Greatest All Time Serve and Volleyer

Who is the greatest all time serve and volleyer?

  • Jack Kramer

    Votes: 3 1.4%
  • Pancho Gonzalez

    Votes: 9 4.2%
  • John Newcombe

    Votes: 1 0.5%
  • John McEnroe

    Votes: 58 27.1%
  • Stefan Edberg

    Votes: 78 36.4%
  • Frank Sedgman

    Votes: 1 0.5%
  • Pete Sampras

    Votes: 64 29.9%

  • Total voters
    214

NonP

Hall of Fame
He also had a bigger serve than Edberg for example so Sampras would have easier volleys.
Not necessarily, as the big serve meant that he often had to take the 1st volley near or even behind the service line. Agassi used to send those serves back low & hard but Pete was able to handle those volleys with aplomb, sometimes even for an outright winner. And I remember Edberg acknowledging in a recent interview that with a bigger serve his job would've been considerably more difficult, or something to that effect (he was exaggerating a bit for sure, but his overall point was clear).
 

kiki

Banned
Not necessarily, as the big serve meant that he often had to take the 1st volley near or even behind the service line. Agassi used to send those serves back low & hard but Pete was able to handle those volleys with aplomb, sometimes even for an outright winner. And I remember Edberg acknowledging in a recent interview that with a bigger serve his job would've been considerably more difficult, or something to that effect (he was exaggerating a bit for sure, but his overall point was clear).
The nest ever S&V players were never thsoe with the biggest serve, rather a serve that gave them the time and the position to volley, thus the volley and net game itself accounts for as much.I am thinking about guys like Mc Enroe,Roche,Edberg, even Cash or Rafter.Of course, there have been big servers who excelled at the volley, like Newcombe, Gonzales and, a notch bellwo, guys like Becker and Sampras.But having the biggest serve doesn´t mean the best net game.Examples: Dibley,Denton,Edmondson,Hooper,Krajicek,Ivanisevic
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
Not necessarily, as the big serve meant that he often had to take the 1st volley near or even behind the service line. Agassi used to send those serves back low & hard but Pete was able to handle those volleys with aplomb, sometimes even for an outright winner. And I remember Edberg acknowledging in a recent interview that with a bigger serve his job would've been considerably more difficult, or something to that effect (he was exaggerating a bit for sure, but his overall point was clear).
The nest ever S&V players were never thsoe with the biggest serve, rather a serve that gave them the time and the position to volley, thus the volley and net game itself accounts for as much.I am thinking about guys like Mc Enroe,Roche,Edberg, even Cash or Rafter.Of course, there have been big servers who excelled at the volley, like Newcombe, Gonzales and, a notch bellwo, guys like Becker and Sampras.But having the biggest serve doesn´t mean the best net game.Examples: Dibley,Denton,Edmondson,Hooper,Krajicek,Ivanisevic
Excellent points but I may argue that players like Kramer, Gonzalez, Sampras, Newcombe, Smith, Becker held serve quite well.

Sampras led the ATP in most years during the 1990's in percentage of holding serve for example.

Of course a big flat serve, while it gives you better chances for an ace also gives you better chances that the returner will drive it back with great pace. The great servers mix it up.

I would argue that John McEnroe, while not having the pace of players like Smith or Gonzalez was a truly great server because of his various serves plus the fact he was a lefty. While McEnroe was arguably the best volleyer ever he also was in his time arguably the best server.

I don't think any of us are incorrect to be honest. How can a stronger serve hurt the overall game? There are arguments for both sides.

Jack Kramer for example had the big booming serve but he also had a really sharp slice serve that could pull you out of court, sort of similar to Arthur Ashe's slice serve that he used so effectively against Connors in the 1975 Wimbledon. Kramer also had the big kick second serve.

This was also true of the great John Newcombe. He had a first serve that was extremely fast but the ball was very heavy with spin and could almost knock the racquet out of your hand. He was was renown for his great kick second serve as Kramer was. Kramer in the last 1970's thought Newcombe had by far the best second serve he had seen.

This is something we have not discussed here, ie the importance of the second serve in the serve and volley game.
 
Last edited:

Xonemains

Semi-Pro
Greatest pure serve and volley of listed is Stefan Edberg, No question.

Sampras/J Mac is equal second, if both players received the same return after their first serve, Edberg will do more with the ball than the other 2.

For just pure serve and volley, yes, Edberg for sure.

But!!! Sampras is special cause he had the bomb serve and game, that's mean more slams.
 

kiki

Banned
Excellent points but I may argue that players like Kramer, Gonzalez, Sampras, Newcombe, Smith, Becker held serve quite well.

Sampras led the ATP in most years during the 1990's in percentage of holding serve for example.

Of course a big flat serve, while it gives you better chances for an ace also gives you better chances that the returner will drive it back with great pace. The great servers mix it up.

I would argue that John McEnroe, while not having the pace of players like Smith or Gonzalez was a truly great server because of his various serves plus the fact he was a lefty. While McEnroe was arguably the best volleyer ever he also was in his time arguably the best server.

I don't think any of us are incorrect to be honest. How can a stronger serve hurt the overall game? There are arguments for both sides.

Jack Kramer for example had the big booming serve but he also had a really sharp slice serve that could pull you out of court, sort of similar to Arthur Ashe's slice serve that he used so effectively against Connors in the 1975 Wimbledon. Kramer also had the big kick second serve.

This was also true of the great John Newcombe. He had a first serve that was extremely fast but the ball was very heavy with spin and could almost knock the racquet out of your hand. He was was renown for his great kick second serve as Kramer was. Kramer in the last 1970's thought Newcombe had by far the best second serve he had seen.

This is something we have not discussed here, ie the importance of the second serve in the serve and volley game.
true great S&V almost always came in after their second serve.American twist is the best for S&v as a second serve, and many times even as the first.It increases % of serves in, although you´ll get less direct serve points.
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
true great S&V almost always came in after their second serve.American twist is the best for S&v as a second serve, and many times even as the first.It increases % of serves in, although you´ll get less direct serve points.
Recent great serve and volleyers like Becker, Edberg and Sampras had excellent second serves.

Players in the past with excellent second serves were Newcombe, Kramer, Gonzalez.

Any other names for excellent serve and volleyers with top second serves?
 

robow7

Professional
Wasn't it Kramer that said, (in his era anyway), "You're only as good as your second serve"

I don't remember Mac's second serve falling off much from his first and it still seemed effective.
 

hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
Recent great serve and volleyers like Becker, Edberg and Sampras had excellent second serves.

Players in the past with excellent second serves were Newcombe, Kramer, Gonzalez.

Any other names for excellent serve and volleyers with top second serves?
Some said Edberg's second serve was better than his first.
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
Some said Edberg's second serve was better than his first.
A friend of mine went to a tennis camp that Edberg was at. I think it was Edberg's tennis camp. Anyway my friend is an excellent player and he tried to return Edberg's second serve. He told me the ball seemed to go halfway to the moon.
 

kiki

Banned
Recent great serve and volleyers like Becker, Edberg and Sampras had excellent second serves.

Players in the past with excellent second serves were Newcombe, Kramer, Gonzalez.

Any other names for excellent serve and volleyers with top second serves?
Mac´s second ball was pretty good...what about Roscoe Tanner?
 

kishnabe

Talk Tennis Guru
Edberg was consistent, fastest to the net, very flexible. While McEnroe was sneaky....but he didn't place himself well like Edberg.

Edberg all the way.
 

kiki

Banned
Edberg was consistent, fastest to the net, very flexible. While McEnroe was sneaky....but he didn't place himself well like Edberg.

Edberg all the way.
Mac had an explosive first step while not being so athletic overall as Edberg.The 1980-1984 Mac was just as fast, if not faster, into coming to the net as the Swede.
 

zagor

Bionic Poster
Sampras should not be on the list IMO, he was not a serve and volleyer in my book atleast, I consider someone like Rafter to be a serve and volleyer. In his best years (1993-1997 which I consider to be his peak) Sampras played a lot from the baseline, I can't understand how so many people (heck including Sampras himself in his interviews in the last 7-8 years) forget that.

Now if the poll was about greatest/best all-courter then Sampras would get my vote (atleast the best I've ever seen).
 

hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
Now if the poll was about greatest/best all-courter then Sampras would get my vote (atleast the best I've ever seen).
I am inclined to agree: Sampras was not a pure S&V player. I would say he's about 60-40 or 70-30.

What does Azzy say? He's the reigning Sampras expert on here.
 
Last edited:

Azzurri

Legend
Pulled or torn "Hammy's" can be horrendous injuries that don't heal right even if you follow the rehab perfectly. McEnroe's body broke down on him. If you look at tapes of his 1985 US Open final vs Lendl vs the 1984 final you can see he can't cut off the passing shots in the same fashion in the '85 final. McEnroe himself talks about this in his autobiography in that he was among the fastest/quickest players on tour and then one day he simply wasn't. He was burnt out at the end of 1985 and indeed part of the burnout was a loss of desire. Let us not forget though, that after his 1986 layoff he did regain his desire and spent the next 5 years playing and trying to win slams and be number 1 again. Once he lost that 1/2 step he lost that explosiveness in his game and he could not regain it.
funny you mention the 85 final against Lendl....I have both on DVD and I noticed it also. He had such mental anguish for all those years (on the court and I am sure off it as well) that is was bound to happen. Add in a little drugs, roids, that freak wife and fame...MAC had no chance.
 

Azzurri

Legend
My first thoughts were Edberg and McEnroe, not sure why Sampras is on this list although he did use his serve in combination with volleying at effective times...I wouldn't categorize him in the same S&V league as these others.
serve AND volley. Mac and Edberg's serve could not touch Pete's serve, however Pete was one level below them in the volley department. while I think both Mac and Edberg are the head of the class in S&V, Pete deserves to be mentioned. No point in this thread if we can't talk about others besides Mac/Edberg.
 

Azzurri

Legend
Greatest pure serve and volley of listed is Stefan Edberg, No question.

Sampras/J Mac is equal second, if both players received the same return after their first serve, Edberg will do more with the ball than the other 2.

For just pure serve and volley, yes, Edberg for sure.

But!!! Sampras is special cause he had the bomb serve and game, that's mean more slams.
No question? I don't think its that clear.
 

Azzurri

Legend
Edberg was consistent, fastest to the net, very flexible. While McEnroe was sneaky....but he didn't place himself well like Edberg.

Edberg all the way.
sneaky?? not sure what you mean. Mac was total aggressive. Every player he faced knew his intention was to get to the net. do you mean sneaky fast?? Edberg was not as fast as Mac.
 

Azzurri

Legend
Sampras should not be on the list IMO, he was not a serve and volleyer in my book atleast, I consider someone like Rafter to be a serve and volleyer. In his best years (1993-1997 which I consider to be his peak) Sampras played a lot from the baseline, I can't understand how so many people (heck including Sampras himself in his interviews in the last 7-8 years) forget that.

Now if the poll was about greatest/best all-courter then Sampras would get my vote (atleast the best I've ever seen).
yes, no one better tha Sampras in the all-court debate. He did do quite a bit of the S&V, but as you know he had the ability to play from the baseline. but if I had to categorize him it would have to be S&V. I just think he was so good from baseline that people sometimes have a hard time calling him a S&V player..but most matches he was.
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
serve AND volley. Mac and Edberg's serve could not touch Pete's serve, however Pete was one level below them in the volley department. while I think both Mac and Edberg are the head of the class in S&V, Pete deserves to be mentioned. No point in this thread if we can't talk about others besides Mac/Edberg.
And as creator of the thread I meant for it to be SERVE and volley thread. A strong effective serve like the one Sampras had give the player a lot of easy volleys that perhaps an Edberg would not have. Edberg may win the point also but he may have to handle a tougher volley given the same opponent.
 

Limpinhitter

G.O.A.T.
Wasn't it Kramer that said, (in his era anyway), "You're only as good as your second serve"

I don't remember Mac's second serve falling off much from his first and it still seemed effective.
After he switched to graphite, I saw him hit some ridiculous lefty kickers wide to the deuce court that were untouchable.
 

pmerk34

Legend
Wasn't it Kramer that said, (in his era anyway), "You're only as good as your second serve"

I don't remember Mac's second serve falling off much from his first and it still seemed effective.
I guess times have changed because neither Nadal nor Djokovic have great second serves
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
I guess times have changed because neither Nadal nor Djokovic have great second serves
Djokovic is considered now to gave a good second serve as opposed to a few years ago. He now wins 58% of of his second serve points.

Never been crazy about Nadal's second serve but he does win 56% of his second serves this year.

It never hurts obviously to have a great second serve. I really don't think times have changed in that way.
 

pmerk34

Legend
Djokovic is considered now to gave a good second serve as opposed to a few years ago. He now wins 58% of of his second serve points.

Never been crazy about Nadal's second serve but he does win 56% of his second serves this year.

It never hurts obviously to have a great second serve. I really don't think times have changed in that way.
They win a lot of their second serve points because they are great players and they aren't coming in behind it. They are great but their second serves are not.
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
They win a lot of their second serve points because they are great players and they aren't coming in behind it. They are great but their second serves are not.
True enough but I still think Kramer's words ring true even today and you don't have to be a serve and volleyer. Even a baseliner can of course benefit from the advantage of a great second serve to control the rally.
 

Azzurri

Legend
And as creator of the thread I meant for it to be SERVE and volley thread. A strong effective serve like the one Sampras had give the player a lot of easy volleys that perhaps an Edberg would not have. Edberg may win the point also but he may have to handle a tougher volley given the same opponent.
I have heard both sides of this arguement, yet I don't recall any of the great volleyer's noting it was tougher for Edberg or easier for Sampras based on their serves. Although Edberg did not have the monster serve Pete had, it was still amazing. His kick serve was nice (like Rafter's), but I would never call Edberg's serve a weakness. It was different. Almost as if the serve was made to set up his attacking volley game. Pete did not have this serve until after he already turned pro. but would love to read or hear anything that one of the greats mention regarding this two sided issue.
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
I have heard both sides of this arguement, yet I don't recall any of the great volleyer's noting it was tougher for Edberg or easier for Sampras based on their serves. Although Edberg did not have the monster serve Pete had, it was still amazing. His kick serve was nice (like Rafter's), but I would never call Edberg's serve a weakness. It was different. Almost as if the serve was made to set up his attacking volley game. Pete did not have this serve until after he already turned pro. but would love to read or hear anything that one of the greats mention regarding this two sided issue.
It's an interesting debate. My position is that Sampras had a better serve than Edberg, although Edberg had an excellent serve and I thought Pete had generally over a period of time overall easier volleys to handle off his opponent's returns. Edberg in my opinion had the superior volley but Sampras' volleys was excellent also. Overall if Edberg and Sampras were serve and volleying against the same opponents I would be of the opinion Sampras would win more points.

Any other opinions on this?

Another example is Becker and Rafter. Rafter is clearly the superior volleyer in my opinion but Becker had the mammoth serve to overcome that. This may be a poor comparison since in my opinion Becker was the clearly superior player at his best and over his career than Rafter.
 
Last edited:

pmerk34

Legend
It's an interesting debate. My position is that Sampras had a better serve than Edberg, although Edberg had an excellent serve and I thought Pete had generally over a period of time overall easier volleys to handle off his opponent's returns. Edberg in my opinion had the superior volley but Sampras' volleys was excellent also. Overall if Edberg and Sampras were serve and volleying against the same opponents I would be of the opinion Sampras would win more points.

Any other opinions on this?

Another example is Becker and Rafter. Rafter is clearly the superior volleyer in my opinion but Becker had the mammoth serve to overcome that. This may be a poor comparison since in my opinion Becker was the clearly superior player at his best and over his career than Rafter.
You mean BB Socrates
 

Limpinhitter

G.O.A.T.
It's an interesting debate. My position is that Sampras had a better serve than Edberg, although Edberg had an excellent serve and I thought Pete had generally over a period of time overall easier volleys to handle off his opponent's returns. Edberg in my opinion had the superior volley but Sampras' volleys was excellent also. Overall if Edberg and Sampras were serve and volleying against the same opponents I would be of the opinion Sampras would win more points.

Any other opinions on this?

Another example is Becker and Rafter. Rafter is clearly the superior volleyer in my opinion but Becker had the mammoth serve to overcome that. This may be a poor comparison since in my opinion Becker was the clearly superior player at his best and over his career than Rafter.
I like to think of Edberg's serve as the perfect S&V serve. He got so much kick on it that it was hard to attack, and it didn't have that much pace allowing him to close in to the net further than a big server could. But, Sampras hit so many unreturnable serves and got so many weak returns that one extra step wasn't that important for him. Agassi was the only player I remember making it an issue. It's a close call.
 

krosero

Legend
Overall if Edberg and Sampras were serve and volleying against the same opponents I would be of the opinion Sampras would win more points.
I would think so too, but Sampras would be winning a lot of those points with unreturned serves, simply due to the quality of his serve.
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
I would think so too, but Sampras would be winning a lot of those points with unreturned serves, simply due to the quality of his serve.
Truth enough. I would think the same would be truth of the Pancho Gonzalez serve and the John Newcombe serve. Do we call it a serve and volley point if the intent was a serve and volley but there was no need for the volley?
 

6-2/6-4/6-0

Semi-Pro
I'd argue if the serve is unreturned, then it's not a serve and volley point regardless of the server's intention to follow the ball to the net. This gets gray a bit, because everyone knew that on every first serve Edberg was coming in behind it and that caused a lot of returns to be dropped into the net or hit wide looking for the shot that would be hard for him to volley. In the same way, Sampras followed his big serves fairly regularly to the net, but not with the consistency of Edberg and he got more free points from the serve in and of itself rather than because of the pressure of coming in behind it.

Maybe the cleanest way to look at it is that a serve and volley point should require at least 2 touches by the server... In this regard, Edberg was the better S&V payer in my book. Pete may have had the better 'service game' where is serve was fairly regularly followed to the net, but in the one-two punch combination, I think Edberg was devastatingly relentless and had the better S&V game.
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
I'd argue if the serve is unreturned, then it's not a serve and volley point regardless of the server's intention to follow the ball to the net. This gets gray a bit, because everyone knew that on every first serve Edberg was coming in behind it and that caused a lot of returns to be dropped into the net or hit wide looking for the shot that would be hard for him to volley. In the same way, Sampras followed his big serves fairly regularly to the net, but not with the consistency of Edberg and he got more free points from the serve in and of itself rather than because of the pressure of coming in behind it.

Maybe the cleanest way to look at it is that a serve and volley point should require at least 2 touches by the server... In this regard, Edberg was the better S&V payer in my book. Pete may have had the better 'service game' where is serve was fairly regularly followed to the net, but in the one-two punch combination, I think Edberg was devastatingly relentless and had the better S&V game.
Good points but then there is the argument that of the serves returned that Sampras may have had more sitters to put away than Edberg. I will say that the serve and volley exhibition by Edberg against Courier in the US Open final was one of the greatest I have ever seen. It was so flowing and seemed so easy.

Too bad we can't study this. What I do know for a fact is that Sampras dominated the serving stats for the 1990's for percentage of holding serve. I think Sampras led the ATP in most years in this category during the 1990's.
 

pmerk34

Legend
Good points but then there is the argument that of the serves returned that Sampras may have had more sitters to put away than Edberg. I will say that the serve and volley exhibition by Edberg against Courier in the US Open final was one of the greatest I have ever seen. It was so flowing and seemed so easy.

Too bad we can't study this. What I do know for a fact is that Sampras dominated the serving stats for the 1990's for percentage of holding serve. I think Sampras led the ATP in most years in this category during the 1990's.
What is to study? You saw these guys play right? Edberg was a phenomenal tier 1 all time great volleyer. Sampras was an absurdly good volleyer, very graceful and spectacular but a notch below Stefan. Any player on tour now would kill for the Sampras net game.
 
Last edited:

BeHappy

Hall of Fame
What is to study? You saw these guys play right? Edberg was a phenomenal tier 1 all time great volleyer. Sampras was an absurdly good volleyer, very graceful and spectacular but a notch below Stefan. Any player on tour now would kill for the Sampras net game.
I'd agree with this. The most impressive thing with Edberg's volleys is the power in my opinion.
 

Tennishacker

Professional
Late to this thread.

IMO, I don't see how you could consider any player from different "era's" to be the, "GOAT" of play style, record or anything else.

In the 90-present era, I vote Smapras. His serve and volley earned 14 GS.
 

krosero

Legend
Do we call it a serve and volley point if the intent was a serve and volley but there was no need for the volley?
I would call it SV. Leo Levin once said in an interview that if a player comes to net, putting pressure on his opponent, and the opponent makes an error, then it goes down as a forced error.

Aces are an exception, though. In that case the server coming in had nothing to do with winning the point. You could also make an exception for serves that are judged to be unreturnable -- and by that I mean serves that are not merely unreturned, but unreturnable, in the judgment of the statiscian (often these serves are called service winners). I think you have to have such a category, and exclude it from SV, because unreturnable serves win the point by themselves.

I think NBC counted net points that way in the 1998 Wimbledon final.
 

krosero

Legend
Good points but then there is the argument that of the serves returned that Sampras may have had more sitters to put away than Edberg.
That's possible but I haven't seen stats that show this one way or another.

There's also the argument, mentioned by NonP, that Sampras' flat serves would come back at him faster, while he's still farther back from the net, compared to Edberg, whose serves were designed to allow him to get in as close as possible.

Again, statistically I don't know whether Sampras or Edberg had the easier volleys, when they were forced to volley (ie, when the return was successful). But I think a case can be made that whoever gets closer to the net is having the easier volleys.
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
That's possible but I haven't seen stats that show this one way or another.

There's also the argument, mentioned by NonP, that Sampras' flat serves would come back at him faster, while he's still farther back from the net, compared to Edberg, whose serves were designed to allow him to get in as close as possible.

Again, statistically I don't know whether Sampras or Edberg had the easier volleys, when they were forced to volley (ie, when the return was successful). But I think a case can be made that whoever gets closer to the net is having the easier volleys.
And from observation I think Edberg generally got in closer to the net than Sampras. Of course Edberg hit a lot of kick serves that gave him more time to get to the net.
 

pmerk34

Legend
And from observation I think Edberg generally got in closer to the net than Sampras. Of course Edberg hit a lot of kick serves that gave him more time to get to the net.
Well that was the point of his kick serve. I heard on these boards that Edberg had back injury as a junior and before that he had a bomb of a serve. Don't know if that is true.

I do know he killed a line judge
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
Well that was the point of his kick serve. I heard on these boards that Edberg had back injury as a junior and before that he had a bomb of a serve. Don't know if that is true.
Of course, that's why I mentioned it. :)

Two other players that closed in on the net quickly were Newcombe and McEnroe.
 

BrooklynNY

Hall of Fame
Last I checked, it's called Serve AND Volley

Sounds like there is 2 parts to this formula.

Not sure how you can discredit one person for having a fastly superior serve, and give extra credit to someone who puts themselves in more dangerous position, and are forced to come up crazy pickups and volleys more often.


If you had to choose between a great serve or great volleys, common sense tells you to take the serve. This isn't something to hold against someone. Sampras serve is better than Edbergs, and Edbergs volleys are slightly better than Sampras'.

Sampras having more sitters is a product of hard work and practice on his serve, and the result of having the balls to go for more on his serve.

I think you should get credit when it's an unreturned serve. You still have to be in that attacking mindset, and the returner knows that is your MO, so it adds extra pressure to hit a good return.

Sometimes that is enough to win points, I don't think we should discount that.
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
Sedgman,Hoad,Fraser and Roche.
Excellent serve and volleyers. Jack Kramer once wrote that almost anything that Sedgman got his racquet on at the net was a putaway.

Last I checked, it's called Serve AND Volley

Sounds like there is 2 parts to this formula.

Not sure how you can discredit one person for having a fastly superior serve, and give extra credit to someone who puts themselves in more dangerous position, and are forced to come up crazy pickups and volleys more often.


If you had to choose between a great serve or great volleys, common sense tells you to take the serve. This isn't something to hold against someone. Sampras serve is better than Edbergs, and Edbergs volleys are slightly better than Sampras'.

Sampras having more sitters is a product of hard work and practice on his serve, and the result of having the balls to go for more on his serve.

I think you should get credit when it's an unreturned serve. You still have to be in that attacking mindset, and the returner knows that is your MO, so it adds extra pressure to hit a good return.

Sometimes that is enough to win points, I don't think we should discount that.
Good points.
 

pmerk34

Legend
Last I checked, it's called Serve AND Volley

Sounds like there is 2 parts to this formula.

Not sure how you can discredit one person for having a fastly superior serve, and give extra credit to someone who puts themselves in more dangerous position, and are forced to come up crazy pickups and volleys more often.


If you had to choose between a great serve or great volleys, common sense tells you to take the serve. This isn't something to hold against someone. Sampras serve is better than Edbergs, and Edbergs volleys are slightly better than Sampras'.

Sampras having more sitters is a product of hard work and practice on his serve, and the result of having the balls to go for more on his serve.

I think you should get credit when it's an unreturned serve. You still have to be in that attacking mindset, and the returner knows that is your MO, so it adds extra pressure to hit a good return.

Sometimes that is enough to win points, I don't think we should discount that.
The idea that Sampras had the best serve only because of "had work" and practice is absurd.
 

pmerk34

Legend
Though Mcenroe was not the most powerful s&v, he was the most exciting to watch. His natural talents where next to none.
All great players have natural talents. McEnroe wished for Lavers forearm's. Edbergs wrist and forearms were like Iron and he had perfect balance. Sampras could run and jump and has a shoulder of steel. Lendl was strong, quick and had great stamina. Andre Agassi has superior hand eye coordination and timing. Jim Courier had a live arm that then went dead.
 

Tennishacker

Professional
All great players have natural talents. McEnroe wished for Lavers forearm's. Edbergs wrist and forearms were like Iron and he had perfect balance. Sampras could run and jump and has a shoulder of steel. Lendl was strong, quick and had great stamina. Andre Agassi has superior hand eye coordination and timing. Jim Courier had a live arm that then went dead.
Yes, all great players have natural talent, some just have more than others. It's well known that Mcenroe really never practised (thus played dbls. instead), where as Lendl was a work horse on and off the court. As for Edberg, IMO he looked like it was hard work, serve and volleying.
 
Top