I saw this video on YouTube and had the inspiration to write this short article to share my views on the serve and volley strategy.
Well, this match showed the highlights of the 2002 US Open quarter finals between Pete Sampras and Andy Roddick. It was refreshing for me to watch this video as both Americans are now retired.
The great Pete Sampras, with 14 Grand Slam titles won this match by the score of 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. I feel that in this match, we have witnessed the transition of "tradition" tennis to modern tennis. Both players had booming big serves but the way they played were totally different.
If you watch the video, Sampras served and volleyed almost every point and the success rate was very high. One example is at 1:48. Typically serve out wide and follow up with a volley to the open space. Very efficiently done. Besides that, whenever he had the opportunities, he would attack the net in a rally. The feel and touch from Sampras's racket is truly amazing. Just watch how he finished the point on the 0:52 and 4:13.
On the other hand, if you watched Andy Roddick's playing style which is very common in the tour these days, his favorite 1-2 pattern was big serve followed by a aggressive forehand winner to the open court. The modern tennis player tend to serve big and hope for a weak return so that they can put away easily. See example on 1:39 and you will know what I meant.
It is tough to see Sampras style of play these days. Serve and volley strategy seems to be a thing of the past. Modern tennis players prefer to use this strategy only OCCASIONALLY to mix up their style of play. If you watch Djokovic vs Nadal, or Nadal vs Murray, you will see 10-20 baseline shots almost every point. Serve and volley is not in their game plan.
If you ask me why this strategy is not commonly used, the reason is due to the advancement of racket and string technology. The equipment are so well designed and powerful that return of serve and passing shots are now easier than before. Therefore if you are charging to the net, be prepared to get passed.
I would think that aggressive baseline strategy will be here for sometime. However I really love to see more players attacking the net more often. Practice on your serve. Work on serving the targets, e.g. out wide or down to middle. Practice your transitioning footwork, i.e from the baseline to the net. Practice your approach shot and of course, practice your volley. All these will help you to reap great results and win more tennis matches.
Are you inspired to serve and volley after watching this video? Pete Sampras made it seem so easy to put away those shots.
Are you a serve and volley player? How is your result so far? If you are a aggressive baseliner, are you willing to try this strategy?
Share your thoughts with me by writing them on the comment box below.