Greatest Strokes of All Time - new book

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Moose Malloy, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    just got Steve Flink's 'The Greatest Matches of All Time,' its a must read for any fan.

    at the end he has a section titled Greatest Strokes of All Time for men & women, with thoughts on each pick. I will list his choices for the men.

    1st Serve
    1. Sampras
    2. Gonzales
    3. Becker
    4. Ivanisevic
    5. Federer/Isner

    2nd serve
    1. Sampras
    2. Kramer
    3. Newcombe
    4. Roddick
    5. Rafter

    Return of Serve
    1. Agassi
    2. Connors
    3. Djokovic
    4. Hewitt
    5. Murray

    Forehand
    1. Federer
    2. Nadal
    3. Lendl
    4. Tilden
    5. Borg/Sampras/Del Potro

    Backhand
    1. Budge
    2. Rosewall
    3. Connors
    4. Djokovic
    5. Hoad/Kuerten

    FH Volley
    1. Kramer
    2. Newcombe
    3. Emerson
    4. Rafter
    5. McEnroe

    BH Volley
    1. Edberg
    2. Roche
    3. Rosewall
    4. Laver
    5. Sampras

    Overhead
    1. Sampras
    2. McEnroe
    3. Gonzales
    4. Federer
    5. Trabert

    Lob
    1. Nastase
    2. Borg
    3. Santana
    4. Wilander
    5. Connors/Murray

    Passing Shot
    1. Nadal
    2. Borg
    3. Agassi
    4. Hewitt
    5. Djokovic

    mental toughness
    1. Nadal
    2. Connors
    3. Gonzales
    4. Sampras
    5. Laver
     
    #1
  2. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Some of these are supportable. Others lead me to think that Steve Flink was smoking dope when he compiled his lists.
     
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  3. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    don't suppose you'll print them for the women?
     
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  4. FedericRoma83

    FedericRoma83 Rookie

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    Ivan Lendl's passing was definitely a top-3 stroke, I can't understand why he excluded it.
    He also excluded Tilden's serve, probably the greatest ever, he was able to serve around 200 km/h in the 20s!
    I disagree with lobs too: Lendl's and Newcombe's had to be there.


    Other lists are pretty nice tough: I agree with return, backhand and mental toughness.
     
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  5. Nadal_Power

    Nadal_Power Semi-Pro

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    Can you give list of pre Open era men's matches in the book
     
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  6. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    All subjective rankings but nothing totally outrageous. I am surprised Federer was there for serve considering guys like Roddick who have better serving stats with lesser all around games aren't on there. Lot of great servers were left out.

    Segura's forehand and Perry's forehand, both regarded by many to be the greatest forehands in the history of tennis were left out. Laver called Segura's forehand the best he had faced. Kramer, Riggs and Vines called Segura's forehand the greatest single shot in the history of tennis. Perry's forehand was named by World Tennis years ago as the greatest forehand ever.

    Frank Sedgman, arguably the greatest volleyer ever was not named on the either BH or FH volley list.

    Yannick Noah was forgotten on the overhead list.

    None of the picks were downright awful and there are so many players in the history of tennis Flink was bound to forget a lot.
     
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  7. CRWV

    CRWV Rookie

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    No love for Feds passing shot? Some of the passes from wimbledon 02 against Sampras are god-like...

    Also, he might want to revise the mental toughness list after this wimbledon :lol: :lol: :lol
     
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  8. Q&M son

    Q&M son Professional

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    Thanks for the info Moose
     
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  9. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Flink is a newcomer and a second rate tennis journalist.This list is completely ridiculous.It is biassed and only rates last 15 or 20 years players.LMAO¡¡¡
     
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  10. The-Champ

    The-Champ Legend

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    Wow Agassi's backhand is not mentioned. I think Agassi's backhand is a lot better than djokovic.
     
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  11. The-Champ

    The-Champ Legend

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    The list is ridiculous. Nadal and Djokovic have never faced serious serve and volleyers to test their passing shots.

    Should they be on that list?
     
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  12. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    Do you really think so? Djokovic has a great backhand. I can see a person picking Agassi's backhand over Djokovic but I really don't see it as much better. Here a question, do we including Djokovic's ability to hit a backhand winner on the run since he has more mobility than Agassi or perhaps we shouldn't consider that?

    If anything I would put Agassi's backhand over Lew Hoad's backhand.
     
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  13. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    That's a tough call. Worthy of consideration, imo. Then there's Connors' backhand. I saw him play in person in his prime. Really quite awesome. But I love the apparent ease and compact fluidity of Agassi's strokes. I also really like to watch Rosewall. Maybe they should separate backhands into one-handed and two-handed.

    Anyway, from my experience, perspective, and limited judgement, I like Agassi's backhand better than Djokovic's. But the Djoker's power and placement is amazing. Like I said, tough call.
     
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  14. The-Champ

    The-Champ Legend

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    Standing on just one spot, I've never seen Agassi lose a bh to bh battle even on his worst days. At this year's AO, Djokovic vs Murray, Djokovic had to rely on backhand slices every now and then because Murray was overpowering him on that side. You are right though when you said that Djokovic mobility enables him to hit great shots on the run from the bh side. Agassi's ability though to hit on rise with that bh is still unequalled today IMO.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3uiZvHN9f8
     
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  15. The-Champ

    The-Champ Legend

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    Power-wise, I'd still pick Agassi's over Djokovic'.
     
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  16. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    yeah because gonzales, laver, kramer, newk,tilden,hoad,budge,emerson, mac,roche,rosewall,trabert,borg,santana,connors all are from the last 15-20 years ..., oh wait :oops:

    you are pissed only because he didn't rank laver in the top 5 in almost every category ....:lol:
     
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  17. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    I'd take

    karlovic's first serve over federer's
    edberg's 2nd serve over rafter's
    agassi's BH over djoker's/hoad's/kuerten's
    cash's FH volley should be up there too
    courier's FH should be ahead of borg, sampras, delpo ......
    noah should be in the list for overhead .....

    the worst is djoker's passing shot in the top 5 ....... LOL, that one had me cracking up ....... I can name atleast ten players better in the open era alone :

    borg, connors, lendl, agassi,nadal, federer,hewitt,wilander,laver,rosewall
     
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  18. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    two of them are awful IMO ..

    1) djoker's passing shots in the top 5 ???? they are not special ....

    federer who is in the same era and isn't in the list was far better at his peak

    and then of course you have lendl, wilander, connors , laver, rosewall etc ...

    2) agassi's BH not being in the list and having djoker/hoad/kuerten ahead of him, really ?????
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012
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  19. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    You might be right. It's hard to tell just from videos and TV. I just like the way Agassi strokes the ball a slight bit more than the way Djokovic does. I guess I just need to watch more videos. :)
     
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  20. galain

    galain Hall of Fame

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    It's a great testament to Laver though, that he's only on two lists yet still the one many think is the best who ever played the game.
     
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  21. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Yes, it's a testament to Laver's all-around game. No weaknesses. Certain inordinate strengths. And of course he was "the rocket", able to move about the court with speed and agility far surpassing normal men. :) Anyway, he's a joy to watch. If you, or anybody, knows of any videos of Laver, Rosewall, Hoad, Gonzalez, etc. other than those on YouTube, then please let me know.
     
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  22. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Flink, and it is a fact, never watched pre open era tennis and possibly, missed a big part of the 70´s too...but, of course, you couldn´t realize it since you started watching tennis when Agassi and Sampras were already farting on court because of age...
     
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  23. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yes, you are right.But there are many Laver haters on TT, you know, and abmk is one of the biggest.He has the problem that, as much a Fed worshipper he is, he is not THAT DUMMY not to see his hero is still 3 Grand Slams away from the queenslander.
     
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  24. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    As much as I enjoyed the Lendl,Borg,Connors,Mac foursome, which epitomizes Golden Era, as well as Sampras,Agassi,Edberg,Becker, the last Golden Era big four, I don´t think there has been a highest quality tennis from a historical point of view than the middle sixties foursome of Laver,Hoad,Rosewall and Gonzales.
     
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  25. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    Well you can also argue Hoad, Trabert, Sedgman, Gonzalez, Rosewall, Segura of the late 1950's. All of them were near or at their peaks. Gonzalez and Hoad, while clearly excellent weren't at their best anymore in the mid 1960's.

    Incidentally in the mid 1960's Gimeno was clearly better than Hoad so you could add him to the mix also.
     
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  26. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    I like Courier's forehand but there is no way his forehand is superior to Borg's in my opinion. Borg's forehand was by far the best in tennis in his day. It had great consistency, power, heavy topspin and it was probably the best forehand (imo) for passing shots I have ever seen. I've seem him hit forehand to backhand crosscourt against the great Connors backhand and I believe he won a good percentage of those rallies. To put it in perspective Connors, in the 1982 US Open final seemed to be winning the majority of his rallies against Lendl's awesome forehand. Eventually Lendl dominated Connors but I believe one of the big reasons for that was Connors going down as a player. In that US Open final both were excellent although to be fair Lendl wasn't quite at his peak yet but he was still fantastic.

    Glad you put Noah on the overhead list. It seemed to me every time he hit an overhead it was bounced into the stands. What a great shot.

    In Federer's time alone I would also put Roddick's serve over his besides your mention of Karlovic. Roddick, with far lesser all around skills led the ATP in % of holding serve many times, more than Federer. Federer has a great serve but honestly, with all the great servers in history I doubt Federer is in the top twenty of all time.

    I like your list. Actually some of the best passing shots I've seen was Miloslav Mecir when he was at his best but it is arguable he doesn't belong on the list because of his injury riddled short career.

    All good points but I do think Djokovic's overall groundies are special. How good his passing shots are is debatable.

    Kuerten, while he was one of my favorites of all time was not as effective with his groundies on a faster surface (still good however) as on clay. I agree that the guys like Agassi and the players you mentioned may very well have had better overall backhands than Kuerten. But I have to write that Kuerten certainly had a beautiful looking backhand stroke. It's very smooth and flowing.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2012
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  27. Romismak

    Romismak Rookie

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    I don´t know who this is Steve Flink is, but he must be not that great tennis expert to wrote book and not include Ivo´s 1st serve

    Seriously if you don´t include best 1st servers ever Ivo in top 5 than i have no words

    Ivo´s 1st serve is arguably most dangerous stroke-shot in tennis history - nobody has higher ratio ace/1st serve in play

    nobody has that trajectory - at his serving peak even pace much higher than today...

    I didn t even look on other categories it is enough for me not to have Ivo in top 5 best 1st serves...
     
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  28. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    and its a fact that you haven't watched tennis from any era .... I have seen tennis live from the early 90s ...... and plenty of matches before that

    Didn't flink include budge, gonzales, tilden, kramer, emerson etc in his lists ? These guys played before the 70s ........bah, clueless kiki who can't even read.....
     
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  29. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    borg's FH was definitely better on the run than courier's, but I do think courier's FH was more effective offensively .... I could see someone putting borg's FH ahead of courier's though ...

    yeah, roddick above federer. But anyways I'd put Ivo above roddick as well ..

    yeah, mecir had great passing shots ..... but then overall considering careers, I'd put the 10 I mentioned above him .....

    apart from mecir, even guys like rios, safin, bruguera, nalbandian etc ... when in the zone are brilliant at passing .

    yeah, his groundstrokes are brilliant, but his passing shots per se ? I don't think so ...

    yeah, Kuerten's BH was one of the best - both effectiveness and aesthetics wise ....
     
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  30. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Exactly! Backhand list should include Laver or Nalbandian. Second serve list should include Edberg. Lob list should not have Murray. Roche had a great lob.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2012
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  31. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Gimeno was a good player but not a genious like Hoad.I´d rather put Emerson in the list.

    Segura was not a player of Hoad,Kramer,Trabert,Rosewall,Gonzo or Sedgman´s caliber.

    Both, Gimeno and Segura, would probably lead the second fiddle unit.
     
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  32. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    So you saw MANY MATCHES before the 90´s but none of them live? you were a little boy by then.Never watched 60´s, 70´s or 80´s tennis, so do not pretend to talk about something you don´t know about.Be honest to yourself.
     
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  33. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Flink is a serious tennis journalist, his book - i have the first edition - is a well sourced book about famous matches. Yet he seems a bit obsessed with ranking everything. In older important tennis histories (by Tingay, Collins, Clerici, Bellamy, Parsons) writers showed greater humility, they described more and explained more, and didn't try to bring everything in some sort of ranking order and let the reader make his own judgments. Maybe this is more the European style.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2012
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  34. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    We're not talking about geniuses. Gimeno was winning more tournaments in the mid 1960's than Hoad. He was beating geniuses like Rosewall and Laver to win tournaments. He was by a long shot the better player by record in the mid 1960's to later 1960's. He even won a major in the early 1970's when he was over the hill.
     
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  35. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    I like both editions of his book also. I live in the United States and the sporting mentality is often to rank players, teams, whatever. The tendency is generally to rank the present champion to be the greatest ever. It always seems to be inevitable. The big exception seems to be major league baseball in which they seem to respect the past players more. They do not automatically assume the present to be the best unless they feel through statistical analysis that it is so.

    Flink is not a new writer as someone in the forum wrote. He has been around for a long time. I believe he is very knowledgeable but I do disagree strongly with a number of his opinions.

    Opinions are just that, opinions. Flink has a right to give his opinions as much as anyone. I believe Laver's and Rosewall's backhands may very well be among the top five of all time. Gene Scott mentioned Laver, Rosewall and Budge's backhands as among the three best. Arthur Ashe mentioned Laver and Rosewall's backhand as equal number ones of all the backhands he had seen. This was written in the late 1970's with Connors and Borg around. Many lists name Laver's backhand as among the best ever. Just because Flink doesn't mention Laver's backhand in his list doesn't necessarily make it a fact that it was a top five backhand and it doesn't necessarily mean Flink was incorrect. It's opinion.

    Now that we do have more statistics in tennis today I can safely write that it's hard for me to imagine Federer's serve as a top level all time serve if a number of servers have superior percentage of holding serve stats in his own time with obviously lesser all around games. I think if Federer had Roddick's serve over the years he would have won more. I think if Federer had Karlovic's first serve over the years he would have won more. Same with Isner. Same with Sampras. I already named four players in my mind clearly superior to Federer in first serve (and in overall serving game) in Federer's own time so how can Federer have a top five first serve all time? Makes absolutely no sense to me. That opinion of mine can be backed up by stats.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2012
    #35
  36. dimeaxe

    dimeaxe Semi-Pro

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    WRONG! Djokovic would kill Agassi with his backhand, better pace,angles, ability to hit backhand on the stretch...
     
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  37. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    clueless, just because I didn't watch matches live in the 60s, 70s or 80s .... doesn't mean I haven't watched them at all. There are plenty of full matches available from those eras ......

    Now, talking about honesty, why don't you honestly admit you are clueless about tennis from any era ........

    and how about your clueless self putting Kodes in the same league as Vines ? LOL, that still amuses me ..... :)
     
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  38. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    True. Problem is he didn't repeat against Henman in his next match and didn't have much more opportunities to demonstrate his passing shots after that.
     
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  39. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    The nickname "The Rocket" was based on Laver's unmatched power. He was the biggest hitter in the history of tennis with a wood racquet. The fact that he was also the greatest athlete to step on to a tennis court is what makes him a GOAT candidate in perpetuity.
     
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  40. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    actually he did pass henman plenty of times in the QF, just that he played the big points badly in that match ...

    He's shown his passing shots plenty of times after that as well , some of the notable examples being the wimbledon final in 2003, USO semi vs henman in 2004, ancic in wimbledon 2006 QF etc ...
     
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  41. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    I've seen Agassi and Djokovic live. Agassi hit harder and played from 10-15 feet closer in. Djokovic has more mobility and hits better on the stretch which he'd be doing a lot of in a match against a prime Agassi. I'd still pick Djoko to win a majority of their matches on grass and clay, but, I'd go with Agassi on hard court.
     
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  42. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    well, its not that any of the others are on 4/5 of the lists, is there ?

    Btw that statement of mine was made half-jokingly ..... as clueless kiki thinks Laver should be on the top or near the top of every single list that ever existed in tennis .....
     
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  43. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    you keep lowering yourself to unexplored limits...keep on posting, if that serves you to think that way you will overcome your overexposed shortcomings.
     
    #43
  44. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    IMO Laver is #1 in overall athleticism, hitting on the run from both wings and 1hb's. He's probably top 5 in all backhands as well. In other respects, he may not be top 5, but, he's close. Even his serve, which became a bit erratic as he got older (back problems that he didn't talk about), was one of the best in the game in his prime. That balance and lack of any weaknesses was Laver's biggest strength.
     
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  45. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    Rosewall - 100mph slice backhand
     
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  46. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    Laver had an excellent all-round game. But tbh, I wouldn't put at the very top in any category ...athleticism and hitting on the run from both wings , I'd easily put nadal and borg ahead for starters ....
     
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  47. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Wow!...how quickly you turn against Flink just because you didn't like his list. We once had a few discussion about the Tennis Channel 100 greatest list, and you mentioned Flink was one of the tennis experts you respect.
     
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  48. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    even at half that speed, would be a first rate Bh
     
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  49. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    I'm just going by what I've had the privilege to see up close and live. Nadal and Borg are/were great athletes, but, neither could hit on the stretch like Laver because of Laver's Conti grip and wristy stroke production. Further, neither of them played with the all out intensity that Laver did. He was in a class by himself in that respect. He did things that made observers in the stands look at each other like WTF. I also insist that he had the greatest 1hb of all time, and his return game was right up there. Agassi and Connors were probably a shade above because their stroke production was shorter and simpler. Volleys above the net, no one crushed them like Laver did. Anyway, I'm not going to change anyone's mind. I'm just describing my personal experience.
     
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  50. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    You never watched Laver, neither Borg.Keep talking BS
     
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