Sampras without his serve and volley?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by hoodjem, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    In another thread on here: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=298502

    samprasvsfederer123 opined that Pete Sampras would have been a "dazzling" player, even without his serve and his volleying.
    I do regard Sampras as a great player. But I happen to believe that his three best weapons on which he built his game were:
    1) his serve
    2) his volleying
    3) his forehand

    samprasvsfederer123 suggests to truly measure Sampras's greatness, we should erase the first two of these. That leaves Sampras with his big forehand and his backhand, and hypothetically (because we have removed his serve and volleying), we must relegate him to the backcourt with a mediocre serve.

    So how good would Sampras have been--in your opinion--as a purely backcourt player with a really good forehand?
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2009
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  2. Mansewerz

    Mansewerz Legend

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    Let me ask you this question: How good would Federer be without his forehand, how good would Ivanisevic be without his serve, etc?

    True greatness is measure upon the player that a person is, not the player that he could be.
     
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  3. LafayetteHitter

    LafayetteHitter Hall of Fame

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    How good of a typer would I be with no hands? Does it matter?
     
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  4. ChrisCrocker

    ChrisCrocker Rookie

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    realistically that would force him to improve his backhand.

    i'd say he would win 3 GS max if he was lucky if he had an agassi serves and volleys.

    his h2h with agassi would be different.

    Wimbledon would be harder to win and USO slightly harder, but id increase his chances at AO, FO is still out of reach since he never got a feel for clay.

    He would pretty much be Jim Courier without the clay and instead hard court. Another Agassi
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2009
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  5. Dino Lagaffe

    Dino Lagaffe Professional

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    (My bold)
    Just wondering how on earth removing his serve and volley would increase his chances...
     
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  6. quest01

    quest01 Hall of Fame

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    Sampras wouldn't have been anywhere near as successful if his serve and volley wasn't as effective. Those two components were the cornerstone of his game at Wimbledon. Sampras was more of a one dimensional player and if his game wasn't working properly he wouldn't be on his game. Federer has no weaknesses so if something was off he could still find a way to win.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2009
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  7. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

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    I think this is a ridiculous hypothesis. How good would Federer be without his FH?

    No good at all, even worse than Sampras without a good serve and good volleys.

    Bla, bla, bla, ...
     
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  8. TheFifthSet

    TheFifthSet Hall of Fame

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    It depends. Remember that Sampras abandoned his 2HBH because he wanted to adapt a S+V game . . . his backhand was a big weapon in his junior days.

    All things considered, he would probably be a very good baseliner, and would have won his share of slams IMO given his movement on fast surfaces, improved backhand, great forehand, and mental fortitude.

    But yeah, it's sort of unfair to take away a players two biggest strengths.
     
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  9. vive le beau jeu !

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

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    how good would be pete sampras if he had feet instead of hands ?
    some would argue he would move faster, possibly slide better on clay... but i think his volleying accuracy would be slightly affected.
     
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  10. President of Serve/Volley

    President of Serve/Volley Semi-Pro

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    Pete didn't volley as much as others like Rafter or Edberg for example, because he had other good weapons to hurt you.

    Rafter was a better vollyer than Pete, at least, I think he was.
     
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  11. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Sampras' game was built around his serve. He had good volleys but his serve and forehands often earned him relatively manageable volleys. He wasn't like Edberg who could hit tough shoe string volleys consistently, he didn't have to.

    His forehand was great but it wasn't versatile like Federer's. His forehand, like his whole game, was meant to keep points short, it was a very penetrating shot but not a shot he could use to wear people down with. He was always looking to attack. He had that blood condition, he didn't have great endurance and his incredibly aggressive, high risk game was because of that I imagine.

    Sampras was a weird player. For most of the set he played like a top 20 player. Then at 3-3 or 4-4, he would turn it on become a GOAT caliber player, break serve, and then coast out the set on his serve. Agassi said something like if you play good, you lose to Sampras 7-5, 7-5. And if you play bad, you lose to Sampras 7-5, 7-5.

    It's unbelievable he could turn it off and on like that. Once I get bored and stop moving my feet, I'm doomed to play like junk the rest of the night. He could do it because his serve was ridiculously reliable and potent. He held serve so easily, just imagine how much pressure that takes off you when you know that 99% of the time, even if the rest of your game is off, you're still going to win your service games.

    The second most important thing, IMO, was his movement. Everybody knows he was considered a great athlete for tennis, but he really might be the most fluid and explosive attacker of the net I've probably ever seen. And on the baseline he wasn't too shabby either. That speed allowed him to pull off one or two spectacular on the run shots a match and that might be all he needed to break serve twice and win 7-5, 7-5.
     
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  12. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    obviously he is clueless.
     
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  13. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    incorrect. Pete was far from one-dimensional.
     
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  14. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    agreed with everything you said. I get Hoodjems purpose for this thread, but the kiddies who have never watched Sampras play RUIN a decent opportunity to discuss the rest of his game.
     
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  15. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    ?????????? Someone should inform Nadal of this.
     
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  16. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    You are way too funny. (Sorry, I can't stop laughing.)
     
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  17. darthpwner

    darthpwner Banned

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    Pete would win about 4 grand slams. His athleticism and forehand would have made him like Jim Courier
     
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  18. Praetorian

    Praetorian Professional

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    I would say the amount of Grand Slams I would have won if I had his ground game without his serve and volley.
     
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  19. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    agassi would have owned sampras if sampras could not serve and volley like he could.
     
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  20. TennisLurker

    TennisLurker New User

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    A better question would be, How good would Sampras have been with the serve of Edberg or Rafter?

    Both had serves good enough for serve and volley, but were not big servers like Pete.
     
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  21. Matt H.

    Matt H. Professional

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    i think i'm alone on this, but i really don't think Pete's backhand is all that bad.

    His slice was pretty low and had great depth most of the time, and in every big match or classic match i've seen of Pete, he's ripped a few incredible backhand shots down the line.

    In some of his matches against Guga, who has a backhand that everyone drools over on this board, Pete was trading them back and forth with no problem.
     
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  22. li0scc0

    li0scc0 Hall of Fame

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    Who knows how good he would have been? Probably not as good as he was, of course. But from a young age he would have worked on being, say, a power baseliner. And thus developed his skill in that manner.

    The real answer is..we do not know. Certainly there are players I know of who 'converted' from serve and volleyers to baseliners, with success. And, of course, vice-versa. But not everybody can. Could Pete Sampras have done so? Maybe, maybe not. Nobody knows, however.
     
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  23. Matt H.

    Matt H. Professional

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    if he had a regular serve and volley, he'd have been Tim Henman.
     
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  24. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    and Brad Gilbert.:)
     
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  25. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    good question and a simple answer:

    with an Edberg or Rafter serve he would have won 8 majors. Edberg had a very good serve as did Rafter. But his volley/quickness and baseline game being heads above the other two I would guess 2 more majors than Edberg.
     
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  26. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    wooa, lets not go crazy.:) don't forget Pete had a very good baseline game. Rafter, Henman, Martin, Goran, Kraijek and some other S&V players had no where near the baseline game...Pete was an all-court player. Henman was not.
     
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  27. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    You are correct. In Pete's book he clearly states he did not have a serve until the year he won his first USO. He was a marginal server. I was also a bit surprised and re-read it to be sure...he somehow grea this monster serve just a few months before the Open. He already HAD a power baseline game because he was not a great server until near age 19. I always thought he was born that way...he always had a big serve, not true according to Pete.
     
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  28. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    It wasn't terrible, and he could definitely rip it, but his normal body shot was pretty short and loopy. Not short like Nadal forehand kicking like a kick serve short, but just short. Never understood how he could come over the ball on the backhand with a bent elbow.

    Maybe my memory is bad, but I don't remember Sampras hitting a lot of crosscourt backhand winners. It almost seemed like he only had two speeds on his top spin backhand: a loopy one he used to keep the point neutral by hitting crosscourt, and a down the line bomb. No heavy, 85% speed backhand he could use to push his opponent back.
     
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  29. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    It is ridiculous to take away both the serve and volley :)

    Assume his serve was 'only' as good as edberg/mac/rafter, he would have developed into a much better volleyer.. He would probably be closer to edberg/mac on the volleys. Those guys won 6-7 slams. Pete had a better ground game than mac or edberg. I think Pete would still have won 8-10 slams even if his serve was 'only' as good as edberg/mac.
     
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  30. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    Was the poster samprasvsfederer123 referring to taking away Sampras's serve and his volley, or his serve-and-volley?

    I think it would make quite a difference in this discussion if we allow Sampras to retain all his strokes but keep him from using the serve-and-volley strategy.
     
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  31. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    ^^^You got me.? Here's the OP:
     
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  32. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    Well, he did not say "serve and volley" or "serving and volleying".

    Which makes it very likely that his phrase "serve and volleying" refers to the S&V strategy rather than taking away both the serve and the volley from Sampras' arsenal.

    But why am I analyzing someone else's sentence (After all, he is no Immanuel Kant)?

    Let him come up with his own reply.
     
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  33. President of Serve/Volley

    President of Serve/Volley Semi-Pro

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    How many MORE slams Sampras would have won if his Volleys were as good as Edberg or J-Mac? and with that serve he had, I say 17.
     
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  34. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    probably still 14. Ed/Mac weren't perfect either. Pete was darn close regardless. besdies, Pete won so often because of his all-court game. if you give him better volley skills, it would be assumed his back-court game would suffer slightly. so maybe even less than 14.
     
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  35. darthpwner

    darthpwner Banned

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    I have a question about Pete's backhand. Ive heard that Sampras used an eastern backhand grip. I personally use an eastern backhand grip with the base knuckle at the top of the handle. I find it hard to believe that Pete used an eastern backhand because he hit with a bent elbow. Considering he used a 2 handed backhand in his younger days, I believe that Pete Fischer neglected to change Sampras' grip over from continental to eastern backhand grip during the switch. Does Pete use an eastern backhand or a continental backhand?
     
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  36. vive le beau jeu !

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

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    no, you are not alone on this. count me in ! ;)
     
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  37. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I know, he said "serve and volleying."
     
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  38. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I'm not sure what to make of this thread. The serve and volley game is a game of the Sampras style and makes Pete what he is, the greatest player of the 1990's. Sampras held serve by percentage more often than anyone in the 1990's and he didn't do it by staying at the baseline after serving.

    That being written, Sampras obviously had a lot of great physical talent. The guy was a very smooth and quick movement with a very penetrating forehand, arguably the best forehand in tennis. If he didn't serve and volley I'm sure his backhand would have been different because he would have had to adapt to the baseline game.

    I don't think Sampras had the greatest backhand but it was good in that it fit into his style of play, which was to often be used to slice and approach the net. Sampras' backhand was excellent for that purpose and for many other reasons.

    If we assume Sampras just served (assuming his serve was the same type of serve) and also never followed it to the net, he would still control the point because that awesome serve (and second serve) would not allow his opponent to hit an offensive return. I think Sampras would be excellent if he didn't serve and volley.

    Would it allow him to win as many Wimbledons? Maybe not but maybe he may have won a lot more clay court titles and maybe a French or two.

    It's hard to imagine Sampras getting better if he changed his style considering the great results he actually had but I think he would have been a tremendous player. The man had a great will to win and he would have found a way if he played with a different style. The Newcombe comment about Sampras when the Aussies played against the United States was very impressive to me about Pete's will to win.

    Now if his serve was average and he rarely volleyed, well you're removing one of the great weapons in the history of tennis and that has to hurt him. I think he would have compensated in other areas but it would be very hard to replace that serve in total. I think he would have still been a terrific player but it kind of nice to have a serve that erases mistakes. Agassi said that Pete can play lousy for 43 minutes, play well for a minute or two and win the set. That's because of the awesome serve.

    His movement as always would be superb, you figure that he would even work harder to improve his stamina and you figure his backhand would be more of a drive from the backhand. I think he would still be excellent.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2009
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  39. Q&M son

    Q&M son Professional

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    Exactly. Not at all.
     
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