No. 1 Roger Federer has reached his third Wimbledon final by beating No. 2 Lleyton Hewitt in a three set semifinal match. He will either face Andy Roddick or Thomas Johansson on Sunday for the championship. If Federer wins the final, he will become one of three men (Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg) to win three consecutive Wimbledon titles since 1936.
The interesting thing to note is that three players – Federer, Samprass and Borg – are all serve-and-volleyers. Grass is pretty much designed for serve-and-volley play and with more and more players switching to a standard baseline game, Wimbledon and the other grass tournaments lose the thrill of exciting matches like the Borg vs. McEnroe finals of the early 80s. We might never see that level of play again because the real only other successful serve-and-volley player left other than Federer is Tim Henman is he is 30 years old and reaching the Pro Tennis “retirement” age.
I think Federer’s success hopefully might bring a resurgence to the serve-and-volley style. People look to Roddick and his success despite volleying no less than 5% of his points and choose to not volley. It’s a great skill to have and most people don’t ever learn because they don’t play doubles anymore. Doubles is a great way to learn volleying and become comfortable with it. It’s a shame, but Federer will proove why serve-and-volleying is such a great weapon and he might very well be the next Sampras, who won 14 Grand Slam titles. If Federer wins on Sunday, he’ll have five.