Michael Llodra
mirsasha / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Valery over at TennisConsult posted an interesting article about the feasibility of serve and volley tennis in the modern pro game. Evidently recent wins by Michael Llodra, who is a serve and volleyer, over John Isner, Sam Querrey and others has re-ignited the debate.

That’s all fine and dandy, and it’s an interesting discussion to be sure, but I’ve often wondered if the right question to ask isn’t, “Can the serve and volley strategy still work in the pro game?”, but rather, “Would club players be well advised to employ the strategy?”

Full disclosure, I’m not a serve and volleyer. I’ve tried it on occasion – usually when I’m getting my butt handed to me and I’m down to desperation – but I have never learned the intricacies of that strategy.

I’ve played against some serve and volleyers though, and let me tell you, the good ones are really tough to play.

Honestly, I think it’s a strategy that is far too infrequently used at the club level. Sure, the pros might be able to expose the weaknesses with their pinpoint and booming returns, but how many of us can truly punish an opponent who has hit a better than decent serve and follows it in?

So why don’t more club players do it? Two reasons I think:

  1. We don’t see it in the pros much anymore, and whether or not we like to admit it a lot of us emulate the pro players.
  2. More importantly, it’s tiring. If you’re committed to serving and rushing in you have to rush in even when your serve is out or into the net. For those of us who aren’t pro athletes, that’s a lot of extra running we wouldn’t ordinarily have to do and frankly, it’s too much for most of us.

Personally, I need to get in better shape anyway. So while I’m working on improving my serve, I think I’ll throw some serve and volley practice into the mix. I suggest many of you do the same.

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