Will serve and volley ever return? And will baseline rallies ever finish?

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OhYes

Legend
how many tall serve bots are there in top 10 / top 20 / top 50?
and how many defense bots are in top 10 / top 20 / top 50?

It looks to me that there are much more defense bots popping out from Next Gen and youngsters.
This is not to say that currently the defense bots dominate tennis.
I can ask you the same thing about defensive bots. Who are defensive bots on top 10 ? Those that haven't got good serves within them.
 

blablavla

Hall of Fame
I can ask you the same thing about defensive bots. Who are defensive bots on top 10 ? Those that haven't got good serves within them.
depends how do you define, but for me:
Djokovic
Nadal
(Murray)
Thiem
Medvedev
Monfils
Goffin

now imagine that during the next 10 years top tennis will be a-la Medvedev vs de Minaur, or Zverev vs de Minaur
good luck watching those 50 shot rallies, irrespective of surface because why take risk if you can wait for a mistake from your opponent.
 

SonnyT

Professional
The '01 Wimbledon F between Ivansisevic and Rafter probably had a rally average under 2. That must be extremely interesting! Exemplary of tennis beauty at its best, much more fascinating than the '18 Djokovic-Nadal QF. That same year, the Anderson-Isner SF, indescribable beauty!

Give me a break!

My sneaky suspicion about all this complaining. Fed lost 3 straight Wimbledon finals to Djok, and many more still in Slams. And since he is God's gift to mankind (not just tennis), it must not be his fault. So it must be the fault of the court surfaces, of technology, of the balls, of the crazy scoring systems...

Help me out here, what are other excuses of Fedfans? (If correct measures were implemented and justice was done, that talentless Djokovic wouldn't win a single slam, much less 17!)

If Fed had won those fateful 3 finals, nobody would have thought of 90% of these ridiculous complaints.
 
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blablavla

Hall of Fame
The '01 Wimbledon F between Ivansisevic and Rafter probably had a rally average under 2. That must be extremely interesting! Exemplary of tennis beauty, much more fascinating than the '18 Djokovic-Nadal QF.

Give me a break!
take a break :)

Djokovic vs Nadal played in the same manner on every surface is as boring as Ivanisevic vs Rafter.
To be honest, I stopped watching tennis except for highlights, as it is way too boring to watch this contest of ballbashing from baseline, and the winner is always the one who runs faster and makes less mistakes.

imagine a world where players a-la Ivanisevic or Rafter would have a fair chance to upset Djokovic or Nadal on fast surfaces.
imagine a world where all-court playing style would have a chance to beat the run faster and make less mistakes, winners don't bring you slam titles either way.
 

1stVolley

Professional
Coming in behind 120 mph plus serves is not an issue for the elite level S&Vers. Sampras and Goran both used to do it. So did Rusedski for that matter. Scud S&Ved a lot on grass.

The issue is simply the backcourt game has kept getting better. Aided by equipment, yes, but even otherwise. I don't know why people are so resistant to this inference. Agassi is the only 90s returner who could match the level of the Big Four on returning. And I am not sure he could return big serves (140 mph plus) as well as Murray, not sure anybody else can for that matter. All of these add to the risk involved in S&V. Of the Big Four, Nadal has proved a tad vulnerable in recent years to an S&V attack on grass because of his deep return position. But the rest usually take care of S&Vers. Maybe with some difficulty at times but they prevail. Djokovic faced a stiff challenge from Stepanek in the 2014 edition but prevailed in four sets. Fed has handled S&Vers well on Wimbledon going back to 03-04 when it played faster than today so no need to elaborate. Murray too has handled Brown, Karlovic et al with ease. Yes, they do not represent the elite of tennis and therefore of S&V but then the elite ARE Big Four, Wawrinka etc. They all have a ground game that is too good to have to S&V compulsively to win on grass. It is not even true historically that you HAD to be a S&Ver to win Wimbledon. Borg used to stay back a lot against Connors. He won it five in a row, something even Sampras couldn't achieve. Connors won Wimbledon twice too and he was not a S&Ver per se though he had the ability to use the tactic. The early graphite years exaggerated the surface disparity of tennis for a couple of decades as S&Vers virtually monopolised Wimbledon and baseliners likewise at RG. Once poly boosted returning, the balance shifted again. In the mean time, coaches have been emphasising the backcourt game a lot because they don't want their pupils to get left behind. With the result that S&V as a predominant tactic is no longer viable at the elite level. Will it change again? Possibly yes. The reason I say that is none of the upcoming players show the ability to return at close to the level of the Big Four. They also frequently retreat into a deep return position, choosing safety over aggression. This opens up possibilities for a capable S&Ver to exploit, but only if HE can return the serves of a Tsitsipas/Medvedev/Zverev well.
Sampras liked to come in on a slice out wide. This gave him perhaps an extra step but, more importantly I believe, it reduced the ability of the returner to add extra topspin as they were stretched wide. Of course, topspin tended to be less on average just because the small head racquets made it harder to avoid mishits when trying to apply it to the ball. I think you are right that a big factor is the improvement in the backcourt game. Another factor, an important one, is that players are getting taller. When you are much taller than 6' 1" you can't get down low as easily making you increasingly vulnerable to low volleys.
 
take a break :)

Djokovic vs Nadal played in the same manner on every surface is as boring as Ivanisevic vs Rafter.
To be honest, I stopped watching tennis except for highlights, as it is way too boring to watch this contest of ballbashing from baseline, and the winner is always the one who runs faster and makes less mistakes.

imagine a world where players a-la Ivanisevic or Rafter would have a fair chance to upset Djokovic or Nadal on fast surfaces.
imagine a world where all-court playing style would have a chance to beat the run faster and make less mistakes, winners don't bring you slam titles either way.
That is still doable and even happens occasionally at the Masters or some of the 500s that play fast. Particularly at the indoor swing but remember when Nadal got beaten by Brown on the Halle grass. Fish dragged Novak to 3 sets at Montreal in 2011 and that wasn't even all that fast of a surface.

At the slams, it would be tougher because best of five gives ample time for great defenders like Nadal or Djokovic to regroup and work out their tactics. We have still seen it happen occasionally. Nadal had a tough time at Wimbledon from 2012 to 17. Djokovic nearly got beaten the one time against Kevin Anderson and the next year, Querrey sealed the deal. It's not like upsets were that much more frequent back then either. The constant crowing about diversity has a way of making the past look more hunky dory than it was. But the facts are that four players carved out the US Open between themselves through the 90s - Sampras, Agassi, Rafter and Edberg. At Wimbledon, it was Stich, Agassi, then Sampras Sampras Sampras with the one Krajicek interruption. That is NOT a lot of variety either. There was arguably more variety in the then somewhat neglected first half of the season (AO and RG). It's a very different tour today, again, from what it used to be. AO enjoys a lot of prestige today but this was not the case in the 90s because the hangover of AO being a non-serious slam persisted for some time. Agassi refers to this too in his autobio. Sampras missed the AO thrice so this isn't just about Agassi making up sweet stories in support of his narrative(s). The clay courters similarly often skipped Wimbledon because they felt they had no chance and so it was a waste of time flying to London just to lose in the first round. It was a more disorganised and chaotic tour back then. The fact that it's now more organised and professional and that players consider the slams and the masters sacrosanct may give the tour a boring predictability but this predictability makes it a marketer's delight too. They have a better assurance that crowds will come.

I am not a boomer. I am on the Gen X/millennial borderline and let me tell you (well, in case you aren't a millennial!) that a millennial's need for instant gratification is much higher. If millennials can't be assured of a good match up in the final/semis, they won't watch, that simple (exceptions abound, of course). Those born in the 90s or after don't have much of a recollection of the times when sport wasn't so perfectly programmed and you had to deal with damp squibs (like rain). No, unpredictability is not going to pull in more tennis fans from among young people. Young stars might. But it's exceedingly difficult to know what millennials want. They don't have a whole lot of sympathy for Kyrgios and in the same breath fetishize garbage authenticity like Billie Ellish. This isn't a surprise. There has never been such a plethora of entertainment options and millennials or their Z generation counterparts are more savvy at using all possible entertainment avenues from the comfort of their smartphone. So to the marketer, their choices will appear fickle. There is nothing much tennis or any other sport can do at the elite level. Like what the other poster said, grassroots outreach to get kids interested/enrolled in sports is what matters. Once they lose the sporting habit, you will never get them to cultivate it in later life.

I know you said nothing about this aspect but this occurred to me as I was comparing the ways in which things have changed in tennis so I indulged myself...
 
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Sampras liked to come in on a slice out wide. This gave him perhaps an extra step but, more importantly I believe, it reduced the ability of the returner to add extra topspin as they were stretched wide. Of course, topspin tended to be less on average just because the small head racquets made it harder to avoid mishits when trying to apply it to the ball. I think you are right that a big factor is the improvement in the backcourt game. Another factor, an important one, is that players are getting taller. When you are much taller than 6' 1" you can't get down low as easily making you increasingly vulnerable to low volleys.
The factor of players getting taller is important but for different reasons. Big John is well able to get down for shoestring volleys. I can bet anything the folks craving variety in this thread were moaning incessantly when Big John and Anderson were holding up Djokovic-Nadal at the Wimbledon semis in 2018 (and meanwhile I was enjoying a rare show of top notch serve and volley). But I digress. The thing is you didn't used to have 6'1"/6'2" guys who could also move like a panther on the court before AND who elected to be baseliners. Usually, tall and athletic players were more like Sampras, using their speed to kill the point soon. Chang and Agassi were both sub 6 feet. Courier was 6'1" but for a variety of reasons his career tapered off in the mid/late 90s. And then, first it was Safin who could serve big because of his height but was also able to gust out long, grinding rallies and come out on top. Fed followed soon after, then Nadal, Djokovic and Murray. Eventually you had Delpo moving unbelievably well for his height. The height allows them to serve big in a way that baseliners weren't always able to back in the day (a notable exception, Lendl, was, again, tall). But they also have the movement to defend all day from the back court. One of the reasons tennis has changed so much is also because it has literally changed physically. What is behind that? Won't speculate but suffice it to say that if there is one change I would absolutely like to see, it would be a very strict testing regimen and merciless outing of those who test positive. Clean up the augean stables if over 30 players are gonna go on evergreening their career.
 

blablavla

Hall of Fame
That is still doable and even happens occasionally at the Masters or some of the 500s that play fast. Particularly at the indoor swing but remember when Nadal got beaten by Brown on the Halle grass. Fish dragged Novak to 3 sets at Montreal in 2011 and that wasn't even all that fast of a surface.

At the slams, it would be tougher because best of five gives ample time for great defenders like Nadal or Djokovic to regroup and work out their tactics. We have still seen it happen occasionally. Nadal had a tough time at Wimbledon from 2012 to 17. Djokovic nearly got beaten the one time against Kevin Anderson and the next year, Querrey sealed the deal. It's not like upsets were that much more frequent back then either. The constant crowing about diversity has a way of making the past look more hunky dory than it was. But the facts are that four players carved out the US Open between themselves through the 90s - Sampras, Agassi, Rafter and Edberg. At Wimbledon, it was Stich, Agassi, then Sampras Sampras Sampras with the one Krajicek interruption. That is NOT a lot of variety either. There was arguably more variety in the then somewhat neglected first half of the season (AO and RG). It's a very different tour today, again, from what it used to be. AO enjoys a lot of prestige today but this was not the case in the 90s because the hangover of AO being a non-serious slam persisted for some time. Agassi refers to this too in his autobio. Sampras missed the AO thrice so this isn't just about Agassi making up sweet stories in support of his narrative(s). The clay courters similarly often skipped Wimbledon because they felt they had no chance and so it was a waste of time flying to London just to lose in the first round. It was a more disorganised and chaotic tour back then. The fact that it's now more organised and professional and that players consider the slams and the masters sacrosanct may give the tour a boring predictability but this predictability makes it a marketer's delight too. They have a better assurance that crowds will come.

I am not a boomer. I am on the Gen X/millennial borderline and let me tell you (well, in case you aren't a millennial!) that a millennial's need for instant gratification is much higher. If millennials can't be assured of a good match up in the final/semis, they won't watch, that simple (exceptions abound, of course). Those born in the 90s or after don't have much of a recollection of the times when sport wasn't so perfectly programmed and you had to deal with damp squibs (like rain). No, unpredictability is not going to pull in more tennis fans from among young people. Young stars might. But it's exceedingly difficult to know what millennials want. They don't have a whole lot of sympathy for Kyrgios and in the same breath fetishize garbage authenticity like Billie Ellish. This isn't a surprise. There has never been such a plethora of entertainment options and millennials or their Z generation counterparts are more savvy at using all possible entertainment avenues from the comfort of their smartphone. So to the marketer, their choices will appear fickle. There is nothing much tennis or any other sport can do at the elite level. Like what the other poster said, grassroots outreach to get kids interested/enrolled in sports is what matters. Once they lose the sporting habit, you will never get them to cultivate it in later life.

I know you said nothing about this aspect but this occurred to me as I was comparing the ways in which things have changed in tennis so I indulged myself...
there were great defenders in the past as well.
but they couldn't dominate on all surfaces.

now we are coming from I don't know how many years of serve domination to 20+ years of defense domination.

could we have a mix of fast & low bouncing surfaces and slow and high bouncing surfaces, with limitations to the gear, so that there would be a variety of styles on ATP tour?
 
there were great defenders in the past as well.
but they couldn't dominate on all surfaces.

now we are coming from I don't know how many years of serve domination to 20+ years of defense domination.

could we have a mix of fast & low bouncing surfaces and slow and high bouncing surfaces, with limitations to the gear, so that there would be a variety of styles on ATP tour?
We do have already. Only the ultra fast slab has been cut down like Stuttgart in the 90s which was so fast Sampras used to have his hands full there. But even today, Dubai, Shanghai and Paris do play fast. But it wasn't just about pace back then. Becker was able to win AO with S&V back then and for sure it played slower than what the AO has in the last three-four years. Those days aren't coming back.
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
Is Diego Schwatzman the best low volleyer on tour right now?

:-D

No, the best low volleyer currently on tour is 6'3".
 

OhYes

Legend
depends how do you define, but for me:
Djokovic
Nadal
(Murray)
Thiem
Medvedev
Monfils
Goffin

now imagine that during the next 10 years top tennis will be a-la Medvedev vs de Minaur, or Zverev vs de Minaur
good luck watching those 50 shot rallies, irrespective of surface because why take risk if you can wait for a mistake from your opponent.
We are talking about boring baseliners who do nothing but play boring tennis without variations. None of those you listed is boring baseliner, even somewhat boring Medvedev has great serve that he is using well.
 

chatt_town

Hall of Fame
I was watching some classic clips, some 1998 Indian wells, and I was completely thrown for a loop seeing so much serve and volley. It got me thinking, will baseline rallies and the baseline dominated game today ever end? It is absolutely astonishing how the game today is literally just forehand, forehand, forehand, forehand, backhand, backhand, backhand down the line, drop, move into the net, lob, and ad infinitum. Now then again, an hour and 30 minute match is probably less eventful then a baseline rally. Thoughts?
If I can get my legs together...I'll probably learn to serve and volley more in singles. I only serve and volley in doubles...in most cases first and second serve depending on the match and the opponents, but serve and volley is a must on all first serves no matter who I'm playing. Having said that, I don't think it's coming back because its bad enough you don't see it in singles, but you can't get most off the baseline in doubles...even with the younger stronger players. It's much easier to just wack forehands cross court and most captains are impressed by this so that's who gets all the glory. :) Even in the pros. I know Venus and Serena were overpowering girls at one time hitting big ground strokes from the baseline so that's what many of them do now. I think if they hadn't changed the format in doubles majors to 2 out of 3, the Bryans would play another 10 years with the way they smother the net. The 3rd set tiebreakers killed their game I think. It's too easy to steal matches with 3rd set tiebreakers. I think their style would prevail in many instances in 3 out of 5 format. So no it's not coming back I don't think especially in singles. Did you see the way Taylor Townsend threw off Halep's game with the serve and volley?
 

chatt_town

Hall of Fame
By that time, the two-handed backhand had already become commonplace, even though one-handed backhanders were still doing well.

For the Sampras and others, it was much more natural to play serve&volley tennis than for example Agassi and Rios. Undoubtedly, my proposed tennis court could also mean a revitalization for the classic one-handed backhand.
You got that right about the 1 hander...It just felt natural to me coming out of baseball. :) I asked could I hit with one hand when a guy tried to show me a two hander. :) I didn't realize that it was called a 1 hand backhand at the time. Had hardly even watched it on T.V. I don't see how a man does it with two hands. It's like batting left handed and it was mind thing for me.
 

blablavla

Hall of Fame
We do have already. Only the ultra fast slab has been cut down like Stuttgart in the 90s which was so fast Sampras used to have his hands full there. But even today, Dubai, Shanghai and Paris do play fast. But it wasn't just about pace back then. Becker was able to win AO with S&V back then and for sure it played slower than what the AO has in the last three-four years. Those days aren't coming back.
why did you skip the part related to gear limitations?

and even what is considered as fast surfaces today, from TV broadcasting, looks to be higher bouncing as opposed to past.
so unless you have a put away volley, going to proper S&V or many volleys is a suicide in modern game.
 

blablavla

Hall of Fame
We are talking about boring baseliners who do nothing but play boring tennis without variations. None of those you listed is boring baseliner, even somewhat boring Medvedev has great serve that he is using well.
sorry, but I really find it boring to watch more than once per year Djokovic vs Nadal, or A Zverev vs Goffin.
what else do you see in Zverev vs Goffin or Medvedev vs Goffin matches beyond hitting the ball from baseline?

regular volleys?
dropshots? only recently Djokovic started to use them regularly, who else does it?
regular attempts to hit a winner? perhaps only after 50 shots, when one player makes a tactical mistake, and there is a super easy put away ball, and the opponent can't run in this particular rally either way.
 
why did you skip the part related to gear limitations?
Well, because Agassi used to play with an OS too. I have addressed it earlier in the thread. I don't think gear has changed significantly in the last nearly 20 years and yet we have seen the tennis change a lot. So it's not about the gear but what the players are doing with it.

and even what is considered as fast surfaces today, from TV broadcasting, looks to be higher bouncing as opposed to past.
so unless you have a put away volley, going to proper S&V or many volleys is a suicide in modern game.
That depends on who's playing. When Fed plays at Shanghai, the bounce stays low because he is playing with low trajectory, barely over the net groundies. A lot of the new players may simply not be comfortable doing that. I think Medvedev is absolutely someone who can exploit this because he hits really flat. That he himself has other chinks in his armour to be exploited is a different issue. But no, I don't think that has much to do with equipment or surface changes. What has changed is there are no carpets since around 2006. But carpets were still a small part of the tour even back when they used to be there, at least if you're talking 90s and not going really far back in time where the discussion loses meaning. As it is, I think there is not much purpose served in discussing how we can make it more like the 90s. It's not going to happen, it's a purely academic discussion. And never forget that in the 90s, people badly wanted tennis to change and felt that it was too fast.
 

blablavla

Hall of Fame
And never forget that in the 90s, people badly wanted tennis to change and felt that it was too fast.
I'm not saying ATP should bring the tennis of the 90s back.
All I am saying that we jumped from one extreme to another, when I, but this is not limited to me only, would like to see some middle ground, where surfaces, balls and gear would allow for a clash of competing styles.
 
I'm not saying ATP should bring the tennis of the 90s back.
All I am saying that we jumped from one extreme to another, when I, but this is not limited to me only, would like to see some middle ground, where surfaces, balls and gear would allow for a clash of competing styles.
I think serious testing would be a good start. We might see superhuman endurance evaporate with the result that players spruce up their all court ability and use it more often than they do today. It's not that players lack the skills now but if they can get juiced up enough to last four hours, then they'd rather that and slug it out from the back court.
 

SonnyT

Professional
take a break :)

Djokovic vs Nadal played in the same manner on every surface is as boring as Ivanisevic vs Rafter.
To be honest, I stopped watching tennis except for highlights, as it is way too boring to watch this contest of ballbashing from baseline, and the winner is always the one who runs faster and makes less mistakes.

imagine a world where players a-la Ivanisevic or Rafter would have a fair chance to upset Djokovic or Nadal on fast surfaces.
imagine a world where all-court playing style would have a chance to beat the run faster and make less mistakes, winners don't bring you slam titles either way.
Any fair-minded fan would know Djokovic/Nadal are much, much better at tennis skills than Ivanisevic/Rafter!

Just because Federer can't beat Djokovic at the biggest stages doesn't mean that there is something fundamentally wrong with tennis!
 

RelentlessAttack

Hall of Fame
So how would you do that? A lot of you are advocating limiting racket and string tech! I say why? And how are you going to limit the tech? To 80's, 90's or 00's tech!

And what's balance and variety? Who's going to decide the 'correct' balance and variety?

It's inevitable that any sport evolve. NA has 4 major team sports. And any of them has evolved as much as tennis.

For example, basketball. It used to be played inside out, now it's played outside in. When they instituted the 3-point arc, many teams averaged fewer than 1 3-pointer a game. Now many teams shoot more than 10 a half. I wonder how an absolutely great inside player, like Shaq, would adapt to today's game. But the greater the player, the more he can adapt!
Baseball limited bat construction.
Hockey limited goalie pad sizes.
Etc.
sports limit tech all the time
 

1stVolley

Professional
Richard Krajicek 6'5"
Mark Philippoussis 6'5"
Stan Smith 6'4"
Michael Stich 6'4"
Fred Stolle 6'3"
Boris Becker 6'3"
Stefan Edberg 6'2"

All amazing low volleyers. The current guys are just sh1t because they are baseliners and that's all they need to be to win every tournament on the planet.
These were fine volleyers, particularly Edberg, but they were playing in an era of flatter groundstrokes. I think that implies that their ability to handle low volleys did not have to be as great as it does today where the percentage of topspin groundstrokes is greater. This is my guess; I haven't seen statistics that indicate whether their low volley abilities were quite up to the standard of their more routine volleys. I'm not sure there are statistics that allow us to compare the two types of volleys (I wasn't able to google relevant data). Edberg had another advantage regarding low volleys: he hit a LOT of slower slice serves and made his first volleys close to the service line, reducing the number of low volleys he had to make unless the incoming ball was a heavy dipper.

There are a number of fine current volleyers like Schwartzman and Fognini but they seem to volley less than they could perhaps because their early training didn't emphasize that stroke.
 

1stVolley

Professional
... One of the reasons tennis has changed so much is also because it has literally changed physically. What is behind that? ...
One reason that comes to mind is a highly improved training regimen, in particular exercises like pilates which can focus on developing explosive movement. Watching the pros from a court side vantage point, their lateral movement's acceleration is jaw dropping.
 

SonnyT

Professional
Baseball limited bat construction.
Hockey limited goalie pad sizes.
Etc.
sports limit tech all the time
Baseball doesn't limit bat construction. It only stipulates that bats be made out of wood, for good reason. Because baseball is essentially a battle between pitcher and batter. A pitcher has only his arm, which can't be improved by technology, that's why a MLB bat can only be made out of wood (or else, the pitcher's life might be endangered). But because of modern manufacturing technology, a modern bat is quite different from one of, say 50 years ago. It's much lighter, because the handle can be made thinner, so that the hitter can generate more bat speed.

The comparison with tennis is not apt, where both competitors have their choice of any racquet and string technology. If both have choices, then why limit them?

Golf is another interesting example. There the competition is between the golfer with his modern clubs versus the golf course. And the most famous courses date back generations (OC St Andrews from the 15th century). Around the time Tiger Woods took over the game, he was hitting prodigious lengths off the tee, there were howls advocating regulations to limit driving distances, in the name of protecting the integrity of the old venerable courses. Do you know what was wrong with that from the business point of view?

Golf manufacturers make fabulous money from selling ever newer clubs to the playing public. How can they justify that if the pros cannot use the latest technology? As far as I know, the golfing authorities (USGA and R&A) have never limited technology on golf clubs; all the club regulations are on the lengths of the clubs. And a good thing that they didn't, because it turned out to be unnecessary.

As it turned out, the tournament organizers had a few tricks up their sleeves. One, they keep making these courses ever longer; that's why these clubs keep buying land, to expand these courses. Two, they make the fairways narrower and the rough rougher. Turned out these beloved courses couldn't be made obsolete by the newest club technology. 20 years ago, Tiger astonished by driving 300 yards; now if a player can only drive that far, he's not competitive.
 
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tonylg

Hall of Fame
As far as I know, the golfing authorities (USGA and R&A) have never limited technology on golf clubs; all the club regulations are on the lengths of the clubs.
No, of course not. There's no 100 page document limiting virtually every single aspect of club design and construction.

file:///home/chronos/u-fdd4d37788d72b9409a4d4a011393cc53b1457eb/MyFiles/Downloads/Equipment%20Rules%202020%20v2.pdf
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
These were fine volleyers, particularly Edberg, but they were playing in an era of flatter groundstrokes. I think that implies that their ability to handle low volleys did not have to be as great as it does today where the percentage of topspin groundstrokes is greater. This is my guess; I haven't seen statistics that indicate whether their low volley abilities were quite up to the standard of their more routine volleys. I'm not sure there are statistics that allow us to compare the two types of volleys (I wasn't able to google relevant data). Edberg had another advantage regarding low volleys: he hit a LOT of slower slice serves and made his first volleys close to the service line, reducing the number of low volleys he had to make unless the incoming ball was a heavy dipper.

There are a number of fine current volleyers like Schwartzman and Fognini but they seem to volley less than they could perhaps because their early training didn't emphasize that stroke.
I was being sarcastic about Schwartzman. He couldn't find his way to the net with a map. Dognini isn't much better.

Edberg was an infinitely better volleyer than anyone currently on tour. It's not that he had some amazing advantage, it's that the baseliners do now.
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
Any fair-minded fan would know Djokovic/Nadal are much, much better at tennis skills than Ivanisevic/Rafter!
The ATP Cup match between those two was terrible. You missed the AO final last year? Any fair-minded fan (which you are not) would know that was possibly the worst slam final in history.
 

SonnyT

Professional
That's your opinion, I thought the second set of the ATP Cup match was great.

The AO final was terrible, because one contestant didn't show up. But that's the story of any sports, isn't it? These were two great tennis players, and one was just too good for the other. It had nothing to do with the playing surface, or balls! There had been many matches between 2 S&Vers, that turned out to be duds!
 

SonnyT

Professional
No, of course not. There's no 100 page document limiting virtually every single aspect of club design and construction.

file:///home/chronos/u-fdd4d37788d72b9409a4d4a011393cc53b1457eb/MyFiles/Downloads/Equipment%20Rules%202020%20v2.pdf
Give us an example of what kind of club technology is outlawed. Please!
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
That's your opinion, I thought the second set of the ATP Cup match was great.

The AO final was terrible, because one contestant didn't show up. But that's the story of any sports, isn't it? These were two great tennis players, and one was just too good for the other. It had nothing to do with the playing surface, or balls! There had been many matches between 2 S&Vers, that turned out to be duds!
LOL .. you used Nadal/Djokovic as an example of quality tennis and I just sited their last two matches. I'll take your revised word that one set from the two matches was decent tennis, because if I watched it I certainly don't remember it (baseline bashing is like that). I STILL remember when Goran beat Pat.
 

SonnyT

Professional
LOL .. you used Nadal/Djokovic as an example of quality tennis and I just sited their last two matches. I'll take your revised word that one set from the two matches was decent tennis, because if I watched it I certainly don't remember it (baseline bashing is like that). I STILL remember when Goran beat Pat.
They played over 50 times, of course there'd be duds. I said they are two great champions, I didn't say they always play great matches. BTW, they play more great matches than any other duo, with the possible exception of Federer-Djokovic. Of course, I don't expect you to agree with that, and am glad you don't.

When did the provision put in? Probably over 50 years! It wasn't to limit distance, and technology! Square grooves are some kind of modern technology?

Duh!
 
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RelentlessAttack

Hall of Fame
Baseball doesn't limit bat construction. It only stipulates that bats be made out of wood, for good reason. Because baseball is essentially a battle between pitcher and batter. A pitcher has only his arm, which can't be improved by technology, that's why a MLB bat can only be made out of wood (or else, the pitcher's life might be endangered). But because of modern manufacturing technology, a modern bat is quite different from one of, say 50 years ago. It's much lighter, because the handle can be made thinner, so that the hitter can generate more bat speed.

The comparison with tennis is not apt, where both competitors have their choice of any racquet and string technology. If both have choices, then why limit them?

Golf is another interesting example. There the competition is between the golfer with his modern clubs versus the golf course. And the most famous courses date back generations (OC St Andrews from the 15th century). Around the time Tiger Woods took over the game, he was hitting prodigious lengths off the tee, there were howls advocating regulations to limit driving distances, in the name of protecting the integrity of the old venerable courses. Do you know what was wrong with that from the business point of view?

Golf manufacturers make fabulous money from selling ever newer clubs to the playing public. How can they justify that if the pros cannot use the latest technology? As far as I know, the golfing authorities (USGA and R&A) have never limited technology on golf clubs; all the club regulations are on the lengths of the clubs. And a good thing that they didn't, because it turned out to be unnecessary.

As it turned out, the tournament organizers had a few tricks up their sleeves. One, they keep making these courses ever longer; that's why these clubs keep buying land, to expand these courses. Two, they make the fairways narrower and the rough rougher. Turned out these beloved courses couldn't be made obsolete by the newest club technology. 20 years ago, Tiger astonished by driving 300 yards; now if a player can only drive that far, he's not competitive.
LOL you don’t consider limiting bats to wood to be a limit on bat construction?

At the end of the day sports are an entertainment product. The NFL and NHL have adjusted the rules to allow for more offense dominated games. Personally, I feel the entertainment product would be better suited by providing balance and variety to the tour. Doing so it would also discourage the situation we’ve seen for the last 17 years of seeing the same guys win again and again and again and again no matter the location or surface.
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
LOL you don’t consider limiting bats to wood to be a limit on bat construction?

At the end of the day sports are an entertainment product. The NFL and NHL have adjusted the rules to allow for mo
Most people can see the problem. You are trying to have a rational discussion with idiots just saying anything because they are scared their heroes couldn't cut it without their equipment advantage.

No, limiting baseball bats to wood isn't really a limit. 100 pages of golf equipment rules and you still get, "show me a rule". This is what it must be like to have a discussion with Trump.
 

SonnyT

Professional
I told you. The one-on-one battles in tennis and baseball are different in nature. In tennis, both can be equipped with the same latest technology. In baseball, one is equipped with a bat, the other only with his arm, which cannot be improved by technology.

The major NA sports leagues have commissioners who guide their sports. Tennis doesn't have a commissioner. So who is going to decide the 'right' balance and variety?

I happen to think the current tennis is better than ever! Basic tennis rules were established a long, long time ago. And they shouldn't be changed to favor one class of players over another!

There has never been a limit of new racquet technology, so why put it in now? If everyone agrees to put a limit, why not go back to the wooden racquets of Laver and Rosewall? That was as good an era as any!
 
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RelentlessAttack

Hall of Fame
I told you. The one-on-one battles in tennis and baseball are different in nature. In tennis, both can be equipped with the same latest technology. In baseball, one is equipped with a bat, the other only with his arm, which cannot be improved by technology.

The major NA sports leagues have commissioners who guide their sports. Tennis doesn't have a commissioner. So who is going to decide the 'right' balance and variety?

I happen to think the current balance and variety is better than what it was in the past!
The problem is you just made up that criteria. You seem to be operating under the assumption that rules are only changed to adjust competitive fairness. In reality, they are changed to maintain the quality of the entertainment product. In hockey, both teams could hire 6 foot 11 players and strap gigantic goalie pads on them. The league still limited the size of goalie pads

ironically, tennis authorities have already made these kinds of interventions, because they felt in the early 2000’s that homogenization and they focus on extending baseline rallies would be better for business. Being honest, even as a fan of serve and volley, the 90s probably took things too far. However they’ve now been taken too far in the other direction. There is very little variety. Fans are starved for some semblance of an all court game, Therefore the popularity of Shapovalov and Tsitsipas, or the fact that the handful of net points that occur usually make their way onto the highlight reels.
 

SonnyT

Professional
And there's another argument for not putting limits on racquet and string technology. And that is, once you put limits, there will be cheaters.

Imagine this: Zverev defeats Federer in SF, and Djokovic in F, at Wimbledon to win his first Slam. As it is now, he'd rightly celebrated for slaying two dragon-legends of the game.

But in an era of limited technology, Fedfans and Djokfans would protest and debate endlessly on whether Zverev cheats on racquet/string, even if they have absolutely no evidence! There'd no way for Zverev, even if he doesn't cheat, to prove to their satisfaction. The result is everyone loses: fans, players, and tennis.

The same routinely happens in Formula 1. If Mercedes or Ferrari suddenly runs much faster, the other would often accuse it of cheating. And it's the job of each to straddle the line, so it's impossible to determine!
 
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TennisDawg

Professional
Create a wood only (no composites) professional league with only smaller racquet heads like before. It could have a small audience at first but it could have some appeal and take off. Start off with the retired pro legends first, get the recreational players involved. The racquets would be way less money and technique would be more important. No more if these jumbo wide body frames that create pushing, scooping shots, just any old way style. We might lose the seniors but that’s why they have Pickleball.
 
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SonnyT

Professional
Then most of them will join the tour with no limits! How you gonna stop that?

That's another reason. Once you introduce limits, there will be players who rebel and want to form an opposing tour! There will be a split, definitely!

The best manufacturers (Wilson, Babolat) I really wonder who they will support? Some of them will refuse to supply the tour with limits, and they have every right to!

Don't kid yourself! The best players always want the best equipment, because it maximizes their playing ability! You think Federer doesn't want the best and latest, so he can serve faster, hit his groundstrokes with more consistency? Try telling him he'd be better off playing wood! What a joke!
 
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vex

Hall of Fame
I was watching some classic clips, some 1998 Indian wells, and I was completely thrown for a loop seeing so much serve and volley. It got me thinking, will baseline rallies and the baseline dominated game today ever end? It is absolutely astonishing how the game today is literally just forehand, forehand, forehand, forehand, backhand, backhand, backhand down the line, drop, move into the net, lob, and ad infinitum. Now then again, an hour and 30 minute match is probably less eventful then a baseline rally. Thoughts?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To many servebot friendly conditions and relentless net charging are a snooze fest and epic baseline exchanges are fun.
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
Create a wood only (no composites) professional league with only smaller racquet heads like before. It could have a small audience at first but it could have some appeal and take off. Start off with the retired pro legends first, get the recreational players involved. The racquets would be way less money and technique would be more important. No more if these jumbo wide body frames that create pushing, scooping shots, just any old way style. We might lose the seniors but that’s why they have Pickleball.
I grew up playing with wooden racquets and don't suggest going back there. Your suggestion would be more interesting than what we have now though.
 

TennisDawg

Professional
I grew up playing with wooden racquets and don't suggest going back there. Your suggestion would be more interesting than what we have now though.
Maybe, but suppose it’s reintroduced as the “classic tennis league” The whole thrust would be stylish play not just crush and blast away. It’s an idea, another option for tennis players. Pickleball started as a social game for seniors and with rules that prevent over aggressive play. It’s boring to watch, but wood racquet classic tennis would be exciting to play and watch. It would just be another version of modern tennis.
 
Who said they like watching Djoker-Murray?
Lol, these guys make it sound like Fedovic, Fedal, Nadalovic, any of those three vs Wawrinka or Delpo all these matches never happened. Tennis fans sure know how to get miserable when they're being entertained. That's why I said people used to want tennis to change in the 90s. And now it's, oh you changed it too much. Well, live with it else find some other sport to follow, seriously. I have met people who claim tennis lost shotmaking with the retirement of Edberg/Sampras depending on the level of nostalgia. These people had usually stopped watching tennis soon after the retirement of their favourite(s).
 
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tonylg

Hall of Fame
Maybe, but suppose it’s reintroduced as the “classic tennis league” The whole thrust would be stylish play not just crush and blast away. It’s an idea, another option for tennis players. Pickleball started as a social game for seniors and with rules that prevent over aggressive play. It’s boring to watch, but wood racquet classic tennis would be exciting to play and watch. It would just be another version of modern tennis.
90 square inches, a sensible limit on string stiffness and a fast court is all it would take.

If their heroes are half as amazing as they claim, what's the danger?
 
90 square inches, a sensible limit on string stiffness and a fast court is all it would take.

If their heroes are half as amazing as they claim, what's the danger?
The danger is in fact that you would get even more homogeneity than you already have. I am surprised those of you advocating this don't factor this into account. You just assume the return of S&V will magically make everything ok. It won't. If everybody plays S&V, it will be much worse than the current situation. And why would that happen? Because that's how the modern game works; coaching is no longer organic and intuitive. Coaches will simply model the most optimal game style with those specs and make every player adopt it.

Any restrictions should be reasonable enough to leave room for flexibility. The only one imo that is worth trying is banning poly.
 

6august

Hall of Fame
Ironically, the longest Slam match happened at Wimbledon. Between a servebot and a serve&volleyer.

Anh then once again, 2 servebot forced Wimbledon organizers change their rule.
 
Ironically, the longest Slam match happened at Wimbledon. Between a servebot and a serve&volleyer.

Anh then once again, 2 servebot forced Wimbledon organizers change their rule.
Like I said, the all court enthusiasts got the match they wanted and then it was like oh this is too much serve-serve. No ****, this is what serve and volley looks like. Like in a full match as opposed to highlights packages which cut out the barrage of aces, unreturned serves, putaway volleys.
 
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