Why did serve and volley die out?

Shahid Afridi

Growing up in the 80s, living in the IIT campus gave me access to Tennis Courts. After trying my hand at swimming, I started playing tennis in the summer. Developed a decent game and continued playing till Basketball became the love of my life. But I have always enjoyed watching tennis and have hoped to pick up the sport sometime again for recreation.

What I always enjoyed in Tennis is the elegance of the game. When I was an avid watcher of the game it used to be far more elegant and sophisticated than the current form of the game. The tennis game of the 80s resembled a chess match. The server had to think 2-3 shots ahead and place the serve in such a manner that he could control the outcome of the point. This was possible because of the serve and volley game used by most players. Legends like Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, and John McEnroe were serve and volley specialists.

The game today is baseline oriented with emphasis on power, topspin, and booming serves. The advances in racquet technology have completely changed the game. While every sport evolves and goes in a new direction, I miss the good old days of the serve and volley game where one could savor each point.

I was wondering whether the serve and volley game would ever make a comeback. Looks highly unlikely but maybe someday some player will bring it back into fashion and have some success with it. Found this amazing video analyzing why the serve and volley game died out. Tennis lovers will enjoy.

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