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The Tennis Business Discussion Forum Archive

[tennisbiz] Re: Serve & Volley Tennis

From: Mike Rush <>
Date: Thu 3 Apr 2003 12:08:46 GMT

No more serve and volley?

I have really enjoyed the rich discussion on the lack of S&V
in today's game of tennis. There are so many right answers;
it's a single diamond with many facets. Several have included
new technology and Scott Stacey even talked about reaction time.
Since no one has dusted off the facet I'm considering I've
decided to post it.

New technology is behind the change, but I don't think it has
so much to do with groundies as much as how today's racquets
have changed the serve. The tennis world did the global wave
when Rosco Tanner set the new record breaking 140 I think, and
now the lefty Brit holds that record I think at 149, set at
Indian Wells where there actually is no atmosphere to slow the
ball. While this is exciting, the real news is that players
like Andy Roddick are now serving in the mid 130's on every
serve. Let him be our case in point player.

This is why I disagree that the origin of the problem is in
coaching: Why would a coach suggest to Andy that he rush to
the net behind that serve? The return is going to come back
well over 100 mph. What player can consistently get to a ball
and control a volley at that speed? Roddick became the #1
junior in the world without S&V and has won serval titles
without it as well. To this point in his carreer suggesting
S&V to Roddick would have been akin to introducing the 3-point
shot in Shaq's arsenal. Here in Arkansas we say that if it
ain't broke don't fix it and if it is broke then cover it in
duct tape.

Now it's true that Roddick may not be able to take the next
step and win a major without some S&V as a plan B against
some players. However, as Roddick shapes his own tennis, I'm
sure he and his coach have discussed that strategy along with
many others. His maturity and willingness to make changes in
his game will determine if we see him at the net more than
any other factor. Anyone who thinks that this is a good plan
but it's too late for a player like Roddick to learn new
styles should consider that Sampras learned how to win a
major after two years without a title. Agassi learned how to
come back from defeat both on and off the court.

In the final analysis I agree with the person who said that
it silly to think of tennis being in trouble because it lacks
S&V. While I agree that it's fun to watch a batter completely
wiff an 80 mph change up, one cannot ignore the fact that
Randy Johnson can hold 90K people spell bound when he's
throwing the heat. It's not just racquets and players that
has changed. Everything has changed, including the attention
span of the average spectator. I find it more enjoyable to
marvel at where tennis is going than to spend my ever
decreasing lucid moments regretting how far we've strayed from
the classic forms of the past.

Just my 2 cents.

Mike Rush

Received on Thu Apr 03 2003 - 08:47:40 CST

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