Better Volleyer: Sampras vs. Federer?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by hoodjem, Dec 13, 2009.

  1. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Lots of threads on here lately about the best volleyers in the game: McEnroe or Edberg or Rafter or Laver, etc.

    I was wondering how one ranks Sampras in this list. Also, I noticed that Most Versatile Player thread where Fed's volleys seem to be well-thought of.

    So I am wondering, how you would rate these two in terms of their volleying abilities, most particularly against each other, who has the better volleys?
     
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  2. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    sampras > fed as far as volleying is concerned.

    If they played against each other, it'd pretty much level out as fed's return + passing shots > pete's return + passing shots
     
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  3. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Professional

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    This shows the level of fanyboy-ism with Federer that exists on these forums - that anyone would actually compare his volleys to one of the world's best S&V players.

    Simply amazing. :facepalm:
     
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  4. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    No brainer. Sampras by a good margin. Pete was always serve and volleying and that's not a part of Federer's game.
     
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  5. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

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    Sampras by a huge margin.
     
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  6. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Sampras was a much better volleyer than Federer is, although Federer can get by with his volleys. Sampras used volleying as a big weapon, whereas Federer uses volleys to try and end points quickly when he HAS to. Volleying is not a primary part of Federer's arsenal.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2009
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  7. scootad.

    scootad. Semi-Pro

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    Sampras certainly was capable at the net, but I think people overestimate him in that regard.

    He didn't need a great volley because his serve was so amazing.

    Stefan Edberg had a great volley and was more of a serve and volleyer in the true sense of the term - as his game was centered on a well placed serve allowing for an offensive 1st volley setting up a put away 2nd volley. Rafter was another truer serve and volleyer. By the end of the '90s serve and volley was extinct.

    Sampras game was centered on a huge serve -purpose was either to end the point with an ace right away or set up a put away 1st volley with no need for a 2nd volley.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2009
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  8. Michael Bluth

    Michael Bluth Semi-Pro

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    In their 01 Wimbledon match Fed showed that he could volley with the best of them, but overall I'd give it to Pete.


    Maybe if Fed played in the 90s he would have serve-volleyed a lot more and as such have a better serve-volley game, but no one will know.
     
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  9. hoosierbr

    hoosierbr Hall of Fame

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    Sampras. Fed is a good volleyer but he often misses volleys on pressure points which is why he doesn't serve and volley a lot. He used to s&v on every point at Wimbledon, his match with Sampras is 2001 is a good example, but stopped doing that because it wasn't his best game.

    Sampras could make the pressure volleys 8 times out of 10. Only an Edberg/McEnroe/Rafter made them 9 times out 10. No one is perfect.
     
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  10. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    Sampras, cause he can hit the half volley for clean winners from the service line. never seen any other pro that hits the half volley harder than him.
     
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  11. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

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    ????? Is this a trick/serious question.

    Sampras. Case end and point.
     
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  12. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Professional

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    No kidding. With some of these Fed fanboys you could have the same thread comparing Fed's serve to Sampras, Becker, etc. and they would still say Federer.
     
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  13. akv89

    akv89 Hall of Fame

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    It has to be Sampras. Federer has good volleys and has shown that he can win tournaments with S&V but volleying isn't as integral to his game as it was to Sampras'.
     
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  14. Polaris

    Polaris Hall of Fame

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    Sampras was clearly the better serve-and-volleyer. As to volleying alone, I can't really say.
     
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  15. darthpwner

    darthpwner Banned

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    Sampras obviously
     
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  16. President of Serve/Volley

    President of Serve/Volley Semi-Pro

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    Sampras would own Federer in this field....

    You do not be Edberg, Rafter, Becker with poor volleys.

    Federer would struggle to beat them...
     
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  17. jazzyfunkybluesy

    jazzyfunkybluesy Banned

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    Sampras. I wish they would show some Sampras matches on Tennis Channel.
     
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  18. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    so agassi was a great volleyer, nice to know :roll:
     
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  19. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    haha Agassi was a horrible volleyer. The gap between Federer and Agassi in volleying is even much better than the one between Sampras and Federer, and that despite that Sampras is IMO a clearly better volleyer than Sampras.
     
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  20. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    Becker's serve is not even close to on par with someone like Sampras's, and Federer's serve could definitely be compared to Becker's. In the mid 80s Becker's serve might have seemed revolutionary but it was eclipsed completely by guys like Sampras, Ivanivisec, and Krajicek in the 90s.
     
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  21. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Sampras.

    Pete hit his volleys like he learned with wood, which I'm guessing he did. He hit his volleys pretty flush. Feel like people who have only played with modern rackets slice their volley off both sides a lot more.
     
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  22. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    thalivest,
    You might want to edit this part. I think (but am not positive), that you mean Fed.
     
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  23. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I guess that settles it: everyone seems to agree that Sampras was a MUCH better volleyer than Federer.

    Who is the best volleyer in today's game?
     
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  24. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Hoodjem, that's a real good question. My guess is that to answer that question we should focus on the top doubles players, like the Bryan Brothers, Paes, Bhupathi, Knowles, Nestor, and those guys. I bet most of those players are better volleyers than the vast majority of the top 100 singles players, because they are forced to hit so many tough volleys constantly in "rapid fire" exchanges all the time. Thoughts?
     
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  25. T1000

    T1000 Hall of Fame

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    I'm gonna go the other way (at least try)

    It could be argued that Federer is a better volleyer than Sampras. I was talking to a coach at a tournament who grew up watching Sampras play and got to see his doubles matches at the Davis Cup. He said Sampras wasn't an amazing doubles player because he couldn't hit the tough reflex volleys, half volleys etc. I saw Federer play in the Olympics (granted it was one tournament) but he volleyed really well. He wasn't getting consistently beat at the net and was pulling of a ton of tough volleys. Sampras had his huge serve to open up the court and had a hige target to hit, whether or not it was a tough volley. It was easy for him to put the ball away from his opponent because he opened up the court so well with his serve. Federer's serve is not as big and he didn't rely on it as much in his younger days when he served and volleyed. He had to come up with a lot of tough volleys and pulled a lot of them off IIRC. Just my take on it.

    Not related to this but I'm watching Mcenroe v Borg USO final 1980 and damn, Mac is one heck of a volleyer
     
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  26. Changmaster

    Changmaster Rookie

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    Sampras is the obvious choice, but only because he was a S+Ver. I'd say that their volleying skills are pretty close. It's laughable that people say Sampras had MUCH better volleys. Their 2001 Wimby match proved that Fed could volley just as well as Sampras. Yes, that was only one match, but no unbiased viewer could come away from that match thinking that Sampras had much better volleys than Fed. Fed didn't S+V that much during his prime yrs because the courts favored groundstrokes, and his groundies are even better than his volleys.

    I'm not arguing that Fed has BETTER volleys than Sampras; but they're of comparable skill, and anyone who says Sampras's volleys are MUCH better is either exaggerating a lot or doesn't know that much about tennis.
     
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  27. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    I agree, sampras is the better volleyer , but to say he is much better is absolutely ridiculous ...

    Its not just that match, even the next match vs henman (which he lost ) he volleyed real well ( he lost because he didn't play the big points well and henman who was in the best form of his life did ) . Also his volleying displays against roddick and scud in the SFs and finals of wimbledon 2003 were highly impressive as well. He volleyed real well against nadal at rome in 2006, winning 64 out of 84 points at the net and also in the final 2 sets of hamburg 2007 F

    Just to elaborate that the sampras match wasn't the only match where he volleyed well ( through some sort of fluke )


    If I had to split their volleying skills,

    There is not much difference in their BH volleys, if forced to chose, I'd chose fed's BH volleys.

    FH volleys, sampras is clearly better, fed gets lazy on those quite a few times.

    Sampras is clearly better at handling half-volleys from the service line and beyond

    Fed is clearly unparalleled when it comes to half-volleying from the baseline ( agassi who ??? )

    Fed has the better touch at the net, but sampras volleys were firm, rock-solid and he didn't botch up easy ones and that is where he scores over fed.

    Another one being that he is due to practice , he seemed more comfortable and his net skills in clutch situations were beyond doubt excellent and highly proven ...

    And of course sampras was helped by the fact that he had such an awesome serve ( IMO the best ever ), lesser amount of topspin with the strings those days when compared to now and the faster & lower surfaces those days when compared to now
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
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  28. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    I'll spin this the other way :twisted:

    Its more difficult to volley in singles these days, especially with the amount of topspin the players can generate, court coverage and approach shots are of much more importance
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
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  29. Paul Murphy

    Paul Murphy Hall of Fame

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    Sampras by a fair margin if for no other reason that he perfected it because that was his playing style.
    Federer can volley beautifully but we don't see enough of it, though maybe we'll see more as he has to dig deeper (and expand his game) to stay on top.
     
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  30. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I've read on here that Sampras belongs in the second-tier of volleyers.

    The first tier including McEnroe, Edberg, Laver, Rafter, Gonzales, Newcombe, etc., that is the very best in the history of the game.

    Would you put Fed in this second tier?

    (The second tier: Kramer, Roche, Henman, Nastase, Panatta, Becker, Cash, and Sampras. )
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
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  31. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    If we play twenty questions you may be able to answer that question. Is Federer better as a volleyer than Henman in his prime? Is he better than Sedgman? Kramer? Roche? How about Panatta? Ashe? Becker? Gimeno? Emerson? Nastase? Rosewall of course.

    Now some of the people I mentioned are not second tier but some are. Is Federer superior to Panatta in his prime? I don't think so.

    Now to gave Federer the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he would have been a better volleyer if he played in the serve and volley era or if he practiced serve and volley like a Sampras. But the fact of the matter is he almost never serve and volleys and relies on his great forehand to put away weak shots.
     
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  32. s_andrean

    s_andrean Rookie

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    I think an interesting comparison would be who was a better volleyer out of sampras and henman? Obviously sampras was by far the better player.. but henman had such a deft touch at the net..
     
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  33. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    Pete's level of volley is just below Mac/Edberg...he was terrific.
     
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  34. Neil Peart

    Neil Peart New User

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    Pete may not be the classic volleyer in the Laver / Mac sense, but the guy was the best all around at the net.

    Watching the Connors VS Mac last night solidified this for me. Sampras simply won more points at the net with his sickening skills.
     
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  35. chanee

    chanee Banned

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    Sampras's feel at the net was incredible. He could make an egg drop without it breaking.
     
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  36. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    He really was an excellent volleyer. Sometimes I think Sampras is underrated as a volleyer on these boards. The assumption by many is that he didn't have to ever hit a tough volley because of his great serve but he was able to hit great shots off many tough returns.
     
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  37. ROBOPTI

    ROBOPTI New User

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    I'd take Sampras 24/7 & twice on Sundays ... Not even close in my opinion. That being said I FIRMLY believe - prime vs prime - Federer would need a microscope to find a game against Sampras.

    The Federer Myopia that exists here is obvious - but being honest with myself - G.O.A.T. = Sampras

    I agree with the previous post - to compare Federer to probably the best S&V EVER is truly delusional.
     
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  38. gflyer

    gflyer Professional

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    Federer is not a great volleyer.
    Besides the great ones already mentioned (Sampras, Edberg,Mac) my favorite would be Becker.
     
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  39. killertubbie

    killertubbie New User

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    I guess yours is pretty lousy, I feel bad for people like who's having problems loving themselves...
     
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  40. aRFiq

    aRFiq New User

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    agree,fed himself is a great vollier,but he seldomly approaches d net,sampras on the other hand,s&v is his game and that's how he dominated wimbledon
     
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  41. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    No. I put him nowhere near the 2nd tier. Not even close. The potential is there, but he does it so rarely, he is, quite frankly, prone to miss balls when he tries it. He has blown many volleys when he is not confident, that the 2nd tier would be FURIOUS about (those guys in the 2nd tier, are never that unconfident up at the net), which then scares him into even trying again. He is, now, a strict baseliner WITH a good volley....but, like all baseliners, he isn't terribly consistent up there and can be scared off the net.
     
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  42. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I agree. What amuses me about Federer and please correct me if my impression is wrong is that when he hits a good volley or a relatively easy good looking volley for a winner I have noticed he tends to pose for a fraction and show off as if he's saying I've hit a great volley, look at me. Federer can be a bit of peacock sometimes.

    Just my impression. I'm sure many will disagree.

    I forgot about Cash when I mentioned excellent volleyers. I can't believe I forgot him. Cash had a great volley.


    He may not have the best volley but I actually think Nadal is underrated as a volleyer. He's improved a lot and I think he misses fewer volleys than Federer. Of the top players Nadal may have the best volley of the bunch that includes Federer, Djokovic, Murray, Roddick and del Potro. Like virtually anything with Nadal, the man just doesn't make many outright errors, including at the net.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
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  43. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    I've seen it a few times, but it isn't that frequent ...

    LOL, seriously ? nadal isn't even close to federer in terms of volleying let alone being better than him. murray is a better volleyer than nadal , and so is djokovic. del potro is quite frankly debatable

    And while I think nadal is pretty decent as a volleyer and does what needs to be done, he still comes in very less and misses many of the tough ones ( whenever he comes in that is ). I don't think he is under-rated as a volleyer , atleast not in here
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2009
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  44. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    WOW. I think you're dead on. DEAD ON. I never really noticed the peacocking, but I HAVE WRITTEN that one reason I think Federer's volley is now relatively poor is due to his unwillingness to get "dirty". Federer..frankly...always wants to look beautiful. He thinks his game is astoundingly beautiful (as he's acknowledged), he basks in that praise, and I think it's very important to him. That has occasionally hurt his baseline game, but OFTEN hurts his volley. Unless your Edberg, it's hard to always look graceful and beautiful on the volley. It's a bit wild, a bit out of control up there, and sometimes you have to DIG, and sometimes it will be awkard. What i have noticed of Fed in recent years is a tendency to:

    1.run through the volley to smoothly, without setting up and sticking it.
    2.an unwillingness to get DOWN there, scrape the knees, come to an abrupt stop on the low volley if need be, he sort of runs up, then just drops the racquet head down...and hopes magic happens....if you're not Mcenroe this isn't the best way to do it!!!! In Fed's defense, I'll bet that he can get away with that in practice against lesser balls than Nadal's and/or when he's totally relaxed. In matches, he blows that one too much!

    I have written this before, and that is what I have noticed in his volley...I think it ties in perfectly with what you've observed.


    He's VERY underrated...in fact, I just mentioned this in a post in some other thread. Yes, he actually seems to be a more effective volleyer than Federer in some of their encounters. I think this is not necessarily due to an inherent advantage in talent, but the fact that Nadal sets up his volleys and then, most importantly, does NOT do #2 above...Nadal volleys with great form. Simple, basic, good form. It works.
     
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  45. big bang

    big bang Hall of Fame

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    once again I agree with you, you my friend is a good observer:)
     
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  46. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    DC,
    You sum it up quite well. A great volleyer (even third-tier) is never unconfident about going to the net . . . as Fed occasionally is.

    And again, saying that Fed is essentially a baseliner with good volleys (now in 2009) is, I think, right on the mark.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
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  47. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Thanks Hoodjem, Big Bang.
     
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  48. gflyer

    gflyer Professional

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    I have problems understanding your language. What do you mean?
     
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  49. gflyer

    gflyer Professional

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    and btw, Federer is my fav player. I am just making an objective point.
    Federer is not a great volleyer. He is very good at the net because he has great touch, but he is not rock solid as the other ones mentioned on this thread.
    but again this is my opinion.
     
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  50. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    It's okay; I think English is his second (or third) language.
     
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