Graf´s forehand VS. Ivanovic´s forehand

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by Mr. Federerpov, Apr 15, 2008.

  1. Mr. Federerpov

    Mr. Federerpov Rookie

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    What do you think ? Are their forehands similiar or does one of them have the edge on a specific forehand shot ??

    I actually wonder whose forehand would defeat the otherone´s since they have both great forehands :)
     
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  2. daddy

    daddy Legend

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    Graf immediately took control over the points when you send a ball to her fh side. Ivanovic has a powerfull weapon in her fh but I would say that Graf's fh was much better due to the fact that she based her complete game on that one shot and movement to get in place to hit it, while Ivanovic can hit a good serve and bh also but still fails to make and major impact to the game, historicly speaking.

    Edit - as for the technique, Graf hit a flat as you get fh. No such fh's in WTA anymore.
     
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  3. Mr. Federerpov

    Mr. Federerpov Rookie

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    But I still think that the similarity would be that both of their main weapons is the fh and the both hit it reaaaaly reaaly fluently :)
     
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  4. daddy

    daddy Legend

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    Well yes but they play so differently that you can overlook that one. Graf's famous slice and her run arounds were virtually every point habits while Ivanovic does seem to work on other weapons as I said. She hits hard from bh side also. Graf was forced to hit fh in a very attacking maneer so that she can take advantage of it every time she was givena chance while Ivanovic spins it a bit and takes of a bit of pace very often, goes for it from time to time when she feels its on. It is still a no contest, Graf won 22 majors with that shot alone.
     
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  5. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Graf's forehand was a weapon of itself, obviously. But, her hitting patterns, including a lot of inside out forehands could be done so consistently and effectively because of her footspeed, on overlooked "weapon"

    Ivanovic could never do what graf did. She's too slow.

    Graf's backhand slice is another overlooked shot. It was knifing, it was quick, it was deep, it was low. It didn't blow by people, but it was hard for opponents to take the offensive off of it. It bought her time until she hit a forehand.

    I like picking apart Graf's game, because the forehand is so preeminent in people's minds, but there was a lot more too her game.
     
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  6. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Did Graf's BH slice skid and stay low the way Rosewall's did?
     
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  7. WillAlwaysLoveYouTennis

    WillAlwaysLoveYouTennis Hall of Fame

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    I think Graf had the edge. Graf's utter confidence in the shot surpasses Ivanovic, as well as the consistent effectiveness of its effect on opponents. Ivanovic is still learn, improving, perfecting, so we've yet to see in the end, but Graf definitely dominated greatly by her forehand as most know or would agree.
     
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  8. WillAlwaysLoveYouTennis

    WillAlwaysLoveYouTennis Hall of Fame

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    Absolutely. Nearly as well.
     
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  9. grafrules

    grafrules Banned

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    Graf won 22 slams predominantly with her forehand.

    Ana Ivanovic has won 0 slams also predominantly with her forehand.

    Need I say more.
     
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  10. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    Graf's forehand by far was the better shot. No contest.

    The Graf forehand is the best forehand ever in the women's game and it probably still holds the record for being the most feared shot ever in the women's game.
     
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  11. Steffi-forever

    Steffi-forever Semi-Pro

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    Yeah, but her serve gave her a lot of free points too.
     
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  12. daddy

    daddy Legend

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    Well guys here need to have a broader understanding of terms. For example talking about Graf you will always mention that her Fh was the best weapon she had and the best Fh in womens game for sure. Probably the most feared shot in womens tennis as someone said. This does not mean she was bad overall but had a good Fh. She won 22 majors which is a hell of accomplishment if you ask me, and no single shot will win you this. But it is a figure of speech so to say - her forehand won her 22 majors means 'her Fh is her main weapon and people had no answer for it' while 'her other shots were good as any pro shots but not near the same quality as her forehand' ..

    Got it ?

    As for the guy who wrote about hes slice bh, yes the quality was there but when you expect a shot like that and its not exactly a killer shot, surprise element is gone. That means people got her bh back on average 98% of the time while her Fh was unanswered thru her career.

    I just wrote a long post because people dont bother to read between the lines. You got to learn to understand not only what is written but what is just taken as such and left out.
     
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  13. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Graf's forehand was so distinct. You couldn't really teach it. She caught it closer to her hip than you would normally teach, not as far out in front. Her shoulder rotation and little jump off the ground also really made the shot heavy.

    Of all the great forehands I've seen her hit, the one that stands out in my mind is from the 1992 Wimbledon final against Seles. Seles was working Graf over in the point, moving her around, and hit a shot cross court so the ball was far beyond the doubles alley after the bounce. Graf sprinted over, planted her feet and ripped the sh*t out of a cross court, severely angled, flat forehand, harder than I'd ever seen from a woman.

    Seles had to be frustrated. Graf beat her down 6-2, 6-1, and Seles really didn't play bad. And, this was a year when Seles won the other 3 slams. Yes, it was a best surface/worst surface matchup, but it was an incredible win nonetheless.
     
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  14. daddy

    daddy Legend

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    Out of all the pro players, only Sampras hit as close to his hip. This I believe was his habit because he could generate pace with his small frame and hard stringing, and he had pretty strong hands so he managed to pull the shot off many times and control it well.
     
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  15. superman1

    superman1 Legend

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    Well, they do look similar, but Graf's was clearly better, especially since she was a far superior athlete.
     
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  16. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    Ivanovic is still young. Her time will come, but of course she won't have as much success as Graf, that's a pretty high standard! :shock:
     
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  17. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    This sums it up very well, IMO.

    Graf's weapons:

    Foot speed (some of the best ever)
    Forehand (consistent and big angles)
    Slice backhand (low/skidding, deep and consistent)
     
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  18. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Her slice backhand was a weapon because it was so good that the opposing player could not take the offense returning it. It virtually hypnotized her opponents into playing a neutral rally... allowed them to relax just a bit... then Steffi would strike.

    These days, I think she'd have trouble against heavy ball hitters like Kuznetsova who hits the ball deep with a ton of topspin. A deep kicking ball is very hard to slice effectively. Not many women hit like that in Graf's era.
     
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  19. gj011

    gj011 Banned

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    Yes you need. Some of Graf's slams are won, not due to her forehand, but due to other weapons applied on her main opponent by lunatic fans.
     
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  20. flying24

    flying24 Banned

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    What are the chances of Ana coming close to the 16-18 slams Graf would have even without the unfortunate incident. If she is very lucky she might retire with 3-5 slams. You still cant compare the two nor their forehands.
     
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  21. soyizgood

    soyizgood G.O.A.T.

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    Many of those slams came courtesy of Seles being out of the picture. Don't forget to take that into account.
     
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  22. gj011

    gj011 Banned

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    That is correct, but every time someone mentions Graf's 22 slams due to forehand or something else, I have to remind them how this number is actually achieved. How many slams would Nadal od Roddick have if someone, god forbid, stabbed Federer in 2004 or vice versa (talking about Nadal here not Roddick :))

    16-18 is realistic number for Graf - Dagger, as well as 3-5 for Ana if lucky.

    That is exactly what I am talking about.
     
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  23. flying24

    flying24 Banned

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    Fair enough. We are pretty much in agreement then. I wish I could be wrong actually and for Ana to win more slams then Maria; but I know that is realistically unlikely since Maria is already off to a head start and Ana is going to have to keep improving to even get equal results to Maria in the future.
     
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  24. laurie

    laurie Guest

    I've been incredibly impressed with Ana's forehand the last 12 months. I also got to see her play Sharapova live in Madrid in the WTA championships last November, as some of you guys have mentioned the two players - Maria won that day if I remember correctly in straight sets.

    To me so far the big difference is that Ana's game can go off - when she's in full flow her forehand looks unbelievable and inspirational - just seems so much instinct and feel for the shot.

    However, I was also lucky to see Graf play live at wimbledon - I think Graf's forehand is more consistent and her movement vastly superior to Ana's.

    And as someone pointed out, that cracking the ball off the hip by Graf is beautiful to watch. Davenport also does that as well many times.
     
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  25. split-step

    split-step Professional

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    Can we actually compare the 2 forehands, given that they play in different eras and the type of pace and weight of ball they face is different, not to mention racquet technology?

    Graf's opponent didn't hit with the type of pace, Sharapova, Venus or Justine get on their groundstrokes. The game was different.
    I don't feel I can say whose is better; but I will say that both had/have amazing forehands.

    Ivanovic's forehand is just killer. IMO best forehand on women's tour right now (Sveta is second). Also notable is her forehand return of serve which is so compact, takes the ball so early and just lets it rip.
     
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  26. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    "Can we actually compare the 2 forehands, given that they play in different eras and the type of pace and weight of ball they face is different, not to mention racquet technology?"

    That's a tricky question. Today, there are defintely more big hitters than when Steffi played. But, Seles hit as hard as anyone today in her prime years, and Graf had to play her.

    Also, the generations are not that far separated. Steffi played Venus and Serena and Lindsay several times in her career, though not at a time when both were in their primes. Steffi was past her peak when she played these players, and they had not yet reached theirs.

    The problem with thinking that Steffi couldn't handle the pace today (which I don't) is that it assumes that Steffi is behind in the point and being dictated to. Yes, that would happen, and I could see Sharpaova and the Williams ripping consecutive shots and Graf not being able to in offensive positiion with her forehand. She would have to play more defense than before.

    But, I can also see Graf not letting these players get grooved. She would slice Sharapova left and right and get her moving, behind in the point. And, Sharapova is about as bad of a defensive top player as there has been. So, yes, if Sharpova is dictating, Steffi will face power that she has not faced except for Seles. But, Steffi in her prime with her footspeed and low slices would be able to prevent letting Sharapova be in a position to dictate.

    As for the Williams, who are fast themselves, they could also have points where there power would overwhelm Graf. But, Graf would force a lot of errors with that slice backhand and ability to run and keep the ball in. Add to that she too would get her chances to be on the offensive and she would have no problems competing, if not winning.

    As for today's spin. Give me a break. More players hit with more topspin than in Graf's day, for sure. But, other than Henin and Mauresom, there are really no topspin artists who would bother Graf.

    Go back and look at Graf-Sabatini matches. Graf didn't always take her backhand slice low. She had to take it high too and she could do it. Sabatini hit hard, heavy topspin, in addition to offspeed stuff. I don't think it's that much different from a lot of today's players, who are more inconsistent.

    Also, watch her play Conchita Martinez (who she dominated), whose topspin would put most of today's players to shame. Also, Martinez could, and often did, hit much harder than she is thought of as doing. We think of her as "Ms. Loopy Claycourter" but watch her crack passing shots in the 1994 Wimby final, or watch her matches on hardcourts where she could really jack shots when she wanted to. She was a 3 time Wimbledon semifinalist (including her championship year), she made the finals at the AO and other SFs, she made the SFs of the USO. She was more than just loopy topspin.

    So, I don't think the ball Steffi faced is so greatly different that we can't compare.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2008
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  27. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    ^and don't forget the serve. She hit it as well as anyone today, got a lot of free points off it.

    That's still an aspect of the women's game that hasn't really improved too much over the last 10 years, they still get broken a lot, which I have to think is as much mental as anything.

    Plus you can't overstate the movement factor, outside of Henin & the sisters is anyone in the same ballpark as Graf today?

    I'd say Lindsey was in her prime, she won the '98 USO, finished that year #1, & Graf beat her at the year end championships(after missing a lot of the year due to injury) She also beat her at the '99 FO & was a huge favorite over her at '99 Wimbledon(lost 64,75 with only 2 breaks of serve...again going back to that serve thing, Graf was not easy to break)

    And the thing that made Seles a tough matchup for Graf wasn't power, but the angles(which I don't think anyone has come close to since, she was like Agassi)
    Sharapova can unload as much as she wants, but since she doesn't own those insane angles, don't think the power would be that big a deal, its just a side to side movement, not a way off the court retrieving like facing Seles.

    And don't forget Steffi played Capriati(who let's face it, would probably still be top 10 today if her shoulder didn't give out at the end of '04) quite a bit, & I don't see much difference in power between her & Sharapova. Also played Mary Pierce quite a bit(who was in 2 slam finals in '05! the game doesn't change as quickly as some think)

    I think the sisters in their prime would be the toughest matchups for Graf since they are the fastest players combined with probably the most power. Sharapova is missing movement, henin is missing massive power, Ivanovic is missing movement, Jankovic serves like Hingis, Kuznetsova is missing movement. And then there's the whole mental thing with most players today.

    Yeah, we aren't talking about men's tennis here, the women don't hit with insane amounts of spin today or anything.

    was just rewatching that date-graf '96 w match, date had graf on a string in that match, & graf got balls back that I'm not sure anyone else could have. playing more defense wouldn't be an issue, she kinda liked to run.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2008
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  28. kungfusmkim

    kungfusmkim Professional

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    As we all know Graf's OHBH (not sliing) wasn't her forte. I remember in he 1999 semis Graf V Venus Williams where he commentators were saying how the backhand passing shots are 10-15 mls slower then her forehand passing shots. Im guessing that for graf to have won many tournis, she would have had to rely on her forehand alot. But the thing is that Graf was able to get almost every forehand in.
     
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  29. kungfusmkim

    kungfusmkim Professional

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    Now about Ivanovic, i say she is way more all arounded then Graf, ground strokes wise. She can hit the sinners with her backhand but her forehand is the big weapon. This is where the big difference is. Graf's foreahnd was the biggest and the main weapon for her but Ivanovic's forehand is stroke that often hits the winner but sets the game. She isnt as heavily dependent on her forehand as Graf was. However, if Graf were to be as dependent as graf was with her forehand IMO, she would hav won that many Slams.
     
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  30. laurie

    laurie Guest

    Indeed Moose, and Sharapova's forehand is her weaker side - technically it's not a good shot.

    I've been watching some of my matches from the late 1990s and the power then was already incredible. Graf's forehand would match anyone today, and I've literally seen all of the current women players live over the last 10 years, in many cases more than once too.

    As for Svetlana, yes potentially she also has a great forehand - besides the different grip her forehand reminds me of Sampras' forehand.

    But then again as a Svetlana fan and someone who does a website for her, I'm bound to say that I suppose - but I do think it, if she gets consistency she could have the best forehand in the womens game because it's also deadly on clay as well. Svetlana's movement is very good, unederrated - she often runs around her backhand to hit forehand.
     
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  31. grafrules

    grafrules Banned

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    The standard of the game being better today is a myth. I remember at the time of the year end Championships last year people were laughing at the event and what a sad state womens tennis has reached. Justine and Maria both made all the other supposed top 8 ranked women in the world look like amateurs. The womens game would only be as great as some make it out to be if Venus and Serena were regularly commited and healthy, if Justine could stay healthy and wasnt such a mentally fragile champion, if Sharapova could stay healthy and develop a more complete game; if Ivanovic, Jankovic, and Vaidisova fulfill their full potential in the future, and if Kuznetsova, Dementieva, and Petrova were not all the chronic scatterbrains and underachievers they all are. Sabatini in the late 80s and early 90s was easily a better player then Kuznetsova and Jankovic are today and yet they have reached #2 in todays supposably so much upgraded womens game, while Sabatini could never get higher then #3 with people like Graf, Seles, Navratilova, and Sanchez V. around.

    Venus, Serena, and Lindsay are hard hitters? So were Graf, Seles, Pierce, Capriati back then also. Graf and Seles actually kept the ball in court with some regularity though unlike the unforced error sisters, and Lindsay's very slow court coverage is a massive detriment.

    I agree neither Graf or the Williams were in their primes in 1999 but Graf was probably further from hers. Look at alot of her loses her last year and a half only on tour. Sabine Appelmans, Anna Kournikova, Natasha Zvereva, Ai Sugiyama, Magui Serna, Patty Schnyder on a fast court, Julie Halard, Amy Frazier, was losing to Tauziat before rain called the match too. Those absolutely embarassing unthinkable defeats for a prime Graf actually accounts for 8 of her 22 tournaments (9 of 23 if you count the probable semifinal loss to Tauziat in the tournament unfinished due to rain) in 1998 and 1999. Many of these are not new breed players either; Zvereva, Appelmans, Halard, Frazier, and Tauziat are Graf-generation players she had played many times and always beaten. Did Serena and Venus in 1999 when they split matches with Graf right down the middle have that many for them unthinkable losses compared to their prime years, the "she would never lose to her" kind?
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2008
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  32. daddy

    daddy Legend

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    ^^ I am sure that no women was ever complimented with - 'many top pro players on mens side wish they had such a forehand' - Graf got these virtualy every time she played. It was a true distinction between her and others while Ivanovic's fh is not. Svetlana is powerfull and especially on the fh side but lacks many other things. Probably one of the best fh's today in WTA, imo not the best.
     
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  33. 1970CRBase

    1970CRBase Guest

    Graf also had IMO the best overhead smash in the women's game ever.
     
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  34. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Great points. Seles really opened up the court with those angels and would hit slapshots into the open court or behind her opponents. None of the biggest hitters today do that as consistently. Also, pre-stabbing, Seles could move very well. She wasn't as heavy, and she was such a competitor that sheer determination got her to move even if she wasn't as natural of a mover than others. A lot of today's big hitters, except the Williams, are not great movers. Henin moves great too, and she can hit big, but she hits big in a different way and mixes it up more.

    And, yes, I forgot about Capriati, whose power matches anything today and who Steffi had to play against.

    And as long as we're bringing up power players from the Graf era, we cannot forget Mary Pierce, who truly may be the hardest hitting female ever. When she was on, watch out. No one today can match that pace. This is a woman who beat Graf 6-2, 6-2, in a Slam semi, but who Graf beat several times in return.
    So, yeah, Graf could handle today's pace just fine.
     
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  35. grafrules

    grafrules Banned

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    I agree with that. The Williams in their primes would indeed be a handful for Graf (and probably every other truly great women player in history for that matter). The thing is Serena's prime only lasted 2 years, Venus around 3 years.
     
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  36. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Before I edited the above post, I somehow was thinking that Mary Pierce had only come close to winning a Slam and had lost in 3 finals. I think I was getting her confused (I have no idea why) with MJ Fernandez who lost 3 Slam finals. Pierce also lost 2 or 3 Slam finals, but won 2.

    So, if you're responding to my pre-edited post, I'm just letting you know that I'm aware Pierce is a Slam champion.
     
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  37. jgreen06

    jgreen06 Rookie

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    i agree and have always thought that ivanovic's forehand looks awfully similar to graf's. obviously graf (as of now) was a more complete player given the insane number of slams she won.
     
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  38. grafrules

    grafrules Banned

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    When you confused them I sure hope you were not thinking of MJ Fernandez when you used the terms "hardest hitter ever". :twisted: I liked MJ but when she played Hingis in a couple of early 97 matches the commentators were referring to Hingis as the "power" player in that matchup.
     
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  39. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    No, I wasn't thinking of MJF as the hardest hitting player. I had originally written that Pierce could be stiff competition for Graf and that she was a near-champion (thinking she had lost in 3 Slam finals). But, it was MJF who lost in 3 Slam finals, including 2 to Graf. Again, no rhyme or reason to get those two confused. I realized my error quickly.
     
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  40. grafrules

    grafrules Banned

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    Pierce can crush anyone on her best day. In addition to her 6-2, 6-2 French Open semifinal win over Graf she has a 6-1, 6-1 win over then reigning U.S Open Champion Serena, a 6-1, 6-1 win over Seles on clay, a 6-1, 6-0 win over Sanchez Vicario on clay.
     
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  41. daddy

    daddy Legend

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    But she was more likely to be crushed by anyone than anything else. She could lose as badly as she could win. You never knew with that girl.
     
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  42. grafrules

    grafrules Banned

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    Very true indeed. Reading the section of one of Nick Bolleteiri's books dedicated to his coaching period with Mary Pierce really gives you some insight into the enigma that is Mary Pierce.
     
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  43. split-step

    split-step Professional

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    I am going to have to disagree. Seles in her GS winning years 91-93 didn't hit the ball as hard as Venus, Sharapova, Serena. It was her angles and ability to open up the court that was were her weapons not sheer pace as it is in the case of Venus and Pova.

    The generations are far apart enough for an Ivanovic-Graf comparison. As you said, she didn't play Venus/Serena/Lindsay in their primes not to mention not playing Henin or Pova at all.

    I don't think this either. However we will never know so to extrapolate is basically conjecture and not really factual. Hence my questioning whether the comparison can be made.

    lol, are you seriously comparing Conchita 'moonball' Martinez's topspin to the likes of Henin or Kuznetsova??
    Yes she would moonball you to death and then hit a winner or passing shot. Those shots were not hard. They were winners because of her variety. The opponents weren't expecting it.
    And Sabatini (a very good player let me say) with her WEAK serve who would get behind in the point immediately because of it.
    These girls didn't hit the ball with the pace or spin (in the case of some players) being hit today.

    Oh and for someone who mentioned Capriati, she doesn't hit the ball hard either. Her serve is weak as is her backhand and her forehand is average speed. When she played the top players her strength was her movement and retrieving skills. She seemed like she hit hard when she was Capriati Part 1, but that was because the game was slower then.

    And to someone else who mentioned serve, this area has changed in the women's game. The serves are bigger. Average first serve speeds are up.
    I remember reading an article about the Seles Graf AO final (can't remember which year) and they gushed about Graf's huge 104mph serve. That is average first serve speed for Venus/Ivanovic matches.
    Also, the return is now looked at as a weapon in the game. It wasn't so, so much in the early 90s. Now everyone is looking to pummel first and second serves.
    And there have always been tons of breaks in the women's game. It is only for a handful of players that the serve is truly a weapon.
     
    #43
  44. split-step

    split-step Professional

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    Svetlana herself said Ana's FH is the hardest forehand to deal with (on WTA). There's a reason people consistently play to her backhand and serve to her backhand.
    She changed racquets so she could get more pace on her backhand because it was getting picked on an awful lot.
     
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  45. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Well, I disagree with two points.

    I still think prime era Seles (pre-stabbing) hit nearly has hard as anyone today and more consistently. I'll agree that the Wiliams can go up one more notch in the power department over Seles. Pierce, as I mentioned in an earlier post hit as hard as anyone today.

    As to Martinez, I agree that she moonballed a lot (especially on clay), and her winners were mostly positional, not a result of hitting through the court like Graf, or James Blake. I'm just pointing out that she had suprising power when she needed it. Much more than she's given credit for.

    Serves may be slightly better overall, and based on the Williams alone, the top serve speeds are higher, but women's serving overall is still pretty woeful and I don't see a huge difference overall.

    Finally, while more girls hit with pace and spin, the consistency just isn't there. And, spin may be marginally more, but the difference is negligible. Spin hasn't overtaken the game as on the men's side.

    And, while your criticisms of each indiviudal player (such as Capriati has a weak serve) are basically correct, the same could be said of every top player today. It's not like we now have 15 women with solidly complete games, except Henin when she's having a good day mentally and the Williams when they are focused.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2008
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  46. split-step

    split-step Professional

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    There are a number of big serving girls outside of Williams sisters. Justine, Kuznetsova, Sharapova, Mauresmo (first serve), Alicia Molik etc
    I agree that the serves overall on the WTA is a MESS but serves of the top players are faster than they were a decade and a half ago.


    Definitely agree with you there. It is the rarity to get great matchups these days where the ball is going back and forth and players are using the entire court and different spins. Toronto 07 final last year Jankovic/Henin was such a match. Eastbourne 07 final Henin/Mauresmo was another such match.
     
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  47. grafrules

    grafrules Banned

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    Conchita Martinez could actually hit a mean forehand when she wanted to. When she stepped into it she could clobber it good. However when she played top players, especialy power hitters like Graf and Seles she went into her defensive shell and just stayed far too back behind the baseline and playing timid counterpunching tennis. Sometimes I saw her play them and the few times she went on the attack, especialy with her forehand, she fared alot better. She just didnt seem able or willing to do that regularly enough. A defensive clay court based game with lots of spins won her alot of matches, but only when she was agressive did she have some success vs players like Graf, Seles, and Hingis (not a power player but remember took the ball very early and controled the baseline) and that was rare when she went into that mode vs them.

    Watch the 1995 French Open semis vs Graf and how she played the first set and a half compared to the last set and a half for an example. Another example would be the 1997 Canadian Open semis vs Seles, how she played the first set and a half, and the second half of the second set.
     
    #47
  48. grafrules

    grafrules Banned

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    Molik is not a top player so she doesnt make sense as an example. For every Molik there were players like Melanie Schnell or Marianne de Swardt back then, journeywomen with very big serves.

    Justine's serve is not impressive to me, other then the "for her height and size" factor. It breaks down easily, and she only gets power by muscling it and struggling to get first serves in, and she hits the same targets over and over. I wouldnt rate her a big server really.

    Graf, Novotna, Seles were all quite big servers for their time as well. If one suggest Novotna's serve could break down, I would argue Sharapova's is just as likely to break down if not more. Also I know what the MPHs say but alot of people have commented on this regarding the mens service speeds which are surprising on some, it is quite possible the radar guns are juiced these days. Mauresmo and Kuznetsova are no more deserving of being regarded "big servers" as players like Pierce or early 90s Capriati (she actually had a much better serve then compared to early 2000s) in fact. It was interesting before Pierce played Mauresmo in the 2005 U.S Open quarters, Tracy Austin and Jim Courier both seemed to think Pierce had the superior serve of the two talking before the match. Also if one is really fooled into believing that old past-her-prime Pierce (even in her very good 2005 comeback year) had a superior serve to what she had in her younger prime, then that only goes to show how people might be fooled by the possibly juiced up radar guns these days.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2008
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  49. grafrules

    grafrules Banned

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    I agree on Venus and Serena at their best, but they were only at their best for 2-3 years, and certainly no longer are, so pretty much a moot point. Anyway a clearly past her prime Seles was still taking sets off the Williams on occasion in the early 2000s when they were really peaked. Sharapova, I dont really agree. I dont see as showing superior pace of shot in general to Seles, or superiority on anything. At best just a bit weaker Monica clone in most regards, plus without the same ability to create angles and far less court smarts.

    1998 and 1999 was Davenport's prime. I find it funny that anyone would suggest she was not in her absolute prime from 1998-2000 when by far her biggest success came, even though she was still a very fine player for many years after those. It was Graf who was far from her prime by this point, and she still held her own vs a prime Davenport when they played.

    Hingis was ranked #1 and still contending for slam titles in the early 2000s with her "weak serve". Jankovic made it to #2 in the world last year with a serve that makes Sabatini look like she had a Brenda Schultz serve. As I already said Henin's serve does not really impress me.
     
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  50. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    Pure speed of serve isn't everything, just ask Roddick. Just because the women can now serve a 115-120 mph serve doesn't mean it's a good one. Placement is way more important than mph.

    Of course if you place the serve well then the extra mph can only help increase your chances of getting an ace or a service winner.
     
    #50

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