Top Three Serve and Volleyers in the Open Era
There have been many wonderful serve and volley players in the Open Era. Although the art has pretty much been relegated to the annals of history, having a good solid volley is still an integral shot in today’s game if you want to finish strong at the net. Roger has an excellent volley for example. Even Nadal can finish.
When thinking about the best serve and volley players in the game, I think back at names like Tim Henman, Boris Becker, and Pete Sampras. These guys were also pretty decent from the baseline though, and also had good all-around games. In ranking the top three serve and volley players, I wanted to pick the most natural and true to the art form. The following three players had the most beautiful and exciting serve and volley game in my opinion.
3. Pat Rafter:
As aggressive as they come, Rafter would rush into the net whenever possible. Add to his great net play the fact that he had a great approach shot and a wonderful kick serve, and you are talking about one of the great net players that ever lived. His legacy was solidified by his winning two back to back US Opens. Check out this wonderful collection of volleys by the Australian master.
2. Stefan Edberg:
Edberg was the Yang to Rafter’s Ying. He was smooth and elegant. It was almost as if Edberg serve and volleyed in slow motion. He had a massive kick serve just like Rafter, and he’d approach the net any chance he could get, but were as Rafter was a charging bull, Edberg was more like a charging cat. Check out this great footage of Edberg at the 92 US Open against Richard Krajicek in the fourth round. His full arsenal is at display. Edberg would go on to win the US Open that year.
1. John McEnroe:
In my opinion, McEnroe is the most exciting serve and volley player that has ever lived. He seems to have these hands that are like magnets to the ball. His racket was always there, no matter how out of position he was. Oh, and he also looked super cool hitting those volleys. It all started with that super cool service wind up that had his back against his opponent. He then sprung to the net in the blink of an eye. The man was incredibly agile and quick. Here’s a great video of McEnroe doing what he does best in the 1984 Masters SemiFinal against none other than Mats Wilander.