are old players' volley skills overestimated? [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

are old players' volley skills overestimated?

helvet empire
12-14-2011, 10:10 PM
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?:confused:
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.:eek:
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.:wavey:

HKz
12-14-2011, 10:19 PM
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.

helvet empire
12-14-2011, 10:25 PM
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.

leng jai
12-14-2011, 10:29 PM
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.

helvet empire
12-14-2011, 10:56 PM
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

Topspindoctor
12-15-2011, 12:20 AM
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...

TennisOnWood
12-15-2011, 12:42 AM
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

Topspindoctor
12-15-2011, 12:44 AM
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.

TennisOnWood
12-15-2011, 12:49 AM
Geniuses who could barely play from the baseline.

O.k, enjoy in variety of modern tennis

Topspindoctor
12-15-2011, 01:05 AM
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 :zzz:

Smoke944
12-15-2011, 01:14 AM
Geniuses who could barely play from the baseline.

:lol:
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 :worship:

Topspindoctor
12-15-2011, 01:21 AM
:lol:
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 :worship:

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.

HKz
12-15-2011, 01:32 AM
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.

tripwires
12-15-2011, 02:07 AM
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.

:haha:

Finding it harder and harder to take this guy seriously with every new post that he makes.

Ibracadabra
12-15-2011, 02:21 AM
Nostaliga sure does weird things to peoples memory but todays volleying is poorer.

stewietennis
12-15-2011, 02:53 AM
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.

Why would Nadal rush to the net if it isn't in his gameplan or to his advantage?

Coming into the net to hit into the open court is good net play.

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.

If Novak, Rafa and Roger came to the net after every serve, they'd get passed all day. Coming to the net for the sake of coming to the net is not a good game plan.

Mountaindewslave
12-15-2011, 02:56 AM
:haha:

Finding it harder and harder to take this guy seriously with every new post that he makes.

Nadal has great hands at the net are you kidding me it is biased to say otherwise.

paseo
12-15-2011, 03:12 AM
Nadal has great hands at the net are you kidding me it is biased to say otherwise.

He's better than average, but not great.

eduggs
12-15-2011, 03:36 AM
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...

No way. McEnroe and Edberg were phenomenal volleyers. They had great hands, anticipation, and technique. They refined their skills from a very young age, serving and volleying almost exclusively. Maybe their type of game wouldn't be very successful today, but their quality of volleying is unimpeachable.

I think Sampras' volleying is slightly overrated. His strong serve was the catalyst for his volleys. Federer's volleying is rated pretty well, maybe slightly overrated. His aesthetics, coordination, and creativity mask the occasional mediocre technique. Nadal's volleys might be slightly underrated, but I think he is very sound.

Mountaindewslave
12-15-2011, 04:32 AM
He's better than average, but not great.

I don't think Nadal is the best volleyer in the history of tennis by any means but you can't even name that many current players who volley better than him!

Federer? Nalbandian. whether or not volleying has dissappeared or players on tour have just gotten worse at it, Nadal definitely is pretty good at it. he rarely misses them! more in 2011 than in the past but he definitely has quick and soft hands at the net manzzz!

paseo
12-15-2011, 05:32 AM
I don't think Nadal is the best volleyer in the history of tennis by any means but you can't even name that many current players who volley better than him!

Federer? Nalbandian. whether or not volleying has dissappeared or players on tour have just gotten worse at it, Nadal definitely is pretty good at it. he rarely misses them! more in 2011 than in the past but he definitely has quick and soft hands at the net manzzz!

What about Tsonga, Fish, Llodra, Murray, Stepanek, Haas, Lopez, Flo Mayer, Melzer, Petzschner, Mahut, Hewitt? I think they're all at least equal, if not better than Nadal at volleying. I bet another poster here could name a few more.

tripwires
12-15-2011, 05:40 AM
Nadal has great hands at the net are you kidding me it is biased to say otherwise.

Er, I think you're the one who's biased here. Evidence:

I don't think Nadal is the best volleyer in the history of tennis by any means but you can't even name that many current players who volley better than him!

Federer? Nalbandian. whether or not volleying has dissappeared or players on tour have just gotten worse at it, Nadal definitely is pretty good at it. he rarely misses them! more in 2011 than in the past but he definitely has quick and soft hands at the net manzzz!

Nadal isn't shit at the net, but he's a serviceable volleyer at best. He "rarely misses" volleys because he comes in for the percentage shots like someone else has already said; obviously he wouldn't be missing many of those. But he'd look worse than Tsonga on his off days if he adopted Tsonga's playing style. Net play simply isn't a huge part of his game.

I must say, though, that my impression is that he's improved his net play in the last 2 years.

What about Tsonga, Fish, Llodra, Murray, Stepanek, Haas, Lopez, Flo Mayer, Melzer, Petzschner, Mahut, Hewitt? I think they're all at least equal, if not better than Nadal at volleying. I bet another poster here could name a few more.

I was gonna say Tsonga and Llodra too. I forgot old Steps. :(

BlueSwan
12-15-2011, 06:25 AM
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?:confused:
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.:eek:
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.:wavey:
Sampras isn't amongst the best volleyers the game has seen. Even in his own time, Rafter was a far more accomplished volleyer. Sampras had the GOAT serve which presented him with a ton of easy volleys. Also, his baseline game was far better than people give him credit for these days. It was only later in his career that his baseline game started falling apart and he became more of a netrusher.

Shinoj
12-15-2011, 08:20 AM
Modern Tennis to me came very much in the 70s and 80s. If you see the matches in details you could see a definite trend about the way the game was heading to by watching the Tennis of that time

It was power packed, Baseliners were starting to dominate and so on. It was definitely a fast paced game by them. So there is no question that the game was slow. You might question the likes of Rosewall and co, they definitely had it easy IMO. But not Mc Enroe and Co. He was a beast at the net.


Regarding Modern players like Nadal and Djokovic, if you see their game pattern, in any of their 125 shot rallies there are so many times that they can come to the net and close down the point but they do not have that much confidence in their net play. Its crazy to compare their net play with Mc Enroe.

Sonja1989
12-15-2011, 08:26 AM
Food for thought, we are able to think the best thing about past but these players decades ago could use volley as one of the biggest weapon, no one is close to them in modern tennis.

fast_clay
12-15-2011, 10:23 AM
nope... johnny mac and edberg were more arthouse... but, this is proper aussie golden era workhorse shiaaat...

_-J0gWn8xNc

buzz
12-15-2011, 10:52 AM
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.

When passing shots are faster it is easier to hit a drop volley than to controll a volley you try to hit close to the baseline. So I think the game changed and therefore volley tactics changed a bit. I think somebody like llodra, Tsonga, Federer are a better volleyers than mcnroe. (Mcnroe still the greatest volleyer of all time ofcourse:))

Sophocles
12-15-2011, 10:55 AM
Mac was competing against 2 of the best passers in history in Borg & Connors.

The answer is no.

buzz
12-15-2011, 11:14 AM
Mac was competing against 2 of the best passers in history in Borg & Connors.

The answer is no.

how do you know they were the best in history? the best of their time, yes easily. But so was agassi at some time.

Sophocles
12-15-2011, 11:16 AM
how do you know they were the best in history? the best of their time, yes easily. But so was agassi at some time.

Yes he was. They are 3 of the best passers in history. Nadal is a fourth.

buzz
12-15-2011, 12:05 PM
Still, borg and conners were great passers but their passingshots are nothing special today so that doesn't make Macs volleygame better than the top volleyers of today.

HKz
12-15-2011, 01:31 PM
Why would Nadal rush to the net if it isn't in his gameplan or to his advantage?

Coming into the net to hit into the open court is good net play.



If Novak, Rafa and Roger came to the net after every serve, they'd get passed all day. Coming to the net for the sake of coming to the net is not a good game plan.

You clearly don't understand the question if you are actually questioning me about his gameplan. This thread wasn't about gameplans, merely volleying skills.

You can come in even when you don't necessarily have the upper-hand, whether it is chipping and charging, or whatever the case may be to put pressure on your opponent and hitting a great deep first volley, etc. Nadal certainly doesn't do this, so it is questionable to compare him to any "great" volleyers since oftentimes they come in without being on top of the point and guess which way their opponent is going to pass and hit one or two great volleys to win the point.

I don't think Nadal is the best volleyer in the history of tennis by any means but you can't even name that many current players who volley better than him!

Federer? Nalbandian. whether or not volleying has dissappeared or players on tour have just gotten worse at it, Nadal definitely is pretty good at it. he rarely misses them! more in 2011 than in the past but he definitely has quick and soft hands at the net manzzz!

You're kidding me. Again, Nadal only comes in to cut off an angle and dink it into the open court. When he doesn't come in on a great shot, he is often left very confused. Sure he has hit great volleys in his career, but no where as consistent to the point where one can say he is a terrific volleyer. Net skills also include ability to read the pass and so forth.

Sophocles
12-15-2011, 01:58 PM
Still, borg and conners were great passers but their passingshots are nothing special today so that doesn't make Macs volleygame better than the top volleyers of today.

They were nailing passing shots without today's spaghetti strings, as were, earlier, Laver & Rosewall.

Har-Tru
12-15-2011, 02:47 PM
Lol of course they aren't.

Har-Tru
12-15-2011, 02:49 PM
And today's players hitting many drop volleys is the least of concerns. They are very often justified because of the slow surfaces and the retreated position of their opponents metres away from the baseline.

It's the overall technique that's missing.

Sophocles
12-15-2011, 03:09 PM
VOTE SOPHOCLES to revive the ancient art of volleying.

TennisOnWood
12-15-2011, 03:23 PM
VOTE SOPHOCLES to revive the ancient art of volleying.

All votes from Greek Agora can't revive that lost art of tennis

Sham Kay
12-15-2011, 04:30 PM
Repeating what others have probably said by page 3, in other words:

Wouldn't say overestimated.. just as good as it had to be due to the style of Tennis required at the time. I'd give the best volleyers of back in the day a 8/10 when putting into perspective the racquet technology of the time. They would practice volleying far more often than today and generally only the naturally adept at the net would be successful..

Nowadays it's all about the baseline. Today, the top players do not have to be naturally great at volleying to stay at the top like before, just need the basic skills and their mental strength does the rest. Racquet technology hurts and helps, but hurts more, as I'm sure the reactions needed nowadays to successfully volley have become very high, while generally the reactions of players hasn't exactly increased proportionally overtime. Generally, it could be argued movement at the very top is better now than before, making the set up for volleys easier nowadays..

Overall and considering the changes in times, I'd give the volleying at the top level an 80/100 for a resounding victory to neither.

TheBoiledEgg
12-15-2011, 05:16 PM
Erm no
Federer 3rd best LOL
Most of today's clowns can't hit a slice shot
Approach net with top spin and ball sits up asking to be passed and they wonder why they can't volley

petar_pan
12-15-2011, 05:45 PM
Not at all.

ossie
12-15-2011, 07:21 PM
its serve & volley itself that is overrated.

r2473
12-15-2011, 07:24 PM
are old players' volley skills overestimated?

How old of a player are we talking about?

McEnroe still volley's well for a 50-year old. I suspect Laver volley's pretty well for his age too. But generally speaking, I suspect that players are better when they are younger. I mean, I suspect that both McEnroe and Laver were better during their prime playind days then they are now.

Strange question by the way.

SetSampras
12-15-2011, 07:53 PM
Ummm. No. Have you tried playing the net with old piece of shit racket technology? Its tough.. It requires precision, balance, movement, good soft hands at the net etc.

leng jai
12-15-2011, 09:22 PM
And today's players hitting many drop volleys is the least of concerns. They are very often justified because of the slow surfaces and the retreated position of their opponents metres away from the baseline.

It's the overall technique that's missing.

They go for the drop volley because they don't have the confidence or ability to hit a solid punch volley. Its too predictable even when players are far behind the baseline.

stewietennis
12-15-2011, 10:15 PM
You clearly don't understand the question if you are actually questioning me about his gameplan. This thread wasn't about gameplans, merely volleying skills.

You can come in even when you don't necessarily have the upper-hand, whether it is chipping and charging, or whatever the case may be to put pressure on your opponent and hitting a great deep first volley, etc. Nadal certainly doesn't do this, so it is questionable to compare him to any "great" volleyers since oftentimes they come in without being on top of the point and guess which way their opponent is going to pass and hit one or two great volleys to win the point.


Of course I'm not saying Nadal is one of the best volleyers in this era, let alone all time, but his net play is far from "mediocre at best" as you initially stated. He's played phenomenal volleys in his career so he has the technique when he requires it. But to say that he can't volley because he doesn't come in when he doesn't have the advantage is wrong. It's not as though he shanks or gets passed a significant amount when he's at the net. Part of net play is knowing when to come in, you don't come in for the sake of it, just like you don't hit a lob or drop shot just because you feel like it.

Of course, you can come in when you don't have the upper hand but why would he play a low% shot if a title is on the line? He's no Johnny Mac, that's not what he does.

Haelfix
12-15-2011, 10:53 PM
Ummm. No. Have you tried playing the net with old piece of shit racket technology? Its tough.. It requires precision, balance, movement, good soft hands at the net etc.

Its actually somewhat easier to volley with older rackets.

But I mean lets be clear.. Modern doubles players have just as much volleying talent as they did back in the 70s, 80s or 90s. They practise it everyday, and the top pros (like the Bryan Brothers) would be elite, in any era.

However even they look foolish dealing with the passing shots and groundstrokes of the top singles pros. Its just not everyday that they have to deal with 3k+ rpm topspin shots by Rafael Nadal, or say a 100+ mph laser beam by Del Potro.

So I mean, its completely obvious that all the old school greats, like McEnroe/Edberg/Laver etc would see a similar downgrade in their volleying abilities against a modern baseliner. Its just the nature of the beast.

fmolinari2005
12-15-2011, 11:06 PM
There is more to volleying than hitting a volley also. Shot selection and how you cover the net is important. When to approach the net is another. Those are pretty much abilities that didn't change with racket technology. You see many guys picking the wrong time to go to the net, covering the net poorly. Sometimes I feel the guy hits a shot and prays that it will be a winner instead of playing a transition game to the net.

The slice approach, however, lost a bit of its effect. With higher bouncing balls/ courts the quality of a slice shot to be effective increased a lot- and still, sometimes, might not cut it. Guys nowadays can add too much top spin to the ball. Federer, for example, who has a great slice shot, uses it more to bait the opponent to the net (those midcourt slices) at his own terms than to rush to the net. Which is funny: it shows that nowadays players are less capable of playing at the net. But it shows, also, that players feel they can control much better where they can hit their passing shots. Instead of feeling like they are getting attacked, they feel like the opponent is at their mercy at the net.

SetSampras
12-15-2011, 11:34 PM
Its actually somewhat easier to volley with older rackets.

But I mean lets be clear.. Modern doubles players have just as much volleying talent as they did back in the 70s, 80s or 90s. They practise it everyday, and the top pros (like the Bryan Brothers) would be elite, in any era.

However even they look foolish dealing with the passing shots and groundstrokes of the top singles pros. Its just not everyday that they have to deal with 3k+ rpm topspin shots by Rafael Nadal, or say a 100+ mph laser beam by Del Potro.

So I mean, its completely obvious that all the old school greats, like McEnroe/Edberg/Laver etc would see a similar downgrade in their volleying abilities against a modern baseliner. Its just the nature of the beast.


I dunno.. I remember watching a match between Monfils and Nole a few months back at a masters event and Monfils was doing some serious damage to Nole attacking the net. I think if it was taught properly it would still work. And I still say it takes MORE talent being able to damage at both the baseline and the net, then it is to just senselessly whale at the ball from the baseline all day like we see Soderling, Potro, Murray and others do with today's futuristic racket techology.
It requires some necessary all court skill.. Something the young guys haven't been taught. Year ago you had a greater array of guys with more of an all court type of game. That requires developing a game at both the net and baseline as opposed to just developing a baseline game.. You have to work on your transition to the net, hand eye coordination, feel at the net, the whole nine yards

thrust
12-15-2011, 11:54 PM
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?:confused:
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.:eek:
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.:wavey:

YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS! You Nadal Tards are really getting annoying lately. I like Rafa but some of his fans are becoming very defensive and delusional.

thrust
12-16-2011, 12:01 AM
I dunno.. I remember watching a match between Monfils and Nole a few months back at a masters event and Monfils was doing some serious damage to Nole attacking the net. I think if it was taught properly it would still work. And I still say it takes MORE talent being able to damage at both the baseline and the net, then it is to just senselessly whale at the ball from the baseline all day like we see Soderling, Potro, Murray and others do with today's futuristic racket techology.
It requires some necessary all court skill.. Something the young guys haven't been taught. Year ago you had a greater array of guys with more of an all court type of game. That requires developing a game at both the net and baseline as opposed to just developing a baseline game.. You have to work on your transition to the net, hand eye coordination, feel at the net, the whole nine yards

Good post!

TheBoiledEgg
12-16-2011, 12:38 AM
LOL at Nadull-tards
even a granny could volley from top of net

fast_clay
12-16-2011, 12:58 AM
I dunno.. I remember watching a match between Monfils and Nole a few months back at a masters event and Monfils was doing some serious damage to Nole attacking the net. I think if it was taught properly it would still work. And I still say it takes MORE talent being able to damage at both the baseline and the net, then it is to just senselessly whale at the ball from the baseline all day like we see Soderling, Potro, Murray and others do with today's futuristic racket techology.
It requires some necessary all court skill.. Something the young guys haven't been taught. Year ago you had a greater array of guys with more of an all court type of game. That requires developing a game at both the net and baseline as opposed to just developing a baseline game.. You have to work on your transition to the net, hand eye coordination, feel at the net, the whole nine yards

this is why you didnt win ACC '11 man... as a general rule of thumb, it takes roughly half the time to build a high quality baseliner than it does to build a high quality net rusher... as it is taught in australia a couple of generations ago, it is understood you must put in a similar amount of time developing a back court game in order to live comfortably at the back, then spend even more time, from a young age, honing net skills... simple logic: double the skills, double the time...

this is notwithstanding the fact that the bulletproof mentality of a true net rusher is something that does not simply happen over night either... getting passed, and then getting passed again is enough to force pros to say 'ahh, f*** this for a joke' and they develop instant allergies to the net... whereas the true attacker will accept that, then say 'you passed me, now do it again... you passed me, now do it again etc etc'

case in point: perhaps the last great pure attacker pat rafter was not a highly rated junior in australia.. not even at the top in his state of queensland... at times, he grew frustrated at around 16 years of age when his peers were getting bigger, hitting harder, yet his mentors keep preaching and supporting him to come forward again and again... and despite his small stature, he kept listening... and kept pressing forward... the reward for this devotion to this lost art was not revealed until he was around the age of 21years... judging by his brothers, they trusted that he would grow tall from the 5 foot nothing frame - and he did... 10 years dedication to a style... and, team rafter were gifted the rewards of a time when true attackers were a dying breed, and this 10 year dedication to a style marked him an entirely different proposition to deal with than his peers... and gave the sport a true clash of styles from yesteryear show cased by successive wimbledon semi finals vs the greatest returned of that era andre agassi....

the issue that killed the style is money... big money came into the sport, like into many other professional sports, and sadly some of the deeper history and knowledge is lost... people saw that a buck could be made from the game which then begs the question: 'what is the path of least resistance?' ... course, even in the 80's you could see where the game was going if you only popped down to see what was going on down at uncle nick bolletieri's... the path of least resistance to the top was of course developing heavy, repetitive groundstrokes... f*** the holistic approach to the game, lets just spend 5 years develop two big shots: serve + forehand - that will be enough to get you to 4 all against anyone...

of course, racquet technology and increased conditioning play their part, but make no mistake - they are secondary to the loss of knowledge throughout the very recent passage of time for what it takes to develop a great attacker...

it just doesnt pay the bills quick enough... and that is a sad development...

Whiznot
12-16-2011, 05:20 AM
John McEnroe had the all-time best hands. Mac hit the greatest volley I ever saw against Anders Jarryd on an indoor court. Jarryd hit a short drop shot from inside the service line. Mac had to scramble to retrieve but could only pop the ball up weakly to Jarryd's backhand overhead. Jarryd was able to smash straight down for the put away but Mac's momentum carried him towards the shot and he intercepted Jarryd's overhead for a backhand volley winner to break serve. Jarryd was left standing at the net dumbfounded!

I used to have this match on a Beta tape. There was one other unusual point in the match. During one of Mac's first serves with his graphite Dunlop, the racket head snapped off before contact and went straight up. For an instant Mac stared at his jagged handle then he had to dodge to keep from being impaled by the descending handle.

Bobby
12-16-2011, 06:52 AM
Of course I'm not saying Nadal is one of the best volleyers in this era, let alone all time, but his net play is far from "mediocre at best" as you initially stated. He's played phenomenal volleys in his career so he has the technique when he requires it. But to say that he can't volley because he doesn't come in when he doesn't have the advantage is wrong. It's not as though he shanks or gets passed a significant amount when he's at the net. Part of net play is knowing when to come in, you don't come in for the sake of it, just like you don't hit a lob or drop shot just because you feel like it.

Of course, you can come in when you don't have the upper hand but why would he play a low% shot if a title is on the line? He's no Johnny Mac, that's not what he does.

He doesn't have the technique. What he can do is to finish the point or hit a drop volley if the passing shot is low. A great deal of current players struggle with low volleys because they lack the skill. They don't bend their knees to go low enough and they can't punch the ball properly. That's why they settle for a cute drop volley which often is not a good choice. Just look at fast clay's clip of Rafter. Imagine Nadal hitting those low volleys. He wouldn't be able to do much. Rafter on the other hand was able to move forward after the first volley and win a lot of points.

Shinoj
12-16-2011, 09:25 AM
I dunno.. I remember watching a match between Monfils and Nole a few months back at a masters event and Monfils was doing some serious damage to Nole attacking the net. I think if it was taught properly it would still work. And I still say it takes MORE talent being able to damage at both the baseline and the net, then it is to just senselessly whale at the ball from the baseline all day like we see Soderling, Potro, Murray and others do with today's futuristic racket techology.
It requires some necessary all court skill.. Something the young guys haven't been taught. Year ago you had a greater array of guys with more of an all court type of game. That requires developing a game at both the net and baseline as opposed to just developing a baseline game.. You have to work on your transition to the net, hand eye coordination, feel at the net, the whole nine yards



The Courts are way too slow for that. you can win a few points here and there against Nole and Nadal by coming onto the net but they will punish you in the end.

What we need is more of the Indoor Courts like at Paris yesteryears and somewhat like O2 arenas this year and then we could see a more even competition.

What Tennis and its fan need these days is open competition. Something tells me that the likes of Berdych and Tsonga arent as bad as their performance is looking like but they need help from the court these days. Its way too Slow.

helvet empire
12-16-2011, 12:51 PM
YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS! You Nadal Tards are really getting annoying lately. I like Rafa but some of his fans are becoming very defensive and delusional.

I'm not a nadull tard:rolleyes::rolleyes:
and I didn't say old players were useless at the net, or that net game isn't beautiful to watch. I was just asking, since everyone seems to say that nowadays players suck at the net, if old players' skills were not a bit overrated.

Haelfix
12-16-2011, 02:06 PM
He doesn't have the technique. What he can do is to finish the point or hit a drop volley if the passing shot is low. A great deal of current players struggle with low volleys because they lack the skill. They don't bend their knees to go low enough and they can't punch the ball properly. That's why they settle for a cute drop volley which often is not a good choice. Just look at fast clay's clip of Rafter. Imagine Nadal hitting those low volleys. He wouldn't be able to do much. Rafter on the other hand was able to move forward after the first volley and win a lot of points.

Again Rafter is amongst the ten greatest volleyers to ever play the game (and I would argue that he is top 5). Having said that, he never had to retrieve a shoestring volley from Rafael Nadal either. The point is you can't ignore the difference in pace that the modern game has.

So Rafter whereas before he would put 85% of those shoestring volleys back into play, now you are looking at something more like 60%. That might be better than what the best modern singles volleyers can do, but its still not good enough to make the tactic a winning proposition.

Again the argument that players have lost the art of volleying is somewhat false. The proof is by looking at doubles specialists. These guys are selected in large part b/c of that effect, and you have a lot of older players (Paes and so forth) who once were known as elite volleyers. Yet they clearly have issues dealing with the pace as well.

fast_clay
12-16-2011, 02:10 PM
The proof is by looking at doubles specialists. These guys are selected in large part b/c of that effect, and you have a lot of older players (Paes and so forth) who once were known as elite volleyers. Yet they clearly have issues dealing with the pace as well.

it is no proof... doubles is a different sport that requires volleying by one and all... futhermore, doubles specialists are failed futures and challenger players, no more...

no proof, not even in the same postcode sorry...

Sophocles
12-16-2011, 03:08 PM
It's a good point that it takes longer to develop an all-court game and so doing that is unattractive to juniors & coaches looking for a fast buck. But it's also undeniable that modern racquets make it far easier to hit passing shots, which means basing your game on serve-&-volley is unlikely to get you to the very top. Learning to volley is a lot of hard work for - well, not no reward, clearly it's much better to be able to volley than not and this is one of the reasons for Federer's success - but for less reward than it yielded in the past. It's a vicious circle of better passing shots leading to less time practising volleying leading to yet more effective passing shots leading to yet less practice.

Shinoj
12-16-2011, 03:12 PM
Again Rafter is amongst the ten greatest volleyers to ever play the game (and I would argue that he is top 5). Having said that, he never had to retrieve a shoestring volley from Rafael Nadal either. The point is you can't ignore the difference in pace that the modern game has.

So Rafter whereas before he would put 85% of those shoestring volleys back into play, now you are looking at something more like 60%. That might be better than what the best modern singles volleyers can do, but its still not good enough to make the tactic a winning proposition.

Again the argument that players have lost the art of volleying is somewhat false. The proof is by looking at doubles specialists. These guys are selected in large part b/c of that effect, and you have a lot of older players (Paes and so forth) who once were known as elite volleyers. Yet they clearly have issues dealing with the pace as well.


There is a difference when you Volley at almost every point, for the whole match. Rafter kept doing that. And Rafa comes in once in a while in a rally. And he comes when he makes sure that he is going to win the point.

There is no comparison.

Agrajag
12-16-2011, 03:34 PM
What about Tsonga, Fish, Llodra, Murray, Stepanek, Haas, Lopez, Flo Mayer, Melzer, Petzschner, Mahut, Hewitt? I think they're all at least equal, if not better than Nadal at volleying. I bet another poster here could name a few more.

Add Berdych, Tipsarevic, Dolgopolov, Wawrinka, Isner, Gasquet, Granollers, Ljubicic, Raonic, Youzhny and Malisse from the top 50. All these guys are in my oponion definately better than Nadal at the net. More guys are at least just as good.

Sophocles
12-16-2011, 04:09 PM
Add Berdych, Tipsarevic, Dolgopolov, Wawrinka, Isner, Gasquet, Granollers, Ljubicic, Raonic, Youzhny and Malisse from the top 50. All these guys are in my oponion definately better than Nadal at the net. More guys are at least just as good.

And nobody's even mentioned Federer.

TennisOnWood
12-16-2011, 04:19 PM
The Courts are way too slow for that. you can win a few points here and there against Nole and Nadal by coming onto the net but they will punish you in the end.

What we need is more of the Indoor Courts like at Paris yesteryears and somewhat like O2 arenas this year and then we could see a more even competition.

What Tennis and its fan need these days is open competition. Something tells me that the likes of Berdych and Tsonga arent as bad as their performance is looking like but they need help from the court these days. Its way too Slow.

Indoor tennis is dead

Agrajag
12-16-2011, 07:35 PM
And nobody's even mentioned Federer.

The post he responded to already had Fed and Nalby.

Some people would say he was given anyway. I am on of those people.

Dougie
12-16-2011, 08:06 PM
Again Rafter is amongst the ten greatest volleyers to ever play the game (and I would argue that he is top 5). Having said that, he never had to retrieve a shoestring volley from Rafael Nadal either. The point is you can't ignore the difference in pace that the modern game has.

So Rafter whereas before he would put 85% of those shoestring volleys back into play, now you are looking at something more like 60%. That might be better than what the best modern singles volleyers can do, but its still not good enough to make the tactic a winning proposition.

Again the argument that players have lost the art of volleying is somewhat false. The proof is by looking at doubles specialists. These guys are selected in large part b/c of that effect, and you have a lot of older players (Paes and so forth) who once were known as elite volleyers. Yet they clearly have issues dealing with the pace as well.

It´s somewhat one-dimensional to say that Rafter would be the one suffering from Nadals passing shots. He would have trouble with them, sure, but then again, Im not sure Nadal would be capable of hitting those accurate, low passing shots for the whole match against someone like Rafter, who would be serving/volleying, chipping and charging at every opportunity. There would be a lot of pressure on Nadal´s side of the court as well.

Fedex
12-16-2011, 08:25 PM
And nobody's even mentioned Federer.

I am still dumbfounded as to how McEnroe came to conclusion a couple years ago that Nadal was a better volleyer than Fed, and then he reiterated that asinine thought again this year.

Topspindoctor
12-17-2011, 01:29 AM
Add Berdych, Tipsarevic, Dolgopolov, Wawrinka, Isner, Gasquet, Granollers, Ljubicic, Raonic, Youzhny and Malisse from the top 50. All these guys are in my oponion definately better than Nadal at the net. More guys are at least just as good.

:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

None of those mugs volley better than Nadal.