Most memorable shots in the open era

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by kiki, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Since this is a forum to interchange well based opinions, here is my choice for the best or nicest shots I recall out of my 40 years experience with top players.

    I peg pardon for all of those I´ll possibly forget.But I´d like to have the opinions of those long time tennis supporters that have, more or less, the same prime hand experience.

    SERVE

    1/Sampras
    2/Newcombe
    3/Edberg
    4/Becker
    5/Mc Enroe

    beautiful, almost perfect textbook motions for Pete and Newc; Becker used his upper body and mighty legs to get extrapower , while I always enjoyed of Edberg´s kick and Mac´s slice were sued to settle their attack.

    VOLLEY

    1/Edberg/Roche/JMac
    4/Rosewall/Laver
    5/Panatta/Rafter

    Panatta drop volleys and Rafter FH volley were great watching, so was the textbook backswing Rosewall took.Laver volley was so complete and devastating...still, Mac,Edberg and Roche had the most versatile and natural net game and, each one within his style, were a joy to watch settle the attack and knock it down

    FOREHAND

    1/Borg
    2/Federer/Sampras
    3/Bruguera/Nadal
    4/Lendl
    5/Courier/Newc

    Borg´s top spin was great to watch because of his very personal spin, stance, hip movement and, as a resumee, his very particular style of play.

    Fed´s and Pete´s are great shots, overwhelming when they are/were at their best, almost flat and with great angle.So was Lendl´s.Bruguera, Nadal ( and somewhat Courier) had a terrific top spin FH, but Bruguera´s was nicer to watch because more fluent and uncanny.

    Newc´s FH approach was the best I´ve seen ( better than Pete´s or Becker´s IMO)

    BACKHAND

    1/Rosewall
    2/Laver
    3/Connors
    4/Edberg
    5/Ashe/Vilas/Agassi

    well, the GREATEST single shot I´ve seen from the early 1970´s is the Rosewall BH.He couldn´t miss it even if he wanted to.I´ll just say that it was even nicer to " listen" to it than to watch it.Perfection, beauty, smoothness...Laver had the msot versatile Bh, could hit it in anyway, could use it to pass, come to the net, drop shot, open angles...amazing.

    Ashe´s sliced was a fluent shot, and his flat one was very good.Vilas top spin one fell short only to Laver´s.

    Connors has the nicest and cleanest 2 H BH ever, closely followed by Agassi.Both, the best returners of the open era ( closely followed by laver and Rosewall).Edberg´s slice approach was as good as anybody´s...and his topspin was great ( possibly, the most complete range of backhands after Laver)

    LOB

    1/Nastase
    2/Orantes
    3/Rosewall
    4/Laver
    5/Newcombe

    lobbing isn´t a tactic anymore, since there is no volley anymore.But thsoe guys used it, both defensively and offensively with a great security margin and Nastase´s was, IMO the best, sinc ehe had that surprising loop spin, he learnt from great Manuel Santana.

    DROP

    1/Orantes
    2/Mayer
    3/Nastase/Panatta
    4/Laver/Rosewall

    Orantes and Mayer could hit´em anywhere, no matter what ball was coming at them.Even if you knew they were doing it, you just couldn´t reach the ball.

    Connors could have been included but he lacked the proper judgement to take as much advantage of his drops as those 5 players.Nasty amd, specially Panatta, played the drop shot as an approach shot, that is, a volley settler.

    OVERHEAD

    1/Becker
    2/Vilas/Newcombe
    4/Sampras
    5/Noah

    Just for his almost flawless smash, Becker deserves the nº 1, but Sampras,Newcombe or Vilas never came back.I put Noah as a fifth best because of his athletic abilities.I heard of Stockton, but I can´t recall him playing, so I outed him off my list

    FOOTWORK

    1/Borg
    2/Connors
    3/Rosewall
    4/Laver/Wilander
    5/Federer/Nastase

    I didn´t pick the fastest guy ( Gerulaitis or Kriek were the fastest probably) but , rather, the most flashy, uncanny, natural and precise footwork.Borg danced on the court, unbelievable, while Connors anticipation and hand eye coordination made him take the ball on the rise in an unmatched way.Rosewall,Mats,Federer and Nastase were very agile and precise, never wrong footing.

    Laver , on the other hand, lived on his raw speed, he crossed the court like a storm and reached the most unreachable balls, something Gerulaitis and Kriek also could do, but not in such way.

    As for all court game, I have no doubts that Laver has been the best I´ve seen and tha is why he ranks as my GOAT ( from 68 onwards).Not only did he have the shots and the arm and legs, he also had the boldest mind I´ve seen on court ( in his prime he went for the most unexpected shot ) combined with an uncredible strategic mind.he used the unexpected to recover and was a man you´d never know what could he bring to you

    LADIES

    In short, I´d say

    Martina Navratilova´s serve ( and Sharapova´s and Serena´s as a second choice), Graf and Mandlikova´s FH ( closely followed by Hingis and Martinez), Evert,Henin,Seles, Sabatini and Cawley´s BH ( altough Evonne´s sliced one was just dashling, the others being powerful or ultraconsistent), Wade and Navratilova´s volley, Evert´s drop shot,Martina´s overhead and Mandlikova´s , Hingis ,Graf movement (Evert was not as good as a mover but her anticipation and concentration were first class)

    The most complete player in terms of all round game would be Court,Navratilova and, then, and far from them, Hingis and Mandlikova
     
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  2. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Nice list. A lot of beautiful strokes there. I might throw in the Miloslav Mecir backhand and movement as very memorable too as well as his angles.
     
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  3. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    That Evert lob was just as beautiful as that forehand dropper. It also won her at least as many points. I'll also mention the King backhand volley, and the Navratilova overhead.
     
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  4. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Sometime touch shots are the nicest to see. I loved watching Orantes kill people with drop shots. Whenever I try a drop shot I think of Orantes. I just wish I had the success rate of Orantes.
     
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  5. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    true, as for 2 HBH, Mecir is just a bit below Connors and nicer to watch than Agassi´s.Very good remark.
     
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  6. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yep¡ I missed women´s lob and overhead.Another big one was Shriver or Stove for the OH.But, definitely, as for the lob, Chris Evert´s remains the best ( it also helps that she could perfection it since there were far more volleyers in her time than nowadays, even in the women´s game)
     
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  7. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Disguissing was Orantes key to success, as well as touch.Mayer´s 2 handed motion helped him , too_Orantes learned the " minor arts" ( lob, spins, drop, strategy) from all time great Manuel Santana, who also inspired much of Nastase´s game...
     
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  8. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    You lost me when you mentioned the Hingis forehand as being one of the best - not true IMO. Capriati, Davenport, Henin to name a few had better forehands than Hingis did. Yes it was steady for the most part, but ultimately unspectacular and could get overwhelmed rather easily. She had a far better backhand than forehand.
     
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  9. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Some don't like it but I thought Borg's two handed backhand with one handed release was very nice to see.
     
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  10. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    Noah had the biggest overhead.....back in the 80s they did quite a few player polls asking who they thought had the best shots and Noah was always given best overhead and best "legs" for his speed and movement (just not on grass which he hated to play on).

    On the backhand Edberg is way way to high - Borg's backhand much stronger and should be top 4.

    As for Dickie Stockton he was one of the best S&V players in the mid to late 70s - got to the semis of the French in 78 and far at the open when it was on clay was one of the best Jrs and US college players coming out of the power house Trinity program.....a bad back followed him all thru his career and the main reason he didn't do better. He had one of the best overall net games in he 70s with an amazing BH volley and a great overhead.
     
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  11. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    The most incredible shot is the backhand volley/smash of Vilas.
     
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  12. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    yes. the best BACKHAND OVERHEAD is Vilas.Panatta also executed it pretty well, even Noah wasn´t bad at that shot...
     
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  13. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    Leconte too. But Vilas is the king of this shot !
     
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  14. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Vilas had a very good backxourt game aided by a great physichal condition, after so much training with Tiriac.You could feel he was never afraid to engage in a very long match, he was sure his top form would pay off.If he had only had a good serve¡¡¡
     
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  15. rafafan20

    rafafan20 Professional

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    I'd put Kuerten on the list with footwork. Guy didn't have the greatest strokes but was in position for every single shot.
     
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  16. rafafan20

    rafafan20 Professional

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    Above only applies to clay, obviously... but his footwork was amazing
     
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  17. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I heard stories about Vilas practicing for I think 3 or 5 hours before playing his match in 1977 against Connors. That boggles the mind if it is true.

    When you look at Vilas you see a guy with muscles on his muscles. You get the feeling he could bend an iron bar with ease. It goes to show that strength doesn't mean you can have a great serve.
     
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  18. I get cramps

    I get cramps New User

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    IMHO, it was Rafter.
     
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  19. I get cramps

    I get cramps New User

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    Pat Cash's volleys. I would like to know why he isn't considered at a par with Edberg and Mcenroe as a volleyer. The magic of Mcenroe perhaps puts him one step ahead of the rest of the pack, but, were Edberg's volleys better than Cash's...? If so, why?
     
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  20. I get cramps

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  21. I get cramps

    I get cramps New User

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    Rafter killing those forehand volleys on the stretch.
     
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  22. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Some other memorable shots that I've enjoyed

    Stan Smith's backhand overhead, the best I've seen.
    Ilie Nastase's running forehand
    Federer's forehand
    Tony Roche's backhand volley
    John Newcombe's forehand and forehand volley
    Harold Solomon's moonball's-Don't ask me why but I liked them.
    Ken Rosewall's footwork-It may not be a shot but it is related to tennis.
    Arthur Ashe's slice serve
    John McEnroe's slice serve
    Roscoe Tanner's flat first serve
    Goran's first serve
    Jimmy Connors' backhand
    Rosewall's backhand
    Laver's backhand
    Djokovic's backhand
    Nadal's forehand
     
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  23. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Noah's serve. Just a thing of beauty.
     
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  24. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Some shot's not yet mentioned:
    Laver's swinging volleys
    Nastase's topspin backhand lob
    Edberg's low driving forehand volley
    McEnroe's drop and angle volleys
    Borg's backhand passing shot
    Federer's and Nadal's inside out forehands

    PS: pc1, yes, Stan Smith's backhand overhead. That's why Nastase gave him the nickname "Godzilla." He couldn't get his famous topspin backhand lob over Smith's backhand overhead.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
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  25. galain

    galain Hall of Fame

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    Hard to disagree with anything on the list. I second Krosero's opinion - if you're talking aesthetics, you have to include Noah in the serve category.
     
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  26. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Vilas was a classic cc backcourter.He never figured out ( neither did Tiri) what a good first serve helped him, specially on all those titles he neve won...
    he was unidimsensional, and Tiriac never made him progress...possibly, both were satisfied enough to win the 2 greatest cc events in 1977...French and USO
     
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  27. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I don´t see why.
     
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  28. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    T.R. forehand volley was just as good as his BH volley.Promised, I´ve seen him enough and both strokes equalled.
     
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  29. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

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    I would add Rios' passing shots and angles. He could do things with a ball that seemed physically impossible.
     
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  30. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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    He was not unidimensional, he won 3 great tournaments on grass : 2 Australien Open + 1 Masters (beating Borg, Newcombe, Nastase).
     
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  31. galain

    galain Hall of Fame

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    http://youtu.be/M4nBgTT3h8I

    In terms of aesthetics, his baseline game was a tragedy, but his service motion was beautiful.
     
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  32. TennisNiche

    TennisNiche New User

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  33. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    The Sabatini backhand
     
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  34. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    That's was a great shot.

    Memorable shots in the Women's game
    Goolagong's backhand
    Evert's backhand
    Henin's backhand
    Navratilova's volley
    Graf's forehand
    Serena's serve
    Wade's serve
    Seles' return
     
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  35. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    some for the women.

    Everts Lob: amazing shot, didn't Martina devote an entire chapter to it in her book and say it was the reason she finally decided to get into better shape? that thing was fierce

    Serena's serves: both her first and 2nd serves are deadly, 2nd serve may be the best ever in the womens game

    Davenports Forehand: This shot is kind of underrated. When she was clicking the thing was like a cannon, she could push everyone around with this thing. It looked and just sounded beautiful coming off her racket.
     
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  36. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    And she did, leading the best overhead the sport ever saw. Chris still got plenty over her at crucial times. I don't know how many Navratilova straight setters, turned into three set nail biters directly or indirectly due to that lob going in at 3-4 or 4-5 in the late stages of a set. Real pain in the ass that lob.
     
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  37. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    to this I would add:

    Davenports Forehand
    Dementieva's Return
    Sukova's Volley
    Martina's overhead smash
    Martinez's Topspin forehand


    and Shrivers Forehand- but not for a really big reason except it was just weird looking.
     
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  38. dannykl

    dannykl Rookie

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    In women's tennis:


    Graf's forehand

    Serena's serve

    Henin's and Hingis' backhand

    Court,'s King's and Martina's volley

    Graf's slice
     
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  39. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Steffi's forehand has to be in the top ten most influentail shots of all time either gender! No single stroke of any woman, so dominated the tactics and outcome on both sides of the net ( hers and her opponents) in so many majors for so long. If it was going in, you had little hope of winning, whatever the surface you were playing on, or whatever you tried or whatever your ranking. She built her game on it and opponents altered theirs in reply.

    To this day, all groundstrokes are compared to the Graf forehand as the ultimate weapon. It sets the standard. Absolutely singular in scope and influence on the entire field for 15 ?years.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012
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  40. WCT

    WCT Rookie

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    Stockton and Vilas were mentioned earlier. Mid 70s I thought Dick Stockton had the best overhead in men's tennis, and I thought Vilas the best backhand overhead although Nastase's was excellent as well. Connors had a very underrated lob. He was an excellent lobber, although I'm not sure he was ever among the top couple lobbers in the game.
     
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  41. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    So many good ones have already been mentioned, these are the ones that are most memorable for me, on the men's side:

    Becker Serve
    Sampras serve/forehand
    Laver forehand/backhand
    Vilas forehand/backhand
    Borg forehand/backhand
    Connors backhand
    McEnroe serve
    Ashe backhand
    Tanner serve
    Agassi backhand
    Edberg backhand
    Wilander backhand
    Lendl forehand
    Djokovic backhand
    Murray backhand

    I'm sure I've leaving off many for now....

    On the women's side, the Graf BH, Evert's BH, Navratilova's serve and volley (both sides), the Seles BH, Henin BH..
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012
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  42. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    Grafs forehand is one of the best shots ever in the history of the womens game. It was feared by every single woman in the game and not one of them wanted to clash forehands with her (as if many of them could anyway). I didn't mention it because it was just so obvious, but it may be the best shot EVER in the womens game, and a top 10 shot in all of tennis all time.

    Only a few other women had a shot as deadly/feared by opponents as the Graf forehand:

    Serena's serve, both first and 2nd
    Evert's Lob

    I can't really think of any others that in their time were as deadly as the Graf's forehand was during hers. It was just stellar.
     
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  43. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I always loved the serve motion of Ginny Wade, one of the best women´s ever server.It reminds me, somehow , of John Newcombe, who is arguably at top 3 or top 5 GOAT server within men´s ranks.
     
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  44. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Well said.Evert lob was very deep, and very acurate.It was a major stroke and killed off many hopes of the oncoming volleyers, like martina,Wade,Mandlikova,Cawley,King or Casals.
     
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  45. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Good post.I don´t recall Stockton, but he ahd a pretty good record, one of the classical 1970´s players.I saw many times that Vilas BH OH and it was amazing, full of power, placement, he had a big jump because of extremely strong legs...as for Connros, I posted several times here that his lob was not just underrated, but possibly the best of his time along Orantes,Nastase and the aussies ( almost all of them gave great importance to that shot).In the 1980´s, lendl´s lob was very effective, probably the best of that decade.
     
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  46. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Agreed.The msot effective or determinant one single shot , at least in the last 30 years.Men or Women.
     
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