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VIDEO INFO:
Absolutely! Serve and volley still offer the same winning percentage it did 20 years ago. Statistics show that you will win 2 out of 3 points coming to net, assuming you have decent volleys and overheads.

True, in today’s game the technology (poly strings) and the athleticism of today’s players have made serve and volley not as prominent as times past. But is it that today’s players give up on serve and volley too quickly because they get passed a few times coming in? Statistics show that when players do come to the net, even in today’s game, it’s a winning percentage.


Tom Avery
Tom Avery

Tom Avery has been helping and coaching students for 40 years. Tom has appeared everywhere from the Tennis Channel to YouTube. His coaching and clarity is second to none. Tom empowers every player to excel at any level of the game. He has a quick fix for every problem and is often referred to as the Godfather of Tennis Video Instruction.

    20 replies to "Is Serve And Volley Relevant In Today’s Tennis?"

    • antonio Bricio

      Cristal clear explanation! Tks for share.
      I remember Stan Smith tenis lessons in newspapers, short and clear tips.
      Tanks again.

      • Tom Avery

        Hi Antonio,
        You’re welcome, much appreciated!!
        All the best,
        Tom

    • Guilherme Oliveira

      Dear Tom,

      I m in doubt to play serve and volley in clay surface.

      I played serve and volley when I was young in hard surface and It was perfect for me

      So, I don’t know how to serve in clay. It’s better a spin or slice to reach the net because when I serve flat the ball
      return high and deep to my side of the court

      Thanks a lot…

      • Tom Avery

        Hi Guilherme,
        It still works on clay, a topspin kick serve will give you time to get into an ideal volley position. Try it when you want to surprise your opponent or you’re up 40 – 15.
        All the best,
        Tom

    • Bob Stevenson

      Hi Tom
      The thing that killed Federer is that on important points, like in your video he served and volley with the serve down the T. In Federer’s case I don’t understand why he did this, he is playing the best defensive player in the world and he is giving the Djoker the best position to get to the next volley by bringing him to the center of the court with the down the T serve. You should be serving out wide a higher percentage of the time and volleying cross court.

      • Tom Avery

        Hi Bob,
        Nice point… and that is Fed’s favorite serve, out wide. In any case he must try something new, and he certainly has the skills to play all-court, Fed is not the risk taker that Djokovic is, he could use a little more of that in his game, he has nothing to lose and everything to gain.
        All the best,
        Tom

        • jaaklucas

          You dont see serve and volley like the old days .Todays Pros seem afraid because everyone can pass so well and with velocity.We got on the topic talking about Milos Raonic.That serve,that wingspread….you are not gonna beat the Joker from the baseline.Nothing like watching a match between a net rusher and a baseliner.The idea was as a system over a match,win 55% of your points at the net or more,pure and simple.It can have a mental effect on your opponent as well,pressure to come up with a pass over and over.Beautiful to watch too,not all about power.Young players should practice it every day ,improve your touch.Tennis isnt just power.Its another tool in the toolbox,Bring it out to mix it up,keep your opponent honest and guessing.

          • Tom Avery

            Hi Jack,
            Thanks for posting, I totally agree, mix it up, another tool in the toolbox, and the game is more fun to watch.
            All the best,
            Tom

            • Jordan Waring

              Hi Tom,

              Great and I agree.
              If anyone is familiar with Craig O’shannessy, he uses data from 1000s of matches for his analysis and programs and coaching, and for sure coming to the net is a winning percentage, just like trying to finish things off from behind the baseline most of the time is a loser. As a parent of a competitive junior girl, we have insisted that she is strong at the net and develops a great overhead, because I think the game is going to evolve (as it always does) and I would expect to see more and more players coming in as everyone starts realising this is a winning strategy. At the junior level it’s almost unheard of. I have not seen the first U12 volleying unless absolutely forced by a short ball to come into the net. Everyone is addicted to the baseline. I think that the idea of getting in and mixing things up with solid attack shots or serves followed up by a rush to the net is a strategy I’ve seen be exceedingly effective!! My daughter is 9.5, is pretty small, and yet takes many many points, games, and matches off of her opponents 3 years older by running patterns that set up a short ball attack followed by an angled volley. It doesn’t work every time, but it only has to work 2 out of 3 times to be a winner!

            • Tom Avery

              Hi Jordan,
              Yes O’Shaughnessy does a great job with statistics!! Great to see you take a long term approach to your daughters game, I appreciate your foresight. Keep it fun.
              All the best,
              Tom

    • Elaine Hertz

      Please give more instruction on doubles playing. Thank you, elaine

      • Tom Avery

        Hi Elaine,
        Working on that.
        All the best,
        Tom

    • konowitz

      I get killed by the offensive log— What is my problem?

      • Tom Avery

        Hi,
        I assume you mean offensive LOB. If that’s the case, your approach shots are not putting enough pressure on your opponents, and therefore, you’re making it too easy for your opponent to hit his offensive lob. Approach shots need to be hit deep and pressure your opponents, make it difficult for them. Also, do not crowd the net too much, maybe you’re getting too close to the net.
        All the best,
        Tom

    • Steve

      Although I love the serve and volley game I agree with Lloyd. These polyester hybrid strings help the baseliner create terrific angles that make passing shots a lot easier, so a lot of guys love having a target at the net ( murray for example ). It is great that you are trying to reintroduce serve and volley into the game but against quality opponents I don’t think its a winning strategy anymore, against lesser quality players it will still work.

      • Tom Avery

        Hi Steve,
        I think because of the sheer speed of the game today coming to the net can be a losing strategy. As an example, because the ball is traveling so fast on baseline rallies, the player attacking does not have enough time to get into an ideal volley position, the attacking player is therefore subject to low passing shots. That being said, I still think it can be a winning percentage when serving and on short balls used at the right time, also, hitting the approach deep to the backhand side, with topspin. If done correctly statistics show a winning percentage of 65-70%, even at the ATP level.
        All the best,
        Tom

        • Rico Baltazar

          You must know when to follow your shots , always make it a surprise & always make sure you put away the ball or else you’ll be in trouble.

          • Tom Avery

            Rico,
            Yes knowing when to come in and when you do basically you’re saying to your opponent I’m going to win this point within a few shots. If you execute well, you don’t have to always make it a surprise.
            All the best,
            Tom

    • Lloyd Drucker

      Whoa! let’s back up you club and rec players.

      If you try this indiscriminately you’ll get killed. It is like throwing up a hand grenade and running under it.

      Serve and volley is inadvisable for those who cannot serve into the corners armpit or whose opponent is return of serve challenged. Nor for those non fleet of foot or volley adverse.

      The primary aim of the serve is not the ace unless you happen to be Karlovic or Roddick.
      You are not? Sorry about that but not to worry.
      First what you are looking for on your serve or ground stroke is consistency and the opponent unforced error since that makes it easy. After all, are not seven out of eight points lost rather than won?
      Second, you are looking for the short ball that allows one to hit a good approach shot ( or “bad” drop shot) preferably from the serve line paving your way to net for what should be the easy put away even if you are not Edberg.

      This is called crafting the point and even with modest skills if one is smart, doable.

      Federer is an amazing physical specimen and Edberg had his serve and volley game going but in the fifth set it is Djokovic relative youth that prevails.

      • Tom Avery

        Hi Lloyd,
        Nice points and I agree you must have a good serve into the corners or body and have some decent speed for singles play, not as much for doubles. Certainly for club doubles developing serve and volley is not that difficult and a valuable asset.
        All the best,
        Tom

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