Better backhand: Sampras or Lendl?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by theagassiman, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. theagassiman

    theagassiman Rookie

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    #1
  2. scootad.

    scootad. Semi-Pro

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    Lendl - this one is not even close
     
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  3. Lefty78

    Lefty78 Professional

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    Yep, Lendl's bh all the way.
     
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  4. rod99

    rod99 Professional

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    yes.......
     
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  5. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Lendl has a better forehand as well

    Lendl is just somewhat better on the forehand, but the margin is much wider on the backhand where Lendl is considerably better.
     
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  6. Steve132

    Steve132 Professional

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    For once everyone seems to agree on an issue. :)
     
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  7. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    Lendl..no doubt. One of the reasons he was so good, his FH and BH were terrific.
     
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  8. PimpMyGame

    PimpMyGame Hall of Fame

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    Lendl's BH was hit so ferociously and with such precision that this one's not even close.
     
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  9. vandre

    vandre Hall of Fame

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    yuppers on lendl. i wouldn't say he'd beat you with it, but it certainly wasn't a weakness. in all fairness to pete, maybe it was just that running forehand was so good that the backhand looked like junk by comparison???
     
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  10. RoddickAce

    RoddickAce Hall of Fame

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  11. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I think Lendl had more variety.
     
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  12. darthpwner

    darthpwner Banned

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    Lendl no doubt. it was a great shot like federer
     
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  13. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    ...and lendl's forehand was better than sampras' too :)
     
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  14. Double bagel

    Double bagel Banned

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    Lendl

    However the running backhand is closer.
     
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  15. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    you mean his BH had more variety or his overall game?
     
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  16. EtePras

    EtePras Banned

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    I'd take Lendl's game outside the serve over Sampras' any day.
     
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  17. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Summing up

    Serve - Sampras - both 1st and 2nd (though Lendl's serve was good)

    Backhand - Lendl drove with more pace and variety, backhand slice was better to.

    Volley - Both backhand and forehand - Sampras. Lendl's weakest part of his entire game was his forehand volley. Mainly because of the grip he used.

    Forehand - Lendl in all departments. As good as Sampras' running forehand was, Lendl's was even better. In fact probably the greatest running forehand of all time. Lendl could hit the inside out forehand, down the line everything.

    Transition from Serve to the Net - Sampras. This was Lendl's flaw. He didn't make appropriate transitions to the net. He was good. But not great, like Sampras at this.
     
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  18. Tobias Fünke

    Tobias Fünke Rookie

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    Lendl's backhand wins. Both shots were picked on by their opponents but Lendl did not have the serve and net game to fall back on that Sampras had.
     
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  19. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Hi Agassiman,

    The real answer is, Lendl, but it's quite close. Sampras' backhand is highly underrated, by...um...the ignorant. LOL. It held up well under persistent attack from people like Agassi and Courier. Lendl's actually, often resorted to chip underspin when under attack from players like Agassi. Lendl's chip, was good enough to prevent consistent attack, but it was hardly overwhelming, just enough to keep the point going and going and going (which Lendl was very happy with).

    Sampras' actually had a better topspin high roller, than Lendl, due to his grip which was further around than Lendl's continental. It also made it easier for Sampras to take high bouncing balls, (lendl often had to slice them, though he did have the upper body strength to just muscle them when he had to).

    People often forget that Lendl didn't really blow people away with the backhand all that much. He mostly used it to stay in the point (slice), move the ball around (his topspin drives), and set up the forehand or get the error. His biggest blasts were often saved for the passing shots. Here, he could be deadly, especially after he developed a great crosscourt pass(a weakness for him early on). But, Sampras was also a sharpshooter on passing shots.

    Anyways, overall, Lendl, but it's not nearly as one-sided as people here portray.
     
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  20. rod99

    rod99 Professional

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    while some of this is true, i disagree with how close you think it is. sampras did hit more heavy topspin off his backhand when he had time to setup. however if you rushed him on that side, it was very error prone. he also didn't hit it with the pace lendl did. you rarely saw sampras crush a backhand up the line for a winner (without telegraphing it). lendl did use a slice backhand a lot, but it was a very good backhand. also, lendl had a much more consistent backhand return of serve.
     
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  21. grafrules

    grafrules Banned

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    Lendl by far. It isnt even close. I would say Lendl has a better backhand than Federer, and Federer clearly has a better backhand than Sampras.
     
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  22. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Actually, the Sampras down the line backhand, very flat was a staple play for Sampras when he was young, but it became less and less common when he shifted his swing for more topspin around 1992/1993. Lansdorp was always angry about this, and felt his bh was worse off for it. As to error-prone when rushed.

    I agree, to some extent, with your other statements, RELATIVE to Lendl, but again, I feel the difference was actually quite small even comparing the 2.
     
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  23. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    Lendl had more confidence in his backhand than in his forehand.

    In a recent interview, Lendl stated that although many people including his opponents thought his forehand was more to be feared, he himself preferred his backhand especially in tense moments.
     
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  24. rod99

    rod99 Professional

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    if he did say that, then i have a very hard time believing that. while his backhand improved greatly from his early days on the tour, his forehand is one of the top 3-4 all time.
     
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  25. obsessedtennisfandisorder

    obsessedtennisfandisorder Professional

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    lendl by far....pete was serve volley and a in keeping with his gameplan(risk)
    had a dangerous forehand...but his backhand had some highlights (eg passes)
    but generally was not a consistent strong stroke...so others like agasi, sought
    to attack it.

    Lendl is to original monster...superb off both wings....even had a wicked
    running backhand down the line in general rally play...I'll find a youtube.

    Lendl and federer and the two guys we should all be comparing
     
    #25
  26. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    WOW. STILL people on TW clinging to the myth of Sampras as a SV'er....sad.
     
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  27. rod99

    rod99 Professional

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    for the second half of his career he was. he generally s/v'ed off his first serve in the first half of his career (and off both serves on grass). he did have good groundstrokes for the first half of his career but was still inconsistent (esp off his forehand very early in his career). his best years off the ground were from '94-'95. not surprisingly, he played pretty well on clay in that period. he was still likely to come out second best in a rally to an agassi, bruguera, muster, etc on a consistent basis.
     
    #27
  28. drwood

    drwood Hall of Fame

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    Definitely Lendl backhand...but many people had a better forehand than Lendl. Here's a few:

    1. Federer
    2. Nadal
    3. Sampras
    4. Borg
    5. Agassi
     
    #28
  29. rod99

    rod99 Professional

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    disagree. the only one that i believe has a better overall forehand than lendl is federer.
     
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  30. flying24

    flying24 Banned

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    The best forehands of the last 30 years I would say are:

    1. Federer
    2. Lendl
    3. Nadal
    4. Courier
    5. Sampras

    I wouldnt put either Borg or Agassi in the top 5.
     
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  31. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    If memory serves right, Lendl was talking about his return of serves.

    So he may have been talking only about backhand return of serve.
     
    #31
  32. Tshooter

    Tshooter Hall of Fame

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    Lendl.

    Sampras would pop up his topspin often and it would sit up to be attacked. Lendl had more stick on his slice, a better flat and topspin and a better pass.
     
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  33. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Nope Lendl better than all but Federer in that list

    Agassi - no, didn't have the variety Lendl had, though hit it a little earlier.

    Nadal - no, excellent inside out, but didn't have Lendl's variety or depth of penetration (because of the larger top spin for Nadal).

    Sampras - no, Sampras, excellent running forehand, but Lendl's even greater. Lendl's probably was the greatest running forehand of all time.

    Borg - Solid, consistent, could hit with power, but not the overwhelming power of Lendl.

    Federer - perhaps better than Lendl, but his running forehand not as good. His inside out Forehand perhaps better than.
     
    #33
  34. Tshooter

    Tshooter Hall of Fame

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    timnz, very good analysis.
     
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  35. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I thought I would resurrect this thread for Robow's benefit. He likes to re-read, re-think and reconsider things.
     
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  36. President of Serve/Volley

    President of Serve/Volley Semi-Pro

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    Pete FH was a bit better than Lendl on the run... Powerwise, Lendl has the edge.

    Backhand, yes, Lendl rules Pete. Of course, Pete rules him in the Serve and Volley department.

    Pete has the greatest running forehand of all time...
     
    #36
  37. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I'd go with Lendl for better backhand also but your last statement is interesting. I wonder who may be some of the other candidates for greatest running forehands ever. Sampras certainly had a superb one.

    I can think of a number but I'm not sure if I want to start a thread on it.
     
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  38. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    lendl,hands down
     
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  39. Ultimatum

    Ultimatum Rookie

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    Lendl. No doubt about it. More pace, penetrating, depth, power and also a much wicked slice.
     
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  40. BorisBeckerFan

    BorisBeckerFan Professional

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    While I agree Lendl had the better backhand, reading some of these posts you'd think Lendl was the one with 14 slams and 6 consecutive years ending at number 1.
     
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  41. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    #41
  42. getbusyliving

    getbusyliving Banned

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    No contest. Lendl by a mile.
     
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  43. darthpwner

    darthpwner Banned

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    Lendl had one of the best one handers of all time. You cant compare him with Pete.
     
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  44. Gemini

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    Lendl.....
     
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  45. Paul Murphy

    Paul Murphy Hall of Fame

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    Lendl ahead in the best backhand category and best running forehand.
     
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  46. ROBOPTI

    ROBOPTI New User

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    100% COMPLETELY agree !!!

    And I am a fan of both ;)
     
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  47. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    Lendl

    This is totally spot on; forehand and backhand, Lendl was a better ball striker than Pete. Lendl's serve a bit less effective than Pete, but not by a tremendous amount. Lendl's biggest issues were dealing with the midcourt and the net. He also had problems with unpredictable players/situations...for instance, rallying toe-to-toe w/Connors on hard courts he was fine and often superior to Jimmy. On grass, Connors was far more unpredictable (and dangerous to Lendl), as he'd opportunistically attack. At least w/Mac, he ALWAYS knew that Mac was coming in. Lendl had similar problems w/Wilander, who became quite the net rusher on grass. (at least for mats)

    But, Lendl's groundies were to die for...his backhand was impressive as he could drive it with top or slice it right by you...you never knew which he'd use. I think the slice was very effective, particularly when he played Connors or Agassi, as he'd take the pace right off the darn ball and they loved nothing more than pace.

    Eh, gotta respect Ivan; I loathed him back in the day, but looking back can only appreciate his skills.
     
    #47
  48. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    More consistent, for sure. But better striker is debatable. Lendl's strokes were more consistent but that was his game, he was a steady, brutally efficient power baseliner. That was NOT Sampras's game at all. Sampras was more explosive, looking to end points quickly, attack the net, and his strokes were designed more for that. So yes, less consistent, and maybe even if he wanted to match Lendl's consistency, he didn't have the technique and mindset to pull it off, but Pete was a better ball striker in my opinion. He could hit winners and attack in ways Lendl couldn't.

    Wilander said when he first saw Sampras, he couldn't believe what he was seeing, and he never could have predicted he would become a GOAT nominee. He would hit a screaming winner out of nowhere than launch a ball into the stands the next. But somehow he won and it just seemed unsustainable to Mats.

    Basically, I feel like if Pete and Lendl played groundstroke games up to 11, if Lendl wins a game, he wins 11-9, or 11-8, but Pete could win games 11-6 or 11-5 if he's feeling it.
     
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  49. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    I totally disagree. If they played points from the baseline, without serving and volleying was not allowed, Lendl would dominate Pete.
     
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  50. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    That wasn't really my point though. What I was trying to point out is that they are different types of ball strikers, and that Lendl was more consistent off the baseline than Pete, but Pete's highs were much higher than Lendl's highs, and if he was feeling it, he could just rip winners off his forehand from all over the place. At their peak, just in baseline games, Lendl might have won 6 out of 10, but I think Pete had the potential to beat Lendl in game by a much wider margin if he was feeling it.
     
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