For a deeper analysis of the massive impact the length of the rally has on winning a match, I highly recommend THE FIRST 4 SHOTS.
The First 4 Shots Video
Roger Federer Exposes The Biggest Lie In Tennis
Part 1 HERE
Part 2 HERE
Serve & Volley. It has fallen off a cliff.
Back in the day, serve and volley used to dominate our sport. In 1997, when serve and volley was first recorded at Wimbledon, it counted for greater than 50% of all first serves AND half of all second serves. Serve and volley was an apex predator. And then it basically vanished from the planet. Consider these numbers:
1st Serve: Serve & Volley Points at Wimbledon
- 1997 = 66%
- 2011 = 8%
2nd Serve: Serve & Volley Points at Wimbledon
- 1997 = 50%
- 2011 = 3%
This is sweet music to detractors of serve and volley. These are the “I told you so” metrics for everyone that thinks serve and volley is a failed/outdated/irrelevant strategy. Serve and volley is universally NOT taught at junior academies all over the world – primarily because of these metrics at the top of the game.
These Wimbledon numbers wash right through our sport, empowering a generation of coaches (and therefore, players) to not bother about serve and volley. After all, isn’t it easier to just hit cross court groundstrokes all day long? Doesn’t everyone (players, coaches, parents) feel better when a promising junior is hitting a million balls, sweating, and grinding side-to-side from the back of the court?
Serve and volley is also much tougher to teach with eight kids on a court. It requires more attention, more “know-how”, more individual coaching on serve locations, movement, grip changes, first volley locations, defensive low volleys, etc…
Who can be bothered with that anymore, especially when nobody at Wimbledon even does it? Who wants to rock that boat?
Roger Federer does. That’s who…
Wimbledon Serve & Volley 1997 – 2017
Below is Table 1. It shows the incredible decline in serve and volley at The Championships behind both 1st and 2nd serves since serve and volley was first recorded in 1997.
TABLE 1: Wimbledon Tournament Average: Serve & Volley
|Year||1st Serve||2nd Serve|
LITTLE SECRET: Table 1 is not the table that matters the most…
Table 1 is the result. It is the result of a lack of faith. It is the result of only having half the information. Table 1 clearly shows the abandonment of serve and volley at the elite level of our sport. It happened at Wimbledon, and it, therefore, trickled down and happened literally everywhere…
But what Table 1 does not show is WHY…
- Why did players lose faith in serve and volley?
- Why did they stop coming forward at the beginning of the point?
- Finding out the WHY is the missing link…
There can always only ever be ONE why. And that reason is the WIN PERCENTAGE.
Win percentages are everything in our sport. You see someone with some funk in their technique, but they win with it – hey, the funk is OK!
Win percentages are the wonderful reason we have different tactics, different styles, different strokes in our sport – that can all be successful. If you can make it work, then more power to you…
Serve & Volley Win Percentages
This is where the rubber meets the road. This is the MOST IMPORTANT table.
IF the win percentages of serve and volley dropped dramatically, then you can completely understand players not employing it. If players stopped winning with it, then they rightfully should stay back more at the baseline when serving.
Here’s the most important table of all. A table that as far as I know, has never been published…
TABLE 2: Wimbledon Tournament Average: Serve & Volley 1st Serve Win Percentages
|Year||1st Serve S&V Percentage Played||1st Serve S&V Percentage Won|
1997 – 2017 AVERAGE WIN PERCENTAGE = 69.1%
Players have universally abandoned a strategy that has never abandoned them.
Table 2 just unequivocally vindicated Roger Federer’s comments that more players should serve and volley at Wimbledon (and in general). He knows why. BECAUSE IT WORKS!
- 1998: Serve & Volley 1st Serves = 52%. WIN percentage = 71%
- 2013: Serve & Volley 1st Serves = 10%. WIN percentage = 71%
Pleaseeee let this sink in…
It does not matter if you do it a little (2013).
It does not matter if you do it a lot (1998).
It works!!!! It always has, and it always will! Both years had a win percentage of 71%.
Serve & Volley. We owe you a huge apology. Roger never stopped believing, and neither should the rest of us.
Just how well does the win percentages of serve and volley stack up against baseline play, and finishing points at the net from approaching? These win percentages should be driving our practice courts much more than any other single metric.
Tomorrow, you get them all. I got you covered 🙂