Why doesn't every pro serve and volley on their first serve?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by LittleTinGoddess, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. LittleTinGoddess

    LittleTinGoddess New User

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    They may sound like a dumb question, but I don't understand why pros don't sneak into net when 90% of the time their opponent can't do anything besides block the ball on the first serve and then the return floats to the middle of the court. With the serves the top players have, couldn't they easily do this? It's basically a shortcut to winning the point.
     
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  2. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Few reasons off the top of my head:

    - Slower courts are giving the returner more time to make contact with the ball after the bounce.

    - Racquet and strings technology makes it easy for players to rip passing shots, even off of returns.

    - Add all of those points together, the server is still in no-man's and the return is either zipping past him/her, or dropping in front of him/her with some absurd angle.
     
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  3. LittleTinGoddess

    LittleTinGoddess New User

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    I understand these points, but next time you watch a match pay attention to the return of the first serve when it isn't in the opponent's strike zone. It's almost always a floater that could be volleyed deep into a corner or sometimes even slam-dunked.
     
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  4. El Diablo

    El Diablo Hall of Fame

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    Agree with Say's comments, would also note that tremendous spin with poly in recent years means that even if you can't hit a passing shot, you can still force the guy to volley balls at his ankles, a difficult proposition at best.
     
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  5. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    It may seem like that, but I would argue that you have it backward. Returners are floating the return back because the server isn't serving & volleying.

    If the server did follow it in, you can be damn sure the returner would step up & take a crack at it. But since there is no pressure, why risk it?

    Federer was probably the first to realize this vs Roddick. No need to risk missing an aggressive return when blocking it back is (1) higher percentage and (2) restarts the point from a neutral position.
     
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  6. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    The real reason pros don't serve and volley is because they can't handle the low balls off their shoe strings on break points and hit half volley drop shot winners. :)
     
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  7. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Well played...literally and figuratively...
     
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  8. OHBH

    OHBH Semi-Pro

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    Exactly, and to further illustrate this point just watch some off the top singles players play doubles. With somebody already sitting on top off the net you won't see Federer slicing all of those returns.
     
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  9. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    That may be the biggest reason why pros are no longer serving and volley. Polys are allowing balls to dip much more than before, picking up balls off of your ankles are no fun.
     
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  10. ramos77

    ramos77 Semi-Pro

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    because there aren't many natural serve and volleyers left on the circuit...

    i dont think it works as well these days with poly's, but you cannot dismiss it IMO. it is a good tactic given the right situation and at the right time...

    mixing it up only makes it harder for the returner IMO. if you are in two minds as to whether to float it back or drop it low when they serve volley, it will most likely cause the returner to make some errors.
     
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  11. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

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    Sampras in his retirement can be seen playing fine with polyester strings, and he still comes to the net on these plexi-cushion aka flexi pave courts (slowed down rubber courts). That man's serve can't be tamed because his serve is just so dam heavy. He's even beaten federer a couple of times on these style of courts in exhibition matches to date.

    They slowed the courts down because of money and to remove American dominance. Advertisment clients wanted more exposure. If a big hitter or server like Roddick or Blake was destroying opponents in a piddly 1:20 mins. The advertisement slots weren't exactly plentiful. And they demanded the games to go longer.

    They even created phony backlashes from the "public" saying that racquet technology has become too powerful and is ruining the game.

    Which is actually not true because pro players racquets are quite lower powered and its the average joe racquet (which pro's wouldn't even touch and hardly ever gets restrung for control) which are the over-powered ones launching balls into the back fence with no chance of returning serve.

    Agassi was such a good returner generally - and it was further enhanced by using a hybrid of spin friendly kevlar and gut strings.

    And Rafter with full gut setups was a tremendous spinner of the ball.

    - I argue that polyester strings haven't changed the game as much as putting metal in the balls, and slowing down the courts... doing those two things created a gap in the market which is why polyester strings were able to break in.
     
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  12. NadalDramaQueen

    NadalDramaQueen Hall of Fame

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    I think the better question (one that I often ask myself) is why don't the pros simply hit winners instead of not hitting winners. :rolleyes:

    I agree, which is why serve and volleying on occasion can be a good way to not only win a cheap point, but force the returner to hit riskier returns. As a standard play, however, you are just going to look like a fool at the net.

    No.
     
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  13. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

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    Would you care to explain why you would say "No" without any intellectual thought. Any source?

    Here's mine.
    http://www.top-tennis-training.net/#/who-killed-serve-and-volley-te/4560451570
     
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  14. NadalDramaQueen

    NadalDramaQueen Hall of Fame

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    I'm sorry, but do you waste time entertaining any conspiracy theorist who comes a-knocking? I didn't think so. :)

    First, exhibition matches count for nothing. Read the comments after the matches (and watch them) and you'll see that they are hardly serious. At the very least, they say nothing about what would occur in an official match. Not to mention that Sampras only beat Federer in one exhibition match, so "a couple of times" is pushing it.

    The courts have been slowed down, but to suggest that it was done to hinder Roddick and Blake is a joke. Watch some of the matches between those two and Federer on some of the faster surfaces, they generally weren't very pretty. Any advantage Roddick would gain on serve would be negated by the advantage Federer would gain on his own serve. Federer would often out ace Roddick, no matter the surface.

    Slowing down the courts was likely a response to the style of tennis that was being played on some courts in the 90s. Many people weren't fond of some of the brainless points that were being played, so they did something about it. There is nothing sinister about it.

    The rest of your post can hardly be attributed to any kind of intellectual thought, so spare me the lecture.

    Creating phony public backlashes? Show some proof before you make such a claim. Random internet websites aren't going to cut it.

    The fact that the pros use "low powered" racquets doesn't mean they can't crush the ball, only that they must take a full swing in order to generate a lot of power, unlike the cheaper twenty dollar racquets which are designed to give low skilled players the ability to take slow swings and still push the ball where it is needed.

    Nobody is saying you can't put spin on the ball with nearly any type of string, only that the current string setups are better at generating spin. There are many discussions about this (even on this forum) so save me and everyone else some time and do a search for yourself on why this is happening.

    What is your source for putting metal in the balls? I have a few tennis balls that were used in somewhat recent professional matches. If it comes down to it, I have access to equipment (access to people who can do work like this in other departments) that could be used to determine the composition of one of these balls. It doesn't take a physicist to make balls heavier without resorting to some type of metal weighting system. ;)
     
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  15. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

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    Should of realised you were a Nadal Fan....

    I won't bother reading your stuff. Because you cannot find a credible source.
     
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  16. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

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    ...Actually no, I have read it. You're amusing,

    Its totally natural to not like hearing or reading something that kinda dents the perfect auro of your hero

    You're using personal attacks and dismissals to distract the fact you can't find a decent source.



    Roddick wins the US open 2003, makes number 1. Then the courts slow down. Federer takes it from then on. I'm not saying federer's no good, but a lot of guys got shaken up and took years to get their racquet setups and strokes adjusted. (Polarised racquet setups)

    And you if actually look on the net, sampras has played fed about 3 or 4 times. He's using the new toys. He's starting to like them ;) ..cos he's winning.

    Wilson Titanium balls are a prime example. Then they just changed the whole line to that setup.

    Read this link http://www.top-tennis-training.net/#...-te/4560451570. - its all there buddy. Be sure to play the videos.

    And then follow the other links to realise Nadal's racquet is actually 110 square inches... and thats no conspiracy.
     
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  17. NadalDramaQueen

    NadalDramaQueen Hall of Fame

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    I'm a Nadal fan with a username of NadalDramaQueen? :)

    You do realize that Federer was up 5-1 against Roddick from 2001-2003, correct? This was before they immediately slowed down all the courts, right? Do you need me to post a source for this, or can you find it for yourself?

    Also, it's interesting to note that two of Roddick's three wins against Federer came on what some say are the slowest hard courts (by a large margin) on the tour, Miami. This is hardly a statistically significant number, but there isn't much else to go on given that Roddick picked up only three matches out of twenty four.

    Please read what I wrote about the Federer-Sampras exhibitions. I wrote that Sampras only won one match, even though they did play some more times with Federer winning. The main point is that exhibition matches (especially ones against aging greats) have no meaning when it comes to tour level matches. Sampras wasn't about to beat Federer in a real match, nor would Federer beat Sampras if Sampras was still playing on the tour and Federer was well retired. Their peak levels are simply not that much different.
     
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  18. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

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    Congratulations you're a terrific troll. You've kept this going way longer than intended because I thought you were going somewhere with intellect. In the end, you keep making stuff on the spot and bringing up stuff out of context as a distraction for a lack of sources. That'll do troll. That'll do.
     
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  19. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I like this thread...having played my best tennis from '77 thru '79, S/V was a natural strategy for most men's players from B (4.5) on up.
    Countered by....
    Most of the top players today have been playing for over 14 years, and grew up playing baseline tennis, a workable strategy against other juniors. Once they got good, they stuck with what got them there.
    Notion of big serve ='s big putaway is simplistic at best, almost not reasonable. Return of serve has been a science, and with better physical conditioning, it's much harder to put a ball away cleanly.
    And when the returner get's to hit a passing shot, he hits much harder dipping passes than ever before, and his natural rallyball allows him to hit topspin lobs much more consistently.
    Takes a much more all around athlete to play net, as you need to cover overheads and half volleys, low volleys and backhand overheads, all the while needing to be able to hold your own from the baseline on returns of serves.
    More firepower takes longer to learn, and time is the enemy when everyone is already practicing as many hours as humanly possible.
     
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  20. NadalDramaQueen

    NadalDramaQueen Hall of Fame

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    Better luck next time. :cool:

    Now we can get back on topic.

    I agree that it can pay dividends when thrown in every now and then, but what kind of frequency are we talking about? Should it be once in a blue moon just to make the returner aware of the possibility (perhaps on a crucial point) or should it be on the order of once every few games? For me, it has become kind of like the drop shot, you're a genius when it works but when you get passed easily at the net on a big point, everyone is shaking their heads.
     
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  21. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

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    Better luck next time? there was nothing to win... your opinion is flimsy and heresay evidence.. you clearly like having the last word. I look forward to not reading your response... thats where I keep going wrong...you're in my ignore list there's your prize...
     
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  22. NadalDramaQueen

    NadalDramaQueen Hall of Fame

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    I offered no opinion other than to point out obvious inconsistencies in your posts. I often whine about the courts being slowed down, but I am no conspiracy theorist, I won't stand by claims without evidence and (credible) sources.

    I do love having the last word. I will likely keep it up indefinitely, even passing this sacred torch to further generations if necessary. :lol:

    I look forward to you reading this post and pretending that you didn't (if I could only be so lucky). :)
     
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  23. fullpolyserve&volley

    fullpolyserve&volley New User

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    I can still serve and volley. You guys should just hit the gym :p I can't say his website was legit though... but this year's Aussie Open had so many ads between points... it really dragged on :(
     
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  24. Tennusdude

    Tennusdude Rookie

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    Radek Stapanek successfully serves and volleys and wins plenty of matches as an old man by tennis standards. It seems with a little practice it can be done.
     
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  25. NadalDramaQueen

    NadalDramaQueen Hall of Fame

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    I serve and volley fairly often also. That's what I grew up doing. :)
     
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  26. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

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    I stand by that site its made a lot of sense, you're right about the dragging on for the Australian Open. The amount of commercials between each point were shocking.
     
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  27. SStrikerR

    SStrikerR Hall of Fame

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    Okay, he makes it work. But does he win slams? Does he make a ton of money doing it? No. The most money is accumulated by baseliners.
     
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  28. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

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    A fine example
     
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  29. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Radek mixes in S&V on serve and some hit&charge on return but he does not exclusive use S&V. I don't think any current pro attacks like Sampras, Edberg, or Rafter back in the 80s/90s.
     
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  30. merwy

    merwy Legend

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    Because they feel more confident that they can win the point from the baseline. The baseline game is what this pros train day in and day out, so it's what they feel most comfortable using.
    They could see it like this: When I hit a first serve and follow it up with a volley, i might get an easy put away, but I could also get passed. Or I could get an awkward return back that I might not be able to handle well. (remember that in modern tennis a bad volley almost always means that you lose the point immediately).
    If I just stay back, I can put the easy returns away from the back (since my groundstrokes are much better than my volleys). And if I get a return that I can't put away immediately, I can just hit an aggressive shot and win the rally most of the times since I still have the advantage because of my good first serve.
     
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  31. batz

    batz G.O.A.T.

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    Because if returners like Nole and Murray know that you are going to come to the net on every first serve then you are going to spend a lot of time looking at your toes or the ball flying past you.

    Have you seen what these guys do to Llodra/Steps etc?
     
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  32. raging

    raging Professional

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    Correct, even Federer was trying to press & get in more against Andy in the Oz Open semi-final.
    Unfortunately Andy & Novak love a target , Rafa is no exception & to be frank, pretty well the top 100 will make it difficult for the volleyer.

    Federer once commented that he didn't come in off his serve because he didn't like the uncertainty of being beaten by 1 hit...At that stage he was mixing it better from the back of the courts. Now it is even harder to get in and finish.
     
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  33. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    there are good reasons they don't come in after 'every' first serve:
    • It's predictable.
    • It's predictable and with current techniques and strings can be passed effectively.
    • Current pros* are not as good at volleying as the late 90s generation due to lack of S&V on tour and limited grass season. Which players can hit an approach volley or half volley and then finish off at the net in a couple of shots? Anyone can hit a put-away volley on a floater.

    However, volleying and in some cases serving and volleying can be very effective if used sparingly. We saw this in the Marseille ATP tournament int he last two weeks. Not just Llodra (vs. Del Potro in particular - awesome match by the way), but also other players like Simon, Tsonga and such coming in during points to put pressure and surprise their opponents.

    It can be very effective in tie-breaks or on key points.

    S&V is like a drop shot or running around your backhand to hit an inside out forehand. If you use it too much, without setting up the point the better players will expect it and adapt their game to counter.

    I think players like Murray, Berdych, Del Potro and Gasquet could use a bit of volleying in their game. Would give them the dimension needed to raise their game; round it out a bit more and give them a weapon they can rely on when things get tough for them. Nadal has been volleying a lot more in the past couple of years, although those are more like put-away volleys or swing volleys. Maybe all of the doubles he's playing now will help him incorporate that more so he doesn't have to grind it out as much.

    * The exceptions are few, the older crop of S&V people like Llodra and Stepanek, who also play at lot of doubles. Or all courters who played in the previous generation like Federer.
     
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  34. 2ndServe

    2ndServe Professional

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    returns are too good now. Also it's harder to sv on a really fast first serve, the ball gets on your quicker and you're volleying from the service line or back. Great s&ver are usually guys like edberg, rafter, mcenroe who use a great 3/4 spin serve and close well. As the top tier s&vers probably only sampras was the only guy blasting 1st serves. And guys like Goran, Krajicek, Phillipousis weren't top tier s&vers they were guys with ridiculously huge serves who happened stroll up and volley after delivering a bomb.
     
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  35. spinovic

    spinovic Hall of Fame

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    Besides making it nearly impossible to hit a volley winner from that position, it forces you to hit up and over the net, floating the ball back which puts the baseliner in a great position to load up for a passing shot.

    I do think many players would benefit from serving and volleying more often, but I'm not sure doing it on every first serve is the answer. A nice mix would be more practical and effective, IMO.

    I also think many players should be more aggressive on their second serve vs. just spinning it in. Many guys, like a Raonic or Isner, IMO, are starting second serve points on the defensive, or neutral at best, against the top players on second serves. And, in either situation, defensive or neutral, they are going to lose the majority of those points. Why not risk a little more to start those points off on your terms? So what if you DF a few times and give away free points. I'd bet the end result would be to their benefit. And, it would also increase the effectiveness of the "safer" second serves when they chose to use them. Again, just my opinion.
     
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  36. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

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    i haven't hit a volley above the shoulder for a while come to think of it. They're always dipping down so violently these days...thanks rpm blast...that type of passing shot used to be a premium hard shot to pull off...
     
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  37. ultradr

    ultradr Hall of Fame

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    • It's harder to serve well when you serve and volley, compared to concentrating on serve only. So your serve will be less potent than your best serves.
    • Returner will not just float the return if server serves and volley. In other words, returner will go for more and direct return. Just look at the Agassi's aggressive returns in era of huge serve and volleyers. These days nobody serve and volley. So your priority is just block it deep.
     
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  38. GoaLaSSo

    GoaLaSSo Semi-Pro

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    1st serves can be tricky nowadays with serve and volley. Players that rely on hard flat first serves could actually have trouble because the shot will come back to them too quickly unless it is an ace or the returner anticipates incorrectly. The only reliable flat serve for setting up volleys is the body serve.

    Returners are much better at anticipating and reaching spinny serves than they used to be (also they have better equipment to deal with these serves). Most of the serves that give people trouble are wide sharp angle serves, but these are a double edged sword. If the returner anticipates the serve, it gives him many more options to pass the server. If the server goes down the middle, it is hard to get it away from the returner by using a spinny serve unless it is a slice serve creeping away. However, down the middle spinny serves force the returner to come up with a craftier shot because they have no good angles to pass the server.

    Also a huge thing that ruins serve and volley is the first volley. Today, it is much harder to place a first volley that returners can't reach. Slower courts and faster players make it much much easier for the returner to reach the first volley.
     
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  39. jaap deboeck

    jaap deboeck Rookie

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    If Llodra and F. Lopez can serve-volley well, others (with even more athleticism and raw talent) could too. Tennis styles move in cycles like everything else including nature. All it will take is some as yet unknown MEGA star to change our perceptions again!

    The current scene is alienating potential fans (even me!) that just cannot sit through 2 to 5 hours of the same rally repeated ad nauseam 200 times, hence miniscule TV ratings (well below a .5 share) and 2/3 empty stadia at many late round ATP/WTA tour events. At least the women have widely varying results: e.g. a Kvitova could win a Slam or lose 1st round; Serena could get ill or injured etc.
     
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  40. spperry

    spperry Rookie

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    I dont agree that 90% of returns are just blocks, watch the best returners and they do more than just block it back.

    If guys kept serving and volleying they would have to hit far too many difficult volleys for it to be effective.
     
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