Best forehand in mens tennis?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by JohnThomas1, May 16, 2004.

  1. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

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    Great post as usual Datacipher. I agree with everything said. It was delightful the way he could as you say, blast bullets or loop it with safety. From back then i also admired the Gomez, Arias and Krickstein forehands.
     
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  2. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Sadly, I haven't seen Arias much except for a few very short clips...

    I remember (Go Go was it?) though and Gomez though had the devastating forehand and from my memory he sort of reminds me of El Anouyi today. Big guys, sort of awkward movers who still manage to cover the court very well with their rangy bodies. El Anouyi is I think lighter on his feet than the flat footed Gomez I remember. But Gomez movement sort of worked to his advantage...he kind of lulled people with what looked like very sloppy play. Serviceable backhands...Gomez would sort of lazily stride around the court looping shots and slicing but then suddenly Gomez would get a ball to his minimal preparation forehand and watch out! Hard to read their forehands and so powerful. Good first serves depending on the day....

    Krickstein's had that remarkable minimum backswing as well! Seems like his forehand is largely forgotten today and that's too bad. In some ways he was ahead of his time with the very very short backswing.
     
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  3. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Sadly, I haven't seen Arias much except for a few very short clips...

    I remember (Go Go was it?) though and Gomez though had the devastating forehand and from my memory he sort of reminds me of El Anouyi today. Big guys, sort of awkward movers who still manage to cover the court very well with their rangy bodies. El Anouyi is I think lighter on his feet than the flat footed Gomez I remember. But Gomez movement sort of worked to his advantage...he kind of lulled people with what looked like very sloppy play. Serviceable backhands...Gomez would sort of lazily stride around the court looping shots and slicing but then suddenly Gomez would get a ball to his minimal preparation forehand and watch out! Hard to read their forehands and so powerful. Good first serves depending on the day....

    Krickstein's had that remarkable minimum backswing as well! Seems like his forehand is largely forgotten today and that's too bad. In some ways he was ahead of his time with the very very short backswing.
     
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  4. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

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    The Arias forehand was regarded as second to only Lendl's for a few years, a huge shot it was. It was a semi-western grip and he could hit it to any part of the court, as well as being able to lob well. It was also hard to read.He had a very long pass at the ball as well. It was a totally natural shot.

    You are absolutey spot on about Gomez. From memory he had a full western.

    Ah Krickstein, what a great shot, and a compact preparation for sure. You're friend Vic Braden had great admiration for it, he loved the compactness. He revitalised late in his career and was ranked rather high for a year or two. If he had a huge serve like many baseliners nowadays he would have won a lot of tourneys i am guessing.
     
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  5. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Interesting, I once obtained an old video of Arias specifically because I wanted to see that phase of the evolution of the forehand! But the old video was filmed from so high and far from the court and it was so grainy I could not make out much of anything :-(

    I once read a very interesting interview with Arias where he admitted that during the latter part of his career the forehand was actually a huge liability! He attributed this to the switch to graphite, which he never really liked, he claimed to hit harder with wood(which I can believe, if he lost confidence...) and he said his grip CHANGED! I can't remember whether he said it drifted more western from eastern or vice versa...but he wasn't even aware of it for some time....he actually said his that his backhand had improved so he could play off that side and nobody played his forehand out of fear...he said that if he got a forehand he would just take a whack as hard as he could, throw in a grunt (lol) and hope that the bluff would maintain his forehand reputation.

    I agree about Krickstein...he wasn't super quick in the feet, but he made up for it in doggedness. He improved his backhand under Gullickson, had pretty good feel in his hands I think! He really could play the game well and I think if not for all those injuries impeding his career and preventing a nice long run he would have done much better. Even his mediocre serve got better....I remember when he beat a lethargic Agassi at USO 91, he hit something like 19 aces, but you are right, if had the consistent big serve, his game might even have been big enough to be a serious GS contender and would probably stack up fine against the contemporary players.
     
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  6. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Also John, when you said he had a long pass at the ball it reminded me of this from Bolllettieri's book which you might find interesting if you have not read it:

    RE:Arias
    "I watched them for a few minutes, and I couldn't believe the forehands the little kid was hitting. I'd never seen a 12yr old hit a ball so hard."

    a bit later:

    "Jimmy's father had taught him his forehand, programmed him to use a full follow-through. Mr. Arias was an engineer, enad even though his knowledge of tennis was limited, he did understand mechanics. He couldn't understand why so many players used an abbreviated follow-through. He had little Jimmy hitting with al his might, actually leaping off his feat as he hit, which got him started o his recovery. "

    and most interesting to me!:

    "I did persuade Mr. Arias to allow me to make 1 major change in his son's game. When Jimmy came to Florida, he was used to playing at the baseline or just inside the baseline. I convinced Jimmy and his father that he should move back, play well behind the baseline, the way Bjorn Borg and so many other succesful players were playing at the time, particularly some of the shorter ones, like Dibbs, Solomen. Mr Arias argued that if Jimmy played up, he would get better angles, he would put away more balls."

    Sounds like Mr. Arias was a clever guy, ahead of his time. Nick admits that maybe M. Arias was right that he(Nick) was still learning the intricacies of the game and that with Agassi of course, Nick encouraged this, although he thinks with that maybe equipment change made this evolution viable...
     
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  7. Pushmaster

    Pushmaster Hall of Fame

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    Most powerful - Gonzalez
    Most precise - Federer
    Most versatile - Moya
     
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  8. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

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    Excellent reading. I remember seeing Nick state early on that Arias used to swing himself off his feet. You are also right, Nick was very green in those days. Arias ended up going to some other coach and also gave Nick some pretty scathing press from memory. He tried to beef up his serve, changed to a full Eastern on the backhand and attack the net a little, but it was too little too late and he faded. He got to top 5 but the players soon worked out how to overcome someone with a forehand and little else.
     
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  9. PhatAbbott

    PhatAbbott Rookie

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    Was couriers forehand one of the best? He had a really unique looking game with very small swings. His forehand looked pretty flat and powerfull.
     
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  10. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

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    Good lord i should have mentioned him lol. Thanks for the reminder PhatAbbott :)

    Yeah it was a super weapon, he would camp in the backhand corner and absolutely murder opponents with forehands. Trouble was only a handful of players could do anything about it, and that wasn't often. Gilbert eventually had Agassi playing him pretty smartly. He would have Andre smack groundies to his forehand side, contending he didn't hit his forehand anywhere near as well from that side of court, and especially when running. Of course Andre had superb groundstrokes that could accomplish this tactic. Jim was also known for his amazing physical shape and training regimen, which is probably why his career was shorter than the norm.
     
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  11. perpcole

    perpcole Guest

    In the case that evarybody were at their top games I would say Fernando Gonzales has THE best forehand around. He laso can put into game those soft touchs from the baseline, just remember the game against Agassi last year at the Legg Mason Classic. Aggassi was unable to reply any of them (last year he just lost 2 of about 25-30 games in the us open series). Certainly Roger Federer has more variety and is WAY more consistent. That's my poinion.
     
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  12. gugafanatic

    gugafanatic Hall of Fame

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    In terms of shear power and flashy stroke play, then one would have to say: Gonzales, younes and juan carlos. However federer seems to have far greater shot selection on the forehand side compared to hes compatriots.
     
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  13. speedofpain88

    speedofpain88 Rookie

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    Me too.
     
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