Most balanced and imbalanced players all time in terms of backhand and forehand

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by pc1, May 14, 2012.

  1. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    In some ways this is a variation of the greatest ground game thread except I'm curious who you feel are the most balanced and imbalanced on both backhand and forehand in history.

    For example while Nadal is at least good on both sides I feel his forehand is by far the superior shot and he uses it as much as possible. With Novak Djokovic he has arguably the best backhand in tennis today and an excellent forehand.

    Some players off the top of my head would be Laver, Rosewall, Borg, Tilden, Lacoste, McEnroe, Agassi, Wilander, Riggs and of course the already mentioned Djokovic. I believe these players have backhand and forehands that are relatively close in strength overall.

    Actually at the same time we can discuss players where one side is far superior to the other but overall their ground ground is also superb. I think players like Segura, Federer and Newcombe who have very good backhands but awesome forehands would be in this category. These players have overall excellent groundies but their forehands are far superior to their backhands even though their backhands are good.
     
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  2. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Men:
    Most balanced: AA
    Most unbalanced: Tom Okker. His forehand was that good.

    Women:
    Most Balanced: Chris Evert
    Most Unbalanced: Steffi Graf
     
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  3. galain

    galain Hall of Fame

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    Yep - Steffi was the first to come to mind for me too. Not that her backhand was bad - but she lost her topspin b/h very early on in the piece and even though she had a phenomenal slice, her forehand made her game seem a little unbalanced it was that good.
     
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  4. Rock Strongo

    Rock Strongo Legend

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    Courier would fit in the unbalanced category, along with early Roddick, no?
     
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  5. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I think those are good calls. Courier fits the mold because of how great his forehand was. His backhand is underrated IMO. But, I would say that prime Courier was more balanced than Segura, Newcombe and Okker. Roddick's backhand was never great, but his forehand was great early on. So, "yup" for early Roddick, too.
     
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  6. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    Berasategui on the fh side
     
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  7. timnz

    timnz Hall of Fame

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    Lendl

    Lendl is often on top ten of all time for both the backhand and the forehand (though I think his forehand probably is top 3).
     
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  8. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Yes I can see that. Graf's backhand was good but her forehand was supernatural. I never could understand why she didn't try to drive her backhand more considering that many of her matches were so one sided that she could afford to practice. Her backhand returns during the 1988 Wimbledon final against the great Navratilova were great and even her husband would be proud of those returns.

    Some thought Okker's forehand was the best in tennis. His backhand was okay but not great. Good choices.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2012
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  9. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Yes Lendl was one of the players with whom it was hard to attack in a baseline rally. Both backhand and forehand were so solid.

    I might put Connors there too. It's not a coincidence that both won the most tournaments of the Open Era.
     
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  10. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    I like limpinhitter's choices, completely. All 4 of them.

    If I may add...
    Charlie Moya. Huge forehand. Kind of whimpy on the BH.

    I always loved Edberg's BH. His forehand made me nervous with the almost continental grip, ahahha.
     
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  11. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

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    Jimmy Arias. Had without question the biggest forehand on tour for a few seasons in the early 1980's matched with a club level backhand that he himself used to make fun of.
     
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  12. DolgoSantoro

    DolgoSantoro Professional

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    I think Safin deserves mention
     
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  13. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Ahh, Edberg for the reverse unbalanced game. I agree. Edberg's bh was one of the all time great 1hb's. His fh was somewhat underrated, IMO, but, a relative weakness compared to the rest of his game in terms of reliability.
     
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  14. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I think we have a winner! Arias had a truly great forehand, and a truly weak backhand.
     
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  15. li0scc0

    li0scc0 Hall of Fame

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    Steffi Graf had the greatest slice backhand I have ever seen.
    Andy Roddick's slice backhand is now his biggest weapon outside his serve (not saying a lot, but his slice BH is excellent).
    Courier's backhand was a very good shot.
     
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  16. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Possibly but let's see some other choices.
     
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  17. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I assume you mean for strength on both sides.
     
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  18. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I´d include Pecci.
     
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  19. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    For what, balanced or imbalanced?
     
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  20. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    I repeat Berasategui who got further than Arias reaching slam finals with zero bh
     
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  21. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Yes he did have a very strong forehand that allowed him to reach the finals of the French.

    I guess he's up there and he did have an excellent career.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozw6ZLh-uMA
     
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  22. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    #22
  23. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Krajicek is another one, maybe Gasquet and Murray too. I second Carlos Moya and Edberg. Maybe Andreev?
     
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  24. R1CKSO

    R1CKSO Rookie

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    Safin, had an amazing powerful game from both sides, really devastating, as seen on US Open 2000, but after his knee injury, he couldn't do good adjustment steps on his forhand so that turned into his weaker shot
     
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  25. BTURNER

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    Frankie Durr. Top tenner. baseliner and winner at RG. Must have had a good forehand cuz there wasn't much on the other side but laughs.
     
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  26. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Much better FHG than BH.Berasategui and Arias also come to mind.Even more than Pecci, since their forehands were reputed the best in the world at that time and their BH were weak.
     
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  27. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Yes but that serve was so awesome it made Pete Sampras looked like nothing. lol. The reason it didn't register on the speed gun is because it was just too fast. :)
     
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  28. 6-2/6-4/6-0

    6-2/6-4/6-0 Semi-Pro

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    Yes, I'd pick Stefan and Steffi for most-one-sided groundstrokes - both could do serious damage from their weaker wing but they were much less consistently weapons, on their respective backhands and forehands were universally feared...

    Lendl and Agassi were both very well balanced and could hit equally off either wing...
     
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  29. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    I'd take Edberg out of the equation for a couple of reasons.

    First, I agree, the strokes were imbalanced - a classic backhand with which he could do some damage and fairly ugly continental forehand that he used basically just to stay in the point and position himself (though he could actually hit a few winners on the run). But, it actually wasn't that horrible. He knew exactly what to do with it and never tried to overplay it. I think some (not all) of the imbalance perception comes simply from aesthetics - the beautiful backhand vs. the funky forehand.

    Second, and more importantly, he was a serve and volleyer, and attacked when not serving as well. Whatever backhand-forehand groundstroke imbalance he had just isn't going to have the same impact on his overall game as the baseliners that have been mentioned. He wasn't never going to stay on the baseline forever and let his opponent grind down his forehand. And, as we all know once he got to mid court and then the net, he had incredible forehand half-volley and volley, balanced with a backhand volley that was probably even better.
     
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  30. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Françoise Durr did it with smoke and mirrors. She was weak on both sides. And, the only thing weaker than her groundies were her serve and net game.
     
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  31. mmk

    mmk Professional

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    Most balanced: Frew McMillan
     
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  32. latetennisstarter

    latetennisstarter New User

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    Yes, world-class backhands and so-so forehands.
     
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  33. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Hans Gildemeister and Gene Mayer
     
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  34. Ano

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    most unbalanced, big forehands, only sliced backhands: Fernando Gonzales, Emilio Sanchez, Horst Scoff
     
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  35. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    There was nothing wrong with Gonzalez's backhand until Larry Stefanki changed his grip. For a solid 10 years it was world class.

    You're right, Safin would be on the list of most mentally unbalanced though!
     
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  36. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, right next to Nastase and all three Ivanisevics!
     
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  37. DolgoSantoro

    DolgoSantoro Professional

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    I'll add Isner for imbalenced
     
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  38. BTURNER

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    Evert or Austin were very balanced. For all the talk of Evert's great backhand, her forehand was almost as deadly and it was a better approach. The real difference was when she was tight or flat.

    Her serve, volley, movement, and forehand were suspect in exactly that order. The backhand does not make the list. When nothing has gone right all day, she was down 2-5 and double match point, that backhand pass/ return is still on autopilot. Otherwise there was a hint more accuracy/power in the backhand, but more variety on the forehand. In most matches it really made no difference where or when you targeted your shots. The 'short' forehand weakness was long gone by the early eighties.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2012
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  39. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    Initially Henin was imbalanced. Her backhand was always solid but it wasn't until she got older that she improved her forehand and became a more balanced hitter.

    Davenport was also fairly balanced, although her forehand was perceived as her money shot she could do damage off of both wings. She did not earn all her ball striking praise solely on her forehand. If she was fitter and moved better she could have done a lot more.

    Mauresmo was also somewhat balanced. Her backhand gets a lot of credit but when she was on her forehand was stellar...sadly it was prone to breaking down in clutch situations.

    Dementieva was also balanced in this area...her serve was her kryptonite but her groundies and returns off both wings were very impressive.
     
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  40. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    I think that Hoad and Laver had the most balanced groundstrokes. Gonzalez and Rosewall were a bit unbalanced: Gonzalez had a mighty forehand, much better than his backhand and Rosewall had a fantastic backhand, much better than his forehand.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2012
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  41. Jack Romeo

    Jack Romeo Professional

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    most balanced men: andre agassi, jimmy connors
    least balanced men: rafael nadal, stefan edberg

    most balanced women: monica seles, serena williams
    least balanced women: steffi graf, arantxa sanchez-vicario

    with respect to both nadal and graf, i don't think their backhands are weak at all but it's just that they just favor their forehands so damn much
     
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  42. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Eliott Teltscher's bh was reputed one of world's best but had an average to poor fh
    Juan Gisbert, a spanish pro with wins over Nastase,Connors and Borg
     
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  43. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    Mandlikova had no preference between forehand and backhand. She did run around her backhand at times to create an angle. But she could just as easily hit winners off either side.

    Her forehand was voted best on tour as late as 1985, but her variety on the backhand was exemplary ....slice, topspin, chips, lobs, drop shots, etc. Though many would also say that this was also her weakness leading to poor shot selection.
     
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  44. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yes indeed for Hana had no weakness at all and all her strokes were textbook
    Her mind was also textbook...for psicology studies
    She moved great and had the best footwork for many years and she had the size and athleticism to dominate
    IMO she was like the Lew Hoad of female
    Absolute goat matherial wasted in tons
     
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  45. sonicare

    sonicare Hall of Fame

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    Sampras. Beautiful serve motion.

    But my god. Some of the ugliest ground strokes of all time.
     
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  46. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    You may be right that's she is the Lew Hoad of female players as far as pure talent and strokes are concerned.
     
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  47. PhrygianDominant

    PhrygianDominant Hall of Fame

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    EDIT:whooops, I just realized I posted in the Former Pro Player forum about Roger and Rafa and other current players, but oh well I am not changing it.

    I can't believe noone has said this:
    (unbalanced...)

    Roger Federer! (true)



    Rafael Nadal (also true, he just defends it better)
    Mardy Fish(reverse!)
    David Nalbandian (reverse!)
    Fernando Gonzalez (with that forehand no backhand would make him balanced)
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2012
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  48. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Doesn't matter which forum it is, you made some excellent choices in my opinion.
     
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  49. robow7

    robow7 Professional

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    Newcomb for the unbalanced short list, as John Lloyd once said, "I don't think Newk could break an egg with that backhand" but his forehand was stellar for that time period.
     
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  50. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    John Lloyd was part of the most unbalanced marriage ever;-)ever
    But if Newcombe had had Lloyd magnificient BH ROS he may have never lost a match for his serve,Volley,FH and lob are all time greats and his mind,soull and body a true rock
     
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