Tennis Strategy: Is serve and volley coming back in 2014?

With Stefan Edbergs appointment as Roger Federers next headline coach and Boris Becker joining team Novak you have to wonder what each team is thinking about. Of course Severin luthi rogers permanent coach welcomes edberg but what is the reason to bring the Swede in? I can’t help but wonder if Serve and Volley is the aim in 2014? Federer now has Edberg, Djokovic has Becker and both are looking for an edge over Murray and Rafa.

Murray started winning slams when he moved closer to the baseline. Watching Rafa in the Doha final against Monfils I noticed Rafa at the net more than usual and we know he is trying to hug the baseline more instead of drifting deep.

The Serb wants to win the French Open so you have to ask why Becker? One angle could be that Novak can already match Rafa for defence so upgrading his offence may make the difference. Or atleast it may help Novak keep up with Rafas more aggressive mindset.

Fed is already focused on serve and volley. You could see it in the tour finals, he attacks from the first point betting everything on the first set. He has done for the last year at least. Paul Annacone, Rogers former coach emphasised this aspect of the swiss’ game and with Rogers naturally attacking mindset and his new coaches reputation as a player I feel  the trend is likely to continue.

From reading the books of Laver and Pete Bodo, guys who have been through the many trends in tennis. I can’t help but notice the ebb and flow between baseline and serve and volley eras. This is not the first time when the baseline game dominated.

What seemed to happen is that players found advantages in staying back the risk of going forward didn’t pay off. Then, since everyone stayed back there came an advantage in coming in. New technology may have helped too. Those who had success kept doing so and got good at it. Then more and more came in so it seemed like everyone was doing it. Then changes came like new racquets and staying back seemed to encourage the change.

Right now the best defenders are dominating and their skills have been honed at the baseline with no risk tennis. So for me it is natural to see that the easiest and most effective improvement they can make is to improve their attack and thus position on court and shorten points. They take more risk but only when the odds favour them. This means learning from what went before, bringing in knowledge and this means more net play.

It’s not a trend yet but its something to look for this year. The signs are there from the top players with the changes they have already made to their games and coaching set up. Where they go the rest will follow.

What do you think? I feel I’ve been seeing more S&V but I have only recently been watching enough tennis to notice. Maybe it was always like this. Despite Murray supposedly coming in more I still notice him camped out way behind the baseline. Rafa too. What tactic do you think will dominate this year?

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