Best Tennis Strokes of non all time greats (only Former Players please)

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by pc1, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I've seen a lot of arguments in recents threads involving many of the greats so I just thought we've have an enjoyable thread here involving some players who may not qualify for super top level like Gonzalez, Tilden or Laver.

    Here's the rules, the player must not have been number one at any time or even considered number one. This rules out for example Guillermo Vilas since many have considered him number one in 1977. He or she can win a major but no more than two, maybe I might allow three.

    Here's some of my picks with NOT that much thought put into it.

    Serve-Goran Ivanisevic
    Backhand-Kovacs, Art Larsen
    Forehand-Ken Fletcher, Tom Okker
    Backhand Volley-Roche, Brian Gottfried
    Forehand Volley-Pat Cash, Brian Gottfried
    Speed-Gerulaitis
    Return of service-Frank Kovacs
    Drop shot-Manuel Orantes

    Remember, only former players. It prevents fans from picking Federer for every stroke or Nadal or whoever they all love.

    Feel free to add categories. :)

    Edit-Changed my serve choice as someone pointed out to me that I carelessly picked an active player in Karlovic. :oops:
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
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  2. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    PC1, Rafter WAS #1 ;)
     
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  3. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Funny you mention the Orantes drop shot. I remember watching Orantes on TV in the early 80s, well past his prime. The commentator was either Drysdale or Stolle, or maybe Dell, I can’t remember exactly. But anyway, after one of those drop shots by Orantes, the commentator went on an euphoric praise of the Orantes drop shot, which he apparently had experienced in play himself. He said Orantes could "drive you nuts" with that shot, especially because of how he positioned himself after hitting it. You migt get to it, but he always had the reply covered. That’s more or less the gist of what he said.
     
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  4. psYcon

    psYcon Semi-Pro

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    Ivanisevic for serve definitely.
     
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  5. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    Drop shot-Gene Mayer
     
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  6. magnut

    magnut Hall of Fame

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    Sorry, my spelling sucks and I am not looking up all these names

    Serve- Diego Nargiso
    Forehand-Pat Cash
    One handed Backhand-tie Jimmy Aries/Greg Rusedski
    Two Handed Backhand- Wayne Ferriera
    Drop Shot (& touch/feel in general)- Daniel Vacek
    Return of Serve- Sergie Bruguera
    Lob- Marc Rosset
    Forehand Volley- Thomas Enquist
    Backhand Volley- Richard Fromberg
    Speed- Magnus Gustufson
    Slice- Micheal Joyce
     
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  7. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    You're right.
     
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  8. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I actually like Goran for serve better than my original choice. Ironic since I loved watching Goran play and one of my favorite all time tennis moments was when Goran won Wimbledon.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WN_Cvx2K29s

    I've seen Orantes in his prime and he was the best drop shot artist on clay that I've ever seen. He was a great touch artist.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
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  9. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    true.Orantes mastered the small game and the positioning.I think he learned it from Rosewall.In 1971, Orantes beat Rosewall in what is considered one of the best cc matches of the 70´s.
     
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  10. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I like your list.But you first should clarify what´s the limit for NOT GREAT PLAYERS.

    Have you ever considered Neale Fraser as a big server, volleyer and great forehand'
     
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  11. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I actually thought of him but he was number one for several years so I eliminated him.

    Outside of the minor limitations of not being number one at any point and winning up to two (you can stretch it to three) majors you can pick anyone. Nastase would be a choice for a lot of things but he was number one in 1973 for example.

    Other possibilities

    Serve-Roscoe Tanner, John Doeg-Great lefty serve who won the US Nationals, Yannick Noah, Henri Leconte
    Service return-Jan Kodes, Mecir
    Mobility-Mecir
    Laziest looking player who moved like lightning-Mecir
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
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  12. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Agree on Milos Mecir, what a great talent¡¡¡

    I´d like to see John Mc Loughlin, the commet and possibly the first ever great S&V player.

    Brugnon, for his doubles play deserves being in the list.

    Kovacs,Nusslein,Hozeluh,Johnston,Parker,Tappy Larsen,Dick Savitt,Ken Mc Gregor,Mervin Rose,Mulloy/Talbert,Ayala,Mal Anderson, Ashley Cooper,Owen Davidson,Ramirez,Gottfried,Stockton,Lutz,Pecci,Okker,Riessen,Amritraj,Gene Mayer,Clerc,Gomez,Noah,¿Stich?...I remember a great clay courter called Paolo Bertolucci, who had a fantastic technicque.Have you seen him play'
     
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  13. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Serve - Goran Ivanisevic
    Forehand - Manuel Santana/Juan Martin Del Potro
    Backhand - David Nalbandian
    Forehand Volley - Dennis Ralston
    Backhand Volley - Tony Roche
    Smash - Dick Stockton
    Return game - David Nalbandian
    Athleticism - Michael Chang
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
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  14. Clive Walker

    Clive Walker Rookie

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    High Backhand Volley/Smash -Henman
     
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  15. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Stan "Godzilla" Smith!
     
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  16. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Good picks.
    Some others.
    serve: Geoff Brown, Sangster, Dibley
    backhand: Korda, Arazi, Drysdale, Albert Costa
    forehand: Arias, Krickstein
    return: Jarryd, Bungert
    volley: Rostagno, Ralston
    drop shot: Pilic
    speed: Kriek
    movement: Ramirez
    classical stroke production: Ramesh Krishnan, Pasarell, Fibak
    tweener: Clerc
    fighter: Bull Richey
     
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  17. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Excellent, thoughtful, picks! Bull Richey! Hahaha! I saw him play in 1973. If his eyes were lazers, he'd melt the tennis ball. As for classic stroke production, I didn't pick one, but, I can't think of a better pick than Vijay!
     
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  18. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    i remember him. he looked like a living advertisement for pasta. just a liiiittle overweight:)i actually liked that about him.
    regular doubles partner of the great Adriano Panatta.
     
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  19. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Super picks. I especially like your picks of Geoff Brown and Raul Ramirez. Korda is a wonderful pick for backhand.
     
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  20. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    pc1, and others,

    are you old enough to have seen tappy larsen play:)?
    was he really as eccentric as some authors tell us?

    if jan kodes really qualifies as a non-great, than i would vote for his backhand.
     
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  21. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

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    Serve: Kevin Curren, Guy Forget
    Overhead: Yannick Noah
    Hustle: Tim Wilkison
     
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  22. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Good choices. Noah had the best overhead I've ever seen, greats or non greats. Wilkison is certainly a great pick for hustling.
     
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  23. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    He wasn't "eccentric." He suffered from a worse case of OCD than Nadal. They called him "Tappy" because he had an obsession to tap on random objects at all times, even during matches. Gardner Mulloy says that Tappy was pretty badly tormented about it by his fellow tour mates.
     
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  24. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    greatest sliced BH on clay for many years.Nice looks, good volley ( stop one).yes, he and Panatta won a DC for Italy in Chile.
     
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  25. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Great post, one of the greatest ever.

    Why?

    tappy had a bird in his shoulder, right? still an amazing talent in 1950´s

    Kodes¡¡¡ somebody finally according him the respect he deserves...and so many people talking about ...Okker¡¡¡ unbelievable, but true.

    Oh¡¡ Kodes had a good FH and a great net play.as good as Nastase if not better
     
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  26. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Now, I will go with real second stringers with a few years at the top

    Serve: Denton and Hooper

    FH: Carlsson on clay, Zivojinovic on fast

    BH: Dibbs on clay and Teltscher on fast courts

    Volley: Gottfried in the 70´s and Scott Davis in the 80´s
     
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  27. ClairHarmony

    ClairHarmony Rookie

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    I know you're making this post tongue firmly planted in cheek bone, but...I just had to defend my personal joy toy, Sergi Bruguera...for he truly was, a gift to the world, and if they put him in the Hall of Fame...I would come, with rope and stuff.

    Um, anyway. Bruguera's return of serve was actually quite excellent, if not superb at times. When he was fully dialed-in, his backhand return was a *twitchy* thing of beauty. Able to very many nuanced things off this wing, AND take it early too. He had long limbs, and fast, twitchy reflexes. It wasn't easy to get the ball by him. Watch him crowd the service line to return Becker's serve in the 94 year ending semis. His return was no joke. He was a handful for virtually all the net rushers/big servers. The only big server he didn't seem to be able to get a read on was Goran.

    His return may only be deemed "weak" on the forehand side. He could simply devastate the ball when the impulse struck, but more often than not, he'd simply adopt the blunt the ball back blooper strategy. Meaning, he felt it too low risk, to try and implement his normal crazy grip swing when returning. Why? Because, he was the opposite of most clay courters on the return. He wasn't adverse to standing *forward*, to take away time from you. He likely felt that the trade off was worth it. He knew he could return with the best of them off the backhand side...and yet, that came at the cost of not leaving enough time for his funky forehand motion. So, he compromised. Try and be more aggressive off the backhand return, while trying to just bunt it back with a low-risk chip off the forehand.

    The results were mixed. Against net rushers/big servers, this usually worked quite well. His chip forehand return, he was fairly good at keeping it low, and taking the pace off the ball. As a result, net rushers didn't have a whole lot of pace to work with to put the ball away. He was quick enough off the mark, that he could usually chase down all but dead-eye 1st volleys struck by none other than the Swedish ginsu in a bottle, Stephanie Perry Edberg...no wait, I think I'm thinking of the wrong guy (sorry, I'm terribly drunk right now).

    Um, and thus, he loved facing net rushers and big servers (*when* in a good mode, because otherwise he was onery, rather dispirited, and not one to try, try, try with all his little Herculean Chang delight, I mean might, I mean I might try to stay awake and look alert today, or I may not..."na-na-na...not listening to you dad, talk to the hand." So sad.).

    A return of serve that wasn't up to snuff was...honestly, there are actually very few BAD returners among the just below all time great caliber guys. Honestly, it's virtually impossible to reach the top 20, let alone top 10, with at the very least an average return. There are many *average,* serviceable, returners in the top 50; but the handful of potentially *great* returners is few and far in between. Bruguera with a semi-western forehand, had every ingredient necessary for an outstanding, flabbergstingly good return. As it was, the chip was ok to pretty good against net rushers, big servers...but, really a quite glaring, *less* than average return against baseliners. To a greater baseliner, a chippy-back-to-me return, is a dead-ringer gimme. In this case, it's better to just stand way back at the backstop, and take HEAVE-man, just heave, cuts a la Muster, Nadal, etc. This allows you to get off the full-wickness of your spin and grunt...BUT, against an ace server whose really on...you're toast. Against, an insane in the membrane, pathological, cherry-pickin' (both before and after...if you know what I mean) serve and volleyer...well, that's just dandy. Edberg and Rafter, cherry-picked putaway volleys all day long against Muster for this reason. Take a big swing, even if the return seems like great quality, being a full swing and all...it's not. Against a great net rusher, the extra pace achieved isn't worth it. You simply give the net rusher too many angles to put the ball away, or drop volley you; it's just a bad, bad idea. Much better to crowd the service line, blunt it low and with no pace, cut off the volleyers angles, etc.

    Easier said than done, of course. If you don't have exceptional hand-eye coordination, or reach, you'll just get aced a lot more if you try to return that way.

    Btw, back on topic, on clay; Bruguera's forehand and backhand, both rank up there. Moya's forehand on clay ranks up there as well, just an incredibly, smooth, well-oiled delivery...like a line from Ross, Chip n' Dale Moya's forehand always seemed to deliver, the punishing blow. He was the Alistair Overem of forehands on clay, consistently punishing heavy blows always ready to deliver...so long as his glass backhand didn't buckle 1st. If only...Carlos' backhand weren't so decidedly...gasp, *average*. THEN, I wager he would have won another major, or two, or possibly even three...duh.
     
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  28. ATP100

    ATP100 Professional

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    He beat a lot of #1 players, former #1 players, and future #1 players.
    Injuries prevented him from being ranked higher.
     
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  29. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

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    It's funny because I was thinking about Kent Carlsson's topspin forehand as I was reading the thread, but wasn't sure if it was really considered a great stroke or just one of the most exaggerated and unusual executions I've ever seen.
     
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  30. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    one of the greatest post ever??? i don´t think so. or are you trying to be ironic?:)
    no i just heard a few things about art larsen over the years, and was fishing for more information about him. he sounds like an interesting character to say the least. i heard about his habit of tapping things, and that that probably has it´s origins from his active duty in wwII. i think gordon forbes told that story in one of his amazing books.
    one of the first matches i saw live was jan kodes against guilermo vilas in kitzbuhl somewhere in the mid 70´s. kodes bh for me was a thing of beauty
     
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  31. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    eccentric is obviously a bad choice of words. please understand that i only heard about art larsen through a few mentionings in books and was really hoping to learn more about him
     
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  32. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Doesn't matter Susan. It's just opinions and discussion anyway so if you considered Carlsson's forehand a good or great stroke just explain why you feel this way.
     
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  33. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

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    Well, I actually always found Carlsson's style a bit annoying to watch. But he was effective in throwing others off their rhythm. The forehand was a unique stroke the way the racquet face would be parallel to the court on the backswing.

    Carlsson also had a really effective lob. His opponents would get into baseline rallies with him and would eventually tire of that, so would come into the net to try to finish off the point, and he'd execute a perfectly-placed lob over their head, and could do it from the forehand or backhand side.

    It was a shame for his sake that injury ended his career so young. He should have won more clay tournaments and been a danger at RG if he'd played longer.
     
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  34. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Women:
    serve: Wade, Sukova
    backhand: mauresmo
    forehand: Sue
    return: Mandlikova
    volley: Casals, Mandlikova, Shriver
    drop shot: Help me here
    speed: Garrison, Turnbull
    movement: south African girl who's name starts with 'C', Damn!
    classical stroke production: Jaeger, Fernandez,
    tweener: You mean the Sabatweenie? Only one answer there!
    fighter:
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
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  35. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Very true.I had the bad luck of watching him a few times and, as boring as he was, what you have posted about him is 100% true.I always liked more Pernfors,Jarryd and Svensson than him.
     
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  36. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Drop shot: Mima Jausovec a RG champion from Yugoslavia

    forehand: Ginny Ruzici, almost as good as Sue´s

    OH: it gotta be Betty Stove or Pam Shriver, none of them champions but excellent doubles players with great reach.

    movement: Coetzer?

    fighter:I liked the atittude of Greer Stevens

    oh¿ one of the best in the FH and sliced BH was...Silvia Hanika ( the reason Pike is out is that he could never prove to me that Graf was better than her¡¡¡)
     
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  37. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Dianne Fromholtz is a great option for best BH.I also mention the name of Regina Marsikova for Fh and Barbara Potter for serve...oh¡ kathy Jordan may have one of the biggest S&V games ever to be played by a woman.
     
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  38. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Amanda Coetzer is the South African woman you're thinking about I believe. She played Graf very well if I recall. Nice list. I assume the Sue is Sue Barker.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
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  39. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Good pick for Forget´s FH.His forehand was alike Gomez, and one of the best for years.Of course, Curren and Noah are all time greats in the serve and overhead.never saw Wilkison.Solomon was also a super hustler...
     
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