Does Federer have the smoothest tennis game of all time?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by Ray Mercer, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. Ray Mercer

    Ray Mercer Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Messages:
    793
    I don't think I've ever watched someone move as effortlessly and have as much variation as Federer. Is there anyone worth watching from the 70's or early 80's who had that kind of flair?
     
    #1
  2. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2005
    Messages:
    12,541
    Location:
    Mar del Plata, Argentina
    Stefan Edberg and Miroslav Mecir
     
    #2
  3. tenis1

    tenis1 Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Messages:
    848
    Bjorn Borg.
     
    #3
  4. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,611
    Yes. The correct answer is Edberg. Not only was he the most graceful, but he was a big man playing the dynamic SV game, and STILL making it look smooth! Incredible!

    Sampras, Federer, Mecir, Rios....all tie at the 2nd tier! Yannick Noah also was smooth in a way (his groundstrokes were ugly messes....but he was such an amazing athlete)

    Another overlooked talent that I never see mentioned is Kiefer. He actually has a ton of talent, and a smooth game.

    I am only speaking of the last few generations. In the past...there were a LOT of graceful players....
     
    #4
  5. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,611
    Um.....I think Fed is right up at the top in terms of smoothness....but variation?? I think you'd be very surprised...a lot of players used as much or more variation in past eras. He only looks like he has so much variety because we live in an era of 2-handed topspin bashers.....even then, I don't know that Fed has that much more variety than say...Djoko, other than his heavy use of the slice BH, but that is almost forced in that it's hard to match topspin bashing with 2-handed machines all day long!
     
    #5
  6. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,916
    Location:
    U.S
    I'd put edberg up there at the top if it weren't for his UGLY FH ....
     
    #6
  7. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,916
    Location:
    U.S
    LOL , LOL and LOL !!!!!

    Let's know when djoker does chip and charge occasionally or SnVs occasionally or hits the inside-in FH, uses the short slice ( LOL ! ) , hits winners by half-volleying from the baseline etc etc .....
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2011
    #7
  8. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    Messages:
    10,029
    Nastase, Arazi, Rios, Maria Bueno, Manolo Santana, Ken Rosewall, Lew Hoad, Stich, Edberg, Noah, Mac, Krishnan .. all smoove as can be.

    And they would all agree that Federer is in the top tier along with them.
     
    #8
  9. JeMar

    JeMar Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    6,698
    I dunno, man. Edberg is one of my favorite players, but he was pretty painful to watch on the baseline at times. That forehand kinda ruined it a little bit when you compare him to some other smooth strikers.
     
    #9
  10. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
    Messages:
    21,211
    I give Edberg the edge on the volley, but footwork/movement, prime Fed is more smooth and graceful.
     
    #10
  11. Lsmkenpo

    Lsmkenpo Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    3,915
    It depends on how we define smooth, to me smooth means relaxed and fluid movements, and I would have to say Federer's overall game is about as fluid as I have ever seen. It is very rare to ever see him hit any stroke and look like he is out of control, off balance, or forcing the motion.
     
    #11
  12. Clay lover

    Clay lover Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    Messages:
    1,911
    Fed for movement, Edberg for transition, Rios for strokes. EPIC WIN!!
     
    #12
  13. Tshooter

    Tshooter Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    Messages:
    2,147
    "Stefan Edberg "

    Take another look at that forehand.
     
    #13
  14. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,611
    Well, I actually think his forehand was....a bit ugly in the way he chicken winged it...though even that was "smooth"...but really, I was referring to movement, not strokes. Sort of like how I mentioned Noah. I was thinking of footwork, and body motion....no the individual arm motion....

    Speaking of which, if we wanted to get into the strokes themselves: I'm not a tremendous fan of either Edberg or Fed's serve motions. I like the Edberg flow...that' beautiful, but I feel like the arm, has a bit too much lag. Fed's motion...is relaxed, but slightly ugly to me, in that his arm goes up a tiny bit faster than it should...then slows down a bit at the top, while he drops his elbow WAY down. Again...with both it's nitpicking, but I wouldn't put either in my top 50 service motions, biomechanically or aesthetically.

    If we add in GROUNDSTROKES only to the movement....it's probably Mecir. Actually though...Rios probably has a strong argument, and in fact, there's all kinds of journeymen with very smooth strokes...like say....Malisse.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2011
    #14
  15. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,611

    ROFL! YEah...that's a close one. Not that any of us even know what "smooth" on the volley is in your mind. Don't worry....I don't want to know.
     
    #15
  16. Nadal = Borg

    Nadal = Borg Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Messages:
    193
    Actually I'm sure that Federer has the world record for the most shanks in tennis history .







    .
     
    #16
  17. BrooklynNY

    BrooklynNY Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,627
    And don't forget about Federer's record for best volleys
     
    #17
  18. jackson vile

    jackson vile Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Messages:
    9,827
    To volley like that you have to have absolute insane footwork. Roger has great foot work, but even he can't do what Edberg did.
     
    #18
  19. Backhanded Compliment

    Backhanded Compliment Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    1,929
    Edberg... also consider just how good that footwork had to be to make that odd forehand work.

    Also, McEnroe moved absurdly well but a bit more angular and less smooth than Edberg whose smoothness was set up by that kick serve and backhand approach. Mac was all about disrupting flow so we cant list him here but on his smooth points he was the smoothest, on his jerky points he so disruptive of flow. Mac had a variety of extremes. He hated to play Mecir for his smoothness.
     
    #19
  20. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    Messages:
    4,263
    agreed. Gotta give it to Fed on this one
     
    #20
  21. cc0509

    cc0509 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Messages:
    14,756
    In summary, no Fed is the smoothest I have ever seen, but I would also say Borg and Edberg had grace and elegance.
     
    #21
  22. 1970CRBase

    1970CRBase Guest

    1988 Wim SF.

    When Mecir was "on", he could make even Edberg look slow on grass. Unfortunately, his bad back, he only had half a career before early retirement.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2011
    #22
  23. TheTruth

    TheTruth G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2006
    Messages:
    13,672
    No...

    Guys like Rios, Arazi, Sampras, and Malisse fairly glided on the court. You couldn't see the effort at all. They were just there putting the ball away.

    As regards effortless, Fed puts in a lot of movement, lunges, and running around the court. To me that doesn't equate to effortless.

    Oh, and Berdych too, except that now he's playing more defense taking a bit away from his effortlessness. But, when he's in the zone, he commands the court and hardly moves around the court at all.
     
    #23
  24. Ray Mercer

    Ray Mercer Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Messages:
    793
    I disagree with Sampras. His baseline strokes are fairly ugly.
     
    #24
  25. TenFanLA

    TenFanLA Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    Messages:
    2,403
    Overall Fed has the smoothest, most efficient, beautiful, artistic game of all time, no question. Even the all-time greats agree.
     
    #25
  26. wy2sl0

    wy2sl0 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2010
    Messages:
    1,564
    All those people you said glided didn't get to the balls that Fed does, and didnt have the surgical precision he does to be in the perfect position to attack every ball. That is why he is the greatest. He wins looking like he doesn't know how to lose.
     
    #26
  27. TheTruth

    TheTruth G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2006
    Messages:
    13,672
    I was thinking more of moving around the court, but as time has revealed his baseline strokes weren't that "pretty."

    What was so impressive about Sampras though, was that he wouldn't even look like he was trying, and before you knew it, it was gsm.
     
    #27
  28. Ray Mercer

    Ray Mercer Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Messages:
    793
    Yeah that serve of his helped save his legs big time.
     
    #28
  29. FedExpress 333

    FedExpress 333 Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    1,182
    Location:
    New York
    I believe that Federer has the most artistic and aesthetic game ever, but Mecir and Edberg were close...
     
    #29
  30. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Messages:
    6,557
    Edberg had a pretty game, but his serve and forehand were kind of ugly I thought.

    People I've thought had pretty games at some point: Kuerten, Korda, Nalbandian, Coria, Srichiphan, Safin, Rios, Haas, Stich, Sampras... but, yeah, I might put Fed ahead of all of them. It's not just the lines of his strokes, his movement, the way he runs, changes directions, and scrambles, is pretty.
     
    #30
  31. Marius_Hancu

    Marius_Hancu G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2004
    Messages:
    17,808
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Nastase and Federer

    Edberg and McEnroe: a bit different, more jerky, highly spectacular, of course, though, super talented of course
     
    #31
  32. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
    Messages:
    21,211
    You're wrong again.

    Fed's flawless footwork are being study by tennis coaches. Here's one example.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GATfKRKkqBs

    It's just the movement...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sndfN2Jh5cc

    Convinced now? Ok then.
     
    #32
  33. chrischris

    chrischris Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    2,767
    I would like to add Evonne Goolagong Cawley was a godess of smoothness and Vijay Amritraj too.
    Fed is up there too IMO.
     
    #33
  34. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    7,639
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Rod Laver and Arthur Ashe were both very smooth. Laver was such a great all courter, moving between all areas of the court with easy power, always executing shots with great balance. Ken Rosewall was also very smooth out there, always balanced, great execution.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2011
    #34
  35. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,026
    Smooth game is incompatible with topspin. It was OK in the old days. With heavy topspin, the ball moves in the air and off the ground, disrupting the rhythm.

    Played last nite against a small boy whose father asked me to hit with him. The guy is like 1/10th my size, but killer topspin as expected. You need to be ready for abrupt direction changes and bounces.

    That is why smooth game breaks down against Nadal.
     
    #35
  36. rfm29

    rfm29 Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    Messages:
    168
    Soon as I saw that surreshs had posted, I knew it would be a nadal>federer post...
     
    #36
  37. Mortifier

    Mortifier Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Messages:
    2,211
    Location:
    Troll Cave
    JeMar, would you mind explaining "machine. Unexpectedly, I’d invented a time"? I know it's a six word story, but I quite don't get it. Everyone says it's very clever (and obviously I'm not).
     
    #37
  38. Rock Strongo

    Rock Strongo Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2010
    Messages:
    7,685
    Location:
    Sweden
    He didn't actually know he had invented a time machine and went back in time during the process.
     
    #38
  39. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,026
    I didn't say anything about that. I just said smoothness is not necessarily a good quality these days. Smoothness does not produce much power or topspin. That is why people don't call Del Potro or Nadal smooth players.

    Another aspect of smoothness was use of the one handed backhand and seamless transition with it to the net. That again is not applicable these days.
     
    #39
  40. rommil

    rommil Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Messages:
    7,735
    Location:
    CT
    So you're calling your game smooth? It must break your back to kiss your own ass!! LOL
     
    #40
  41. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,026
    Actually, I have been told several times that my game is very smooth - serves and groundies both. But I am willing to admit that the smoothness, though appealing to fellow players at my level, comes at the expense of spin and power.
     
    #41
  42. CocaCola

    CocaCola Professional

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,154
    Yes - when on - it looks amazing.
     
    #42
  43. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    Messages:
    3,084
    Ill second that one:)
     
    #43
  44. rommil

    rommil Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Messages:
    7,735
    Location:
    CT
    So you are having problems hitting against a toddler with topsin and you immediately think it's due to your "smooth" game? Ahahhahahaha.
     
    #44
  45. Netzroller

    Netzroller Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Messages:
    535
    I'd definitely pick Federer as well.
    Sure, other guys might do certain things very smoothly. But there is simply not a single element of Federers game that doesn't look fluid and natural. Whether it's his footwork or his fh/bh/serve/volley/trickshot, no unnecessary idiosyncrasies, nothing rushed or cramped.

    That doesn’t mean other guys can't be equally effective nor that less smooth is always less fun to watch, but either is not part of this discussion. I think maybe the greatest advantage of a smooth game is it prevents injuries.


    ...Well, there is one thing about Federer though – the constant 'you know' in his interviews - that's not very smooth:)
     
    #45
  46. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,026
    Not any toddler. These are twins, like the Bryans. Coach/father is a 4.5 player and a former teaching pro. I got away yesterday by hitting high backhand topspins spinning wildly at 1 rpm to his backhand. The balls almost hit the fence and due to his lack of height he could do nothing about it.

    But give him a couple of years and he will refuse to waste his time hitting with me. Already been through that with a few juniors over the years.

    But then my revenge will begin when he gives up tennis in college and job and shows up rusty in 20 years time. I will still be around waiting for him.
     
    #46
  47. fed_rulz

    fed_rulz Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Messages:
    3,621
    +1 . His BH must rank among the ugliest strokes among GOAT candidates.
     
    #47
  48. mellowyellow

    mellowyellow Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    2,553
    I always thought Cedric Pioline was very smoothe, and effortless. So he looked like he had been in a 5 hour match 4 games in. He also used a wide variety of shots on a regular basis. My vote would go to Edberg though.
     
    #48
  49. adizzy

    adizzy Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    Messages:
    200
    I understand that people don't like to hear so much of federer, especially now that he is losing, but how is this even a contest. Fed is amazing, and the game today is about 200 times faster than before. c'mon.
     
    #49
  50. namui

    namui Rookie

    Joined:
    May 20, 2007
    Messages:
    242
    Fabrice Santoro
     
    #50

Share This Page