23 thoughts on “Wimbledon 1998 Final Sampras vs Ivanisevic”

  1. Actually, even Sampras was never too keen on doubles nor Agassi so that has more to do with the increased commercialization of the game than serve-volley. As for meaningless flogging, well, the 90s had meaningless serve contests. The quality of the volleys was often inconsequential because the serves were nearly unreturnable. True serve and volley died with Edberg. If you just want a big serving player beating a baseliner, look no further than Rosol. It still happens at Wimbledon.

  2. yes mate but with the courts so much slower now as to enable the baseliners to dominate which is driven by tv advertising longer matches mean more ads it also gives no incentive to serve volley and the whole game has become much weaker doubling the seeds at the big tournaments is to make sure the top players get through and makes for one sided meaningless floggings the main reason serve volley has disappeared is the players no longer play doubles which is a much more skilful game 

  3. I will never forget this match as long as I live. The tenacity both players showed in this all out dog fight for the Wimbledon title is what really made me fall in love with tennis. I remember it being a marathon, with Ivanisevic serving rockets, seemingly always either coming up with a fault or an ace, trying SO HARD to beat Sampras, yet it seemed inevitable that Pete was just too good. In the end, Pete dug deep and his will to win came through, making him champion again. True heart of a champ.

  4. I emphasise volley instead of serve because, yes, while a good serve is important to set up the volley, it was not so important to Edberg as it was to Ivanisevic.

  5. I can see the positives in how you’ve distinguished the S&V game into, like you say, the emphasis on either the SERVE or the VOLLEY and how you haved positioned it historically. However, I have some reservations about your distinctions, namely that in my opinion you can’t separate the serve from the volley in that you need the serve to set up an ‘ideal’ volley. Ideal is in scare quotes as this isn’t always possible as we both probably know lol. However, your points about history are well put.

  6. I miss it…but not in the 90s. I believe the change had begun in the 90s. Ivanisevic or Kraijeck were SERVE-and-volley, where Mac or Edberg were serve-and-VOLLEY. Sampras’s brilliance at the net combined with, again, his tremendous serve, masked the change underway in men’s tennis in the 90s.

  7. Yes, I agree with the surface aspect. It just seems wrong from a sporting point of view to sort of imperialistically and systematically phase out the serve and volley game doesn’t it. It gives an illusion of a one-dimensional game which tennis as we both know certainly is not. However, I disagree with your categorisation of the 1998 final as dull. I wish I could write my reasons why. Hate this YouTube word limit lol.

  8. I agree with this. Maybe it’s just my predilection for the shorter kind of game. I just miss the finesse and the wonderful athleticism you used to see in the net player. That kind of determination to put the ball away with a diving volley a la Becker and the pounding into the net after a nicely played approach shot.

  9. Simplistic view, dude. We had good baseliners back in the day too. It was the clash of different styles that made the game so awesome. The big hitter, net player against the grinder/baseliner. On this particular match that we had too big game players against each other. Tennis was awesome. Now it sucks.

  10. In the 90s, players did not by and large hit baseline winners at the power and in such incredible angles as they do now. That also puts the other player under tremendous pressure to retrieve. The baseline game has just advanced so much that coming in behind every serve is too risky because players can and will pass the incoming volleyer more often than not. Players still do use serve volley as a change up.

  11. I actually do agree that tennis today is too defensive. The surfaces are all too uniform and there should be variety in the game which includes serve and volley. This means faster surfaces should be included on tour – particularly the indoor courts.

    But to be honest i prefer watching today’s more defensive matches compared to the dull tennis played in the Wimbledon final of 1998.

  12. Ok, to repeat your structure, with slight changes: Wimbledon now-Boring. Pattern of EVERY match is definitely serve-ace, serve-return-winner, or serve-return-endless rally where each player hits the ball directly back at the other-unforced error. I suppose my point is that tennis is too defensive these days with no direct attacking play, in the sense of attacking the net-closing the angles-volley winner. You’ve gotta make the other player play a shot under pressure. Serve-Volley all the way.

  13. Back in the days of Wimbledon when it was a serving contest – Boring. The pattern of this match is pretty much, serve – ace, serve- return into the net or long, serve- volley winner, serve – return into the net. Game to server.

  14. wow. what a win over krajcek in the semi’s. this was goran’s wimbledon. think he misses an easy volley and woulda been up two sets to love. then pete wins it. GI looked cool with the longer hair and beard 

  15. I remember watching this match live and seeing how Ivanisevic was trying so hard to win, but no matter what he did, Sampras had an answer and was just at the top of his game that day (which meant there was no way Ivanisevic was going to win). This was the day I really began to respect Pete Sampras as the greatest tennis player I had ever seen that to that point. I was told that, no matter what, you can’t stop the will to win, and Pete had it.

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