Best all-courter(s) by decade

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by leonidas1982, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. leonidas1982

    leonidas1982 Hall of Fame

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    60's: Rod Laver

    70's: Bjorn Borg

    80's: Boris Becker

    90's: Pete Sampras

    00's: Roger Federer (potential).
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
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  2. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    70s: Borg/Connors
    80s: Connors/Wilander/Becker (3 yrs a piece, I'd say)
    90s: Sampras
    00s: Fed/Nadal
     
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  3. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    80s: becker
    90s:sampras
    2000s: federer

    nadal - an all-courter ????? he is a baseliner. Period.
     
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  4. dmt

    dmt Hall of Fame

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    Maybe Agassi should be there for the 90's
     
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  5. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    all-courter != all-surface player !

    both agassi and nadal are baseliners. Not all-courters
     
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  6. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near Talk Tennis Guru

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    Relax folks, ...
    By your definition then both Agassi and Nadal are 'all-surface players' in that they were/are very capable of winning big titles on all the different kinds of surfaces.

    There always tends to be some confusion with the term all-courter and I'm never quite entirely sure how people want to talk about it.
     
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  7. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    yeah, there is some confusion at times.

    But IMO, its quite simple, an all-courter is someone who is competent from all parts of the court and plays a decent amount from all parts. Of course it is tough to divide it equally. Usually a player is biased either towards net play or baseline play ....

    All-surface player, well as is obvious , means a player who can play on all surfaces

    yeah, agassi and nadal are all-surface players, agassi more so than nadal ( I'd like to see him beat someone of calibre at the USO )
     
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  8. thalivest

    thalivest Banned

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    I think Agassi was an underrated grass courter, in large part since he too rarely brought his A-game to Wimbledon, but was a vastly overrated clay courter. His making 3 French Open finals was really an overachievement for him, it shouldnt have really happened. He got dream draws at each of the 1990, 1991, and 1999 French Opens. His only good wins were Chang in 1990 when Chang wasnt near his prime (his out of the blue 89 FO title notwithstanding) and Moya in 99. He didnt win his first Masters on clay until he was in his 30s. Also doesnt he have an equal head to head with Sampras on clay.

    I think Nadal is probably better on fast hard courts than Agassi on clay but unfortunately he hasnt proven it at the U.S Open yet.
     
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  9. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I agree with your definition. I suppose, when you think about it that it is better to be an all surface player than an all court player.
     
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  10. theagassiman

    theagassiman Rookie

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    70's: One man: Bjorn Borg.
    He may have had a volley weakness, but on grass, the guy would just keep on coming. And of course on grass, his volley became deadly...

    Then on clay, he would do the exact opposite and NEVER attack.

    Never ever seen a more distinct player.
     
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  11. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Now that's profound.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. leonidas1982

    leonidas1982 Hall of Fame

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    1960's: Rod Laver

    [​IMG]

    1970's: Bjorn Borg

    [​IMG]

    1980's: Boris Becker

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
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  13. leonidas1982

    leonidas1982 Hall of Fame

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    1990's: Pete Sampras

    [​IMG]


    2000's: Roger Federer

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
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  14. mandy01

    mandy01 G.O.A.T.

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    That's a great pic.
    Post more :evil:

    heh..thanks Borg number one.
     
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  15. heftylefty

    heftylefty Hall of Fame

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    Wilander: Great Call!!
     
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  16. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    everyone tends to overlook Mats...he could do it all, on every surface....
     
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  17. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    If we're talking about being able to construct a point from anywhere on a court, it's hard to leave out Connors from either the 70's or early 80's.
     
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  18. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    You're welcome. Thank you. Borg knew his way around clay, as you can see Mandy01.
     
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  19. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    "All-courter" used to mean that one used all of the court (and was good in all areas of the court).

    Now, it seems to mean that one can win on different surfaces ("all-surfacer"?).

    Using the old meaning:
    60's: Rod Laver
    70's: Jimmy Connors
    80's: Boris Becker
    90's: Pete Sampras
    00's: no one

    Using the new meaning:
    60's: Rod Laver
    70's: Bjorn Borg
    80's: Ivan Lendl
    90's: Andre Agassi
    00's: Roger Federer
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2010
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  20. volleynets

    volleynets Professional

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    I still think it means all court player in the sense of being able to play well from all parts of the court.
     
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  21. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Good for you! And welcome to the nostalgic, rose-colored glasses, can't recognize the supreme greatness of the present players, old farts club.
     
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  22. volleynets

    volleynets Professional

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    I must be the youngest member.:twisted:
     
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  23. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Maybe just the most intelligent.:grin:
     
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  24. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Mac is better all courter than Connors and Boris.


    And Rosewall is better than all of them in termos of being able to play regularly at the same, very high level, in all stances of the court.Just a bit short of Laver, the best of the lot and the definition of " all court tennis" himself.
     
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  25. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    I think Mac was a better all-courter than Connors or Wilander or Borg...I would probably divide the 80's between Becker and Connors.

    Other than that, I agree.
     
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  26. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    No. He's as all-court now as Federer is. I'd probably put them even, though truth be told, I have more belief now in Nadal's ability to choose when to attack the net, and ability to make a solid volley. He's solid, and strategically cunning. He's now exceeded Fed in that way.
     
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  27. BrooklynNY

    BrooklynNY Hall of Fame

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    Well, I don't think being willing to make the right play, which is often coming in depending on the situaton, qualifies you as an all courter. They don't choose to play the point at the net, like say, Mardy Fish deciding to Serve and Volley at 30-15. Nadal just does what is necessary, which is occasionally putting away a volley once your opponent is scrambling 10 feet behind the baseline and barely getting the ball back.

    I agree with the idea that Nadal and Federer are baseliners (at their best). Nadal can come in and put away a backhand volley, or a forehand drop volley.

    But most of the time he comes in, he already won the point from the baseline.
    Federer I feel used to be more of an all courter, but has since preferred the baseline, or a foot behind.
     
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  28. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    not hard to be an all-courter now adays when your courts consist of; "red clay", "green clay" and "blue clay". I give more props to Andre winning 4 majors on 4 radically different surfaces
     
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  29. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Well I completely agree...but I'm trying to be generous to this generation! I see both Nadal and Fed as....Jimmy Connors/Mats Wilander all-courters AT BEST (I actually think Mats and Jimmy were a bit more likely to come in purposefully without having the door completely wide open)...and really, I consider them all baseliners who have reasonably well rounded games...just enough to put away the ball when given the chance.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
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  30. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Don't forget Michael Stich!
     
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  31. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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  32. Ludwig von Mises

    Ludwig von Mises Banned

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    60's- Laver/Gonzales
    70's- Nastase/Connors/Borg
    80's- Becker/Mecir
    90's- Sampras/Stich
    00's- Federer/Hewitt
    10's- Djokovic/Dolgopolov
     
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  33. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    1960: Laver and Rosewall (he was a bit better at the net than Gonzales was at the baseline)

    1970: Nastase and, below him, Kodes,Borg and Connors.Kodes, don´t forget, reached 3 major grass court finals ( winning 1 W, lost 2 USO ) and he also won 2 RG.

    1980: Mac, and below, Wilander,Lendl and Becker
    1990: Stich,Sampras and Agassi.Rafter was almost their equal.
    2000-2010: Federer and, below him, Nadal and Hewitt tied.
     
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  34. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Ladies:

    1970: Court and King, Evert and Evonne were just a bit below
    1980: Martina,Hana and Stefi
    1990: Hingis and Seles.Arancha was nearly at their level
    2000: Serena,Henin,Clijsters ( and below,Kuznetsova)
     
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  35. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Redefining definition of All Courter

    I think we really have to redefine all courters. Yes traditionally all courters are defined as playing well from all parts of the court, baseline and at the net.

    However in watching so many Nadal/Federer matches over the years (yesterday's match also) I think we also have to define it as strength on the backhand side and the forehand side. It's been so ridiculously obvious over the years how Nadal exploits the Federer backhand and forces it into errors. Nadal cannot do that to a Nalbanian, a Djokovic, Gasquet or a Murray. It's very clear to all of us that Federer is very vulnerable on the backhand side. Some may say that Federer is strong against other players on the backhand but I disagree. He uses the backhand to keep the ball in keep for his powerful forehand. I think the commentators yesterday mentioned that Federer hit his first backhand winner of the match at 30 all in the second set. I've also noticed in past years the small amount of winners Federer hits on the backhand. Now of course Federer will hit a lot more forehands over the course of a match than backhands but I think it is clear his backhand is not a weapon overall.

    So Federer will cover his backhand and it always leaves his forehand side a bit vulnerable to outright winners to that side. Nadal and Djokovic hit a lot of winners down the line to the forehand corner. It's easy for Nadal with his great lefty forehand and Djokovic may have the back backhand down the line in tennis.

    Now if Federer's backhand was of the strength of an Edberg perhaps he wouldn't favor his forehand quite as much and players wouldn't be able to hit so many winners to the forehand side. It's always the same thing and I'm not sure if Federer can adjust his style to avoid that.

    So I would add to all court player strength on the backhand and forehand as well as backcourt and forecourt.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2011
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  36. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Kiki,

    While Nastase was a terrific all courter I cannot rank him nearly as good as Borg. Nastase had a lot of problems putting balls away on the volley, especially on the backhand side. He just was so incredibly quick that players couldn't pass him. I think Borg was a superior overall all court player than Nastase. He was perhaps even quicker than Nastase at the net and while his volleys weren't as penetrating as John McEnroe, they generally were very strong. Borg in the 1978 Wimbledon final served and volleyed his way to a crushing victory over Jimmy Connors, losing only seven games in the match. If you can hit winning volleys against the Connors' return game and passing shots you can do that against anyone.

    I would also rank Arthur Ashe (when he wanted to be patient) as a very good all courter and Tom Okker in the 1970's. Okker was a very gifted player. It's a pity he never won a majors. He was excellent in the backcourt and at the net.
     
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  37. WCT

    WCT Rookie

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    As the years went by, I thought Borg's volley got firmer. Agreed that Nastase had the habit of not putting volleys away.

    Back to Borg. I will say this. In his 1980 book with Gene Scott, 2 or 3 other players comment on how much the grass helps his volleying. Because his dying quail volleys do just that, die in the grass.

    Now go take a look at some of the volleys he hit in the 81 semi vs Connors, or the finals. Those are not dying quails. Low angled backhand volleys that are hit really firmly.

    He was never Mcenroe at the net, not close. But Mcenroe wasn't close to being Borg from the baseline. That doesn't mean they weren't good, though.

    The Borg who won all those Wimbledons definitely meets my criteria for an all court player. Someone like Nadal doesn't come in close to that much.

    Nadal comes in a bit more than he used to, and I think volleys pretty well, but I still think Federer comes in more. I've seen various Federer matches, in the last several years, where he's come in 50-60 times. When does Nadal do that?
    My criteria for an all court player doesn't require that they be elite in all areas of the court, just very good.
     
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  38. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    We must redifine what an all courter is: a guy who plays great in any part of the court ? or a guy with sucess in different kinds of surface? two concepts completely different.

    For example, I´d never say Agassi was as good as Wilander in the first criteria, but he won Wimbledon, which Wilander didn´t.

    Nadal is clearly a baseliner, but won Wimbledon while Nastase , with a much more complete game , never won Wimbledon.

    Mac´s baseline game was better IMO than Lendl´s S&V; but Mac´s results on clay are clearly not as good as Lendl´s results on grass.

    To me, Laver and Rosewall who dominate all the shots ( well,Rosewall´s serve being an exception) and can play well from any part and on any court.They would meet the 2 criteria.If Federer dare to volley, he´d definitely be there.
     
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  39. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I think in this thread we aren't necessarily going by success. To win Wimbledon nowadays you don't have to be a great or even a good volleyer so Nadal winning Wimbledon several times doesn't make him a better volleyer than a Nastase or a Stan Smith or even a Tom Okker.

    I think in this case an all courter is by definition comfortable on all parts of the court and generally if you are comfortable on all parts of the court you are excellent in clay and on faster surfaces.

    So in my definition of an all courter a Jimmy Connors to me is more of an all courter historically than a Federer because Connors is extremely strong off both sides, is very comfortable at the baseline and in the transition to the net. The latter to me is the key, I don't think Federer is that comfortable in the transition from the baseline to the net while Connors handles it easily.

    Now again this does not mean I think Connors is better than Federer (although that can be debated) but I do think he's more comfortable with net play than Federer.

    I think Federer has the ability to be an excellent net player but greats like John Newcombe and Fred Stolle do not think he is that good a net player and that he makes too many errors, especially on the forehand volley. Yesterday's match against Nadal I felt was particularly bad. I felt while Nadal did hit some good passing shots, I also felt Federer could have volleyed a number of those attempted passing shots back with much more penetration. An Edberg or a McEnroe would have ate some of those passing shots up. I think Federer really has to improve his volley in order to be really considered an all courter. I like Nadal's volley better than Federer's.

    Actually McEnroe was in my opinion a very good clay player and he did win a number of clay court titles. I saw McEnroe destroy Vilas on har tru at the old Tournament of Champions at the West Side Tennis club, the same surface and place where Vilas won the US Open in 1977.
     
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  40. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    In that case, it may be true that Connors was a better all courter than Federer, and certainly, than Nadal ( or Agassi ).He was comfortable coming in, even if his volleys were more forceful than touch volleys.

    I can´t remember when Mc beats Vilas at Forest Hills, that must have been around the end of Vilas career.Mac started his playing days on har tru, and , if he had added patience and stamina to his game, I cannot see a reason why he wouldn´t have won, at least once, the French Open.he had all the tools, but lacked patience and stamina.

    In another threat, I had an overlook on Noah´s game, he could fit pretty well in that all court definition.Could rally with the best and wait for the short shot to come in, and could definitely S&V with the best.however, his weak return was more than evident on grass, so that would be an argument against considering him a true all court player.
     
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  41. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I think breaking down the areas of the court into wings is a fine idea, though not necessarily a redefinition of allcourter. It seems you're just looking at the various areas of the court, and of course an allcourter should cover all of them. Instead of FH and BH, I would prefer to look at FH and BH corners (and reverse it for left-handers).

    Same at the net: there are the two wings to cover. If a player has significant problems with one side (like low forehands volleys for Ashe, or even Borg or Becker), then to some degree they are not covering all the court equally well.

    Federer, of course, can be made vulnerable in the backhand corner. But from that side he hits plenty of damaging inside-out forehands (this is why I prefer to look at corners rather than strictly the FH or BH side). And on balance he's "covering" that corner to his advantage, when he's playing well. Or at least, he's doing more in that corner than merely making errors -- he's also doing damage with his forehand. Some of his best forehands are from that corner.

    So while I don't disagree with breaking down the definition of an allcourter, I don't know that Federer is the best example. If Federer's BH errors, and the winners hit past him in his FH corner, are enough to say that he's not covering the backcourt very well, then that leaves him with nothing. Unless you consider him a better volleyer than a backcourter, and no one would say that. So then what part of the court does Federer cover well?

    I'm not sure how strict your standard is here, but since Federer is the example -- well then it would leave plenty of other players out in the cold, IMO. I think Connors was at least as vulnerable in his FH corner as Federer is in his BH corner. It wasn't as dramatic as Federer's case, where you usually see Nadal's massive forehands forcing errors; or else you see Federer shanking into row 23. Connors didn't shank, and he wasn't being forced into errors by big shots: it was all those slow shots that he was uncomfortable with, drawing unfoced errors. And there were a lot of errors.

    Connors, in those slow rallies involving his FH's, sometimes looks as stuck as Federer in the crosscourt rallies with Nadal. Especially against Lendl's chip. Some of those rallies would go on a long time until Connors made a quiet error.

    Not trying to pick on Connors here, whose weakness on the FH was only relative to his BH. I'm just thinking that if the areas of the court are broken down in such a way that a player is no longer considered as covering the backcourt well due to one wing being weaker than the other, it would result in a lot of players being disqualified as allcourters. Most players have a weaker side. And there are ways to draw errors from Federer in one corner or to hit winners past him in another; but isn't that true for all players?

    I think Federer has to be judged as covering the backcourt extremely well. If he fails as an allcourter it has to be his failure to come forward more, wouldn't you agree?
     
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  42. fhdowntheline

    fhdowntheline Rookie

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    If you have to look at players who are able to construct and dictate points from all parts of the court (not equally, but to a fair degree) then we should be looking at players like Connors, McEnroe, Borg ,Wilander ,Edberg, Sampras and Nadal.

    Why not Federer ? -Because he has a poor Net game relative to his overall game. Same case with Lendl.
    Edberg over Becker ?- because of superior mobility, and more consistent net game.
    Why Sampras?- Because he had a highly destructive shot making capability from both flanks, and great mobility vis-a-vis an Agassi, for example.
     
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  43. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Going by your detailled explanation, then we´ve got just one option: Rod Laver, the man with no real weaknesess any corner, any place.
     
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  44. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Nadal and net game, the only common thing is both words are starting with an "N".Newcombe,Noah are "N2 associated with a net game, not Nadal.

    If you come up when you have the point won and you do it a few times in a match, it´s not sinonimous of great nat game.Even Harold Solomon - I´ve seen it, I promise it - won a few volleys here and there...
     
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  45. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Really? No, not Harold Solomon.!
     
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  46. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    no, he is not. He comes in for most part only on putaways. Get me a list of matches where he comes in more than 40 times to the net or SnVs 10 times or more or sth like that ...

    Fed at his peak was FAR better at transitioning and at the net than he is now. Nadal doesn't even come close as far as all-court play is concerned comparing peak to peak
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2011
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  47. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    LOL, yeah because nadal is mcenroe V2 at the net :roll:

    fed at his peak was EASILY better at the net. nadal is a baseliner who comes to the net for putaways for most part.

    oh and becker was more all-court than edberg, better at the baseline and varied it more than edberg as far as balance b/w baseline and net play is concerned
     
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  48. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yeah.That little dude did it,...and he did it in a match against his twin Eddie Crazy Dibbs¡¡¡.When I saw him venturing to the net, I almost got a stroke...I was so worried he could be hurt...
     
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  49. ksbh

    ksbh Banned

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    Roger Federer an all-court player? ROFL!
     
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  50. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I guess by that definition you're right. There are so many times I've seen Federer (and to be fair almost everyone else including Nadal and Djokovic) let a floater drop around midcourt in order to blast a powerful forehand drive hopefully for a winner. I always thought a lot of these floaters would be put away by a higher percentage if they were taken earlier with a strong volley.
     
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