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sandy mayer
03-19-2007, 04:24 PM
Connors forehand: a short slice on grass would lead to mistakes, but this wasn't a problem on hard courts (and I don't think it was a big problem on clay) This was only 1 aspect of Connors' forehand but apart from that it was a great shot. It was strong off the return of serve. And he could generate great power and accuracy off it on most kinds of shots. I would go as far as to say his forehand was aweapon, even if it wasn't as big as his backhand.

Connors volley: very strong, Nastase in his autobiography calls him a 'great volleyer'.

Mac return of serve: he had great reactions and could even take the serve on the rise. Borg was very complimentary of Mac's return.

Lendl backhand: it was very strong. He could slice and let it rip, and could pass well.

Cash groundstrokes: he could hit off the ground: good passing shots, lobs and approach shots. He couldn't rally for too long but on fast surfaces his groundstrokes were good.

Kraijcek groundstrokes: much much better than people realise.

Ivanisevic: same as above though I think Kraijcek was more consistent.

Sampras backhand: it was often a big attacking weapon, especially early in his career. If you watch the 2002 US Open final Sampras blasts lots of bachands past Agassi. It was only a weakness on clay, especially with high bouncing balls. Late in his career it could be inconsistent and break down, but not before then.

Agassi serve: not in his great rival's class but a weapon. He had a great wide serve in the Ad court, unusuallly good for a righty. It came to his rescue on many big points.

Frank Silbermann
03-19-2007, 07:55 PM
Connors forehand: a short slice on grass would lead to mistakes, but this wasn't a problem on hard courts (and I don't think it was a big problem on clay) This was only 1 aspect of Connors' forehand but apart from that it was a great shot. It was strong off the return of serve. And he could generate great power and accuracy off it on most kinds of shots. I would go as far as to say his forehand was a weapon, even if it wasn't as big as his backhand. The problem with his forehand was his grip. It allowed him neither to open the racquet face in the continental/eastern manner nor to drop the racquet head as with a western grip. To lift a very low skidding ball you have to do one or the other. In a U.S. open match against Guillermo Vilas, Connors kept the ball to Vilas' forehand. Vilas' forehand was probably more powerful and had a bigger strike zone, but he never sliced it and Connors could handle the power. He didn't mind Vilas' celebrated topspin backhand, either, but Vilas' slice backhand drove him nuts.

In terms of pure power, both sides were equal, but he could get under the ball on the backhand and therefore made fewer errors.

Early in his career, Connors was considered a blaster. A fellow pro remarked that he had never before played anyone who could hit the ball so hard so consistently. By the end of his career he was hitting the ball equally hard, but competitors had moved on to larger, more powerful racquets and more topspin, and he was no longer considered to be a power player. What kept him near the top was his ability to stand inside the court, take the ball on the rise and slide it with disguise to any place on court he desired. Because he had mastered side-spin on his ground-strokes, changing the direction of the ball from cross-court to down-the-line was no problem for him.

An opponent could blast a heavy topspin shot sharply cross-court to him, and Connors could rush in, hit the ball before it had risen two feet from the court, and slide it down-the-line (or even reverse cross-court) while moving forward, and then knock off the easy volley.

WillAlwaysLoveYouTennis
03-30-2007, 09:12 AM
Connors was so often able to get his opponents out of position or out of range on the court, that he could close effectively and knock off a volley even with his unusual grip. His superior groundstrokes made this possible. The forehand was quite accurate and could spin away from you when he cut under it. Just amazing to watch, though he was one of my least favorite players of his day.

I loved the Lendl backhand, and since he was my favorite player of his day, came to pattern my stroke after it. I remember watching and rewatching his matches, then going to out and playing 5or 6 hours a day attempting the same motion. Even now, when I can, it's my favorite shot to practice.

More so than Ivanisevic, Kraijcek was definitely solid off both sides. His reach was so great, but to me his footwork at times could be ungainly. The same with Goran whose matches at Wimbledon when he was young were almost comical how would struggle to keep his footing and get into position to hit the ball.

N23
03-30-2007, 01:38 PM
Graf slice BH.

BTURNER
12-24-2013, 03:15 PM
Evert's overhead. Almost never missed them, and dispite the fact they were not overpowering, almost always ended up winning the point.

Rosewall
12-25-2013, 11:45 AM
Very interesting analysis by Frank Silbermann. Thanks for that. I was never a big fan of Connors antiquated forehand. It looked exactly like something that would be taught by a female player from the 1950s -- which is where it came from of course. Having said that, for some of the reasons Silbermann mentioned, I used to imitate Connors' forehand in high school (early 80s) as a change-of-pace to frustrate opponents. The side spin, lack of pace, and disguise of the shot could drive my opponents nuts for a short time.

I still bring it out against my kids, who were very good high school players. It drives them nuts when I redirect my Connors forehand down the line to their backhand side.

Connors volley was indeed underrated. He could hit very sharp volleys from anywhere on the court. He is the only guy I've seen consistently hit volleys in big matches from just inside the baseline instead of letting big topspin groundstrokes bounce. I think there is a youtube video of a Borg match where he does this.

My addition to the underrated shots list was Graf's backhand. I copied her crosscourt slice backhand as my own, though I cannot hit it as consistently. Deep and low skidding. It is fun to watch someone with a two handed backhand scramble to the corner and try and dig that off the ground.

Rosewall
12-25-2013, 11:46 AM
Just saw N23 already mentioned Graf's slice backhand. Good to see there are others who appreciated that shot.

MethodTennis
12-25-2013, 12:02 PM
roddicks bh

did that ever get tight? I mean he did zero damage off that wing but it was always solid on big points and in big matches

FD3S
12-25-2013, 02:51 PM
roddicks bh

did that ever get tight? I mean he did zero damage off that wing but it was always solid on big points and in big matches

After Connors and Stefanki worked on it, the Roddick BH was generally a very reliable shot, even under pressure.

Before that, though... his BH had moments where it was struck hard and clean, but generally speaking it was a very attackable wing when compared to later in his career.

CaptainCool309
12-25-2013, 03:06 PM
I think an underrated stroke is Stefan Edberg Edberg's forehand. A lot of people like to make fun of it, because it looks strange compared to his beautiful backhand, but it was a solid stroke for Edberg. Granted he didn't hit too many winners with it, but he could hit it consistently with decent flat pace and use it as a tool to get to the net.

kiki
12-26-2013, 06:15 AM
Becker BH ROS Amazing when rolling on and terrific for Edberg on grass and Lendl or Mc Enroe on carpet

burn1986
12-26-2013, 08:43 AM
Connors forehand: a short slice on grass would lead to mistakes, but this wasn't a problem on hard courts (and I don't think it was a big problem on clay) This was only 1 aspect of Connors' forehand but apart from that it was a great shot. It was strong off the return of serve. And he could generate great power and accuracy off it on most kinds of shots. I would go as far as to say his forehand was aweapon, even if it wasn't as big as his backhand.

Connors volley: very strong, Nastase in his autobiography calls him a 'great volleyer'.

Mac return of serve: he had great reactions and could even take the serve on the rise. Borg was very complimentary of Mac's return.

Lendl backhand: it was very strong. He could slice and let it rip, and could pass well.

Cash groundstrokes: he could hit off the ground: good passing shots, lobs and approach shots. He couldn't rally for too long but on fast surfaces his groundstrokes were good.

Kraijcek groundstrokes: much much better than people realise.

Ivanisevic: same as above though I think Kraijcek was more consistent.

Sampras backhand: it was often a big attacking weapon, especially early in his career. If you watch the 2002 US Open final Sampras blasts lots of bachands past Agassi. It was only a weakness on clay, especially with high bouncing balls. Late in his career it could be inconsistent and break down, but not before then.

Agassi serve: not in his great rival's class but a weapon. He had a great wide serve in the Ad court, unusuallly good for a righty. It came to his rescue on many big points.

Very good, X2

hawk eye
12-30-2013, 10:31 AM
All of Petr Korda's shots.

BTURNER
12-30-2013, 11:10 AM
I think an underrated stroke is Stefan Edberg Edberg's forehand. A lot of people like to make fun of it, because it looks strange compared to his beautiful backhand, but it was a solid stroke for Edberg. Granted he didn't hit too many winners with it, but he could hit it consistently with decent flat pace and use it as a tool to get to the net.

I do not see it as a consistent shot. Matter of fact I blame it for his failure to do very well on clay. That was the wing what would break down.

kiki
12-30-2013, 12:30 PM
Rosewall´s Fh, an extremely precise and simple shot...and his overhead, very angled and the best solution for a short guy like himself.

CaptainCool309
12-30-2013, 06:25 PM
I do not see it as a consistent shot. Matter of fact I blame it for his failure to do very well on clay. That was the wing what would break down.

Did his forehand drastically breakdown in the 1985 and 1987 Australian Opens? Did his forehand wing breakdown in his Wimbledon showdowns he had with Becker in 1988, and 1990? Did his forehand breakdown when he faced Jim courier and Pete Sampras in USO finals in 1991 and 1992? Call me crazy, but in my opinion, you can't have an "inconsistent" forehand, and win at least 6 major singles titles!

While it is true that his forehand suited him better on faster courts than on slower courts with his relentless attacking game, he still made it to the french open finals in 1989, and almost won it. He's not the only aggressive net rusher to not win a FO though. He join the ranks of Mcenroe, Becker, and Sampras, Rafter, in that category. I do admit that Edberg's forehand might have been a disadvantage on clay because he didn't hit it with sufficient topspin suited for clay courts, but it was good enough to get him to the French Open finals 1989, a doubles finals appearance in 1986, and a few other clay titles in Bastad Sweden, Hamburg Germany, and Madrid Spain.

And yeah I agree Kiki, Rosewall had a pretty good forehand too. He didn't hit it with as much topspin as his fellow Aussie counterparts did, but it was still a solid, precise, and pretty fundamentally simple stroke. I always wonder what kind of player Rosewall would've become if he was allowed to play with his dominant left hand instead of his right one...

BTURNER
12-30-2013, 08:40 PM
Did his forehand drastically breakdown in the 1985 and 1987 Australian Opens? Did his forehand wing breakdown in his Wimbledon showdowns he had with Becker in 1988, and 1990? Did his forehand breakdown when he faced Jim courier and Pete Sampras in USO finals in 1991 and 1992? Call me crazy, but in my opinion, you can't have an "inconsistent" forehand, and win at least 6 major singles titles!

While it is true that his forehand suited him better on faster courts than on slower courts with his relentless attacking game, he still made it to the french open finals in 1989, and almost won it. He's not the only aggressive net rusher to not win a FO though. He join the ranks of Mcenroe, Becker, and Sampras, Rafter, in that category. I do admit that Edberg's forehand might have been a disadvantage on clay because he didn't hit it with sufficient topspin suited for clay courts, but it was good enough to get him to the French Open finals 1989, a doubles finals appearance in 1986, and a few other clay titles in Bastad Sweden, Hamburg Germany, and Madrid Spain.

And yeah I agree Kiki, Rosewall had a pretty good forehand too. He didn't hit it with as much topspin as his fellow Aussie counterparts did, but it was still a solid, precise, and pretty fundamentally simple stroke. I always wonder what kind of player Rosewall would've become if he was allowed to play with his dominant left hand instead of his right one...

Its all relative. On most surfaces, it was hard to keep him in the back court long enough to pepper that wing sufficiently to induce those errors often enough to bare fruit. Edberg made it real hard to exploit. I stipulated clay because the rallies tend to last longer, opponents have more time to direct the traffic to a particular wing on the run and late to the ball, and Edberg will have to sit in the back court more often on second serve than on hard, carpet or grass. the set of facts provided suggest he had some success regardless and that whether opponents could take enough advantage and induce enough errors depended on circumstance and style as well has how well he was playing that day. The fact that other s/vers had similar results on clay only means they too, had weaknesses to exploit on dirt.

CaptainCool309
12-31-2013, 09:19 AM
Its all relative. On most surfaces, it was hard to keep him in the back court long enough to pepper that wing sufficiently to induce those errors often enough to bare fruit. Edberg made it real hard to exploit. I stipulated clay because the rallies tend to last longer, opponents have more time to direct the traffic to a particular wing on the run and late to the ball, and Edberg will have to sit in the back court more often on second serve than on hard, carpet or grass. the set of facts provided suggest he had some success regardless and that whether opponents could take enough advantage and induce enough errors depended on circumstance and style as well has how well he was playing that day. The fact that other s/vers had similar results on clay only means they too, had weaknesses to exploit on dirt.

This I can agree with. Good analysis.

kiki
12-31-2013, 11:10 AM
Did his forehand drastically breakdown in the 1985 and 1987 Australian Opens? Did his forehand wing breakdown in his Wimbledon showdowns he had with Becker in 1988, and 1990? Did his forehand breakdown when he faced Jim courier and Pete Sampras in USO finals in 1991 and 1992? Call me crazy, but in my opinion, you can't have an "inconsistent" forehand, and win at least 6 major singles titles!

While it is true that his forehand suited him better on faster courts than on slower courts with his relentless attacking game, he still made it to the french open finals in 1989, and almost won it. He's not the only aggressive net rusher to not win a FO though. He join the ranks of Mcenroe, Becker, and Sampras, Rafter, in that category. I do admit that Edberg's forehand might have been a disadvantage on clay because he didn't hit it with sufficient topspin suited for clay courts, but it was good enough to get him to the French Open finals 1989, a doubles finals appearance in 1986, and a few other clay titles in Bastad Sweden, Hamburg Germany, and Madrid Spain.

And yeah I agree Kiki, Rosewall had a pretty good forehand too. He didn't hit it with as much topspin as his fellow Aussie counterparts did, but it was still a solid, precise, and pretty fundamentally simple stroke. I always wonder what kind of player Rosewall would've become if he was allowed to play with his dominant left hand instead of his right one...

According to himself, his serve would have been twice better...

Matthew Bance
01-01-2014, 04:26 AM
Ivanisevic just being ball striker he had so many levels in his game

kiki
01-01-2014, 04:52 AM
I liked Ivanisevic but I always felt he is quite overrated in his non serving abilities.Much in the mold of a Leconte, he could be flashy but erratic.Both had an extremely fast left arm that could lead into great returns, approaches or even deft touch volleys but many times they missed those shots and did it in a very blattant way.

anyway, his serve is certainly one of the fastest ever.

Rosewall
01-03-2014, 08:42 PM
FD3S: After Connors and Stefanki worked on it, the Roddick BH was generally a very reliable shot, even under pressure.

Connors tried to get Roddick to take the ball earlier and go for more on the backhand side. Connors said Roddick was amazing in practice but would revert to the conservative stroke in tournament play. It didn't take long for Connors to realize he couldn't do any more for Andy.

Pascal Maria
01-04-2014, 12:10 AM
enqvist serve
safin forehand
gonzalez backhand

tennisjedi
01-06-2014, 10:36 AM
nalbandian forehand
safin forehand