Measuring Athletic Skill vs. Tennis Skill

Measuring Athletic Skill vs. Tennis Skill

After being soundly defeated by Roger Federer last weekend in the finals of the Dubai event, Andy Murray spoke of the relatively fast court conditions and how they favored Federer.

"If there was more tournaments on these courts, I think he could definitely be No. 1 in the world for the next few years," Murray told reporters. "It really suits his game well. Just so many of the courts are so slow now. It's nice for us to get a changeup like here. Some of the tournaments are so slow it's tough against so many guys that are moving well and serving big. It's become tougher and tougher to stay at the top of the game longer."

Murray, the slowly but surely improving, fourth-ranked player, makes a good point. While I question whether Federer would be No. 1 if more fast-court events were scheduled, the fact is that tennis is betraying its essence by not contesting more tournaments on faster courts.

It's not a new issue. For years there's been a steady refrain, echoing most frequently from the traditionalist set, who bemoan the dearth of serve-and-volley play. Indeed, the volley is becoming, if not extinct, a boutique shot - a vanity choice, if you will - utilized to surprise rather than intimidate.

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