Originally Posted by dangalak
What do you think about Roddick then? he certainly didn't move like greased lightning either.
He didn't move like greased lightning, but he did have better speed than Andre A. Also...he had (has) different qualities. He knew he didn't have the technique to control the game from the baseline as well as Andre did, especially on the backhand side.
To make it general, in my opinion the strokes are just one of the many reasons why people choose their court positioning the way they do, and it's far from being the most important one.
The most important one is personality/style of play, how aggressive one's game is, and how he was taught the game from childhood. Whether or not they feel they can be the aggressor and control the points against a certain (specific) opponent is another factor. The surface one grew up on makes a big difference as well (people growing up on clay are more likely to stand a bit further back because of the high/unpredictable bounces).
Another very important reason is speed/ability to cover the court, to cover longer distances.
The court positioning is a calculated risk and all these factors go into this decision.
Like previously said, this decision can be taken for different reasons by different players, and it can be slightly different when in offensive and defensive as well. The previous example of Davydenko who stands very close to the baseline when on the offensive but is willing to stand further back and scramble when put on the defensive, when compared to Andre A. who was generally unwilling to give up on his advanced position when in defense because he knew he lacked the speed for scrambling and getting that one more ball back into play...is an obvious one.
Somebody like Djokovic can also take the ball just as early as Agassi when on the offensive but he can stand as far back as Murray or Nadal when put on the defensive. The reason for this is his movement. He knows his legs allow him to play defensively like that, and Andre knew his legs DID NOT allow him that kind of court position. In his case the risk/reward equation was better when standing closer and using his timing to half volley balls from the baseline, in the case of Djokovic that equation is better if he stands further back and lets his speed take care of things. The difference that changes that risk/reward equation is IMO not the difference in length of stroke or hand-eye coordination and timing, but it's the difference in movement.
In the case of Gasquet versus Federer, the difference in court positioning is more of a combination than in the more extreme example of Agassi versus Djoko (where movement is the overwhelming factor)...but it's certainly not only defined by strokes.
If anything the difference in strokes that provokes this choice is the fact that he can't dominate and push opponents around with his forehand the way Fed can...the backhand is a non issue. It's also the style of play/personality thing...and the movement and footwork thing. I'm not saying Gasquet doesn't have good footwork, but he's no Federer when it comes to it. Federer's ability to turn defense into offense with his strokes ... but also with his feet is (or at least was) probably the best in the world.