Sampras backhand hypothetical

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by PhrygianDominant, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. PhrygianDominant

    PhrygianDominant Hall of Fame

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    I was watching this match

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_9zp6YAccE

    and the commentators were discussing whether Sampras would have had a better career if he had kept the 2hbh.

    It got me thinking about how his career would have been different, and how his game might have been different. He may have been more of an all court player, at least more than he was. So here is my hypothetical:

    If Sampras had kept the 2 hander, and thereby maintained a high enough level baseline game to grind out a French Open championship, at the cost of 2 fewer Wimbledons, would he be more or less revered as a champion today?
     
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  2. Clintspin

    Clintspin Semi-Pro

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    If I were Sampras, I would be very happy with my choice and my record.
     
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  3. PhrygianDominant

    PhrygianDominant Hall of Fame

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    Fair enough.

    I guess what struck me as the commentators were talking is the very idea of Sampras with a two hander. The whole concept seems alien to me. He might as well be a completely different player. There are other players where this change doesn't seem that strange.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
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  4. The_Begum_of_Bhopal

    The_Begum_of_Bhopal Rookie

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    I think Sampras was underrated from the baseline, if you watch some of his best performances he is dominant from both eh front and the back of the court, so I don't think he needed a 2h backhand to develop a strong baseline game.
     
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  5. mattennis

    mattennis Hall of Fame

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    He was the epitome of an all-court player.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3Y_z4ymRp0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cqc0xiR_tNU

    And up till 1992 (or so) his one-handed backhand was called "his best shot" by many. Later on he changed the way he hit his ohbh when his forehand became his baseline dominant shot.

    It is impossible to know. Maybe he wouldn't have been such an all-courter (as he was with his ohbh) and would have been more of a pure baseliner (as he was when he was 13 or 14 and had a thbh).
     
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  6. Top Jimmy

    Top Jimmy Semi-Pro

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    Actually i was watching a champions tour match between McEnroe and Sampras last night and the commentators said due to the new technology that you could tell Sampras backhand had gotten much better which sounds silly but it was evident.

    He was driving the ball much better and dare i say it was almost Federer-esque the way he was coming over it.

    I always hated the way he hit is one-hander, it almost looked like a continental grip with his wrist position. Now he's getting behind it better.
     
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  7. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Sampras made the correct decision. He was also playing in an era of low bouncing grass and fast USO which benefitted his 1 HBH and S&V style. On today's courts Sampras would still be great but maybe 1 or 2 fewer slams overall.

    Player of future: tall, lanky with 2 HBH ROS and baseline drives but with great 1 HBH slice for some ROS, approach shots, variety and defense.
     
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  8. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Sampras could have ten hands on his backhand, it would not have helped him 'grind out ' a french title or two. You have to have the right personality and temperament to be a grinder. Two hand does not give you the patience for clay and it does not help you slide comfortably.
     
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  9. Winners or Errors

    Winners or Errors Professional

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    ...hence Murray's record.
     
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  10. Vensai

    Vensai Professional

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    I think he could have won a FO if he had used a 2HB, but I suspect he wouldn't have 14 slams though. And it wasn't a backhand that prevented him from winning the FO as much as his mentality towards clay.
     
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  11. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    I don't know why everyone thinks his groundstrokes were a problem on clay, including the form of his backhand. I see a solid stroke over there. He could hit with top, flatten it or slice it. He handled shots out wide or hit with pace, and could produce angles of his own. His problems were elsewhere IMO.
     
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  12. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Can only players with 2hbh win the French Open?
     
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  13. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Depends if they play Nadal or not...although it looks like having an extra hand doesn't really make much difference.
     
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  14. Laurie

    Laurie Professional

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    And Hewitt.
     
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  15. Winners or Errors

    Winners or Errors Professional

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    Yup, I can see that...
     
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  16. Vensai

    Vensai Professional

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    Didn't Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall win the French open?
     
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  17. Ano

    Ano Hall of Fame

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    Fed did win the French Open in 2009.
     
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  18. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Sampras had a great one-handed backhand. He used to dismantle his opponents with it.
     
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  19. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    As did Kodes (2x), Gimeno, Nastase, Panatta, Vilas, Noah, Lendl (3x), Gomez, Muster, Kuerten (3x), Costa, Gaudio, and Federer - not to mention the many dozens of 1HBH players that got to the finals or semis (e.g., Edberg, Corretja, Puerta, Verkerk, Henman, Rafter, Sampras, Becker, Korda, Stich, McEnroe, Gerulaitis, Pecci, Orantes, Gottfried, etc.)
     
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