from Abs-Cbn News.com
by Ma. Rosanna Mina
Tennis legend Stefan Edberg talks about today’s game as well as the players of this generation
MANILA, Philippines. The serve and volley is a rarity in singles tennis these days, with netters playing long rallies from the baseline more often than not. This is what tennis legend Stefan Edberg of Sweden lamented about today’s game, noting that the serve and volley rarity takes away the excitement from singles tennis.
“It’s completely lost. It’s sad in a way,” Edberg told abs-cbnNEWS.com in an exclusive interview during the sidelines of the 2010 Hong Kong Tennis Classic press conference.
The former World No. 1 reasoned that the serve and volley, a style of play wherein the player moves quickly towards the net after hitting a serve, adds “variation to the game.”
The serve and volley style aims to put immediate pressure on the opponent as the server quickly moves forward to make a volley with the aim of scoring a winner.
This is opposed to the style of a baseliner, who stays at the baseline during play and hits the ball after it bounces. The baseline is the chalk line at the farthest ends of the court which indicates the boundary of the area of play, according to the Tennis Dictionary.
The serve and volley style is more advantageous on fast courts like grass courts and less on slow courts such as clay courts.
Great tennis era
Edberg, regarded as one of the major proponents of the serve and volley, clinched 6 singles and 3 doubles grand slam titles with his brand of tennis.
Other netters who employed the serve and volley style are Ken Rosewall, Jack Kramer, Pancho Gonzales, Frank Sedgman, Rod Laver, John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Pete Sampras, Patrick Rafter, Goran Ivanisevic and Martina Navratilova.
Edberg, 44, had the likes of McEnroe, Becker, Sampras, Rafter and Ivanisevic as colleagues along with Ivan Lendl and Andre Agassi.
He said that he was part of a good tennis generation” “I played during a great era… There was a big boom in the 80s and 90s.
When asked to comment about the current tennis era dominated by Swiss Roger Federer and Spanish Rafael Nadal, Edberg praised the present “great generation.”
“You gotta give it to the players… They’re playing at a very high level,” he noted.
Federer employs the serve and volley sometimes especially when playing in Wimbledon and other grass tournaments. Nadal, on the other hand, is a noted baseliner and dirtballer (clay court specialist).
Present players who use the serve and volley style regularly are Michael Llodra, Feliciano Lopez, Max Mirnyi, Taylor Dent and Ivo Karlovic.
Edberg turned professional in 1983 and retired in 1996. He returned to action in 2008 as part of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Tour of Champions, a tour for retired ATP players.
The Swede continued his winning ways in the Tour of Champions. During the 2010 Hong Kong Tennis Classic exhibition event in Victoria Park, he seemed like he did not lose his touch when he played against fellow legends Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Michael Chang. He made sweet volleys with ease and still played well from the baseline.
Edberg holds various records such as being the only junior Grand Slam champion in 1983, winning the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open in the 18-and-under singles.
He and McEnroe are the only men to be World No. 1 in both singles and doubles rankings.
The father of two, who is married to Annette Olsen, was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004.
He received the ATP Sportsmanship Award 5 times in 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992 and 1995. The ATP honored such feat by renaming the citation in 1996 as the “Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award.”
Being his usual gracious self, Edberg refused to comment on the outbursts that Federer and Serena Williams had at the 2009 US Open.
He just said that he is “quite restrictive” with his feelings and added that “there’s nothing wrong to get angry… as long as you do it the right way.”
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