Greatest Footwork of All Time!

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Limpinhitter, Sep 3, 2011.

  1. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

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    Agree Mats had great movement. I had the privilege to see him play in July and he is still moving great and placing his shots just inside the lines.
     
  2. NikeWilson

    NikeWilson Semi-Pro

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    Look, i'm a big Edberg fan too, but how can you rank him so high in footwork when he never played baseline. He always bum rushed the net.
    Plus he had the worst forehand ever.
    BUT he's the greatest volleyer ever! :)
     
  3. SoCal10s

    SoCal10s Hall of Fame

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    I'm surprised with all the experts here, no one mentioned Thomas Muster and Raul Ramirez.. but for me the top 4.. should be.. Pete Sampras,Roger Federer,Rafael Osuna ,Rod Laver..
     
  4. magnut

    magnut Hall of Fame

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    You need to watch more Edberg then. Edberg played a lot of baseline tennis. He just usually rarely hit winners and almost always ended at the net. Thats one of the reasons his footwork is the best the game has ever seen. He moved well EVERYWHERE.

    Edberg had better movement walking to the mailbox than most players had playing tennis.
     
  5. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    So far Fed and Rod are top 4. I've read a some about Osuna's great court coverage and quickness, but, not footwork per se. What can you offer about that?

    I've seen Muster and Ramirez play. I agree Muster had great footwork and was overlooked. Please suggest a place on the list being mindful of the other players you are putting him above. Ramirez was a very good clay court player, but, there's nothing about his footwork that I recall that would make him an all time great in that respect. But, I'm open to reasonable argument.

    As for Pete, I've discussed the weakness of his shot preparation and set up several times. This is not a speed/athleticism list. It's a footwork list, which means great shot preparation and set up which was not Pete's strength especially in his early pro years. If you think he should be moved up, please support your position with compelling argument and evidence.
     
  6. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    (Ooops! I accidentally edited my list that was in post #48 instead of quoting it then making changes. Unfortunately the ranking that was in that post is lost and this is my latest ranking for this date).

    Here's the latest reluctantly giving some weight to the Edberg "squeaky wheels," even though they haven't responded to my observation that his footwork on his fh side was a weakness. if anyone thinks I've moved Edberg too high, speak up. I've also added Muster, who I previously overlooked. He had great shot preparation and set up and worked extremely hard at it although he wasn't as graceful or efficient, or as gifted an athlete, as some above him.

    Still looking for input, and please suggest a ranking and don't just give an unsupported opinion. Back it up AND explain why someone should be above, or below, the other players on the list.

    1. Roger Federer
    2. Jimmy Connors
    3. Rod Laver
    4. Ken Rosewall
    5. Ilie Nastase
    6. Stefan Edberg
    7. Bill Tilden
    8. Bjorn Borg
    9. Ralph Nadal
    10. Miloslav Mecir
    11. Michael Chang
    12. Lleyton Hewitt
    13. Pancho Gonzales
    14. John McEnroe
    15. Frank Sedgman
    16. Tomas Muster
    17. Tony Roche
    18. Arthur Ashe
    19. Novak Djokovic
    20. Andy Murray
    21. Pete Sampras
    22. Johan Kriek
    23. Mats Wilander
     
  7. wilsonplayer

    wilsonplayer Rookie

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    roger federer. but his movement seems so innate it's hard to even call it footwork. lleyton has fantastic footwork, in terms of taking all the little steps and properly measuring up to the ball each time. fed doesn't have to take these little steps because of some uncanny ability
     
  8. Monsieur_DeLarge

    Monsieur_DeLarge Semi-Pro

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    Another voice in support of Edberg.

    To me, "footwork" is specifically about balance, preparation, etc; making sure that you're in the textbook position to play whatever shot you have to. That's very differerent from pure speed, which is of course "legwork". Not that I'm knocking them, but my opinion that Borg, Chang, Hewitt, and Nadal are the fastest players I've seen doesn't give away anything about what I think of their footwork.

    In the time period when I've watched tennis closely enough to pay attention to such things, I'd give it to Federer ~ just ~ over Edberg for the top spot. The other one I can remember off the top of my head is Miloslav Mecir. He wasn't nicknamed "the cat" for nothing.

    As for the above quote about Edberg's alleged weakness on his forehand side; it was Stefan's least aesthetic shot, and his stance was maybe more open than ideal, but his footwork to get into position was always absolutely fine as far as I can see.


    Regards,
    MDL
     
  9. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I know it's a consensus list but Gonzalez is definitely higher up, perhaps top five.
     
  10. magnut

    magnut Hall of Fame

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    No way Muster should be up that high. Great footwork at the baseline yes but he moved at net like a typical WTA player.

    This comes from a Muster fan.

    Ashe should probably not be that high either. Great athlete and great player but he was not in the top tier of footwork IMO.
     
  11. BTURNER

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    I like it Limpin, I would have been one of those squeaky wheels if I had more confidence in this topic. Loved Edberg's movement from everywhere on the court. Whatever the swede's problems may have been in long rallies or slow surfaces, they weren't about sustained footwork lateral movement. I still want to see more focus on the women mentioned in this thread. The Edberg debate overshadowed the sporatic attention, they got
     
  12. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Thanks for the feedback. I just want to address your comments about Edberg's fh. I've seen Edberg play live and many, many times on TV. If you've read the entire thread, on numerous occasions I've made a bright line distincion between Edberg's fh as a stroke, and Edberg's fh shot preparation and set up. I've explained that the reason Edberg's fh was a relative weakness, prone to errors and mis-hits under pressure, was not because of his stroke, but because of his shot preparation and set-up on that side. The aesthetics of his stroke is irrelevant to this list.
     
  13. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I was quite sexist in my presumption that the greatest footwork of all time should consider only the mens' side, wasn't I. On the other hand, like virtually all aspects of every sport, it's very difficult to compare the virtues of women's athletics do men because they don't compete against each other. The best you can do is to compare them relative the their respective competition.

    All this to say that the women probably deserve their own list, and perhaps their own thread, although I'm not averse to having two threads here. Considering my limited knowledge I'm reluctant to start one. I'll simply say that I'd have Steffi Graf at the top, and Martina Navratilova, BJK, Evonne Goolagong, Chris Evert, Maria Bueno, Margaret Court, Martina Hingis, and both Williams sisters somewhere on the list.
     
  14. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

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    Err . . . I did reply. I posted a thoughtful post on the previous page in response to you, including a couple short video clips of Edberg and you've ignored it (or dismissed it).
     
  15. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I didn't think your reiteration of other's sentiments about Edberg's footwork, and posting of highlights of his net play, but not his fh, or your request for a video of Chang to demonstrate his footwork merited a response. The very premise that Chang's footwork needs to be demonstrated is pretty preposterous, IMO. But, if you'd like to look it up yourself, you can do a search for the Chang/Rios QF from the 1997 USO.
     
  16. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    This is getting really tough! I'm a big Pancho fan, and I do agree Pancho's footwork is better than 13. He was a top 5 GOAT as a player, and an athlete, IMO. In moving others higher, Pancho was pushed down a bit. But, it's one thing to say "top 5" and another to say that his footwork was better than Nastase's, Edberg's, Tilden's, Borg's? If I can get more support for Pancho I'll move him higher.

    On another note, after watching tonights USO final, does anyone think that Djoko needs to be moved up? I know it's only one match, and Djoko was playing out of a tree, but, in the first two sets, he was setting up better than Ralph.

    1. Roger Federer
    2. Jimmy Connors
    3. Rod Laver
    4. Ken Rosewall
    5. Ilie Nastase
    6. Stefan Edberg
    7. Bill Tilden
    8. Bjorn Borg
    9. Pancho Gonzales
    10. Ralph Nadal
    11. Miloslav Mecir
    12. Michael Chang
    13. Lleyton Hewitt
    14. John McEnroe
    15. Frank Sedgman
    16. Tomas Muster
    17. Tony Roche
    18. Arthur Ashe
    19. Novak Djokovic
    20. Andy Murray
    21. Pete Sampras
    22. Johan Kriek
    23. Mats Wilander
     
  17. BrooklynNY

    BrooklynNY Hall of Fame

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    hmmmmmmmm 10
     
  18. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Don't worry about moving Gonzalez to the top five. I have read comments from former players mentioning how great the Gonzalez footwork was. Some have called his footwork perhaps the best along with Rosewall's.

    I've never thought of Arthur Ashe as having the greatest footwork by the way. I'm not sure he belongs on this list. Same with Tony Roche.

    And yes I think it's reasonable to move Djokovic up the list. His footwork and speed makes him one of the most mobile players I've ever seen.
     
  19. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    - Djoko definitely has some of the best lateral court coverage I've ever seen. But, for shot preparation specifically, do you think he should be top 15? He always seems in good position, but, I don't see a lot of hustle in his footwork. Not that that's a requirement. The ease and efficiency with which Fed sets up is one reason I put him on top.

    - To me, Arthur Ashe was like a poor man's Nastase or Federer. Not quite at that level, but, he had very natural, fluid movement and excellent shot preparation.

    - I know Tony Roche was a pretty major underacheiver as a result of injuries beyond his control But, I saw Roche play a few matches in the early 70's. Not only was his shot preparation outstanding at net and in the backcourt, but, his intensity and hustle were nearly Laverian. His intensity grabbed your attention. And he was surprisingly fast for a stocky guy. I wouldn't have put him on there without good reason. But, if you think someone below him should be above him, speak up.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2011
  20. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Translation please!
     
  21. Iron Man

    Iron Man Rookie

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    1- Federer
    2- djokovic
    3- Nadal
    4-Murray
    5-Edberg
    6-connors
    7-chang
    8-Hewitt
    9-Borg
    10-Sampras
     
  22. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    You think Murray and Djoko have better footwork than Connors? Better than McEnroe, Laver, Rosewall, Gonzales? C'mon! They have very good footwork for big guys, but not top tier, IMO.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011
  23. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    pretty surprised Gerulaitis hasn't been mentioned. he probably would have been near the top of the list when he was on tour(mac still mentions his name today when talking about footwork - like when a players misses a shot because of being out of position - sometimes says something like "he needed to take those small steps to get into position, like vitas always did")

    The guy had no weapons, his game was basically all about footwork & it kept him in the top 10 for years.

    that borg-vitas wimby match may have been the best footwork match of all time(they were everywhere, side to side, forward, back, etc)

    I would also put Chesnokov up there, was just rewatching his match with Courier from the French, pretty amazing stuff.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011
  24. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

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    I may have repeated myself between my two posts but I expressed my own beliefs from watching a lot of Edberg's play, not regurgitated those of others. If there were similarities between my sentiments and those of others, is it so hard to believe that several people have similar thoughts about Edberg's footwork?

    I admitted that the two clips were short and not necessarily of the forehand groundstrokes, but they demonstrated immediately footwork that is among the best of all time and they were what I found from a minute or two of searching.

    So you insist that everyone else who challenges your rankings to provide video evidence and eloquent written justification, but you don't have to provide your own evidence or justification for your rankings? I find the premise that Edberg's footwork needs defending to be preposterous.

    This is a tennis forum where tennis fans gather to enjoy discussing the sport we all enjoy. I've never liked the bickering that I see here among so many members, and used to enjoy your posts and wondered why other posters sometimes got into p*$$ing contests with you because I thought you were ok. I can't believe the rudeness I just experienced from you - I guess since I'm not a member of the old boys' club, my opinion is worthless.

    It's a shame - I was enjoying this forum as it allowed me to relive some of my favorite memories of a sport I've loved for years. I have enough stress from my real job, I don't need crap here when I'm just trying to enjoy some good-natured reminiscing about tennis.
     
  25. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Look at the original list. That'll really surprise you. It's a work in progress. I agree, Gerulaitis was overlooked. I'm not that familiar with Chesnokov. How about suggesting a position on the list. It's easy to say someone should be on the list. It's a lot harder to say where.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011
  26. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Sorry to disappoint you. I wasn't feeling particularly rude when I wrote it. Although, I did think that you were beating a dead horse. In any event, here's a good sample of Chang's footwork. It was a great win against a tough opponent.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Keh6tw2XCYI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKetKv4vPY0&feature=related
     
  27. Bossy

    Bossy New User

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    Tennis writer Peter Bozo once said that you could easily tell Lendl and Mcenroe apart in a match, if you closed your eyes.
    Lendl's footwork was much noisier.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  28. Monsieur_DeLarge

    Monsieur_DeLarge Semi-Pro

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    You've seen Edberg play live? So have I. I've also seen Connors, McEnroe, Lendl, and many others. Doesn't mean you (or I) have more expertise on his footwork than those who haven't.

    You've explained the reasons you think Edberg's forehand was a weakness was down to his footwork. But that doesn't mean those reasons are necessarily correct. Susan, myself, and possibly others have opined that it was other factors, e.g his stance, grip, etc. I can see no evidence to suggest your opinion has greater validity than ours (although I do count more people dissenting with you than agreeing).

    You've posted videos, but so has Susan. However, they don't resolve the issue at all, since we will all point to the clips as supporting our own point of view. We all see what we want to see, and all our opinions are equally subjective. People in this thread who think Edberg had better footwork than you credit him with are not empirically wrong. For example, you're possibly thinking "geez, anyone who watched that video and couldn't see Edberg's footwork problems clearly doesn't know as much as me, so I can discount their opinions as ill-informed." Equally, I could look at the original list and think "geez, anyone who rates Chang ahead of Edberg doesn't know the difference between footwork and speed (legwork)." And so the argument will rage on ad infinitum, and ad nauseum.
    :)


    Regards,
    MDL
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2011
  29. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    And yet, no one has addressed my question about Edberg's forehand shot preparation and set up. One more time, I've seen him mis-hit and shank forehands under pressure because he wasn't set up well. So, how much higher do you think Edberg should be? Above Nastase, Rosewall, Laver, Connors and Federer? I've seen them all play live, too! In my opinion, Edberg's footwork would certainly be below Gonzales'. That's where he was originally. But, based on a few vocal Edberg supporters, I've disregarded that opinion and put him above several who I think had better footwork than Edberg, at least in part because they didn't have any holes in their technique, like Michael Chang.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2011
  30. piece

    piece Professional

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    From what I can tell, posters like Monsieur de large, Susan dk and magnut are saying that you are mistaken in thinking Edberg's forehand failings are anything to do with footwork, so your repeated bald assertions to the contrary aren't particularly convincing.
     
  31. piece

    piece Professional

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  32. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    I think Borg should be higher. Not so certain I'd have Federer at the top. Connors should be way up there. I like watching Borg's footwork indoors especially. Gerulaitis was great too. Good choice. Among some of the players I've seen, Federer, Connors, Edberg, and Borg are all great. Nadal is impressive out there as well. Staying power is so important in the majors and on that note Djokovic's footwork has looked very impressive even late in matches.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyuiEzBb7hk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTMx--E0OhY
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  33. chrischris

    chrischris Hall of Fame

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  34. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Here's the latest:

    1. Roger Federer
    2. Jimmy Connors
    3. Rod Laver
    4. Ken Rosewall
    5. Stefan Edberg
    6. Ilie Nastase
    7. Bill Tilden
    8. Bjorn Borg
    9. Pancho Gonzales
    10. Ralph Nadal
    11. Vitas Gerulaitis
    12. Miloslav Mecir
    13. Michael Chang
    14. Lleyton Hewitt
    15. Novak Djokovic
    16. John McEnroe
    17. Frank Sedgman
    18. Tomas Muster
    19. Tony Roche
    20. Arthur Ashe
    21. Andy Murray
    22. Pete Sampras
    23. Johan Kriek
    24. Mats Wilander
     
  35. fed_rulz

    fed_rulz Hall of Fame

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    the last point when he breaks Krajicek, looks like Federer did a serena by yelling "c'mon" when the ball was still in play :)
     
  36. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Rooted in the here and now, with a few token barely past players thrown in.



    "What you don't know will kill you."
     
  37. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    One of the things I'd like to mention about Rosewall (a past player) and his footwork was that he was always on balance and never seemed to be in a rush to hit his shots. This gave him time to disquise his shots and hit with great control and also excellent power if he needed it.
     
  38. BallistecMissile

    BallistecMissile Banned

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    1. Fed
    2. Nadal
    3. no one should care because they're the 2 greatest players of all time, bar NONE.
     
  39. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Let's say they are the two best players ever, does it also mean they have the best footwork?

    I think their footwork is great but I'm just pointing out that just because you're the best doesn't automatically give you the best footwork. And right now Djokovic's footwork is looking pretty great now also.

    Just a question, when Agassi was number one, did it mean he had the best footwork in tennis over Chang and others? I don't think so.
     
  40. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    You're in the wrong thead. This is the "greatest footwork" thread.
     
  41. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Speaking of Agassi, he always seemed to be set up and prepared well for every shot, unless he was pulled wide. Where do you think he fits in, if at all.
     
  42. piece

    piece Professional

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    Agassi is a curious case. He took fewer small adjustment steps than any other top pro I can recall watching, yet this apparent failing didn't seem to result in any mishits.
     
  43. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    There are players like that. They never seem to have to work hard to get in to position, yet, they're always perfectly set up and prep'd for every shot. I attribute that to Agassi's natural talent vision and timing, which he had in abundance.

    Which all begs the question, does that warrant Agassi's inclusion on the list, and if so, where?
     
  44. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    It's hard for me to often separate footwork and mobility because they are so linked. Agassi looked so often on balance hitting the ball but with his great timing he seemed to be usually controlling the rally. The problem I have is when he didn't control the rally he was in big trouble. He looked awkward and off balance to me in these situations while a Connors or a Borg rarely looked off balance.

    Krosero mentioned how we should also take sliding into account in one of his posts and I agree. Borg was great at sliding and his movement on any surface was exceptional. He never looked off balance and seemed to be ready to hit any shot. Perhaps that is why Borg had arguably the greatest passing shots of all time.

    Gut feeling on Agassi is that he doesn't belong on the footwork list or at least not high on the list.

    Some people from years ago that may belong high on this list would be Fred Perry, Henri Cochet and Frank Sedgman. Now Perry was well known for his footwork and mobility. Cochet, Perry and Sedgman were known for their smooth ability to half volley easily while approaching the net. You need great footwork for that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011
  45. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    No, no PC, you don't understand.

    The logic here is once you pronounce who is/are the GOAT(s), then you categorically state that he/they have the greatest anything/everything: e.g. Fed is the GOAT because he won 16 slams, you don't win 16 slams unless you have the greatest footwork/lobs/volleys/backhand/fill-in-the-blank. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011
  46. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I understand now Yoda hoodjem.:)

    May the footwork be with you.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011
  47. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    You guys are a real riot! Such razor sharp wit! Could you kindly point me to posters/posts claiming Fed has the greatest ever volleys, BH and lob (there must be plenty of them to be worth such ridicule)? It's just so I can put them on ignore list because I don't want to be tainted by their ignorance by accident while innocently browsing through this forum.

    BTW. Speaking of blind hero worship, isn't Laver top 5 in every freakin "greatest xy stroke" list ever made in this section of the forum?
     
  48. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    No, his footwork was not efficient. Probably the worst part of his game, and I would not be surprised if it was at the root of his chronic back injury at the end of his career. I saw him live only once, in an indoor exhibition against Agassi in Minneapolis, in late 1989. He was my favorite player in the 80s. I've mentioned this detail before: the heavy thumping sound of Lendl's feet on the court was surprisingly loud, and it is one of the most distinct details in my memory of that match. There was nothing light about his steps. For some reason I had never noticed that when watching him on tv.
     
  49. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Yes, the other thing about Agassi, which may or may not be considered a part of footwork, was his anticipation, and...ability to read the shot. This is not talked about often, but again, all pros do it nearly supernaturally, but some better than others. Even among pros, Agassi had an incredible sense of where the ball was going, and exactly where he needed to be, as well as exactly where the ball would be in height when it got to him (thus the lesser need for adjustment steps). Don't know how much of that was natural, or the result of him seeing endless ball fired at him since birth (even for a pro, he has to be the exception there, with his psycho father).

    So while Agassi was not the quickest or most balanced (especially by the 2000's), when he wasn't pressured, his setup for the ball was beyond reproach.
     
  50. ClairHarmony

    ClairHarmony Rookie

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    Agassi was a vacuum. Whether with abs of steel or abs of flab, either incarnation of Agassi; he was a belly budha. He suctioned cupped balls toward his belly, where his hands gobbled them up like a Benny Hanna sushi chef--hai-ku! Hai-ku! Short and simple, haiku! He was the big bad wolf who could not be toppled, the immovable force that gave you nightmares, the human ball machine set to deconstruct you and rearrange your sense of balance at his best. He was the foe you could not beat in the game Mega Man.

    But like all great super villains, the rules did not apply to him...only, of course, they did. You just had to find a way to expose where he was less comfortable. For Agassi, that required either super spin that pushed him way back and gummed up his rhythm. Or, cutesy angles that took him by surprise. Or simply to bullet-drive it to a corner, and send him flying in which case the wheels would likely fall off, he'd look clumsy as noted, and hit the ball into the bottom of the tape, or steer it somewhere...but, unfortunately, not in the court. And even if he did, his recovery back to his throne in the center of the court where he was the pin ball master, the yo-yo ma expert, and the hulu king of Honolulu where the pineapples grow...wasn't all that spectacular, not like Tom Cruise in Tom Gun, more like a submarine that just ordered out for Chinese take out...MSG City, baby, representin'! In da house!

    Bruguera on clay belongs on this list. He was like an elastic band when in physical well-being and competitng to the utmost respect for his opponents, his father, and the game. In his spirited modes, every ball, no matter, how far and wide you took him, just seemed to bring him right back to the center. Superlative recovery, and as Dick Enberg pointed out, always seemingly just the right amount of steps, quick, measured, and precise...which considering how ungangly his strokes were, is quite a difficult task indeed. His coordination of feet seemed out of context with the violent nature of his forehand, never such a WIDE open stance base has been exhibited in tennis. Whereas a more typical Spanish forehand like Ferrer, Moya, Ferrero, Berastategui, et. all, has a more rhythmical bounce to it, a kind of ebb and KAPOW! flow to it, where the footwork seems like a natural extension, hop, skip, and a karate thwap! bouncing into the ball; Bruguera's footwork on the forehand amazed me. Try copying his forehand, and see how unnatural it feels moving and setting up for the ball, to gauge and track the ball; it's a different feeling animal entirely than the much more intuitive feels you get from setting up and tracking the ball with a Sampras or Ferrer styled forehand. Then add the rather seemingly pointless way he would regally **** his wrist and prepare for the ball on the backhand side. It added a stylish garnish to the shot sure, held the direction on the pass evidently quite well, as his opponents often looked baffled trying to decide which way he was going to go with it; but that setup was very awkard to duplicate and pull off on as metronomically consistent basis against pro level pace as he was he able to. His stroke ideosyncrasies are ill-advised to be taught, how he managed to find such a rhythm with his footwork, and marry them to those strokes is to me a work of art, and one of tennis' great world wonders. For greatest clay court footwork of all time, he certainly belongs up, at, or near the top. His slides were long, intuitive, and natural; he was a grunting, but effortless twizzler, long, lean, flexible, 360 bendable, huggable, and in control of the point, never let go of the point, could rip a winner at any time to end the point, in control of the point, at his best on clay. Like a octypus Buddy C said, and as Dick said, until you stop to really take notice, you don't realize just how precise his footwork really is.

    His prime was short, but his footwork on clay truly is one of tennis' great forgotten marvels.

    Agassi's footwork was never great, he lacked the balletic grace and bionic hop, to triple axel, double toe loop on the run, like his bootilicious feline friend, and tennis' version of the bionic specimen, Steffi Graff...man, the Bionic Woman, was HOT!!! It still gives me chills thinking back, oh, how it sped up puberty a few years on reruns.


    Agassi's SENSE of the ball, was inertly fascinating, however. As Datacipher alluded to, this probably DID have A LOT to do with his dad maniacly stuffing balls down his throat since he was in diapers. Even among pros, this was not the norm. EVERYONE noticed this gift, in him; even among pros, it stood out as being "special," and OTHER ordinary. It seemed that way, frankly, because such a talent is filed under the *intangibles* list, it's one that does not seem to be able to be taught. The pros could work on it with their coaches, but they knew it was something they could not develop. Hand-eye coordination is one of those things, where the earlier the better...past a certain age, and the potential valve kind of just shuts off. Technical mastery can still be worked on, of course; but the SOUL of the swing, is in the senses, in the hands, in pick 'em up off your shoe strings, instant and *immediate* tracking of the ball. The fly is difficult to trap with the human mind, alone; but not if you ARE the fly. Become the fly, become one with the ball, and then zap it in the sweetspot everytime. That was what Agassi did to the ball at his best. You could not confuse him, but you could out ATHLETE him, and throw his sense of balance all out of whack. It took hurricane gusts though, either from speed, or power, or extremely unpredictable angular fencing from a smiling artiste' like Rios to send him fanatically struggling, just out of his optimum reach. Agassi forced you track the ball into HIS zone, more than any other player in history at his best. He was like Shaq, if you played by HIS rules, in his block in the paint, he was a brick house of destruction and utter and total domination.

    IF you could dream shake shimmy him all out of whack, though? He could get a little embarrassed on you, like his pants got pulled down. You could then proceed to clown him, shrink the giant vacuum back down to a pebble skipping, clumsily, out of whack, on the run, like a fly that's just been whacked out of its senses. One gets the sense, that Agassis's senses were trained into his brain from the *confines* of the crib, ball hanging from it. From the *outside-in*, this the *perspective* he was born into. Outside of it, he was caught ill-prepared, for the shape-shifting prism that awaited him. Here, you need to BURST out into limelight like a dancer from FAME! But, fortunately, Debbie Allen passed up on him for her school right away. She knew, sorry kid, but you can't dance only in one place, the center of the stage, and expect to make it big as a dancer. In this sense, Agassi was Garfield, singing "Come to Me," while Odie? Was chipper and more graceful and athletic, for sure; but who was more effective at getting you to do what HE wanted, getting you to play into HIS hands, into *intimidating* you to succumb to HIS *will.* Agassi was Uri Geller, hocus pocus, intangible, gravity defying at his best...you could choose to look at him as a one-trick pony, or HIGHLY effective on ANY surface, and against virtually any style.

    His gift was surface, age, era, and conditions transferrable like few others in history; but great, superlative footwork to be copied and studied it was not. It was utilitarian footwork, and pedestrian athleticism, mostly overcome by ASTONISHING hand-eye-*pick-up*-coordination. Not exactly, a course to be opened and taught at your local neighborhood prepatory drill academy anytime soon. There are labor laws against this sort of thing, signing up kids for boot camp while still in diapers...and also, where would one go about finding qualified teachers? Mike Agassi may suffer from a flip-out attack and get sued one too many times, and the Dre'...? Well, when your that cool, one cannot exactly be in two places with two bodyguard guru/slash, Gil Reye's at the same time, now can they be? Exactly, so until further notice, Agassi belongs in his own category, the ball sensate category, with other such illuminaries as Hingis, and Rios...though those two, were much fluent on the run. So Agassi, belong in his own category. You play him, and you play by his rules, it was bowling pin tennis, the tennis athlete in you wanted to burst out and jump the lane, but NO....he reached his arms out and VIOLENT threw/thrust/tossed you back into his lion cage, right down his tee-off alley lane, hit shooting lane, he was the bald-headed bowler you know, and he you were the hapless pins..."Mercy!!!" But Wayne Ferriera, Hyung-Taik Lee, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, and Raineer Schuettler's screams, among many others, went unnoticed.
     

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