Originally Posted by Moose Malloy
Based on these stats I guess Mac made more volley errors in '80 than Tanner in '79. or Borg was making better returns vs Mac.
The second assumption is reasonable, since Borg got 7 clean return winners off Mac's first serve, but could only manage 2 against Tanner's.
As for the errors that is also possible. If we're just looking at points where serves were returned (rallies), Mac did make more errors than Tanner did: 80-58 (these are forced and unforced errors, made as server and as receiver), though I don't know how many of those errors were volleys.
Part of the reason that Mac has more errors than Tanner, is that his match was longer (376 points vs. 319). But even with a shorter match Tanner had more clean volley winners than Mac, 39-32 (on all serves, by both players).
So PC1, Tanner could very well have been more efficiently aggressive with his first volleys than McEnroe was. It's not certain, but at least it's possible, given the numbers we have.
But if it was the case you'd have to take into account that you can be more successful with your first volleys if you're coming in behind a stronger serve. McEnroe surely had better volleys than Tanner, so if Tanner has some edge here on 1st-serve points, the reason must have been the potency of his first serve.