How Good Are Mischa Zverev's Volleys?

Kylo Reed

Rookie
Mischa Zverev is one of the only serve and volley players left on the ATP tour.

He has a career high of 25 and has beat such players as Murray. Considering he's the opponents he goes up against, with #25 as his career high, would you consider him one of the GVOAT (greatest volleys of all time)?

Of course, his serve, forehand, and backhand ground strokes are less than ideal in comparison to other top players or the greats, I am strictly talking about his volley game.

If not, what weaknesses do you see in his net game? Does his having a two handed backhand play any affect?
 

QuentinFederer

Professional
Mischa is a great volleyer. If the courts played faster he’d be able to achieve a lot more, although that’s not to say he hasn’t already done well. He’s come back from some career threatening injuries, reached a peak of world 25, won a 250 title this year, and 2017 Aus Open quarter final.
 

Kylo Reed

Rookie
Good enough to beat Murray in AO and not good enough to take single game vs Federer on grass.
I heard on another thread that Murray generally doesn't deal with serve and volley players well. Federer pretty much owns Mischa but that might have more to do with Zverev's serve.
 

Kylo Reed

Rookie
Mischa is a great volleyer. If the courts played faster he’d be able to achieve a lot more, although that’s not to say he hasn’t already done well. He’s come back from some career threatening injuries, reached a peak of world 25, won a 250 title this year, and 2017 Aus Open quarter final.
Yeah, good points. I wonder how he'd do in the open era - I think his "touch" is nothing extra ordinary but his footwork is pretty solid.
 

Kylo Reed

Rookie
I think we discuss this only because he's probably the only S&V now. Thirty years ago he was considered as an average player.
Indeed, the discussion is valid because he is one of the only serve and volley players on the tour. Keeping in mind he's playing against a bunch of superhuman athletes with poly strings and slow courts, if he is this successful in today's game, what is to say he wouldn't be exceptional under better conditions? How well do you think Pancho Gonzales or Rod Laver would do in today's tennis (only accounting their volley game)?
 

Wurm

Semi-Pro
MZverev's a very good player but compared to the 90s guys he's bang average for a pro when it comes to volleying... which makes him better than 99% of players on the tour right now.

I heard on another thread that Murray generally doesn't deal with serve and volley players well.
Murray had one iffy match when he was under the weather with shingles and now he doesn't deal with S&V well. Give me a break.
 

BorgCash

Legend
Indeed, the discussion is valid because he is one of the only serve and volley players on the tour. Keeping in mind he's playing against a bunch of superhuman athletes with poly strings and slow courts, if he is this successful in today's game, what is to say he wouldn't be exceptional under better conditions? How well do you think Pancho Gonzales or Rod Laver would do in today's tennis (only accounting their volley game)?
I think both will be good, especially Laver who was all round player and athlete with such a great volley game.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
Mischa Zverev is one of the only serve and volley players left on the ATP tour.

He has a career high of 25 and has beat such players as Murray. Considering he's the opponents he goes up against, with #25 as his career high, would you consider him one of the GVOAT (greatest volleys of all time)?

Of course, his serve, forehand, and backhand ground strokes are less than ideal in comparison to other top players or the greats, I am strictly talking about his volley game.

If not, what weaknesses do you see in his net game? Does his having a two handed backhand play any affect?
Mischa is a great athlete, but he doesn't have the touch volleys and creativity of great S&V such as Edberg, Rafter, and McEnroe.

 

BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
Mischa may have the best volleys of any active player, but he's not remotely in the league of Edberg, Mac, Becker, Pete or Rafter. Nowhere close, nowhere in the same hemisphere. He's only noteworthy now because he's the sole remaining serve and volleyer. Stefan even at age 52 volleys better than Mischa.
 

davced1

Hall of Fame
I think he's about as good a volleyer as most of the players up until the 80's where. He just seems to be a very good volleyer now because there are so few. Just watch Nastase - Ashe US Open '72 and you will get my point.
 

Bukmeikara

Legend
Mischa is a great athlete, but he doesn't have the touch volleys and creativity of great S&V such as Edberg, Rafter, and McEnroe.

Maybe true but from what I have heard, modern racquets cant create the "feel, creative and touch" as the wooden ones and Misha cant be held responsible for that. As good as Edberg and Becker were, with their style of play they would be at best borderline top 10 in the modern era. What do you think?
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
Maybe true but from what I have heard, modern racquets cant create the "feel, creative and touch" as the wooden ones and Misha cant be held responsible for that. As good as Edberg and Becker were, with their style of play they would be at best borderline top 10 in the modern era. What do you think?
Well, Edberg and Becker didn't play with wooden rackets either :)

Speed up the "modern" courts to what they were in the 90's, and Edberg/Becker attacking style could be very competitive...
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Well, Edberg and Becker didn't play with wooden rackets either :)

Speed up the "modern" courts to what they were in the 90's, and Edberg/Becker attacking style could be very competitive...
You ever play with one of Becker's racquets?

J
 

Kylo Reed

Rookie
Maybe true but from what I have heard, modern racquets cant create the "feel, creative and touch" as the wooden ones and Misha cant be held responsible for that. As good as Edberg and Becker were, with their style of play they would be at best borderline top 10 in the modern era. What do you think?
Exactly. I don't see Mischa as a "touch volleyer". Most of his volleys are driven deep toward the baseline which I've observed is quiet effective. Besides, with the high bouncing courts and fast legs of modern players, "touch" volleying doesn't work as effectively anymore.
 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
Greatest is just LMAO, man, watch some of Henman's incredible drop volleys and get back to me. And to address a post above, they all had great drive volleys too be it Edberg/Henman/Rafter/Sampras, so it's not like you take away the drop volley and they would be unable to make one at all at the net. FWIW Rafter did produce some delectable touch again at the IPTL so maybe the difference is less about racquets and about heavy handed technique at the net from modern players used to staying back most of the time.

Now why is MZ noticeably more effective than most others today at the net? For one, he has great footwork. Even Fed is guilty of getting too casual at the net once in a while, mostly to show off, and then it ends up costing him the point sometimes. Mischa is always in a solid position, alert and ready to pounce upon the attempted pass, just the way the old school volleyers used to be. Netgame is aggressive, not showboating (Fed cleaned up his netgame with Edberg, no surprises there). Mischa's footwork helps him compensate for how slow he actually is. He doesn't have great reflexes which is a must at the net but because he is so good at staying balanced even as he dives left, then right, he puts himself in a good position to make one more volley.

Another thing and this is the underrated aspect of his game: his approaches. He has these weird looking very flat approach shots. Go, imitate them, my fellow rec hacks. I tried and they are very effective. Today, players are so used to heavy topspin and the ball getting up to a nice hitting height that they are not very comfortable dealing with these flat approaches that keep low. These flat approaches also let you go shorter than you'd want to if you were applying topspin. Why? Because flat balls die on the counterpuncher and force him to step forward. This is where Murray got in trouble on a bad day for him (and on a fastish surface on a hot day). Players are so used to waiting for the approaches and volleys to get to them that they are not very effective in dealing with ones where they need to be more proactive. We saw how under lights (and therefore slower conditions) Fed nuked MZ by doing precisely that, taking those few steps forward into the court and preempt MZ. Fed always does this against MZ. His matches against MZ are usually very attractive and also very one sided.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
@IowaGuy But as you know, both Boris and Stefan grew up playing with wooden rackets and neither switched to graphite until 1980/81.


Stefan was playing with graphite by '81.



Cute bonus pic:
Is your theory that, having used wooden rackets, the touch with graphite is then better - compared to players who never played wood?
 

Kylo Reed

Rookie
Greatest is just LMAO, man, watch some of Henman's incredible drop volleys and get back to me. And to address a post above, they all had great drive volleys too be it Edberg/Henman/Rafter/Sampras, so it's not like you take away the drop volley and they would be unable to make one at all at the net. FWIW Rafter did produce some delectable touch again at the IPTL so maybe the difference is less about racquets and about heavy handed technique at the net from modern players used to staying back most of the time.

Now why is MZ noticeably more effective than most others today at the net? For one, he has great footwork. Even Fed is guilty of getting too casual at the net once in a while, mostly to show off, and then it ends up costing him the point sometimes. Mischa is always in a solid position, alert and ready to pounce upon the attempted pass, just the way the old school volleyers used to be. Netgame is aggressive, not showboating (Fed cleaned up his netgame with Edberg, no surprises there). Mischa's footwork helps him compensate for how slow he actually is. He doesn't have great reflexes which is a must at the net but because he is so good at staying balanced even as he dives left, then right, he puts himself in a good position to make one more volley.

Another thing and this is the underrated aspect of his game: his approaches. He has these weird looking very flat approach shots. Go, imitate them, my fellow rec hacks. I tried and they are very effective. Today, players are so used to heavy topspin and the ball getting up to a nice hitting height that they are not very comfortable dealing with these flat approaches that keep low. These flat approaches also let you go shorter than you'd want to if you were applying topspin. Why? Because flat balls die on the counterpuncher and force him to step forward. This is where Murray got in trouble on a bad day for him (and on a fastish surface on a hot day). Players are so used to waiting for the approaches and volleys to get to them that they are not very effective in dealing with ones where they need to be more proactive. We saw how under lights (and therefore slower conditions) Fed nuked MZ by doing precisely that, taking those few steps forward into the court and preempt MZ. Fed always does this against MZ. His matches against MZ are usually very attractive and also very one sided.
Well said Dolgo85. Perfect analysis.
 
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