Sampras and Becker on Federer vs. a top serve & volleyer...

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by THUNDERVOLLEY, Jul 11, 2007.

  1. THUNDERVOLLEY

    THUNDERVOLLEY G.O.A.T.

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    According to a recent FOX Sports article ("Is Federer the Greatest Player Ever?"), Pete & Boris offer the following:

    Reasonable theory? Ego, or a bit of both? Among the more notable, active players who are either S&Vs (or use the technique to some degree), Henman is not exactly a S&V of legendary talent (last win over RF coming in '04), Taylor Dent has not faced Federer, but is either injued, or lacks the intelligence to avoid approaching the same way (and hipping the world to his one-note strategy), while Ancic incorporates it but his last win against RF was in '02, with Fed dominating the last 4 meetings.

    If--for a moment--one imagines a guy with the superior talents of Becker & Sampras (with present day training) facing Federer, do you think Federer would be overwhelmed?

    Paul Annacone (from the same article) counters with:

    Interesting.

    Thoughts?



    Link: http://msn.foxsports.com/tennis/story/7005666?MSNHPHMA
     
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  2. crazylevity

    crazylevity Hall of Fame

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    They've never played on the slow grass. Serving n volleying with today's racquets and surfaces is suicide. Federer occasionally does it because he can, but guess what? He wins far easily with a baseline game.
     
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  3. Phil

    Phil Hall of Fame

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    I think Federer would have trouble with Becker's and Sampras' games-but who wouldn't/didn't? He's good enough to beat these guys, too, but he would not dominate them...not like he does the one-dimensional baselining weenies who make up the vast majority fo the ATP today. I've said it before and I'll say it again-Sampras would beat Federer 7 of 10 times if they were playing on the REAL Wimbledon grass (or US Open hard courts). A great serve and volleyer would not allow Federer to get away with those blocked returns. NOW, he can return pretty much anyway he wants and as long as the ball lands around or a bit deeper than the service line, he's in the point (or he wins it on the next shot).
     
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  4. dh003i

    dh003i Legend

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    Phil,

    He plays those returns because they're a lot safer to make than going for more. It's % tennis.

    When he played against Sampras, he played pretty aggressively on returns, and serves. And that was on faster grass. The commentators even noted that some of Sampas' serves, while good, weren't good enough against somebody who returns as good as Federer.

    Your 7/10 figure is I think biased. They had one match, in which neither was in their prime, and it was pretty even.
     
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  5. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    I just don't see how Pete would volley with any kind of success against Federer's passing shots. Sampras would be forced into a baseline battle - on any surface and lose because Federer's groundstrokes are superior - particularly from the backhand side.

    The old grass/new grass arguments are tiring. They can be used to diminish Nadal's accomplishments somewhat, but not Federer's. This is the guy who beat Pete on the old grass and this is when his tennis IQ was much lower than today. He served and volleyed - at times clumsily - and still beat Pete. And Pete did not play badly (a mere two months later making the final at the USO).

    The new grass hurts Roger if anything. His backhand is insanely good when the ball plays faster and stays lower.
     
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  6. Eviscerator

    Eviscerator Banned

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    That is the main point in that conditions are slower and the ball bounces much higher now than just 6 years ago. If you were to put Federer back in time at W to face Becker, Rafter, Goran, Pete, etc., he would have a much tougher time. I suspect he would adapt his game since he is so talented. He did against Pete the one time he played him in the epic 5 set match. Federer has said that conditions are too slow for him to S&V like he use to.
     
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  7. Phil

    Phil Hall of Fame

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    Of course it's % tennis, but he wouldn't be able to play that way against an aggressive serve and volleyer, of which there ARE NONE today. He would have to take risks or else be crushed at the net. Federer played Sampras ONCE, in Sampras' next to last year on the tour-I'm not sure why so-called knowledgable tennis fans things a single match when NEITHER player was in his "prime" is any kind of indicator of how they might fare if both were in their prime (of course, there IS no indicator for this...it's all speculation).

    My 7/10 figure is based on watching Sampras play for 13 years and watching Federer play for the last 7. It's subjective-as any statement like this would be-but it's not biased.
     
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  8. rommil

    rommil Legend

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    With the technology and the level of play and fitness of today's pros, Becker would not have as much success playing a serve and volley game.
     
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  9. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    Becker would be a baseliner and a very good one at that.
     
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  10. anointedone

    anointedone Banned

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    New grass hurts Federer probably vs Nadal, but would help him vs Becker and Sampras. Then agan all those playeres are talented enough, athletic enough, and skilled enough to adapt probably anyway.

    Everyone would have trouble with the 90s Sampras, and the mid-late 80s Becker though, and definitely Federer would. Conversely though Sampras did not play someone on grass as consistently good as Federer is, unless you count erratic serve-and-nothing else Ivanisevic who could take himself out easily anyway by an early round loss or choking on all the big points in the final anyway. Krajicek when he put it all together maybe, but he only did that once his whole career, maybe twice if you count 98 when he made the semis. Other then that a bunch of early round flops and dissapointing showings at the big W from him too.
     
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  11. anointedone

    anointedone Banned

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    I think except on clay Sampras would probably win 7 of 10 over Federer since mentally he is the tougher player. When the games are close, that is what it comes to. I am not saying Federer is not mentally tough, but he is not tops in that particular area. You can definitely see in his rivalry with Nadal for example that Nadal is the much tougher player mentally.
     
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  12. helloworld

    helloworld Hall of Fame

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    Federer beat Sampras once when he was still a teenager. Back then, his tennis was still a joke. His footwork looked clumsy and he serve and volley against Sampras !!! And beat him in that game !?!? I mean if they were to play now, that Sampras would be totally owned by the current Fed easily.
     
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  13. ACE of Hearts

    ACE of Hearts G.O.A.T.

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    I am tired of these ex players talking, let the great Fed live and break all these records.The guy is an athlete just like they where.Fed can adapt to any player because of his talents.I think Sampras and him would have classic matchups.Federer is just too good for Becker in my mind, Pete is a different story.
     
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  14. bammbamm

    bammbamm New User

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    I can't believe you said that. Sampras could not even get to the Finals of RG. He could not even get to the SF consistently. Meanwhile, Roger is the only person to challenge the king of clay by ending Rafa's streak and the only person to take a set off of Rafa in RG. Fed got to the SF and Finals (2x) at RG where he actually had a chance to win it if his forehand did not betray him. Sampras has got nothing on Fed on clay. He's the second best clay courter right now.
     
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  15. fastdunn

    fastdunn Legend

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    They all are right. A great player like Federer would adapt to whatever is
    required. But I don't think he would dominate as much as now.
     
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  16. bluecephas

    bluecephas New User

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    When Fed beat Pete, he lost the next round to a serve-and-volleyer (Henman), which just proves Pete's and Becker's point. Imagine having to go through 2-4 top-notch serve and volleyers before reaching the finals, e.g. Sampras, Becker, Krajicek, Rafter, Ivanisevic. In slow grass, I believe the odds are definitely for Federer, but we won't be seeing 5 in a row, or ridiculously one-sided matches like we've witness these past several years.
     
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  17. jjjosh

    jjjosh New User

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    A reason for a lack of great serve and volley players maby because of the evolution of the game. Because of technology players return better, and so thoes with big serves are more incline to stay back. Everyone serves faster now, but the ball comes back. Hewitt game Sampras problems because of his defence and now there are players like Nadal that have taken that to another level.
     
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  18. poplar

    poplar Guest

    wow. federer did face a top s&ver before he became federer. that was 2001 and the he won. wait, that top s&ver was pete himself. and federer himself was playing s&v in that match.

    pete really does come off bitter with those comments, even if they were true, llet alone it isn't true. i am suprised that someone so knowledgeable would fail to realize tennis has evolved, and the grass has changed.
     
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  19. Feña14

    Feña14 Legend

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    I personally think Federer wouldn't have too many problems, he has too much genius in him to let a serve & volleyer have his own way for best of 5 sets on grass.

    I agree though that all of these ex players who keep coming out with little comments is getting really old. Federer is the here and now and he's breaking records left, right and centre. It makes the likes of Becker and Sampras seem pretty bitter when someone new comes along and breaks all their records so they start complaining. Let Federer do his job without having to listen to ex players firing jealous comments at him seemingly every other week.
     
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  20. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    To counter the better returns, it would help, to learn a proper volley. I still think, that not the courts, but the Bollettieri-school is the reason for the loss of the volley.Its not only a question of the execution of the actual stroke, but also of the positioning and footwork.Its not forbidden, to volley after a baseline exchange. Connors did that to a great extend and with great success, despite being not the most natural volleyer. Djokovic could significantly shorten his matches, if he would learn a decent volley.
     
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  21. Spencer

    Spencer New User

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    Federer has only won 1 of his 11 grandslams playing predominately serve & volley. The rest of his wins were mostly won from the baseline. Like it or not people, Federer is a baseline pounder just like Nadal. I think Nadal went to net more than Federer in their past 2 Wimbledon finals.

    Federer was a brilliant serve & volleyer as displayed by his victory against Sampras in 2001. He definitely has the all court talent like Sampras but it's harder to play consistently good tennis when you face a greater variety of competition and surface variations like Sampras and Becker had to.

    In today's game the courts all play at similar speeds and everyone stays back so each match is just like the previous one. Lack of variety in the game of tennis probably explains Federer's recent dominance more so than the lack of talent. In a nutshell, everyone plays baseline tennis on medium speed courts and Federer is the best with Nadal second. Neither of these guys had to adapt differently from day to day to beat an opponent. They are not being challenged to utilize all of their talent.

    Still I think that if Federer were in Sampras' era, he would still be top 1 -2 with Sampras and I think he would having a winning lifetime record over Pete because of his consistency. Assuming he could maintain that level of consistency with the greater variety of opponents/surfaces that era had to offer.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2007
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  22. fastdunn

    fastdunn Legend

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    I'm sure Federer has superb defense and return game even on fast grass
    but I'm not sure if he has strong enough 2nd serve and offensive
    net game.

    You 2nd serve and serve return used to be keys to win at Wimbledon.
     
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  23. ACE of Hearts

    ACE of Hearts G.O.A.T.

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    Fed didnt believe in his talents in 2001.When he beat Pete and lost to Henman not everyone was shock.
     
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  24. fastdunn

    fastdunn Legend

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    In 90's, Federer would have been the top clay courter without Nadal.
     
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  25. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    IMAGINE is the key word here because as far as I can recall no one ever had to get through Sampras, Becker, Krajicek, Rafter, Ivanisevic in any wimbledon draw.
     
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  26. The Gorilla

    The Gorilla Banned

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    brugera
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  27. ACE of Hearts

    ACE of Hearts G.O.A.T.

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    I think people really give Krajicek, Rafter and Ivanisevic too much credit.Yes they where great servers but Pete beat them.There is a reason some players distinguish themselves and seperate themselves from the pack.I see no reason why Fed wouldnt have the same success.U are what u are.
     
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  28. TheNatural

    TheNatural Legend

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    Rafter 3- Federer 0
     
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  29. quest01

    quest01 Hall of Fame

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    I think Annacone is right, Federer served and volleyed and still beat Pete Sampras in Wimbledon 01. That really speaks volumes on how good Federer is if he can beat Sampras at his own game. In the end Federer is the better player on grass.
     
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  30. TheNatural

    TheNatural Legend

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    I dont thik Fed would return well enough to win consistently versus good attacking players. eg beats Sampras, then loses to Henman, He hardly did anything on Nadals serves, so he'd struggle even more against Rafter etc. Those guys are also better at attacking 2nd serves and blanketing the net than Fed is.

    fact: rafter 3, federer 0
     
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  31. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    Federer likes to settle in to points and settle into matches.

    If he's constantly pushed around his frustration shows. He presses and the UEs rack up. The problem with that is the current conditions and players' mentalities don't put Federer in that situation very often.

    That is what Nadal can do to Federer when the play. The best single-match example is the match between Federer and Safin at the AO of 2005. Safin hit huge and really put Roger on the defensive. Robbing him of the precious time that he needs to execute his game.

    Becker and Sampras were masters of robbing you of time, obviously on surfaces that are conducive to that (grass, carpet, and faster hardcourts). After serve and first volley, Federer would be stuck having to thread needles on passes constantly.

    Ok, Federer beat Sampras in 2001 and it's the only match that people can draw from. After four hours of tennis, Pete dropped just a hair mentally on a service game and got down 15-40. One good return and that was it. That's not enough to show that Federer "clearly" has the edge over Pete.

    Also, people cite Sampras' lack of ability off the backhand side. Something happened to his backhand after his back injury in the summer of '99. From then on, it was a liability. Before that, I wouldn't have called it a weakness. I was watching the '00 Canadian Open match between Pete and Marat and Sampras' backhand was looking really ugly in that match. That carried through to his retirement with perhaps the exceptions of his USO matches in '01 and '02.

    Now, if you watch Sampras on the senior tour, his backhand is looking pretty sweet. Some time off and some techincal fixes and his ground game is looking pretty strong (not to mention his equipment changes).

    If Federer grew up under the faster conditions with players like the Samprases, Beckers, Ivanisevices, Rafters, et al. he'd have tried to bust through while being pushed more often.

    On the otherhand, if the Samprases and Beckers of the 90's were playing under the current conditions, you'd have probably seen the Brugeras, Kuertens, Couriers, and Changs winning more on the tour with the slower grass and lack of carpet events.
     
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  32. ACE of Hearts

    ACE of Hearts G.O.A.T.

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    Quit bringing up Rafter 3-0 vs Federer.Rafter would lose consistently if he faced Roger now.Rafter would serve and volley because his ground game stinks.He would be like another Tim Henman for Roger.When he faced Roger, he was green.I hate when people try to bring up winning records vs Fed, it doesnt have any value to them.Look at what happened to Hewitt vs Fed, Agassi as well.
     
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  33. TheNatural

    TheNatural Legend

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    Rafter had a very high bouncing kick serve to the backhand. Isnt that Feds weakness? High balls to the backhand. Fed could barely do anything with Nadals serevs to his backhands, so its no wander Rafter had him 3-0.

     
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  34. iamke55

    iamke55 Professional

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    It's funny how arrogant Sampras and Becker are, thinking they are so good that not one person in the millions of tennis player of today is a top serve & volleyer. I think they would consistently lose to S&V players of today ranked in the 100's. Nobody in the world today has a backhand(or a forehand, for that matter) as ugly as those of Sampras, except for maybe Nadal.
     
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  35. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    Sure, but on 90s grass, it wouldn't have bounced like it did against Nadal.

    This is a hard call because Federer's game evolved with the surface. In his teens, when surfaces were still fast, Federer played a balanced all-court game and volleyed a lot. His BH volley is as crisp as they come nowadays; he swings the FH volley a bit, and that put him into trouble. If he had played his prime in the 90s, he would have worked more on his volleying technique (just as his footwork in 2001 wasn't all there yet when he played Sampras) and become a solid, if not great, volleyer. Would that have been enough to beat peak Sampras on his favorite surface? We'll never know.
     
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  36. chaz_233

    chaz_233 Rookie

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    I don't think Fed would have a problem, he might actually like it as today's games are so one dimensional.
    His returns against Sampras where absolutely sick, he completely embarrassed Sampras.
     
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  37. fastdunn

    fastdunn Legend

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    But I think he volleyed mostly on grass. not much on hard court.
    And not much S&V on carpet. He was definitely baseliner on carpet while
    others were s&ving in late late 90's...

    I still remmeber he blew off Chang from baseline when they played 1st time at US Open 2000.
    And in 1998 he played 95% baseline game against Agassi on INDOOR CARPET.
    He may have volleyed abit more than now back then but at that time, some of baseliners
    volleyed more.

    I have a doubt on the assertion that Federer game has evolved from all courter to a baseliner.
    I think it's more like he never had a need to make any major changes in his baseline game.
    I think he always has been a hard core baseliner as Brad Gibert suggested.
    He was a baseliner when he debuted and tried some S&V at Wimbledon
    and from 2003 he didn't need to.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2007
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  38. ACE of Hearts

    ACE of Hearts G.O.A.T.

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    The natural, he had him 3-0 but come on, he played a baby fed.Rafter would ge his ass handed to him now, i am sure he wouldnt admitted, but he knows he played him when he didnt display his full arsenal.
     
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  39. War Safin!

    War Safin! Professional

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    I've been reading Phil's posts for the last year or so and I can categorically say... he rocks.
    He knows his tennis and objectively posts the ****!
     
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  40. ACE of Hearts

    ACE of Hearts G.O.A.T.

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    7 out of 10 times?Now thats ridiculous, even if its on fast grass.I keep bringing up that 2001 match, sorry i just have too.Pete Sampras didnt play all that bad that day and Roger played extremely well but he has been 10x better then what he was that match.People really underestimate Federer's return game.This guy has some of the best reflexes and anticipation when it comes to returning serves.Pete's serve was very hard to break on grass but that day, Fed returned it like it was nothing.I can just imagine now.

    I also remember Pete being dumfounded by Roger's serve that day.He kept pounding the serve to Pete's backhand.
     
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  41. War Safin!

    War Safin! Professional

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    Nope - Federer just caught lightning-in-a-bottle that afternoon.
    If he was that good in 2001, he'd have crushed Henman the next round, crushed Rafter or Ivanesivic in the final and gone to win a slam the next year.
    As it was he didnt do jack-**** for another 18 months.
    NOTHING.

    The Federer-Sampras win was as lucky as Safin's in 2000.

    Too many folks putting too much into that Wimbledon win.
    Sampras would've owned Federer at the 2001 US and 2002 Aus Open if they'd met.
     
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  42. sunflowerhx

    sunflowerhx Rookie

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    Ivanisevic is NOT a serve and volleyer. Got a record at Wimbledon cos of his serve.
    Krajicek - never rated him, for some reason he was Sampras boogie player.

    You forgot to mention Edberg the only true natural serve and volleyer. Stitch was also deserves a mention.
     
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  43. ACE of Hearts

    ACE of Hearts G.O.A.T.

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    Plz, Fed was very up and down back then.He once said in an interview, he never thought he was capable of being consistent day in and day out.

    Pete would have nightmares even on fast grass against Roger.Roger is a prototype of Pete minus the big serve.
     
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  44. TheNatural

    TheNatural Legend

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    Fed with his full arsenal struggled to beat short little serve volleyer Zuzuki 4-6 7-5 7-6, at the end of last year. (hes about a 300 rank player and was ranked 1080 then). Rafter and Sampras are a much tougher proposition. Fed just doesnt like people taking his time away. IF Suzuki can almost beat Fed playing attacking tennis, why would it be a surprise if Sampras and Rafter and others would take their fair share of wins versus Federer, or that Pete would win 70% of the time.
     
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  45. Pro Staff Pete

    Pro Staff Pete Semi-Pro

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    Well, Federer used to lose against Henman.. every time.
     
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  46. scaramanga

    scaramanga New User

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    The S&V depends on the quality of serve and return, if served good
    and pushed opponent away from court and off balance, then it is a
    a good weapen. If the opponet has enough time to respond then
    the returned ball may be tough to handle, likely resulting in a soft ball.

    When Samp plays AA, his serve often pulled AA off court, AA can merely
    get the ball back into court, no time to consider pace and placement.
    so the next one is a easy poach.

    When playing against Fed, his ball reading is fantastic and his movement is unbelivable, so most likely he will hit a passing short, and with tremendous spin and pace, even if you got the balll back the quality of volley is no good and opponent are more likely put that away.

    Roddick had tried this often, Connors may have figured that SV is a way to beat Fed. But obviously not working on Fed. The break points oftern comes from an approaching valley from Roddick.

    Yeah Roddick is no Sampras. But Sampras's main weapen is SV, if
    engaged in an rally Sampras is not so good to get this point eventually.
    If Fed can handle his serve, then Samp is no match on baseline rally with Fed. Percentage wise Fed wins. AA said to play with Samp one has a chance but against Fed, no chance, he had a reason to say that.
     
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  47. TheNatural

    TheNatural Legend

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    Sampras would do a lot of damage on the return of serve too:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ih-fWw5TE8


     
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  48. Bassus

    Bassus Rookie

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    Depends on surface

    As others have said, Federer would make adjustments to his game if he consistently faced attacking players. Federer is pretty good at making adjustments...except when he's playing Nadal at the French Open.

    Sampras and Federer have been my favorite players, so I don't think I'm biased towards either. Pitting them against each other in their primes would be a great thing to see, and I think it would come down to surface.

    On the old, fast grass, I would favor Sampras to win the majority of the time. I don't know about 70% though.

    On the newer, slower grass I'd give at least a slight edge to Federer.

    Clay would be the most lopsided surface in my opinion, with Federer dominating.

    I think they'd be close to even on fast hard courts and indoor carpet.

    On slower hard courts I'd give the edge to Federer.
     
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  49. superman1

    superman1 Legend

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    Even today, when Fed faces these serve and volleyers who are either 35 years old or can't even hit a decent volley, he struggles with them more than with the baseline bashers he meets on a routine basis. The thing about serve and volleyers is that they can have a phenomenal day where everything just goes in, and the guy on the other side of the net can't do anything about it. Sampras and Becker had a lot of those days. A perfect drop volley at the net is a lot easier to pull off than an outright winner from the baseline against Federer.
     
    #49
  50. fastdunn

    fastdunn Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    6,294
    When Sampras played AA, he went for two 1st serves try to make
    AA unable to return meaningfully.

    Sampras had GOAT serves but AA had GOAT service return.
     
    #50

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