Greatest Forehands of All Time

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by hoodjem, Jan 2, 2010.

  1. billnepill

    billnepill Hall of Fame

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    Nothing to do with "we", unfortunately. Hoodjem decided single-handedly to ignore 8 years of dominance ( a dominance, mostly due to serve + forehand) and decided to change Federer's first place based on one match Federer lost at the age of 29, way past his prime.

    As long as he is breathing he will change his disguises in order to keep Laver's position in tact. When Nadal gets close to Laver's status, he will start bashing Nadal. The funny thing is, Laver doesn't even need trolls to defend his status, because he is one of the best. The first GOAT.

    I cannot hide my frustration as you see. Ignorance is everywhere and even in the conservative Former Pro Section with one post a day, you can see suspiciously great shifts in perception. As if people forgot everything. Yes, the same people who claim to remember Laver playing.

    Whatever.

    Let just not pretend the ranking is based on consensus, because I don't agree, as well as many others.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  2. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    First of all let me defend Hoodjem here. Second place on this list isn't bad. Federer has been demoted to second before and put back into first on this list.

    I agree that Federer's forehand can be the best forehand of all time and it very well is but it's not a slam dunk in that it is 100% certain it is number one.

    Federer is awesome as a player and he has won 80.9% of his matches over his career the last time I checked. That's an amazing percentage but it's also not perfect. Is it that bad that Hoodjem put Federer in second place for forehand?

    Last I checked Lendl won 82% of his matches and he also was a serve and forehand among other things. He's behind Federer on the list.

    There are a lot on this list that Hoodjem put in because people suggested it. So let's not get too upset here that Federer is in second place for now. I would think Hoodjem will see some are upset and perhaps put Federer back in first.

    Incidentally no one is a 100% slam dunk number one for forehand. I would disagree if anyone wrote that about anybody's forehand being a slam dunk number one all time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  3. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    I am trying to think of a match where Lendl's forehand was suspect. EVeryone has the rare match where their strength - just isn't that day. Even Graf has had a few bad forehand days so I'll forgive Fed one or two. But Offhand I can't think of Lendl having one.
     
  4. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Can't think of one match myself although I'm sure he had some off matches with the forehand.


    Here's some comments on Pancho Segura's forehand-

    Jack Kramer in his book "The Game"-Possibly Budge's backhand was a better stroke, I'll have to accept that judgment. But put a gun to my head , and I'd have to say the Segura forehand because he could disguise it so much better and hit so many more angles. As great a shot as Connors' two handed backhand is, it is nowhere near as tough as Segura's forehand because Pancho could hit it as hard with more control.

    Ellsworth Vines in his book "Tennis-Myth and Method"-Two fisted forehand is most outstanding stroke in game's history; unbeatable unless opponent could avoid it.

    Later in Vines' book-Segura could do much more with a forehand than any other player. His two-handed technique (developed in Ecuador as a child because he had rickets) allowed Segura to pull the ball across the net opponet at the last second, drive it down the line, hit a surprise lob, or knock it through him. He had tremendous power, remarkable deception, and he never seemed to miss.


    Pancho Gonzalez from an article by Dave Anderson call "His Toughest Rival"-As strong as Budge's backhand was, Segura's forehand was even stronger."

    Rod Laver in an article called "The Topspin Forehand"-from the Fireside Book of Tennis-There are many great players whom I have not seen, such as Jack Kramer, but among the champions I have played, I would pick Pancho Segura's forehand as the best.

    I'm not saying Segura's forehand is the best but I am saying that it's not exactly a bad choice. I think we've all seen the Connors backhand and when Kramer says the Segura forehand is a lot better than the Connors' backhand we know the Segura forehand, if Kramer was right had to be a super duper shot.

    We have a number of all time greats with tons of tennis experience all calling Segura's forehand great, some calling it the best shot ever so it gives you pause to think that perhaps it was pretty darn good.

    That's being said I can see Federer's forehand being ranked above Segura but I also see nothing wrong with ranking Segura's forehand ahead also.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  5. NonP

    NonP Professional

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    hoodjem, I have to side with the youngsters here. It's just not fair to rate a player's stroke based on a single match. Now it'd be a different matter if you were talking about his whole career, but I'd dig up some stats and peruse them rather than rely solely on our impressions (which, as you know, can be unreliable).

    Also, maybe the old-timers should be given honorary mentions instead of actual rankings? As I noted on the GSOAT thread, I just don't see how we can assess any stroke that we haven't seen and studied extensively. Secondhand accounts aren't enough IMO, even those that originate from masters of the game. They're are just as susceptible to bias as the rest of us, if not even more so, and as some of you already know, being a master of tennis does not necessarily equal mastery of the sport in all its aspects.
     
  6. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Good point. Some of the greats have tremendous bias for the old timers. I do think players like Laver, Gonzalez and Vines were pretty objective.

    Let's go by decade
    1960's-Laver
    1970's-Borg
    1980's-Lendl
    1990's-Not sure here. Agassi? Sampras?
    2000's-Federer

    However the point of the thread is the debate and discussion. Maybe we should continue as it is. There would be controversy no matter what. I can't figure out why del Potro is there considering he hasn't done enough yet with the forehand to be in the list for example.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  7. NonP

    NonP Professional

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    I'd be fine either way. I personally am not comfortable ranking any stroke by secondhand accounts only, but others' standards may vary.

    It's a tough call between Agassi and Sampras, because each FH is great in its own way. I think I'll leave it at that. Gotta get some sleep before the men's final. :)

    As for del Potro, when people say his FH belongs up there, they're probably thinking of how well it served him after the '09 AO but before his mini-retirement from the game almost exactly a year after. It remains to be seen whether this level will be representative of his prime (or whether his prime has already expired, heaven forbid), but I think it reasonable to assume for now that his return will not be short-lived, and to rate his FH accordingly.
     
  8. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    his FH was "ok". It was more his BH that was absolutely bad. He should've been running around his BH more.

    Anyways must complement you on your decision to move his FH down based on a match well past his prime :roll:
     
  9. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    didn't connors break down his FH in the USO 83 final with his BH ?
     
  10. billnepill

    billnepill Hall of Fame

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    Look, I'm not trying to say Segura's forehand is not one of the greatest. I actually don't mind to see it number 1, if people agree it was the best and therefore better than Federer's.

    I don't agree with the principle here. Federer was put on the number 1 spot for a reason - because of evidence, because of his accomplishments, because we witnessed his forehand over the years.

    Now it turns out this forehand didn't exist, because Hoodjem saw one match the forehand wasn't at its usual level. You see, even if Federer doesn't win a match from now on and doesn't make a FH winner, his accomplishments existed and these accomplishments were the reason you put Federer on spot number 1.

    If you are now judging the current form of the forehands, let's follow the senior tour and change the position every time a player's forehand is not as we know it from the old times.
     
  11. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Where's my moustache, dark glasses, and trenchcoat?

    Where's my mallet?

    Eight years? I would allot Fed 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and maybe 2009. I believe we have to give 2008 and 2010 to Nadal as the dominant player. That would be five years for Fed.

    "to ignore 8 years of dominance (a dominance, mostly due to serve + forehand)"
    Hold on! Fed is better than that. He is certainly a more complete player that this description. He used to volley pretty well. Occasionally (as in AO final 2010), his backhand looks really good.

    This sounds like the old Roddick.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
  12. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    1. Segura/Federer
    3. Lendl
    4. Borg
    5. Nadal
    6. Sampras
    7. Laver
    8. Agassi
    9. Courier
    10. Cochet
    11. Tilden
    12. Perry
    13. Kramer
    14. Santana
    15. Johnston
    16. Nastase
    17. Vines
    18. Newcombe
    19. Gonzales
    20. Gomez
    21. Okker
    22. Becker
    23. Safin
    24. del Potro
    25. Blake
    27. Budge
    28. Muster
    29. Moya
    30. Arias
    31. Krickstein
    32. Berasategui

    Managing a consensus takes time and patience: you have to put something out there, let it air for a time, watch the responses, then make adjustments.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
  13. Tennis Dunce

    Tennis Dunce Semi-Pro

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    Sorry...but none of these guys' fh is remotely as devastaing as David Nalbandian's fh. Only because his bh gets all the attention he has a devastating fh wing, especially with that 28in. racquet. In fact Nalbandian owns many of the greatest strokes the game has ever seen.
     
  14. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    True. The last time was when Fed whiffed on a forehand at match point in a tie-breaker in the final in Madrid early May 2010.

    I try to keep current.
     
  15. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Did Segura marry Federer? lol.

    Incidentally are we just discussing Federer's peak or do we also include performances now? I've seen (it's not often) performances by Federer's forehand not that different from the performance against Djokovic the other day. Remember that Federer is an active player and we view him often. He may have some bad performances with the forehand. Do we ignore that? Things can change, like the number of majors he has. Segura is retired and many of the others like Lendl has retired so Lendl's average forehand performance is not going to change.

    Federer's not guaranteed first place here so we shouldn't be upset if he is not number one here all the time. We can make excellent arguments for many on this list for number one. For example Lendl has an excellent argument to be number one. He won 82% of his lifetime matches. Won over 90 percent of his matches in many years. He won over 140 tournaments in his career and won eight majors. Do we deny his dominance? He's third on this list. That's not bad.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
  16. Tennis Dunce

    Tennis Dunce Semi-Pro

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    I thought it was Segura-Federer-Melloncamp
     
  17. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Yes but John Melloncamp actually has a better forehand than Segura or Federer. Melloncamp serves better than Sampras too.

    Anyway he's dating Meg Ryan. Lucky guy.


    And that's fair.
     
  18. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Segura's status is a real interesting topic. He was ill in his youth, and his legs remained deformed. And indeed many contemporaries ranked his dh forehand very high. But was he a real champion in the class of say a Kramer, Sedgman or Gonzalez? The forehand often was the cornerstone for great dominant champons like Perry, Cochet, Kramer, Federer or Lendl. Segura's amateur career was not so great, some college titles and semis in majors, i think. He turned pro early, lost a tour to Kramer in 1951 by a big margin. His best years were 1952 and 53, when he rivalled with Kramer, who did play only sporadically, however, and Gonzalez, who was not yet in his prime. I think, Segura won a pair of US pro titles in that period, but after that not much more. He reached the Wembley event, the most important for the pros, twice, but lost the finals.
     
  19. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Correct. Fed is active, therefore, as long as he can move up, he can also move down.
     
  20. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Segura played in the Old Pro Tours and was one of the top players there. He was competing with Rosewall, Gonzalez, Kramer, Trabert, Hoad, Sedgman among other greats. I think he edged out Sedgman on a tour by a score of 23 to 22 on a tour Gonzalez won and Budge also played in.

    Segura also crushed Ken McGregor by a score of 71 to 25 and he easily (no match W-L was given) beat Frank Parker on tour.

    Given some of these results I would think that Segura probably was a great player in his day but was not in the record books for majors because he was not eligible to play them.

    Is his forehand the best ever? I don't know but I would think guys like Laver, Gonzalez and Vines were pretty objective and they raved about the Segura forehand. I would think the forehand was pretty good.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
  21. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    I saw a ton of Lendl and I would never rank his FH above Federer's.
     
  22. HackersRUs

    HackersRUs Rookie

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    while I understand the context argument, and the flogged-to-death 'modern racquet' argument, I have grave doubts over the viability of rating a pre-war or post war closed stance forehand as 'greater' than those of the post-Borg era.

    Remember, our man Bjorn had a woodie, too, and hit it with far more ferocity and variation than his illustrious forebears, simply by virtue of his modern techique.
    (No, of course he wasn't the first, or the only, but he is a good example because he is easy to find footage of)

    Sorry rose colored nostagia dudes, but don't just argue with me, watch the tapes with a stopwatch in your hand and be honest with yourself.
    (no, that isn't slow motion, that's how they played!)
     
  23. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Didn't say he should be but I was using Lendl to point out that Federer's forehand is not necessarily a definitive number one.
     
  24. piece

    piece Professional

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    Not quite true, I don't think. I was at the match. Federer made a few more errors from that side than he should have but on average when Fed got set up on his forehand it was quite obvious that he was doing the greater damage. On the run, however, was a completely different story.
     
  25. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Piece,

    Were you at the final and if so what were your impressions of Djokovic's play and did you think Murray seemed nervous?
     
  26. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    That's true but then Lendl's sure as heck isn't number one either. It's all subjective. In the 2009 Us Open final Del Potro hit the best forehands in the history of the world.
     
  27. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Of course it's subjective. That's why we have the thread. I've read that Lew Hoad used to have streaks in which he could hit a ton of forehand winners with incredible power. I've read Hoad used to be able to move in a hit winners off Gonzalez's first serve inside the baseline. I would assume a lot of those winners were off the forehand but few would rank Hoad's forehand as the best ever.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
  28. piece

    piece Professional

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    I wasn't I'm sorry to say. I don't live in Melbourne and chose to see both men's semis rather than the final. Couldn't afford a longer stay or the extra tickets I would've needed to see all three. But from what I saw on TV, Djokovic was even more impressive in the final than in the semi, and Murray looked extremely nervous and played very poorly for the most part. I was pretty disappointed by Murray actually because there were parts in the Ferrer match where he hit his forehand unbelievably well. I couldn't recall ever seeing him hit his forehand with so much pace and penetration on rally balls as he was at the end of the 2nd and through most of the 3rd sets.

    But no, I don't have any unique perspective on the final, unfortunately.

    I should caveat my last post by acknowledging that Djokovic was flattening out high balls with his forehand substantially better than Federer in addition to doing more with his forehand on the run. Still, on regular forehand rally balls, I could really tell that Federer's forehand was the more damaging shot.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2011
  29. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Segura-Federer is not a marriage. It's the greatest forehand rivalry of all time! (GFROAT)
     
  30. You Can't Be Serious

    You Can't Be Serious Rookie

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    I kind of agree with krickstein and Arias. You are 100 percent correct in saying what did they achieve except they made it to the pro tour and had some successful tournaments based on their great forehands.

    If you are considering the forehand itself--I agree with their positions. If you take into accounts an individuals overall success and longevity no.

    But I gather the topic of conversation was the best forehand not the best forehand with results to show for it.

    Most people here play tennis and I gather can make that distinction. As they said about Mats Wilander, his strength was his mental toughness.

    Another example from the Arias era was Eric Korita who had one of the best serves.

    Even the ATP bio states he had one of the best all-time serves. Of course, he was lazy and out of shape. I remember working a small tournament in New Jersey and they had to clear the backrows in the corner of the stands because fans were getting hit with his serve that hit off players frames and into the stands.

    Believe me, you were scared.

    It depends on what your critera is. Serve with results or just a great serve.

    Arias set a new standard in forehands back in his time. The rest of his game--well we saw what happened.
     
  31. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I understand both players were thinking, darn if not for that other guy I'd be undisputed greatest forehand of all time. :)
     
  32. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    But after all, Segura used two hands. So is he cheating?
     
  33. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    That's right, that Segura may have been cheating by using two hands. That's quite diabolical. Federer is only using one hand so therefore Federer wins by default.
     
  34. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I like it. Then maybe we should rank Segura at no. 15?
     
  35. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Piece,
    thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it.
     
  36. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Maybe on telly (I was not there), I noticed more the "flattening out high balls with his forehand substantially better than Federer, in addition to doing more with his forehand on the run."

    I did also see Fed have some good "damaging" forehands, but they seemed fewer and farther between than typical Fed-forehand-prowess.. Djoker's forehand seemed, IMO, more consistent and deeper in general, overall.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2011
  37. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    For what it's worth Patrick McEnroe thought Djokovic outhit Federer, forehand to forehand also.
     
  38. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

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    I have obviously not expressed myself clearly. I mentioned results, yes, but also consistency of stroke. Arias and Krickstein had power forehands that were great shots when they had time to set up and blast them. But I value consistency over power and believe Wilander's forehand, with it's consistency and placement, was a better shot than just being able to hit a powerful forehand. Of course having both power and consistency is better. Consequently, we have players like Lendl, Agassi and Courier quite high on the list. I'm not arguing that Wilander belongs in the top 10 with them. But I think his forehand was better than both Arias and Krickstein's.

    I play tennis as well. ;-)

    Something I have independently commented on in several posts on this forum.

    In any case, it doesn't matter - as is always the case in these discussions, we have to agree to disagree, and obviously more people have agreed with Arias and Krickstein making the list over Wilander.

    But don't belittle my opinion by implying it is based on incorrect logic or not understanding the game or the topic. I know exactly what the intention of the thread is and my opinion is that Wilander's forehand was better than Arias and Krickstein's. I have no problem with your not agreeing, but don't patronize me.
     
  39. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

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    no because 2HFH is actually harder and more unnatural, so Fed's more a cheater :twisted:
     
  40. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    So a 1hFH is easier?!. I get it.

    Then (again) Segura and Fed will tie at no. 15.
     
  41. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    No, no, no. One hand is 50% the power of two hands so Segura has an UNFAIR advantage. :)
     
  42. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    1. Lendl
    2. Borg
    3. Nadal
    4. Sampras
    5. Laver
    6. Agassi
    7. Courier
    8. Cochet
    9. Tilden
    10. Perry
    11. Kramer
    12. Santana
    13. Johnston
    14. Nastase
    15. Segura/Federer
    16. Vines
    17. Newcombe
    18. Gonzales
    19. Gomez
    20. Okker
    21. Becker
    22. Safin
    23. del Potro
    24. Blake
    25. Budge
    26. Muster
    27. Moya
    28. Wilander
    29. Arias
    30. Krickstein
    31. Berasategui




    (Just kidding.):wink:
     
  43. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

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    Have you ever tried using a 2HFH? I have, and it's a floater.

    Plus, power comes from core, not the arms ;)
     
  44. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

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    no. 15? Why not #1?
     
  45. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Read the very last line of Hood's post again.
     
  46. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    You may be kidding but I understand Lendl fans are jumping for joy. lol.

    Lendl's hated forehand rivals are knocked down. Segura took Federer down with him.

    Lendl must feel this honor is better than winning Wimbledon.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
  47. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    But the Borg fans are really, really upset that their man is stopped at #2. They're demanding a recount, and at least a tie with Lendl.
     
  48. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    It's clear the voting was done in Florida.
     
  49. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Okay, this is going to get nasty.
     
  50. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

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    oooooh ok he was jk :D

    :lol:
     

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