying to figure out where he's going to place it. You have to be able to hit cross court winner as well as down the line, move the opponent around, etc. etc. Be able to hit that drop shot on clay. Not that guys couldn't do that in the past - but you have the added power dimension now.

I don't believe Pete would be as successful today as he was in the 90s. The guys know how to return the big serve now. My humble opinion - I think the return of serve is the most important aspect of a guy's game today.

Sjengster
11-08-2006, 12:03 AM
The magical formula that retired players and commentators talk of is the contrast of styles, the netrusher v the baseliner, but I wonder how many times in past decades that actually happened and how many times it was outright serve-volley from both sides, in the same way it's usually outright baseline tennis today. I'm not sure how much I would enjoy the predictability of such a contest, but one thing I do feel strongly about is that surfaces should display the kind of playing characteristics that distinguish them from other surfaces. What's the point of having a grass-court Grand Slam if you play on it like you do on hard and clay? I think even Wilander said they should speed up the courts and balls again at Wimbledon, although it's possible his attitude was, "And then people will see how dull grass really is...."

Now the points on grass still have a certain unique quality to them, powerful shots stay hit, the slice is effective and so are occasional well-timed forays to the net, but it's not the blanket attack that was seen in former years. Federer said his ambition is to go to Wimbledon one year and win it by serve-volleying all the time, I'm glad he thinks that way but I really doubt he would attempt it or that he'd be successful at it. The way he played there the first year he won it in 03 was almost perfect for me, serve-volleying almost exclusively on the first ball but usually staying back on the second and mixing it up. To be perfectly honest though, I'm not sure he'd have got away with that tactic and remained unbroken if he'd been playing better returners than Roddick and Philippoussis in the last two rounds. The most impressive thing at the time was how he simply rattled through his service games in a couple of minutes, but it's worth questioning how many tough volleys he had to hit behind the serve and indeed how many volleys he had to play at all; the fact that he faced two break points in six sets of tennis, both in one game against Roddick, is surely significant.

One thing that strikes me about players trying to rush the net in the modern game: I think you can still beat a lot of opponents by doing it on your own serve, provided it's powerful enough, but nowadays you simply cannot be successful without a solid, baseline-orientated return game. On courts this slow against passers this good, the bluff-and-charge tactics adopted by people like Mirnyi won't get the job done on a regular basis, you need to be able to construct points, move people around with groundstrokes and then if necessary take to the net to finish things off. I'd like to see a player succeed with these tactics, of attacking relentlessly on their serve but playing patiently and then attacking smartly on their returns. Ironically the closest player on tour right now to that model is Sexual Radek, horrible forehand and all.

Lots of people say that they enjoy watching all-court tennis, including me, but don't always define that term clearly. My favourite kind of points are the ones where someone builds a rally from the back with effective strokes off both sides, getting their opponent off balance through variations of pace and placement, before closing into the net and ending the point decisively. That surely is the definition of all-court tennis, and I particularly enjoy it when Federer puts this combination together because it's one of the few times he really demonstrates the "complete player" tag that has always been attached to him. The final point of the first set in this year's Madrid final was a perfect example.

NicoFan
11-08-2006, 12:10 AM
Lots of people say that they enjoy watching all-court tennis, including me, but don't always define that term clearly. My favourite kind of points are the ones where someone builds a rally from the back with effective strokes off both sides, getting their opponent off balance through variations of pace and placement, before closing into the net and ending the point decisively. That surely is the definition of all-court tennis, and I particularly enjoy it when Federer puts this combination together because it's one of the few times he really demonstrates the "complete player" tag that has always been attached to him. The final point of the first set in this year's Madrid final was a perfect example.

Me too Sjengster....totally agree.

Lovely post... :yeah:

Sjengster
11-08-2006, 12:13 AM
Me too Sjengster....totally agree.

Lovely post... :yeah:

Well it's nice that you agree, but if your username is any indication it doesn't seem to be reflected in your choice of players. :p

Mind you, going by my username it wouldn't be reflected in my player preference either. :o

cobalt60
11-08-2006, 12:16 AM
I would stop watching tennis if serve and volleying came back as was. I watched a Sampras vs Martin match on grass ( one of those old classics on the tennis channel) a few months ago. It was a serve fest and very boring.

Roger The Great
11-08-2006, 12:18 AM
Could you be so kind as to include a definition of "intellectual discussion" first? Thanks, you're a doll. :kiss:

Definitions of intellectual on the Web:

1. appealing to or using the intellect;
2. of or associated with or requiring the use of the mind;
3. cerebral: involving intelligence rather than emotions or instinct;
4. a person who uses the mind creatively

That's the actual definition but I suppose I'd settle for discussion not involving flame wars or blatant, intentional stupidity. :)

MarieS
11-08-2006, 12:23 AM
Definitions of intellectual on the Web:

1. appealing to or using the intellect;
2. of or associated with or requiring the use of the mind;
3. cerebral: involving intelligence rather than emotions or instinct;
4. a person who uses the mind creatively

That's the actual definition but I suppose I'd settle for discussion not involving flame wars or blatant, intentional stupidity. :)

:rolls: then you're definitely in the wrong place, mate.

NicoFan
11-08-2006, 12:25 AM
Well it's nice that you agree, but if your username is any indication it doesn't seem to be reflected in your choice of players. :p

Mind you, going by my username it wouldn't be reflected in my player preference either. :o

:lol:

Well Nico has a cute game...and that's all I'm saying. ;) :lol:

I've liked players throughout the years with all sorts of games - I loved Johnny Mac, I loved Becker, I loved Agassi, and now I love Nico. And Rafa too.

GlennMirnyi
11-08-2006, 12:26 AM
Shortening things, ATP made an incredible effort to extinct S&V. They changed the balls' size and slowed the courts to boredom. Add to that the development of rackets and return of serve during and after the 90's.

The problem is that today tennis is dominated by baseliners (a great percentage moonballers) that dragged the game to complete boredom.

About the "talented player" question, as things are today, not even if Borg, Sampras and Federer combined themselves it could happen.

Sjengster
11-08-2006, 12:28 AM
I would stop watching tennis if serve and volleying came back as was. I watched a Sampras vs Martin match on grass ( one of those old classics on the tennis channel) a few months ago. It was a serve fest and very boring.

It's remarkable to think that only six years ago there were calls from people like David Lloyd (brother of John, if anyone was wondering) for Wimbledon's grass to be pulled up and replaced with some kind of hard court because the tennis was seemingly too serve-dominated, points too short and rallies non-existent. Certainly the 98 Sampras-Ivanisevic final where there were apparently 6 or so points that went beyond 3 shots seems to have been the nightmare that haunted tennis' governing bodies when the courts and balls were slowed down. But as Wayne Ferreira said perceptively in an interview a few years back, the guys with huge serves will always have huge serves no matter what the conditions; slowing down the courts just hurts players with medium-paced serves like him, and I couldn't help thinking of Henman as well when he said that.

There is often some presumption I feel on the part of ex-players that serve-volley tennis is the superior game; how could I forget Petty Cash declaring with breezy confidence that "the volley is the most exciting part of tennis", to which I thought, it depends who's volleying and in what situation. Edberg and Rafter yay, Pete and Goran.... often nay, due to the respective differences in service power. The thing that annoys most of all is when journalists characterise "aggressive" players as those who serve-volley, and thus exclude all baseliners from that definition, as if someone like Gonzalez could be termed a passive player just because he's staying back. It's part of this bizarre belief that the baseline style is one style of play and that there are no variations within it, which is obviously false as we all know if you take time to watch an ATP match from beginning to end. Some journalists don't seem to have developed that facility judging by their articles.

megadeth
11-08-2006, 12:29 AM
this thread is no different than the other threads being posted already... intellectual indeed :rolleyes:

Roger The Great
11-08-2006, 12:37 AM
Lots of people say that they enjoy watching all-court tennis, including me, but don't always define that term clearly. My favourite kind of points are the ones where someone builds a rally from the back with effective strokes off both sides, getting their opponent off balance through variations of pace and placement, before closing into the net and ending the point decisively. That surely is the definition of all-court tennis, and I particularly enjoy it when Federer puts this combination together because it's one of the few times he really demonstrates the "complete player" tag that has always been attached to him. The final point of the first set in this year's Madrid final was a perfect example.

Likewise, and in agreement with the others, excellent post.

Whether you're a fan of serve and volley tennis or not, I actually believe that serve and volley can still be a very effective weapon on faster surfaces. I'm in agreement that it would be a greater advantage if the tour still featured a quicker grass and more carpet events.

I think a couple of examples show that a serve and volley player WITH a solid all around game could still be at the top of the game today. First off, when Sampras dominated the lawns in the late 90's and when Goran and Rafter played the final at Wimbledon in 2001, things weren't so much different than they are now. The power game was starting to boom and racquet technology was quite advanced. Second, Rafa's toughest opponent outside of Federer at Wimby this year was S&V'er Robert Kendrick who took Rafa to five sets. If Kendrick had just a little more game he could have won that match. Of course, these are all examples of grass court tennis which doesn't always translate well to other surfaces.

I personally think that the serve and volley game has died off because it's a much easier and quicker route to success to be a baseliner. It doesn't take as long to develop and you can have more widespread success as opposed to being primarily a fast court player.

And finally, I agree with those here that said the two to three stroke rallies of Wimbledons past are thing best left to the past. I do wish though, that more players frequented the net to give the game more variety.

R.Federer
11-08-2006, 12:43 AM
<stuff deleted>

Fantastic-- didn't want to replicate the whole write up. Very well articulated. I share many of your views.

R.Federer
11-08-2006, 12:44 AM
how could I forget Petty Cash

Hahahahaha, never quite as well put as that. It sums him up perfectly. :haha:

Sjengster
11-08-2006, 01:04 AM
Hahahahaha, never quite as well put as that. It sums him up perfectly. :haha:

George's nickname, not mine. :p

Sjengster
11-08-2006, 01:15 AM
Likewise, and in agreement with the others, excellent post.

Whether you're a fan of serve and volley tennis or not, I actually believe that serve and volley can still be a very effective weapon on faster surfaces. I'm in agreement that it would be a greater advantage if the tour still featured a quicker grass and more carpet events.

I think a couple of examples show that a serve and volley player WITH a solid all around game could still be at the top of the game today. First off, when Sampras dominated the lawns in the late 90's and when Goran and Rafter played the final at Wimbledon in 2001, things weren't so much different than they are now. The power game was starting to boom and racquet technology was quite advanced. Second, Rafa's toughest opponent outside of Federer at Wimby this year was S&V'er Robert Kendrick who took Rafa to five sets. If Kendrick had just a little more game he could have won that match. Of course, these are all examples of grass court tennis which doesn't always translate well to other surfaces.

I personally think that the serve and volley game has died off because it's a much easier and quicker route to success to be a baseliner. It doesn't take as long to develop and you can have more widespread success as opposed to being primarily a fast court player.

And finally, I agree with those here that said the two to three stroke rallies of Wimbledons past are thing best left to the past. I do wish though, that more players frequented the net to give the game more variety.

Nadal's run to the Wimbledon final this year raises some interesting questions. I see some have called it a fluke that's not repeatable and I wouldn't agree with that, but it did perhaps emphasise the lack of depth on grass nowadays. Federer fans might agree with this assessment when it relates to Nadal, but then it also reflects badly on Federer too, so one can't go too far down that route. ;) Of his opponents en route to the final, I would say a win over Agassi on a fast surface is always a good one no matter how far past his prime the latter was, and similarly Baghdatis in the semis was an excellent victory considering he'd had some major scalps to get that far and was no stranger to the business end of a Slam after his feats in Australia.

But playing a couple of fellow lefty baseliners in Labadze and Nieminen was certainly a stroke of fortune, and to me it's no coincidence that apart from one near-scare in the second round he sailed through dropping serve just twice before the final, both in the opening two rounds, whereas on the hardcourts he has made only one semi-final in a required event this year. He's been beaten by players in great form such as Blake and Berdych, but also by players with poor form and few match wins going into the tournament where they got him (e.g. Moya in Miami, Ferrero in Cincy, Youzhny at the US Open and of course the ultimate example, Pim Pim in Stockholm). To me this shows that the players' level of belief and ability to execute an aggressive game plan against Nadal both come to the fore on hardcourts, the surface everyone is familiar with, rather than on the strange territory of grass despite his own inexperience on that surface. Someone last month actually made an excellent point about Nadal's lefty slice serve being much more suited to grass than to hard, making him tougher to break on the former.

Kendrick played a blinder that day at Wimbledon, his serve was his main weapon, but it was telling to see him on hardcourts at the US Open against a better fast-court returner in the form of Murray; he played one great set but couldn't sustain his level of play in the other three, and ended up looking like the original Mr Hit and Miss. He actually reminds me a lot of Fish, there is a facial similarity, a likeness in service actions and the same flat forehand that becomes a bit of a slap shot under pressure. I have a feeling that had he been up against Hewitt or Federer at Wimbledon rather than Nadal, in only the second round when the latter was still working his way into the tournament and confidence levels were fairly low, his serve and volley wouldn't have been quite as successful.

GlennMirnyi
11-08-2006, 01:20 AM
It's remarkable to think that only six years ago there were calls from people like David Lloyd (brother of John, if anyone was wondering) for Wimbledon's grass to be pulled up and replaced with some kind of hard court because the tennis was seemingly too serve-dominated, points too short and rallies non-existent. Certainly the 98 Sampras-Ivanisevic final where there were apparently 6 or so points that went beyond 3 shots seems to have been the nightmare that haunted tennis' governing bodies when the courts and balls were slowed down. But as Wayne Ferreira said perceptively in an interview a few years back, the guys with huge serves will always have huge serves no matter what the conditions; slowing down the courts just hurts players with medium-paced serves like him, and I couldn't help thinking of Henman as well when he said that.

There is often some presumption I feel on the part of ex-players that serve-volley tennis is the superior game; how could I forget Petty Cash declaring with breezy confidence that "the volley is the most exciting part of tennis", to which I thought, it depends who's volleying and in what situation. Edberg and Rafter yay, Pete and Goran.... often nay, due to the respective differences in service power. The thing that annoys most of all is when journalists characterise "aggressive" players as those who serve-volley, and thus exclude all baseliners from that definition, as if someone like Gonzalez could be termed a passive player just because he's staying back. It's part of this bizarre belief that the baseline style is one style of play and that there are no variations within it, which is obviously false as we all know if you take time to watch an ATP match from beginning to end. Some journalists don't seem to have developed that facility judging by their articles.

You're saying Pete wasn't a good volleyer?

Sjengster
11-08-2006, 01:24 AM
No, simply that the volleying skills weren't always as apparent due to the overwhelming nature of the serve which often led to easier replies, where a kick-server like Edberg or Rafter couldn't rely on the same service power.

GlennMirnyi
11-08-2006, 01:27 AM
No, simply that the volleying skills weren't always as apparent due to the overwhelming nature of the serve which often led to easier replies, where a kick-server like Edberg or Rafter couldn't rely on the same service power.

You speak like the serve doesn't require ability and training...

Sjengster
11-08-2006, 01:32 AM
Of course it does, but it's a skill that's always going to remain underappreciated by the watching tennis fan; surely the great talent of Sampras was that he was able to keep on reproducing serves of the highest quality so often that people thought it was effortless, that it came too easily and therefore was a little boring. Karlovic's serve is probably one of the greatest shots in the game today, but because he keeps on producing it over and over again it's derided as tedious. It's not all down to his physique either, I doubt there are many people of his height who could ever hope to serve like he does.

cmurray
11-08-2006, 01:33 AM
I don't really like serve and volley tennis. Points are too fast. If I want to watch that kind of tennis I'll tune into a doubles match. That being said, baseline tennis has simply taken over. That's why I enjoy Andy Murray's game. He isn't strictly a baseliner.

People keep bringing up Rafa's Wimby run. Yeah, it's kinda weird for a claycourter to make such a deep run, but at the same time, Rafa played some really exquisite tennis. He DID come in to net pretty often. And he was pretty good up there. I still maintain that he earned that spot. I don't think it was a fluke.


Cheryl

GlennMirnyi
11-08-2006, 01:34 AM
Of course it does, but it's a skill that's always going to remain underappreciated by the watching tennis fan; surely the great talent of Sampras was that he was able to keep on reproducing serves of the highest quality so often that people thought it was effortless, that it came too easily and therefore was a little boring. Karlovic's serve is probably one of the greatest shots in the game today, but because he keeps on producing it over and over again it's derided as tedious.

The biggest thing about Sampras serve wasn't exactly power, and I'm sure you know that. His placement was awesome. In fact, that's the most important thing when S&V. If power meant everything for a S&Ver, Edberg would have won nothing.

Sjengster
11-08-2006, 01:36 AM
Well as the man himself said, I don't think being able to serve onto a dime at 125mph is boring. Unfortunately, most onlookers probably disagreed after a certain point.

GlennMirnyi
11-08-2006, 01:37 AM
I don't really like serve and volley tennis. Points are too fast. If I want to watch that kind of tennis I'll tune into a doubles match. That being said, baseline tennis has simply taken over. That's why I enjoy Andy Murray's game. He isn't strictly a baseliner.

People keep bringing up Rafa's Wimby run. Yeah, it's kinda weird for a claycourter to make such a deep run, but at the same time, Rafa played some really exquisite tennis. He DID come in to net pretty often. And he was pretty good up there. I still maintain that he earned that spot. I don't think it was a fluke.


Cheryl

Well, it's much easier to come to the net against Nieminen and Labadze. Nadal's run in Wimbledon is no parameter for comparison. How many quality grasscourters has he faced?

Andy Murray is a baseliner, period.

GlennMirnyi
11-08-2006, 01:37 AM
Well as the man himself said, I don't think being able to serve onto a dime at 125mph is boring. Unfortunately, most onlookers probably disagreed after a certain point.

I found his matches some of the best I've ever seen. ;)

NYCtennisfan
11-08-2006, 01:47 AM
Actually, this topic has been discussed plenty of times on various threads on this board with the main points being the new racquet technology, slowing of the courts, and the increased speed of the players. It's hard to be a s/v player when you see passing shots hti from 10 feet behind the baseline go by you after a deep FH approach that hits the baseline.

Federer's rise to dominance is due in part to the fact that he abandoned s/v tactics which speaks to his tennis insight. Why should he allow a player to win a point on one or two shots when has the better overall game and should force his opponent to face the full brunt of it? He stayed back, iimproved the BH since he would need it in rallies, started beating Nalbandian/Agassi/Hewitt and the rest is history (a bit oversimplified but everyone gets the point).

In today's game, you are not going to be #1 for 200+ weeks and win 14 slams serving and volleying, but I still think it is possible for someone to be a slam winner and a #1 palyer IF they have tremendous athletic ability, great reflexes, great hands, AND a powerful serve. An Edberg like player with the beautiful s/v game would simply not be able to make it all the way through a slam since his serve would be picked apart. You would need to win a lot of free points off of the 1st serve and set up easy put aways, as well as have a great 2nd serve where you win at least 50% of the points consistently. S/V off of the 2nd serve seems almost an impossibility in today's game.

Roger The Great
11-08-2006, 02:14 AM
In today's game, you are not going to be #1 for 200+ weeks and win 14 slams serving and volleying, but I still think it is possible for someone to be a slam winner and a #1 palyer IF they have tremendous athletic ability, great reflexes, great hands, AND a powerful serve. An Edberg like player with the beautiful s/v game would simply not be able to make it all the way through a slam since his serve would be picked apart. You would need to win a lot of free points off of the 1st serve and set up easy put aways, as well as have a great 2nd serve where you win at least 50% of the points consistently. S/V off of the 2nd serve seems almost an impossibility in today's game.

Yeah, I think that's just it. Again, recent players such as Ivanisevic, Rafter, and Sampras have been successful against baseline bashers from the net but they all had other weapons and athletic ability. I think the finesse serve and volleyer is dead.

Does no one believe that part of S&V demise is due to the lack of coaches teaching it and the longer maturation process to be successful with it?

Action Jackson
11-08-2006, 02:16 AM
Definitions of intellectual on the Web:

1. appealing to or using the intellect;
2. of or associated with or requiring the use of the mind;
3. cerebral: involving intelligence rather than emotions or instinct;
4. a person who uses the mind creatively

That's the actual definition but I suppose I'd settle for discussion not involving flame wars or blatant, intentional stupidity. :)

You are not going to find this on MTF.

GlennMirnyi
11-08-2006, 02:18 AM
Yeah, I think that's just it. Again, recent players such as Ivanisevic, Rafter, and Sampras have been successful against baseline bashers from the net but they all had other weapons and athletic ability. I think the finesse serve and volleyer is dead.

Does no one believe that part of S&V demise is due to the lack of coaches teaching it and the longer maturation process to be successful with it?

It's much easier to be a baseliner. Most people simply haven't the ability to perform such a game.

Johnny Groove
11-08-2006, 02:22 AM
this thread aims to utilize logos as opposed to ethos and pathos? tsk tsk

NYCtennisfan
11-08-2006, 02:24 AM
Yeah, I think that's just it. Again, recent players such as Ivanisevic, Rafter, and Sampras have been successful against baseline bashers from the net but they all had other weapons and athletic ability. I think the finesse serve and volleyer is dead.

Does no one believe that part of S&V demise is due to the lack of coaches teaching it and the longer maturation process to be successful with it?

Well, it's all circular. Coaches know that you need a very special type of player to the employ S/V game and if someone does not fit that mold, they aren't going to push that on them. Coaches see that the S/V game is dying out so they don't teach it. Nobody young plays that game growing up so then you don't have anyone on tour employing it. There's a certain mentality that comes along with S/V players that has be ingrained in them from when they are young. You age going to get passed, and there might be times when you get passed a lot, but you have to keep applying that pressure and it sooner or later pays off. That's what the S/V player has to believe at least and believe it to his very core if he is going to be successful using that style.

NYCtennisfan
11-08-2006, 02:26 AM
It's much easier to be a baseliner. Most people simply haven't the ability to perform such a game.

Exactly and especially in today's game there are even fewer candidates for it. Easier to teach the baseline game because coahces/parents/federations/whoever are not going to see immediate results with the s/v playing style.

Fumus
11-08-2006, 02:32 AM
Ok, so I've been around these forums for a couple of years now and I haven't posted a ton. This is mostly due to the endless inane crap around here such as tard fan base #1 vs. tard fan base #2, or how many times did player A pick his ass today, or why does player so and so date such and such a girl.

Now, this may or may not catch on but I say it's worth a shot... What we have here is an attempt at intelligent discussion on MTF. Am I aiming too high? Will I simply face ridicule at trying to stand out with a different type of discussions? Let's find out.

Question #1 of the new intellectual thought series:

Why has serve and volley play all but disappeared from mens tennis as an artform? What's led to this? And beyond that... Could a truly talented serve and volley player be successful in today's mens game of power and topspin? Sampras and other old players talk about how players like Fed have it easy since there's no variety in the game these days. Could a player like Sampras or Edberg play their game today as they did at their peak? Why or why not?

Discuss.

To answer your question...

"Who the hell knows?" ;)

Roger The Great
11-08-2006, 03:05 AM
To answer your question...

"Who the hell knows?" ;)

Touche' :yeah:

Fedex
11-08-2006, 04:25 AM
What about Nadal, do you think Sampras could beat Nadal?
I think Sampras would match up quite well with Nadal. He would rob him of his time on the quicker surfaces and he would force Nadal to play close to baseline, which he doesn't typically do.

Fedex
11-08-2006, 04:33 AM
The magical formula that retired players and commentators talk of is the contrast of styles, the netrusher v the baseliner, but I wonder how many times in past decades that actually happened and how many times it was outright serve-volley from both sides, in the same way it's usually outright baseline tennis today. I'm not sure how much I would enjoy the predictability of such a contest, but one thing I do feel strongly about is that surfaces should display the kind of playing characteristics that distinguish them from other surfaces. What's the point of having a grass-court Grand Slam if you play on it like you do on hard and clay? I think even Wilander said they should speed up the courts and balls again at Wimbledon, although it's possible his attitude was, "And then people will see how dull grass really is...."

Now the points on grass still have a certain unique quality to them, powerful shots stay hit, the slice is effective and so are occasional well-timed forays to the net, but it's not the blanket attack that was seen in former years. Federer said his ambition is to go to Wimbledon one year and win it by serve-volleying all the time, I'm glad he thinks that way but I really doubt he would attempt it or that he'd be successful at it. The way he played there the first year he won it in 03 was almost perfect for me, serve-volleying almost exclusively on the first ball but usually staying back on the second and mixing it up. To be perfectly honest though, I'm not sure he'd have got away with that tactic and remained unbroken if he'd been playing better returners than Roddick and Philippoussis in the last two rounds. The most impressive thing at the time was how he simply rattled through his service games in a couple of minutes, but it's worth questioning how many tough volleys he had to hit behind the serve and indeed how many volleys he had to play at all; the fact that he faced two break points in six sets of tennis, both in one game against Roddick, is surely significant.

One thing that strikes me about players trying to rush the net in the modern game: I think you can still beat a lot of opponents by doing it on your own serve, provided it's powerful enough, but nowadays you simply cannot be successful without a solid, baseline-orientated return game. On courts this slow against passers this good, the bluff-and-charge tactics adopted by people like Mirnyi won't get the job done on a regular basis, you need to be able to construct points, move people around with groundstrokes and then if necessary take to the net to finish things off. I'd like to see a player succeed with these tactics, of attacking relentlessly on their serve but playing patiently and then attacking smartly on their returns. Ironically the closest player on tour right now to that model is Sexual Radek, horrible forehand and all.

Lots of people say that they enjoy watching all-court tennis, including me, but don't always define that term clearly. My favourite kind of points are the ones where someone builds a rally from the back with effective strokes off both sides, getting their opponent off balance through variations of pace and placement, before closing into the net and ending the point decisively. That surely is the definition of all-court tennis, and I particularly enjoy it when Federer puts this combination together because it's one of the few times he really demonstrates the "complete player" tag that has always been attached to him. The final point of the first set in this year's Madrid final was a perfect example.

Excellent post! :) :worship: :worship:

JW10S
11-08-2006, 04:37 AM
As others have pointed out the S & V style faded with the boom in equipment technology. Players now can take full swings when returning serve where as with the older wood and early graphite racquets players chipped or blocked their returns back. The bigger, stiffer, lighter, more forgiving racquets allow that. Also the equipment has led to faster serves which does not allow players to get as close to the net on first volleys as before.

Also mention must be made of court surfaces. The courts the players play on now are for the most part slower than they used to be. Even the grass courts at Wimbledon are nowhere near as fast as they were a few years ago. The balls have been slowed a bit as well compared to how they were a decade ago.

Can a serve-and-volleyer succeed in today's game? No. A S&Ver can win here and there but there is no chance a serve-and-volleyer can get to #1 and stay there. Not in today's game.

Fedex
11-08-2006, 04:40 AM
Contrasting styles, ie. serve and volleyer vs. baseliner, is tennis at its absolute best. That is what is missing in today's game. I'm certainly not an advocate of speeding up the courts to what they once were either, because then we would get those serve-volley vs. serve-volley matchups that didn't usually produce great matches.

Fedex
11-08-2006, 04:48 AM
You're saying Pete wasn't a good volleyer?

Pete was an excellent volleyer but he didn't have to great volleys all the time, due to his great serve. You certainly cant say the same about Rafter or Edberg.

Tennis Fool
11-08-2006, 04:52 AM
This question was asked last week :rolleyes:

shonami slam
11-08-2006, 10:56 AM
(i usually don't post about here - so no bashing)
If you say that the power and speed of today's players have much to do with the decline, wouldn't that mean the women's tour should have been more packed with them?
the first serve for ladies still just about evens up the second serve for men, and the women second serves are rubbish, mostly. they can't hit much kickers, they don't have as brutal a forehand and thier hieght and build are always going to be a factor.
all of the above would make it seem as though women should still be able to rush up the net on regular basis, especially since the first serve is one you can come up on with.
i'm not saying the women aren't returning much heavier now, but thier story is pretty simular as well. just call Borg as Evert, our Fed is Henin (not in dominance, but in the whole single handed, all around beauty bla bla and so on) and we have our lame-ass bashers with nothing more than the forehand stigma to them.
and still - S&V doesn't fit in the women's game that much either.

also - i'd like to point out that education for S&V is pretty much gone, *cough* boletteri *cough* while baseline rally mooners is growing.
mind you, the moonball game is the one ruining S&V. i like baselining the way it should be - for you guys that would probably be Aggasi, but S&V won't do against the ones who can go on and on and on without doing much except waiting for the right ball to attack (as opposed to constructing the right ball to attack)
anyway - i've said way too much, it's not organized and it's completly messed up but i think my twoP were said.

scarecrows
11-08-2006, 11:14 AM
I would stop watching tennis if serve and volleying came back as was. I watched a Sampras vs Martin match on grass ( one of those old classics on the tennis channel) a few months ago. It was a serve fest and very boring.

grass is just 1 month dont forget

S/V would make the matches on hard, carpet or rebound Ace far more interesting

Action Jackson
11-08-2006, 11:15 AM
grass is just 1 month dont forget

S/V would make the matches on hard, carpet or rebound Ace far more interesting

Would it make it more interesting?

scarecrows
11-08-2006, 11:34 AM
Would it make it more interesting?

yeah, I think so

and knowing your interest in recent tournaments maybe you should reconsider your oppinion about this matter

Action Jackson
11-08-2006, 11:50 AM
yeah, I think so

and knowing your interest in recent tournaments maybe you should reconsider your oppinion about this matter

Here is the problem I have with the above statement. Not that more S&V is wrong in itself. Rebound Ace rewards all styles of play.

I remember the big serve fests they had in the late 80s and the late 90s with faster surfaces especially on carpet and faster hardcourts and lighter tennis balls and it wasn't that interesting, it was more like lets wait for the tiebreaker.

There are reasons as to why the game has gone this way, it was too extreme the other way and the powers at be didn't do anything about the technology and to limit it. I mean if a player could swing a snowshoe sized racquet effectively then they can.

With this being said, not all baseline players the same and it's a total myth to say this and it's lazy journalism harking back to the old days, it's just easy to say with S&V everything would be better. It's Ok for people to be happy about the clay courts being quickened, yet there is a problem with the other surfaces being slowed down.

It's a cyclical thing.

LK_22
11-08-2006, 11:55 AM
Question #1 of the new intellectual thought series:

Why has serve and volley play all but disappeared from mens tennis as an artform? What's led to this? And beyond that... Could a truly talented serve and volley player be successful in today's mens game of power and topspin? Sampras and other old players talk about how players like Fed have it easy since there's no variety in the game these days. Could a player like Sampras or Edberg play their game today as they did at their peak? Why or why not?


I think what Henman's said at Wimbledon the past few years has shown that the courts even there are slowing up, giving more advantage to the baseliners and less advantage to the serve volleyers. This has shown in different players advancing far, would someone with Nadal's game have got to the final 10 years ago? (even with his shockingly easy draw :devil:)
In reality no, Kendrick would have blasted him away in straight sets.
However, those who can get to the net can still reap the rewards, as Bjorkman proved with a very successful grass court season. Players like Henman though have been forced to adapt their game as a result of the slowing down of tennis courts, which I believe is the main reason why baseliners are more successful today. Sampras could still get away with serve volleying because of his great serve but even he would have to mix it up more than he would probably like. I don't think it is any concidence that on quicker courts in Federer's early career, Henman was a comfortable winner against him.

vincayou
11-08-2006, 12:15 PM
The problem is that if you try and speed up the surface, S&V will be more effective, true, but Serve more than Volley. 90s were often dull, I personnally don't regret that time.
Everything has been said (with eloquence) in this thread, it's as well a cultural thing, talented kids are taught baseline game mainly. It's the "Bollitieri" effect.

People complain that Wimbledon is not fast anymore. Still, the repartition of winners hasn't really changed. Federer has won 4 wimbledon and no RG. There must remain some differences. :)

stebs
11-08-2006, 06:02 PM
It depends what you're talking about. Serve and volleying on every point on all surfaces 1st and 2nd serve as well as chip charge would not work at all. However, this has been the case for longer than most people seem to think. Watch Sampras at work on hardcourts in his pomp, was he coming in every ball? The answer, I think you will find, is no. I am only going to answer this question looking into a potential serve-volleyer playing on grass. After all it is the surface most suited to the style of play.

Modern day grass is different to the grass of older times. Most people will say it is slower, this is undoubtedly true but I don't think it has actually slowed down all that much. The reason it now seems much harder to serve and volley is the difference in the bounce. It is almost like a hardcourt now days, in Pete's heydey you would see backhand slice approaches keeping the ball incredibly close to the ground, that simply cannot be done now. There is also no doubt that passing shots have come on leaps and bounds in comparison with what they where a mere matter of years ago. I guess it's the racquet technology though I don't claim to be an expert on the subject, I merely say what I see.

Coming in directly off a first serve, I think, is still an effective tactics on the grass. It is particularly advisable off T serves. This is because serving out wide opens an angle which, with more topspin being put on the ball, is remarkably easy to exploit for a good returner. Personally I must say that I only think it would be possible to be succesful doing this as a one off tactic. The reason why I believe this is that assuming a player is a talented serve and volleyer, the player is, presumably, weaker from the baseline. We are able then to assume that a good player would be able to outrally this player from the back of the court. If this is the case then the player serve volleying will probably be losing a fairly large chunk of points on the second serve, he cannot come in off it because returns are too powerful. This means that on bad serving games he will often be getting taken to deuce and so on, due to the quality of passing shots and returns I think a modern day player trying to serve volley regularly would not be able to win Wimbledon unless they had incredible talent.

In fact, if you look back to the 90's it was not the TRUE serve volleyers who were winning Wimbledon. It was a cross period then between shots becoming powerful and courts slowing down. This basically meant that there were big serves on fast surfaces. The guys who were really doing great in Wimbledon were the big servers. Sampras, Goran, Krajicek. Rafter and Henman could go deep but they were libel to come unstuck against someone who was more a big server than a volleyer or a great returner. Of course Pete and co. did come in behind there serev but it was the serve that was the best shot. Not the volley.

jazar
11-08-2006, 07:55 PM
apart from the slowing down of the surfaces, serve volleying is dying out because juniors are taught about bashing the ball from the baseline and only coming in to finish the point off if they fail to hit a winner. they just prefer to stay back and pound the ball as hard as they can. also not enough juniors play doubles and this happens right from when they first start competing. doubles encourages you to volley and the more you do it the more your volleys improve and the more you want to come into the net. i think the problem is much worse in girls as well.
if someone won wimbledon or another slam doing nothing but serve volleying a lot of coaches would jump on the bandwagon and tell their players that it is the best way again.