Greatest Forehands of All Time

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

  1. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    I agree completely PC1. I think Graf would have hit great with wood frames, given her clean strokes, I don't think she'd have to make large adjustments. Yet, she wouldn't be able to rely on power nearly as much. I also think that with modern frames, she would have been even more dangerous than she was with the Dunlop Max 200G she used.
     
  2. Wilander Fan

    Wilander Fan Hall of Fame

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    I am going with Nadal on the forehand. Ive seen him rip clean winners from a completely defensive position with that thing. Also, its ungodly how consistent and reliable it is considering the massive swing. When he actually has a chance to set up and hit with his momentum moving forward, its an awesome shot. I saw him hit a fh down the line this year that must have moved laterally about 3 feet before hitting the surface because of the spin. It ended up in the middle of the court but the other player hit a weak response because it had so much action.

    There are alot of guys who could hit bigger forehands at times. For example, Federer probably puts away the short ball better than anyone and Sampras hit the best running fh...but I think Nadal overall is the most dangerous from that side.
     
  3. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Very true. Evert's backhand was her best shot, but her forehand was great too. It was so consistent and beautiful in its simplicity. Her form was so unique. Her strokes were literally textbook.

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  4. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    The one innate athletic physical attribute, Evert possessed in as copious a degree as a Graf or Navratilova, was balance both kinetic or static. It was extremely rare you ever saw Chris mistime on either wing because she was unbalanced in the middle of that simple stroke production whether she was bending low or reaching wide or high. while the reach itself may have been limited, the balance was there. It was a hidden key to those passing shots.
     
  5. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Right, and IMHO, key to that was her uncanny anticipation and feet movement.As Bnº1 posted before, her shots were textbook and so was her footwork and capacity to be right on the spot to take the ball on the rise.Other girls like Austin and Jaeger copied that, too.
     
  6. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    I actually felt Jaeger had better balance and footwork than Austin. I felt her groundies were smoother aesthetically off both wings. Austin was physically stronger, and hit a heavier, steadier ball. She varied pace and spin far less and kept things simpler technically thereby.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2010
  7. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yes I think jaeger had an enormous potential: big topspin groundies, very very fast - she looked like never touched ground- and very smart, great atctichal sense.Her mind and other problems finally took over her very promising career.IMo, a quartet of Evert,Navrativlova as the classcal powers and stroming newcomers Mandlikova and Jaeger ( with solids Austin,Shriver,Jordan,Hanika behind ),would have been almost as good as the Borg,Connors,Mac and Lendl quartet ( with Gerulaitis,Tanner,Clerc and Vilas right behind), which was going on exactly in those years.Pitty that Andrea and Hana never fulfilled their promises.
     
  8. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I would say Evert's balance, timing, eye hand coordination along with brilliant court vision and uncanny focus all contributed to her shot preparation which was a major factor in her success.
     
  9. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    But you know, Limpin, Excepting focus, those are all athletic attributes as surely as strength, speed, agility and stamina. By those criteria she was as fine an athlete as any in the sport. Alas such elements are simply not accredited in the same way, probably because they are harder to measure and do not televise as well for dramatic affect, so she as seen as a 'non-athletic' champion.
     
  10. You Can't Be Serious

    You Can't Be Serious Rookie

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    Andrea never fullfilled her promise because he didn't want too. She has stated that in many interviews following her retirement from tennis. According to her, whenever she came close to winning something big she tanked. She didn't have the heart which if okay because it wasn't her sport==but her dads.

    I agree she was one heck of a player.
     
  11. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Right, that´s what I meant when refeering to other problems.But a quartet of Navratilova (S&V), Evert (Backcourt deffense) Mandlikova ( all court talent) and Jaeger (baseline offense and rythm change) would have been very special if the latter 2 would perform with the consistence of the former 2.¿what would you think?
     
  12. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    that happened because of his genious born talent.Hit shots didn´t exist a minute before.Missed quite a lot, too.

    Another good, solid forehand is Clerc´s.His inside-outside, and his stroking at high balls were very considerable.
     
  13. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Agreed.Still Fed´s one is so good it is hard to think could exist one better
     
  14. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I missed timnz post above. I'm trying to think of a shot Lendl could hit that Federer can't hit, or a shot that Lendl hit better than Fed. The only thing I can think of that Lendl did as well as Federer on the forehand was hitting it on the run. Of course Fed is a bit quicker than Lendl, but, in terms of what Fed can do with the ball on the stretch, I'd say Lendl was just as good in that respect, and maybe, MAYBE, he was a bit better at pulling the ball cross court on the stretch. But, in all other respects, I give Federer's forehand the nod over Lendl's. JMHO, of course.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2010
  15. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    I think Fed hits his forehand better moving forward also. He seems to just explode towards the ball. As for moving to the right, I give Lendl the edge to his down the line forehand while Fed has the edge going crosscourt.
     
  16. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    I love this comparison we got going on between Lendl's and Fed's forehand. As someone earlier stated Fed has this mojo thing going on when it comes to his forehand. Lendl sometimes plays to passive (against Wilander, Edberg). However, when Lendl is faced with another power hitter (Agassi, Becker, Courier) his inner forehand mojo comes out. Cause Fed really never plays passive off the forehand side I have to give the nod to him over Lendl when it comes to the better forehand.
     
  17. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I was thinking the opposite. Fed's down the line and inside out fh's are his best shots, in my view. He's great cross court as well, but, he struggles getting the ball cross court when running to the right compared to Lendl and Sampras. JMHO!
     
  18. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Although Lendl had huge power, his approach to match play was more of a grinder than a power player. He would spend a lot of time looping the ball, wearing down opponents and then moving in for the kill. He also used an extremely heavy frame (my understanding it's over 400g) that just wasn't going to get whipped around the way Fed whips his frame.
     
  19. NonP

    NonP Professional

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    I agree with this. Fed indeed has a great running FH of his own, and can hit wicked angles from almost any position, but on a full stretch you'll often see him flick rather than rip it especially, yes, when going cross-court. I remember once reading someone (can't remember who) characterizing Fed's running FH as more a placement shot than a power shot, which I thought was an astute observation (and description).

    But otherwise Fed's FH at his peak was virtually perfect, quite possibly the best FH of the Open era.
     
  20. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I can't think of another shot in tennis history that was better overall than Fed's forehand! JMHO, of course! And, I'm not that much of a Fed fan. But, his fh is just flat out amazing. Imagine hitting a forehand as hard as Agassi, with better disguise, variety and, of course, mobility.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2010
  21. NonP

    NonP Professional

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    Segura's FH apparently wasn't half bad, either. Who knows, none of us seem to have seen it.

    Some would argue that there have been a few lower-ranked players in history whose FH was every bit as good as that of these all-time greats, if not better, but I'll let them make that argument. Too ambitious and time-consuming a task for me.
     
  22. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    Hmmmm. You might be right. Maybe I'm giving Fed to much credit for the angle he could produce instead of the power of the shot. It could be a by- product of the modern strings and a bigger racquet head.
     
  23. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    You are 100% right. But the point I was making was that when faced with another power player, Agassi for example, he let it rip. Again, I think it was because of the racquet and strings of the day. And yes, Lendl's racquet was super heavy. I played with it a few months ago and it was a tank. It's so unforgiving, however if hit in the sweet spot oh boy watch that ball fly.

    These polls and list of greatest this and greatest that are so hard. It has so many people arguing. In all honesty we really can't fairly compare Lendl's and Fed's forehand. Different era and different strings and racquets. Lendl grew up playing with wood and later developed playing with a early graphite small headed racquet. His forehand technique were for those frames and strings. The modern forehand is so much more devastating. Let's try giving Fed a smaller 72 inch frame with gut strings. I'll bet my house that his forehand wouldn't be as devastating as it is now.
     
  24. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    My hitting partner has one of those old Lendl racquets. Weighs a ton, and the sweetspot is the size of a quarter.
     
  25. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Very true Hoodjem. Yet, somehow, he just loved those frames and was so consistent with them. They were fairly heavy, and those racquets hit strangely, in my opinion. I didn't feel like I had great control, compared to my Wilson graphite frames at the time. I think Mr. Lendl would have been even better with these current frames, along with modern strings. See him hitting against Borg in 1981 at MSG in the Masters Final.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jZmFMUGTTU
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2010
  26. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    My hitting partner pulls it out and hits with it occasionally--when he is playing poorly because his timing is off or he is playing lazy. After about 15 minutes with the Lendl racquet, he goes back to his Yonex and hits much better, cleaner, crisper.

    He says it forces him to sharpen everything up. I tried it once; it felt like a 2x4 club. Made my old PS 85 (from memory) feel like a flexy Big Bubba.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  27. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Fed's forehand in the 2011 AO semis did not look good. It appeared to be shaky and weak.

    Odd to say, but Djokovic's forehand looked like the better shot--and that is saying something!
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2011
  28. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    The greatest forehand of all time should not be inconsistent, and undependable.

    1. Segura
    2. 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. Arias
    30. Krickstein
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  29. President

    President Legend

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    Then what is the rationale for having Sampras higher than Nadal? Nadal has won 9 GS and counting, all of them on the strength of his amazing forehand and mobility. He has won on all surfaces, and has generally shown incredible day to day consistency with the stroke, being able to adapt from the slow clay of RG to the relatively fast and low bouncing HC at Flushing Meadows. Sampras won mainly on the strength of his serve. His forehand was a great shot, but imo Nadal's is quite a bit more effective.

    Nadal's forehand is steadier than any forehand on the list except Borg's, and he is able to do some serious damage with it as well with his crazy racquethead speed.
     
  30. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Moya above Muster and Berasategui in the forehand stakes? :confused:
     
  31. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Hoodjem's list is a consensus list, not his opinion.
     
  32. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    and Mancini and Berasategui.Even though they were just one year players and then faded away.Clerc´s was, IMO, at least, as good as Okker.Just an opinion.
     
  33. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, true.


    1. Segura
    2. 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
     
  34. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

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    I still don't agree that Wilander wouldn't make a list that now is extended to the best 32 forehands of all time, or that Krickstein and Arias both make the list ahead of him. What did Krickstein or Arias ever achieve? Just being able to hit a hard and heavy forehand is no measure of greatness, IMO.
     
  35. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I fear that you may have misinterpreted the theme of this thread.

    I agree with you: "just being able to hit a hard and heavy forehand is no measure of greatness." (That thread might be titled Great Players with Hard and Heavy Forehands.)

    But this list is not a list of general greatness. This is a list of only great forehands. Its criterion is not greatness first, then heavy forehand second. Its sole criterion is great forehand. (Theoretically, though I doubt that we would have heard of this person, one might have a miserable career record, but a great forehand and be on this list.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  36. Tennis Dunce

    Tennis Dunce Semi-Pro

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    Au contraire, Fed's style and fh in particular are tailor-made for the older racquets. I really doubt Federer would be befuddled by one of Lendl's old sticks.
     
  37. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    The list is an excellent list and I like it that Segura is high up there at number one.

    So many people who have seen the Segura forehand have raved about it and how it was perhaps the greatest single stroke in tennis history. They said he had unbelievable control and disguise. And any short shot would be put away.

    The thing that amazes me is that they said he had in addition to great power, unbelievable control and disguise. The guy could also lob well and drop shot off the forehand.

    Maybe there have been better forehands than Segura but from the descriptions I've read, those forehands couldn't be much better than his forehand.
     
  38. vllaznia

    vllaznia Semi-Pro

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    You guys are really clowns, just because of a match not played very well from Federer, you change the idea of who has the best forehand, so much of being consensus list, maybe its the consensus list of the old ****s of the forum.
     
  39. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

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    No, I didn't misunderstand at all. I think Wilander certainly belongs in a list of the top 32 forehands of all time. His forehand was among the most consistent and well-placed in the game. That it didn't have the power of a Lendl or Becker or Agassi does not dismiss that it was a great forehand.

    Arias won only 5 singles titles in his career and Krickstein only 9, none of them majors. Sorry, but if your forehand is the #30 greatest of all time, ALL TIME, you would have had more success than that.
     
  40. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Finally, we get a little respect.
     
  41. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    You mean we're not treated like Rodney Dangerfield?:)
     
  42. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Not necessarily.

    One could have a great forehand, but a mediocre backhand, a less-than average serve, and no net game, and not win a whole lot.

    You can't run around to hit a forehand on everything. (It's completeness that makes the greats, not a single great shot IMO.)
     
  43. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Negative respect.

    Fed did not just have "a match not played very well," his forehand let him down. Dare I say it: Djokovic's forehand looked better.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  44. vllaznia

    vllaznia Semi-Pro

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    Well this forum also should get some respect, and changing a so called consesus list based on a single match does not show so much respect for this forum and its readers.
     
  45. vllaznia

    vllaznia Semi-Pro

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    Have you watched all the important match of Segura's. Are you sure that his forehand has never let him down?
     
  46. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Of course his forehand let him down. The guy was only human. If his forehand never let him down I would think he'd be the greatest player ever.
     
  47. vllaznia

    vllaznia Semi-Pro

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    Ok, can you explain me why the so called consesus list was changed in base of a match where Federer's forehand let him down?
     
  48. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Not my list my friend.
     
  49. vllaznia

    vllaznia Semi-Pro

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    But you said it was a consesus list, not just Hoodjem's opinion.
     
  50. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Yes it is and Hoodjem I assume takes these opinions into account. But I can't say why Federer's forehand went down. So I can't answer your question.
     

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