Is Serve and Volley Still Alive?
I try to understand why do so few players add the serve and volley to their game, virtually none of the top players? This style definitely seems be the easiest, surest way to win a point at the net. Can a tennis player with a two-handed backhand be a good serve-and-volley player? How should a tennis player use this style successfully? I talked about these things with some tennis coaches. Here their thoughts about that.
First of all, to be a good serve and volley player, you have to have one-handed backhand. There has never been a great serve and volley player with a two-handed backhand, and I doubt there ever will be one. There are several reasons for that:
1. The strike zone for a one-handed backhand volley is far in front, just like a one-handed drive, as opposed to the two-hander which is taken close to the body.
2. Obviously, a tennis player with a one-handed backhand is more comfortable playing with one hand than is a two-hander.
3. The one-hander player is more likely to feel the need to position him aggressively
A successful serve and volley tennis player needs a dominant serve to play this game. It can be with power, like Boris Becker and Pete Sampras, or spin like Patrick Rafter and Stefan Edberg. You have to be a much better athlete than the average ones on the Tour. You have to have a fully offensive mind-set. And it wouldn’t hurt if you are left-handed player.
At this time many people, including most tennis coaches and specialists, say that serve and volleying is dead. They tell us that racket and string technology gives returners the advantage. But the same technology helps the serve and the approach to the net. Are the present players better than Bjorn Borg or Jimmy Connors at defending against the serve and volley game? Are the today’s service returners better than Andre Agassi or Michael Chang? Of course not.
Chris Evert wrote about serve and volley in Tennis Magazine:
“Still, given how well players serve, it’s a strategy that could be a bigger part of a lot of players’ arsenals. Yes, returns are formidable,but serving to spots out wide or into the body can yield opportunities for successful forays to the net”.
In my opinion, there is a problem that many modern tennis coaches do not know how to teach their players this style. They prefer to use the simplest approach while coaching their players to the aggressive baseline game.