Dmas, you and i posted the same thing it's just that mine mind is all over atm. I still think it's a combination of all surfaces being slowed down and all players (except Llodra and Sexy Stepanek ) being baseliners. IMHO, only Fed and Haas, being from that 'older generation' can give you that 'variety' nowadays.
But, that is the way they get trained nowadays. I don't know. Seeing long rallies when there is some point construction involved but didn't work out is fun, but if 2 guys just keep hitting the ball over the net and hoping for UE it's so freaking boring.
As a Nole fan I prefer his game from 2007/08 because he was so aggressive. My question to you is what changed? How come he became #1 by sort of doing that 'defend, defend, defend and then hit a winner'. the thing is, very often it takes forever.
Same with Murray. I followed really closely Murray/Nole back in 2006. Murray played a completely different game. and then he goes into this 'run, run, run, defend, defend, defend' and hope for the best.
It's not necessarily defend-defend-defend, it's more play the percentages. Don't go for a winner unless you have a very good percentage at making the shot-not winning the point-but making the shot. If you make the shot and it's not a winner, then reset and keep playing until you can hit a winner, or make your opponent miss.
I look at it in terms of engineering, where you don't want to be at the limits of a piece of equipment. You want to be in the sweet spot of that equipment if at all possible.
So, Djokovic, Murray & Nadal all stay within the sweet spots of their shots. They don't take chances. They just keep playing until they can get an advantage. When they can, they try and win the point, but don't try to hit as close to the lines or as crazy a shot as other players. They are fit enough to just keep playing the percentages until they can win more points than their opponents.
Due to all of this, coaches just don't teach serve/volley tennis anymore. The volley has become like the overhead, just practiced for a few minutes at the end of a practice session, and there's very little talk of how to move at the net (in case a volley gets returned).
This is possible because of the spin possibilities of the equipment, and the slowing down of the courts in general. So it is all equally culpable.
In the end it has made for a very bland brand of tennis. Very little forays into the net, even on grass, where it was the way you used to play tennis on grass. Even in Newport, where the grass is still the same as it used to be in Wimbledon. There is much more net rushing at Newport than anywhere else, but not as much as in the past. Players aren't comfortable at the net even on a surface where getting the net is an advantage, like Newport. In fact, I've played on the Newport courts. Not only is the bounce incredibly low, it's incredibly inconsistent. So there is even more incentive to get to the net, but no, players just get to the net to finish off rallies, to put away volleys.