Question for all you tennis fans.
I watched 20 minutes of the final on Sunday, the first tennis I’ve watched in donkeys years. What has happened to serve and volley? Were both finalists only back court players or are the service returns now too good or do we have some other reason?
10-15 years ago, with Sampras, Ivanisevic, Krajicek, Rusedski, Phillipoussis et al, the powers that be felt the game was overly dominated by serve, points were too short and matches too dull. Various changes were made over a few years to try and slow the game down - fluffier balls, less inflated balls, longer, different grass. This achieved what was wanted: there are fewer aces and generally the ball is easier to return. So serve volleyers are more easily passed and it is not a successful tactic over the course of a match. Actually, in the final you saw a lot more net action than in most matches, with Federer coming forward to break Murray's rhythm from the back of the court.
Thank you for that. So whether it's grass or clay it's now all boring baseline play. I shall not be watching any more.
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It is substantially baseline play, yes, but boring? IMHO no. I'm not sure when you stopped watching tennis or how big a fan you are / were if you've not watched for a while, and I can only really tell you changes from the late 80s/1990 onwards. In those days, clay court baseline tennis was indeed, IMO, pretty dull. There were few winners and points were generally won by errors. (FWIW this is how I now find too many women's games pan out these days and I mostly find these dull). The pinnacle was players like Jim Courier and Michael Chang, who were impressive but dull. Did you see any of Agassi tho? He was a baseliner but incredibly exciting. Huge flair and skill, great weight, depth and variety of shot. Now so many players are of that quality, the overall standard is enormously high, the players hit with more pace and spin than ever before and their fitness is so high that more and more balls are retrieved. I used to dislike baseline play and loved the serve volley game. It's a shame there isn't more (especially when there are great volleyers like Federer and Murray) but the average game of tennis is so much better and more exciting than ever before, and the semis and finals are immense psychological battles above and beyond the enormous skill the top players have. Maybe give it a little more of a chance?
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I'm not a big fan of tennis, but it's far more interesting now than it was when everyone was serving ace after ace, or serving and smashing volleys past their out of position opponent
Also, in response to a few people who think Murray lacks the backbone to be a winner, I disagree, he just isn't as good as the top 3. He's far better than Henman ever was, but he's unlucky to be playing at the same time as the best player ever, and 2 others which are right up there.
I don't like tennis, and I don't like Murray much, but I do give him credit for trying his best, and caring so much when he failed.
I just wish most British (probably English actually) tennis fans weren't so annoying
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He's far better than Henman ever was
Hell yeah! Henman was never anything like as good (not a consistent top 4 player even with the lower standard), nowhere near as consistent (Murray's 4 consecutive semis at Wimbledon demonstrate how he's consistently achieving a really high standard) and never made things easy (so many 5 set matches in the early rounds, compared to Murray this year who had one of the toughest draws ever and never lost more than one set until the final).
Again, absolutely. I'm not old enough to have seen any great players pre Becker / Lendl / Edberg, but the general consensus seems to be Federer is the greatest of all time. Which is fascinating because I tend to agree with Murray's recent assessment that Federer hasn't deteriorated with age but the high standards he's achieved have been reached and exceeded (much of the time) by the others. Nadal may well be one of the top two players of all time, Djokovic may well be one of the top three of all time! Final slam counts and records may be what ultimately separates them.
IMHO Murray not only 'would have won a slam' in a different era as so many people say, he would have been the world number one and won multiple slams
What is it with these excuses?
You are either a winner or not.
Federer is quite possibly the best player ever, but he is not unbeatable. In fact I believe Murray has beaten Federer before, more than once. But Murray can not come up with the goods when it really matters and I believe he just doesn't have the winner in him when the chips are down.
Time alone will tell and perhaps Lendl can make him into a winner because he certainly has the game skills. But not the #alls.
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Thank you BenLaw for your answers, may you continue to enjoy your tennis.
Andy Murray in the audience of Mock the Week, getting a standing ovation....
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