Sampras forehand underrated?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Cesc Fabregas, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. Cesc Fabregas

    Cesc Fabregas Legend

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    When people today talk about Pete Sampras they talk about his amazing serve and slam dunk, but nobody every talks about his forehand. His forehand was even more penetrating and destructive then Federer's, he could almost end points at will with it. He almost never lost forehand to forehand exchanges with anyone and imo has the best running forehand ever. Its not far behind the Federer forehand imo, maybe Roger's is slighty more consistant buts its close. Your thoughts?
     
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  2. mtr1

    mtr1 Professional

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    No one is "underrating" the Sampras forehand, it's just his serve and overheads were so good, that they are mentioned first. As you say he had the best running forehand of all time, but overall Federer's is better.
     
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  3. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I believe that everyone knows it was a great shot, and is right up there with his serve.

    (I think his backhand was not as bad as most do.)
     
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  4. World Beater

    World Beater Hall of Fame

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    definitely overrated.
     
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  5. eric draven

    eric draven Rookie

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    So what you're saying is that he won 14 slams and was number one 6 years running because he was all serve and overhead with an overrated forehand???

    I hope you're being sarcastic.
     
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  6. drwood

    drwood Hall of Fame

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    Pete had unquestionably the best running FH of all time...that and his speed were the two aspects of his game that have always been extremely underrated.

    However, from a stationary FH standpoint, his was far inferior to Federer and to others of his era (Courier, Becker).
     
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  7. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    think of it this way. With his serve less dominating ,and his net game a little less used as percentages of points played and nothing but time to run around his weaker backhand all tournament long, Sampras can give his forehand credit for every clay tournament victory and those RG titles. Point being hitting glorious winners under pressure is not the sole criteria of a stroke.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2009
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  8. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Underrated forehand? No way in my opinion. I think his forehand is rated very highly by many.

    I watched in amazement at how he played during his first US Open win in 1990, while hitting so many powerful forehands, both on the run, and often inside out, deep to a right-hander's backhand.

    When he played a young Agassi in that tournament, there was electricity in the air, but he was too tough to beat that entire tournament. He won easily and seemed oblivious to the challenge, which foretold how successful he would ultimately be.

    His forehand was an absolute "gun". I would agree that it was not as good as Federer's overall from the middle of the court. Plus, I don't think it could match Borg's forehand in terms of consistency or overall effectiveness, but that shot won a ton of points for him.

    Of course, his serve is legendary, but I always considered him to have a very underrated backhand, not forehand. When he wanted to, he could hit blazing one handed backhand passing shots down the line for example. That all contributes to him being one of the best players who ever lived in my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2009
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  9. papatenis

    papatenis Semi-Pro

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    Sampras's forehand is much flatter then Federer's, so Sampras's forehand was more of a weapon, whereas Federer's hits with more top spin, thus not a weapon.
     
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  10. darthpwner

    darthpwner Banned

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    Pete's forehand was way better than Becker's forehand. The backhand side was Becker's stronger side and was better than pete's backhand
     
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  11. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    TMF topspin help him create more angle, and he can cut down the spin when he wants to hit it flat. He also had the drop shot, and inside out forehand >>>>>>>>>>>> Pete. TMF simply had more variety than Pete.
     
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  12. rod99

    rod99 Professional

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    sampras did have a great forehand but it was extremely erratic in both the early stages of his career and the latter stages of his career. however b/n around 1993 and 1997 it was a great shot (not coincidentally, those were his best years on clay).
     
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  13. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    no, his FH is definitely not under-rated
     
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  14. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    yes and no. His FH was definitely lethal, and surely he could end points with it, but more "penetrating and desctructive" than Feds? no.

    you better go watch some Sampras matches again.
     
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  15. jrepac

    jrepac Professional

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    forehand

    I don't think so....he had a superb forehand....but most think of his serving first...his forehand is right up there w/Fed's (and maybe his forehand is over-rated?)...Lendl's also one of the best and Pete spent a lot of time w/him early in his career
     
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  16. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Is this post serious? LMAO
     
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  17. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    If Sampras had TMF’s forehand, I think he would of won more slams. And he would have better result on clay rather than losing to those clowns.
     
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  18. carpedm

    carpedm New User

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    I don’t think anyone ever underrated Sampras’ forehand. At his peak, it was the best on tour even over Courier’s power, Chang’s pass and Andre’s return ( I know, very bold statement!).

    Off that side he hit his contemporaries’ best shots about as well as they did. This isn’t to say he was as capable a backcourter as they were though. His backhand, which went from dodgy to solid and back again quite often throughout his career, prevented him from being a complete baseline campaigner. But if it were up to one side, Sampras was the best for two big reasons: the defense-to-offense forehand and the transition forehand.

    As many people know, Pete protected his backhand side by camping a foot or so to the left of the center mark. This meant his opponent had 1/4 of the court to get to his backhand, a shot that he perfected-the-art-of-neutralizing-his-opponent’s-offense with. And out of desperation, foolishness or pure boldness, people would hit to the open forehand corner and into one of the single most devastating shots at the time – his running forehand. It was better than Courier’s and Agassi’s ( who was always in trouble on step number three ), more penetrating than Chang’s and just a bit more of an angle, variation and reach than Lendl’s – but only by a pinch.

    And he could do just about anything with it, with big powerful blast to either corner. When he could really move ( “93 to “97 ) it would almost always be the outright winner or it would get him the weak mid-court ball.

    In addition, at his best before age and injury made him rely more on his serve ( much like how Jordan relied more on his fade-away jumper towards the end of his career ) Sampras’ forehand allowed him to more forward better than anyone. That’s why he was a better offensive baseliner – he can transition to the net with greater power and accuracy than the rest of the tour. And it was that ability separated him from everyone else. All things considered, if it was a hardcourt I’d stack his ground game up against anyone’s.

    Now of course defensively is a different story. Again, I blame his backhand; Pete on his back foot moving to his left is not the same as moving to his right.

    And in regards to Federer, their forehands are quite similar especially on the run and inside out. The one major difference between their forehands is Roger’s ability to hit the shot from his backhand court ( left of the center mark ) to his opponent’s forehand court. Roger’ mechanics allow him to hit a more consistent and penetrating shot, with a higher net, a shorter court and a ball height beneath the net. If it was high above the net that’s a different story but a low ball from there was always a bit of a crap shoot for Pete. Something like that is routine for Roger.

    Ultimately, although he made life difficult for himself with some tough shots and stroke production which could sometimes be described as "complex", at its best Sampras’ forehand was one the premiere shots in tennis.
     
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  19. darthpwner

    darthpwner Banned

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    I believe that Sampras running forehand was the best with Lendl a close second, with reason being that Lendl's backhand was solid enough that he didnt have to camp on that wing. I believe Federer's main weakness is hitting the running forehand. Federer like Sampras loves to run around the backhand and blast inside in and inside out forehands all day. People who are strong hitting the DTL backhand like Nadal and Murray give him the most trouble because they have the ability to open up the court with the backhand wing and can then hit to Federer's backhand. Many people say that Federer's weakness is the high ball to the backhand. IMO, that weakness is can only be exploited if you run him wide to the forehand side and then get him in the backhand to backhand exchanges. Once you're in control of the points, a guy like Nadal could smack an inside out forehand for a winner. Del Potro and Murray can do it off their DTL backhand when in control of the backhand to backhand exchanges. Another weakness of Federer is the wide serve to the backhand. Especially Nadal can do it well which opens up the forehand side. The result will be Federer is going backhand to backhand and the opponent will go strong DTL to Federer for a winner. Sampras was much better on the run than Federer. Standing is a different story. Federer would cream any ball in his strike zone where he doesnt have to move.
     
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  20. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    c'mon, are you for real??
     
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  21. World Beater

    World Beater Hall of Fame

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    lawl.

    sampras fh is rated very highly...too highly imo...it was a hell of shot though although could be inconsistent at times. But people always remember the highlights.

    if pete was "on", his fh is up there with pretty much everyone...the problem is that his "fh" wasn't nearly "on" enough as some people like to believe. But in the big moments, for the most part it was present.

    it would be interesting for me to see pete's fh go up against someone with a larger absolute amount of spin and power. i believe the fh technique in combo with racquet head speed, strings have improved the overall effectiveness of fhs with more extreme grips. seeing gonzalaz, federer, verdasco, nadal blast fhs against sampras would be very intruiging.
     
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  22. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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  23. FiveO

    FiveO Hall of Fame

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    Sampras's fh is one of the great shots in the history of the game. But it has to be viewed in the framework of his game. It was an offensive weapon in an offensive game. He wasn't going to out-steady someone with it, but his game wasn't geared that way. What he could do with it was prevent players with "more consistent" fh's from pinning him, draw errors, short balls, turn the impetus of the point and produce winners vs. those type players.

    On the offensive end of the spectrum his fh was more consistent than alot of other top guys specifically of that ilk, known as "shot makers" in their own right, off that side.

    5
     
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  24. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    TMF's fh has more varieties than Pete. His eastern grip doesn't allow him to hit much top spin except flat ball. It's tough for Pete to hit an inside out fh and cross court with sharp angle if you don't generate topspin. TMF can choose to flat ball on hard court and topspin on clay. He even have the drop shot from inside the baseline(and sometime you'll even see him do it behind the baseline).

    Yeah, he could have done better on clay if he had TMF's fh. Nadal, TMF, Muster and Bruguera all have tremendous topspin. Does that ring a bell?
     
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  25. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    What are you talking about??? Sampras could generate over 3,000 rpm's of spin on his FH, and averaged over 1800. Agassi's FH had less spin, and he won the French Open.

    [​IMG]

    http://www.advancedtennis.com/results/groundmen.htm
     
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  26. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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  27. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    LOL, now Pete a 14 time GS champ should have had a FH more like Muster (1 GS and Bruegera 2 GS). Again, keep coming up with your Simple Jack logic. Both Pete and Fed have an Eastern FH grip. Pete could also hit with topspin. I tried to explain to you that Pete's GAME was not condusive to clay. nothing, NOTHING to do with his FH.

    LOL on how to hit an inside out FH...you're too cute. You can't be more than 14 years old...or maybe you have the mentality of a 14 year old. either way; gggoood bbbbrain
     
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  28. quest01

    quest01 Hall of Fame

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    Thats true but Federer's forehand was a lot more consistent and he varied his forehands differently than Pete's. Sampras's forehand was almost always flat while Federer varied his forehands by hitting with heavy topspin and flat. Sampras did have a great forehand but he also made a lot of unforced errors because of a low margin for error.
     
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  29. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    That’s exactly what I’m trying to explain but some clueless people in here wouldn’t understand. Pete’s flat ball is a low margin for error and it hurts him on clay. His flat fh is penetrating on fast surfaces, but it gets neutralize on clay. The game on clay is a war of attrition, and players hitting topspin is a much safer shot. Pete’s flat fh ball is prone for errors. He just doesn’t have the varieties of Federer being able to adjust between fast surfaces and on clay. I have no doubt if Sampras had TMF fh it would definitely help him being more consistent on clay.

    BTW, someone posted Pete’s hitting 99 UFEs at the FO during his prime.
     
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  30. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    LOL..ha ha ha. if you think Sampras never won the FO because he had a flat FH then fine. You can convince yourself, but anyone that knows tennis (not you) fully understands it was Pete's game that was not suited to win on clay. Unlike today where the surfaces play so much closer in terms of speed and bounce ahngle can a player win/succeed on all surfaces (Fed, Nadal, Djoker, DelPo etc.). Until Nadal, no one since Borg had won the FO and W in the same year...it had nothing to do with a flat FH. Today it is a different story. But I really don't think your Simple Jack brain could handle it.
     
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  31. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    I'm pretty sure that if Sampras had an excessively topspun forehand, they'd all be saying it was defensive in nature and not penetrating enough...

    truth be told, Sampras' entire game is under rated on these boards....

    and I am definitely not a Sampras fan
     
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  32. BorisBeckerFan

    BorisBeckerFan Professional

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    Sampras and Federer are neck and neck for best forehands ever. I would definitely take Fed's inside out, down the line from the back hand side and from the center of the court. I would take Pete's crosscourt and running forehands. Essentially Forehands hit from the backhand half of the court is Fed all the way and forehands hit from the forehand half of the court is Pete's domain. I'd give a slight overall edge to Fed.
     
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  33. TheFifthSet

    TheFifthSet Hall of Fame

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    Almost everybody acknowledges that Sampras has one of the most lethal forehands of the 90's.

    More penetrating than Federers? Nah.
     
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  34. Conquistador

    Conquistador Banned

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    Sampras never had the kind of forehand seen in todays game. If Sampras played in todays game he would be considered a player with a "weak" forehand.
     
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  35. President of Serve/Volley

    President of Serve/Volley Semi-Pro

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    Sampras's forehand is up there with the best, but is it better than Rog's? I do not think so, because Rog has more variety with his shots. Now his running forehand, that's a heck of a different story. Sampras running FH is the greatest of all time.
     
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  36. quest01

    quest01 Hall of Fame

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    Sampras probably had the best running forehand ever in the game of tennis. I agree that Federer overall has the better forehand because he hits with more variety, he can hit with heavy topspin or he can go for a flat bullet down the line. While Sampras primarily hit his forehand flat which makes him more vulnerable to unforced errors plus he's nowhere near as consistent from the baseline as Federer. Don't get me wrong Sampras in my opinion is the 2nd best player to have ever played the game behind Federer so I'm not bashing Sampras in any way, I'm just stating in my opinion that Federer had the better forehand, thats all.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2009
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  37. drwood

    drwood Hall of Fame

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    Laughable. Watch the 2002 US Open to see Pete's "Weak FH" -- even though by then he was admittedly "a step and a half slow".

    Pete's FH is not as good as Federer's, but its definitely in the top 5 of all time. His running FH is unquestionably the greatest of all-time. Both are better than Gonzo's FH (even though Gonzo can hit the FH harder).
     
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  38. darthpwner

    darthpwner Banned

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    Hey Conquistadors back
     
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  39. Cesc Fabregas

    Cesc Fabregas Legend

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    Stop trolling.
     
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  40. leonidas1982

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  41. Conquistador

    Conquistador Banned

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    Thats completely bias. I can think of 5 players under 23 years old with better forehands than Sampras. Holding sampras for his accomplishments, i think too many people automatically think he has a great forehand because he was a good player. Pete lacked pace on his forehand. Pete was great with his forehand on the run, but that is pretty much it. Sampras never had the veloctity that todays players have on their forehands. Del Potro has a better forehand than Sampras. Come on guys, there are a ton of players with better forehands.
     
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  42. drwood

    drwood Hall of Fame

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    Wow...that's all I have to say.

    Where's Azzuri, Cesc Fabregas, and grafselesfan when you need them?

    I'll simply say that such statements reek of ignorance, and I am anything but a *********** (as the aforementioned names will attest). Did you watch Pete play at all, or did the entire tennis universe begin with Gonzo for you?
     
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  43. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    sadly he never left. too bad everyone can't just put him on their ignore list...it's fantastic not to have to read all his garbage.
     
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  44. Cesc Fabregas

    Cesc Fabregas Legend

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    Stop trolling, you pathetic troll. Also thanks for providing me with my new signature.
     
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  45. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    No, you don't understand: to the present newbie tennis fan, harder is better, faster is better, stronger is better.

    That's why today's players are the BOAT. They think Gonzo and Roddick are GOATs.
     
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  46. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    Conqusitador, I would not mind him falling off the face of the Earth.
     
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  47. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

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    There were a lot of Sampras contemporaries with bigger forehands on an average point then his (think Agassi, Courier, Moya, Phillapousis, Enqvist, Lendl, Safin, Federer, Gonzales, Berasetegui) but when he let it rip, it was a real slapshot. High risk/high reward but real inconsistant. I watched him practice in awe from about 10 feet away in 1998 and I have never seen anyone strike the ball like he could with that eastern grip.

    I always felt Sampras' game was very simple conceptually. His overwhelmingly solid serve let him take risks on the return games with aggressive & flashy shots. Take away the comfort of easy holds on his serve game (clay courts & slow hard courts to some degree), and the 2nd or 3rd greatest player of all time becomes a streaky baseliner with strokes that can be broken down under pressure.
     
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  48. drwood

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    Quoted for truth.
     
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  49. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    not sure what your point is? So let me understand; take away a strength of any player and they become weaker??????

    Is this what you mean? Take away Roddick's serve and becomes blah, blah, blah. Take away Mac's quickness to the net and his amazing eye/hand coordiation and he becomes blah, blah, blah. Take away Lendl's conditioning/work ethic and he becomes blah, blah, blah. Take away Federer's movement/speed and Fh and he becomes blah, blah, blah. Take away nadal's legs and FH and he becomes blah, blah, blah. Take away karlovic's serve and he becomes blah, blah blah.

    Amazing. of course taking away a major strength of any of the all-time greats makes them..less great, average. The point is they are GREAT because they posses this special skill. Sampras had quite a few special skills and the serve started it all. way to make a OBVIOUS statement.
     
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  50. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    you are a very inconsistent poster. see my post above.
     
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