Court-coverage GOAT

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by hoodjem, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,739
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Is Djokovic the GOAT here?

    I believe that we've done footspeed before; maybe even quickness--which is slightly different but related.

    Borg certainly covered the court incredibly well because of his footspeed. Is it a combination of footspeed, anticipation, reflexes, and stamina?

    1. Nadal
    2. Borg
    3. Djokovic
    4. Edberg
    5. Murray
    6. Chang
    7. Hewitt
    8. Gerulaitis
    9. Laver
    10. Rosewall
    11. Kriek
    12. Nastase
    13. Ferrer
    14. Emerson
    15. Mecir
    16. Pernfors



    Who else?
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2012
    #1
  2. Magnetite

    Magnetite Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Messages:
    907
    Murray is pretty good too.
     
    #2
  3. Magnetite

    Magnetite Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Messages:
    907
    Fed should get an honourable mention too.
     
    #3
  4. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    1. Nadal
    2. Borg
    3. Gerulaitis
    4. Hewitt
    5. Chang or Nastase

    Those are my top 5 in exact order. Honorable mentions to Federer, Djokovic, Murray, and Edberg. Djokovic definitely isnt the best. He isnt that great in court coverage on grass, and while good on clay is definitely not the very best there either. Only on hard courts is he argaubly top 3 all time. I am judging his whole career, not just 2011.
     
    #4
  5. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    If anticipation counts for anything, Mac and Evert should be included.They read the game perfectly...oh¡ and what about Laver and Rosewall?
    Nastase,Kriek and Gerulaitis were extremely quick.
     
    #5
  6. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Vitas ( like Johan kriek) relied so much on their quickness that they seemed to be out of position many times, yet got to the ball and won points.

    I always marveled at Martina Hingis anticipation sense, even if not extremely fast, she was always reading the next ( and maybe nexts 2 and 3 more) points.
     
    #6
  7. Prisoner of Birth

    Prisoner of Birth Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2012
    Messages:
    2,786
    Nadal. I have no doubt in my mind.
     
    #7
  8. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2011
    Messages:
    1,978
    Some of the older guys;
    Perry, Budge, Gonzales, Hoad, Emerson....all of these would compare well to the best today in footspeed.
     
    #8
  9. piece

    piece Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2010
    Messages:
    1,403
    Nadal isn't the very fastest, but he's one of the fastest, and combined with his unparalleled ability to rapidly change direction, he takes this one.
     
    #9
  10. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,639
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    I'll go with Bjorn Borg, due to blazing speed, incredible quickness, great stamina, anticipation, and sublime footwork. He had an ability to finish shots from wild positions even with the old paradigm of wood frames from the baseline against great net play. He had great passing shots largely due to his court coverage. I'd also put Nadal at perhaps #2 with Djokovic and Federer a bit behind Nadal. Federer's footwork gives him a big advantage over Djokovic especially on grass courts, so that's to his credit. I consider court-coverage to be a broad topic, with top speed as only one thing to consider. Yet, even on that score, Borg was a bit faster than Nadal, with better quickness and stamina as well. This is with those old, cool looking Diadoras too! Borg would have thrived in the conditions of today, with a slow hard court major, and frames that allowed for a shift in favor of players that adopted a style of play that players such as Borg and Lendl brought to prominence.

    Borg vs. Vilas (thanks Krosero)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKQVdZNsyuQ (Borg goes offscreen)

    Borg vs. Lendl

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyuiEzBb7hk (This was indoors on fast carpet at MSG in the 81 Masters YEC final. That was the 4th biggest tourney of the year and there were with 18K in attendance.)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZL__OcegrbY (81 FO final)

    Borg vs. Connors

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTMx--E0OhY
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2012
    #10
  11. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Rosewall footwork was amazing
    Borg floated on court, Stefi Graf was similar
     
    #11
  12. Sabratha

    Sabratha G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2012
    Messages:
    12,101
    Location:
    Australia
    No way is Djokovic the GOAT here, Nadal is.
     
    #12
  13. rafafan20

    rafafan20 Professional

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    964
    Location:
    USA
    Nadal

    No love for Ferrer?
     
    #13
  14. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,739
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    Check out the rallies!

    How do you turn fast, indoor carpet into slow clay?
     
    #14
  15. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Messages:
    3,540
    Location:
    OREGON
    Virtually no talk of the women. This includes both horozontal and lateral movement , changing direction and even those quick side steps up at net.

    Graf
    Clisters
    Navratilova
    Garrison
    V Williams
    Mandlikova
    Goolagong
    Hingis
    Evert (84-88, move her up three slots, she got quicker footspeed, to go along with anticipation and footwork)
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2012
    #15
  16. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Loved Evonne on her good days floating on court like a fairy.She was really a fairy.When her stick worked along her mind, there was no more delicious player to watch.
     
    #16
  17. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Hana was such a natural mover.Her mom, I think, was national track and fields champion...or was it her father?
     
    #17
  18. piece

    piece Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2010
    Messages:
    1,403
    I agree that Borg was a bit faster than Nadal. How would you compare the two at changing direction?
     
    #18
  19. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Messages:
    3,540
    Location:
    OREGON
    OOPS I forgot the Bqrcelona Bumblebee. She's up there near the top tier. Best retreiver except maybe Clisters
     
    #19
  20. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    While Garrison had impressive court coverage IMO that is a high ranking for her if you are doing them in order. I also would include Henin, I think she beats Hingis and Evert here, even with their amazing anticipation combined with reasonably good footspeed.
     
    #20
  21. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,639
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    When forced to quickly change directions during a point, anticipation, quickness, speed, and then sheer racquet skills come into play as a player tries to make a difficult get. Nadal does that really well. I do think that Borg was a bit quicker than Nadal, but it's close. In terms of changing directions though, I'd say they're very close with neither having much of an edge over the other.

    So, I think that if they had a contest where they had to chase down drop shots, I'd give the edge to Borg. Yet, if you had a rally and a player had to go side to side very quickly and change directions a lot to get balls hit behind him, I think each would perform equally well.

    One thing about both players is that they both do have great footwork. Nadal does not get enough credit for his footwork, whereas Federer is often cited for his footwork. Nadal often takes so many quick steps to get in just the right spot, especially to hit his forehand. Borg also had tremendous footwork. Just watch Borg's feet during rallies. He is very active and was always getting in the right position. He would do a lot of work that many others simply could not manage, especially over the course of long matches.
     
    #21
  22. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,916
    Location:
    U.S
    from the open era in roughly chronological order :

    rosewall, laver, nastase, borg,gerulatis,kriek,wilander, mecir, edberg, chang, hewitt, federer , ferrer, davydenko,nadal, djoker, murray

    mecir is one that seems to have been missed by everyone who has posted so far ! pretty surprising tbh ...
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
    #22
  23. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,369
    I don't know precisely, what court coverage means. If it means positional play and anticipation, i always admired Rosewall. He seemed never to be in a hurry, and seemed to make the court on his side small, because he glided into the right position before he made the stroke. Also he moved forward, when he saw an opening, and could hit great half volleys. Federer in his prime had great anticipation and smooth movement too, and could hit his shots right on the baseline. McEnroe hit virtually all his shots as half volleys, in his prime he was a deceptively great mover.
    The modern players like Djokovic have evolved the side to side movement with the last pre shot step vital, which already makes the fast direction change in the moment of hitting the shot. What i miss, is the evolvement of the vertical movement.
     
    #23
  24. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Messages:
    613
    Mecir was amazing because he didn't look fast at first glance - he almost looked sleepy on court. But he had an uncanny ability to just be standing in perfect position for any shot. So many times his opponent would hit what looked like a clear winner, and Mecir was suddenly there, returning it - one wondered where he came from.
     
    #24
  25. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    London
    Outstanding! Borg floats, best mover ever - no question!!
     
    #25
  26. galain

    galain Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    2,007
    I would include Pernfors in any discussion of fleet footed players.

    I also think Vitas and Kriek should be on your list, and Guillermo Vilas also, who could move like the wind for a big guy.
     
    #26
  27. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    London
    Yep I agree Pernfors certainly! Also Clement is up there with Borg etc....Only speed about the court.
     
    #27
  28. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2011
    Messages:
    9,217
    some crazy runs VS Connors.
     
    #28
  29. Cesc Fabregas

    Cesc Fabregas Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    8,318
    Davydenko? He was quick but I don't think he belongs in these type of lists.
     
    #29
  30. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    For once we will agree
    Chang should also be there
    For anticipation, Connors &Mc Enroe
     
    #30
  31. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,639
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Absolutely. The crowd was into the match too! I loved those roars of approval for two all time greats. The sound is good in that video isn't it? You can hear how they were just gliding around on that rubico court and even all those small steps Connors would take with his outstanding footwork.
     
    #31
  32. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    London
    Incredible!
    Borg v Nadal, I really think it would be a toss up?!
     
    #32
  33. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Vilas was not a natural mover ( and not a big guy, just rounded up) but it is true that his enormous work ethic helped him to improve time reaction and quickness.
     
    #33
  34. galain

    galain Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    2,007
    Big guy I meant in the sense of being heavily muscled.

    My memories are fuzzy but I recall watching on a few occasions as he ran down balls I thought he had no chance of getting.
     
    #34
  35. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,739
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    1. Nadal
    2. Borg
    3. Djokovic
    4. Edberg
    5. Murray
    6. Chang
    7. Hewitt
    8. Gerulaitis
    9. Laver
    10. Rosewall
    11. Kriek
    12. Nastase
    13. Ferrer
    14. Emerson
    15. Mecir
    16. Pernfors
    17. Wilander
    18. Coria
    19. Federer
    20. Phau



    (Not definitive about the ordering.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2012
    #35
  36. tomwill65

    tomwill65 New User

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Messages:
    26
    Yes Evonne was a delight to watch do not forget Maria Bueno.TomWill
     
    #36
  37. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    I just cannot forget MEB¡¡¡ I think she is the first all timer I ever watched, men or women¡¡
     
    #37
  38. World Beater

    World Beater Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2007
    Messages:
    2,751
    Nadal may not be the outright fastest...still very fast.

    But when he gets to the ball on the run, he is by far the best - better than Borg imo. He has great strength to create angles and pace from deep positions in the court.

    Nadal is the strongest player on the run i have ever seen. he can hit both the running forehand and the running backhand with such consistency and venom.

    I remember this one match at RG that i watched where nadal was pushed way wide against his mentor carlos moya, and he just hit a blazing bh winner CC that hit the line when facing breakpoint. Moya couldnt believe it.

    Another one was against djokovic on hardcourt in canada. WoW.

    Djokovic is also very good - strong on the bh side, but perhaps not as strong as others on the running fh.

    So my vote goes to Nadal. Borg is next followed by djokovic, chang, hewitt, bjorn phau. Federer is also somewhere there. I would rate federer on par with hewitt / chang even though he wasnt as fast, but he was stronger and returned the ball better than those guys from bad positions.

    Coria also was exceptional.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
    #38
  39. World Beater

    World Beater Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2007
    Messages:
    2,751
    My list:

    1. Nadal
    2. Borg
    3. Djokovic
    4. Federer
    5. Murray
    6. Chang
    7. Hewitt
    8. Edberg
    9.Gerulaitis
    10. Laver
    11. Rosewall
    12. Kriek
    13. Nastase
    14. Ferrer
    15. Emerson
    16. Mecir
    17. Pernfors
    18. Wilander

    My ranking comprises both speed and strength to able to return balls from disadvantageous positions.

    On second thought i would rate edberg lower. Though he was quite possibly the best at coming forward, i dont believe he was quite as fast or as agile as some of those other guys.

    Also what about vilas? wasnt he great at covering the clay courts.
     
    #39
  40. Sabratha

    Sabratha G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2012
    Messages:
    12,101
    Location:
    Australia
    1. Nadal
    2. Borg
    3. Djokovic
    4. Murray
    5. Federer
    6. Hewitt
    7. Chang
    8. Edberg
    9. Gerulaitis
    10. Laver
    11. Rosewall
    12. Kriek
    13. Nastase
    14. Emerson
    15. Ferrer
    16. Mecir
    17. Pernfors
    18. Wilander


    My list.
     
    #40
  41. The-Champ

    The-Champ Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2007
    Messages:
    6,541
    Location:
    Sweden
    I don't like Federer but I must commend his court coverage during his peak years. He was fast with great anticipation and his movement was effortless. He could change direction at lightning fast speed. Of those I've seen, I'd rank him among the top 3.

    At their peak;

    1. Nadal
    2/3. Fed/Djokovic
    4. Murray
    5. Hewitt
    6. Chang


    Can't comment on Borg, but my dad claims he was faster than Nadal.
     
    #41
  42. President

    President Legend

    Joined:
    May 18, 2009
    Messages:
    6,993
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Djokovic's defense on a hard court (Which is like 75% of the tour these days) has to be the best in history, at least the best I've ever seen. Utterly ridiculous, its almost impossible to hit through him.
     
    #42
  43. NadalDramaQueen

    NadalDramaQueen Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,561
    I'm slowly starting to accept this. It is unbelievable, even if you are capable of getting it by him it takes such a huge mental toll. I would still attribute some of this to the slowness of the hard courts in today's game, but that isn't all of it.
     
    #43
  44. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,396
    He's clearly one of the greatest ever in that aspect. There are a number playing in the last few years that are among the greatest in history in that area.
     
    #44
  45. DMP

    DMP Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2013
    Messages:
    556
    Location:
    UK
    I have always thought that Court Coverage, by which I assume you mean the ability to get to the ball at any point on the court and control the hit as well, is the opposite twin of Racket Control, by which I mean the ability to absolutely control the pace, direction, power, and strength of your shots, under any pressure. In general all the great players have had a combination of both, but I would say that the greatest Court Coverers aren't the same as the greatest Racket Controllers (and of course there are the other elements of tennis like anticipation, stamina, mental fortitude, etc).

    So...Borg is at the top end of any list of greatest Court Coverers, while I would put McEnroe at the top end of any Racket Control list of greats. Agassi was a great Racket Controller, but not that great at court coverage (he didn't need to be). On the women's side in recent years you would say that eg Henin, Mauresmo, Clijsters were better at court coverage than Hingis, Seles, Davenport who had better racket control.

    Federer is pretty good at both, but one thing I always remember from his pomp is the fantastic ability he had to change defence to attack with one stroke, and be able to follow that up with movement. Sadly for him, and us, those days have gone. But someone else will come along on day...:)

    PS Add Okker to the list of great Court Coverers. Given his lack of power he really did need exceptional movement to hang with the bigger players.
     
    #45
  46. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,396
    Certainly Tom Okker is on the list for one of the best at court coverage.
     
    #46

Share This Page