where do sampras volleys rank historically?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by dominikk1985, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

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    :D. In the OE, I would never put Sampras in Tier 2. Maybe all-time, I can see him in Tier 2.

    Since we seem to be on the verge of disagreement on this one, let me define my questions more clearly.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxcSRusVXK0&t=0m38s

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxcSRusVXK0&t=3m55s

    Firstly, any comments on the volleys in the clips I posted above ? Esp. the BH shoe-top pick up ?

    Now, my questions, assuming that you must have played relatively competitive S & V yourself.

    1. Do you agree that the further behind the service-line you are, the harder it is to volley ?

    2. Do you agree that it's harder to volley off hard shots that land below your knees ?

    3. How about a combination of 1 & 2 ?

    If your answer to all 3 is 'Yes', then I suggest you reconsider your opinion of Sampras' volleys. Why ? Because Sampras' big serve, though a major weapon, meant that he had to frequently take his volleys much further behind than anybody else before or after him.

    Secondly, what is your theory for Edberg not doing so well against Courier/Agassi once they came into their prime ? My theory: they returned earlier and harder against his kick serve, forcing him to hit volleys off hard returns from further behind (the same thing that happened to Sampras). And he couldn't cope with them.
     
  2. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Agassi returned soon and hard.Courier only hard.
     
  3. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

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    Absolutely ridiculous to suggest Sampras was top 5 from the back of the court. He wasn't top 50 as a baseliner, a fact exposed on slower surfaces. He had a serve dominant game, which is what made things work for him. As a baseliner he had a big, flashy forehand that could end the point but he was not one of those guys who could just dominate the point consistently off the ground from the backcourt.

    He's a notch down from the better volleyers I think, but it was certainly still a strength. His great athleticism & excellent court coverage made his volleys very effective.
     
  4. PMChambers

    PMChambers Professional

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    That's assuming that a true baseline has to be someone who can play on slow surfaces such as clay. His baseline game on clay was not good because he hit very flat. He got a lot of ball speed but had a lower safety level. He needs a fast slippery surface for his baseline shots to get the reward for the risk. Agassi who was better at the back of the court and considered one of the all time baseliners record on clay was about the same as grass. For the ultimate baseliner for his generation he's slow clay record was not great. AO was probably his best, which was a lot faster than clay but slower than USO.

    Sampras record at AO was very good, 2 w, 1 ru, 2 sf. Bearing in mind Agassi got 4 w, 1 sf, so he was only losing to the very best.

    Sampras was not like Goron, winning sets without breaking serve he was breaking serve at the back of the court and doing it regularly. I'd put his baseline shots behind Agassi, but on par with Courier and better than Chang. Except on clay where his extra pace was nullified.

    If you believe he was not even close to Top 5 nearer Top 50 then please identify 10 players of his era you believe are better. However, these base liners must also be able to play on slow hard courts such as AO, otherwise you're really just selecting clay court baseline style of play rather than better all round baseline game.

    Better,
    Agassi, Muster,

    Similar
    Courier(clay Courier, fast Sampras), Lendl (clay Lendl, fast Sampras, AO coin toss),

    Worse
    Becker, Rafter, Chang (except clay), Korder, Kriecek, Ferreira, Stick, Brugeria(except clay), Goron (except clay),
     
  5. PMChambers

    PMChambers Professional

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    Thank you, I'll see if I can download the whole match, it's been a while for that one.

    Regarding the "Highlight" package, I counted 9 volleys below the net that he made in 8 points out of 52 games of tennis which is about 220 shots. He only pulled 2 off his shoe laces the rest where knee height. The majority of the "highlight" volleys he took where about 1m or 1 yd in from the service line at hip height. He screwed up a few above the net put aways. I'll watch the whole match if I can find it but it's sound volley not awesome.

    Regarding you're 3 points.
    1. Where you volley depth wise is important as it opens up the court. The close you are the more angle you can play a volley. Taking a volley from 1m inside the based and volleying to either rear corners is no harder than volleying from 2m inside the base line and volley to either service corners. The main difference is the volley to the service line is generally a straight out winner.
    2. Height of volley, this is the most important factor to volleyer. For two reasons, the obvious it's bellow the net meaning you have to volley up and take pace off, but also because a low dipping shot has lots of topspin (Note: At this level they don't slice passing shots, not since 70's). A heavy topspin ball kicks off the string bed popping up, hence you generally need to slice a heavy topspin shot more on a volley. From the highlight package most of Agassi's returns where hard and relatively flat, due in my mind to Sampras pace and direct on serve, including 2nd serve.

    I'm also a bit iffy with highlight packages as they rarely show the "normal" shot that dictate the trend of the match. I'll need to watch the whole match to see if the 6 low volleys points he won took 15 - 20 or more tries.

    Thanks for the clip I did not look at the 2nd but will download the whole first match. There's too many good AO matches on this week, so I won't likely watch for a while. I tipped Wawrinka for AO upset or Djokovic as the go to. Doing OK but all my tips rest on the upset now. I'm going for 4 different GS winners this year, Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Wawrinka. Just to be different I have Noel with FO, Nadal US, Fed Wim and Wawrinka AO maybe just dreaming.
     
  6. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    a ) because he declined
    b) his serve was worse than sampras.
     
  7. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    so you think they ( sampras/becker ) purposely put themselves at a disadvantage ? no, fact is that they didn't.

    because of their huge serves, they got far more free points on their serve and hence they didn't require as intensity in their net play as say edberg,rafter, cash , henman etc. they didn't mind occasional returns that came back fast ..

    yes, many times fast serves come back quickly. But then even kick serves ala edberg/rafter could also be pummeled by the very good returners ala agassi, courier, kafelnikov etc ...
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014
  8. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    PMChambers, please tell me more about Korder, Kriecek, Stick, Brugeria and Goron. Never heard about these interesting players. Were they worse than Sampras because they had extraordinary and odd names?

    By the way, my name is BobbyOne and not PaffiTwo...
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014
  9. PMChambers

    PMChambers Professional

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    Other than the spelling error on these names, your point is? You think they're better than Sampras off the ground?

    Just for you,
    Petr Korda, Richard Krajicek, Michael Stich, Sergi Bruguera and Goran Ivanišević.

    So what's your point BobbyOne? Do you have one BobbyOne, or two BobbyOne? Good one BobbyOne.

    With the exception of Sergi Bruguera I've seen all these players live and stand by my comparison on a neutral slow hard court.
     
  10. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    wtf he had one of the best forehands of all time (You'd have to put it up there with Fed and Nadal) and frequently controlled points from the baseline. You can't talk about clay like the 90s was the same as 2010. Surfaces were vastly different as was the gear and players. His results on clay weren't because his groundies suck. Many players with amazing groundies sucked at the French. The best clay courter in the world doesn't automatically = the best baseliner. Especially in the 90s. Using what you see today to judge what was 20 years ago is moronic. Main reason he wasn't any good on clay was that his game was not built for clay and his movement on clay sucked. Players back then were specialists in specific surfaces. Very few could play well on everything that's why Andre winning all 4 in such diverse conditions was one of the greatest tennis achievements of all time. Much more impressive than winning 100 slams in today's idiotic amalgamated conditions and play styles.
     
  11. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

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    What does that mean ?

    But then it always was worse, right. What made the difference later ?
     
  12. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

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    Hmm, I'm pretty sure he hit a lot more than 2 shoe-top volleys. I watched entire match quite a few times. And he hit more than 9 volleys from below the net, my guess. I guess, unless you watch the entire match, it's hard to get an exact number.

    Sure, it doesn't look as awesome, but consider this - none of the other big servers were able to volley off Agassi's returns (see the 1994 USO F between Agassi-Stich, for example) with the same level of success as Sampras did.

    In isolation, yes, but practically speaking from a S & V point of view, it's different because your preparation time is less after you have finished your service action. And the further you hit the volley from, the more pace it has to have because the ball has a greater distance to travel. Finally, you have far less court and angles to work with and so it's difficult to hit an outright volley winner.

    Correct, but, again, it's easier to hit low volleys from closer to the net because you don't have to hit it hard, just make it drop on the other side. Much harder to deal with when you are deep into the court, again because you have to provide the pace.

    Yes, Agassi hit flat and hard because he relied on denying, what are commonly perceived as the most important for the incoming volleyer - position and time. I think it's easier to deal with a topspinning shot when you are 2 yds inside the service line than a flat, hard shot when you are 2 yds behind the service line. And it worked against every body else except Sampras. So, I think it's more to do with Sampras than Agassi not hitting enough topspin.

    Agreed, but he didn't take 15-20 more tries. I would say he got about 6/10 - which is very good as some of them were off big points.

    You seem to be on track. :)
     
  13. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    PMChambers, Thanks for correcting the names. I did not refer to the strength of the players.

    I did not know that you meant Krajicek when you wrote Kriecek. Thought you meant Johan Kriek...

    My point is that I like to read the players with their correct names.

    I'm honoured that my name is (correctly) cited four times in your post ;-)
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014
  14. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    Its BOOBYONE. he has no point. If Sergi had such a great baseline game, where are the results on hard court? I get your point, BOOBYONE, doesn't. While I am not sure I would rank him top 5, certainly no where near 100. Clay court specialists do not necessarily represent great baseline games. Courier yes...Sergi no. Both won FO, but courier shows he had a great baseline game in his heyday. BOOBYONE doesn't understand.
     
  15. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    You are full of it. Why would you think Johan Kriek... You didn't. Maybe he uses a tablet...do you realize it auto corrects when certain names/words are not in its vocabulary? I knew instantly who he meant and so did you. If not, then it confirms how clueless you are. Johan....give me a break.
     
  16. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Azzurri, I don't give you a break but you can have a free lesson from myself:

    Every poster can occasionally make a wrong-spelling of a player's name but it's rather superfical and unserious to distort many names in succession.

    I really thought Chambers meant Kriek.

    Johan Kriek was a well-known and strong player a few decades ago (not when the dinos lived!) who won the Australian Open twice. I'm really not responsible for the fact that you don't know anything about tennis history...

    Your only point since weeks is to insult me and other posters. Maybe you can take tennis lessons from kiki or another serious poster plus some lessons about the basics of politeness!! I hope for a wonder: that you get serious................
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014
  17. PMChambers

    PMChambers Professional

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    OK, I can see that, Johan Kriek was pretty good all round player in the late 80's. Not really Sampras era but close, I think I saw him play Edberg at an invitational but not 100% we use to get a lot of the Sth African coming to Australia, unlike say Connors!!!

    Sorry about the third paragraph, I wrote the first sentence and then started getting poetic and adding to it.

    PS: I seriously always thought Goran was Goron, as that's how he says it. I saw him complaint to an umpire in jest about the pronunciation of his surname. The umpire got a huge cheer from the Croatian fans when he got it right once. Ivanišević whats a š or ć, I assume the ć a k.
     
  18. PMChambers

    PMChambers Professional

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    The aim of getting closer to the net is to ensure an above net volley, but personally I find a half volley easier near the service line than 2m from the net. There's only two places to hit a half volley when close to net, left or right drop shot. At the service line the safety of the deep half volley which is easier to hit and the drop shot is still an option. But, I don't have soft hands so that makes the bunt volley easier that touch drop shot requiring me to take pace off the ball.

    Side Point - It was good to see Federer back to volleying deep against Murry. He's wrist touch drop shots on all volleys where predictable and low percentage. Nadal read them like a book. The game needs someone to vollley offensively again. Someone not scared to hit 2x volleys if required.
     
  19. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Good one, Chambers. I see that you are a more serious poster than Azzurri.

    It's not a shame getting poetic...

    Yes, Connors came to Australia only in 1974/1975.

    The last letter in Goran's surname is spoken like "ch" or "tch".

    I'm greeting Australia which is arguably the greatest tennis nation in history.

    As you might know my favourite player is Ken Rosewall. I rank him as the GOAT but equally with Rod Laver.

    It's a pity that Australia is much weaker now than decades ago when the Aussies ruled the tennis world immensily....
     
  20. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    The young Australian talent (not Tomic) the guys who are 17 years old look like they could have a promising future and put Australian tennis back on the map. I doubt they will reach the heights of Rosewall or Laver though...
     
  21. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    NatF, I hope you are right about Australia's future. I agree that there will not be another Laver or Rosewall Down Under.
     
  22. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Circumstances changes a lot during the heydays of Open tennis.US came back to power because of the tennis boom spoilt by mass media, sponsors, racket companies and clothing investments...and court facilities.

    I always wondered why, all of a sudden, Austraalia lost ground, even if there were a lot of very good players.But not the amazing colection of champions from 1950 to 1975.

    I heard that young kids began to be lazy, not willing to work as their elders did because social advances and general wealthy destroyed a bit the natural competitive fire of their elders who had striven under very tough conditions.Australia is a lovely country but just one of the hardest and work and endurance has been on the genetics until, say, middle 70´s.Also, because of speculation there were no more tennis courts available, as I read some poster a few months ago.It offered a very convincing explanation, he was an aussie as well.

    So, at the end my conclusion is that there were external and internal factors colliding at the very same time.

    Australia had to wait till Pat Cash matured to have another GS champion,Then, 10 more years until Rafter and 5 more until Hewitt.
     
  23. PMChambers

    PMChambers Professional

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    It's likely to be other sports, tennis is very hard to make it.
    Both Cash and Hewitt have openly said they're prefer to play AFL (Australian Rules Football). Hewitt as No.1 was sharing his house with an AFL all time champ. He was also No.1 card holder for Adelaide Crows.
    Darren Cahill, although not an all time great player, father was a prominent AFL instead.
    Although Australia has a decent tennis system, our best coaches go to the US and overseas including Cahill & B.Brett. M.Woodforde, Federer's original volley coach probably does not even live here any more. Other sports are offering 15 & 16 year olds incentives that tennis is unable to compete with. I also see far too much effort being put into juniors who'll never grow taller than 5'10" which is not a good size for a male in today's game, though they develop faster at 14-16. We're also a wealthy country through selling our resources off, most hard working juniors seem to be first generation Australian's usually from 2nd world countries. There's probably not the need to compete, and desire alone is often not enough, the great Australian players of 60 & 70 played for food as much as fast cars and trinkets and awards.
     
  24. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    You are a bad liar. Kriek was ancient by 1994. Why would anyone say he was a rival against Sampras. The names he mentioned were at their prime...Johan Kriek. You prove you learned tennis reading the internet.
     
  25. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    He was being a tool. Johan's career was pretty much over by 1990. Did they even play each other? The misspelling has nothing to do with it...he knew who you meant. He was trying to make you look bad.
     
  26. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Azzurri, If I'm a bad liar you are a good liar...

    I must confess that I did not know that Kriek was still active at 36 (in 1994). Was he at all? And when did I say that he was a rival of Sampras in 1994?

    I have internet since 2007 but am following and researching tennis since 1970.
     
  27. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Azzurri, I was not making him looking bad but I will try to make you looking bad because of your unqualified postings...
     
  28. Blocker

    Blocker Semi-Pro

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    Andrew McLeod? They no longer talk.
     
  29. PMChambers

    PMChambers Professional

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    Over Hewitt's disrespecting indigenous relics from what was reported. I think he took pictures of sacred sites which is a no-no. Hewitt seems to have matured well as he's aged, maybe the loses and fatherhood help to put some prospective on life.

    The reality is if Hewitt was average, McLeod would have a better easier life. Living in the 50-100 in tennis is not a great life where as being a top 1-20 footballer in a small country is a much easier life especially early on when you're developing skills.

    I played Matthew Robran and Jonathon Robran in doubles competition, not singles I was between their ranking. They played well, much fitter than me, Jonathon was tall 196cm and good slice serve. Both very nice and respectful sportsman. More good tennis players turning to AFL in their teens though not really cream of tennis crop.
    I also played another Crows player but can't remember his name, be became their fitness coach towards the mid to end 90's. I lost bad on drizzling day on grass due to movement, it haunts me. He would have become a journey man had he chosen tennis as he was tall, fit, strong and fast. he made the right decision.

    Tennis is one of the hardest sports every to excel in. Sitting around No.100 is not a good life. The current No.100 soccer player is doing very well by comparison. The worlds 20th basketballer, baseballer, AFL, rugby, cricketer, etc are doing better and they have less competition, they are not true world sports.
     

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