Greatest Forehands of All Time

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

  1. Terre Battu

    Terre Battu Rookie

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    Pam Shriver =)
     
  2. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

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    Murray definately :lol:
     
  3. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Good list.Forget and Clerc may make a case for not getting into it, but I think it is pretty fair.I like Newc´s chances when we are talking of an attacking forehand, he could also be brilliant in passing shots.Since I´ve never watched Tilden or Vines or Johnston, i have no comments.
     
  4. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Courier

    I've been watching some tennis from the 90s. I am trying to get a visual impression of court speeds relative to today by comparing baseliners from the 80s, 90s and 00s, which I may report at some point if I arrive at any conclusion.

    Reading through this thread, I must say that I find Courier's forehand pretty underrated. It was an awesome and beautiful stroke, more economical than most, no floriture, at least as powerful as Sampras', but much more precise and consistent. Maybe the underrating I observe is due to his relatively short stay at the top. I am referring to his forehand especially when he was a top 3 player in 91-93.

    Best forehand by the decades I am most familiar with:

    1980s: Lendl, by far
    1990s: Courier, by far
    2000s: Federer

    I would have a hard time choosing between those three, but I could very well choose Courier's today.
     
  5. TopFH

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    Wozniacki all the way!
     
  6. chrischris

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    Berasategui ?
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  7. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    Don't get me wrong, I'm one of those who believe Fed's forehand is better then Lendl's. Just wanted to point out that if Fed played with Lendl's old stick with gut strings it would not be as deadly (but still great) as it is in its present form.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  8. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Agassi's, Chang's and Sampras' forehands render any "by far" characterizations pretty ridiculous!
     
  9. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Yes, well, maybe "by far" is a bit too far. But I do see Courier's forehand as the best of the 90s - while it lasted.
     
  10. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I have to give you credit for recognizing what most, who never saw him play, don't, that Courier did have a great forehand. Now here's the acid test, what do you think about Courier's backhand?
     
  11. Laurie

    Laurie Professional

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    Jim Courier did have a great forehand and it's not talked about as much as it should be perhaps. But what about longevity? Why did Courier's game decline so badly?

    Similar thing happened to Roddick in terms of his forehand, it was considered a weapon in the early 2000s and for the last four years or so, everyone says his forehand has no sting, he's tried to put too much spin, he's way too behind the baseline etc.

    Courier did an interesting interview in Tennis magazine in 2000 when he retired, I haven't seen it since then but I remember some of it well (including his reluctance to talk about his girlfriends but the media will probe anyway). The interviewer asked him about that and Courier said he heard the theories about it losing its sting because of those matches with Sampras. If you remember, Courier attacked Sampras' backhand constantly and relentlessly with inside out forehands over and over again but Sampras resisted and came out on top in 3 quarters of their matches. I suppose the theory was that Courier lost heart and his form after so many losses in big matches including Roland Garros.

    This is an interesting example of what I'm talking about.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9h0OXW479M
     
  12. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    I think his backhand gets the job done pretty well and I’ve seen him hit great shots with it. I know it has been dismissed as very inferior but I don’t see that, and I don't think he would have become a top player for 3 years if it hadn’t worked well for him, as he had to use it a lot. Then again, having learned tennis relatively late with a one-handed bh from the start, I’ve never been able to understand how two-handed backhands are hit. Can't do it. It feels like trying to play tennis while handcuffed, so I can't comment much on the mechanics of that mysterious shot. The most incomprehensible to me, by far, is Nadal’s backhand. I like Nadal and his game allright, but his backhand looks impossibly cramped and uncomfortable to me.

    Sometimes I think of two-handed backhands as a remnant from a childhood necessity. As if a child had never fully made the transition from crawling to walking. Some babies can half-crawl very fast at the age of 12-15 months, in a bouncy and complicated way that reminds me of chimps, and even after they learn how to walk, they sometimes resort back to that kind of crawling for a while if they really want to go fast and safe.
     
  13. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    A 2hb is basically a left handed forehand (for a righty). If you let your left hand dominate and keep your right hand passive, you'll get the feel for it quickly. In addition, you can't swing from the shoulder with 2 hands on the racquet as you can with 1 hand on the racquet. Without bending your elbows, you can't move your hands more than a few inches from in front of your sternum. You have to swing with upper body rotation.

    So, the 2 keys are: (1) left handed forehand, let the right arm be passive, and (2) swing with upper body rotation elbow bend.

    Having said that, to me, Courier's backhand looks like a baseball swing with a truncated windup. And, it is very underrated on this forum.
     
  14. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I agree, Courier´s FH was one of the best and possibly, the most consistent of the 90´s on slow courts.It is underrated, just as Newcombe´s one in the 1970´s rankings.
     
  15. pc1

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  16. pc1

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  17. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Where´s Bruguera ? and Forget? and Mancini? quite better FH´s than Arias or Krcikstein, IMO.
     
  18. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    I am certainly not a fanboy, but Federer's forehand is ranked way too low (as is Segura's).
     
  19. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Pitty nobody has seen Tilden,Cochet,Perry and Jack Kramer because they could be in the upper echelon
     
  20. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I found it, finally.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013
  21. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Federer's forehand not in the top 10...seriously?
     
  22. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Here's the latest list.
     
  23. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    If Federer is #1 I think Nadal should be #2. I find it hard to pick between them.
     
  24. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    At no. 5, it's pretty high.
     
  25. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    No Clerc and no Mancini?
    When on, Mecir had a fantastic FH
     
  26. President

    President Legend

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    Why is Sampras above Agassi and Courier?
     
  27. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    No way is Borg that high, and definitely not above Nadal.
     
  28. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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


    You can please some of the people all the time, and you can please all the people some of the time, but . . . .
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013
  29. RudyHuxtable

    RudyHuxtable Rookie

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    federer
    courier
    agassi
    sampras
    lendl
    del potro (seeing this in person is humbling)

    el aynaoui - was so efficient
    gonzo - was ridiculous (worthy or ridicule)
    moya - was a carrying force


    I think that early years Roddick definitely deserves more of a nod than he is getting. Dude could hit.
     
  30. BrooklynNY

    BrooklynNY Hall of Fame

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    :confused::confused::confused:
     
  31. rofl_copter3

    rofl_copter3 Professional

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    For me personally...

    Federer
    Lendl
    Nadal
    Agassi
    Sampras
    Borg

    this is my top in open era...

    Honestly Nadal may have the best forehand ever but at the same time Federer and Lendl both have forehands that it would be near impossible to have at the top of the list...

    Del Potro though has the biggest forehand I've ever seen as far as sheer power...
     
  32. Relinquis

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    at the end of his career, safin complained about never having learned to hit a proper forehand. perhaps he shouldn't be in the top 25 of all time...
     
  33. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    In 1980-1981, Borg's forehand was the best on Tour, and was easily the most consistent shot on Tour. He also hit a lot of winners with it. It was also a deadly passing shot. His backhand was rated as second best on Tour, just behind the Connors backhand. It's easily in the top 5, along with the excellent forehands of Nadal, Federer, and Lendl. Segura and Laver should be in the top 10 as well.
     
  34. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Good point: is there more to a great forehand than sheer power?
     
  35. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    24-minute highlight reel of the Nadal-Del Potro IW final. Appropiate to this thread because these are two of the best forehands in the game right now, and they were both striking the ball well.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v175xvPMQzs
     
  36. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Yep.
    1. Federer
    2. Segura
    3. Lendl
    4. Nadal
    5. Borg
    6. Laver
    7. Agassi
    8. Courier
    9. Cochet
    10. Tilden
     
  37. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    Consistency, dictating play, setting up shots, etc. In terms of power though yeah I think 09 Del Potro was something outrageous.
     
  38. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    And accuracy.
     
  39. President

    President Legend

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    Why the confusion? Give Sampras Courier's serve and see who is the better player between them from the baseline. Sampras' forehand was much more erratic than Courier's.
     
  40. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, two of the present best.
     
  41. The-Champ

    The-Champ Legend

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  42. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    What about Gimeno?
    He had a great, deep and dominating shot
     
  43. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Martin Jaite in the 80's
     
  44. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Interesting analysis. Forehand festival indeed.

    100 points [or rather 99] out of a total of 177 ending in forehand winner or error

    Nadal 22 forehand winners, 30 forehand errors
    Del Potro 18 forehand winners, 29 forehand errors

    But those seem to be forced + unforced errors lumped together, because he also says: “Both Nadal and Del Potro will take those numbers all day long as what also must be considered is how many errors their forehands force on the other side of the net”

    Pity he doesn’t tell us how many of those errors were forced.
     
  45. Laurie

    Laurie Professional

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    Well it is always nice to construct lists, and it is all subjective and not based on stuff other than opinions, which is fine, it's what it is all about.

    So with that in mind, it seems bizarre to argue for Courier to be considered to have a better forehand than Sampras. Sampras was hitting incredible forehands in the 2002 US Open final, Courier was a non factor by late 1996, that's a whole 6 year difference and hundreds of matches. There is no longevity there at the top level for Courier who's moment was between 1991 and 1995 as a contender.
     
  46. Laurie

    Laurie Professional

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    By the way, has anyone mentioned Fernando Gonzalez? By far the biggest forehand I have ever seen live from a player, and I've seen almost every top player in the last 18 years.
     
  47. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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


    We try . . . .
     
  48. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    Yeah F. Gonzalez really used to unload it back in the day. Against Tommy Haas in the AO 2007 he had like 50+ winners, many of them forehands, and only a few errors. Very fast and powerful forehands. Can't decide if he or Del Potro hit it hardest. Then there's also the Soderlings and Berdyches.
     
  49. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Berdych seems to have a great forehand . . . sometimes. But as often as I have witnessed his hitting amazing winners with it, at other times it is too flat and goes beyond the baseline.
     
  50. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    True, Soderling needs to return to tour. He was such an x-factor. Great forehand.
     

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