Better backhand of Sampras or Becker?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by President of Serve/Volley, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. President of Serve/Volley

    President of Serve/Volley Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    Messages:
    589
    Sampras had the better forehand of the two, however, how do you rate their backhands?
     
    #1
  2. darthpwner

    darthpwner Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,039
    Becker. His backhand return especially was awesome. He could handle Edberg's kicker quite well.
     
    #2
  3. leonidas1982

    leonidas1982 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2007
    Messages:
    1,615
    #3
  4. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Messages:
    4,040
    Becker without any doubt.

    I have been watching some Sampras footage over the past few days, and although his BH was better than it was in my recollection, he seems to have many problems with hitting crosscourt backhands with a sufficient angle to attack the backhand of his opponents.

    Becker's backhand was very good. It is very underrated by many people.
     
    #4
  5. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Messages:
    4,040
    BTW, this is quite a good video. There are some amazing points in it. Sampras and Becker played a couple of fantastic matches at the YEC. Sampras called Becker the best indoor player he ever faced afterwards.

    Although in his book he says that he felt he could do everything Becker could do slightly better.

    But again, to get on topic, I believe Becker had a better backhand.
     
    #5
  6. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,765
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    I've always liked Pete's backhand (probably because mine has a similar motion), but it is generally regarded as one of his weaker strokes.

    I would agree that Becker's is a bit better.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2009
    #6
  7. leonidas1982

    leonidas1982 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2007
    Messages:
    1,615
    The odd thing about that video is that most of the groundstrokes traded were backhands given that their forehands were their most comfortable stroke.

    I've always thought of Becker, Sampras, and Federer as the same type of player -- with Sampras and Federer being V2. Although Becker and Sampras were very proficient at net, they naturally preferred playing from the backcourt much to the chagrin of their coaches (Ion Tiriac and Paul) who pressed for more net play given their strong serves. One often wonders if Federer had a strong coach how is style of player would be different, or if Becker and Sampras did not have a strong coach how they would be different as well.
     
    #7
  8. darthpwner

    darthpwner Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,039
    I disagree. I believe Becker's backhand was better than his forehand.
     
    #8
  9. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Messages:
    4,040
    Actually Becker was a little frustrated at the time that the German media said that his BH was stronger than his FH. Apparently he felt his FH was underrated.

    He did have a very strong BH, although his forehand wasn't to bad either. He was quite a complete player, the only thing that really hindered him was his height and weight. He was just not mobile enough on certain surfaces, especially on clay.
     
    #9
  10. leonidas1982

    leonidas1982 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2007
    Messages:
    1,615
    could be, but I'm referring to what he was most comfortable with.
     
    #10
  11. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    2,094
    Becker's BH was a complete stroke by any modern standards.
     
    #11
  12. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,611
    I prefer Sampras' backhand in that it was more versatile. It began as a flatish, very powerful shot, very directionally accurate shot (which arguably was it's most potent form), then it gained much more spin, which he used to roll the ball back deep, when under persistent attacks from the likes of Courier/Agassi. He started doing this under Gullikson (much to Landsorps annoyance). Still, he was able to flatten it out at times, or hit the very short, topspin angle (something which young kids think only Federer can do), or use heavy high topspin....or slice. Becker had the slice and the powerful shot, but I don't feel he did the rollers or topspin short angles as consistently. It is a close call however.
     
    #12
  13. Darth_Timmaayyy!!

    Darth_Timmaayyy!! Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    715
    People say that the most talented player to play was MacEnroe.. But for me, Boris Becker was.. Problem is, what Boris would turn up on the day to play.. If he was on. He was unbeatable, and could play any shot at any time.. If he wasn't there mentally, he would look flat indeed, or as if he didn't care.. Pete Sampras got a lot of slams. But Boris on his day could hand him his ass... Not many in the game could make that claim..
     
    #13
  14. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Messages:
    4,040
    True, Boris was a helluvah player when he was focused on nothing else but tennis.

    The one thing Sampras had on him was better movement. Boris could be a little static at times, because of his height and weight.

    The YEC duels with Sampras were epic. He also had some great indoor seasons at the end of the year.

    He should probably have won Wimbledon more than he did. Basically the Wimbledon title went through Boris for almost a decade.
     
    #14
  15. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Messages:
    6,557
    From what I can remember, Becker for sure. Sampras could occasionally murder a backhand, but it was mostly a shot designed to keep the point neutral until he could attack. Whereas it seemed like Becker could actually dictate points with his backhand.
     
    #15
  16. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,765
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Maybe I was wrong about Sampras's backhand. (I feel better now about mine.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2009
    #16
  17. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Messages:
    4,040
    I think I can subscribe to this. Becker's backhand was very offensive, Sampras's was a rather defensive, neutral shot. He would only go for winners off that wing if the court was wide open.
     
    #17
  18. Darth_Timmaayyy!!

    Darth_Timmaayyy!! Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    715
    Also, what a lot of people don't know, or can't see, is that although the era, and the fact he was always using his old Puma frames. Becker hit an awful lot of topspin on both sides for the day. And it was a very heavy ball to handle indeed. I think his size masks just how hard and heavy he really hit the ball.. Very hard to read, and counter.. His forehand was also very underrated, in that he could hit around the ball, and curl it in when going down the line.. A truly amazing shot...
     
    #18
  19. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,980
    Location:
    U.S
    becker, clearly
     
    #19
  20. KHSOLO

    KHSOLO Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2009
    Messages:
    673
    #20
  21. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Messages:
    703
    Location:
    Birmingham, AL U.S.A.
    Becker in a landslide.
     
    #21
  22. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,611
    And you people actually think he was more frequently offensive than Sampras?? I think you're remembering Sampras rolling back topspin loopers to neutralize the rally, and forgetting all the many, many slices Becker would hit to stay in rallies! In addition, Sampras did have to do this a lot simply because many players, like Agassi and Courier would play entire sets of hitting nothing but drives to the backahand, hoping it would break-down while scared of the Sampras forehand!

    In any case, I don't think one or the other was significantly more frequently aggressive off the backhand.
     
    #22
  23. Darth_Timmaayyy!!

    Darth_Timmaayyy!! Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    715
    Well, I am sorry, but I take no credence in what you say.

    Just sayin.. ;)
     
    #23
  24. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Messages:
    4,040
    The more I think about it, the more I would have to agree. There is really not much discussion IMO.

    You talk about slices. Sampras would use them a lot too, more so than Becker. In addition, the slice is a natural variant for a onehanded player.

    Becker's backhand had a lot more angle on average when he went for the crosscourt and his technique was also a lot purer. Sampras would hit these bent arm rollers, whereas Becker would really hit through the ball with a straight arm on contact. Becker's BH was a natural shot, Sampras' seemed artificial.

    It would be fun to pitch them against Nadal and see what happens.
     
    #24
  25. shakes1975

    shakes1975 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    Messages:
    741
    Becker's, clearly, though not by much. For starters, Sampras' BH was a two-hander converted to a one-hander. And his chicken-wing swing betrays that fact. Becker hits through the ball better. He was taller and he was strong enough in the forearm to come over the ball, even on a kicker. Plus, I have never seen anybody hit the inside-out BH with as much power and authority as Becker.
     
    #25
  26. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Messages:
    6,557
    I see other one handers hit with a slightly bent elbow for certain shots but Sampras did it a lot off routine backhands. Not sure if I can think of another person who had similar technique.
    [​IMG]
    I've posted pictures where Pete's arm is even more bent.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
    #26
  27. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    7,913
    I have a lot of both players' matches on dvd, Becker hit more slice bh's in baseline rallies vs Lendl than Sampras did vs Courier or Agassi.

    here are some stats on how their bh's fared vs each other(from krosero)

    the '95 W Final:

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=252182

    the '96 Masters Final in Hanover

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=171388

    I think its a pretty close call.
     
    #27
  28. mental midget

    mental midget Professional

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,434
    iit's not ideal, that's for sure, but the mass he carried in that racket helped him get away with it. he hit plenty of backhands with better technique, but because he didn't roll over the top of the ball that often, he did wind up almost 'throwing' the racket up and through the contact point with that weird bent-arm delivery of his.
     
    #28
  29. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,639
    From what I've seen I'd agree with that.
     
    #29

Share This Page