June 28, 2017

Michael Llodra – The Last of the Serve and Volleyers

MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – In an age which players bang away from the baseline, France’s Michael Llodra is a man who stands alone – at the net. He remains one of the last pure serve and volley players on the ATP World Tour.


When I asked him about this in a news conference, Llodra replied, “I am the last one, no?”


“I learned tennis, I play like this, my idol was (Stephan) Edberg and (Henri) Leconte. For me it’s too difficult to play from the baseline. It’s boring.”  Does he think serve and volley will ever make a comeback:”I don’t know it’s difficult,” said the 6’3″ Frenchman, “because now all the surfaces are slow.”


“So when when you want to play good you have to serve well. And also you have to be good because serve and volley over five sets. It’s getting difficult to do serve and volley” says the 31-year-old left hander who reached a career high rank in singles of 21 in September 2011.


On Thursday the 46th-ranked Llodra survived being broken four times in the fifth set to upset the No. 32 seed and new Russian Alex Bogomolov Jr 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 5-7, 6-4.  “I stayed positive and I fight,” said Llodra.


Next match-up for Llodra on Saturday will be World No.4 Andy Murray. “I have nothing to lose. Everybody is going to think that Murrray is going to destroy me, so we’ll see on the court.”


“Nothing change for me when I play my game.”


The last time Llordra played Murray was back in 2008 at the US Open when Murray won in a fifth-set tiebreak in the second round. “It’s tough to play against him, slow fast, he can do whatever he wants. I have to play my game,” noted Llodra.


When asked if serve and volley is a  good tactic to play against Murray, Llodra quipped,”that’s my only option.”


Murray has a current winning streak against French players at 10 in a row and 37-3 since January of 2008, “but he never beat me in doubles,” bragged the Frenchman.


“Have to attack and put pressure on him. He’s good at the baseline, he’s also good at the net.”

Murray was asked about playing Llodra after his win over Roger‑Vasselin 6‑1, 6‑4, 6‑4 to advance to the third round on Thursday.  “He’s got one way of playing, and he’ll keep playing that way up at the net.

“He’s very good at it as well.  He’s been a great doubles player, been very good at singles for a long time.  He’s got a lot of experience.  He makes it difficult because of the way he plays.


“You don’t see guys playing like that much nowadays.  When you do play against them, it normally takes a little while to adjust.


“It’s going to be tough.  But I’ve always enjoyed playing guys that come forward in the past.  Hopefully I can play a good match against him.”


Llodra is also a rarity in the fact that he plays both singles and doubles. Llodra has won five career ATP World Tour singles titles and 22 doubles crowns.   Some days he’s playing both singles and doubles matches within hours of each other such as he did on Thursday when he played a total of seven sets – five in singles and two in doubles. To do this “have to enjoy being on the court,” laughs Llodra. When asked about what is more important to him, singles or doubles he replied “both of them.”



Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News