Greatest Forehands of All Time

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

  1. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Jesus, I've just realized that pc1 had made a good attempt at an explanation and forzamilan had asked a similar question as me. It's a damn pity we can't have rich footage of those old greats.

    One more thing, I consider the Courier forehand at least better than Agassi's, without taking anything from Agassi.
     
  2. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Last edited: Sep 6, 2013
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  3. NonP

    NonP Professional

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    Thought about posting this on one of the Segura threads or the one Moose started on Vines' book, but since it's got mostly to do with Little Pancho's FH I thought I'd revive this (once) popular thread with a couple snippets from the book.

    Moose has posted most of this before but from pages 67-68:

    And also later from p. 68:

    Notice how deception/disguise is one of Vines' main criteria along with power and consistency/flexibility. Normally when we talk about a player's disguise we're referring to his serve, not his FH (or BH for that matter), so I was wondering why that might be the case. Anyone wanna take a crack at it? Is it just us or has disguise in fact taken a backseat in today's tennis? And if the latter what could be behind it? Perhaps we don't think about disguise as much because of the prevalence of the 2HBH, the (semi-)Western FH and the open stance? Would love to hear from those with the technical/historical know-how.

    A brief slowmo of the Segura FH here:



    It's a great shame we don't have very good footage of Segura's legendary shot or that he didn't get to play in this era. My recent reading of the old-timers' books has really enhanced my appreciation of them and though I've long maintained that the likes of Budge, Perry and Kramer deserve GOAT consideration I now think Don & Jack are clearly up there with the usual suspects (Tilden, Gonzales, Rosewall, Laver, Borg, Sampras, Federer & Nadal).

    I was hoping to add the above quotes to Wiki's Segura article but frankly its citation is a mess and it's gonna take some time to sort it all out. And I've got more thoughts to share about the Vines book. Might do that on Moose's thread (or maybe start a new one) after I've gathered them in a presentable format.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2015
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  4. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    I spoke to Segura a few years ago and I mentioned what a great forehand he had. He just replied that he had a good forehand which is perhaps the understatement of the century.

    Here's a scary description of Segura's forehand from Jack Kramer's book "How to Play Your Best Tennis All the Time."--Pancho Segura's forehand was the best single shot I ever played against---I rank it even better than Budge's backhand. Segura generated frightening pace on anything hit near his forehand. Unless you managed to hit the ball three to four feet from the baseline, he would usually put it away for a winner.

    Note that Kramer say it's the best single SHOT he played against, not just best forehand. Kramer played against a lot of great shots like Gonzalez's serve, Sedgman's volley, Budge's backhand and yet he says Segura's forehand was the best! A number of people like Vines and I believe Riggs also agree it was the best single shot.

    Incidentally notice that Vines compares Segura's forehand to other great forehands like Kramer and his own. I do think Kramer and Vines forehands should be higher up on the list. Budge's forehand is higher than both on the list and I think most who observed these players would rank Kramer's forehand and Vines' forehand higher.

    Actually Kramer in his other book The Game writes that Segura's shot was the best he had seen, not just that he had played against.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2015
  5. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I would think so, too. Kramer and Vines had strong forehands that were real weapons; it was Vines' bread and butter from the baseline. Roughly the same was true for Pancho Gonzalez.

    I've seen reports about Budge's forehand, in ALT and other places, that describe it as something of an underrated shot; and sometimes it was surprisingly good, in terms of stats and statements in match reports.

    But still I'd say Kramer, Vines, Pancho G. all should be listed above Budge.

    NonP, looking forward to your comments.
     
  6. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    Budge's forehand was an excellent shot but I don't think I have ever seen it on lists of all time great forehands.

    I'm not sure if a good comparison to Budge wouldn't be Djokovic today. Djokovic's backhand imo is one of the all time greatest and his forehand is superb but not ranked up there with the greats although I'm beginning to wonder if his forehand (Djokovic's) shouldn't be up there also considering the present level. Like Djokovic, Budge could hit a lot of backhand down the line winners.
     
  7. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Great comparison imo. Budge's FH was his weaker wing but I don't recall reading of it breaking down, or people going there with the hope of breaking it down. They might go there simply to avoid his BH, but Budge's forehand was often praised as consistent, and it was credited with a lot of winners. I believe somewhere I saw a match report with more FH winners than BH winners, from Budge. I've definitely seen that for Djokovic.
     
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  8. stronzzi70

    stronzzi70 Professional

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    Gonzalez 19 ???? ,,, I am not agree
     
  9. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    These days it's very rare to have a backhand that is better than your forehand in absolute terms. For a guy like Djokovic his backhand is relatively better compared to other backhands on the tour than his forehand is. He will tend to hit more winners with the forehand but also more errors. I think his backhand is better off the pass , drop shot, lob and is excellent at opening up the court.
     
  10. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    In absolute terms my first thought is that Jimmy Connors' backhand was superior to his forehand and his forehand was an excellent shot. Can't think of any others besides Don Budge. Connors was described by Jack Kramer to be similar to Budge in hitting style ironically.

    Justine Henin's backhand was raved about but I thought her forehand in absolute terms was better as with Vilas' backhand and his forehand.

    Ah, just thought of a player and that would be Arthur Ashe who had a superior backhand in absolute terms to his forehand which was very good.
     
  11. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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  12. Meles

    Meles Legend

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    Here is slow mo from 1965:
    won't_embedhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMkIt2_xucswon't_embed

    Just after 20 seconds you see one in his prime (1949):


    Someone names Seles did pretty well with a two-handed forehand, so Segura's could be the best...
     

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