The #1 reason that serve and volley is dead is because of racket/string technology. Guys can hit solid returns with the flick of a wrist these days and that forces S&V players into a lot of tough situations on their own service games. Also as the technology has gotten better I believe they went to a heavier ball which is part of it playing slower.I've posted something like this before, but this is just to show you how things have evolved.
This is from the 1985 Wimbledon final:
You can see that the grass is actually more eroded in the centre of the court than on the baseline. There is a large area of erosion where the check-step for serve-volleying takes place.
This is from the 1996 Wimbledon final:
It's still pretty much the same picture, although there is more baseline erosion here. But clearly there was still a lot of net play and serve-volleying taking place during the tournament.
This is from the 2001 Wimbledon final:
This was one year before Hewitt and Nalbandian played in the final, and it's becoming more baseline-oriented. But you can still see erosion in the service box and where serve-volleying has occurred during the tournament.
This is from the 2008 Wimbledon final:
There is still some evidence of net play, but hardly any of serve-volleying. By far the biggest area of erosion is on the baseline.
This is from last year's Wimbledon final:
It looks like no-one serve-volleyed during the entire tournament, while the grass in the service box is virtually undisturbed.
Today, Wimbledon is just a green hard court. There is no grass court tennis played there, it's just a marginally different type of hard court. That's why although I still think Wimbledon is the biggest and best tournament, it lacks something for me from when I was growing up, when you had to play a completely different style of play in order to compete, and you would see a genuine clash of styles.
There is absolutely no chance that Nadal or Djokovic would have been as successful at Wimbledon as they are today in the older conditions. I don't think either of them would have even won it once. Possibly one or both of them could have scraped one title, but we wouldn't be talking about them as favourites for the tournament every year. Agassi made two Wimbledon finals. Hewitt made one. Courier made one. Lendl never won Wimbledon. Connors and Borg made several, but they came to the net all the time. You would struggle to name any baseliners who had any success at all, while a lot of the clay court specialists didn't even bother turning up.
People talk about different surfaces...there are no different surfaces today, it's just the same game played over and over again in different parts of the world, depending on when it's summer.
Racket technology has made a difference, but the courts are slower and bounce higher. Whether that's due to the ball, the surface, or both doesn't really matter, it just profoundly changes the way that the game is played.The #1 reason that serve and volley is dead is because of racket/string technology. Guys can hit solid returns with the flick of a wrist these days and that forces S&V players into a lot of tough situations on their own service games. Also as the technology has gotten better I believe they went to a heavier ball which is part of it playing slower.
Hint: Wimbledon grass during the 1990s, especially before 1999, was faster than Stuttgart grass in 2018 (where Milos made final S&V on literally all first serves). In fact, it was faster than all warm-up tournaments during that time (the situation was the opposite since 2002).The 2019 courts were still pretty quick for the final (it was pretty dead slow in early rounds due to the damp conditions)