Greatest Footwork of All Time!

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

  1. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Hingis positioning was great.Maybe not the fastest but, most likely, the cleverest player of the last 50 years.
     
  2. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Good point.
     
  3. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Martina has always been naturally fast even when overweight. Optimal physical conditioning gave her extra speed and the luxury of nanoseconds to get behind the ball, take those extra small steps to move into it. Footspeed allows consistent footwork and mini-steps to balance and move foreward once you get into range. Evert achieved the same advantage with earlier anticipation.

    On a separate note, how could I have forgotten to include Evonne, who had great footwork?
     
  4. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    How could you forget BJK?
     
  5. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    She hasn't played in 30 years?
     
  6. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Did you happen to notice the title of my thread: "Greatest footwork of ALL TIME?" I guess not!
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  7. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Honestly, I have not seen that much of her when she wasn't either past her prime or having knee trouble, or on a doubles court. From what I have seen her anticipation is on par with Evert's. Sometimes its like she has already seen the point on replay, when she's playing it!
     
  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Good list.But you missed Evonne, the all time dancer on court...and Lenglen, too¡¡¡
     
  9. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Arantxa Sánchez Vicario despite always appearing to be overweight (moderately so) during her playing days was a great mover who never tired. I remember that tremendous 1989 French Open Final where she denied Steffi a consecutive Grand Slam by running everything down. Amazing performance.
     
  10. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yes, and her footwork ( along her never say die attitude) was the key factor to her success.Otherwise, she´d have been another journeywoman on the tour and never make the top 10.
     
  11. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Steve Tignor wrote this piece a couple of days ago, asking why Nadal is so good on clay. He zeroed in on sliding and said he found it impossible to separate Rafa's movement from his actual shots.

    http://blogs.tennis.com/thewrap/2012/06/the-how-and-the-why.html

    As in, what makes Nadal, who is very good on all surfaces, virtually unbeatable—to the tune of a 247-19 career record—on one of them? The New York Times asked that question today, and received an answer from Justin Gimelstob about how Nadal “moves the margins in his favor” by forcing his opponents to play riskier tennis than they normally would. A rather dry answer, perhaps, but it's certainly true. Witness David Ferrer’s losing performance against Rafa today. Ferrer tried to hit bigger and take more risks then he normally does, but it still wasn’t risky enough, not even close. As Jim Courier said during the match, Ferru didn’t just need to hit hard or deep, he needed to be all-out “reckless” and aim straight for the lines to have any chance of winning. You might as well just say he needed to be blind lucky for three straight sets.

    With that in mind, I sat in Chatrier today and tried to get an idea, purely from observation, what makes Nadal’s game so simpatico with crushed brick. It obviously has something to do with his speed and strength and spin and consistency, and the weight of his shots. But it also has something to do with a unique aspect of clay-court tennis—sliding. On clay, when he’s confident, Nadal creates a sliding rhythm to his rallies that he can’t re-create on other courts. His movements are more elegantly connected on clay.

    Nadal’s first moment of confidence came after he broke Ferrer and held to go up 4-2. In the next game, you could see him begin to accelerate, to do his clay version of full flight Federer. He slid to his right and hit his best backhand of the match. On the following shot, he slid the same way and took a bigger cut at his backhand. Next, he slid farther and changed the direction of his backhand to go down the line. Finally, he took his longest slide of the rally in the opposite direction and whipped up on his most ambitious, high-bouncing forehand of the match. Ferrer could only pop it back into the air, and Nadal jumped on it for a swing volley winner. As the rally had progressed, Nadal’s slides had grown longer and more daring, and his shots had followed suit.

    Toni Nadal told the Times that he had been “entranced” by Bjorn Borg’s precise and assured movement on clay, and he thinks Rafa’s footwork is the most underrated aspect his clay game. To me, watching him today, at his best, his movement is impossible to separate from his shots themselves; one flows into the other. I don’t get the feeling, as Courier does, that Nadal “thinks three of four shots in advance.” It seems more instinctive than that. He lets his feet, as much as his mind, take him where he wants to go. A fish in water, Rafa’s in his element on dirt.​
     
  12. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Yep, sliding is essential in clay court tennis, it is a bit like skating. I have seen slowmotion clips from Borg's footwork on clay, he looked more elegant to me, always on his toes. His legs were a bit bow legged, and his toes and feet a little pointing to the inside. He did not that much sliding, you could see that on his socks, which were always quite clean (like Wilander's). Other players with heavier feet, like Lendl or Vilas, had theirs socks always completely pudered by the red dust.
    Despite being more compact built than Borg, Nadal has great movement. On clay, his movement, and ability to cover the court and change direction, looked a bit better to me than that of Fed. On clay, Fed did leave his forehand side often wide open, that made his forehand vulnerable to be hit late. Nadal covers the whole court very well.
     
  13. chrischris

    chrischris Hall of Fame

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    Nadal is the best mover. Federer is the most efficient mover . Nole is a bit of both.
     

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