What is with the nostalgia over Serve and volley?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by steenkash, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. mattennis

    mattennis Hall of Fame

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  2. monfed

    monfed Guest

    Most reasonable tennis fans want to see some variety which the sport is lacking.
     
  3. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    There were actually at least 2 changes made to the grass at Wimbledon. One was that the type/composition was changed. Another change was made to how the grass was cut. Do not know if these were both made at the same time.

    Other changes were also instituted, possibly in the late 90s. The Slazenger balls used for the W tournament were made brighter -- easier to see in order to take some advantage away from big servers (& returners). The cans used for the tournament are opened the day/night before they are used, I believe. This would reduce the pressure somewhat make the ball slightly softer and slower (at the bounce). I do not know when this practice started. It is also possible to manufacture the ball with slightly less pressure or bounce.

    I do not know if it was done, but it is also possible to slow down the ball slightly (as it moves thru the air) by increasing the amount of felt -- this increases air drag.
     
  4. vandre

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    this. i remember how boring wimbledon matches got to be on the "fast grass". it only changed slightly depending on who was playing. if edberg or jmac were playing, it when serve>return>volley, same for becker except for becker had more aces. during agassi's 92 run, it was serve>return. if it was ivanisevic or krajicek, it was serve. good gravy if you blinked four times you could have missed an entire game.

    there were alot of us complaining about it then because it that was all there was. guys like edberg and jmac were amazing to watch when they were on because they could hit some incredible shots, but lately there's this federer guy that seems to do alright with that.

    it also seems to be rather fashionable amongst serve and volley aficionados to blame polyester string. in all fairness, it's quite possible that poly on the pro tour was the final nail in the true serve and volley coffin, but i don't think its accurate to say that poly is the asteroid that killed off the s&v dinosaurs. i think there were plenty of other factors in the late 80s through the 90s that had just as much of a negative impact on the predominence of s&v tennis. that was the era of the "big tennis factories" (bollitierri's, rick macci, saddlebrook and prolly a bunch of others i'm forgetting). the successful formula at the time was "take a kid, teach them how to kill every shot and turn them loose on the pro tour at 16 or 17 (or younger, wasn't capriati 14 or something when she played her first pro event? i forgot)." to be a world-beater at 17 or 18, you didn't have time to teach the kid the subtleties of the s&v game. then @ the late 80s/ the early 90s widebody racquets came along. now it wouldn't have much of an immediate impact, but as the newer generations of players came us the ranks, they'd be bringing these sticks that they grew up with just like the previous generations stuck with racquets they were comfortable with. now, you can argue that the racquet doesn't make that much of a difference. if that's your position, hit for 30 minutes with a 85 in wilson pro staff and then switch to a babolat pure drive (heck string 'em both with synth gut just to make it even) and see which one gives you more pop on your groundies. this is a roundabout point perhaps but i'm trying to make the point that once the sticks became more powerful, it made it easier for players to end points from the baseline so finishing points at the net became less important. in fact, from a certain viewpoint, this shift in racquet tech made the poly revolution more necessary. just as detrimental to the future of s&v tennis were perhaps the s&v-ers themselves. you had players like edberg, macenroe and navratalova who tennis fans always felt had this mythical quality about them. edberg seemed to hover effortlessly to the net and was ruthlessly efficient. macenroe had hands and touch that no other human could possibly replicate. navratalova was crafty and had some great touch herself. and maybe it was these very qualities that made aspiring pros think "i'll never be able to do that" so they never tried.

    yes, i speculated lots but i just think that to put the demise of serve and volley tennis solely on poly string is a bit of an oversimplification.
     
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  5. Paul Murphy

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    Two serve/volleyers on a fast surface was boring - e.g Sampras v Ivanisevic at Wimbledon but a great S/V exponent versus a great baseliner often produced classics.
    That's what we don't have anymore, more's the pity.
     
  6. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    Yes. It's really the contrast that we miss.
     
  7. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    Yeh, I yearn for serve and volley. I wish every court played lightning fast - so fast you could barely see the ball after it bounced.

    I miss the days where rallies were kept nice and short (on average 1.5 strokes). I miss the days where the only tactic was to hit a hard serve, then put away an easy volley. And everyone would play this tactic all the time. Break point down? You know what to do. 40-love up? Same deal. Now that's variety and tactical astuteness. Seriously, some of these serve/volleyers could have been war strategists if they had chosen an alternate career. They were close to genius level IQ.

    I miss the days when tennis more closely resembled stationary target practice than a movement-based sport. Serve-fests were like a beautiful variation of over-arm bowling. Everyone took it in turns to have four bowls. Enthralling stuff. You could also compare it to archery or darts, which are both fantastic sports.

    Serve and volley - fast court surfaces - please come back!! You are sorely missed!!
     
  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    men and women play the same game nowadays.not before.
     
  9. Indio

    Indio Semi-Pro

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    Has anyone noticed that the great baseliner in those classic matches (at least from roughly 1994 to 2002) is almost always Andre Agassi, and unless Courier figures in there somewhere, it is exclusively Agassi.
     
  10. helloworld

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    It's because most pros were ALL COURT players back in the 90s. Nowadays, everyone just stay back and bash the ball from 10 feet behind the baseline. No variety at all. Boring 6 hours tennis match... Give me All court attacking tennis any day!
     
  11. wanda

    wanda New User

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    When I watched the S & V style I loved it. I appreciated the skill involved. I liked the contrast in style.

    I think joe public likes long rallys though and perhaps doesn't appreciate how difficult it is to hit a decent serve, come in and hit a volley.
     
  12. Tropikal_Knights

    Tropikal_Knights Banned

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    I think balance is the answer here......

    If the ATP kept Wimby and the Us OPEN surfaces the same fast speed as before and the French and Aussie open slow as ever at least there would be some variety.

    Same applying to masters tournaments........

    Would encourage peeps to develop their s and V game rather than slug all day
     
  13. THUNDERVOLLEY

    THUNDERVOLLEY G.O.A.T.

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    Quoted for truth. Well said.
     
  14. Relinquis

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    why nostalgia?

    watch llodra playing at the moment... you'll understand...
     
  15. spinovic

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    I appreciate the skill involved in S&V, but I watched the Krajiceck v Sampras match from '96. It's not exciting to me.

    It is a high-risk, high-reward style of play. I'm not convinced a guy with the size and the serve of a Raonic couldn't be successful even today had he committed to that style early and made that his playing style.

    A high level S&Ver in today's game would have one huge advantage in that no opponent could possibly prepare or be prepared for their game. That in itself would be worth much, IMO. I just don't think anyone has the coconuts to try it.
     
  16. wanda

    wanda New User

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    I always thought that when two great serve volleyer played it came down to one or two points or just one break of serve. It was the first guy that blinked lost. That to me was exciting stuff. Now it's still exciting just different. I wash there was more variety.
     
  17. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    There were unbelievable S&V players like Pecci and Panatta in the 70´s.great touch also helped them in beating Borg at RG (panatta) and Montecarlo (pecci)
    Both also took a set off Bjorn in the two biggest cc tournaments.Panatta took Borg to five sets at 1978 Rome and Pecci took a tie breaker from Borg during the 1979 French Championships final.It took a lot of balls to do that on clay against merciless Borg.I cannot see anybody doing it again.

    ( Noah also beat great cc specialist Wilander at a RG final, but this match had some different circumstances...9
     
  18. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Two more for you > how much they roll the surface, and how much direct moisture they allow onto it. These two things have more impact on the bounce height than most changes made to the grass.

    Moreso, the amount of indirect moisture getting into the ground can only be managed to a point - the humidity in the month leading up to the tournament is the major factor here.
     
  19. Timbo's hopeless slice

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    perception vs reality...

    I took my mother to a WTA event last week, she hadn't been to live tennis in 40 years but watched a lot of it on TV.

    as we were sitting down, she remarked that, while she was looking forward to it, she would fall off her seat if she saw someone come to the net..

    Well, she had to swallow her words on that one during the first point... (thank you Storm Sanders)

    My point is, people constantly repeating mantras such as 'nothing but slow speed baseline rallies' or 'in the nineties, S&V was so much better to watch' or similar TT catch crys are missing out on the highest standard of competitive tennis in history, happening right now.

    blame it on equipment, or fitness, or even PEDs if you are really that stupid, but the truth is the top 100 in either the WTA or the ATP are playing at a standard never before seen.

    Ask Pat Rafter, he was asked the other day if he would like to be on the tour today and he just laughed and said 'these guys have moved the game on so far since my day, I would be lucky to win a game.'

    I know some of you just don't want to believe this as you feel it somehow belittles your heroes, but how about you get off the couch and go watch a local ATP event from courtside?

    Then honestly ask yourselves if there is 'no variation' and all they do is hit 'loopy topspin balls' all day.

    turn off the damn television!
     
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  20. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    ...I just don´t even turn it on:)
     
  21. TTMR

    TTMR Hall of Fame

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    Agreed. The ITF capitulated to the interminable whining of casual nancies with no understanding of true suspense and pressure, who wanted an end to the so-called "serve fests". They recoiled in horror at the fact that one could just fast forward to the tiebreaker and that break points would be quickly countered with the uncontested ace. They moaned nasally when returners would choose their battles and tank return games (when in reality it's brilliant tennis strategy, like the intentional walk in baseball). These were the same people that always shrieked that the WTA was the more interesting game because it was less serve dominated.

    I guess they didn't foresee the day when PEDs would become mandatory to play top tier tennis (aside from the genetically profoundly gifted, like Federer). Big strong powerful men have essentially been outlawed in the game, or relegated to challenger status. If there is not a sudden reversion to lightning quick courts and resurgence of genuine shotmakers, tennis will go the way of the elephant bird, which is a shame because it wasn't so long ago (the 90s) when tennis was at its absolute apex in terms of popularity-- coincidentally the time when the serve was the cornerstone shot. People like aces. The ace is the home run of tennis. End this madness. Liberate the shotmakers. Now.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  22. CCNM

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    Thanks for uploading these. They illustrate what I'm trying to say about players covering the whole court. Don't know how anybody could get bored watching those matches.:)
     
  23. OTMPut

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    Anyone who thinks that today's tennis (likes of djoker, murray and nadal) has more variation must watch 1984 McEnroe - Lendl FO final.
    Even baseline bashing was done a bit more tastefully.
     
  24. Nitish

    Nitish Professional

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    Great post.I am 20 and have been watching tennis for past 6-7 years and i thought the roswell-laver match was incredible anyone else from my age group feel the same.
     
  25. Toxicmilk

    Toxicmilk Professional

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    I mean. I'm not a die-hard S&V fan.

    But seriously?
     
  26. axel89

    axel89 Banned

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    100% agree I like seeing s and v whenever I have the chance but it would be boring if i started watching it massively
     
  27. tennisdad65

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    It was not just s&v in the 70s-80s. Even with Laver, Rosewall it was all court with high percentage of s&v. Then you had connors, borg to balance things out.

    I think s&v started getting boring when you had Pete, Becker, Goran, Krajicek, Stich, Forget etc.. playing each other. This resulted in mostly serve with no volley, or an easy put away first volley.

    However regarding modern tennis today, take a look at the number of spectators at the early rounds of ATP 250, 500, and even 1000 events. I see highlight's up on the ATP site and there are barely 10 spectators :(. That pretty much says it all in terms of it being an attractive sport now.
     
  28. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    Did you guys see Delpo Vs. Llodra yesterday? You should check out the replays or highlights.

    Fabulous match, lots of all court tennis. Real tennis.
     
  29. spperry

    spperry Rookie

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    Serve and volley just doesn't really work anymore.

    It is a good change up tactic but consistently it is very difficult to do as the top guys return so well and the courts are slower.

    I like to see players volley and think a lot of them neglect that part of their game and make it harder for themselves. How often do you see a point a player could have won with easy volley but they hang back and try to win from baseline.
     
  30. spinovic

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    I think players are often way too conservative now.

    I think a lot of guys would benefit from being more aggressive, whether its serve-and-volley or chip-and-charge.

    S&V is a more risky style, and probably more difficult to master. Everyone starts out playing tennis by rallying with forehands and backhands from the baseline.

    Often things like this can come and go in cycles, so I'm not ready to declare S&V dead. It's just dormant at the moment, but I believe we'll see it again someday.
     
  31. Le Master

    Le Master Semi-Pro

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    Funny how you used the terms court tennis and real tennis in your post, as they are the sport from which lawn (current) tennis derived. It's actually pretty amazing to watch, especially when the top players play.
     
  32. Narcissist

    Narcissist Semi-Pro

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    This post is awesome
     
  33. HoyaPride

    HoyaPride Professional

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    Haha. This was good.
     
  34. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Serve and Volley, when and where?
    When Wimbledon became just serves, with the graphite rackets and very fast grass, that was too fast. That caused the overreaction of slowing down everything and homogeneous surfaces.
    However, even in those years there were many tournaments with many different court speeds. The clay courts were often slower than nowadays and unless it was a very dry year, there were almost no successful serve and volley players - a festival of long grinding rallies like we see now. Then there were hard courts and carpet of varying speeds, where any type of player could be successful. From McEnroe-Borg to Sampras-Agassi, there were great rivalries of serve and volleyers vs. baseliners. Now, no such thing exists.
    If you go back to the 60's when everyone played serve-and-volley tennis, the points could be long, with lots of lobs, passes, etc. along with the quick points. Rosewall was successful with a very slow serve, and Gonzales and others had great serves. On slower surfaces, there were longer rallies.
    Serve-and-volley tennis is not just the Serve-and-watch-the-ball-go-by tennis of the few years that serve-and-volley detractors talk about.
     
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  35. HoyaPride

    HoyaPride Professional

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    If only we could go back to wood racquets (sigh).
     
  36. skip1969

    skip1969 Legend

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    i think it's been stated well. it's the variety that the tour lacks. one-handers, two-handers, chip and charges, serve & volley, approaches, angled, crisp volleys, angled, overheads. lobs over the netman, passing shots . . .
     
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  37. SublimeTennis

    SublimeTennis Professional

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    IT'S EXCITING! THAT'S WHY! And what "Good old days", I'm relatively young and the 90's wasn't that long ago. Just take note of this, watch the highlight reels and see if you see boring 30 shot rallies from baseliners with no reflexes or quick back and forth shots at the net, you'll find the latter.
     
  38. helterskelter

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    I was struck by just how little has changed since the Mantilla v Costa match. It felt like it could have been a Robredo v Gasquet match. (Incidentally, Gasquet played Costa in the first round of Roland Garros 2002, the year in which Costa went on to lift the title. Gasquet was only 15, but he won a set).

    It is indeed the case that clay-courters just took over the world. Mantilla won 10 career titles and Costa 12. All 22 titles were on clay.
     
  39. timnz

    timnz Legend

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    The part highlighted in red says everything. People want variation. And the slowing down of the courts and the new rackets that has forced almost everyone to play a similar way has destroyed variation. So the very thing you want has been destroyed by modern tennis. I (and many others) want contrast. We want attacking tennis, not ping pong like tennis. We lament that Serve and Volley has gone, not because of a love of serve and volley - but because it represents a loss of variation. It is now all monochrome. My fear is that people don't know what they are missing - that is why they put up with the current bland tennis.
     
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  40. morten

    morten Hall of Fame

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    because if one person serve and volley and the other dont, you get interresting matches. The ideal would be a 50/50 ratio s and v vs baseline players. So sad now, especially at Wimbledon. And i hate when people and commentators say Tsonga, Djokovic serve and volley a lot bla bla just because they do it like Three times in a match... what i miss even more is the chip and charge...
     
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  41. Indio

    Indio Semi-Pro

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    I recently watched on YouTube, bits of two matches: Rafter vs Agassi, US 1997, and Rafter vs Philippoussis, US 1998. In one of the two--I can't recall which--Rafter was described as one of the last serve and volleyers (if not exactly that, something fairly close). That was in 1997 or 1998, before the alleged extensive slowing of the courts and before the popularization of poly strings (unless most pros began to use them immediately after Kuerten did). Thoughts?
     
  42. THE FIGHTER

    THE FIGHTER Hall of Fame

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    The best variation came from the generations of borg mcenroe lendl up to edberg.

    Serve and volleyers playing baseliners, both having comparable racquets and strings that were neither too advantageous for one style.

    It has been a domino effect of degeneration in terms of variety ever since. Each major shift in the game limiting the different ways a tennis match can be won.
     
  43. Enga

    Enga Professional

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    I have no nostalgia for old times, but I do have a problem when people say tennis should be played a certain way, the way that entertains crowds. Thats LAUGHABLE to me. Sports is for entertainment sure. But who ever decided that its for the entertainment of the spectator?

    My ideal tennis is tennis that people can develop their own unique styles for, where all styles have a time and place during the course of a year. No bullcrap rules or settings that favor a type of tennis that supposedly spectators like. I hate the idea that any player who wants to be at the top has to play a specific way that e tertains people, rather than just be a good player.

    I wouldnt mind that the game becomes less famous, if it means the game becomes a more mentally stimulating for all players around the world.
     
  44. Dolgopolov85

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    Think they were trying to distinguish Rafter from guys like Ivanisevic who used to overwhelm with their serve. Rafter's first serve was often slower than some of Sampras's second serve. But he was still successful with that strategy because he was such a good volleyer. He didn't need to fire dozens of aces to win. Henman was also kind of like that. Which is why Llodra was referred to as the last serve and volleyer even though players like Karlovic, Lopez and lately Kevin Anderson can use S&V a lot. Those guys fire lots of aces/unreturnables; Llodra doesn't. Big man big serve tennis isn't gone anywhere and we may well see Anderson reach the semis this Open. But the lovely touch of a Llodra or Stepanek doesn't go too far in today's tennis.
     
  45. Paul Murphy

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    It's the contrast of styles that makes tennis interesting.
    Two baseliners can be pretty dull.
    Two S/Vers can be pretty dull.
    Matching a great baseliner (Lendl for instance) versus a great S/Ver (McEnroe for instance) makes for wonderful tennis.
    We get to see all the skills on display.
     
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  46. dh003i

    dh003i Legend

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    And that's exactly what will happen if you disregard what people want to see, then guess what, the game is headed for extinction.

    There is little mentally stimulating about 30-shot rallies where the deciding factor is which player is going to fatigue and make an error first.
     
  47. Enga

    Enga Professional

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    Yeah, however thats if people even have a preference in the first place. Based on this thread, actual preference is split 3 ways, people like serve and volley, people like all court, and people like baselining.

    So where did this idea come from that the most entertaining form of tennis is one or the other?

    I say create a tour where all styles get their say. Grass, clay, hard courts, maybe even a carpet court. This idea that people only like baseline tennis or serve and volley tennis is nonsense.

    The game should be more open to all styles. And if it somehow turns out to be true that people like baseline tennis the most (a baseless assumption), then I think it would still be worth it. The game would have more variety, it would be a better game.
     
  48. dh003i

    dh003i Legend

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    Oh I agree that people like all 3, and particularly when contrasting styles are pitted against eachother. However, right now the tour is biased towards baseline play. I suspect people would much rather see all-court players play eachother, or a S&V player vs a baselineer, than baseliner vs baseliner. Of course, in a tour with a variety of players you will still get less than ideal S&V vs. S&V and baseliner vs baseliner matches, but it won't happen as often.

    Those matches can still be great matches, but they really require both players to play at a high level. Contrasting styles is almost always interesting to watch.
     
  49. junior74

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    Contrasting styles were at display last night. Highly entertaining, and at its best, this match was very potent. Big kudos to Feliciano Lopez for playing beautiful and agressive tennis. And congrats to Djokovic for prevailing. Lovely match-up.
     
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  50. Fedinkum

    Fedinkum Hall of Fame

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    OP said it himself, we want variation. Right now, there are less than a handful of serve and volleyers on tour. Of course we will be nostalgic about this typed of extincted animal.
     

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