Greatest FH volley of all time?

Greatest forehand volleyer of all time?

  • John McEnroe

    Votes: 18 40.9%
  • Pete Sampras

    Votes: 9 20.5%
  • Pat Rafter

    Votes: 3 6.8%
  • Stefan Edberg

    Votes: 2 4.5%
  • Roger Federer

    Votes: 7 15.9%
  • Tim Henman

    Votes: 1 2.3%
  • John Newcombe

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Marcelo Rios

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Pre-OE player(Laver, Rosewall, Sedgman, etc)

    Votes: 2 4.5%
  • Other (Comment below!)

    Votes: 2 4.5%

  • Total voters
    44

King No1e

G.O.A.T.
It's commonly said that Edberg had the GOAT backhand volley, but how about the forehand wing? Is it McEnroe with his magical touch, Sampras for his clinical efficiency, Rafter's impeccable topspin drive volley, Federer's finesse and skill, or someone else entirely?

Vote and discuss!
 

GabeT

G.O.A.T.
Are we adjusting for the different speeds players had to face when hitting those volleys?
 

GabeT

G.O.A.T.
Or the fact with poly, unless its a perfectly executed approach shot, you don't even get a chance to volley
Which makes Federer much more impressive having to close down a much larger angle
I don’t get this strange TTW custom of comparing tennis across time but never take into account the dramatic differences in tech and playing styles. Mac, as an example, never faced the 100 mph passing shots we see today. So who knows how his volleying skills would have fared in modern times?
 
I don’t get this strange TTW custom of comparing tennis across time but never take into account the dramatic differences in tech and playing styles. Mac, as an example, never faced the 100 mph passing shots we see today. So who knows how his volleying skills would have fared in modern times?
Mac did face the first two "modern" players, Agassi and Lendl, so he did face the occasional bullet passing shots similar to what we see today.
 

Kralingen

Hall of Fame
I don’t get this strange TTW custom of comparing tennis across time but never take into account the dramatic differences in tech and playing styles. Mac, as an example, never faced the 100 mph passing shots we see today. So who knows how his volleying skills would have fared in modern times?
Maybe things would be different with poly, and he couldn’t play as close to net as he did, but McEnroe still made SFs at Wimbledon in the 90s. Agassi hit harder than anyone and Mac’s volleys were still very good against him.

The thing with McEnroe is he has as more Doubles Slams than singles Slams. If his volleys weren’t truly elite that’s simply not possible. I give him the benefit of the doubt bc of his doubles prowess.
 

ibbi

Legend
I don’t get this strange TTW custom of comparing tennis across time but never take into account the dramatic differences in tech and playing styles. Mac, as an example, never faced the 100 mph passing shots we see today. So who knows how his volleying skills would have fared in modern times?
I'd like Johnny Mac's ability to hit a volley off a 100mph pass with a modern racquet a lot more than I'd like most of the players todays chances of volleying with the kinds of things he played with.
 
Here's an 85 year old Mac handling a couple of pretty hard shots straight at him. A prime Mac would have done (and did) just fine against the hard shots hit by modern players (see earlier post re: Agassi and Lendl(

 

GabeT

G.O.A.T.
Mac did face the first two "modern" players, Agassi and Lendl, so he did face the occasional bullet passing shots similar to what we see today.
Maybe things would be different with poly, and he couldn’t play as close to net as he did, but McEnroe still made SFs at Wimbledon in the 90s. Agassi hit harder than anyone and Mac’s volleys were still very good against him.

The thing with McEnroe is he has as more Doubles Slams than singles Slams. If his volleys weren’t truly elite that’s simply not possible. I give him the benefit of the doubt bc of his doubles prowess.
I'd like Johnny Mac's ability to hit a volley off a 100mph pass with a modern racquet a lot more than I'd like most of the players todays chances of volleying with the kinds of things he played with.
the point is that Jmac‘s volley developed in a world where tennis was played very differently. And he adapted well to that world. But we can’t simply assume that if he were facing the kind of tennis played today he would still retain those same volleying skills. Anyone who’s played tennis knows that even a few extra mph makes it more difficult to volley.

which goes back to my original point. All these time travel tennis threads are based on the idea that a former ATG would quickly adapt to modern tech and strings and maintain the same elite level. And there’s nothing to support that.
 

D.Nalby12

G.O.A.T.
Just watching few minutes of highlights i know old era players like Henman, Sampras, Edberg had better volleys than Federer. Not sure who was the best among them. Never seen them live..
 

ibbi

Legend
the point is that Jmac‘s volley developed in a world where tennis was played very differently. And he adapted well to that world. But we can’t simply assume that if he were facing the kind of tennis played today he would still retain those same volleying skills. Anyone who’s played tennis knows that even a few extra mph makes it more difficult to volley.

which goes back to my original point. All these time travel tennis threads are based on the idea that a former ATG would quickly adapt to modern tech and strings and maintain the same elite level. And there’s nothing to support that.
Tennis is quite clearly easier to play than it ever has been. The strings and racquets give you more assistance than has ever been the case, the added power and way the courts have been altered to counter that have made it as one dimensional as it ever has been. This is the primary reason we have greater depth in the game than ever has been.

The idea that people who were able to master the sport at its toughest wouldn't be able to adapt to the sport today when the bar has been so lowered is a massive, massive stretch.

The only question is whether or not the players of yesteryear would be willing to put in the dedication and work physically to make it at the top level, as that is clearly at a whole other level of professionalism today than it ever has been, but that has nothing to do with tennis, it's pretty universal across sports in general.

It's certainly a far more believably easier obstacle to overcome than expecting the players today to play on courts with low bounce, bad bounce, and with racquets that actually require you to put in a great deal of effort to accomplish anything.
 

tex123

Professional
It's commonly said that Edberg had the GOAT backhand volley, but how about the forehand wing? Is it McEnroe with his magical touch, Sampras for his clinical efficiency, Rafter's impeccable topspin drive volley, Federer's finesse and skill, or someone else entirely?

Vote and discuss!
I don't know why Federer is even mentioned in the volleying department. Just because he's the most graceful player does not mean he knows how to do everything. None of the current generation have the volleying skills of Sampras or McEnroe or Edberg. NONE. These guys volleyed their way to Grand Slam titles. It was their bread and butter shot.
 
the point is that Jmac‘s volley developed in a world where tennis was played very differently. And he adapted well to that world. But we can’t simply assume that if he were facing the kind of tennis played today he would still retain those same volleying skills. Anyone who’s played tennis knows that even a few extra mph makes it more difficult to volley.

which goes back to my original point. All these time travel tennis threads are based on the idea that a former ATG would quickly adapt to modern tech and strings and maintain the same elite level. And there’s nothing to support that.
But he did face the kind of tennis played today. Again, he faced Agassi who was essentially the first player who played the kind of tennis played today. And btw, he also faced Lendl, who had a pretty impressive H2H record against Agassi, and who was himself right on the edge of being considered a "modern" player.
 
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GabeT

G.O.A.T.
Tennis is quite clearly easier to play than it ever has been. The strings and racquets give you more assistance than has ever been the case, the added power and way the courts have been altered to counter that have made it as one dimensional as it ever has been. This is the primary reason we have greater depth in the game than ever has been.

The idea that people who were able to master the sport at its toughest wouldn't be able to adapt to the sport today when the bar has been so lowered is a massive, massive stretch.

The only question is whether or not the players of yesteryear would be willing to put in the dedication and work physically to make it at the top level, as that is clearly at a whole other level of professionalism today than it ever has been, but that has nothing to do with tennis, it's pretty universal across sports in general.

It's certainly a far more believably easier obstacle to overcome than expecting the players today to play on courts with low bounce, bad bounce, and with racquets that actually require you to put in a great deal of effort to accomplish anything.
I’m not sure what you mean by tennis being “easier” to play today. Certain aspects are easier. It’s a lot easier to hit a ball with pace and precision today than in Jmac’s time.

But because that is easier it has made other aspects of tennis more difficult. Volleying has become more difficult because the ball is reaching players at faster speeds and because the opposing player, having greater precision, can aim more comfortably for angles.

Volleying didn’t diminish in importance in the modern game because coaches somehow forgot to teach it or because new generations somehow lack the ability to learn it. It became less relevant because new tech made it less effective.

If Jmac from 1980/81 were transported in time to today’s Wimbledon and given a modern racquet and strings that wouldn’t make it “easy” for him. If he tried to serve and volley he’d find out very quickly why that’s hardly used anymore.

Could that hypothetical Jmac adapt to modern tennis in a short period of time? Obviously this is not really answerable but I would say no. Everything we know about elite tennis training indicates even comparatively small changes (like the weight or size of the racquet) can take months to adjust. There is nothing to support the idea that a time traveling Jmac could adjust quickly (say a few weeks) to the modern game while playing at an elite level. The same is true for time travel to the past and trying to imagine one of the Big 3 playing with wooden racquets, for example.
 
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