Serve and volley threatened by technology, says Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic jokes that he only comes to the net to shake hands but believes technology will decide the fate of serve and volley in men`s tennis.
Melbourne: Novak Djokovic jokes that he only comes to the net to shake hands but believes technology will decide the fate of serve and volley in men`s tennis.
The Serb world number one took some time to work out the serve-volley playing style of Luxembourg opponent Gilles Muller before reaching the quarter-finals on Monday in his quest for a fifth Australian Open.
It wasn`t long ago that the serve and volley game was in vogue with John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg and Pete Sampras among the leaders, especially on the grass courts of Wimbledon.
But a greater emphasis on hard courts, making the balls bounce slower and higher, spawned new generations of players camped on the baseline with more focus on returns and passing shots.
Djokovic, whose all-court athletic game has earned him seven Grand Slam titles and the world number one ranking for most of the last four years, said he fears for the old serve and volley game.
"I go to the net to shake hands," he said.
"But it really depends how the technology is going to advance, what are we going to do with the balls as well. Are they going to become faster or slower?
"My subjective feeling for the Australian Open, I talked to many players, and for the last two years the courts or the balls, something out of these two elements, have sped up the game here in Australia.
"It plays faster. It allows the servers to have more free points, come to the net."
But Djokovic said on cooler nights such as in his match with Muller, the balls do not bounce as much as in warmer conditions.
"He tried to chip and come in. He played smart. Made me uncomfortable in some moments on the court. That`s what serve and volley players do," he said.
"You don`t get to see that many serve and volley players these days.
"The future (of serve and volley)? It`s hard to say if it`s going to go back to what it was 20, 30 years ago. I highly doubt that.
"Depending on technology and certain changes, if the game becomes a bit faster, the players will adjust to it."