Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by matchmaker, Dec 7, 2008.
Vilas against Connors in the US Open 1977
Ken Rosewall , Evonne Goolagong ,Jimmy Connors.,Ramesh Krishnan
Add me in for Rosewall.
A few years back I watched him playing in a legends match at the Oz Open, then went back out to watch some main draw matches - and his slice backhand was the best I saw that day by far.
Rosewall / Graf, imho
Put me down for Rosewall.
"Evonne Goolagong, Ramesh Krishnan"
Yes, both had beautiful slice/flat backhands. Krishnan's entire game was very smooth.
No one comes close to Rosewall, he owns the backhand slice.
Evert's slice is the one shot that she improved tremendously in the later 80's adding far more pace and spin, and used with greater frequency on grass courts, almost always using it to approach on her backhand wing at Wimbledon. Otherwise, she used it to mix things up occasionally from the backcourt to induce error.
Connors' two handed slice was undoubtedly the best I saw of either gender. he used his more often than others with a similar stroke often returning slice with slice, but then he had more variety on that wing than any other DHB I ever saw.
Its hard to figure out where to put Santoro in this list. He did not put the kind of pace on it Connors did, loved to use it. Then again, Santoro isn't the 'listable' type, is he?
i wonder if being tall, is a bit of a disadvantage on this particular stroke?
Emilio Sanchez Vicario and Steffi Graf.
Edberg's sliced approach was also a fantastic pleasure to watch
Best (attacking) slice 1H BH
Easy: Yannick Noah
Don't believe me? watch some clips on the tube.
Noah had a great slice backhand, but I think Rod Laver may be tops in that department (attcking backhand slice). Here is some video of great one handed bankhand slice shots in action.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8IJ0F01IiU (Thanks to Krosero for the video. Laver is about 32 and Rosewall is 36 here by the way, but you can see them both using slice shots off both wings with great effect).
Both had super slice backhands. Another player with a great slice backhand is Arthur Ashe. Laver and Ashe had more shots off the backhand side than anyone I've ever seen.
Here's Ashe in his famous match against Connors at the 1975 Wimbledon. Notice how he can lob and use variety of angles and slice off the backhand.
The second one is the famous Ashe against Laver match. Notice how much firepower both players have off the backhand.
Good point PC1. That's a good example match. Ashe did have a massive one handed backhand that he could hit in a variety of ways. I think you've watched a lot more of Ashe than I have as well as Laver but from what I've seen of both I completely agree with you.
Good point on Goolagong.She had a wonderful sliced BH that she graciously followed to the net many times.And she always looked like floating on court.She and Maria Esther Bueno are probably the modern version of Lenglen.
¿What about Hoad?
Rosewall, Graf, Mac, Becker and Fed. Close from Rafter and Sampras.
King had a superb slice approach, as did Navratilova.
Sorry Borg and PC, but Noah's at the bottom of any list I'd make. Noah did undercut an approach pretty well...but...I didn't think it particularly well...in fact, sometimes I thought he rushed more on a bluff than anything...it worked partly because here's a 6'4, black (was becker right? was race an issue in matches...not sure), SUPREMELY athletic guy rushing in, he moves with the grace and agility of the most athletic 6 footer, he leaps, he dives...that helps cover up...a pretty poor approach...unless it's Lendl over there, in which case, he isn't intimidated at all because he knows he owns Noah...
Like many of Noah's shots though, he overproduced the spin...(actually Graf, Fed and others probably do this too...but it works for them)....so that can be OK on a good approach on a short ball...but isn't too great in many other situations.....a passing shot, a return etc. where the ability to hit more solidly through would help.
It was said that Dennis Ralston once tried to coach Noah to hit through the ball...more like a Rosewall...and that when Noah first started to do it....his eyes lit up like a little kid! He never knew a slice could be like that. (of course...almost all the players today would be like that!)
Note, Sampras also, as he evolved, especially on shots like the chip return, tried to make his slice firmer, and more solid, he specifically mentioned Rosewall as a model.
Gotta support the Rosewall bandwagon here!
I would say that Muscles' BH slice (skidder) was his go-to main weapon (like Roddick's serve or Fed's forehand).
Noah had a good baseline foundation, as happens to players raised on european red clay.He was athletic and could be dominant with a good approach and a good volley.
Most of people, however forget that he portayed himself as an european clay court expert that, due to his athletics talents, could reach the net and vollye.
But, IMO, he was not lie Adriano Panatta a classy S&V raised on clay Noah was a baseliner that, due to his physichal talents, could play an agressive style.
to me, it makes a lot of basic concept difference¡
Definitely Steffi Graf. She had so much versatility with her slice backhand. She could slice it up the line, cross court, to the baseline, drop it just over the net, and everything else. She did not just use the slice defensively but also offensively. It would force players to have to bend low and hit up, which gave Graf an advantage. I believe it was largely Graf's slice backhand that proved to be an annoyance for Chrissie.
I think it was more of a hindrance vs Evert from the backcourt than Martina's, because her extra height gave extra purchase on the stroke for more pace without loosing consistency. but Martina's use of the slice as an approach was frightening. Honestly Martina's slice approach was better than her forehand approach which was more error prone - but if the forehand went in, you were lucky to get there in time for any prayer of a pass.
I would definitely agree that Navratilova's slice approach was daunting and very well executed. I think her beautiful serve and volley game perfectly complemented Evert's baseline and all-court game, and these two brought out the best in each other. Thanks for that insight.
Folks here have completely forgotten how good the Navratilova slice approach was. She hit it as well as Evonne or Billie Jean, but with a hell of a lot more pace.
imo, the 1983 FO Final was one the best displays of slice bh's I've seen(I rewatched it recently), Noah didn't S&V that much that day but still was able to get to net so much(& win a good %) because of his bh slice, it had great depth.
Stevan edberg pretty good
Hhahanice, I used to have an old teammate who'd change up everyone's first name, especially Euro-sounding names.
Mickey Stich not bad.
Ralph Nadal kind of nice.
Ian Lendl decent.
Andrew Agassi not so good.
Peter Sampras fairly sweet.
Mikhail Chang allright.
Charlie Moya quite good.
Gustav Kuerten pretty good.
Matt Wilander not so bad.
Edvard Dibbs fair.
Rico Krajicek passable.
Malcatraz Washington pretty nice.
Gordon Ivanisevic also good.
Joe Louis Clerc had a good one.
Willie Vilas pretty good.
Willie Coria not bad.
Al Costa pretty sweet.
Art Ashe good.
That's what I was mainly thinking of when I thought of Noah. I don't think his overall backhand was particularly good but I have seen him hit penetrating sliced backhand approaches which set up his volleys quite well.
Kenovic Rosewall--the sensei-master
Andres Gomez had a very elegant little slice bh.
I like that title.
For me it was Graf. Thing I remember is that she would occasionally come on top of it and commentators would say that if she would ever mix up her backhand that she would be unbelievable.
Nice, i forgot about Panatta. That was a sweet backhand!!!!!!!!!
Panatta was deceivingly quick.looked like he was almost falling sleep trading deep, well sliced groundies ( which keep opponents well back)...and suddenly, with two big steps, got to the net, catching his opponent by surprise.I´ve seen him do that to many great players, specially on clay where he could so well slide into the net..sometimes, it was even like playing cat &mousse.
You got it.I agree on the basics, but I´d make a soft switch to:
FLAT BACKHAND: Connors and Budge.Rosewall´s almost flat slice would make the third , but I´m not really sure about the final order in that segment.
TOP SPIN ONE: Borg,Laver and Agassi/Vilas
SLICE:Rosewall and Laver/Edberg tied for second place.
FLAT: Evert ,Seles ( semiflat, semi top) and Austin
SLICE: Evonne ,Steffi and Martina
SPIN: Seles, when she did it with top spin,Jaeger and Sabatini
never have actually seen budge play but i guess so.
what about pancho- his seemed pretty sweet?
mcenroe, edberg, kevin kim.
Kensei Rosewall, Kensei means "Sword Saint" if I'm not mistaken lol
anyway, another for Rosewall's!
Absolutely no doubt about it. It has to be Rosewall.
Arthur Ashe could hit sliced backhands well also. His flat backhand could be hit with tremendous power also.
As arguably the greatest woman player ever, she WAS unbelievable.
Her backhand did not HURT her, it kept her in rallies until she could unleash the forehand. Plus, the backhand often forced errors from other players, the low skidding backhand elicits many UE's from the opponent.
They must have loved teaching this shot to the German juniors back in the day because these two could hit it with more bite than anybody I've ever seen.
Then perhaps you should condition your response to: "among those I've ever seen."
Rosewall by far had the best, Laver right after. The thing is all the great Aussies from that period had solid slices. Hopman laid the foundation that you even saw in Gerulaitis (very solid slice BH), McEnroe, Fleming and Rafter. Remember JMac, Vitas and that group at Port Washington in the 70s all got to work under Hopman.
But it was a somewhat iffy shot - Noah would take such a huge cut at the ball at times it did tend to float on him and on hard courts and carpet could sit up. I watched Lendl catch Noah on one of those days and what looked like every slice sat up right into Ivan's wheelhouse and he just crushed it time after time.
At that FO Noah if you remember was chipping short and low again and again to Mats backhand forcing him to hit up and giving Noah fairly easy FH volleys.
Rosewall had the best slice backhand ever and when I say slice I mean it had some slice but it was a mainly flat backhand. Very strong, very penetrating and I think it is the best I've seen.
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