Pure Vollyer of all time? Edberg or Rafter?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by President of Serve/Volley, Sep 30, 2009.

  1. President of Serve/Volley

    President of Serve/Volley Semi-Pro

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    I believe it is Edberg or Rafter? Yes, Johnny Mac was a genius, but he had a much much better serve than Rafter or Edberg...

    I wonder who would win that match, Edberg or Rafter on USO surface or old vintage grass?
     
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  2. President of Serve/Volley

    President of Serve/Volley Semi-Pro

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    SOB, I spelled it wrong... Jeez, I am a wuss....
     
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  3. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Tough choice.

    Don't rule out Mac because of his serve, and don't underestimate Edberg's serve--it was excellent. I'd take Edberg's second serve over anyone's (except Sampras's).

    I believe that Mac and Edberg are the best volleyers of the Open Era.
     
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  4. TheFifthSet

    TheFifthSet Hall of Fame

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    Edberg is the best technical volleyer, but Mac was a magician at the net . . . . . best instincts at net ever.

    A lot of people underrate Henman's volleys IMO. No, he's not nearly as good as Edberg/Mac, but still, you'd think he'd be in the discussion.
     
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  5. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    I agree, Edberg best volleyer ever, even now he is amazing to watch!

    The trouble with Henman is that he would always seem to miss the really important ones:)
     
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  6. jnd28

    jnd28 Rookie

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    Best Backhand volley I have ever seen was Roy Emersons. Forehand side there are lots to choose from. Hoad, Roche, Newk among them.
     
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  7. gpt

    gpt Professional

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    Cash and Rafter were two of the best low forehand volleyers i've seen. They were both capable of hitting a low volley at full stretch and maintaining offensive control of a point.
     
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  8. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    Edberg is the pat answer but I couldn't disagree more. On the backhand side, yes, Edberg had the much stronger shot. However, on the forehand side, Edberg wasn't as technically proficient as Rafter.

    I'll agree that Emerson's was good but Roche's backhand volley is almost universally acknowledged as being the greatest of all time.

    Forehand volley - I'd go with Frank Sedgman. Excellent touch, great power (it was a kill shot - if he got a forehand volley the point was over) and considerably more reliable than any other player on that side (players make far more errors on the forehand volley than the backhand).

    gpt,

    Tim Mayotte was another player who was brilliant on the low volley. I'd also put Lew Hoad up near the top of that list. I've seen footage of him hitting low volleys and the amount of power he could generate was quite amazing. He got down so low his knee was brushing the court but he kept perfect balance and always hit through the shot.

    I was fortunate to be down at court level (calling service line) for quite a number of matches involving a plethora of great volleyers like Cash, Edberg, McEnroe and the Woodies. What stays with me is that when Edberg hit a backhand volley or Cash hit a forehand volley it was like someone had fired a cannon.
     
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  9. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    I've seen Edberg mentioned a lot as the best "technical" volleyer, as where McEnroe is often cited as having the best touch and is more of a magician.

    But, doesn't this take something away from each of them? Edberg looked more mechanical than Mac, so we assume less feel, less touch, but he had that in spades.

    And, from a technical standpoint, I don't know why McEnroe isn't as technically sound as Edberg, maybe it's the look of his strokes. All I know is that the key to great volleying is compact strokes and keeping the racquet out in front. From a technical perspective, Mac had these qualities as much as anyone.
     
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  10. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    You are right in that Edberg had magnificent touch and feel for the ball. It ONLY suffers in comparison to Mcenroe. Edberg was right up there, but Mcenroe also got that reputation, because of the creativity of his touch shots. At his best, he seemed to be "creating". Ad libbing various shots and volleys, exploring angles, paces and spins. That too, required the surreal touch.

    In terms of technical development, yes, Mcenroe's quirky style made him seem less sound than he actually was. He certainly was as strong as Edberg in many technical departments, but in some, eg. footwork and getting down low, he was not nearly as good or as consistent as Edberg. Again, he simply used his hands to compensate. Edberg, had magnificent touch, but he still used his legs and body in about as close to text-book perfection as anybody could against the opposition he faced.

    These 2 are the best I have ever seen. Rafter is not in the picture, I"m afraid.... and that's no insult to him. In fact, he might even have been as effective, or nearly as effective up there as Edberg or Mac...so in that sense, I'm almost deducting style points, for touch, variety, grace, and sheer talent.
     
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  11. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    A few years ago, Agassi and Laver played McEnroe and Roche on grass at the Tennis Hall of Fame. Agassi drilled several balls from the baseline at Roche who volleyed them back really routinely. All the players were miked and Laver said "Not to his backhand!" speaking to Agassi about his shot selection to Roche. Agassi's reply was "I know...I'm trying!".

    Roche does indeed have probably the best backhand volley ever.
     
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  12. vive le beau jeu !

    vive le beau jeu ! G.O.A.T.

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    pat and stefan: my 2 favorite netgames, 2 different styles. :)
    hard to choose...
     
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  13. darthpwner

    darthpwner Banned

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    McEnroe was the most serve oriented s&v. Rafter was the most easily balanced. Stefan was the most volley oriented s&v. Definitely Edberg.
     
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  14. armsty

    armsty Hall of Fame

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    Rafter because he's an Aussie
     
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  15. lawrence

    lawrence Hall of Fame

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  16. cadfael_tex

    cadfael_tex Professional

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    This really struck out at me AndrewD. What did you mean by it? Did they hit the volley that hard?
     
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  17. Audiophile

    Audiophile Rookie

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    Incredible

    I've never seen that clip before. Absolutely incredible volleys. (I know, an understatement)

    My favorite is McEnroe, but I can't see how you could go wrong with any of the names mentioned above. They were all outstanding in their own way.
     
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  18. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Super post Andrew. I love your comments about Cash and Edberg comparing their volleys to someone firing a cannon.

    I'm glad you mentioned Frank Sedgman.
    Jack Kramer wrote that anything that Sedgman got his racket on at the net was almost always a putaway. Vines rated Sedgman very highly as a volleyer also as well as Jean Borotra.

    People sometimes forget about Ken Rosewall but Rosewall had a great backhand and forehand volley. I remember they polled the players in the mid 1970's when Rosewall was in his forties and they rated Rosewall's backhand and forehand volleys among the best at that time. I think both volleys were ranked second but I am not sure. So even in his forties, Rosewall had a great volley.

    I liked McEnroe's volleys but the form could be awful at timesl. It was just amazing talent allowing him incredible volleys. I loved watching him at the net. What beautiful touch!
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009
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  19. pug

    pug Semi-Pro

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    Love that video! Maybe I need a bucket hat to take it to the next level.

    I grew up watching JMac, so I have a certain bias toward the issue. He was just amazing.
     
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  20. jnd28

    jnd28 Rookie

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    Yes you are 100% correct on Roche and the Backhand volley. I remember when Roche was coaching Federer, Fed was quoted as saying that Roche today, has a better volley than anyone currently on tour.

    I am biased towards Emmo because I saw him play a lot more than I saw Roche. Emmo played WTT on the bat area team so I saw him live a lot. I still remember his doubles play as un worldly. Certainly do not see anyone today that can match his net play. JMHO

    Good call on Sedgeman as well!

    JD28
     
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  21. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    Edberg in my book over Rafter. Neither get enough credit for their serve.
     
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  22. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Hey Azzy, I say Sampras was/is a damn good volleyer also.
     
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  23. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    For smooth volleys, oldtimers often name Mal Anderson. As Andrew said, Sedgman was the man of the forehand volley, often leaving room on his right side to jump to the passing shot like a panther for the kill. Budge Patty is often named for backhand volleys alongside Roche. Some of the purest volleying i have seen, came from Indian stylist Ramesh Krishnan.
     
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  24. duusoo

    duusoo Rookie

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    I believe one American that is being overlooked is David Wheaton. I believe that he was one of the best.
     
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  25. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    I figured to stay within the 2 players mentioned. I believe Sampras to be a better volleyer than Rafter and Mac better than Edberg. I had been placing Edberg/Mac as basically tied, but I have recently watched a few matches between the two and my god Mac just volleyed from places people could not imagine. People called him agenius, I assume they meant his volley genius.

    heard Laver was a stud too, but never watched him play other than clips.
     
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  26. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    LOL...is that you David?:shock::)
     
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  27. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    Mayotte and Martin were better in this 3rd tier class of volleyers, but david was still very good.
     
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  28. drwood

    drwood Hall of Fame

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    Wheaton was ok, but he relied very heavily on his serve; his volleys weren't as good as Ivanisevic's.
     
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  29. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    agreed, Wheaton was ok. Mayotte was pretty good on grass and better on volleys than Wheaton.
     
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  30. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    David actually was a diehard baseliner until his late teens. He developed into a good all-courter but he can't even begin to compare to an Edberg or even a Rafter at net.
     
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  31. Q&M son

    Q&M son Professional

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    All time??? No.
     
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