'Retro Roger' Calls For More Serve & Volley
Long gone are the days when serve and volley was the go-to play on grass. The slower courts of today offer less incentive to move forward than the '80s and '90s, when McEnroe, Becker, Edberg and Sampras were large and in charge at net.
As arguably the most complete player the game has seen, Roger Federer likely would have enjoyed similar success serve/volleying in faster times than he has staying back in the modern era under slower conditions. But that's not to say that the Siwss doesn't see value in going retro and busting out the serve and volley today, especially as a change-up to keep opponents unsettled. Indeed, he'd like to see young players work on the art with an eye to long-term success.
“It would be nice if coaches at the junior level already would teach not just volleying at the net but actually transition volleying, a lot of serve and volleying, because I do believe it still can be used to great effect,” Federer said. “There are tournaments out there that play faster and it’s just nice to have that option, especially in a time when a lot of players forget how to use the serve and volley effectively and you would be one of the players who would have that option compared to another player.”
The Swiss has used the tactic well over the years. According to the FedEx ATP Performance Zone, he has won a record 18 titles on grass, the surface on which players typically serve and volley the most.
“If it works, well, you have that option and if it doesn’t work, you stay back. But if you never try, you don’t know,” Federer said. “Then if you’re going to start serve and volleying just from time to time, it doesn’t work because you’re just not comfortable out there, you haven’t spent enough time out there [doing it]. So, I think it’s something you have to do starting in practice, not just in a match all of a sudden.”
Be on the lookout for more serve and volleying from Federer as he plays Denis Kudla in the semi-finals in Halle on Saturday.