In the wood era the volley was also used to kill off the point and made for quick games, but in the slow court era the serve may have diminished in importance but that hasn't rescued the volley and hence points are longer than ever.
Originally Posted by TimothyO
I don't understand this nostalgia for super fast balls and super fast courts which were themselves a result of technology change.
As far as I can tell when the racquets moved from wood to other materials the ball and courts were still in the wood era. Thus you had a period during which the sport devolved into serving contests of just a couple of shots per serve. THAT wasn't tennis compared to the wood frame era. It was boring serve contests with the winner being the guy with a uni-dimensional game. Just serve bigger and better.
Today the ball and courts are getting back in sync with the frame technology resulting in more balance. Big servers still have opportunities to serve their way out of trouble or win sets/matches in tie breakers. But they can't JUST rely on serves to win consistently. They need to build points and exploit opportunities instead of just smashing aces down the T.
Longer/more complex points, more diverse skills, greater demands for physical and mental endurance/conditioning...that's far more interesting than tie break serve contests.