Greatest Volleyers of All Time

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by hoodjem, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. skaj

    skaj Semi-Pro

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    I didn't see Rios in this thread, he should definitely be considered.

    Also, Mauresmo and Gasquet deserve a mention.
     
  2. thrust

    thrust Hall of Fame

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    IMO, Federer is a tier one volleyer, even though he was not primarily a serve and volley player.
     
  3. NatF

    NatF Bionic Poster

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    He hit some incredible volleys yesterday against Stan. He's in tier 1 as far as 'great hands' go.
     
  4. tom williams

    tom williams New User

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    i have seen most of these players i would have included Conzales ,Hoad and Emerson in tier one, Hoad at the net was lightening fast.TW
     
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  5. NatF

    NatF Bionic Poster

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    @thrust



    GOAT serve & volley from Federer ;)
     
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  6. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    THE FEDERERING ?
     
  7. tom williams

    tom williams New User

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  8. tom williams

    tom williams New User

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    Gee i do not know about that have you seen Hoad and Rosewall in doubles i have.TW
     
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  9. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne G.O.A.T.

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    tom, I envy you...
     
  10. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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  11. newmark401

    newmark401 Professional

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  12. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    I'll mention a few top names that some may not think of immediately.
    Frank Sedgman-Many feel he was the best volleyer of all time
    Pancho Segura
    Borotra
    Jack Kramer-He's among the top few volleyers ever. As great as Pancho Gonzalez was as a volleyer, it seems to me that most who saw both favored Kramer
    Roy Emerson
    Tony Trabert
    John Newcombe
    Tony Roche
    Vinnie Richards-Known for being perhaps the best volleyer of the 1920s

    Here's Sedgman against Segura.
    http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/v...-pro-tennis-tournement-news-footage/594665767

    Here's Kramer against rookie Pro Gonzalez
     
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  13. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    Ted Schroeder was a great volleyer also.
     
  14. chrisb

    chrisb Semi-Pro

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    Not close no one was better then J Mac, saw everybody from Kramer play nobody had better hands then him
     
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  15. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    Could be. He was amazing at his best.
     
  16. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    You are consistent.
     
  17. NatF

    NatF Bionic Poster

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    Hands =/=net game. Federer's feel for the ball is tier 1, you disagree?
     
  18. Olli Jokinen

    Olli Jokinen Rookie

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    Leconte was much better.
     
  19. chrisb

    chrisb Semi-Pro

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    Todays players cannot volley as well as players before poly strings. The passing shots have much more pace (speed + spin} Fed is the best volleyer of today players IMO But JM was the best I ever saw
     
  20. NatF

    NatF Bionic Poster

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    JMac, Edberg, Rafter, Cash are all top draw and faced at least graphite era passing shots - though most of Mac's success was prior to that.
     
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  21. chrisb

    chrisb Semi-Pro

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    yes they all were great net players, but none are todays players. Sampras is in that first tier also, but IMO Mac was the best of all time
     
  22. NatF

    NatF Bionic Poster

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    Sampras is just below those guys IMO, like tier 1-B - he's up there with anyone for half-volleys though. If we're looking just at his later career Sampras might make it into that group but in his early years he wasn't significantly below those fella's.

    Guys like Rosewall, Roche, Pancho, Sedgman, Newcombe and Laver deserve mentions for the wood and pre-open era. I think we can assume those guys would be top tier volleyers even facing harder and spinnier passing shots.
     
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  23. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Tony Roche.
     
  24. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Sedgman.
     
  25. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    I haven’t seen enough of Sedgman to have a very strong opinion.
     
  26. thrust

    thrust Hall of Fame

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    I never saw Sedgman at all. Too bad Hoad could not play longer as I never saw him play either, which is a shame, mostly because he seems to have been one of the very best on a given day.
     
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  27. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, too bad about Hoad. Laver suggests that when Hoad was on his game, it was the greatest tennis ever.


    Very surprisingly, I learned recently that Sedgman did not retire until 1976.
     
  28. Simon_the_furry

    Simon_the_furry Hall of Fame

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    I would say Leander Paes.
    If Paes played in the wooden racquet era, he would be among the GOATs.
     
  29. TheRed

    TheRed Professional

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    I don't mean to be condescending but have you consistently served and volleyed yourself? I ask because most guys under the age of 40 don't really have much personal experience with S and volleying and frankly, the net game is much much more than good hands. If good hands were the only criterion, Nadal (and many clay courters) would be a tier one volleyers. If you watch Pat Rafter, you would be shocked at how average his hands were. He wasn't usually hitting incredible touch and angle volleys. But he is very much a tier one volleyer.
    Good volleying requires good instincts on when to come in, at what angle to come in on, when to hit set up volleys and when to hit putaway volleys. It also requires good anticipation and the ability to close off the net quickly. Rafter was a monster at the net even though I'd consider his ability to hit touch shots fairly average. That's because he did everything else, especially closing off the net, incredibly well.
    By the way, I do agree that Federer is now a Tier 1 volleyer and in some ways, a more natural volleyer than Sampras was.
     
  30. thrust

    thrust Hall of Fame

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    I agree! I always thought that Rafter was one of the greatest natural volleyers, I ever saw.
     
  31. NatF

    NatF Bionic Poster

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    I think you misunderstood me. I was saying Federer has great hands - arguably tier 1 hands - but wasn't in tier 1 in terms of net game...

    People might understand different things from the words volleys, hands and netgame. I think volley should be pretty self explanatory but when I say hands I mean angles, half-volleys, controlling the ball etc...Netgame is the whole package including the tennis IQ, movement and anticipation. For me Federer doesn't come forward enough for me to feel comfortable putting in the top tier for net game.

    I think we probably agree with each other in essence.
     
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  32. axlrose

    axlrose Rookie

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    Really? Sir Rod Laver implies that peak Hoad was the peak of peaks?
     
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  33. NatF

    NatF Bionic Poster

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    Laver, Rosewall and Gonzalez all say/sais Hoad was the best they faced or best ever on his day.

    Laver also said Hoad vs Federer would be the greatest match ever.
     
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  34. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    From all the material I’ve read over the years two names stand out for the mythical greatest of all time when they are playing their best. The two are first Ellsworth Vines and second Lew Hoad. Others mentioned often are Rod Laver, Frank Kovacs, Bill Tilden, Kramer, Frank Sedgman (fast surfaces) and Pancho Gonzalez.

    I like the description and scenario given by Bobby Riggs. He said Vines was the best but if you had a tournament where the loser has to jump off a bridge, under those circumstances he felt that Gonzalez, under pressure may very well rise to the top.

    Now these are opinions years ago so we don’t have guys are Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Sampras, del Potro, Borg, Nastase, Korda, McEnroe, Becker, Edberg, Agassi, Lendl, Leconte, Mecir and Connors considered. They also don’t take into account the surface.
    Edit--
    Incidentally my vote for best volleyer would be Sedgman, Edberg or McEnroe. Kramer is very close also and those who saw Kramer and Gonzalez usually went with Kramer. Not only were the volleys of these strong and penetrating with few errors but the range at the net was great.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
  35. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Roche's volleying in this highlight video is just amazing.

     
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  36. WCT

    WCT Semi-Pro

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    Laver's ain't exactly shabby there either. I think I first saw that video several years back. Talk about a volleying clinic.
     
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  37. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Yes. I believe in his list of greats, he has Hoad no. 1 in the pre-Open era.
     
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  38. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Yes. This is how you serve and volley.

    A clinic.
     
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  39. WYK

    WYK Professional

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    You don't win 7 WImbledons, and
    A nemic.

    The last era of S&V lived and died with Sampras. That was when S&V was at it's height, when the S&V game was the most difficult to play and required the most from it's practicioners, and when the game required the most accuracy, athleticism, control, finesse, and prowess. I would put Becker and Sampras at the top of the entire history of the S&V game, and all the others fight for the other spots.
     
  40. TheRed

    TheRed Professional

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    Hmm. Above Edberg and Rafter? They pretty much played in Sampras and Becker's era and were superior volleyers. Sampras was a solid volleyer but that's not the only reason why he won Wimbledon 7 times. He had a top 3 serve and top 5 volleys. That's what did it. But I don't consider his volleying astounding. he was very textbook and obviously someone who trained to become a good volleyer (I think he even said he played more baseline and had a 2 hand backhand in the juniors) but he was never as stifling or as natural a mover at the net as Edberg or Rafter. That still puts him pretty high up there in the echelon of S and volleyers. Becker was pretty much an earlier version of Sampras. Sampras was a bit more accurate on serve and a faster around the court but Becker had a better backhand.

    Overall though, I agree. It's not that Laver and Roche were inferior volleyers but it's just not easy to judge their skill when they are volleying balls hit by 75 sq in racquets with less spin and power.
     
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  41. NatF

    NatF Bionic Poster

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    S&V was actually declining in the 90's. Besides Rafter and Sampras in his late career players weren't experiencing top level success outside of Wimbledon playing S&V.

    Sampras got better at the net as his career went on, back in 1994 the commies were saying "He's no Edberg" about his net skills.
     
  42. KG1965

    KG1965 Legend

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    I think that it's important the difference between a champion who has a great net-game (Federer is one of these, but also Nadal) and a champion who constantly uses the net-game, his game is mostly volleyball, s & v, approach to net.

    The constant search of the net-game is the difference.
    Nastase, Connors, Borg, Nadal, Federer have had a good net-game but cann't be considered = Roche, Hoad, Rosewall, Laver, Newk, Tanner, Mac, Cash, Edberg, Rafter etc .. who were constantly on the net.
     
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  43. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    NatF and TheRed said it well.



    BTW: “its practitioners”
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  44. TheRed

    TheRed Professional

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    Direct from Sampras in an NPR interview:
    Mr. SAMPRAS: Well, I think it was the point of my junior career. I wasn't getting any better, I was sort of a typical counter puncher two-handed backhand, couldn't volley, couldn't serve and Pete just sort of had this idea to get to me to serve and volley. So I pretty much cold turkey went away from the two-hander and started hitting the one-hander. It was a tough decision, but I stuck with it and I think it was just more of the big picture that he saw was be more concerned about what I was going to be at 18 or 19 versus at 14 and so…
     
  45. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Legend

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    Kramer? Gonzales?
     
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  46. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Legend

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    How would Sampras do with the old racquets? Competitive with Laver?
     
  47. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    I suspect that’s because you haven’t seen the others play. Sampras was a great volleyer and a great net player, but there have been a few greater than him, and a few more greater than Becker.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  48. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    I think so. Especially on grass.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  49. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Legend

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    It would depend upon how well Sampras could serve with wood.
     
  50. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Who do you think served better with a wood racquet? In my view, Sampras would have the best serve in tennis with a wood racquet.
     

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