Best volleyer- Navratilova or King - TennisForum.com
View Poll Results: Best volleyer- Navratilova or King
Navratilova 9 52.94%
King 8 47.06%
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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old May 23rd, 2011, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
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Best volleyer- Navratilova or King

I think the consensus of most is the best two volleyers, atleast of the Open Era are probably Navratilova and King. Who do you believe was the better overall volleyer of the two though.
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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old May 24th, 2011, 01:46 AM
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Re: Best volleyer- Navratilova or King

I think King was a superb technician on the volley, she understood the geometry of the court and her first volley placement was extraordinary. She was a master of shot placement in general and played the percentages well, usually just doing enough with the volley to make it incredibly difficult for her opponent to pass her.

Navratilova learnt much from her association and doubles partnership with King. She too was a naturally gifted volleyer and aggressive shot maker like King.
What made Martina such a formidable volleyer was her speed and strength. She was an imposing net figure, quick and powerful.

Technically Martina improved her forehand volley over time, in the 70s she took at all mighty swing at that shot and it was prone to error at clutch moments. By the mid 80s that technical deficiency had almost been erradicated, through sheer hard work and modification of the swing, getting down lower and bending her knees on contact. The errors only came when she failed to get low to the net. Her strength, confidence and anticipation made up for the slight technical imperfection.

I can't seperate them really.

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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old May 24th, 2011, 02:27 AM
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Re: Best volleyer- Navratilova or King

I`m slightly leaning on Navratilova because of her speed and athleticism. If you only consider the volleys though (technical), Billie Jean is somewhat equal to Martina if not better.


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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old May 24th, 2011, 09:56 AM
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Re: Best volleyer- Navratilova or King

I'll go with Martina.
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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old May 24th, 2011, 06:32 PM
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Re: Best volleyer- Navratilova or King

tough call, off topic but the sad thing is that 50 year old navratilova was a better volleyer than all the TOP WOMEN PLAYING TODAY! anyway, i think the edge has to go to martina, no woman in history has ever, ever been able to come up with the acrobatics, reflexes, and touch and power than martina!

court had the reach and power, but martina is better at that than court.

king might have had the touch and technical skill of the volley, but not enough in power.

martina is the best of both worlds, and we're not even talking about martina's overhead and speed getting to the net, which she is the best ever in those regards too!
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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old May 24th, 2011, 09:16 PM
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Re: Best volleyer- Navratilova or King

If we're talking volleys only my vote goes to King. She looks just as acrobatic to me as Martina in her prime. And her backhand volley was to die for.

What made Martina better overall IMO was her groundstrokes.
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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old May 24th, 2011, 09:57 PM
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Re: Best volleyer- Navratilova or King

I've always maintained Billie Jean was a better volleyer- maybe the best at the net ever. One thing that has to be considered (along with Martina's sometimes erratic forehand volley) is that in comparison, none of Navratilova's contemporaries were really great serve-volley players who could consistently force Martina to pass. Billie Jean on the other hand had Court, Goolagong, Wade, Bueno and several other world class volleyers to contend with in any given tournament, and she was usually the better net player than any of them. Martina only had a rarely in form Mandlikova and the gangly Sukova who could push her on the odd occasion. Even Ros Fairbank could occasionally give Navratilova fits from the net. In comparing the King volley to that to Navratilova, you also have to take into consideration the standard size racquet King used most of her career as opposed to the mid-sized composites Martina had to work with. More apples and oranges, but a fun thread nonetheless.

There is nothing more beautiful than Evonne Goolagong in full flight moving across a tennis court.
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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old May 24th, 2011, 10:58 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Best volleyer- Navratilova or King

I know not really part of the topic but how were King's groundstrokes. Looking at tapes of them they seem pretty weak even for the era, but she was a very crafty player. Well her backhand was pretty good, but her forehand looked like a poke almost and was very attackable. A 16 year old Evert was already barely losing games to her on clay.
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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old May 25th, 2011, 07:57 AM
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Re: Best volleyer- Navratilova or King

Quote:
Originally Posted by justineheninfan View Post
I know not really part of the topic but how were King's groundstrokes. Looking at tapes of them they seem pretty weak even for the era, but she was a very crafty player. Well her backhand was pretty good, but her forehand looked like a poke almost and was very attackable. A 16 year old Evert was already barely losing games to her on clay.
Well, teenager Chris Evert beat Margaret Court just after Margaret completed the Grand Slam in 1970. Margaret was a much better clay courter than Billie Jean King. While King did win the French title in 1972, she never warmed to the surface, just adapted her game in a year when the field was pretty weak. Have you ever tried to volley on red clay? It's not just difficult, it's very difficult. Edberg, Henman and Rafter all had clay court experience, and were always comfortable at the net- even on clay, but most players will tell you it's a baseliner's game with few exceptions (Court, King, and Navratilova) all managed to do it at the net. Margaret Court was great from the baseline as well as the net, and that explains her 5 titles. There were no red clay courts in Southern California when Billie Jean Moffitt was learning to play.

There is nothing more beautiful than Evonne Goolagong in full flight moving across a tennis court.
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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old May 25th, 2011, 08:58 AM
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Re: Best volleyer- Navratilova or King

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Originally Posted by alfajeffster View Post
Have you ever tried to volley on red clay? It's not just difficult, it's very difficult.
I just wanted to note: I've always played on red clay and I love to go forward and finish the point with a volley. I have never found it difficult to volley on clay. When I first played on an indoor hard court I did struggle with my volleys, because of the difference in speed and bounce. I don't think it has much to do with the inherent qualities of the surface and that it is more about what you're used to. Billie Jean was evidently handicapped in this case.
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post #11 of 37 (permalink) Old May 25th, 2011, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Best volleyer- Navratilova or King

It is pretty surprising the year King won the French she did beat Goolagong fairly easily in the final. I wonder how she ever pulled that off, on clay that is very surprising.
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post #12 of 37 (permalink) Old May 25th, 2011, 02:57 PM
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Re: Best volleyer- Navratilova or King

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Originally Posted by Ms. Q View Post
I just wanted to note: I've always played on red clay and I love to go forward and finish the point with a volley. I have never found it difficult to volley on clay. When I first played on an indoor hard court I did struggle with my volleys, because of the difference in speed and bounce. I don't think it has much to do with the inherent qualities of the surface and that it is more about what you're used to. Billie Jean was evidently handicapped in this case.
Well God bless you if you've mastered the art of volleying well on clay, but you're definitely in the minority. Volleying normally requires firm, steady footwork and the ability to change direction on a dime- things which clay often takes away from you at the net. It is definitely the least conducive surface on which to charge the net. Really sticking a first volley on clay is at a premium, because if you hit any volley that would normally do damage on hard courts, grass or carpet, you also have to factor in the fact that the ball sits up and it's easier to pass a net rusher on clay. It frequently requires the volleyer to have to hit several volleys before actually winning the point. This is why you see so many drop volleys- it compensates for the additional liabilities clay forces on the volleyer. It's also easier for a returner to dip the return at the net rushers' feet on clay, usually making the next ball a much easier pass or put away, let alone lob. The ball comes back much more often on clay than with a hard court or faster surface.

There is nothing more beautiful than Evonne Goolagong in full flight moving across a tennis court.
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post #13 of 37 (permalink) Old May 25th, 2011, 03:44 PM
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Re: Best volleyer- Navratilova or King

Quote:
Originally Posted by alfajeffster View Post
I've always maintained Billie Jean was a better volleyer- maybe the best at the net ever. One thing that has to be considered (along with Martina's sometimes erratic forehand volley) is that in comparison, none of Navratilova's contemporaries were really great serve-volley players who could consistently force Martina to pass. Billie Jean on the other hand had Court, Goolagong, Wade, Bueno and several other world class volleyers to contend with in any given tournament, and she was usually the better net player than any of them. Martina only had a rarely in form Mandlikova and the gangly Sukova who could push her on the odd occasion. Even Ros Fairbank could occasionally give Navratilova fits from the net. In comparing the King volley to that to Navratilova, you also have to take into consideration the standard size racquet King used most of her career as opposed to the mid-sized composites Martina had to work with. More apples and oranges, but a fun thread nonetheless.
Mandlikova had an extremely formidable volley with deft touch though.... I dare say better than Martina. She was less consistent by far, point to point, in her play within a match & thus her never getting past being #3 in that era, but she was NOT inconsistent once she had the volley on her racket. I think of McEnroe's volley when I think of Hana... we're not talking best serve & volley player mind you, but just the volley. But I dont know anyone who understands the technique of the volley better than Alfa!! So I defer...while making my point.
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post #14 of 37 (permalink) Old May 25th, 2011, 03:48 PM
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Re: Best volleyer- Navratilova or King

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
If we're talking volleys only my vote goes to King. She looks just as acrobatic to me as Martina in her prime. And her backhand volley was to die for.

What made Martina better overall IMO was her groundstrokes.
And her ego. Granted, Billie Jean has the bigger ego in some ways and was more demonstrative on court, but Martina's prime is defined by her unwillingness to believe she could lose, and I dont think BJK was ever that arrogant. And I am actually complimenting MN in this use of that word, btw, because that's how you kick ass in sport. She had a little Muhammad Ali in her.
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post #15 of 37 (permalink) Old May 25th, 2011, 04:56 PM
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Re: Best volleyer- Navratilova or King

Quote:
Originally Posted by alfajeffster View Post
Well God bless you if you've mastered the art of volleying well on clay, but you're definitely in the minority. Volleying normally requires firm, steady footwork and the ability to change direction on a dime- things which clay often takes away from you at the net. It is definitely the least conducive surface on which to charge the net. Really sticking a first volley on clay is at a premium, because if you hit any volley that would normally do damage on hard courts, grass or carpet, you also have to factor in the fact that the ball sits up and it's easier to pass a net rusher on clay. It frequently requires the volleyer to have to hit several volleys before actually winning the point. This is why you see so many drop volleys- it compensates for the additional liabilities clay forces on the volleyer. It's also easier for a returner to dip the return at the net rushers' feet on clay, usually making the next ball a much easier pass or put away, let alone lob. The ball comes back much more often on clay than with a hard court or faster surface.
I know all those things... I just said I volley on clay, remember. Of course a volleyer is more vulnerable on slow clay, but you made it sound as if it was mission impossible to pursue such a strategy because of the disadvantages. It really isn't. If you play often on clay (me, I was raised on clay) you learn to adapt and compensate for some of the deficiencies. It's probably a different situation in the professional tour, but some players, like Navratilova (who, coincidentally, also learned to play S&V on clay first), still managed to achieve great success on the surface.
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