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View Full Version : Edberg highlight video vs. Bruguera


!Tym
02-08-2008, 07:58 AM
Here's a very one-sided but great clip of Bruguera-Edberg from 90 indoors. One-sided, because you would think by the clips that Edberg had won 0 and 0 which wasn't the case, it's pretty much an Edberg highlight clip with only the points Edberg won shown. Still, it's quite amazing to see I think the caliber of Edberg's volleys. Bruguera's squirelly groundies were a nightmare to volley for many and always gave Sampras fits, but Edberg seems to handle just about any kind of volley, low or high, about as well as anyone I've ever seen. The guy's the best pure technical volleyer I think I've ever seen when he was on, like a machine at the net wheras Rafter was more like all Braveheart, blood, guts, and glory up there. Just to totally different styles of net players. I'd say Edberg was the James Bond of net players, all GQ, never a hair out of place, didn't seem to sweat, lol.

Absolutely clinical volleys this guy when he was on, so razor sharp and precise, it's clear to see why he owned a guy like Muster, and in the match I've seen of him against Rafter well past his prime in 95, he just looked to me like he was always just that one master class above Rafter at the net.

http://www.dailymotion.com/relevance/search/bruguera/video/x36tb0_edbergbruguera-bercy-90_sport

35ft6
02-08-2008, 05:48 PM
Q: Who was the last player in the top 5 ATP to have a continental forehand?

A: Stefan Edberg.

I would take his volleys over anybody's in the history of the game. Yeah, not a very bold statement.

samster
02-08-2008, 06:57 PM
Edberg was an incredible athlete who was quick and agile with outstanding balance. Add those things and text book volleys = you have a winner.

A.Davidson
02-08-2008, 07:13 PM
Good quality on the video, especially since it is so old.

Man, Edberg - what can you say about the guy? He was a wall for so many players, but not a baseline wall - it was so tough for guys to put stuff past him at the net.

Just watching the video, I noticed how great he was with his overhead footwork and timing. Simply flawless.

What a fantastic player.

cadfael_tex
02-08-2008, 07:16 PM
Boy, it's just a thing of beauty to watch him play. Speaking of continental FH - which I don't think would get much argument as his worst shot - I wonder if it would be possible in this day and age to hit the shot like that any more? Probably not but just thought about it.

!Tym
02-09-2008, 07:21 AM
Boy, it's just a thing of beauty to watch him play. Speaking of continental FH - which I don't think would get much argument as his worst shot - I wonder if it would be possible in this day and age to hit the shot like that any more? Probably not but just thought about it.

Yes, it would be, just look no further than McEnroe, Korda, Pioline, Cash, and Stich all of whom used/use old school grips. Cash is still relatively decent these days against the more "modern" style forehands on the seniors tour, he's not a world beater by any means, but he still manages to be competitive. It's weird because you look at his God-awful ugly forehand and backhand and think how is this possible, and yet he still manages to keep on poking back balls deep and into corners with good placement.

That's kind of how Edberg's forehand was. His swooping condor one-handed backhand of course was both a thing of beauty AND one of the most effective one-handers ever. Yet, his forehand I don't think really was THAT much of a liability for him the way he used it.

Edberg's ploy at the baseline was to attack and/or chip and charge off the backhand, but just hold steady all day long with his forehand. It was BECAUSE he knew his forehand basically sucked and was limited, that it actually ended up not being too much of a liability for him.

Because it was limited, he never tried to push it in other words. When you don't try to do too much with a shot, it's easy to just kind of float things back and try to remain neutral with it until you get your money shot.

Rafter's groundstrokes were much the same way, his backhand wasn't as good as Edberg's but his forehand was better...although still weak by tour standards. Rafter's groundies were basically mediocre, slightly below average, but still competent and decent off both wings. He like other great serve and vollerys get surprisingly good at "holding the line". They become masters of kind of just hanging around in points and floating balls back and irritating and annoying baseliners. The pressure the baseliner feels is that they know these serve and vollerys have great court speed, defense, AND consistency from the back of the court so it's not like just trying to bash the ball down their throat will necessarily result in a sure fire winner or error or anything. Then, what the serve and volleyers prey on is getting in the baseliners head, make them fidgety and second guessing themselves because they don't know when or even if the guys going to approach...the fact that it could happen at ANY time kamikaze style is what causes more errrors from baseliners.

I've only played one truly high level pure serve and volleyer, a former looooow ranking pro (700-1000 range), and just at a lower level it felt like the same thing to me. This guys game was ooold school in terms of his groundies, but his serve and volleys were out of this world. I was schooling him during rally's and play a more "modern" style ground game, but the thing is he was very good at kind of just hanging in there and poking balls back deep and annoying you. Then, we started to play games....and he just *completely unsettled* me the second he started serving and volleying every ball and charging the net whenever he could. I suddenly couldn't execute my groundies the way I had been EVEN WHEN I was all setup for them. Why? Because I was just so unnerved by seeing something I had never seen before. At first, I cracked a few winners off his serve and I thought ok, no problem. Then all of a sudden he started getting those returns back and actually putting them away or forcing me to hit something from a corner on the full run.

You know I think it's kind of true what Sampras says, these new guys just aren't used to facinging the pressure that a TRUE elite caliber serve and volleyer brings. The key thing is that you DO need to get USED to it.

When someones just pounding balls back to you at the baseline all day it's easy to get into what I call the "bashing rhythm" of modern tennis.

You'd be surprised how even some of the best at this brand of tennis can suddenly start looking VERY out of sorts with their groundies and not bashing anything worth salt when they're suddenly encountered with a "tricky" OFF-PACE knuckleball style they weren't expecting to face.

I have a tape of Bruguera-Courier on a senior tour final on clay in Bruguera's second tournament on the tour. Courier was in good form coming in, but he *completely* fell apart in this match and was just misfiring and stumbling left and right. He looked completely out of sorts and never got his bearings, because Bruguera completely shocked him in the way he decided to approach the match. On tour, when these guys played, they basically just settled into that whole "bashing rhythm" thing and Courier was expecting the same thing here. He kept on looking like he wanted to engage, he tried, he got agitated...because Bruguera simply decided not to play that game with him. Ever hear the line, it takes two to tango? That's what "modern" baseline tennis requires. They feed into each other doing that, it's like a perfectly balanced teeter-totter, I bash, ok, now you, bash, your turn, style.

On this day, Bruguera decided to play like Santoro for fun and gave Courier almost nothing but cutesy drop shots, Minnie Mouse short angles, and feather drop volleys.

The thing is Courier was humiliated on this day and looked absoultely DREADFUL, but this does NOT mean that he's not capable of playing that kind of player. The thing is you have to mentally go into a match MENTALLY *prepped* for that different kind of aspect you're not used to. The next time they played, Courier won. On air, he said, the thing about playing Bruguera now is that it's really tricky he said, because he plays so many more finesse, touch, shots than he used to. The thing is, he now expected it and made the mental adjustment.

Personally, I think Edberg's real down fall was that he lost two steps off his once immaculate footwork and he lost the bit on his kicker. To me, Edberg's liability was not really his forehand which I think kind of annoyed other players and got in their head (i.e. I should be KILLING him off this side, so why is he still managing to stick around?); but rather, it was more so his lack of a ballistic first serve.

Everyone knows that Edberg was the Gene Kelly of volleyers, so if you gave him, or for that matter, Rafter, the first serve of say Stich, Rosset, Becker, Krajicek, Goran, Forget, etc. it would have lights out, ALL over, for the rest of the tour. It wouldn't be fair.

That's why until Federer, God decided to always handicap his fellow tennis pros with at least one weakness.

Btw, Bruguera said that Federer's weakest aspect is his volley, that it's basically just good but not great, AND (and even more telling...) that he didn't know of any great volleyers today. To today's players though, Federer's volley is considered GREAT...which, if you ask me, is kind of sad since the most compelling tennis to me is often the contrast of an "on" passing shot artist vs. an "on" serve and volleyer (see the tremendous passing shot combos vs. net foray combos from the 97 French between Rafter and Bruguera as proof of this). But when you come from the perspective of the 80s/90s guys, they know better. When someone like Mardy Fish qualifies as an almost "great" volleyer today, you know you got problems.

Look at Stephanek today, he's had a very successful career despite having old school strokes. He doesn't have a herculean serve, he doesn't have Korda's groundies, but what he does have is exceptionally good hands and anticpation at net. To me, though he is a clealry less talented version of Petr Korda, and definitely not the athlete Rafter was, nor are his volleys and anticpation quite the match of Edberg's, nor does he have the serve of zeus like the big time serve and volleyers of the 90s.

I truly believe that Stephanek in the 80s/90s generation would not have distinguished himself to the degree he has today, because back then players GREW UP having played and trained against serve and volleyers; it can make a huge difference. In this day and age, he doesn't have the competition in his style, so factor this in with players GROWING UP *not used to playing* against this style of player? Well, that just makes him appear great at a style he's really only pretty good at in my opinion.

andreh
02-11-2008, 03:52 AM
I remeber I saw that match on TV back when. My recollection is that it was fairly one-sided and that I thought Edberg had a real chance to beat Becker in the final. He had lost the previous finals they played post Wimbledon in Sydney and Stockholm when his form had been a bit shakey.

As it turned out, Becker had to default at 3-3 in the first set after Edberg had dominated pretty well. Too bad. Could've been a great match.

Frank Silbermann
02-12-2008, 04:42 PM
Yes, it would be, just look no further than McEnroe, Korda, Pioline, Cash, and Stich all of whom used/use old school grips. Cash is still relatively decent these days against the more "modern" style forehands on the seniors tour, ... It's weird because you look at his God-awful ugly forehand and backhand and think how is this possible, and yet he still manages to keep on poking back balls deep and into corners with good placement.

Rafter... like other great serve and vollerys get surprisingly good at "holding the line". They become masters of kind of just hanging around in points and floating balls back and irritating and annoying baseliners. The pressure the baseliner feels is that they know these serve and vollerys have great court speed, defense, AND consistency from the back of the court so it's not like just trying to bash the ball down their throat will necessarily result in a sure fire winner or error or anything.
On his video, Vic Braden said, "Learn to consistently poop the ball back deep, and I guarantee that you'll beat 90% of the players who now beat you." Tennis is a game of control and consistency, not power.

Oh, and continental forehands are the best-looking forehands. It's the western forehands that are ugly -- with elbows and knees poking out every which way.

stormholloway
02-12-2008, 05:10 PM
Good analysis above. Seems as players are hardwired to the rhythm of baseline bashing. They need to be unsettled. There's no risk in today's tennis it seems.

On Federer's best day, nobody beats him. If he played one of the great serve and volleyers however... you never know what could happen. I think Federer is lucky not to have faced this sort of pressure.

stormholloway
02-12-2008, 05:12 PM
Oh, and continental forehands are the best-looking forehands. It's the western forehands that are ugly -- with elbows and knees poking out every which way.

Nah, eastern forehands look better. They just make more sense. I don't understand how anyone could hit a continental forehand, but apparently they can and still do.

cadfael_tex
02-12-2008, 05:23 PM
Nah, eastern forehands look better. They just make more sense. I don't understand how anyone could hit a continental forehand, but apparently they can and still do.

I wouldn't call continental forehand a pretty shot. I've played with it over the years and it's harder for me to get any sort of topspin but it is versatile for a net rusher to have.

bluetrain4
02-13-2008, 10:30 AM
I think I remember reading that Edberg also had a continental backhand, which means that his grip never changed on serve, groundstrokes, forehand, backhand, volley. That's amazing.

But, I could be wrong. He might have had an eastern 1HBH.

cadfael_tex
02-13-2008, 11:01 AM
Nope, Bluetrain4, it was continental all the way - even on topspin backhand. That is except the serve which was eastern backhand.

Steven87
02-14-2008, 11:27 AM
The thing about Edberg is, you can't beat him without being TOO good

hoodjem
02-16-2008, 12:58 PM
Everyone knows that Edberg was the Gene Kelly of volleyers, so if you gave him, or for that matter, Rafter, the first serve of say Stich, Rosset, Becker, Krajicek, Goran, Forget, etc. it would have lights out, ALL over, for the rest of the tour. It wouldn't be fair.


Agreed. Edberg was a swordmaster of a volleyer.

But his other two best shots were his backhand--smooth, rock solid, natural, and precise--and his second serve. Everyone said it had more kick and spin on it than anyone else's in the game. And it was considered better than his first serve, which was flatter and not as consistent.

!Tym
02-16-2008, 06:45 PM
Agreed. Edberg was a swordmaster of a volleyer.

But his other two best shots were his backhand--smooth, rock solid, natural, and precise--and his second serve. Everyone said it had more kick and spin on it than anyone else's in the game

I would categorize Edberg's serve as being TWO great *second* serves, which has its own advantages...but not necessarily a true first serve in the conventional sense that we think of it. Still, I'd rather have two great second serves at my disposal than one mediocre big banger that always hits the back fence before it ever touches the line like Chang's, then a complete marshmallow puff second serve with all the depth of Pamela Anderson's chest without the chest.

samster
02-16-2008, 07:30 PM
I would categorize Edberg's serve as being TWO great *second* serves, which has its own advantages...but not necessarily a true first serve in the conventional sense that we think of it. Still, I'd rather have two great second serves at my disposal than one mediocre big banger that always hits the back fence before it ever touches the line like Chang's, then a complete marshmallow puff second serve with all the depth of Pamela Anderson's chest without the chest.

Man, this is some deep stuff!

hoodjem
02-16-2008, 08:01 PM
Man, this is some deep stuff!
Quite a pun.

shakes1975
02-22-2008, 01:26 AM
I loved watching edberg kill all those muscling baseliners like muster.

however i think edberg's volleys didn't have the stick that sampras' volleys had, even though they were a lot more aesthetic to watch. sampras' volleys looked like the results of countless hrs of practice, but they were rock solid. edberg had more angles and touch, but not the stick that sampras had.

i always think that the true test of a s/v'er is when he plays agassi, and to a lesser extent courier.

watch this: http://www.dailymotion.com/relevance/search/edberg/video/x4ajfz_agassi-vs-edberg_sport

edberg always had trouble against agassi. One could argue that edberg's serve was not powerful, but it wasn't designed to be powerful. It was designed to give him enough time to get to the net. And he was able to do that even against agassi, but the pace of agassi's shots always rattled edberg at the net. Even during the early part of agassi's career, he always troubled edberg.

If you want to really appreciate sampras' volleys/half-volleys and how much stick they had, just see the 2001 USO QF match. The number of half-volleys that sampras dug out and made them seem easy was amazing. Also, their 2000 AO SF.

while i always believed that edberg was one of the most naturally gifted players to have ever played, i think his game had it's limitations.

andreh
02-22-2008, 02:07 AM
I loved watching edberg kill all those muscling baseliners like muster.

however i think edberg's volleys didn't have the stick that sampras' volleys had, even though they were a lot more aesthetic to watch. sampras' volleys looked like the results of countless hrs of practice, but they were rock solid. edberg had more angles and touch, but not the stick that sampras had.

i always think that the true test of a s/v'er is when he plays agassi, and to a lesser extent courier.

watch this: http://www.dailymotion.com/relevance/search/edberg/video/x4ajfz_agassi-vs-edberg_sport

edberg always had trouble against agassi. One could argue that edberg's serve was not powerful, but it wasn't designed to be powerful. It was designed to give him enough time to get to the net. And he was able to do that even against agassi, but the pace of agassi's shots always rattled edberg at the net. Even during the early part of agassi's career, he always troubled edberg.

If you want to really appreciate sampras' volleys/half-volleys and how much stick they had, just see the 2001 USO QF match. The number of half-volleys that sampras dug out and made them seem easy was amazing. Also, their 2000 AO SF.

while i always believed that edberg was one of the most naturally gifted players to have ever played, i think his game had it's limitations.

Edberg - Agassi career 3-6. So you have a point but Edberg was 3-2 up against him by the end of 1990. The matches were very close. The next time they met Edberg was over hill and was losing to a lot of people, not just Agassi.

Edberg had most trouble against good returners, especially against those who could step in and take his high bounding kicker early, especially on the backhand. Agassi, Courier, Becker were exceptional at this and he has negative statistics against all of them. Lendl wasn't that good at it (but of course not exactly bad either) and Edberg did much better against him.

The Indian Wells final in 1990 is a great example where Edberg gets show of some superb baseline rallying as well. IMO, Edberg had only on major weakness. And it wasn't his forehand. His form was very uneven. He could play like magic one day and like crap the next. Compare this with Sampras or Federer who somehow manages to always be in good form. With more even form Edberg might have had a couple more slams in his pocket.

!Tym
02-22-2008, 03:43 AM
Compare this with Sampras or Federer who somehow manages to always be in good form.

I wouldn't say that Sampras always managed to be in good form, it's just that with his serve he didn't NEED to be in good form all that often to win. He just needed to be in good form for a few key points, or one game, a set to steal the break, to win. As Agassi said, that's what made him so frustrating...consistently ordinary, then wham-bam, he strings a few points together and the next thing you know you just lost the set.

An example of this, is the 93 year ending masters match between Sampras and Bruguera. The first set was very even, but one break, made the difference. Second set, Bruguera catches fire, and goes up 5-0, 30-0, on Sampras, before Sampras finally manages to hold. Bruguera wins the set 6-1, and starts the third still on fire. He scorches a dipping return at a charging Sampras' feet early on, and as Sampras walks back to the baseline, he suddenly just turns around and bows down to Bruguera a few times in a light-hearted fashion, because Bruguera was playing so well.

At this gesture, everyone including Bruguera laughs. Yet, it ends up being the turning point in the match. Bruguera's level of play comes back down to earth again, but he's still hot, and while Sampras is now holding, it's clear the Bruguera is still playing the better of the two.

THEN, at 4-all, all of a sudden Bruguera makes a few loose errors, undoubtedly from the pressure EVERYONE felt against Sampras whenever it got late in a set knowing how all it took was a few loose errors and a Sampras winner or two to suddenly turn a great performance into a lost cause...which is exactly what happened here. A few loose errors, Bruguera suddenly gets tight, Sampras strings together two good pionts or so...match basically done deal.

5-4 now for Sampras, and Sampras serving for the match on an incredibly quick indoor surface. Bruguera still manages two "hot" points this game indicative of his "hot" form that day on the whole, but it's still not quite enough. Sampras closes out the match on serve, game over, shake hands, sheepish smile. On this day, Bruguera was in the zone, but all it takes with Sampras is literally one blink of an eye, and it can turn a zone performance into a "what the heck just happened performance...because it's all a blur to me now" performance.

This is the kind of thing Sampras was famous for, not consistently high level of play (of course, when he did get hot for an entire match it was Mike Tyson T.K.O. city, baby!), in my opinion.

Federer on the other hand, and I think Agassi noted this, is more about a consistently high caliber of play from start to finish, with no chinks in his armor. Facing Roger Federer is like facing a mirror, whereas facing Sampras is like facing mystical Stone Henge, you never know when watching boring stones can turn into OUCH, I just got struck by lightning!...in the twinkling of an eye.

Two different kinds of greatness, but both obviously a great kind of great since whatever the method, the end result is obviously A LOT of wins...and consistently too.

Edberg to me was more like the Roger Federer type, the perfect, flawless, mirror on his good days. He just didn't have the good days on as consistent a basis as Federer.

Also, Edberg at his best would give ANY BODY who has ever played a run for his money in my opinion. The guy to me he was the ultimate stick volleyer, not Sampras, just my opinion. I watched Edberg-Bruguera from the Monte Carlo semis in 94 recently and even though Edberg was starting to decline by this point and lost in straights, the stick on some of his volleys in this match were unreal. Even on clay, he could make it scoot through for the clean winner. You just don't see ANYONE with volleys that quick and precise anymore. His volley form was simply immaculate, impecable to the nth. degree when he was on.

Also, of note, is that when it REALLY mattered, meaning in the second set tie-break, Bruguera raised his game and played his best tennis wheras Edberg hesitated and didn't play his best tennis. Most pro sets usually stay fairly close, and they're thus decided in these moments. The confident, top player, however, routinely is able to summon his best tennis when he needs it. A declining top player questions himself ever so slightly, and his level declines in the pivotal moment. That's all the difference it takes, because judging by Edberg's level of play in the second set right up UNTIL the defining tie-break...he was sublime, and you would have thought he was still in his peak. Of course, history now shows us that, Edberg was on the way out at this time, whereas at the time people weren't sure if he was just slumping a little or actually on the REAL decline.

Pro Staff Pete
02-22-2008, 03:49 AM
That's a great vid. Thanks for posting and keep 'm coming! :)

Edbergs volleys are just a pleasure to watch. Truly delightful.

shakes1975
02-22-2008, 01:37 PM
I wouldn't say that Sampras always managed to be in good form, it's just that with his serve he didn't NEED to be in good form all that often to win. He just needed to be in good form for a few key points, or one game, a set to steal the break, to win. As Agassi said, that's what made him so frustrating...consistently ordinary, then wham-bam, he strings a few points together and the next thing you know you just lost the set.

An example of this, is the 93 year ending masters match between Sampras and Bruguera. The first set was very even, but one break, made the difference. Second set, Bruguera catches fire, and goes up 5-0, 30-0, on Sampras, before Sampras finally manages to hold. Bruguera wins the set 6-1, and starts the third still on fire. He scorches a dipping return at a charging Sampras' feet early on, and as Sampras walks back to the baseline, he suddenly just turns around and bows down to Bruguera a few times in a light-hearted fashion, because Bruguera was playing so well.

At this gesture, everyone including Bruguera laughs. Yet, it ends up being the turning point in the match. Bruguera's level of play comes back down to earth again, but he's still hot, and while Sampras is now holding, it's clear the Bruguera is still playing the better of the two.

THEN, at 4-all, all of a sudden Bruguera makes a few loose errors, undoubtedly from the pressure EVERYONE felt against Sampras whenever it got late in a set knowing how all it took was a few loose errors and a Sampras winner or two to suddenly turn a great performance into a lost cause...which is exactly what happened here. A few loose errors, Bruguera suddenly gets tight, Sampras strings together two good pionts or so...match basically done deal.

5-4 now for Sampras, and Sampras serving for the match on an incredibly quick indoor surface. Bruguera still manages two "hot" points this game indicative of his "hot" form that day on the whole, but it's still not quite enough. Sampras closes out the match on serve, game over, shake hands, sheepish smile. On this day, Bruguera was in the zone, but all it takes with Sampras is literally one blink of an eye, and it can turn a zone performance into a "what the heck just happened performance...because it's all a blur to me now" performance.

This is the kind of thing Sampras was famous for, not consistently high level of play (of course, when he did get hot for an entire match it was Mike Tyson T.K.O. city, baby!), in my opinion.

Federer on the other hand, and I think Agassi noted this, is more about a consistently high caliber of play from start to finish, with no chinks in his armor. Facing Roger Federer is like facing a mirror, whereas facing Sampras is like facing mystical Stone Henge, you never know when watching boring stones can turn into OUCH, I just got struck by lightning!...in the twinkling of an eye.

Two different kinds of greatness, but both obviously a great kind of great since whatever the method, the end result is obviously A LOT of wins...and consistently too.

Edberg to me was more like the Roger Federer type, the perfect, flawless, mirror on his good days. He just didn't have the good days on as consistent a basis as Federer.

Also, Edberg at his best would give ANY BODY who has ever played a run for his money in my opinion. The guy to me he was the ultimate stick volleyer, not Sampras, just my opinion. I watched Edberg-Bruguera from the Monte Carlo semis in 94 recently and even though Edberg was starting to decline by this point and lost in straights, the stick on some of his volleys in this match were unreal. Even on clay, he could make it scoot through for the clean winner. You just don't see ANYONE with volleys that quick and precise anymore. His volley form was simply immaculate, impecable to the nth. degree when he was on.

Also, of note, is that when it REALLY mattered, meaning in the second set tie-break, Bruguera raised his game and played his best tennis wheras Edberg hesitated and didn't play his best tennis. Most pro sets usually stay fairly close, and they're thus decided in these moments. The confident, top player, however, routinely is able to summon his best tennis when he needs it. A declining top player questions himself ever so slightly, and his level declines in the pivotal moment. That's all the difference it takes, because judging by Edberg's level of play in the second set right up UNTIL the defining tie-break...he was sublime, and you would have thought he was still in his peak. Of course, history now shows us that, Edberg was on the way out at this time, whereas at the time people weren't sure if he was just slumping a little or actually on the REAL decline.

iTym,

While I agree that edberg's volleying skills and technique are probably the best in recent history, I somehow feel he wasn't as good as sampras in absorbing serious firepower. firepower from guys like agassi, courier, becker, stich, krajicek, ivanisevic.

I saw his match against a young agassi in the 1990 Master's Finals. And it was clear that he struggled to volley consistently. In fact, I found it amusing that he played better from the baseline than he did from the net.

Zimbo
02-22-2008, 05:18 PM
iTym,

While I agree that edberg's volleying skills and technique are probably the best in recent history, I somehow feel he wasn't as good as sampras in absorbing serious firepower. firepower from guys like agassi, courier, becker, stich, krajicek, ivanisevic.

I saw his match against a young agassi in the 1990 Master's Finals. And it was clear that he struggled to volley consistently. In fact, I found it amusing that he played better from the baseline than he did from the net.

Shakes,

I can see why you would think this. You gave a great example of the '90 match with Agassi. However, you can't forget that Sampras came into the net on a much better serve. Alot of his volleys were easy to medium in difficulty. Many of them were high floater which he just muscled it back for a easy winner. The result being Sampras did not have to face the vicious returns on a regular basis as Edberg did. Edberg had to work for his points a lot more. As, iTym pointed out Edberg had problems with those (Agassi, Becker, Connors, Mac) who could step in and hit that kicker on the rise. I think Sampras was a good volleyer but it's just my opinion that he is a little overrated by some people on this board when it comes to his net game. Let's put it this way. If Sampras had Edberg's serve would he have been able to hold serve quite as easy playing the likes of Agassi? Of course not. Shakes, even though I disagree with you I can totally see your point. At times it seemed that Edberg was getting manhandled by those power players, especially if he wasn't serving well.

BounceHitBounceHit
02-22-2008, 07:18 PM
Edberg was uncanny good. Simplicity in motion. You knew what was coming, but there was not a THING you could do about it. ;) CC

Young Pete
02-23-2008, 01:44 AM
wow edberg = simply amazing player with finesse!

that vid makes me want to dig out my st. vincents!

that is the kind of video you would want a junior to watch and say, "this is how you should play tennis"!

bluegrasser
02-23-2008, 05:38 AM
Q: Who was the last player in the top 5 ATP to have a continental forehand?

A: Stefan Edberg.

I would take his volleys over anybody's in the history of the game. Yeah, not a very bold statement.

Ditto, also Johnny Mac had a great volley too - Today due to the baseline brand of tennis the great volley isn't as prevalent.

auzzieizm
02-23-2008, 06:24 AM
its so interesting to see a clay courter having to try to find ways to beat a fast court player. nowadays pretty much everyone is able to play on every surface. specific court surfaces do not have as much of an effect on the outcomes of matches. from those points, edberg seemed to be able to take control of the point whenever he wanted- even if the tape is a "highlight reel". From what I remember of Bruguera when he was on tour, was he generated some serious spin. In this clip, his topspin shots seemed to just sit up for Edberg to take advantage of. makes me wonder how different that match would look today with today's technologies.

bluetrain4
02-23-2008, 01:32 PM
Edberg also had uncanny anticipation. He knew the percentages and hitting patterns very well.

Today, he'd have trouble volleying the heavily dipping passing shots, but I think he'd at least get a chance to volley those shots more so than other players because he could anticipate where they are going.

That said, today's player's seem to go for the sick angle back cross court when pulled wide on the forehand, rather than down the line, more than they used to (this is just an observation). But, I'm sure Edberg would pick this up soon enough.

Seeing a true volleyer like Edberg or McEnroe is a revelation. They knew that they had to move at net. It wasn't the case of hitting a huge approach shot and knocking off a simple volley. Roddick (or anyone else) can knock off volleys when he blasts an approach shot to the corner and gets a weak reply, anyone can. But, imagine someone like Roddick approaching with a good approach that gave the opponent options of where to go so that Roddick knew he would have to move and hit another volley. Roddick would be stuck and passed 90 percent of the time. Maybe not a fair exmpale, since Roddick is not known as a volleyer, but I'm just trying to articulate the brilliance and skill that goes into high level volleying.

BeHappy
02-23-2008, 03:06 PM
henman was as goo at volleying as edberg and had a better serve.That style of play doesn't work on less than lightening fast surfaces, or even low bouncing surfaces.Edberg says himself he wouldn't come in off the sere anymore.

Zimbo
02-23-2008, 04:28 PM
henman was as goo at volleying as edberg and had a better serve.That style of play doesn't work on less than lightening fast surfaces, or even low bouncing surfaces.Edberg says himself he wouldn't come in off the sere anymore.

Your right about S&V having a hard time with the current conditions but don't think for a minute that Henman was as good as Edberg.

BeHappy
02-23-2008, 05:29 PM
Your right about S&V having a hard time with the current conditions but don't think for a minute that Henman was as good as Edberg.

Henman's serve was better.I think Edberg was marginally better from the baseline but they are two EXTREMELY similar players.To be hinest, I doubt Edberg would have on anything if he was the same age as Henman.

cadfael_tex
02-23-2008, 05:42 PM
It's been a while since I've seen Henman play so that might colour my judgment but I'm inclined to disagree BeHappy. To be the best volleyer of this generation (or slightly last) to the best volleyer in an age with more s+v is a much different animal. Comparing shot with shot I don't believe is helpful either. Edberg's game was a package - high percentage serves to set up first volley and continental grip for all groundstrokes and volleys to make transitions from baseline to net easier.

cadfael_tex
02-23-2008, 06:12 PM
Ok, got me curious so I went and pulled up what I could find out on Tim Henman videos. As far as I can tell from the youtube videos that I found (and that should be a big caveat) the biggest thing I see is movement.

There's no comparison. While if you breakdown Henman's technique it looks good, he doesn't have nearly the same anticipation and movement. I don't think it is the 'evolution of the game' either, henman just doesn't move like edberg (few do). That's the big difference I see.

One other thing I noticed (and again you tube isn't probably a fair sampling) is how often Henman DIDN't follow his first serve into net.

!Tym
02-23-2008, 06:32 PM
Henman's serve was better.I think Edberg was marginally better from the baseline but they are two EXTREMELY similar players.To be hinest, I doubt Edberg would have on anything if he was the same age as Henman.

Henman's serve better? I disagree. Peak Edberg had one of the best kick serves of all time, some serious bite on it. Henman's got a marginally bigger first serve, but it was never a big enough serve (say Philipoussis material) to be scary either. It was just a pretty good spot first serve. His second serve more of the same except slower. Henman to me was a classic example of a jack of all trades master of none type with his serve. He could hit every serve in the book, but none of them were particularly exceptional in and of themselves.

Also, in terms of pure athleticism, there is no question in my opinion, that Edberg was the better pure athlete. Edberg's footwork was as crisp as they come, among the best of all time, extremely precise positioning, exceptional balance at all time, and he could swoop into the net like a condor. A total GAZELLE, he was.

In terms of technique, they're very similar in that their volleys are textbook perfect, but Edberg had slightly better reflexes and more importantly was also a better big match player than Henman.

Henman, good as he was, he lacked that little extra top gear that the true elite players have. Medvedev said it best, top ten is VERY good, but to be a top five player in the world (not a fluke one like Haas once was, or Blake of recently) he said is to be on an entirely different planet from everyone else.

Henman himself I think even recognizes this. He said that if he retires having never won Wimbledon, it's because he just wasn't good enough and he's fine with that because he knows he tried his best. Henman I think was a very rational thinker, aware of how "talented" he really was. I think his appraisal of his own ability is spot on the money. A good player but never really had it in him to be great. I think had he ever actually won Wimbledon (instead of being the world's greatest and longest running bridesmaid for like forever), I think he would have considered himself a little lucky.

Henman's place was as a guy who could occasionally upset top guys but should and would come up short against them on the biggest occassions.

Off the ground, Henman was decidedly competent but great at nothing. Good slice, solid backhand, solid forehand, great approach.

Edberg off the ground was: one of the best, most perfectly balanced, and mesmerizing one-handed backhands of all time, one of the most consistently KNIVED slices of all time, one of the most seamless and quick transition approach shots to the net of all time, and a forehand that was consistent but unspectacular. In that regard, not much worse at all than Henman's...though Henman's can occasionally juice it up a little more.

The question again, though, is like with his serve. Sure he could juice it up slightly more, but enough to really make a difference in a career's arc? Not really. ...now if he had the raw power of say Magnus Gustaffson's forehand, of course, then that would be an entirely different story.

Henman with just one more GREAT rather than decent or solid attribute, would have been an elite player...but he wasn't.

I think it really takes at least TWO *elite* attributes to become an elite player. With guys like Courier and Muster, for example, even though they weren't considered to be that talented, they DID have two elite attributes at least. Courier had the fitness and the forehand, Muster the fitness and will, or alternatively the fitness and the level of topspin he could generate off both sides, etc.

Henman meanwhile only really had his volleys that were elite level. I mean look at Santoro, he's got elite touch/feel, but is that enough? Not quite, NOW if you gave him Chang level speed and athleticism though? Then, yeah, you probably have something approaching elite.

BeHappy
02-23-2008, 06:51 PM
I disagree, in terms of raw athletecism henman is one of the most explosive players I have ever seen.His 1st serve mph ranged between115 and 130, edberg's was more like 95-105.

Edberg's serve was effective against people who couldn't tee off on high balls, he mercilessy went after one handers for example.He lost that advantage around the early 90's.

Henman's serve was much better than Edberg's.

He hit a similarly high kicking ball under Stefanki's advice for a while and the ball just got the crap blasted out of it because everyone can kill the high ball now.

Henman was just as fast as Edberg.

Edberg's backhand, when it went in, was just incredible, but he was very very very inconsistant, off both sides.

This is something they had in common, they both hit the ball too flat, edberg off the backhand and henman off the forehand.

Henan's forehand was just as good as Edberg's backhand, and vica versa.

The fact is, Edberg, in his early 20s, discovered he didn't have a great approach shot in his serve anymore, and he stopped winning.

cadfael_tex
02-23-2008, 06:57 PM
To each his own BeHappy. was just calling how I see it.

BeHappy
02-23-2008, 07:01 PM
To each his own BeHappy. was just calling how I see it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-OOl8mVvRo&feature=related

eery isn't it?

Henman actually learned the game by copying Edberg's strokes, Edberg was based in London and Henman would watch him practice.

He and Edberg are great friends.

cadfael_tex
02-23-2008, 07:17 PM
The thing I see when i compare them isn't necessarily quantifiable or technical. There's a difference in the level of court awareness and anticipation (Edberg more, Henman less). To me it's like drafting defensive backs in the NFL. There's lots of corners out there with speed and even many with closing speed but few have that sense of where the ball is going that just can't be taught. Edberg had that sense of where the ball was going.

BeHappy
02-23-2008, 07:19 PM
^^^^
So he had magical powers is what you're saying?

Edberg's *career was over by the time he was 23, when real power tennis started to permeate the game at every level.


*in meaningful terms

cadfael_tex
02-23-2008, 07:26 PM
From the ATP:

Edberg’s last major final (his 10th) was the Australian of 1993, when he lost to Courier. During 14 professional seasons he was in the World Top Ten 10 times, including No. 1 in 1990 and ‘91,

Obviously he was a flash in the pan ;)

bluetrain4
02-23-2008, 07:43 PM
^^^^
So he had magical powers is what you're saying?

Edberg's *career was over by the time he was 23, when real power tennis started to permeate the game at every level.


*in meaningful terms

What are you talking about? He won his last Slam at age 26 (1992 USO).

Between ages 23 and 26 were some of his best years on tour and he won 3 of his 6 slams, made his French Open final, and made several other Slam finals.

The point of his career decline (age 26) isn't unusual at all.

Why insult players because their game may not have translated as well to a different era? McEnroe couldn't handle the new players either after he won his last USO at the age of 25. (Yes, he continued to play well and beat top players, but he never reached the same heights, i.e., winning Slams, again). Becker, for the most part, couldn't (or wouldn't) keep up with the increased fitness, and went 5 years between slams (1991 AO -1996 AO), winning his last in 1996. Wilander may have been blown off the court if he stuck around. Doesn't mean they weren't great players.

andreh
02-24-2008, 01:29 AM
Edberg - Henman 2-0.

They frequently played friendly matches after Edberg retired before he moved back to Sweden and according to both Henman and Ederg in various interviews, Henman never even took a set.

In fact, the only time Henman has beaten Edberg seems to be at the exhibition they played in december 2007. This against a 42 year old Edberg who hasn't played competively for 11+ years, who spent the entirety of 2005 recovering from a slipped disc and not played anything. Against a Henman who up until very recently belonged to the top levels of pro play.

Who was the better player?

Zimbo
02-24-2008, 02:47 AM
Edberg - Henman 2-0.

They frequently played friendly matches after Edberg retired before he moved back to Sweden and according to both Henman and Ederg in various interviews, Henman never even took a set.

In fact, the only time Henman has beaten Edberg seems to be at the exhibition they played in december 2007. This against a 42 year old Edberg who hasn't played competively for 11+ years, who spent the entirety of 2005 recovering from a slipped disc and not played anything. Against a Henman who up until very recently belonged to the top levels of pro play.

Who was the better player?

Nice post. I was going to post the same.

I am so surprise to hear that someone would say that Henman was as good as Edberg. I am freaking flabbergasted. BeHappy don't get me wrong I was a Henman fan but there is no comparison. Can you answer this question. If Edberg and Henman were at the same level, then how come Edberg's record against Sampras was 6-8 while Henman was just 1-6? Usually I'm against using a third player h2h to compare two other players due to match up differences, but I think this example would work. Also, how old are you and did you watch and follow Edberg's career? Henman was good but I agree with the iTym, Henman didn't have that extra gear that greats like Edberg had.

andreh
02-24-2008, 04:44 AM
I might also add that I find it strange that some posters on these boards keep claiming that Edberg had weak serve.

Those people obviously never saw Edberg play.

in his best years 1987 - 1991 he won around 90 % of his service games. That's how weak it was. You don't win that much on volley alone, no matter how good it is.

hoodjem
02-24-2008, 06:21 AM
Edberg off the ground was: one of the best, most perfectly balanced, and mesmerizing one-handed backhands of all time, one of the most consistently KNIVED slices of all time, one of the most seamless and quick transition approach shots to the net of all time, and a forehand that was consistent but unspectacular.

Agreed, in spades.

Oh, and I would argue that Edberg had the best second serve in the Open Era.

bluetrain4
02-24-2008, 09:33 AM
From the ATP:

Edberg’s last major final (his 10th) was the Australian of 1993, when he lost to Courier. During 14 professional seasons he was in the World Top Ten 10 times, including No. 1 in 1990 and ‘91,

Obviously he was a flash in the pan ;)

The 1993 AO was his last major final, but he was in 11 finals overall.

1985 AO - Win
1987 AO - Win
1988 Wimbledon - Win
1989 French Open
1989 Wimbledon
1990 AO (had to default against Lendl)
1990 Wimbledon - Win
1991 USO- Win
1992 AO
1992 USO - Win
1993 AO

BeHappy
02-24-2008, 12:27 PM
Nice post. I was going to post the same.

I am so surprise to hear that someone would say that Henman was as good as Edberg. I am freaking flabbergasted. BeHappy don't get me wrong I was a Henman fan but there is no comparison. Can you answer this question. If Edberg and Henman were at the same level, then how come Edberg's record against Sampras was 6-8 while Henman was just 1-6? Usually I'm against using a third player h2h to compare two other players due to match up differences, but I think this example would work. Also, how old are you and did you watch and follow Edberg's career? Henman was good but I agree with the iTym, Henman didn't have that extra gear that greats like Edberg had.

Edberg was in his prime while Sampras was up and coming.This is why his recor d is so good against him.For example, you might think that Edberg was as good as Sampras because he beat him in the USO final, but sampras was very very young then.
Also, conditions were still conducive to serving and volleying.Edberg could hit a serve that moved slowly through the air but would lose almost no speed whatsoever when it hit the ground.Luxilon strings had not yet arrived.
I on't think he would have won anything if he was the same age as Henman.Henman was every bit as good as him.

Zimbo
02-24-2008, 12:41 PM
Edberg was in his prime while Sampras was up and coming.This is why his recor d is so good against him.For example, you might think that Edberg was as good as Sampras because he beat him in the USO final, but sampras was very very young then.
Also, conditions were still conducive to serving and volleying.Edberg could hit a serve that moved slowly through the air but would lose almost no speed whatsoever when it hit the ground.Luxilon strings had not yet arrived.
I on't think he would have won anything if he was the same age as Henman.Henman was every bit as good as him.

So using your logical if Henman played at the same age as Edberg he would have won 6 slams? I don't think so. How come you haven't replied to Andreh's post stating that even after retirement Edberg was schooling Henman? I guess you have your own opinion but don't you think some of the other posters made some good arguments?

BeHappy
02-24-2008, 01:53 PM
So using your logical if Henman played at the same age as Edberg he would have won 6 slams? I don't think so. How come you haven't replied to Andreh's post stating that even after retirement Edberg was schooling Henman? I guess you have your own opinion but don't you think some of the other posters made some good arguments?

I very much doubt that's true, that's why.

!Tym
02-24-2008, 02:14 PM
Edberg was in his prime while Sampras was up and coming.This is why his recor d is so good against him.For example, you might think that Edberg was as good as Sampras because he beat him in the USO final, but sampras was very very young then.
Also, conditions were still conducive to serving and volleying.Edberg could hit a serve that moved slowly through the air but would lose almost no speed whatsoever when it hit the ground.Luxilon strings had not yet arrived.
I on't think he would have won anything if he was the same age as Henman.Henman was every bit as good as him.

People can make all the conjecture they want about intergenerational results, but the reality is that even though Edberg is undefeated lifetime against BOTH Rafter and Henman, that is NOT the great evidence here.

The great evidence of Edberg's (and Rafter's for that matter) superiority over Henman is simple. Edberg and Rafter both managed to make one measly little grand slam final. I'm sorry, if you can't even do that one time in your looooong career, there's something crystal clear in the air...you were only good, but NOT great. Ya' just didn't *quite* have it in ya.

Richard Krajicek did it, Petr Korda did it, and they were more injury affected than Henman. Heck, they actually, WON a slam before.

Henman had the opportunity to play greats from every era of recent enough memory. He's had PLENTY of chances to prove himself, and in all that time the one thing about him is that he's proven a dangerous floater, but NEVER the man to beat. That's in ANY era. Doesn't matter if you're talking the Edberg/Becker-Sampras transition era, the Agassi-Sampras transition era, the Agassi-Sampras-Hewitt transition era, the Agassi-Federer transition era, the Federer-Nadal era...in all those eras, he has proven to be nothing more than a good but not great player--period. People can talk about Luxilon and court speed and this and that, but lo and behold, Fabrice Santoro? Same deal. Some guys just don't have it in them to be elite, I believe that kind of truth is *irrespective* of what era you played in.

Henman was a great technical volleyer with good all-around skills, but it's simply not enough to have one thing your truly great at but that's it when you're competing against guys who practice the game year round and who all have significant talent too. Rafter and Cash were STUD athletes...Henman was very quick, but no stud. Berasategui and Gustafson had the howitzer forehands, but not much else. Berasategui was quick, but not THAT quick. Magnus Norman was rock solid from all departments, but not a slam champion. Larsson was a great, pure ball-striker with clubbing blows from the basline...but a serve not quite the level of a Krajicek's, and clumsy feet. Enqvist had the massive groundies and a big but not massive serve, he had no defining shot and so-so movement = only go so far. Corretja great competitor and good to great all-around, but not quite enough firepower, a step slower than Chang, a step less fit than Muster = only go so far. And so on and so forth. You need a little something extra, even intangibles such as Jedi mind tricks/WILL to win like in Muster and Chang count; but Henman never had that. Tommy Haas? Nicholas Kiefer? Same deal. As one Tennis channel commentator said last year about Haas, despite all his injuries, the guy's gotten about as much as you could expect from his actual talent level...a guy who like Henman proved not much more than he's a VERY good but NEVER great player in ANY era. Meaning a guy who was good enough to always be considered a dark horse, but never really considered a TRUE threat to win slams let alone a FAVORITE to win slams.

...and the thing is, a lot of "experts" probably consider Haas more talented than Henman. Haas, like so many other good but not great players through the years, just didn't have that little extra in him. To me, Henman is like a David Wheaton type without the level of injuries that debacled Wheaton's career. Wheaton had the better backhand for sure, slower movement, but more reach at net, and a better serve = all in all balances out to about a good but not great player, before the injuries took over.

I mean I truly believe Henman himself knows he never had it in him. He tried his best, and that's why he's content now in retirement with no regrets. He knows he got the most he could have hoped from his actual talent level. If anything, to me Henman is a bit of an overachiever. He has nothing to be ashamed about.

BeHappy
02-24-2008, 02:46 PM
TYM:

Whatever I think about their content, your posts are good, they're well written, just one piece of thoughtful criticism:

Stay away from Metaphors and Similes.

Zimbo
02-24-2008, 02:53 PM
I might also add that I find it strange that some posters on these boards keep claiming that Edberg had weak serve.

Those people obviously never saw Edberg play.

in his best years 1987 - 1991 he won around 90 % of his service games. That's how weak it was. You don't win that much on volley alone, no matter how good it is.

I use to think he had the best 2nd delivery but my opinion has changed over the years. That said it's still one of the best.

!Tym
02-24-2008, 03:21 PM
TYM:

Whatever I think about their content, your posts are good, they're well written, just one piece of thoughtful criticism:

Stay away from Metaphors and Similes.

Metaphors and similes? What does that have to do with anything? It's just a tennis board, I mean who really cares about metaphors and similes? I don't...if you think I do, you're completely wrong. People should be free to post stream of conscious however they want on here, in my opinion. I don't criticise anyone on how they write or their style or whatever, because frankly I never even cared and it never enters my mind. I just post the way I post because that's the way I am and on a board of absoultely ZERO consequence in the real world, I don't know why that should matter to anyone else. People post how they post according to their personality, and if that's my personality so be it. I think the moon looked like a cow's behind when I watched James Blake play Paradorn Srichiphan at the Las Vegas Open last year...so what? Who cares? If I felt that (which I didn't), I'd say it, because that's how *I* FELT when I watched that tennis match, not about any particular poster in particular.

BeHappy
02-24-2008, 05:16 PM
...Bruguera's squirelly groundies...

...Rafter was more like all Braveheart...

...Edberg was the James Bond of net players...

...His swooping condor one-handed backhand...

...than a complete marshmallow puff second serve with all the depth of Pamela Anderson's chest without the chest.

Your similes suck so ***kin bad it's unbelievable man

Young Pete
02-25-2008, 01:35 AM
Metaphors and similes? What does that have to do with anything? It's just a tennis board, I mean who really cares about metaphors and similes? I don't...if you think I do, you're completely wrong. People should be free to post stream of conscious however they want on here, in my opinion. I don't criticise anyone on how they write or their style or whatever, because frankly I never even cared and it never enters my mind. I just post the way I post because that's the way I am and on a board of absoultely ZERO consequence in the real world, I don't know why that should matter to anyone else. People post how they post according to their personality, and if that's my personality so be it. I think the moon looked like a cow's behind when I watched James Blake play Paradorn Srichiphan at the Las Vegas Open last year...so what? Who cares? If I felt that (which I didn't), I'd say it, because that's how *I* FELT when I watched that tennis match, not about any particular poster in particular.

Tym: well said. keep writin' and writin'. i find your posts both educational and informative.