The Lendl Backhand: How good did he hit it?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Mansewerz, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Lendl versus Wilander French Open 1987. Federer versus Nadal French Open 2008. Both are highlights.

    Not just the speed of shot, look at how much more court they must cover.

    Lendl's backhand in slow mo. Fed's.

    Lendl had a great backhand but Fed's is better. Plus, he has to hit his backhand under conditions Lendl didn't. Fed has a longer swing, more racket head speed, and a more natural and complete kinetic chain = more power. Compared to Fed's backhand Lendl's looks methodical and deliberate. I almost consider Lendl to be the Davydenko of his day, a guy with top 50 talent who just completely maxed out his potential by methodically plugging every hole in his game, refining and grooving his technique to superhuman levels, great footwork and fitness, and incredible will and shot discipline. In my mind guys like that can be number 1, but their robotic strokes (as beautiful as they might be... and like Davydenko, I always thought the beauty of Lendl's strokes were always underrated and if he both Davydenko and Lendl looked more like Fernando Verdasco the very same motion might be described as being pretty...) can never match the almost unexplainable power generated by people with a true genius for the game. The guys who don't look like robots but instead like dancers out there, their bodies just naturally doing the things that add that extra 5 or 10 mph's on shots.

    I'm going to track down Tony Roche's email address!!! :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
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  2. rod99

    rod99 Professional

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    federer also has the advantage of today's rackets and strings. people don't realize how difficult it was to play with lendl's racket.

    federer's backhand might "look better" but it's not as strong of a shot as lendl's.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
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  3. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    12 year old girl hitting with Lendl's racket. I think more than the limitations of the technology itself, it's more about the "limitations" of the technique you develop when you grow up learning tennis with a wooden racket like Lendl did. You see he has a more linear approach to hitting the ball, and more of a closed stance and not just on forehands. Not just technology, technique has evolved.

    But I get what you're saying. Still, the Wilson Pro Staff came on the market in 1983, the POG in 1980. Rackets that are still being used today (depending on which paint job theory you subscribe to, and in the case of the POG, some people still use it with original exterior... and yeah, I know he used gut). Lendl could have switched but must have played with the racket he felt suited him the best. For a guy who was willing to experiment with the latest in training and diet and serve and volley entire matches on grass, I find it hard to believe he stuck with his Adidas just out of mindless stubbornness.
    I'm not being tricked by the beauty of it. Although on one handers, and maybe for other shots as well, I do think there's a correlation between the beauty of the shot and its effectiveness, as people generally think the most beautiful shots are the ones that deliver power and accuracy with seemingly the least amount of effort.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
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  4. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

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    I don't think at all Federer hits harder than Agassi or Lendl, he hits with more angle and anticipation, that is what makes it seem faster.

    Tennis is a game of matchups. If you cannot get into position, you will start hitting less hard. That is what happened with Fed at the USO against Delpo. And what happened with Lendl at the end of his carreer.

    When you lose half a step, you cannot get into the ideal position anymore to hit out. Surely Federer can hit as hard as Delpo, but if Delpo does not allow him to hit from his comfort zone, Federer's strokes will all of a sudden be slower.

    Tennis is still a game of coordination between the eye and the hand, but your feet have to bring you to the ideal position to exploit this.

    That is why hard hitters at the end of their carreer can be outhit by new kids on the block.

    And I would say that as fast as Nadal is, on HC he does not have the ideal footwork and is often the tiniest little bit tired and hits slightly to late, hence he coughs up short balls that can be putaway by his opponent.
     
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  5. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    I would agree in that Agassi and Lendl are more pure hitters than Federer, relying more on brute relentless efficiency, whereas Federer's shot patterns can really confuse an opponent. Agassi was the tennis equivalent of Chavez in the last half of his career, delivering body blows to brutalize his opponents and destroy their legs. More than any other player, I think Agassi sometimes prolonged points he could have ended. Lendl, too, was a pretty straight forward ball striker. Both those guys were more or less playing in 4/4 time whereas Federer can play in several different time signatures.

    So yes, there will be moments when Fed will be in arhythmic, even defensive mode, he can win in so many different ways, which isn't something you can say about Agassi and Lendl, so if an alien watched only a select number of games they could easily think Fed is a finesse player whereas Agassi and Lendl are more powerful.

    But when Fed's in puncher mode, I believe he has way more power potential than either Agassi or Lendl. I've seen Agassi hit some absolutely insane fast balls taking a full swing off a 140 mph serve and hitting it flat. But I've seen Federer hit nearly or maybe even harder balls off near sitters, generating the pace all on his own. The same reason why he seems to shank a lot against certain players is why he can generate so much pace: insane racket head speed. Crazy racket head speed + long fluid motion + complete relaxation = incredible power potential.

    With that said I think Federer is at his best when he's playing less like Lendl and Agassi and more like... um... Federer. Mixing power with short angles, slicing his backhand to keep his opponents off balance, forcing his opponents do the tennis equivalent of trying to dance to jazz music.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
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  6. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Just a compliment to 35 ft 6, Not only do I agree with your analysis. I like the way you express it.
     
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  7. Ultimatum

    Ultimatum Rookie

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    Federer can hit the backhand as hard as or even harder than Lendl if he wants to. It is just that he does not hit hard is as often as Lendl did.
     
    #57
  8. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Thanks! I feel self conscious about posting so much during my down time, so a compliment makes me feel less like dorky! :)
     
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  9. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

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    I love the above comparisons. And I guess that is what it boils down to: Fed can both play forte people and piano. He can overpower his opponents and if that does not work he can work them with angles and slices off the backhand wing.

    I do think he is much more of a power player than he is considered as.

    The only time he gets off balance is when playing Nadal and then it seems he is playing out of key.

    Agassi and Lendl would always hit quite hard, whereas Federer's peaks are probably higher than theirs, but his average speed may be lower. May be... I don't know of any material to compare them scientifically.
     
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  10. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Yeah, Fed just can't seem to shake Nadal. Even his super short angled sliced backhand that gives most players (especially tall right handers) problems, I don't know how many times I've seen Nadal just rip those for winners.

    I'm really beginning to think with his OCD Nadal might be some kind of tennis savant. At his best, his point construction especially on clay is probably the best I've ever seen. I've seen him play matches where I felt like he was in control of literally almost every point while playing what was for him high percentage tennis.

    You watch the French Open finals between Lendl and Borg (if we can agree that maybe Borg was the Nadal of his day) and it's like they're having a staring match, they look almost motionless compared to what a regular rally between Fed and Nadal is like. So yeah, Lendl's backhand was "more consistent," but back in those days, clay court tennis in many ways a war of attrition. Fed might miss more today but the level of play is faster, he's hitting on the move way more, it's just really vicious. Some of those clay matches from the 80's look like two people drilling or trying to get into the Guiness Book of World records for world's longest rally.
     
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  11. lendlmac

    lendlmac Rookie

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    Ivan Lendl Backhand in Perspective

    Hi everyone,

    I'm the Original creator of that youtube video Highlight... I've been a lurker for sometime now, but an avid Ivan Lendl fan since 1982...Several years ago, I decided to make Highlight VHS tapes/DVDS, of all Ivan Lendl matches, "Highlighting" every winner, passing shot, ace, volley, winner after winner after winner! I was happy to see that some of my creations had made it up on youtube, and recognized the "edits" some choppy, but I did the best I could with a vcr (laughs).. I don't profess to be a Lendl "expert" by any means, but I do have almost 200+ Ivan Lendl Matches Complete on DVD, and creatd over 30+ Volumes of Lendl Highlights each DVD 2 HRS long, of winners, passing shots, etc...complete, and as a result ( I could never re-watch a complete match again) I decided I would make HIGHLIGHT DVDs, of Ivan Lendl matches, capturing ONLY winners from both players, aces, passing shots, etc...editing out all the commercials, delays, double fault, unforced errors, and basically just every point won I captured..and enjoy sharing them with every tennis fan out there that would like to view them...for me, regardless of Slams, etc..Below are just a few of my handiwork, and would enjoy sharing them if interested...

    DISC ONE - 1980-1983
    '80 - Masters Final - Bjorn Borg v. Ivan Lendl
    '81 - Davis Cup - (Rare Men's Doubles) Stan Smith/ Bob Lutz v. Ivan Lendl/ Tomas Smid
    '81 - French Open Final - Bjorn Borg v. Ivan Lendl
    '82 - U.S. Open Semi-Final - John McEnroe v. Ivan Lendl
    '82 - U.S. Open Final - Jimmy Connors v. Ivan Lendl
    '82 - Masters Final - Ivan Lendl v John McEnroe
    '83 - Australian Open Final - Mats Wilander v. Ivan Lendl
    DISC TWO - 1983-1984
    '83 - Australian Open Final - Mats Wilander v. Ivan Lendl (Cont.)
    '83 - Wimbeldon Semi-Final - John McEnroe v. Ivan Lendl
    '83 - Canadian Open Final - Jimmy Connor v. Ivan Lendl
    '83 - U.S. Open Final - Jimmy Connors v. Ivan Lendl
    '83 - Masters Final - John McEnroe v. Ivan Lendl
    '84 - Ambre Solaires World Team Cup - John McEnroe v. Ivan Lendl
    '84 - Wimbeldon Sem-Final - Jimmy Connors v. Ivan Lendl
    '84 - Forest Hills Final - John McEnore v. Ivan Lendl
    '84 - French Open Final - John McEnore v. Ivan Lendl
    DISC THREE - 1984-1985
    '84 - Wimbeldon Semi-Final - Jimmy Connors v. Ivan Lendl (Cont.)
    '84 - U.S. Open Semi-Final - Pat Cash v. Ivan Lendl
    '84 - U.S. Open Final - John McEnroe v. Ivan Lendl
    '84 - Super Seiko Tokyo Final - Jimmy Connors v. Ivan Lendl
    '83 - Masters Semi-Final - Jimmy Connors v. Ivan Lendl
    '85 - Australian Open Final - Stefan Edberg v. Ivan Lendl
    '85 - Suntory Cup - John McEnore v. Ivan Lendl
    '85 - Ambre Solaires World Team Cup - John McEnroe v. Ivan Lendl
    DISC FOUR - 1984-1985
    '85 - Indianapolis Final - Boris Becker v. Ivan Lendl
    '85 - Wembley Final - Boris Becker v. Ivan Lendl
    '85 - Volvo Stratton Mountain Semi-Final - Jimmy Connors v. Ivan Lendl
    '85 - Volvo Stratton Mountain Final - John McEnroe v. Ivan Lendl
    '84 - French Open Semi-Final - Mats Wilander v. Ivan Lendl
    '85 - Canadian Open Final - John McEnore v. Ivanl Lendl
    '85 - Antwerp European Champions Championship Final - John McEnore v. Ivan Lendl
    DISC FIVE - 1987-1990
    '90 - Philadelphia Final - Pete Sampras v. Ivan Lendl
    '87 - Volvo Semi-Final - Andre Agassi v. Ivan Lendl
    '88 - Wimbledon Semi-Final Boris Becker v. Ivan Lendl
    '89 - Australian Open Quarter Final – Thomas Muster v. Ivan Lendl
    '87 - Stakes Match Exhibition Men’s Final - Pat Cash v. Ivan Lend
    '89 - Canadian Open Semi-Final John McEnroe v. Ivan Lendl
    '89 - U.S. Open Final - Boris Becker v. Ivan Lendl
    '90 - Australian Open Semi-Final – Stefan Edberg v. Ivan Lendl
    '88 - U.S. Open Semi-Final Andre Agassi v. Ivan Lendl
    '90 - Stella Artois Queens Final - Boris Becker v. Ivan Lendl
    '90 - World Championships Semi-Final – Jakob Hlasek v Ivan Lendl
    '87 - Canadian Open Final – Stefan Edberg v. Ivan Lendl
    '88 - U.S. Open Final – Mats Wilander v. Ivan Lendl
    '88 - Masters Round Robin – Andre Agassi v. Ivan Lendl
    '87 - Wimbledon Final – Pat Cash v. Ivan Lendl
    '87 - European Championship Final Belgium Stella Artois – Milsolav Mecir v. Ivan Lendl
    '87 - Transamerica Cow Palace, Semi-Final – Peter Lundgren v. Ivan Lendl
    '90 - Compaq Grand Slam Cup Semi-Final – Michael Chang v. Ivan Lendl
    '87 - U.S. Open Quarter Final – John McEnroe v. Ivan Lendl
    '88 - French Open 4th Round – John McEnroe v. Ivan Lendl
    DISC SIX - 1987-1993
    '88 - U.S. Open Semi-Final – Andre Agassi v. Ivan Lendl (Cont.)
    '90 - Norstar Hamlet Semi-Final – John McEnroe v. Ivan Lendl
    '89 - Australian Open 4th Round – Thomas Muster v. Ivan Lendl
    '93 - Eurocard Classics Final – Stefan Edberg v. Goran Ivanisevic
    '93 - Wimbledon Quarter Final – Stefan Edberg v. Goran Ivanisevic
    '92 - Canadian Open Final – Andre Agassi v. Ivan Lendl
    '92 - Volvo International Final – Stefan Edberg v. Ivan Lendlal Final
    '87 - Transamerica Cow Palace Semi-Final – Peter Lundgren v. Ivan Lendl (Cont.)
    '87 - Stakes Match Round Robin – John McEnroe v. Ivan lendl
    '88 - French Open Quarter Final (Cont.) - John McEnore v. Ivan Lendl
    '87 - U.S. Open Quarter Final (Cont.) - John McEnroe v. Ivan Lendl
    '87 - U.S. Open Final – Mats Wilander v. Ivan Lendl
    '92 - Hamlet Norstar Semi-Final - Petr Korda v. Ivan Lendl
    '89 - Australian Open Final – Miloslav Mecir v. Ivan Lendl
    '88 - Australian Open Final – Pat Cash v. Mats Wilander
    '91 - GTE Championship Indianapolis Final – Pete Sampras v. Boris Becker
    '87 U.S. Open Final - Mats Wilander v. Ivan Lendl
    DISC SEVEN - 1985-1986
    '85 - U.S. Open Final – John McEnroe v. Ivan Lendl
    '85 - Super Seiko Tokyo Final – Mats Wilander v. Ivan Lendl
    '85 - Masters Final – Ivan Lendl v Boris Becker
    '86 - Paine Webber Classic Ft. Myers, Final – Jimmy Connors v. Ivan Lendl
    '86 - Wimbledon Semi-Final – "BoBo" Slobodan Zivojinovic v. Ivan Lendl
    '86 - Wimbledon Final – Boris Becker v. Ivan Lendl
    '86 - Stratton Mountain Volvo Final – Boris Becker v. Ivan Lendl
    '86 - U.S Open Semi-Final – Stefan Edberg v. Ivan Lendl
    DISC EIGHT - 1988-1990
    '88 - ATP Masters Final - Boris Becker v. Ivan Lendl
    '89 - U.S. Open Semi-Final - Andre Agassi v. Ivan Lendl
    '89 - French Open 4th Round - Michael Chang v. Ivan Lendl
    '90 - WCT Tournament of Champions, Quarterfinals - Jimmy Connors v. Ivan Lendl
    DISC NINE - 1987-1990
    '89 - U.S. Open Final - Boris Becker v. Ivan Lendl
    '90 - Queens Stella Artois Semi-Final - John McEnroe v. Ivan Lendl
    '89 - Tournament of Champions Forrest Hills, Semi-Final - Andre Agassi v. Ivan Lendl
    '88 - Canadian Open Final - Kevin Curren v. Ivan Lendl
    '90 - Tokyo Super Seiko Final - Boris Becker v. Ivan Lendl
    '87 - Wimbeldon Semi-Final - Stefan Edberg v. Ivan Lendl
    DISC TEN: 1986 - 1987
    '86 - U.S. Open Final (Cont.) - Stefan Edberg v. Ivan Lendl;
    '86 - U.S. Open Final - Miloslav Mecir v. Ivan Lendl;
    '86 - Masters Final - Ivan Lendl v Boris Beckerl;
    '87 - Wimbeldon Semi-Finals - Stefan Edberg v. Ivan Lendl;
    '87 - Stakes Match, Palm Beach Polo & Country Club Semi-Finals - Pat Cash v. Ivan Lendl;
    '87 - Stakes Match, Palm Beach Polo & Country Club Semi-Finals - John McEnroe v. Stefan Edberg
    DISC ELEVEN: 1987 - 1988
    '87 - Stakes Match, - Stefan Edberg v. John McEnroe (Cont.);
    '87 - Stakes Match – Pat Cash v. Stefan Edberg;
    '87 - Stakes Match – John McEnroe v. Ivan Lendl;
    '88 - Newsweek Champions Cup, Indian Wells, CA Semi-Finals – Andre Agassi v. Boris Becker;
    '87 - U.S. Open Semi-Finals – Jimmy Connors v. Ivan Lendl;
    '87 - Stakes Match - Final – Pat Cash v. Ivan Lendl;
    '87 - Transamerica Open Final, San Francisco, CA Semi-Finals – Peter Lundgren v. Ivan Lendl ***
    DISC TWELVE: 1990 - 1991
    '90 - U.S. Open Quarterfinls - Pete Sampras v. Ivan Lendl;
    '91 - Rotterdam Finals - Omar Camporese v. Ivan Lendl;
    DISC THIRTEEN: (1991-1987)
    '91 - U.S. Open Quarterfinals - Michael Stich v. Ivan Lendl;
    '91 - U.S. Open Semi-Final - Edberg v Lendl
    '87 - AT&T Championship Indoor Finals - John McEnroe v. Ivan Lendl;
    DISC FOURTEEN (1991-1996)
    '91 - U.S. Open Semi-Finals - Stefan Edberg v. Ivan Lendl;
    '90 - Tokyo Seiko Indoor Finals - Boris Becker v. Ivan Lendl;
    '90 - Queens Stella Artois Semi-Finals - John McEnroe v. Ivan Lendl;
    '96 - Wimbeldon Quarterfinlas - Richard Krajicek v. Pete Sampras
    DISC FIFTEEN (1981-1987)
    '90 - Grand Slam Cup - Wheaton v Lendl - QF
    '81 - La Quinta - Jimmy Connors vs Ivan Lendl
    '89 - Key Biscayne - Curren v Lendl - SF
    '87 - Key Biscayne - Mecir v Lendl -Final
    DISC SIXTEEN (1982-1989)
    '86 - Forrest Hills - Lendl v Noah - SF
    '89 - Wimbledon - Lundgren v Lendl - 4th
    '82 - Antwerp Belgium - John McEnroe vs Ivan Lendl
    and have over 30 volumes so far, and still work in progress!

    I average about 1 -2 DVDs a month..it's a long process and work inprogress..and feel the younger generation, NEEDS to see this truly great legend, IVAN LENDL and tons,tons more, too mch to list here..(laughs) not selling anything, just sharing my only favorite tennis hobby! :) p.s. I still play effectivel, 4.5 + level, with my Ivan Lendl 90 sq Mizuno Racquet, strung with BB Luxilon 16s, at 36 lbs, (YES 36 lbs!) awesome power control and touch and feel... with 6 strips of lead tape at 12'oclock, and 9 strips of lead tape at 9'oclock and 3 'oclock sides... Sheer power, and blows away the Federer Wilson garbage (laughs) :)
     
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  12. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    ^ Why isn't Hitting Hot on Youtube? :mad:
     
    #62
  13. Mansewerz

    Mansewerz Legend

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    I remember NamRanger once mentioning that the reason Nadal beats Federer is that he makes Roger play defense rather than his preferred offense. Do you agree with this statement (at least to some extent)?
     
    #63
  14. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    I think he had a very underrated Backhand Slice. His slice backhand was a very good shot especially when he was drawn out wide and had to play defense...
     
    #64
  15. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Which highlight video is that?
     
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  16. lendlmac

    lendlmac Rookie

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    Hi there, sorry about the double post..I meant to post this in the "Lendl Manhandles Johnny" thread LOL... but here is an excerpt of the 2HR Hightlight Video that I created many many years ago.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXlH73PxVBg

    I have up to 30+ Volumes now..and this one here, was from either Vol.1 or Vol. 2 when I first started it... It goes back as early as 1979, I think, through 1994..I only posted a few volumes here to give you folks the jist of what I make availalbe to tennis fans... :)
     
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  17. RoddickAce

    RoddickAce Hall of Fame

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    Fed also uses Rubato :) to make things interesting.
     
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  18. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

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    Yes, when Roger plays Nadal, he is forced to play another game than he is used to.

    The strange thing is that Roger really brings out the best in Nadal. Against other players Nadal often hits too short, but against Roger, whom Rafa knows by the back of his hand, Nadal hits a lot deeper, and with spin.

    So Federer stands way farther from the center of the court than he is used to and he cannot really cope with that.

    Tennis really is a game of position. You can have brilliant strokes, but if you are brought out of position, they won't work anymore.

    No single stroke is perfect or unattackable. Soderling hits the crap out of the ball if he can hit from shoulder height, but if you give him a low skidding slice, he will probably shank it. Federer has a great FH, yet, in certain positions you could play into it and draw a weak reply, it just depends when you go for it. If it is obvious you are going to play to his forehand and he knows it, you can expect to be crucified (think Roddick playing a crosscourt approach to Roger's FH). If however you keep Federer guessing and then play a deep ball to his forehand, he won't be able to hit a winner standing 3 meters behind the baseline. At that moment he will cough up a slightly shorter ball, with less court penetration, which may enable to go for his BH or wrongfoot him and play to his FH again.

    Nadal knows all of this too well and exploits it in their encounters. Nadal is really the worst matchup for Federer.

    When Federer plays against Nadal he is out of sorts, he is doing things he isn't used to, he has to play in other ways than he likes.

    To follow the music analogy: it is as if he was playing an instrument he isn't used to. I play some music myself, although very modestly. And once I played the keyboard of a friend that has another color than mine and slightly different keys, with a different touch. Man, I was lost, I was completely disoriented. I had to consciously think of every note of certain songs I know by heart on my keyboard, and can play with my eyes closed. I still managed to pull it off, but it was a strange experience.

    I have the feeling Federer has this too when he plays Nadal, it is as if he was brought into positions he had never been in, and all of a sudden the perspective he has on the court has changed and he feels a little lost and doesn't know what to do from there.

    The FO2008 was probably the best (or worst) example of this. After 1 set and 1 game Federer already had this look in his eyes saying: "I am lost, and I don't know where to go from here".

    But not only Fed suffers from this, Nadal looked about the same when being bashed by Delpo at the USO, and a year before, he looked no better against Murray.

    Tennis is and remains a game of match ups.

    But the whole Federer-Nadal thing is still a strange phenomenon, because you would think that by now they should have figured each other out.
     
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  19. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

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    And staccato and legato if he needs to.:)
     
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  20. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    Yes back in the 80's clay court tennis was a total different game. To blow someone off the court was impossible. The courts where slower and the frames and strings didn't allow the tennis that is seen today. That said, you can't use the youtube footage of Lendl vs Wilander as evidence. When Lendl played Wilander he was never really able to play true power tennis. Wilander did not give Lendl pace to work with. Lendl knew he had to pick his spots to go big, otherwise over the course of the match Wilander would get most of the big shots back and use Lendl's power against him and/or Lendl would end up with too many errors. If you want to compare Fed's and Lendl's backhand pace wise, you need to compare footage with Lendl playing against guys like Becker or Agassi. Those were slugfest.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2010
    #70
  21. lendlmac

    lendlmac Rookie

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    #71
  22. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Is this true? Was Roland Garros slower back then?
    Maybe you're right, but it's the same against Borg and Mecir.
    Becker and Lendl indoors and outdoors at Aussie Open.
     
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  23. Zimbo

    Zimbo Semi-Pro

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    Yeah the courts is faster now. Do I have evidence? It appeared to be and I read it somewhere a few years ago. But who knows if its fact.

    Yes against Borg, Lendl did play a little more defensive. Again, he knew he couldn't blow Borg off the court. Borg was too fast. As for Mecir, Lendl did show more explosiveness.

    I have those two matches against Becker on tape The '88 match on you tube is really poor quality. The copy I have, Lendl was blasting the ball. By '91 Lendl had lost a step and the pace of his shot were a little less. The biggest hitting I have of Lendl was against Agassi at the '88 Masters. It was mind blowing watching it.
     
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  24. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    True.
    I'd take Lendl's. I think he had a bit more variety.
     
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  25. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Fed's may look prettier, but it ain't better. Fed shanks a lot of backhands. Lendl almost never shanked his. Lendl may "look" more methodical and deliberate" but it is a much more consistent and dependable shot.

    Fed's may appear more "natural" and Lendl's may appear more "methodical"; what you're truly saying is that Fed's is more prone to error and Lendl's is more consistent, thus better. Tennis is a game of consistency: I'll take Lendl's.
     
    #75
  26. rod99

    rod99 Professional

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    to show that wilander/lendl clip as proof that federer's backhand is better is a complete joke. the balls were heavier, the court was slower, the strings/rackets didn't allow you to do the things that you can do now, etc.

    if i had to put my life on the line then i'd take lendl's backhand over federer's and it's really not that close.
     
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  27. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    I guess I'm saying that Fed has to hit his backhand under much more difficult situations.

    Seriously, I would love to get Roche's take on this. I have a feeling that if he said Fed's backhand is a better shot, that he executes under conditions Lendl didn't have to confront, people here would completely dismiss it.
     
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  28. rod99

    rod99 Professional

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    fed's conditions are nadal's topspin forehand (which btw, gasquet handles much better than fed). lendl's conditions are an archaic racket and string compared to today's technology. lendl's conditions are much more difficult than fed's.
     
    #78
  29. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    What was the head-size of that old Adidas racquet? 77 sq. in.?
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2010
    #79
  30. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Agreed. Lendl rarely shanked the ball like Federer does quite often.

    Incidentally this is what Lendl says about his own backhand in the book "Hitting Hot." My backhand grip finds the knuckle of my index finger atop the leading edge of the racket handle. My index finger is not spread the way it is on the forehand, and teh fingers are tight together but comfortable. I use my backhand grip (commonly called the continental) for all my strokes except the baseline forehand.

    Lendl used to slice the ball on the backhand all the time until his coach forced him to play a match and hit only topspin backhands.

    Lendl's backhand in baseline rallies was about as consistent as his forehand and he could really drive it if he had to. He did not mishit very often on that side and he could handle the heavy topspin of a Wilander, Borg or a Vilas on that side.

    The backhand return was good but it wasn't the offensive weapon of a Connors or a Borg who could drive the ball back consistently.

    It was a terrific backhand but I don't think it was as natural a shot as the Edberg backhand. Edberg's backhand was in my opinion better off the return. In the 1980's the best one handed backhands were clearly Edberg's and Lendl's.

    There haven't been too many one handed backhands in the history of tennis better than Lendl.

    Ashe for example had a fantastic backhand but he often went for too many winners on that side so it wasn't as consistent as Lendl's.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2010
    #80
  31. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Both the POG and Pro Staff were available by 1983. Lendl played with the racket he was comfortable with. Fed is playing with a racket that is pretty much the same as the Pro Staff unless we know that he's using a newer type of paint job. Strings? Definitely a huge development.

    But I don't agree that Lendl's conditions were tougher. He was playing with the equipment he was completely comfortable with. Likewise, I don't sit here in awe of Fed and Nadal knowing that technology is going to have progressed even further in 20 years, like they're playing with a handicap. Recreational frames for 60 year olds who play doubles has changed tremendously, but except for the Babolat frames, player frames have changed way way less. Even players today talk about how rackets like the original Pro Staff and Head Prestige got it right, nothing has really improved since then.

    The game was just different back then. I'm not going to penalize Lendl for being born when he did, but the game is very different today. There is way more movement. Guys have to hit on the move way more. Rallies are faster, more vicious. If this were baseball, and in the past some guy was hitting .325 when fastballs maxed out at 85 mph and there wasn't as much action on the sliders, curves, and breakers, I would think the guy who hits .310 in the era of 100 mph fastballs and pitches that move 3 feet from side to side is the superior hitter.

    Fed's backhand is the only one hander in the top 10 and he had a pretty stellar year. If his backhand was as inconsistent as people here seem to think, how does he do it?
     
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  32. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Does this imply that Fed has the best backhand (one- or two-handed) in the present game?
     
    #82
  33. rod99

    rod99 Professional

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    no, he certainly doesn't. i'd take the backhand of haas, gasquet, ljubicic, wawrinka over federer for one handers (and that's just off the top of my head).

    to answer the other poster's question (how does federer do it?), he does it b/c he's got probably the greatest forehand of all time, exceptional movement, a very good serve, and a great all around game. just b/c he's the GOAT (in my opinion) doesn't mean he doesn't have weaknesses (weaknesses being relative) in his game. his backhand is far from weak, but it can be exposed. and any knowledgable tennis fan would agree that lendl's backhand was better than federer's.


    this argument is almost as ridiculous as the idiot who was on here saying that federer's serve is better than karlovic's.
     
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  34. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Thanks. You did that rather well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2010
    #84
  35. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Really? I would take Fed's over any of them. It would be so fun to be have Gasquet's cannon, but I really like Fed's versatility and slice. I might take Guga's over Fed's though.
    But who really exposes it on a regular basis except for Nadal. He just had the most dominant decade in tennis history and just because the greatest lefty forehand ever can exploit it on clay I'm supposed to think his backhand is lesser than player X, Y, and Z? I'd love to see Haas, Gasquet, Ljubicic, and Wawrinka's record against Nadal on clay.
    Any time you have to make the "any knowledgable tennis fan would agree" move, not a good sign. Come on, you can do better than that. Just make a compelling argument.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2010
    #85
  36. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Do you agree that all those guys have better backhands than Fed?
     
    #86
  37. rod99

    rod99 Professional

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    i did make a valid argument. of course guys like haas, ljubicic, gasquet, etc don't have a good record against nadal on clay. it's b/c the rest of their game (other than their backhand) isn't very good. however if you gave federer any of these guy's backhands then federer would have a better record against nadal b/c their backhands are better than federer's.

    this is like that clown who kept saying that federer has a better serve than karlovic b/c he holds serve so much and is generally able to break karlovic when they play. he doesn't realize that federer has a very good serve but it's the rest of his game that allows him to hold serve so much. if you gave karlovic's serve to federer then federer would never be broken. he never understood that concept.
     
    #87
  38. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    So in your mind, Fed doesn't even have one of the 5 best one handers on the ATP right now?
    And you should understand the concept that Karlovic's serve is predicated on height and the uncommon angles it affords him. Give Karlovic's motion to 6'2" Federer and his serve would be worse.

    This whole notion of Fed's backhand is weak that began when Nadal started owning him on clay has taken on epic proportions. Attack his backhand, it will break down, yet he won 2 Slams this year. His backhand must not be that bad. And unlike Sampras, who had a weaker backhand, and Edberg, who had a weaker forehand, Fed is NOT a serve and volleyer. Even if you don't consider Sampras a serve and volleyer, something he did more late in his career, he was more of an all court player than Federer.

    There are a few players that have played both Lendl and Federer. I'm hoping to hear their thoughts someday.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2010
    #88
  39. rod99

    rod99 Professional

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    No, i don't believe Fed has one of the five best one handers on the ATP right now. Doesn't mean his backhand is weak, it just means it's not one of the top 5.

    I don't care about the height. I'm just talking about the result. If the result of Karlovic's serve came off Federer's racket then Federer would never be broken.

    Again, I'm not saying Federer's backhand is "weak". There are plenty of players in the game that have a worse backhand than Federer. The two slams is irrelevant to his backhand. We're talking about one stroke. Again, he's got the best forehand of all time, a very good serve, very good movement, and all the intangibles. He could have won all 4 slams and that doesn't mean he has a great backhand. His backhand is good but not great, and not as good as Lendl's.
     
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  40. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    I was just going off what you said:
    But I guess you were saying that if you gave Fed's serve the results of Karlovic's serve he would be "never be broken." I still don't get your point. Never be broken because the rest of his game is better than Ivo's? I know what you're going for but it's like somebody saying if you gave Allen Iverson Shaq's height, he would be unstoppable because he would be tall and with the speed of a point guard? To me, Karlovic's serve is all about height. The results are about height. But maybe I lack your imagination and I'll leave it at that.

    Federer has a great backhand. I'll just reiterate my main points and stop talking in circles with the patient people of TW: I think Lendl is the most underrated player of the Open era... I think the robotic nature of his strokes, although a valid description, is overstated and if Lendl looked like Johnny Depp the same strokes might be described as being somewhat pretty... Lendl's backhand was awesome, but to me it looked like a very learned motion, not a stroke of genius like Fed's backhand, it was consistent and he hit through it more than Fed, but I think part of why Fed shanks more than Ivan is because of the speed and action and movement in today's game, all more vicious than in Lendl's heyday... I think Davydenko is almost the modern Lendl, a guy who took his limited talent to incredible levels through hard work and sheer repetition and will, and like Lendl, although Davydenko's strokes are rock solid and among the very best, his strokes aren't genius either, and he rarely gets mentioned when people start a poll about best strokes in the game... okay, if we're talking sheer consistency, in Lendl's day, his backhand was more consistent... better shot, I think Federer's backhand... lastly, the whole thing about Fed's backhand being weak is ridiculously overblown and it used to sometimes be described as the best in the game before Nadal started owning him on clay... and it can be exploited but only one person can do it consistently, if other people do, it's when they're playing at their very very best, and even then it's close, and Federer has historically avenged those losses in brutal fashion.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2010
    #90
  41. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    I don't think I'm going to convince anybody Fed's backhand is better than Lendl's, our minds are made up, but I thought this post from a different thread was interesting:

    [​IMG]

    Most people agree Fed's backhand is better than Pete's right? Right??? So if Lendl's is only slightly better than Pete's...

    I agree with Datacipher about Lendl's limitations with high backhands. I think Nadal would have a field day with it on clay.
     
    #91
  42. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I think Haas's and Gasquet's are better. I'll have to study the other two.

    (I actually feel that Fed's is good, but I just don't understand why he shanks so many.?)
     
    #92
  43. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    He doesn't drive through the ball as much as he could. Plus, his racket head speed is insane. Do agree that Gasquet's drive is better.
     
    #93

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