The Best Men Serve and Volley Players of All Time
Serve and volley is a lost art.
It wasn’t always that way, throughout the 60s, 70s, and most of the 80s, serve and volleyers ruled the tennis world. However, once racket and string technology improved, it became harder and harder for serve and volley players to dominate. With the new rackets, players could now rip winners from anywhere on the court. One needs to just take a look at Andre Agassi to find out when that shift happened. His baseline game essentially changed the game.
That’s not to say there’s no use for the serve-and-volley game. In today’s game, we’re seeing a little bit of a renaissance of serve and volley. However, it is being used as a tactic in an arsenal of other shots. For example, Nick Kyrgios employed serve and volley with great success in his defeat of number one seed Daniil Medvedev at the 2022 US Open.
Let’s take a look at some of the most well-known serve and volley players of all time:
John McEnroe: Renowned for his on-court antics, John McEnroe was one of the most entertaining players in the history of tennis. His skills at the net and quick reflexes made him a formidable opponent who could consistently win points with well-placed volleys.
Pete Sampras: One of the most successful players ever, Pete Sampras also had one of the best serves and volley games in history. Although not considered a traditional serve and volleyer, he dominated many opponents with his powerful serve and deadly volleys to make him a force to be reckoned with during his heyday from 1991 to 2003
Rod Laver: Widely considered to be one of the greatest players ever, Rod Laver was a master at serving and volleying thanks to his lightning-fast reflexes and willingness to approach the net. His serve and volley game is the reason he won two calendar-year Grand Slams. His nickname was “Rocket” and rightly so.
Boris Becker: Known as “Boom Boom” for his explosive serve on the court, Boris Becker used an aggressive serve and volley game to great effect throughout his career, especially at Wimbledon, where he won three titles. His all-or-nothing approach toward playing at the net endeared him to crowds around the world and allowed him to win three Wimbledon titles during his time on tour.
Stefan Edberg: With arguably one of the smoothest playing styles ever witnessed on a tennis court, Stefan Edberg’s serve-and-volley prowess meant he could keep up with even some of the fastest baseliners out there when it came down to rallies near the net. He won six major titles including two Wimbledon titles during his illustrious career in the late 80s and early 90s.
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