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From a Fox Sports article about the Wimbledon final and questioning if Roger's the best ever:

http://msn.foxsports.com/tennis/story/7005666?MSNHPHMA

Some experts also argue that Federer faces less depth at the top of the game than either Sampras or Borg. But as TV commentator Cliff Drysdale points out, "It's not easy for other players to develop as potential depth," when Federer and Wimbledon runner-up Rafael Nadal are dominating the game so completely.

Drysdale, who played against (and beat) Rod Laver in the 1960s, calls Federer the best of all-time.

But others are hesitant. Sampras himself and Boris Becker, who won Wimbledon three times, say Federer benefits from not having to face a top serve-and-volleyer like themselves.

Paul Annacone, who coached Sampras and was a tour player himself, doesn't put much stock in that argument. "The best players tend to conform to what's successful" in terms of playing style, he said. "Great players can do that. Borg did it, Pete did it. In 2001, when Roger beat Pete at Wimbledon (ending his string of seven Wimbledon titles in eight years), Roger served and volleyed an incredible amount. That tells you a lot about his game and talent."
I agree with Annacone. And couldn't you make the same argument about Sampras? If he had to play now on the slower courts against guys who's return games are better than ever how would he fare? To me the debate is always one-sided...only about how a decent s&v player would give Roger problems.

This year during Wimbledon Roger said he'd like to s&v a lot more (I think he said 100% off first serves), but didn't think he would win as much if he did. I wish someone would write an article about how the great s&v players would fare today, especially at Wimbledon where the courts are slower, harder and the ball bounces higher.
 

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Roger doesn't have a serve suited for S&V. His first serve is excellent but it doesn't have the explosiveness or consistency to guarantee him a 70-80% success rate. I noticed at this year's Wimbledon he didn't have a lot of success on the serve and volleying because he didn't have time to approach the net and react: He hits a fast serve but it's never out of reach so that the opponent does't even have to hit a great return, just feed off the pace et voilà!:cool:

It's true there aren't many decent S&V around to trouble Roger: Mahut can take him to a tie break maybe take a set off him but nothing more, Roddick's a great server but an average volleyer. Ancic is probably the one who comes close.

The 'problem' is that the more you get settled into the s&v routine, the less comfortable u are with rallies and thus your return games can be a pain in the ass. A minor blip is enough for u to loose a set. But if you're a baseliner with an ok return game, it's easier ot break back etc. S&V is not necessarily the best winning game currently because extremely fast courts aren't the norm anymore.

Fed has had a lot of success volleying against players who stand far from the baseline like Robredo who faced something like 15 S&V at RG, but otherwise it's 50/50 against others, and it's clearly not a good idea to use a tactic that wins u only half the points.
 

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S&V players would be eaten alive in Wimbledon today, I think... look at Nadal's passing shots in the final... unreal...
Also, Roger doesn't have any problems with big serves, so why should he be troubled by S&V players? Okay, he is 0-3 against Rafter, but they played before Roger really became Roger...
 

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That repetitive argument used by Sampras is useless, his match with Hewitt at the USO final back in 2001 should have made it clear to him.

Nowadays, unfortunately, S&V = suicide.
 

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:haha:

clowns...

absolute nonsense. Federer when he 19 yrs old def wimbledon champ pete sampras on a fast grass court playing s/v. Little roger federer also took pat rafter to a third set tb on grass. These matches alone should show you that federer would probably fare very well against serve-volley.

Federer is a nightmare for the serve-volley player because he is arguably the greatest 1st serve returner with his quick reflexes and great hands. He also has better passing shots than sampras, becker, rafter etc and combine this with his athleticism, he would be a nightmare matchup.

All players start at the baseline...how would they get to net with federer dominating them from the baseline. These player would have to play :
a)kamikaze tennis coming to net on anything
b)high risk tennis from the baseline by going for huge shots

Another difference between federer and these "other players" is that he can actually play amazing defense. Sampras et al are primarily offensive players who when on the defensive are pretty much stuck there.
 

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Two things that make Federer so great:

--changing his game to adapt to what works best
--developing new parts of his game at older ages (extremely difficult to do)

He stopped serving and volleying when he saw that he couldn't beat Agassi, Hewitt, and Nalbandian that way. He had more overall game than all of those players, but he would lose the point on one or two shots thereby making his overall game superiority worthless. He saw this and stopped serving and volleying.

After he stopped serving and volleying, he realized that he now needed to improve his BH which he would need in new longer rallies against he likes of Agassi, Hewitt and Nalbandian. He developed the BH to make it good enough in rallies, and then FURTHER developed it to become a weapon which is extremely difficult to do at an older age in tennis.

So back to the orgininal question....

It doesn't really make a whole lot of sense because if S&Ving was able to get you good results on tour, more players would be doing it. It isn't, therefore nobody plays that style. It seems ridiculous to then ask, "What if there were more S&Vers around...would Fed be able to deal?" The question could be asked, "How would Fed do in the early 90's or 80's?" when S&Ving was able to win you majors. I still think he would do just as well because

1) He can serve and volley himself and on quicker surfaces and inferior racquet technology, it would be harder pass him (although his serve might not be as good as it is now)

2) His otherworldly ability to return serve and put balls in play would still be a weapon for him.

3) His Fh would be more effective in quicker conditions of old.

Sure he would have to make some adjustments, but from everything I have seen of the guy, I think he would make those adjustments.

On another note, you need a lot of things to have a very successful S&V player. They have to be tall in today's game (for reach and serve), need a big serve, have great hands, great instincts at net, be a terrific athlete and have decent groundstrokes so they can break serve. Finesse S&V like Edberg's and McEnroe simply could not work in today's game. Because of this, very few coaches of young players are going to get then to S&V. You need all the above stated qualities AND it takes longer for your game to develop AND there is rarely a plan B if your serve is not working. A player from the baseline can still win if his serve is off, but a player who is S&V'ing needs his serve to be on since he will just get killed on 2nd serves whether he comes in or not since his baseline game is bound to be inferior. If a coach is playing the %'s, a baseline player has so a much liklier chance of success than does a risky S&V player.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Good points all, and that's why I laugh when this argument comes up. Over at the tennis-warehouse boards there's threads practically every other day about how guys like Sampras would beat Roger 7 out of 10 times. Then they bring up guys like Suzuki as proof that he can't handle net rushers. :lol:

I keep thinking, look at the guys who gave him the biggest fits early on in his career - Hewitt and Nalbandian. Neither one are s&v players. Even this year, two of his biggest losses came to Canas - a gridner from the baseline.

I wish Sampras would just put up or shut up. OK maybe he's not fit enough for best of 5 at Wimbledon, but come back and play Queens then and let's see how he holds up against the returners of today.
 

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Good points all, and that's why I laugh when this argument comes up. Over at the tennis-warehouse boards there's threads practically every other day about how guys like Sampras would beat Roger 7 out of 10 times. Then they bring up guys like Suzuki as proof that he can't handle net rushers. :lol:

I keep thinking, look at the guys who gave him the biggest fits early on in his career - Hewitt and Nalbandian. Neither one are s&v players. Even this year, two of his biggest losses came to Canas - a gridner from the baseline.

I wish Sampras would just put up or shut up. OK maybe he's not fit enough for best of 5 at Wimbledon, but come back and play Queens then and let's see how he holds up against the returners of today.
Federer also couldn't beat Henman when he was young because his BH wasn't good enough. Henman approached the BH and Fed had a lot of difficulty passing him.

It's a moot point about Sampras. Sampras coming back at 36 won't prove anything unless of course he winds up beating some players. Players beating him doesn't prove anything.

A better proof is Hewitt handling his power and passing him at will at the '01 USO final.
 

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what great S&V players?
 
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