What's the main reason Serve and Volley has died out?

What's the Main reason serve and volley has died out?

  • Court speeds

    Votes: 12 25.0%
  • Strings

    Votes: 26 54.2%
  • Coaching

    Votes: 10 20.8%

  • Total voters
    48

SamprasisGOAT

Professional
As its the grass court season I thought this would be good to talk about. Because it kills me seeing people like Murray Nadal and Djokovic winning Wimbledon.

It's probably a combination of things really but I want to know what people think is the main reason for it.

We just don't see your beckers, mcenroes, edbergs, rafters and Sampras anymore.

It personally think its coaching to blame. No coaches anywhere are willing to teach it. And you have to start at a very young age. Somewhere between 8-14.
 
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mistik

Hall of Fame
Surface slow down exaggerated a lot on this side. The main reason we see less serve and volley is the modern racquets gives players a lot of power to return well and hit the ball really hard. Serve volley looks more and more suicidal if it isnt used as a surprise tactic or if players come to the net with weak shots. You didnt need perfect shots to come to the net in 70s 80s players didnt have this kind of power to pass you.
 

SamprasisGOAT

Professional
Surface slow down exaggerated a lot on this side. The main reason we see less serve and volley is the modern racquets gives players a lot of power to return well and hit the ball really hard. Serve volley looks more and more suicidal if it isnt used as a surprise tactic or if players come to the net with weak shots. You didnt need perfect shots to come to the net in 70s 80s players didnt have this kind of power to pass you.
I think court speed is pretty much the same as always too. I don't think its courts at all. The balls play a little slower these days but it shouldn't matter to much.

But when it comes to strings don't you think the strings would also help the serve and volley player? They can serve bigger and get weaker returns?

I still think it's coaching and the fact kids don't stick at it these days.
 

mistik

Hall of Fame
I think court speed is pretty much the same as always too. I don't think its courts at all. The balls play a little slower these days but it shouldn't matter to much.

But when it comes to strings don't you think the strings would also help the serve and volley player? They can serve bigger and get weaker returns?

I still think it's coaching and the fact kids don't stick at it these days.
İt helps to serve better but if you cant make clear winner in the volley it becomes too risky again.You just cant give a second look for a pass to the players in the modern game. Thats why todays game is more about not serve and volley but big serve fallowed by big forehand.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
Poly strings, without doubt. They enable players to hit balls during rallies with a consistent depth and authority that they couldn't do with gut strings. As a result, play is mostly confined to the baseline on all surfaces.

But when it comes to strings don't you think the strings would also help the serve and volley player? They can serve bigger and get weaker returns?
But that's just it, they don't get weaker returns. They get returns that are better than ever, precisely because of the margin of error allowed by the increased spin on the ball enabled by poly strings. There's also an extra dimension in the angles of the returns.

If a player constantly serves and volleys today, they are going to get passed an awful lot, despite the big serves.
 
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Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
I think the tennis authorities wanted the consistent rivalries back, which they could constantly market to the public. That was difficult in the 1990s due to the power in tennis that there had never been before, yet there was still gut strings. This meant that a lot of players did their best work on clay with gruelling baseline rallies, while the more attacking and instinctive players preferred hardcourt and indoors. Totally different gamestyles tended to thrive on different surfaces, and players could generally pick and choose where they played and how often.

Since then, we've had compulsory tournaments introduced at every level meaning that the top players are meeting each other much more often, an increase to 32 seeds in the majors (which protects the top 16 players, and protects players 17-32 even more), and poly strings dominating, meaning that play is mostly confined to the baseline, making tennis easier to totally master as a sport.
 

Enga

Hall of Fame
I think in the future, there will be someone who figures out, or rediscover the secrets, to serve and volleying as a primary tactic. I think this because I often feel that today's seem shy at the net. When they go to the net, they dont play the percentages at all. They go for drop volleys 50 percent or the time, which is an old clay court tactic. They never just go for a good, solid volley, they go for something fancy.

I see total reluctance, especially in the younger players. I've seen Kyrgios go lazy footed, and give up as soon as he doesnt hit a winner.

So, how can we know if Edberg or Sampras style serve and volleying works or not if less than 10 pro players play like that today?

If you look at past serve and volleyers, I think their footwork when moving forward was vastly superior. They split step at the right moment, they stayed active. When they say "apply pressure", they meant it. They rarely gave up, they stayed active and focused. Today, their opponent hits a winner passing shot, but usually the net person has their racket dropped and is turning away already.

The few times I've seen successful modern serve and volleying is when they had good footwork, stayed sharp, and played the percentage shot. I've seen many instances of a pro netting a passing shot attempt, so could you imagine if they faced a player who knew how to play the net?
 

TennisCJC

Legend
1. strings
2. rackets
3. court surfaces: slower hardcourts and higher bounce on grass

We could restrict rackets and strings and make S&V a much bigger part of the game but I doubt we will see it happen. At this point, I would leave grass alone as it is still promotes aggressive play. Hard court surfaces should be regulated to have a specific "speed factor" that could be measured. We should go back to about 2004 or 2005 US Open speeds on all hard and indoor courts.

I think the change to slow speeds on indoor and outdoor hard courts has eliminated attacking players. If players could earn more money by playing aggressively on hard courts for most of the year, then we would see aggressive styles winning at Wimbledon. Then, baseline grinding would be restricted to the clay season. I do think the equipment changes, poly strings and rackets, have made the most impact but it is highly unlikely that any governing body will restrict equipment to eliminate what is already in use.
 
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sliceroni

Hall of Fame
Balls and courts.
Those that played in the late 80's and 90's will notice this. Heavier balls with extra heavy duty felt helped with the demise of s&v. Does anybody remember the dunlop balls back in the day? Bounced through the court so low and fast it encouraged net play.
 

Wilander Fan

Hall of Fame
Its the two shot pass. One shot to dive over the net to set up a floater and then the next to put it away.

Also courts are definitely slower. Its been proven that the grass at Wimbledon is slower than it was 20 years ago.

It can still be done though. I think you will see Fed S&V alot this Wimbledon.
 

President

Legend
Is it really strings? Most players are not truly taking very full cuts at the return, it may be a topspin stroke but not really a full cut unless its on a second serve (which many players didn't serve and volley on in the first place). I can't imagine that polyester strings would have such a huge impact on the first serve returns, they really only become particularly useful in my experience when you take a very fast swing at the ball. I think its a combination of the court speed and coaching.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
Is it really strings? Most players are not truly taking very full cuts at the return, it may be a topspin stroke but not really a full cut unless its on a second serve (which many players didn't serve and volley on in the first place). I can't imagine that polyester strings would have such a huge impact on the first serve returns, they really only become particularly useful in my experience when you take a very fast swing at the ball. I think its a combination of the court speed and coaching.
Poly strings enable more topspin with any given shot compared to gut strings, thus increasing the margin for error. So, you can take a big shot on the service return and you have an increased likelihood of winning the point. With gut strings, not only was it hard to get the depth and authority into the shot, it was also hard to get the same kind of angles.
 

Mac33

Hall of Fame
Mid plus size frames have added a decent amount of power to modern frames especially on off centre hits.

Poly strings allow you to cut into the ball more resulting in more topspin which allows the player to swing harder while still controlling the ball.

So if your at the the net the ball will likely be travelling that much faster towards you than 20 years ago.
 

Thetouch

Professional
Playing S&V takes a lot of guts actually! It´s not just physically but also mentally demanding to attack permanently. And it even takes more balls to approach the net at 2nd serve and 15:40 in the 5th set.

It personally think its coaching to blame. No coaches anywhere are willing to teach it.
This is very true. Of course authorities, courts, equipment etc. have also had to do with the demise of S&V but the coaches are also to blame. Guys like Bolletieri and his academy were/are responsible for teaching like one style only because it´s probably easier to teach them all playing from the baseline than actually trying to figure out a players real strength. If ten players play the same style the only thing that seperates them is either talent or hard work. Of course guys like Agassi, Courier or Seles were Bolletierians right from the start and had success but imagine if Sampras had been in his academy - we probably wouldn´t consider him a GOAT candidate.
 

kiki

Banned
Playing S&V takes a lot of guts actually! It´s not just physically but also mentally demanding to attack permanently. And it even takes more balls to approach the net at 2nd serve and 15:40 in the 5th set.



This is very true. Of course authorities, courts, equipment etc. have also had to do with the demise of S&V but the coaches are also to blame. Guys like Bolletieri and his academy were/are responsible for teaching like one style only because it´s probably easier to teach them all playing from the baseline than actually trying to figure out a players real strength. If ten players play the same style the only thing that seperates them is either talent or hard work. Of course guys like Agassi, Courier or Seles were Bolletierians right from the start and had success but imagine if Sampras had been in his academy - we probably wouldn´t consider him a GOAT candidate.
Touched¡¡¡

But who can blame those poor kids?? playing the way Nick the Fake ordered was the only way to escape from that Floridian Prision.

That is why I admire Kournikova...
 

kiki

Banned
:)



Well, she was a phenom. Never won anything but people still talk about her. :lol:
She was the only repported kid to escape from jail ( from what I know)...how did she do it? through the Keys?

Wouldn´t be surprised at all the alligators were left with their mouth open, completely stuck up:)
 

ultradr

Legend
Courts,Rackets,Strings and Mindset
+1

+corporate style, organized coaching that prefers certainty of success rate.

+Not only courts got slower and they also got bouncier.

+Balls : balls got heavier and much denser outer layer.
 

AnotherTennisProdigy

Professional
In terms of playstyle commitment there's high risk and little reward. Federer has shown that if you have the tools and the touch it's definitely a viable strategy. However, why commit to a playstyle when being a baseliner is the safer choice?

I feel this is also the reason we don't see many one-handers anymore. Sure, if you develop your one-hander there's a chance it'll become a weapon like Wawrinka's, but why risk your career when you can settle for a solid, passable two hander?
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
As its the grass court season I thought this would be good to talk about. Because it kills me seeing people like Murray Nadal and Djokovic winning Wimbledon.

It's probably a combination of things really but I want to know what people think is the main reason for it.

We just don't see your beckers, mcenroes, edbergs, rafters and Sampras anymore.

It personally think its coaching to blame. No coaches anywhere are willing to teach it. And you have to start at a very young age. Somewhere between 8-14.
1. It is not taught at the junior level.

2. Kids do not commit to it.

3. Tennis mythology.
 

mistik

Hall of Fame
I believe the aggressive baseline game that Lendl (often times called the Father of Modern Tennis) and promoted by Bolleterri soon after came about to counter the barrage of Serve and Volley players.

The only true way to defeat S&V players was blasting passing shots and cross-court angle topspins.

This is how Lendl overcame McEnroe at the US Open 1985. Watched the highlights of that match on YouTube and you'll see how Ivan Lendl's laser-like passing shots completely demoralized McEnroe (who was then the finest S&V player in the world) to the point of visible sadness. McEnroe was never the same after that.

Bolleterri's crop of upcoming young baseline bashers, like Monica Seles, cemented the aggressive baseline game when she demolished Martina Navratolova at the 1991 US Open Finals in the same fashion Lendl did to McEnroe 6 years earlier.

Pete Sampras was still relying on Serve & Volleying for much of the 90s but he's a different breed because of his awesome serves.
Change begin earlier in Women game with Graf dominating Navratilova and Navratilova looks more and more fragile at the net and at times chose to stay at the base line in second serves.Navratilova chose to stay at the baseline at times when it is second serve was huge news at that time.
 

Thetouch

Professional
McEnroe was never the same after that.
I think Mac was never the same after his 4th US Open title. Though he didn´t have a bad year of 1985 at all I think he missed to keep up his physical fitness to Lendl and co and maybe lost a bit of passion too. But I also remember Lendl running towards the net more often in that final than you would excpect him to do.
 

mistik

Hall of Fame
Good point about Graf's emergence but Steffi's power came mostly from the forehand side as she used slices exclusively on her backhand side.

Besides, Steffi and Navratilova's grand slam matches were for the most part very tight and they're about even, 3-3 a piece, or 4-3 in Martina's favor. Steffi was amazingly agile who made her mark as a young gazelle on the court while possessing precise ground strokes.

The real power baseline game came about when Monica Seles emerged on the scene not too long Steffi was making her mark. She completely destroyed Navratilova's S&V game at the 1991 US Open Final with a 7-6, 6-1 clubbing that featured numerous passing shots from Monica.
Navratilova was past her prime in 1991. Navratilova in 1988 was still so good.Graf also did have her first victory against Navratiova 1986 and also match points in their famous Us Open semi that year. She also admits many times it was Steffi biggest problem for her not because her form dips.Steffi found amazing power in the backhand side 1988 and 89 it wasnt just slice as well.
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
Balls and courts.
Russel, I hardly ever completely disagree with you, but this time I do for sure.

Go back and look at the speed of the ball at the beginning of the open era, and look how much time these guys had to rush the net. Then look at the number of strokes on average, even on clay. I can only conclude that players then weren't nearly as good - which I do not believe - or something radical has changed that allows players to hit so many more balls, so much harder, with so much more spin.

Certainly the surfaces have changed, most of all grass, so returners don't have to hit up as much from low and unpredictable bounces. But when I look at how Connors, a defensive player, came in so much more often on HCs, I think it has to be because that was percentage tennis. Now I'm not sure it is.

I think Wawrinka came in something like 33 times in the FO F, and I think it is hardly possible for anyone to come in more than that against a player like Novak, and there are so many people with a game like Novak.

So it's got to be the rifle-like shots with so much spin, dipping so fast that people have to volley up. And of course rackets was not a choice, with their bigger racket heads, and that should have been in the poll.
 

mistik

Hall of Fame
Yeah but Steffi never passed Navratilova the same manner that Seles did. It's obvious a much stronger 2 hand backhand (which Seles used) allows for that.

That's probably why Steffi and Navratilova matches was generally toss-ups, often times going the full distance.
Steffi played most of her matches with Navratilova when Navratilova was still pretty close to her best.if not Graf Navratilova would have done what Serena done today.
 

cjs

Professional
S&V died because grass courts died.

3 of the 4 slams used to be grass.

When I was a kid (30+ years ago) there were grass courts everywhere in Australia. Now its all hard court and synthetic grass.

While court speed is a factor, court surface is the bigger factor. Playing on real grass you get uneven bounces, so you don't want to let the ball bounce. This was especially the case at regional 2nd rate grass courts that youngsters would be learning to play on and playing their junior tournaments on.

The artificial surfaces that have replaced grass give you a true bounce, no matter how fast or slow.

S&V died for the same reason returners never chip and charge any more. It only works on grass, and today no one grows up playing most of their tennis on grass.
 

SLD76

G.O.A.T.
I *just* watched this video on YouTube. The video is actually called why did serve and volley die at Wimbledon. It'd only like 6 minutesong.

Short, but to the point and accurate.

Basically the video claims it was a combination of slowing the courts and balls to impede big servers, and racket string technology making it unwise to come to net. Hence the current baseline grinding domination
 

Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
The real power baseline game came about when Monica Seles emerged on the scene not too long Steffi was making her mark. She completely destroyed Navratilova's S&V game at the 1991 US Open Final with a 7-6, 6-1 clubbing that featured numerous passing shots from Monica.
But good grief, Navratilova was born in 1956. That would be like a kid taking out Fed when he is 34-35 and blaming it mostly on style instead of age.
 

morten

Hall of Fame
Courtspeed for sure is to blame. . Everything in favour of the returner. The volley and slice just bounce up instead of skidding, even when perfectly executed.. It does not reward touch or even finesse play. And the game has become a boring slugfest for grinders.
 

SLD76

G.O.A.T.
Courtspeed for sure is to blame. . Everything in favour of the returner. The volley and slice just bounce up instead of skidding, even when perfectly executed.. It does not reward touch or even finesse play. And the game has become a boring slugfest for grinders.
This all day and every day ending in Y.
 

DerekNoleFam1

Hall of Fame
S&V died because grass courts died.

3 of the 4 slams used to be grass.

When I was a kid (30+ years ago) there were grass courts everywhere in Australia. Now its all hard court and synthetic grass.

While court speed is a factor, court surface is the bigger factor. Playing on real grass you get uneven bounces, so you don't want to let the ball bounce. This was especially the case at regional 2nd rate grass courts that youngsters would be learning to play on and playing their junior tournaments on.

The artificial surfaces that have replaced grass give you a true bounce, no matter how fast or slow.

S&V died for the same reason returners never chip and charge any more. It only works on grass, and today no one grows up playing most of their tennis on grass.
I would say artificial grass >> hard court now in terms of how common it is.
Not really sure what surface it is really comparable to though.
Back in the 80's there was still a few grass and privately owned clay courts, but they are now very rare as you stated. Even then, though hard court was taking over.
But on topic, it is certainly the rackets and strings - with the increased power, and it is not coached at Junior level anymore either.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
Even though the hold percentage is higher today across all surfaces than it ever was in the 90's or early 2000's?
What you say here rather puts paid to the myth that tennis today has "slowed down" compared to the 1990s and early 2000s. Tennis today has loads more topspin, but a tonne of power.
 

ACE of Hearts

Bionic Poster
As a serve and volley player myself, it sucks that we dont see a player who chips and charge on his first serve. Bring back 90s grass
 
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AngieB

Banned
#Defensive, pushing, grinding players like #NovakDjokovic essentially killed S&V tennis with the help of homogenized surfaces (slowing) and poly strings. S&V is also a specialized skill in the sport that coaches aren't pushing with the younger players. Many don't know how to effectively, technically volley, hence, the swinging volleys mid-court.

Volleying used to be a required skill in the sport. There will one day be a player with a really, really big serve and all-court game who will "get it" and start the revolution back to S&V tennis. None of today's male players are skillful enough to make that transition.

#AngiesLyst
 

AngieB

Banned
As a serve and volley player myself, it sucks that we dont see a player who chips and charge on his first serve. Bring back 90s grass
I don't know you, but I already like your style. And thank you for keeping S&V tennis alive and well. #GirlBye

#AngiesLyst
 

ACE of Hearts

Bionic Poster
#Defensive, pushing, grinding players like #NovakDjokovic essentially killed S&V tennis with the help of homogenized surfaces (slowing) and poly strings. S&V is also a specialized skill in the sport that coaches aren't pushing with the younger players. Many don't know how to effectively, technically volley, hence, the swinging volleys mid-court.

Volleying used to be a required skill in the sport. There will one day be a player with a really, really big serve and all-court game who will "get it" and start the revolution back to S&V tennis. None of today's male players are skillful enough to make that transition.

#AngiesLyst

Courts have slowed down and the strings. I think feddy can do it but his technique can be terrible at times.
 

ACE of Hearts

Bionic Poster
I don't know you, but I already like your style. And thank you for keeping S&V tennis alive and well. #GirlBye

#AngiesLyst
I am just sick of the baseline bashing. I wanna see players attack. Hard to do with the heavy balls and thr surfaces being slowed down. Nothing better then attacking tennis then boring rallies
 
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