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View Full Version : Most convoluted/ridiculous backhand/forehand/serve?


jgunnink
02-01-2006, 01:36 PM
I've seen other threads on who has the best or most compact. How about the most unorthodox?

My votes (with all respect)

Backhand: During his prime - Jimmy Arias - no contest

Forehand: Hmm, this is tougher, maybe Gabriela Sabbatini or Sergei Bruguera

Serve: Dementieva

Moose Malloy
02-01-2006, 01:42 PM
Karsten Braasch, Jay Berger-serve

Kent Carlsson-groundies

slice bh compliment
02-01-2006, 01:57 PM
...
Backhand: During his prime - Jimmy Arias - no contest

Forehand: Hmm, this is tougher, maybe Gabriela Sabbatini or Sergei Bruguera

...

With all due respect...a few comments:

Francoise Durr's backhand makes Jimmy Arias' backhand look like Don Budge's. She used a forehand grip.

What was so outlandish about Sabatini's FH? other than the SW grip and the heavy topspin?
Sergi Bruguera's grip was a little extreme, but I think he is pretty tame campared to his fellow 1994 Roland finalist, Alberto Berasategui.

I'm not going to disagree with your assessment of Elena Dementieva's serve, but...[edit: Moose Malloy beat me to a couple of these] Jay Berger had a less orthodox beginning. Karsten Braasch and Steve Denton had her beat, too, what with all of their footwork during the motion. And they hit a lot of aces on fast courts.

You know whose volleys stray from convention? Boris Becker (slight forehand grip on the FH volley) and Andy Roddick (both volleys look uncomfortable).

Jimmy Connors had that windmill, "skyhook" sort of overhead.

Luke Jensen with his lefty and righty serves.

Pavel Hutka with the two handed BH and FH. Ditto: F. Santoro, M. Seles, J.M. Gambill, et al.

Zenzo Shimizu with the FH grip so western it may have been eastern.

Bud Collins: the pants. Definitely the pants.

jgunnink
02-01-2006, 02:03 PM
Oh, I totally forgot about Karsten Braasch! I think he might get my vote in all categories.

On Sabbatini, I didn't think her forehand that bad, just that it had a lot more topspin than most. I was having a hard time thinking of examples.

Connors overhead, you're right, it's totally burned in my memory. And I tried to volley like Becker for three weeks before giving it up as complete folly.

Now that I think of it, Graf had perhaps the most unique forehand, though I wouldn't call it ridiculous.

chaognosis
02-01-2006, 02:10 PM
The most unorthodox serve of all time may have been that of Norman Brookes, who twice won Wimbledon (1907, 1914) and once the Australian championships (1911). In addition to being a lefty, Brookes used an exceptionally peculiar combination of spins--so much so that his contemporaries could scarcely describe what he was doing, only that it was "awkward." Brookes was nicknamed "Wizard" for his ability to confuse his opponents, and his unique game proved effective over a long and impressive career: when the great Bill Tilden held both Wimbledon and the U.S. championship titles, he lost a four-set Davis Cup match to 43-year-old Brookes. Tilden said that no matter how he positioned himself, Brookes's serve somehow popped up under one of his arms, cramping his style.

Richie Rich
02-01-2006, 02:32 PM
Karsten Braasch, Jay Berger-serve

Kent Carlsson-groundies

Moose,
ever see a match between Wilander and Carlsson? they were hitting loopy groundies from the very back of the court - where the linespeople sit. it was sooooooo boring. took about 10 minutes to play one point. think Carlsson won in the end.

Braasch hands down on weird serve. saw him live and can't believe his motion and his crazy kick he got from it.

slice bh compliment
02-01-2006, 02:38 PM
The most unorthodox serve of all time may have been that of Norman Brookes, who twice won Wimbledon (1907, 1914) and once the Australian championships (1911). In addition to being a lefty, Brookes used an exceptionally peculiar combination of spins--so much so that his contemporaries could scarcely describe what he was doing, only that it was "awkward." Brookes was nicknamed "Wizard" for his ability to confuse his opponents, and his unique game proved effective over a long and impressive career: when the great Bill Tilden held both Wimbledon and the U.S. championship titles, he lost a four-set Davis Cup match to 43-year-old Brookes. Tilden said that no matter how he positioned himself, Brookes's serve somehow popped up under one of his arms, cramping his style.

Oh, man. I thought URBAN was from the old school. But you, chaognosis, have kicked it even older school. The wizardry of Norman Brookes.

Ciao. I mean, Chao.

Chadwixx
02-01-2006, 03:39 PM
Berasategi (I think is the spelling) had the weirdest forhand grip i have seen.

I saw a picture thing in a tennis magazine once where a college gut served starting on the ground, like a squatting position. Was very strange. But they said he was hitting 125, back in the 90's that was as fast as it gets.

ironchef21
02-01-2006, 05:04 PM
I think Tennis magazine once named Pam Shriver's forehand one of the worst strokes of all time.

urban
02-01-2006, 11:32 PM
Yes Slice bh and chaognosis, you mentioned some really unorthodox strokes and players. Francoise Durr's backhand grip with her forefinger on the long side of the racket shaft, lokked asif it would break her wrist. Brookes hit also his backhand with his forehand side, a common practice in the age before Tilden straightened out the strokes. Quite unusual was John Bromwich, who played with left and right hand, and even served in his youth with both hands on the grip, as if he was chopping wood.

Mr Topspin
02-02-2006, 06:53 AM
Henin's backhand although considered eloquent is not exactly text book. The contortions in her shoulder and arm look vey convuluted but it works.

Gasquet has a strange FH stroke.

Sampras' BH looked funtional at the best of times.

Noelle
02-02-2006, 07:10 AM
Florian Mayer's forehand. Huge, HUGE loop.

tennisnj
02-02-2006, 07:30 AM
How about Russian Evgenia Koulikovskaya, that of the no backhand technique. I remember seeing her at the U.S. Open Qualifiers in 2001, She would choke up on the racquet on the right side, & play with her hand down lower on her left or serving side.

I couldn't believe it when I saw her b/c that's how I've played for years. That's one of the techniques an ambidextrous player like myself uses lol.

slice bh compliment
02-02-2006, 07:32 AM
How about Russian Evgenia Koulikovskaya, that of the no backhand technique. I remember seeing her at the U.S. Open Qualifiers in 2001, She would choke up on the racquet on the right side, & play with her hand down lower on her left or serving side. ....

Good call.

Rickson
02-02-2006, 07:40 AM
Andy Roddick with his unorthodox windup serve, but nobody can claim that it's not effective.

tennisnj
02-02-2006, 09:14 AM
http://www.mfwweb.com/tennis/SS02/Koulikovskaya_05.jpg

Here's a good example...

vllockhart
02-02-2006, 09:24 AM
Sheng Shalken's serve. Mary Carillo said he looked like he was trying to serve his way out of a phone booth.

quest01
02-02-2006, 09:31 AM
I always thought jim courier had an odd looking forehand and backhand swing.

tennisnj
02-02-2006, 09:46 AM
Wasn't Courier's the result of his baseball playing background & futher interest in the sport during his playing days?

RiosTheGenius
02-02-2006, 09:50 AM
Forehand - F. Santoro
Backhand - F. Santoro
Serve - Juan Monaco, Zabaleta, Dementieva

jgunnink
02-02-2006, 10:22 AM
The funny thing about Shalken, is that a guy that tall should totally be able to crank a serve, but his fastest is probably 115. And he never approaches the net if he can help it.

I've always been intrigued by players who play counter to what their body type would indicate.

Andres
02-02-2006, 10:30 AM
I never had the chance to see Schalken playing.
Does anyone have a clip of his serve?

vllockhart
02-02-2006, 01:13 PM
I never had the chance to see Schalken playing.
Does anyone have a clip of his serve?

No clip. He's been missing in action for a while.