I've been watching my old videos from this tournament (QF, SF and Final) and now it looks a bit strange. At least this year of 1997 the court doesn't look that fast at all. Almost all the matches I have re-watched (the four QF, the two SF and the final) are baseline battles, lot of top-spin indeed. Cincinnati usually is one of the fastest outdoor hardcourts, but that year the quarterfinalist were Albert Costa (already using Luxilon strings back then), Sergi Bruguera, Michael Chang, Gustavo Kuerten (already using Luxilon strings back then too), Thomas Muster, Jan Siemerink, Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Pete Sampras. Seriously, not that different from what you see today. Baseline battles, heavy top-spin shots,...Only Sampras (and sometimes Siemerink) did serve and volley and only on first serves (they both played baseline points on second serve, and obviously when returning). The Australian Open of that year was extremely slow as well with slow balls (quarterfinalist were Marcelo Rios, Michael Chang, Felix Mantilla, Carlos Moya, Thomas Muster, Goran Ivanisevic, Albert Costa and Pete Sampras; six of them heavy baseline players, most of them claycourters). I think that the slowness of courts and balls of today is not the only reason why today 99% of players play a heavy top-spin baseline game. Strings and stroke-technique had their role too, because 15 years ago you could see baseline players (heavy top-spin players too) doing quite well on hardcourts, even on one of the apparently fastest outdoor hardcourts like Cincinnati. In fact in those years (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000...) only Sampras and Rafter won big tournaments on outdoor hardcourts playing a "not-100%-baseline-game" (along with Krajicek Miami'99 and Philippoussis Indian Wells'99 ). Some people seem to think that in the 90s all the tennis was ace, ace, and sometimes serve and first volley winner everywhere, and that is far from the truth. On clay and ourdoor hardcourts the 80-90% of players in the later rounds were baseliners. Only on grass and some indoor carpets you could say that many big servers (Stich, Ivanisevic, Krajicek, Becker, Sampras, Rosset, Philippoussis...) usually reached the SF and Finals, producing matches with very few strokes per point. The only way I see to promote an all-court game, some net-game too (including some serve and volley players too) is to use worse racquets and worse strings (and some faster courts and balls), but I know it won't happen.