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 by pc1; 11-27-2009 at 05:46 AM.