PARIS – Back in the 1990s, when the likes of Pete Sampras, Patrick Rafter and Tim Henman were major factors, the return of serve was less important than it is today. So was horizontal movement, as moving quickly straight ahead like those net rushers did was paramount to their success.
Today, while the serve remains a critically important part of the game, having a very good if not great return is the key to entering the top 5. The top four men in the world — Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray – all put ball after ball into play, off both first and second serves. It is very difficult to get ball past any of these men who deeply read their foes tendencies. They are experts at returning balls deep and if they are not attacking, they manage to draw their foe into a neutral position, and then they can ply their baseline trade.
More on this and on Radwanska and Ivanovic…
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