Greatest Two-Handed Shot OAT

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by hoodjem, Sep 1, 2011.

  1. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    With all the GOAT BH and FH and Serve, it seemed appropriate to initiate a thread on the "greatest two-handed shots of all time."

    So here we go: we gotta have Segura's forehand in there (Kramer and others used to say it was the most devastating groundstroke in all of tennis--FH or BH), and certainly Connor's backhand (did he start it all?)

    There's plenty of room to build a list with other great 2HBHs. How many 2HfHs have there been? One wonders.

    1. Segura FH
    2. Connors BH
    3. Agassi BH
    4. Nalbandian BH
    5. Safin BH
    6. Borg BH
    6. Mecir BH
    8. Rios BH
    9. Djokovic BH
    10. Kafelnikov BH
    11. Murray BH
    12. Nadal BH
    13. Drysdale BH
    14. Mayer FH
    15. McMillan FH/BH
    16. Evert BH
    17. Seles FH/BH
    18. Hingis BH
    19. Jaeger BH
    20. Bromwich FH
    21. Peng Shuai FH
    22. Geoff Brown
    23. Viv McGrath
    24. Bartoli FH
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
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  2. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I would rank Segura's two handed forehand number one. Too many people who have seen it say it's the best single tennis shot they have ever seen.

    Ellsworth Vines also said it was the greatest single shot in the history of tennis.

    It has been compared to Jimmy Connors' lefty backhand but with more control and disguise. Of course that makes sense since Pancho Segura was one of Jimmy Connors' teachers and coaches.

    Other possibilities, Jimmy Connors' lefty backhand as Hoodjem mention, Borg's two handed backhand, Djokovic's two handed backhand, Agassi's backhand, Mecir's backhand, Wilander's backhand, Chang's backhand.

    Among the women, Evert's backhand, Seles' strokes on either side, Hingis' backhand, Serena's backhand, Clijsters' backhand.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2011
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  3. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Great starting list Hoodjem.

    Thought of another player Gene Mayer, who hit with two hands on both sides. I think his forehand was his best shot. Actually his drop shot was his best shot.

    Incidentally this is one list I don't think Federer should win. lol. Please, no complaints about Federer not being on the list.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2011
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  4. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Bartoli among the women also has a two handed forehand as does Santoro among the men. Frew McMillan was great in doubles with two hands on both sides.
     
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  5. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Borg's bh was THE greatest passing shot of all time. It was also one of the 4 or 5 greatest rally shots of all time. I'm not sure how it ends up at #13. In addition, Cliff Drysdale's 2hb belongs on any greatest 2h list. It was a major weapon.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2011
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  6. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    I never saw Drysdale play, can't find any clips. He must have had some major defects elsewhere or he would have done better. What were they?
     
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  7. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I agree with that. Borg also had a very nice slice backhand approach shot.
     
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  8. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    When Safin beat Sampras in the US Open final I thought his backhand that day was a step above anything Ive ever seen
     
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  9. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I saw him win a WCT event that included Nastase, Roche, Okker and a few other top players, beating Tom Gorman in the final. He had no major weaknesses, although his continental forehand was not as good as his backhand. He was tall and skinny, about 6'2", 165lbs, and he also had a big beautiful looking serve and an excellent net game. He was a top 10-15 player and reached the U.S. Nationals final in 1965. He just happened to have a great 2hb that was much more versatile than any 2hb's today.
     
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  10. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    On that list, I would have Borg at #4.
     
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  11. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Last edited: Sep 2, 2011
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  12. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Borg's racquet has an "S" on it.

    Was he using a Slazenger?
     
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  13. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I think he was 18 there in 1974. You can also see him hitting some monster passing shots against Laver in the 2 Hilton Head videos on the Tube. I saw him play live a few times, the first time against Laver in a team tennis match. Laver was nearly 40 and just couldn't hurt Borg any more. Some of Borg's backhand passing shots were nuclear bombs. There' nothing like the sound of a well struck passing shot with a wood racquet strung with gut at 80lbs. :shock: He had more racquet head speed on his 2hb than any other 2hb I've seen. I think the fact that he let go of the racquet after contact had something to do with that. He literally threw the racquet at the ball with his arms and his upper body rotation.
     
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  14. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I was at the Borg/Vijay Amitraj match and I'm always amazed how some think Borg couldn't hit with pace. Borg as you can tell had great power on forehand, backhand and serve, even at the young age of 18. Obviously highlight clips don't always tell the tale but you can see Borg's ability to hit the ball with great pace and spin. Vijay was one of the smoothest players I've ever seen. He was so gifted but he never made it to the top. Vijay was a very dangerous opponent against anyone defeating players like Borg, Laver, Connors and Nastase. I saw Vijay play a match in which he totally crushed Connors and Connors didn't play that badly.

    It was an unbelievable match between two of the most gifted young players in the world at that time. The atmosphere was electric. Hard to believe a second round match could be that good.

    In retrospect I wish Borg won that match because Vijay lost very easily to Ken Rosewall later in the tournament. It would have been very interesting to see a young Bjorn Borg against Ken Rosewall in the 1974 US Open.
     
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  15. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Incidentally another two handed shot in consideration should be John Bromwich's two handed backhand that was great in precision and consistency.
     
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  16. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Maybe we should have separate lists for male and female players. Off the top of my head I think Evert should lead the list for the women players with her backhand.
     
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  17. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Viv McGrath and Geoff Brown had very good double handed backhands. Interestingly, the Aussies in the 30s,40s and 50s often had quite unorthodox games. Brookes played the backhand with the same racket side as his forehand, Crawford played a very old fashioned game with a triangel racket head, Bromwich played with all his hands (and a big jaw). Maybe they had more freedom in coaching than the prodigies in England and the US, where certain standards held firm for a long time. Hopman was often accused of being more dominant than the pope, but he always let his pupils play their own game, slice baselining for Rosewall, vicious topspin for Laver, aggressive power for Hoad, strong volley game for Newcombe.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2011
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  18. Bartoli's forehand is not pretty at all.
    I'd say Peng Shuai's forehand is a much nicer shot.
     
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  19. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I'd have Wilander in or near the top 15. His 2hb was rock solid and an all time great passing shot, even if it was as big a weapon as some.
     
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  20. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I can see that. It was a shot that didn't break down. Terrific shot.
     
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  21. BTURNER

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    yeah but he cheated and went to a one handed slice. I say a double hander means regardless of spin.
     
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  22. Carlo Giovanni Colussi

    Carlo Giovanni Colussi Semi-Pro

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    This is my second post today :

    I am off subject (two-handed strokes)
    but I just want to say that
    Kramer didn't always claim that Segura's forehand was the best he'd ever seen

    In the mid-60's Kramer said that the best forehand he'd ever seen was that of

    Kenneth Norman Fletcher

    including two-handed forehands and especially Segura's.

    (I read it in Hugh Lunn's biography of Kenneth, The Great Fletch : I have not the book to hand so I do not remember the exact very long title of the book published circa 2008 two years after Fletcher's death and even less the page where Kramer's quote is).

    Kramer also thought that Santana's forehand was pretty great (again a one-handed stroke)
    but when he watched the Fletcher-Santana match at Wimby amateur 1966 in the quarters,
    Kramer was then fully convinced that Fletcher's forehand was also better than Santana's (Incidentally Santana won the match 7-5 in the fifth set, thanks to a miraculous lob, then swept the amateur title two rounds later).

    So when Kramer stated later in his book "The Game" published in early 1979 that Segura had the best forehand he'd ever seen
    he just forgot at the time what he had told a decade before about Fletcher's forehand.

    The fact that Kramer stated at one point that Fletcher's forehand was better than Segura's seems to indicate that Kenneth's stroke should be pretty good.

    Hopman (though not the most trustful person on earth) also claimed that Fletcher's forehand was the best in the world. In 1963 Hopman proposed Fletcher to improve Kenneth's backhand in order to become the best amateur but Fletcher got scared to become completely involved in tennis competition and from then on he more or less declined (his top peak was in late 1962-early 1963 with a small resurgence in june 1966 when he reached the quarters both at Garros amateur and at Wimby amateur (the Santana match I referred to just before).

    Little story : circa 1968 (?) in Africa (Uganda ???) Kenneth Fletcher and Ian Fletcher (no blood relation) were involved in a car accident (caused by a truck) where another person (I think it was the driver) died. It so shook Kenneth that he then really declined tennistically and a year later he quit tennis competition : at the end of 1969 he played his last exhibition tournament and asked his colleagues especially Raymond Owen Ruffels in the final to let him win his final ever tennis match.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011
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  23. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Fletcher was regarded by many to have the best forehand in the game when he played but whether Kramer EVER really believed that Fletcher forehand was the best he had seen over Segura's is somewhat debatable. I think Kramer, as many people do may have wanted to be politically correct.
    I've read a lot of Kramer's comments over the years and while he is fascinating to read, sometimes you can read between the lines on what he really means. For example Kramer usually stated the best two players he had ever seen was Budge and Vines but you can tell the Kramer actually believed that he (Kramer) was superior to Budge or Vines and therefore Kramer was the best ever. So for example when Kramer says Budge would defeat Sampras most of the time (which he really thought I believe) he is actually saying that I also would defeat Sampras. Kramer did say Budge was better than Sampras in a Tennis Channel interview just a few years ago.
    Yet in an interview a few years ago Kramer said Federer would defeat him (Kramer) 6-0 6-0. I doubt if Kramer actually thought that. I think Kramer was trying to be politically correct.

    Incidentally Kramer didn't just say that Segura's two handed forehand was the best forehand but he also said it was the greatest shot he had EVER SEEN in tennis, including Budge's backhand which says a lot.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011
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  24. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    It seems there is no dearth of former pros, even all time greats, who are quite able to make some pretty ridiculous comments from time to time . . . and for some, most of the time.
     
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  25. NikeWilson

    NikeWilson Semi-Pro

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    I'd put Monica Seles #1.
     
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  26. NikeWilson

    NikeWilson Semi-Pro

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    In terms of the men, I'd go:
    1) Agassi
    2) Connors

    In today's game I really think Nadal has one of the best backhands ever, but lately it's been slipping.
    Whereas Djokovic's backhand was decent in the past, but nowadays it's arguably the best ever. But can he keep it up? We'll see.
     
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  27. LuvTheGame

    LuvTheGame Banned

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    1. Agassi

    2. Nadal

    3. Connors
     
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  28. NikeWilson

    NikeWilson Semi-Pro

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    Davydenko actually has a great 2-handed backhand too. The way he hits those high ones like it's nothing is amazing.
     
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  29. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    OK, put down the crack pipe and step back!
     
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  30. SusanDK

    SusanDK Semi-Pro

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    My personal favorites:

    #1 Jimmy Connors bh - perfect shot, loved the flat shots that barely cleared the net and always hit from perfect position. I could watch him hit that shot all day.

    #2 Borg bh - hypnotic to watch him thread the needle on passing shots, loved the release follow through

    #3 Agassi bh - explosive, exciting, loved to see him rip a winner

    #4 Wilander bh - as steady as they come, never misses, despite perhaps not being as exciting to watch as others, almost without error on this side

    #5 Jarryd bh - sentimental favorite but a really good 2hbh, particularly the return of serve (where's Kiki when I need him for support!)

    Among current pros, I do appreciate the 2hbh's of both Djokovic and Nadal.
     
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  31. SoCal10s

    SoCal10s Hall of Fame

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    2HF without a doubt ,Pancho Segura.. he could hurt you with so many variety of shots and he used to disguised his shot so well,the most dead of which being his drop shot ,then lob..

    2hb.. I have to go with the present Djokovic .. his down-the line is what's keeping him in the winner's circle .. that down the line drop shot is not bad either ..
     
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  32. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Monica's is definitely on anyone's short list. She could hit with more power and angle off that wing and also incorporated underspin and heavy top for variety. She did not prove it worked as a grass shot though adjusting to the skidding and unpredictable bounce and really low slices. Evert's two hander was deadly vs the s/v game in every respect. Her offensive and defensive bh lobs were the best in the sport to compliment those passing shots & return, she worked an underspin bh approach into her game and she had an effective two handed volley.

    Monica's BH limitation is largely of victim of her time and circumstance. It wasn't adequately tested over as long a period, in as many varied scenarios. It lacks for positive evidence that a career spanning 18 years, from Court through Graf provides. Evert's career spanned time frames in which at least two of four majors were held on grass, then clay for 3 years and finally for 1988 on hard/rebound ace. Just lots of opportunities to prove consistency of each stroke on each surface vs a variety of styles and top players. On occasion her serve, confidence, and even forehand failed. That backhand almost never.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2011
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  33. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Carlo,

    I was glancing through an old tennis instructional book with Jack Kramer as one of the contributors. The first printing of this book was the early 1970's and it's interesting to note that Kramer wrote that the two best shots he has seen was Segura's forehand and Budge's backhand. I have a hunch this is what he truly believed but he decided he had to praise Fletcher's forehand which was a great shot apparently.
     
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  34. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Altough I think Mecir´s was more versatile than Anders´you have my plenty support, at leat in the return of serve department, were Jarryd was second only to Agassi and Connors only, and he was really amazing returning from the bh side when playing doubles.I always felt Edberg should have teamed up more years with Jarryd; they were , IMO, one of the 2 teams in the 80´s able to look at the face of Mac and Fleming ( the other being my favs double Mac´s: Mc namee and Mc Namara)
     
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  35. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I like the mention of Ken Fletcher.it proves than, even in the depleted amateur ranks, the depth of aussie talent was unbelievable in the 60´s.FI, another one to mention would be Owen Davidson, whom Fletcher teamed up to make one of the greatest doubles teams of their time.
     
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  36. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Incidentally Kramer didn't just say that Segura's two handed forehand was the best forehand but he also said it was the greatest shot he had EVER SEEN in tennis, including Budge's backhand which says a lot. It makes you want to see how great Segura's forehand was over a period of time. Ellsworth Vines also agreed that it was the greatest shot he had ever seen in tennis. Kramer had said if a ball wasn't 3 or 4 feet from the baseline the shot would be put away.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
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  37. Rock Strongo

    Rock Strongo Legend

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    Graf. Obviously. Every single one of these is Graf.
     
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  38. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    #38
  39. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    There was a guy called Hans Gildemeister that played both, Fh and Bh two handed and was a top clay court player for some years.
     
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  40. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Kafelnikov and Medvedev had more power than a few ones described.Bruguera´s and Courier´s were not bad either¡¡¡
     
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  41. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    #41
  42. BTURNER

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  43. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    You can see from this sketch what a great power and natural tennis Don Budge had¡¡ no wonder he is considered a candidate for all time GOAT ( and one of the 2 men to win the GS)
     
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  44. Carlo Giovanni Colussi

    Carlo Giovanni Colussi Semi-Pro

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    Hello pc1,
    there is also another possibility.
    When you are not a great one you are quickly forgotten even if you are the first in a precise domain.
    Though Fletcher seemed to have a pretty good forehand and was good at the net he had almost nothing else and in particular his serve and backhand were null therefore he couldn’t won any major tournament. So nowadays K.N. Fletcher is known by almost no one therefore his forehand is also forgotten. Someone (kiki) cited a similar example : Hans Gildemeister who was one of the best claycourters in 1978-79 but now is completely ignored. Eugene Mayer, Alexander’s brother, is in the same case (however hoodjem recall him in his list), etc...
    Had Fletcher beaten Santana in their duel and eventually won the 1966 Wimby title he would perhaps be remembered as one of the greatest forehand strokers ever.
    In general “losers” are forgotten.
    So perhaps Kramer was politically correct in 1966 but perhaps not. Perhaps Fletcher has simply “slipped” out of Kramer’s mind in the course of time. I have not “The Game” to hand but if my memory is good at the end of his book he cited the players who has the best ever strokes, in his opinion : he always chose players who had won so-called majors. The player, in his list, with the less good record was Wilmer Lawson Allison, Jr. who won the 1935 US amateur Champs over an injured Perry. Kramer considered that Allison had the best forehand volley. Had Allison lost to Perry I am not sure that Kramer would have thought to cite Allison in his book.
    In “Portrait in Motion” pages 9-10 Ashe thought that the true cannonballers, when he wrote his diary (Tuesday, June 19, 1973 in this case), were Newcombe, Alexander, Paul Kronk, Smith, Ashe, Zednik (he said that Dibley though the fatest server had a wrong toss way over his head and that Stolle and even Tanner double-faulted too much).
    Who would think nowadays about Kronk, Zednik or even Alexander as one of the best servers ? I am not sure that Ashe still thought of them twenty years later.
    To come back to Fletcher and Segura and Budge : the latters had won majors and besides they have shared much of their lives with Kramer while Fletcher hadn’t so one can understand that Kramer couldn’t forget his “team” mates.

    You can make a parallel with team sports : if the best player is in a losing team he has very few chances to be considered as the best player even if he deserves such a recognition. In football (true football not American football) most of the time the supposed experts choose, wrongly, the best player of a World Cup or a European Cup among the members of the winning team.

    So Fletcher’s forehand stroke as an individual stroke was perhaps the very best of all but Fletcher as a whole so as a “team” which means an assemblage of his forehand stroke with his backhand stroke, his serve, his volley, his smash, and so on ... was a loser and therefore Fletcher’s forehand stroke was discarded in any GOAT forehand stroke list.

    As for me I can’t compare Segura’s forehand and Fletcher’s given that I have almost never seen them : for instance in “your” short video one sees only once Segura stroking a forehand and the filmmaker shot so closely that one sees only Segura’s body and nothing else.
     
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  45. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Carlo,

    It's possible your explanation is correct. The short video of Segura does show beautiful form. Incidentally Rod Laver also wrote that Segura's forehand was the best he ever faced. I am not quite sure exactly what year Laver wrote the article in which he wrote Segura's forehand was the best but it is another great name that is in favor of Segura's forehand as greater than many well known forehands. The article was probably written around the late 1960's so I doubt Laver wouldn't have remembered Fletcher.

    Many do remember Fletcher as having a great forehand. I believe Tony Roche mentioned him as well as some others. I have no doubt Fletcher had a superb forehand.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2011
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  46. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    For women I would go with Seles on both sides. I don't see how Evert would even come close to Seles. The difference in power was enormous, and Seles was getting a very large percentage of them in before the incident that messed up her career.

    I never watched Segura play, but I suppose Laver's endorsement is enough for me. Laver played Connors a few times, so he could compare. Out of all the men I've seen play, I would go with Connors' backhand.
     
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  47. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Seems like Segura is the greatest of the non champions ever¡¡¡¡
     
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  48. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    He actually was a champion. He won a number of Pro Majors on the tour in the 1950's, many top tournaments and tours. And he was well respected. In a 1969 poll of tennis experts Segura finished in the top twenty in votes. So they thought he was among the top twenty players ever as of 1969.

    He is also known as one of the most intelligent tennis players and analysts of the game. Among his students was Jimmy Connors.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2011
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  49. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yeah, Connors game was a copy of Segura...and his return of serve deeply sharpened by the serves of some Gonzales???

    If Jimmy wouldn´t succed with those 2 masters teaching him...he´d be a true fake...
     
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  50. halalula1234

    halalula1234 Professional

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    1. Monica Seles' Forehand
     
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