Maxime Cressy has said that the top players in men’s tennis are “scared to go to the net” as he continues to champion a serve and volley revival.
Having given eventual runner-up Daniil Medvedev a tough time at the Australian Open last month, the French-American won plenty of new admirers with his aggressive service game and willingness to play at close quarters.
Medvedev managed to triumph 6-2 7-6 6-7 7-5, but not before becoming so frustrated that he started complaining loudly about his opponent being “lucky” and “so boring”.
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Addressing Medvedev’s comments in an interview with the Palm Beach Post, Cressy suggested that he has no intention of changing his approach and feels that, on the contrary, the top players are too conservative in looking to dominate from the baseline.
“It’s obviously a much more gruelling sport when you play from the baseline, but I think it’s also because most players are scared to go to the net and there’s many opportunities in every rally to come in, but no one comes in,” he said.
“That’s why they’re stuck in those 30-to-40 stroke rallies. That’s why they stay back, and they win all their matches because they’re better than all of those guys at the baseline.
“I believe there needs to be a new way of winning for people to start seeing tennis as more exciting and thrilling… the paradox is Medvedev calling my game boring, even though most people actually love to see that style come back.”
While serve and volley is considered retro by many and hasn’t been widely employed as a tactic since the turn of the millennium – with slower courts, improved racquet technology and better returners among the theoretical reasons for its decline – Cressy remains a passionate advocate. Having risen to world No 59 on the back of his nonconformist approach, he hopes to be at the forefront of a serve and volley renaissance.
“I’ve just fallen in love with the net so any time I have a chance to get there I will,’’ he added. “I think the evolution of tennis is asking for someone to change the face of the sport and make players more fearless and attack the net more. It’s actually easier to finish at the net than trying to hit big from 10 metres back.
“If I can build my game around going to the net, with my height and length I can make big damage. It’s easy to master and that’s how I’m going to get to the top.”
Speaking after his 6-2 7-6 6-3 6-2 win against Christopher O’Connell in the third round of the Australian Open, Cressy gave further insight into his ambition to champion a style of play which has been widely written off.
“My vision from the very beginning was to bring serve and volley back,” he said.
“I’ve had many different people tell me that it’s dead, that it’s not going to be efficient or effective today… I’ve heard many excuses that it was not going to be the best style for me, but I had a vision and I believe it’s going to happen.
“The mindset is to go for it. Sometimes I have good days, sometimes bad days and I feel like on the good days it’s very difficult to beat that style of play going for both serves.”
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