Much of the modern tennis revolves around the baseline slugfest. The art of serve and volley has been reduced to a back burner. However, in the 1980s and 1990s this art was very much dominant in tennis. This was primarily due to the fast courts of that era. We rewind back in tennis history and take a look at best serve and volley players in the Open Era.
This former World Number 1 was one of the finest players Sweden ever produced. Unlike his idol Björn Borg, Edberg relied more on a powerful net game than the baseline solidity. Stefan won 6 Grand Slams which comprised of 2 each at Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open.
His success came more on the fast courts due to his excellent serve and volley technique. Edberg did not have a huge serve like more serve and volley players but relied more on his excellently crafted volleys.
4. Rod Laver
Laver is one of the best players ever to grace the tennis court. Though not very tall Laver managed his serve and volley games in effective fashion. This made him one of the most successful players of his generation.
Among his 11 Slams, Laver won 4 Wimbledon titles and 3 on the fast courts of Australia. This was largely due to his versatile game being both effective baseliner and excellent serve and volley player, even though not with very fast serve.
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3. Boris Becker
Boris Becker was nicknamed Boom Boom primarily due to his excellent fast court game. The German became a 3 time Wimbledon Champion due to his huge serve followed by excellent volleying skills.
The Becker-Edberg rivalry of 1980s and 1990s was very much linked to outwitting the opponent at the net with great volley skills. Most of the modern day excellent net players including Roger Federer have counted Boris Becker as one of their idols.
2. Pete Sampras
Pete Sampras had one of the best serves ever seen in tennis. He was extremely successful on the fast Wimbledon courts in 1990s, winning 7 trophies at the all England club. Sampras also dominated the hard courts of US Open winning 5 trophies.
His excellent serving ability won him the nickname Pistol. A lethal combination of quick fire serve and great reflex volleys made Pete one of the best fast court players ever.
1. John McEnroe
McEnroe is widely regarded as the male best serve and volley player of the Open Era. He created a great impact on the lawns of Wimbledon due to his great combination of fast serves and best place volleys.
McEnroe by his world-class net game was even able unsettle the then 5 time defending Champion Björn Borg and winning the 1981 Wimbledon crown. Even on the fast hard courts of US and Australia his serve and volley game reaped rich results.