Hardest hitting female player ever

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by NadalAgassi, Dec 14, 2012.

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Hardest hitting female player ever

  1. Davenport

    8.8%
  2. Graf

    7.5%
  3. Seles

    13.8%
  4. Venus

    10.0%
  5. Serena

    57.5%
  6. Pierce

    12.5%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Who do you consider the hardest hitting female player ever, taking into account the era each played in. Obviously there are only 6 valid options- Graf, Davenport, Venus, Serena, Seles, and Pierce, the 6 hardest female hitters ever according to expert coach Nick Bolliteiri.
     
    #1
  2. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    I'd go with Pierce actually, Seles groundies were more akin to me like Agassi's, maybe even the best FH-BH ever combo but power wise I don't think she was the best (she hit consistently hard but I don't her peaks were as devastating power-wise), Davenport was the cleanest ballstriker I've ever seen (I feel like even the sound was different when she hit the ball), Venus and Serena are powerful hitters but I think people underrate the role their athleticism and feel for the ball played in their success.

    Graf's FH is the best ever IMO but while she did come over her BH when playing net rushers I still wouldn't call her a big hitter off that side.

    Of the current pros (aside from Serena and Venus) I'd say Kvitova is a very big hitter.
     
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  3. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    It is funny how the Graf-Seles era was full of moonballers like Sabatini, Martinez, and Sanchez Vicario, or finesse serve and volleyers like Novotna, Tauziat, and an old Navratilova who had lost her previous firepower, and now the game is so full of almost nothing but power.
     
    #3
  4. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    Pretty much, even Henin was basically a big hitter in a small package, I wonder if Sabatini would have turned out be a moonballer regardless if she was coached by someone else than Gimenez (ie how much he influenced her to go in that direction).
     
    #4
  5. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    I'll go with Davenport - with her wonderful ball striking ability and excellent stroke production she generated a whole lot of power. I think Venus is right up there with her though - just watch their superb 2005 Wimbledon final.
     
    #5
  6. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Wow, this is almost exactly the type of thing I would have wrote except you put it better than me. :)

    Needless to say, I agree with you.
     
    #6
  7. galain

    galain Hall of Fame

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    I can't remember who it was who said it - one of the WTA players at any rate - that Pierce was a bigger hitter than either of the Williams sisters.

    Of course, both sisters would have been quite young at that stage.
     
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  8. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I think both Williams were a lot faster than Pierce so I don't think they often had to hit the ball so hard to stay in the point. Pierce had to control the point with her great power and she was terrific when she was on.
     
    #8
  9. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Francoise Durr.
     
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  10. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Flat shots, pure mph, Pierce and Davenport.
    Heavy, hard to handle shots, Serena by a mile.
     
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  11. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    I think Carlos Kirmayer who coached her for awhile made her more agressive. Not so much off the ground perhaps, but he had her attacking the net and becoming alot more agressive that way, and going for a bit more off the ground as well, but mostly becoming an all court player rather than trying to outgrind bigger hitters off the ground. She played her best ever tennis from 1990-1992 under him, unfortnately for her Seles was unbeatable in big matches off of grass, and Steffi Graf was unbeatable still on grass. Too bad she didnt stay with him longer, especialy from 93 onwards when the womens game went downhill with Seles stabbed, Navratilova phasing out altogether, Graf constantly injured, Capriati burning out out and gone, Fernandez's career going downhill with injuries, but she herself was part of that decline with her own massive decline and couldnt capatilize on it. It was sad to watch her play in 1995, she had lost so much, and at a time Sanchez Vicario was reaching #1 and Martinez #2 at one point, she really could have won some big titles if she were in her 91 form.
     
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  12. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Where would you rate Serena against those two? I also think Pierce off the ground is comparable to those but her serve is not as big as those others, and she doesnt finish the points at the net as often or well.
     
    #12
  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Davenport and Pierce hit very flat shots, needed their feet set to hit.
    Serena hit's modern topspin, and can hit much harder than both when running or out of balance.
    Does Nadal hit harder than JamesBlake?
    It's a DIFFERENT kind of ball.
     
    #13
  14. Tennishacker

    Tennishacker Professional

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    You left out the biggest/strongest hitter,

    JENNIFER CAPRIATI.
     
    #14
  15. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    Serena hits quite hard too but not as hard as her sister IMO. Serena's footwork isn't what it could be so quite often she's hitting either off her back foot or back on her heels, and only her upper body strength allows her to still get decent power on the ball. I always thought that Venus moved just a bit better and had better footwork than Serena did/does.

    As for Pierce she is right up there too but needed to be "on" to come close to generating the type of power that Davenport did consistently and Lindsay made it look effortless, with no grunting (I miss the days of quiet women's tennis!), just pure easy clean flat power.

    Seles could hit the ball hard but not quite as much as the others mentioned here. However, Monica was the prototype power hitter off both sides (and the most powerful of her era) which is now pretty common on the women's tour.

    I'd also throw in Capriati's name into the mix too. Definitely possessed a lot of power when she was at her very best.

    As an aside, if we'd been discussing just a player's single stroke I'd have to go with the Graf forehand - IMO it's still the single most devastating weapon I've ever seen a woman tennis player possess.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
    #15
  16. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    I think the combo of Serena's serve + groundies outclasses everyone on that list.
     
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  17. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Graf's serve was also very powerful for her time. I am sure if she was playing today with the further advanced technology, advanced training methods, and the juiced up radar guns, she would be well into the 120s, and atleast on par with Davenport in serving power, and behind only the Williams on this list. Especialy seeing granny Brenda Schultz come back and pop a 135 mph serve. She also had powerful volleys and a powerful overhead. Betsy Nagelsen also said her slice bit through the court and had surprising speed.
     
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  18. 3fees

    3fees Hall of Fame

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    Dont know dont watch wta.

    :mrgreen:
     
    #18
  19. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Assuming the serve is the fastest shot (which it is), it would have to be Sabine Lisicki.

    per Wikipedia:
    1 Sabine Lisicki 130.5 mph (210.0 km/h)

    the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions in Bali (Nov, 2009) (she lost the point)

    - don't know if there is a later, faster serve.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
    #19
  20. billnepill

    billnepill Hall of Fame

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    Capriati, while probably not the hardest hitter, should be mentioned
     
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  21. Cesare

    Cesare Semi-Pro

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    Maria Sharapova has a very heavy 2 handed backand
     
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  22. The-Champ

    The-Champ Legend

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    Today, apart from the obvious (serena and venus), Ivanovic' fh is actually quite devastating.
     
    #22
  23. Sabratha

    Sabratha G.O.A.T.

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    I'm going to say Davenport.
     
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  24. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    You just say that in order to not disrespect my opinion :)

    Joking aside, glad we agree, it's just a guess anyway, it's hard to know for certain with these things.
     
    #24
  25. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    Sure, she did win her only slam title under him (beating Steffi in the final no less), she stopped lifting weights so much and concentrated more on the other aspects of her game, hired a sport psychologist and I think even ended her doubles partnership with Graf(?).

    Still, I think she might have benefited more if someone else than Gimenez "molded" her when she was a teenager.


    Yeah, her peak years coincided with Steffi's and Seles' best years.

    Yeah, pretty much.

    Even though Sabatini was still going reasonably deep in slams, she had that terribly long title draught (ended against teenage Davenport in 1994) and her choke against Mary Joe Fernandez in 1993 FO QF was especially terrible (come to think of it, one could argue she wasn't the same afterwards).

    Around that time she was also kinda just losing interest in tennis, publishing her book and whatnot.

    That was the weaker period of 90s WTA tennis for sure but Sabatini was so far from her 1990-1992 form that it's hard to think about it like that.
     
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  26. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    I said this in the Federer and Murray thread but I really think Gaby's decline and eventual extinction as a serious contender at the very top of the womens game was in 3 phases:

    -Losing the 91 Wimbledon final to Graf. This was step 1. Had she won this match she would have taken over the #1 ranking either right after or soon later that summer. She would have held 2 of the 4 slams (Seles also holding 2 plus the WTA Championships), and with her overall success in tier 1s she would have felt like a worthy #1. This would have done a huge amount for her confidence, and possibly given her a fighting chance of defending her U.S Open title too. As it was losing a big match to Graf yet again after serving for it twice, and after so many wins over Graf that year going in, was a damaging blow. After this she began minor decline, nothing drastic yet, but by early 92 she wasnt looking like a heir apparent to #1 anytime soon anymore, despite still being at #3.

    -The 92 French Open semis to Seles. This one she lost after being up 4-2 in the 3rd set and it was the 2nd straight year she had beaten Seles in the Rome final but couldnt follow it up in the RG semis. This was a further setback, and apparently the loss that led to her split from Kirmayer. After this she began a more moderate decline, and by early 93 pre the RG fiasco she was already being bypassed by people like Sanchez and caught up by people like Martinez, Fernandez, and Novotna.

    -The grandaddy of them, the 93 French Open quarterfinal to Fernandez. She had actually played pretty well this clay season, despite not winning a title, and had a good situation with Sanchez and Graf both off form at this event. This could have been the start of her recovery, but instead it was the death knall and the end of her ever being a serious contender for a slam title again. She admits in the years after she often drank herself to sleep on the tour, since she was mierable, and totally lost her enthusiasm to play tennis after this match.
     
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  27. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    I think it's Venus Williams.
     
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  28. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    certainly not graf. her FH was hard but her BH was just a slice. to be considered you need power off both wings.

    seles on the other hand did have power of both wings and would hit the ball hard all day (consistently much harder than graf) but she did lack that snap on the strokes.

    when she played graf she often bossed her around with her power ground game but usually needed around 5 well placed bombs to both sides to hit a winner. graf on the other hand would hit winners from nowhere needing only one FH to do the job.

    so I would not consider either.

    My top picks:
    -serena
    -henin (she was short but very strong)
    -pierce http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02QKYj_dZHA (nuff said?:))

    from the modern girls sharapova and kvitova are also very hard hitting consistently. lisicki can hit it too.

    I'm not sure about davenport. she was a very clean flat ballstriker and placed it well. I'm not sure if I would rank her as high as the others although she had deceptive power. because of her long levers and clean, flat striking the balls were a lot harder then they looked.

    she of course used much less effort to hit the ball hard then say henin because she had very long arms.
     
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  29. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Henin in consideration for hardest hitter, LOL! Is that some joke.
     
    #29
  30. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    White hot Pierce is probably the hardest hitter ever, and maybe one of the best ever period. The level of play and striking she displayed at the 1994 French, and at other places through her career, was just plain scary. That 94 SF with Graf was just amazing and terrifying at the same time...she was phenomenal. Problem is she was never consistant.

    If I wanted to pick a consistent hard hitter I would have to go with Davenports ball striking (fitness issues not factoring in). She was consistent and could knick lines with ease. Serena and Venus hit hard but are more error prone. Graf and Seles..both hit hard..but they don't come as high in comparison.
     
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  31. reversef

    reversef Hall of Fame

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    +1. I'm not sure that she was THE biggest hitter, but she definitely has to be mentioned in the discussion. Her power was devastating.
     
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  32. reversef

    reversef Hall of Fame

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    I don't quote all the post since it's quite long, but yes, that's how I've seen it for years as well.
    In 1991, she knew that she had missed her chance to be number one.
    In 1992, after the Seles match, it was obvious for everyone that as good as she could play, she couldn't finish the big matches against players like Graf or Seles who had such a killer instinct. She couldn't raise her game at the most crucial moments of those matches.
    In 1993, she already lacked enthusiasm, but it could have come back without that catastrophe.
     
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  33. dnj30

    dnj30 Semi-Pro

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    I agree. Her serve separates her from all the others by a considerable margin. She is the only female player whose serve is a true weapon.
     
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  34. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Doesn't Venus still have the record for fastest serve by a woman?
     
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  35. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Maureen Connolly
     
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  36. dnj30

    dnj30 Semi-Pro

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    actually, i think Lisicki has the fastest ever recorded, but I'm not positive(correct me if I'm wrong). Serena seems to me to be the only female player who can be consistent with that hard of a serve, which is why it is a true weapon. Add to that groundstrokes that are as hard, or harder, than anyone else and thats why I would vote for her.
     
    #36
  37. soyizgood

    soyizgood G.O.A.T.

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    Kvitova can't do anything else other than hit hard. If only her brain was turned on.

    Hradecka is a blast machine if you haven't seen her play. Think Connors with a power boost on her flat shots. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLbIltL_vqA

    Sharapova has quite the power off both wings.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2012
    #37
  38. PDJ

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  39. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    By size, MareenLouie. At 5'5" and maybe 115 lbs., she could hit lazers like Seles, and had to, since she never ran for a ball in her life.
     
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  40. The-Champ

    The-Champ Legend

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    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
    #40
  41. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Seles could really unleash and hit some big slap-shots off both sides. I used to remember Seles as hitting every shot aggressively, every shot as hard as she could, but that's hardly the case.

    I've watched plenty of old matches on youtube and she hit a LOT of mid-pace rally shots, really constructed points. Got opponents out of position and then hit her winners. Yes, some very, very powerful shots at times, but overall I wouldn't vote for her.

    Both Pierce and Davenport, and even Capriati had natural weight of shot. Even when they weren't purposefully hitting harder, they're standard rally shots just had a natural, heavy powerful weight to them. Clearly, the Williams sisters are powerful as well. Not sure where I'd work them in.

    My vote in the end, goes to Pierce or Davenport. When they got into a groove, it was something to watch.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
    #41
  42. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    I don't think these players belong in the poll, but I just wanted to ask, wasn't Majoli fairly powerful, especially for someone her size?

    And, wasn't Lucic really powerful?
     
    #42
  43. chandler bing

    chandler bing Rookie

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    This. Mary Pierce is the hardest female hitter I've ever seen. That FO semifinal victory over Graf was astounding. She didn't just beat Steffi, she blasted her off the court.
     
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  44. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Has any of you heard about Maureen Connolly?

    First girl to win the GS, in 53
     
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  45. BTURNER

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    No love for Frankie Durr here. She'd have crushed the Williams sisters with either her blistering forehand or that backhand drive. Opponents simply could not react to her shots before they went by.
     
    #45
  46. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    I was actually thinking of a few off kilter names in this category

    Dementieva - she serve was flat out ugly and she could.never get her head on straight long enough to win but her groundstrokes were actually pretty big and that return is one of the best ever. She had like 4 or 5 wins against Serena and had match point against her on Serena's serve at Wimbledon.

    Schultz-McCarthy - if only for that serve, before the Williams there was big Brenda

    Petrova- dementieva but with a better serve and more erratic head. Reminds me a lot of capriati come to think of it

    They ain't all time hitters but they could slug it out with anyone.
     
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  47. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Andrea TemesvariĀ“s FH
     
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  48. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Seles was amazing in positions or when hitting shots where power seemed especially difficult to generate. She was the first that could astonish me from completely defensive positions over and over again. And yeah, she could do it at 5 -5 deuce in the third, looking so exhausted you'd wonder if she could drag herself across the court. Normally one thinks of angle as being a geometric opponent of pace. You take a little pace off, and create more exquisite angles. Not necessarily so with Seles. In those hands of hers, touch and power could be BFF in a way they had not before.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2014
    #48
  49. Con_T

    Con_T New User

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    When she was on, Mary Pierce had the most consistent pace and weight. Just about all of her matches during the 2005 US Open are clinics of power tennis. Her semi with Dementieva (who had outstanding groundies herself) is a great example of an "on" Pierce. I also loved Davenport's groundies - outstanding technique and such easy power.
     
    #49
  50. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    serve and BH probably serena but there were some Players who hit the FH a Little harder than her (graf, kvitova maybe).

    serenas FH is hard too but a Little weaker than her BH.
     
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