The best backhand ever?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by theagassiman, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    From "Rod Laver's Tennis Digest" 1973.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  2. FiveO

    FiveO Hall of Fame

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    I had posted a very similar still photo sequence a few years ago that another member, Mick, made this with:

    [​IMG]

    5
     
  3. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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  4. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Hey 5-0,

    That's a cool sequence of the same pictures. I don't have that tech skill. Did you see my post in the Lew Hoad thread with a similar sequence of pictures of the Lew Hoad backhand? My pictures of Rosewall came from the 1973 version of "Rod Laver's Tennis Digest" which is mostly a compilation of stories and articles from World Tennis Magazine from that time. I only wish that the text was easier to read. It's an excellent description of the Rosewall backhand.

    I have also seen your post with the artist renderings of Don Budge's grips and groundstrokes. I have the same book by Bill Talbert. I also attended Don Budge's tennis camp and got to watch him play practice sets against his coaches. And I can tell you, even though he was 59 at the time, his athletic talent (balance, timing, coordination), was undiminished and his groundies were as great as anyone who ever played.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  5. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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  6. madhavan

    madhavan New User

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    Rosewall's backhand in detail

    If you want to study the Rosewall backhand and volleys in detail, get the video `Tennis to Win - Vol 1' - it's from the 70s, but is still available (in VHS, don't know about DVD):

    http://www.amazon.com/Tennis-Win-Teaching-You-Champions/product-reviews/B0002K62X2

    The cover has Newcombe and Borg, but it is mainly Newcombe and Rosewall teaching forehand, backhand, volleys. Newcombe does the forehand segment, Rosewall does the backhand and they both do the volleys. Sue Barker also helps out.

    This has Rosewall demonstrating his flat/slice backhand in crystal clear detail with excellent close up camera angles and several slow motion views. And all the segments are quite long (>10 mins each) with tons of hitting by the players to demonstrate their strokes. There are also various match clips from the 70s, with several segments from the Borg-Gerulaitis Wimb 77 SF 5th set (guess that's why they have Borg on the cover, though he does actually appear in Vol 2). Don't recall much interesting in Vol2.

    There's another instr video by Tony Roche which also has some clips of Rosewall demonstrating his backhand, but of course nowhere as good as the above video.

    Madhavan
     
  7. rst

    rst Rookie

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    ....as for djokovic his slice is not comparable with federers so i would not consider his backhand better......

    that has been my observation
     
  8. rst

    rst Rookie

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    ........His mixture of variety on his bh is perhaps unmatched, and obviously it's been working well for him!............

    i dont know the actual numbers of whose backhand has gotten them the most winners.

    federers one-hander has a great deal of variety from the limited tennis i have seen.

    brisk low slices - with depth, acute angles, and good pace without alot of ole!!! it appears biomechanically compact to me , iow.

    federer appears to weave this variety into his backhand in an almost seamless way...with an inside/out forehand hiding nearby.

    it seems to work well on return of serve too....within the current power tennis game.

    does this seem inaccurate??? and good enough for top 10???
     
  9. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Federer´s is a good one, very good one.But not top 10.I can think of 15-20 players off my hat that had equally good, excellent BH´s and wouldn´t make top 10.His is a very good one but not top ten.Top ten BH have something else...
     
  10. jean pierre

    jean pierre Semi-Pro

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  11. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Guillermo Vilas certainly had one of the finest backhands of all time. The man had a wrist of steel. I saw him hit a ball that landed very short and close to the net and perhaps about two or three feet above the net and Vilas flicked his backhand and hit the ball into the stands behind the court. That was awesome strength. I've seen Laver do similar things with his backhand.

    I've always thought that in today's day and age with his excellent speed and heavy topspin power (plus super stamina) that Vilas would be a nightmare today to play against. I think he would be quite similar to Nadal except with a one handed backhand.
     
  12. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

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    The best backhand of all time and there is no doubt at all about this, was Jimmy Connors, he could do anything with it. Flat, topspin, slice, lob, drop shot, power, placement, so penetrating, clean winners or never miss, take it on the rise, disguise it, block it, angle it, reverse, return of serve, hit it harder than anyone before, during and after his career. Shall I go on?!
    I love some of the one hander topspin backands out there now and over the years, Rosewall, Edberg, Federer etc, but i'm afraid two handed topspin backhands are just stronger.
    Borg, Wilander, Agassi, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray.
    And of course the greatest of all time 'Jimmy Connors'!
     
  13. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Sliced:Rosewall and Edberg with Orantes and maybe Ashe and Patty next
    Flat:Budge,Connors and Agassi reign and also a mention for Emmo and Kovacs
    Top:Laver and Borg with Vilas,Djokovic and maybe Costa and Safin next
    Laver was the most complete
    Also great bh those from Hoad,Roche,Korda,Rios,Pietrangelu,Lacoste and,on the ROS,Becker,Kodes,Murray,Lleyton Hewitt and Stolle
     
  14. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Kiki,
    Excellent list.
    Ashe also had an incredible topspin backhand and flat backhand. Ashe and Laver had the most versatile backhands I've ever seen. It's wasn't better than Laver's imo but it was certainly close. Ashe just played too much low percentage tennis and went for too many winners on the backhand side and would miss.

    Here's a tremendous match with Ashe and Laver. Incredible amount of backhand winners.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43csIDKmkMk
     
  15. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

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    If you were to ask any pro from that era, who's backhand would you like to have? 80% would have said Connors!
     
  16. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Laver and Connors are not in the same era
     
  17. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

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    Ok any player from the 60's to 80's (30 years of tennis). Connors backhand was a huge weapon it was like having a huge 1st serve, Gonzalez etc.
    Not until Agassi did this occur again.
    I agree Laver could hit slice, topspin, dropshots, lobs etc etc and had a complete backhand, as did Edberg, Ashe etc, but as a sheer devastating weapon that would dictate and decide matches, never had a grounstroke had this effect until maybe Lendl's forehand came along.
    But that's what's fun about all of this, it's all so subjective!!
     
  18. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I never said Ashe's backhand was better than Jimmy Connors' backhand but that it was more versatile and it was a great backhand. Clearly Connors had a superior backhand and one of the best of all time, arguably the best of all time.
     
  19. DolgoSantoro

    DolgoSantoro Professional

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    My vote goes to Safin
     
  20. President

    President Legend

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    Last 20 years Agassi, Kafelnikov, Murray, Nalbandian, Djokovic, and Safin IMO.
     
  21. Tennusdude

    Tennusdude Rookie

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    Hey Guys dont forgot even the men players use to like to watch Gabriella Sabatini's backhand! Or maybe they just like watching Gabby! Anyway her backhand was a nice shot.
     
  22. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    Lots of one handers in here.
     
  23. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    where is Gasquet ? we all must emulate him. and I don't know how he does that with extended racket, it is beyond my comprehension
     
  24. nikdom

    nikdom Hall of Fame

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    Puke. Cmon, there's got to be a better example of the man's BH from his playing days. This looks like absolute 3.0 crap from my local tennis park.
     
  25. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Here's a better example.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLKV-f7B1OU

    The guy playing Vilas had a pretty decent backhand too. :)
     
  26. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    When Arthur Ashe hit flat, it may have been the hardest hit backhand ever.
     
  27. DunlopDood

    DunlopDood Semi-Pro

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    Marat Safin!
     
  28. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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  29. TomT

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  30. TomT

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  31. rocketassist

    rocketassist Rookie

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    Best single hander for me is Guga, best double hander is Safin, Agassi or Nalbandian
     
  32. Seth

    Seth Hall of Fame

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    2HBH - Nalbandian
    1HBH - Gasquet
     
  33. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Latest (as of May 2011) consensus list of BHGOATs.

    Should Djokovic be moved up?

    Resurrected for currency.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
  34. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Orantes below Costa?
     
  35. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Make a case.
     
  36. President

    President Legend

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    How the hell was he so low to begin with? His backhand has been one of the best of all time since 2007.
     
  37. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Costa is listed because I insisted alone but Manuel had greater versatility simce his BH could be both offensive and deffensive and more efects and angles
    Just an opinion
     
  38. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    1. Rosewall
    2. Laver
    3. Connors
    4. Kuerten
    5. Borg
    6. Nalbandian
    7. Budge
    8. Agassi
    9. Edberg
    10. Djokovic
    11. Safin
    12. Lacoste
    13. Ashe
    14. Lendl
    15. Vilas
    16. Kovacs
    17. Rios
    18. Mancini
    19. Mecir
    20. Orantes
    21. Murray
    22. Tilden
    23. Kodes
    24. Stich
    25. Wilander
    26. Kafelnikov
    27. Costa
    28. Korda
    29. Almagro
    30. Gasquet
    31. Becker
    32. Wawrinka
    33. Nüsslein
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
  39. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    hoodjem, Where are Hoad and Nüsslein? I miss them in your excellent list.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
  40. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    ^^
    Of course Fed's BH isn't that good otherwise he wouldn't have won 17 slams. And if Lendl is as low(#32) as Federer, he could have won more than 8 slams. Haha
     
  41. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Djokovic should be higher than that. Shame there are no highlight reels to show off Rosewall and Laver's backhands. Neither would cope with Nadal's topspin like Djokovic does though I think.
     
  42. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    Notice how this is supposedly a baseline bash era (where everyone is awful at the net and just slugs it from the backcourt) yet there is only one player from 2000s in the top 10, I guess players today fail at both baselining and netplay :)

    To be honest, I think Agassi has a better BH (and by a good margin) than anyone on that list and yes Novak should be up there as well.
     
  43. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Players today are slower and hit with less pace too I'll have you know ;)

    Any matches you recommend I watch to see Agassi's backhand in full flight?
     
  44. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    I don't know if any match specifically comes to mind, it's kinda like Novak, BH was his most reliable everyday weapon, it's hard to find a match in which his BH didn't work really well.

    I'd say maybe his 1995 AO final against Sampras and 2000 AO final against Kafelnikov (just awesome hitting from the baseline in that match from both players).
     
  45. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    So true. Baseline specialists today you would expect many of their names at the top, much like you see so many best volley players from the past generations stack at the top and NONE for this era.

    At least the list for the greatest servers of all time didn't omit the players from 2000s.
     
  46. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    An improvement...now, just move Stefan a bit higher and the list is very good.
    and good one recalling Mancini, a very underrated guy here, but a player would be comfortable with current baseline bashing.
     
  47. spinovic

    spinovic Hall of Fame

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    Stan the Man has a great one-handed backhand. He deserves some love.
     
  48. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Because Sampras won 14 slams, he must have a great BH also.

    Your logic reminds me of Swiss cheese, . . .
    . . . or very old havarti.
     
  49. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Federer does have a great backhand though, it's not one of the best of all time though. But it's very good. Besides that winning 17 slams in a slower baseline era is abit different to winning 14 in largely fast conditions.
     
  50. tudwell

    tudwell Hall of Fame

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    As a huge fan of Nalbandian, I think you have him way too high on this list. Having one of the greatest strokes of all time isn't just about filling highlight reels - it's about using the stroke as a weapon day-in and day-out and against the highest competition. Nalbandian can hit some absolutely incredible shots and generally has a very solid backhand, but it didn't win him much (compared to the greatest players of all time, that is). And he never had that week-in, week-out consistency in any of his strokes to put him up there in the top ten. I'd put him at number 12 at the very[i/] best.
     

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