Chennai: Leander Paes on Saturday lamented that the fascinating serve and volley style is not there to be seen in modern tennis and of all the current players only Feliciano Lopez and Novak Djokovic are the ones who play well on the net.
Paes, who even at 41 is agile while playing at the net, said the change in the methods of preparing the courts has killed the serve and volley game.
"When I first started my career in early 90s the conditions were really fast. Then in early 2000 the balls became heavy and courts, where 20 tonnes of sand were used was built with 30 tonnes of sand and now it is upto about 45 tonnes of sand in each court. So, the courts got really slow and it killed the game of serve and volley," Paes, winner of 14 Grand Slam titles, said.
"So, the serve and volley game is pretty much gone, except that Feliciano has a great serve and volley game among players on the tour now. If you think about it, Djokovic at the moment is the best. Best because he knows the right time to come on to the net. He has such a good approach it results pretty much like a volley.
"Even Roger (Federer) when he plays Djokovic or Murray or Nadal, he is hesitant to come to the net because he feels he is out of position unless the serve and approach shot are really brilliant he does not come in that much," the legendary athlete said.
Paes, though, said the evolution of the game was inevitable.
"You have to keep evolving and changing with the time. We are always stitching new strings which give you spin. If you are playing Rafael Nadal or Djokovic, they give so much spin and your strings have to allow you to compete against such great players," he said.
Talking more about Federer, Paes said the strategies his
new coach has introduced have worked very well for the Swiss great.
"One of the good things that (Stefan) Edberg is actually doing is he is making Roger use his front court game a lot. And, that is the reason I think that Roger has been so successful in 2014," Paes opined.
"As he is aging a bit, Roger is not staying more on the baseline and run around the ball, especially with Rafa's big hefty forehands or cross court or Djocovic?s unbelievable movement.
"I feel it was one of his best years that I watched him and adapted himself better. To me it was such a treat to watch. He is the best ambassador for the game of tennis," Paes said.
Paes, who has been amazingly fit all these year, said two most important things in any player's career are "racquet and shoes".
"It become very important to run with the right shoes and you should be able to have a right posture. And also of racquet, weight of racquet, balance of racquet and swing of racquet with right strings. I adhere to these things. That is how I was able to make shots. That is how I have maintained my body over the years," he said.
Paes, who quit singles to prolong his doubles career, said he was pretty satisfied with the results in his career.
"At this stage, I have to say that I have no complaints at all. I have won 14 Grand Slams. I had a great career. I have been really blessed. I am really pleased that I got my Olympic medal in singles. I have a great deal of accomplishments in singles too."