Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by onehandbh, Jul 21, 2011.
of course, but not just because of the volleying.It took a lot more.
Yes, I agree.of course Newcombe and Ashe ( well, maybe except for some low Fh volleys) are in a top tier.I also agree with the concept of covering the net.A great example would be Nastase and also, Gerulaitis.Maybe, theri volleys weren´t the brightest of them all, but few could pass them when they were in top form, no matter how fast was coming up the ball ( remember Vitas beating Lendl at Flushing 81 and almost beating him in the 1982 Masters Final?)
IMO, JMac > Edberg. Better creativity, more natural.
Lte´s put it this way.Edberg was the best of the last 30 years in " orthodox" volleying...while JMac was the best of the last 30 years in " unorthodox" volleying.It´s a bit like Roche and Laver in the 60´s or Gonzales and Rosewall in the 50´s.Roche and Rosewall were orthodox, while Rod and Pancho were, at least, " very personal" styles.
I was a big mac fan, but you still have to love how Edberg owned the net.
Great volleyer vs Spoiled cry baby (with great hands) ?
A quite underrated volleyer was Connors.He was not your definition of natural volleyer, like a Mc,Ashe or Edberg, but he seldom missed at the net, hit the volleys like blasting out an egg and was fast and had great instincts and movility.he was aidded by some of the finest approach shots ever seen and, what I like above anything, is that his stance was not even natural and his 2 handed shots limited, a lot, his reach.
I think he has to give credit to having played many years the top doubles, along Nastase.He learned how to react and feel the net game there, becasue, as I said, he was not grown up as a net player.
Connors' efficiency at the net was excellent. I don't think he was a great volleyer like a Rosewall, McEnroe, Laver or Edberg but when you combine it with his approach shots you have a player who lost very few points at the net. He also knew when to sneak into the net like an occasional surprise serve and volley. His volleys were generally very strong and it was usually a one volley putaway and it was over.
no bryan brothers? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAWYts-5Zs0
I think this is a singles list!
Connors went to the net on several occassions and was quite successful at it. He didn't have a strong serve to go behind, but he did serve-and-volley as a surprise tactic. I also liked how he sometimes sneaked into the net behind a floater while the other guy was starting to take a swing. I would at least rank him ahead of Krajicek and Rusedski, who were so one-dimensional.
Kind of irrelevnt to judging who hits the shot better
This is a copy of my reply to a similar thread.
Based on the title of this thread I pick Edberg. If you're asking Greatest SERVE AND volleyer then Sampras gets the edge. Pete had the best serve of his era and his volleying ability was top notch but not legendary. Stefan on the other hand did have legendary volleying skills and actually built his serve around those skills. He would hit kickers on both 1st and 2nd serve rarely going for aces. He did this for the fraction of extra time these serves would allow him to get to the net. When returning serve I have never seen a player more adept at utilizing the "chip and charge" tactic as Edberg, watching him charge in on a serve, bury a sliced return into a corner and then get an easy put away volley at net was a thing of beauty.
Hard for me to comment on the pre Borg era volleyers because I've seen very little of their play. I was also a big fan of Johnny Mac who probably had the best hands of anybody and the relentless net rushing of Rafter, but for this thread Stefan gets my vote.
Connors knew how to construct a point. I think I appreciate it more now than when I watched him play previously. You can almost see him thinking ahead and setting up the point with the intention of sneaking in to volley a winner.
He may have been one of the best tacticians after Wilander.
Yes, something like what you say.
Mac was jazzier with his volleys, he liked on-the-spot variations on any tune. His ability to improvise was unmatched, absolutely brilliant, but improvisation sometimes may imply lack of knowledge of what’s coming. Edberg somehow always seemed to know what was coming and how to handle it. Mac’s volleys sometimes gave the impression that he himself didn’t quite know what the ball was going to do after he stuck out his racquet to meet it. Edberg seldom if ever allowed such suspicions on the viewer. Chance almost never seemed to have anything to do with what he did. Time and again those very difficult balls are coming hard and straight at his knees or even at his feet, as he is approaching the net, and from the T he kind of orders that low, fast, difficult ball to go back straight into a corner, barely clearing the net, and so quickly that knowledge of what he is going to do is of no help at all to his opponent. The consistent precision of it!
Pattrick Rafter won USO twice and made two Wimby finals while being pretty average in other departments. Except he knew how to set those volleys up, with his kickers and approaches.
('average' to top players standards that is)
Rafa is the best volleyer of all time. If he had S&V against Murray in Tokyo, he would have won.
Similarly, he he S&V against the Joker, he would have won all of their h2h this year.
Personally, I believe Rosewall is one of the GOATs (if not the GOAT), but I would be mad to include him in the top 5 volleyers (though maybe top 5 net game, thanks for Limpin to pointing out there is a difference).
Cash (at his best)/Sedgeman
Borg (he didn't win those W by grinding for two weeks)
Mine might be a little weak, but it's just based on who I've seen clips of. I don't have the knowledge of Limpin.
And yes, Borg is on the list, more due to my own ignorance of other great volleyers than the fact that I think he is undeniably top 20 volleyer of all time
Borg on this list? That's gotta be a joke, right?
As I said, it's of the people I've seen play...
Obviously, I haven't seen everyone from the 70s, 80s, or 90s. The only ones I really remember seeing are on that list. Though I did forget a couple of people, thinking on it.
Borg was a pretty good volleyer. Some said he had the fastest hands in tennis and he was very hard to pass. The man used to approach often against Connors at Wimbledon and was pretty successful. Not sure if he belongs on this list but he was very effective at the net.
borg had mighty good reflexes and fast hands at the net. He won quite a few of the cat and mouse battles with mcenroe when both were at the net and that is something.
But his volleys weren't the best. In fact, at wimbledon, I'd say he was a bit lucky because shanked volleys would die because of the low bounce .
Good volleyer, but doesn't deserve to be in the greatest volleyers list.
I repeat, I recognize he isn't the Greatest Volleyer, but if I'm just ranking all the good volleyers I know, he has to be on it cause I'm not educated in the game's history for him not to be
I am not an expert by any means on players before the late 1970's, but from what I do know, there is no way Borg is anywhere in the top 15 among greatest volleyers. There were probably 15 GREAT volleyers just in the 50's-60's, with guys like Frank Sedgman for example. Having said that Borg is not a bad volleyer. I agree with most in this thread that Borg's excellent reflexes really helped him at net. Remember he served and volleyed a LOT to win his first Wimbledon title in 1976 (w/o losing a SINGLE set the whole tourney on very fast grass, especially due to the heat that fortnight). It was a different time back then, with very different dynamics (wood frames, no poly, and faster courts overall). Borg approached the net during some Wimbledon matches quite a bit, especially on serve. What also helped him in his net play was his overhead, which was great. His volleys basically did the job when needed, but they were not his bread and butter of course.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bPsEi3UxWo ('76 W final)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyuiEzBb7hk (Jan. 1981, Masters Cup Final vs. Lendl indoors) (lots of baseline rallies, but Borg takes the net at opportune times. Thanks to TW poster Borgforever)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cgGZreEaXw&feature=related (Jan. 1980 Masters Cup vs. McEnroe indoors)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ND6BqlTwZbU (1981 W SF vs. Connors)
One of the things Edberg was amazing at was hitting lunging low volleys.
He could somehow stay relatively balanced, and either hit an angled
volley or stick it in the corner. Somehow he was still able to get some
pace on the volley. Enough to rush his opponent or even somehow hit
a winner. The courts were much faster then, so that probably made his
volleys more deadly. He did miraculously make the French Open final one
As I've said before (since I'm the person who ranked him there), he was in the top 15 because I am not aware of others who are better at volleying. It's cause of my own ignorance, not his ability...
Absolutely and I give you credit for not buying into the "Borg was a TERRIBLE volleyer" sentiment that some have (many of whom only started watching tennis post 2000 or so, sorry). You made some valid points for sure MD. Thank you. I really like Hoodjem's list overall, as usual. I have a hard time getting away from McEnroe and Edberg too. This video is jaw dropping in many ways. Check it out and visualize playing these points for example.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHaN2h21ANs (1969 AO SF, Laver vs. Roche).
Ahhh, such beautiful volleys. Wish they played like that today
Yes , they were much better volleyers in the past as a mean average.
They attacked the net because passing shots were not as easy to achieve with the rackets and the technique used on ground strokes then.
I miss the variety and the style they had 4 sure.
Sampras was great when he was on... He was better than rafters who somehow ended up higher on the op's list... Mcenroe is definitely the best ever tho
I have played with a range of the Borg racquets, including the ones used stateside and in Europe, and they were not easy to volley with at all. All the McEnroe frames seemed much more volley friendly. The difference seemed HUGE to me at the time.
Of course the rackets I used were unmodified but maybe the general impression still holds.
All true. But he does not make the list.
And I agree. A very good volleyer doesn't deserve to be on the list.
Yes, he used to come to the net, fearless as he was, to change pace and rythym and suprise the back courter.He was one of the best in doing so, he even used a highly risky underspin approach, that seemed to float and landed just inside.
Krajicek volleying was very solid, aided by great swing and enormous reach.Connors was a much more instinct player.I am not sure to rank him above Krajicek, but I do certainly rank him over Bahrami and Rusedski.And I´m missing Kriek in the list.
Yes, as far an instinctual player he´s always loomed to me, he was a shrewd tactics master, having learnt it possibly from Nastase and surely from both Panchos, who coached him when he was a junior.Look at how he did beat Lendl and reversed the Wimbledon final against Mc Enroe, during his 2 great wins in 1982.
Kriek instead of Bahrami ( who is just a regular doubles player) and Connors instead of Rusedski, and your list seems perfect to me ( at least from what I´ve seen of this game)...oh¡ Stolle and Fraser were as good as any other player in this list, but I reckon not many people has seen them life ( I did and that is why I can talk about them )
I think Edberg gets my vote too.
As far as Edberg's serve, I think he designed it around his game (high kicker, high percentage, more time to get to the net). He was perfectly capable of developing a more powerful serve for the highlight films.
I remember watching an indoor tournament on TV with Edberg vs McEnroe. It was very early in Edberg's career (I think he was only 19) and Mac, of course, was favored to win at this stage of their careers. Edberg actually won, and his serve was so hard it was like watching Ivanisevic.
He didn´t have a good feeling at the net but some of the best " stop volleys" ( not drop volleys) I´ve seen are Borg´s.In fact, even being considered a baseliner, Borg came to the net more often during a match than Nadal or Djokovic during a year.
I actually think Nadal is a better volleyer than Borg was, and Djokovic might be also. Borg came to the net more, especially during Wimbledon, but that was during a different time with different equipment. Back then, if you hit a deep approach and made the other guy run, it was actually tough for him to hit a passing shot. Now the pros can pass from almost any position.
I'm actually with you with regards to the opinion that Edberg is probably the best volleyer ever...but this example / matchup you are presenting in the clip is not really representative.
Edberg absolutely owned Muster...he was a nightmare matchup for him. Muster was a grinder without great returns and/or passing shots...and he couldn't really take the ball early...giving Edberg way way WAY too much time to execute his game plan.
Somebody like Korda...for example was a much tougher opponent for a guy like Edberg...because he was able to return aggressively and hit screaming passing shots by taking the ball early / robbing the net rusher of time. Same with a guy like A. Agassi.
That youtube clip was just...unfair.
Beautiful post and argumentation. Very much agree with the spirit of that analysis.
With regards to some other posts in this thread...I find it mildly amusing but also disturbing that people are introduced in this artificial "top" based on newspaper articles.
I'm all for supporting older guys from the 60's or 70's where we have video and people actually saw them play live. I'm a great admirer of Laver...and agree that him and many of his contemporaries were great volleyers and great PLAYERS.
However...like previously stated...this is where my sympathy for the "old style" ends...bringing up people from the early 19xx into discussion based on books and articles from the time...well...let's just say those writing those books/articles never saw a guy like Edberg...or yes...Laver play...otherwise they would have "redefined" their notion of great tennis and/or great volleying.
Other comments I've seen related to Sampras when compared with other great volleyers like Cash/Rafter/Henman ... etc are also puzzling to me. Because he was clearly a much better/more efficient/accomplished player than those listed ... that automatically means that he must have had better volleys. Really ??
He DIDN'T...but he was so much better at everything else that it didn't matter in the end.
Yeh...even a guy like Henman had better volleys than Sampras...if we're to talk STRICTLY about volleying. Obviously ... Sampras was better at everything else related to tennis (ok...his 1 handed drive was also weaker than Henman's...) ... serve, ground strokes, movement, athletic ability, confidence/mental aspect...etc etc etc.
Even a guy like Stich had better volleys than Sampras in my book. Too bad he was a mental case and is probably the biggest waste of talent/potential in the open era (honorable mention to guys like Pioline, Korda, Nalbandian and others...from the "waste of talent" point of view).
Case re-opened . . . again. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHaN2h21ANs
I sure wish there were more clips of the great 60's grass court players available on Youtube!
I can´t think you can say nadal or Djoko are volleyers unless they make a minimum number of volleys....even Shaq O Neal was able to hit the three pointers...
I like your list. There is a guy on YouTube who has hundreds of killer Edberg matches. So cool of him to post of that great footage of the best volleyer there will ever be.
Here is his Youtube channel
Connors was a better volleyer than Borg, just that grass was a great equalizer.
A guy that knew Borg pretty well, Vitas Gerulaitis, said that " fast and wet grass made up a lot for Bjorn stop volleys", while those same volleys, on hard courts, rebounded clearly and let him be passed ( look at the 1980-81 US Open finals vs John Mc Enroe)
Connors wasn't a great volleyer either, but he liked to take his opportunities. Against Borg, at times he felt that it was his only shot, as Borg could prevail on the majority of baseline rallies and Borg developed into a better server. I'd give Borg the edge as a volleyer on clay only. Overall, I wouldn't put either Borg or Connors in a top 25 list for volleyers.
Both were competent volleyers who knew how to finish points at the net. I think Connors came in more often because his brutal groundies drew weak shots and he was naturally more aggressive than Borg. Borg, typically, was content to allow his opponent to be aggressive and to come in where Borg would pass them with the best arsenal of passing shots ever seen.
I would agree with both of you although I would say they both were above average as volleyers. That's a lot going for them when you consider that both had among the greatest groundstrokes in the history of tennis to set them up.
I think so, either.While Borg was never afraid to come to the net - oh¡ holly jesus¡ I´m an old timer that never follows up MODERN tennis- , Connors had a more complete net game, even if both were never net players like Vitas, Ashe,Nasty or Mc Enroe, to name a few of their generation
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