Best volleys among clay players.

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by I get cramps, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. I get cramps

    I get cramps New User

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    I remember Emilio Sánchez playing Mcenroe in the AO 92 4TH round, well, after loosing the first two sets Emilio started serving and volleying on every point for the netx two sets -unless my memory is playing tricks on me-, and he won them. He eventually lost in the fifth set in very long and contested match.

    Off the top of my head, i remember Emilio Sánchez doing it too against Kent Carlsson in a Hilversum (perhaps it was on Kithbuel) final. After he lost the first two sets he started to serve and volley, and won the following two sets -if memory serves me well- by serving and volleying.

    I'm not saying, by any means, that Sánchez's volleys were the best amongst players whose bread and butter was clay, and that had also been raised playing on clay. i was very young back then, but Emilio seemed to know what he was doing at the net. I haven't had the chance to watch those matches again but that's a lingering memory from them.

    Who were the best serve and volleyers amongst the guys who played the clay tournaments -Gstaad, baastad, Hilversum, Kithbuel, Palermo, Madrid, and so forth- and that learnt the game playing on clay?

    Any thoughts on this one?
     
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  2. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    I watched that Mac-Sanchez match last year, Sanchez certainly didn't S&V every point the last 3 sets, but he did do it quite a bit - I had him at 22 of 44 on S&V attempts in the last 3 sets.
    For the match I had him with 2 fh volley winners, 11 bh volley winners & 1 overhead winner. He was part of a great doubles team, won some majors with Casal, I'm sure that's part of the reason he was so good at net in singles.

    I watched the 1991 Monte Carlo Final recently(Bruguera d Becker 57, 64, 76, 76) & was surprised by how much Bruguera came in & how soft his hands were. He actually came in off Becker's 2nd serve a few times.

    I had him at 13 of 26 at net in the last 2 sets.
     
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  3. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Panatta and Kodes would be possibilities.
     
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  4. I get cramps

    I get cramps New User

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    Thanks for your post and the correction, Moose Malloy.

    If you enjoyed the Mac-Sánchez 92 match be sure, in case you haven't done it already which is very likely, to watch their USO 90 4th round match.

    Incidentally, Emilio Sánchez said recently on TV that Casal's volleys were better than his.
     
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  5. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    7-5, 7-6, 4-6, 2-6, 8-6 to Mac. Yes, looks like a long tough match.
     
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  6. I get cramps

    I get cramps New User

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    If memory serves me well, which i doubt, Mac was extremely fatigued at the end of the match and lied down on the court just after the match was over -it was pretty hot in Melbourne that day-. Mac needed some kind of special rehydration afterwards. Conversely, Sánchez seemed to be in much better shape. It reminds me a bit -whitout that much drama- of Sampras Vs Corretja 96 USO. Corretja should have won that match and, perhaps, Sánchez too had the match in his racquet; but both Pete and Mac showed why they are ATG's.

    What really surprised me is how after loosing the first two sets playing from the baseline, Sánchez started to serve and volley with success, he had a plan B. We're talking here about a player with very little talent -however, a player with great work ethic- that could make adjustments during the course of a match. That's one of the reasons why i started this thread, i wonder which players who were raised as claycourters could held their own serving and volleying, aside of Wilander, Vilas (or so i was told), and i guess Gimeno, Panatta or Santana.
     
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  7. rosenstar

    rosenstar Professional

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    Nadal has great volleys. He doesn't come to the net much on clay, and his volley's aren't the prettiest, but he manages to sneak in at opportune moments and put himself in a good position to win the point.
     
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  8. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Yep, these two--plus Rosewall--come to mind.
     
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  9. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Panatta and Pecci in the 70´s, Noah and....¿Mc Enroe? in the 80´s, Laver and Rosewall in the 60´s.No other player has had success playing an agressive style on French red clay ever since Mac almost won the 1984 FO.Edberg and Stich were the last S&V guys to ever reach the FO final, but lost just as Mac in 84.
     
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  10. heathcliff

    heathcliff Rookie

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    henri leconte - though he was an all courter he had his biggest success on clay.
    martin jaite - another great clay courter who could hit some very nice volleys.
     
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  11. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Sanchez spent much of his time playing doubles with Sergio Casal.This one was one of the few clay court born players whose tactics were serve and volley.I´d say, in the 80´s other than Noah,Leconte ( sometimes) and Mac Enroe, he´s the only pure S&V player that played that style on clay.

    As for Gimeno, he could play s&V ( was a W SF and AO F) but he seldom did it on clay.Pecci and Panatta ( and even Gerulaitis when he was playing great cc tennis) were the guys that always S&V´d on the cc of the 70´s... with success, of course (Ashe,Smith and Newcombe too, but never had any success on red clay).
     
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  12. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    I'm assuming Edberg grew up on clay given his background.
     
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  13. I get cramps

    I get cramps New User

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    What about Nystrom and Andrés Gomez's volleys, were they any good? Gómez was a good doubles player.
     
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  14. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I liked Gomez a lot, but his volleys were just Ok.He is an underrated one, even if he blew off Muster and Agassi in the SF and F of the 1990 FO.Big serve, one of the best overheads of the 80´s, great reach at the net, a very good BH ( slice dor top spin)...and, on top of that, the second or third best clay court forehand of the 80´s ( just behind Lendl and as good as Arias).

    In addition to his FO title, he also took 2 times the Italian Open, wipping out Krickstein and Arias, and won 2 times in a row Barcelona ( beating Lendl also).

    He was a nice guy but a bit shy, so he´s left few memories on the " go for the flash" fans, but some great ones for the real tennis fans of that decade.
     
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  15. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I was just thinking... if a guy like Gomez is barely talked of when people mentions the greats of the 80´s...how brilliant must have that decade have been???...and people still talks about Nalbandian or Roddick so much... what a big, big difference¡¡¡
     
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  16. I get cramps

    I get cramps New User

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    Agreed. it would be nice to have more info about Andrés Gómez from the pundits on this board. ;-);
     
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  17. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I remember Lendl once said, after one of his rare loses to Gomez, that on the few days that Andres let his mind off and tunned up his timing, nobody could beat him on clay.I´ve seen few moments of this fantastic play.
     
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  18. Ludwig von Mises

    Ludwig von Mises Banned

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    nastase was a great volleyer but of course was more than just a clay courter.

    yannick noah won his only gs on clay, was a pretty good volleyer
     
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  19. gpt

    gpt Professional

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    check you tube videos of Vilas serving and volleying on the kooyong grass in the 1974 masters and at the 77 and 78 AO. great stuff
     
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  20. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Noah was a 1980´s Panatta with more physichal power, but less inspired.However, they both enjoyed live off the court as much, if not more, than in the court (I´d say more, definitely)
     
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  21. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    the complete match is available free to watch online here!

    http://vault.australianopentv.com/

    very entertaining stuff, I'm sure more so than any match will be at this year's AO
     
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  22. hawk eye

    hawk eye Hall of Fame

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    Juan Carlos Ferrero never came to net a lot, but when he does he always seems to have the right solution. Very good form and touch. Though not often in the spot lights anymore, he's still one of most stylish and technically sound players around.
     
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  23. BrooklynNY

    BrooklynNY Hall of Fame

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    Alex Corretja
     
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  24. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    while not just a clay court, Ramirez and Gottfries had terrific volleys.Ramirez won the Italian open in 1975 and Gottfried lost the 1977 FO final.
     
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  25. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Nystrom seldom volleyed, was possibly the most backcourt player of the 80´s, along countrymen Kent Carlsson...Gomez had great hands and good touch, but he was very tall and had difficults on the low volley.

    His doubles assets were a big lefty serve and a terrific forehand - only second to Lendl and better than Arias, IMO-
     
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  26. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    Nystrom was damn good at the net and was a top 5 doubles player on tour.....won 9 or so doubles titles with a bunch of different partners.
     
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  27. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    He was a great returner, that is also a very important weapon in doubles, and Nystrom certainly had one of the most effective returns of the game...but, I cannot recall him being what I consider a great volleyer ( not saying he was lousy, just that his volleys would be around average)
     
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  28. heathcliff

    heathcliff Rookie

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    gerulaitis was quite succesful on european clay
     
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  29. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I fully agree.To me, the best volleyers that succeded on clay were Laver,Roche,Emerson,Panatta and Gerulaitis.Noah succeded on clay and was a fine but not great volleyer; Pecci didn´´t win it all, but was a clean better volleyer than Noah.

    So was Gottfried, who reached and lost a FO final but was considered one of the best volleyers in the world...and Raul Ramirez was a very good clay courter and an excellent net player.
     
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  30. heathcliff

    heathcliff Rookie

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    still i think henri leconte belongs to the list
     
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  31. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Mac and Edberg lost in 5 sets FO finals after the most spectacular display of S&V the french people had seen in years...and Rafter reached the semifinals of the french playing excelent S&V.Stich was a FO runner up and a FO sf and was also a prime S&V.Those guys could win playing that kind of game; it is a matter of confidence and accepting that you are gonna lose many points, but counts are made at the end.

    BT, Laver defeated the ultime cc player, Rosweall in three sets, Panatta defeated the ultime cc player Borg twice and a great backcourter like Solly to win the title...Pecci destroyed the likes of Barazutti,Solomon,Vilas and Connors and lost in a very close match to Borg.Noah defeated the best CC player of the 80´s, Mats Wilander in straight sets ( altough I think he took drugs, but still a great achievement).
     
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  32. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    Most all players back then grew up on clay (Europe) or Har Tru (east coast USA) so being comfortable to S&V on the slow stuff not an issue. Gottfried, Gerulaitis, McEnroe, Fleming all played on Har Tru most of the time in the juniors. In Europe Noah, Leconte, Pioline, Becker, Stich.....etc all came off the Red Clay.
     
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  33. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    what drugs?????? U mean hashish? You don't think most players then and now don't partake????? As for druggies look no further than Borg, Gerulaitis or Pecci (Pecci ended up a bigger coke head then even Vitas).
     
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  34. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Noah has sepnt his whole life acussing others of taking drugs, he is such a bigot...being the first one to fulfill his ass with it in a GS final¡¡¡
     
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  35. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I don't consider Rosewall to be any more of a clay court player than a grass, hard, carpet or wood court player. He was equally great on all surfaces because his game was balanced and complete.
     
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  36. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    Guillermo Coria was surprisingly good at the net. Exquisite volleying.
     
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  37. Wilander Fan

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    Back then, clay players had little incentive to become more rounded since there were enough clay tournaments to keep them busy most of the year. It was not a big deal for clay specialists to skip Wimbledon. I feel like Gomez would have been an even better player in this era. He was great from both sides, big serve and could move well. He took giant cuts from both forehand and backhand and the slower courts and new equipment would have really benefited him.
     
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  38. I get cramps

    I get cramps New User

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    Moose, the link led me to an adress that made me update Adobe Flash player, but i couldn't see the link to the match.

    Anyways, here's an appetizer from that match in good quality. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQqxEIK5f9Q

    Moose Malloy, wrote: "very entertaining stuff, I'm sure more so than any match will be at this year's AO." I fully agree, Moose.
     
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  39. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

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    Not to mention a Wimbledon doubles title with Mats Wilander, and reached both the US Open and Australian Open finals in doubles.
     
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  40. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

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    Noah covered the net very well, great reach and had a great overhead smash. He was a good, but not great, volleyer, I thought. Excellent doubles player, often partnering Leconte or Forget.
     
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  41. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    Noah had some technical issues with his volleys but his speed and ability to close made up for alot. Both Leconte and Forget much better at the net and played space better. Noah had the best overhead in tennis in the early 80's for sure.
     
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  42. chrischris

    chrischris Hall of Fame

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    Yannick Noahs net game was very solid !
     
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  43. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Other than Edberg, I think the best swedish volleyer was Jarryd, so fast and volleyed well over the ball, similarly to Jimbo Connors..
     
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  44. TennisNiche

    TennisNiche New User

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    Regarding some of the modern nominations (Coria, Ferrero, Nadal) - they might be good volleyers relative to their era but I wouldn't place them in this list.

    None of them serve-volley with anything approaching regularity, for starters. Coming in off an opponents second serve is also a no-no.

    In my opinion their volleying ability may appear exaggerated as they were all the dominant player on clay at one point or another. It follows that they were able to control and win a high percentage of baseline rallies (I say baseline rallies as none of these three are renown for their ace count on clay). From this they obviously produce a great number of short balls when they have their opponent far off the court and it is here when they will approach the net and mop up any easy floated returns.

    To my recollection all three players approach the net almost exclusively under these conditions and therefore had/have a high percentage of points won at the net. Their net game may appear to have a touch of class/ guile as the drop volley is very effective on clay and it seems to suggest to people that the player has 'soft hands'.

    To me, the mark of a good volleyer is more the angles on which they approach, their anticipation at the net and of course the ability to come in on a well-placed serve and really punch the first volley into the corner. I haven't seen this from either Coria, Nadal or Ferrero.

    Having read through this thread and seen a lot of knowledgable posts on the matter my nomination would go to Gomez. I can't claim to have seen much of him but even from this brief youtube clip you can see a few decent volleys (and a beautiful backhand technique!)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSs0dJU05vI
     
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  45. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    When I look at this thread I really find it hard to separate who is a clay court player and who is not. Henri Leconte is mentioned here and while he won a number of clay court titles he also was an excellent fast court player with a serve and volley style which normally isn't the definition of a typical clay court player.

    Noah has been mentioned and while his volley was good because his range at the net was superb he really didn't have the most penetrating volley in the world.

    I think the best volleyers who were excellent clay court players were Rosewall, Laver, Roche and Newcombe. Roche won the French and Newcombe won a number of clay titles including the Italian and what is now called the Rogers Cup which used to be played on clay.

    In recent years I would say Nadal is a very good volleyer, Panatta was superb and Ilie Nastase. Nastase was a great touch volleyer and very hard to pass at the net because of his superb anticipation.
     
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  46. Wilander Fan

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    One of my favorite players but he was much better on fast surfaces. His best results were on grass and indoor. Very good strokes but did not move that well so he was often out maneuvered on the baseline. Jarryd had a strange kind of footwork. Explosive first step, quick and agile but he tended to bob, lunge, and bounce around the court. This might have been the result of his doubles game (one of the best all time doubles players). His doubles partner, Edberg, was also not that smooth moving side to side on the baseline but was incredibly smooth moving forwards and backwards.
     
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  47. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    But from that generation being a "clay courter" didn't automatically mean you were a baseliner.....Noah was HORRIBLE on grass and really fast courts and had his best success on clay - Leconte was much better on grass and faster courts but again had no issues winning clay events....back then even the practice indoor courts at the FFT were clay. But Edberg, Becker, Stich, Nastase, Panatta......all learned and practiced primarily on the slow stuff. in the USA in the 70s all the top East Coast players (inc Florida) also came from clay or at least Har Tru facilities. Gottfried, Stockton (who did quite well in Rome and the French in 78 and 79) , Gerulaitis all did well on clay. Even Vilas had solid volleys I saw him win his first Aussie open and he was all over the net.
     
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  48. TennisNiche

    TennisNiche New User

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    In respect to what I've written above, I'm curious to know what you find impressive about Nadal's volleying ability. Personally I cringe whenever I see him hitting a forehand volley about net height..
     
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  49. Wilander Fan

    Wilander Fan Hall of Fame

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    Its not the put away volley that's tough. Its the half volley. Just about anyone can take a weak stab and have a decent shot at making a drop volley winner if they are 2 feet from the net. If you practice, I am sure its almost automatic.
     
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  50. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Of course being a clay courter doesn't mean you are necessarily a baseliner but I was wondering what the person who started the thread defined as a clay court player. Being that the players today approach the net far less frequently than in the past you would tend to think the clay court players from a few years ago would be better net players from just more practice at the net.

    Nadal like a lot of players misses some easy volleys but I think he's actually a superior net player than most today. I know John McEnroe raves about his net ability which doesn't really prove anything.
     
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