Who was more aggressive off the backhand wing? Federer or Sampras?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by darthpwner, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. darthpwner

    darthpwner Banned

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    This isnt a question about whose backhand was better since Federer clearly wins that category, or who has more variety which is also Federer since he can hit flat, topspin, and slice well. Im asking who you think was more aggressive off that wing in general. In my opinion, it was Pete. Sampras tried to pull the trigger on almost every occasion except imporant points. In his prime 04-06ish, Federer is content to hit the short slice to pull his opponent up and reserve his topspin backhand for passing shots and put aways. Now he hits over the ball more, which is part of the reason he is losing more.
     
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  2. theagassiman

    theagassiman Rookie

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    Yeah........

    No offence, but do you watch tennis out of a mirror?

    'cos Pete was lucky to get his bh over the net in late 2000's. ;)
     
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  3. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Truthfully, I watched Sampras/Agassi the other night in the Oz Open final. Sampras was more agressive off the backhand side than Federer for sure.

    Reading the boards and all the YouTube experts, they'd have you believe that Sampras couldn't hit a backhand or a grounstroke. That is far from the truth. Sampras' groundstrokes were every bit as good as Lendl's IMO. His serve and volley were way better than Lendl's which made him the GS champion that he is.
     
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  4. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

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    Did you watch both? Cause you should rewatch some Lendl. No way did Sampras have the same level of groundstrokes as Lendl. I am sorry Lendl had some of the best groundstrokes in the game not to say Sampras' are awful but they are not at the level of Lendl. Then this is also cause they played two completely different styles. Sampras was more focused on getting to the net to finish the point, Lendl bigger from the baseline, though he did make his way to the net on occassion. I think you should rewatch some matches of Lendl his backhand was amazing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010
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  5. OHBH

    OHBH Semi-Pro

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    I'm sure we are talking prime Sampras. Though i remember Pete saying that his backhand became vastly improved after retirement after hybriding with Luxilon. With the more dead feel he could hit out more and keep the darn ball in the court. He generally missed long because he was so aggresive
     
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  6. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

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    I think Fed's BH is overall better, but Sampras could put a lot of pressure off the backhand wing. His slice was deep, angled and heavy. Federer's slice is often shorter, but I think that is a conscious decision, to bring his opponents in problems.

    I do think Fed can hit more winners of the BH side than Sampras, but it is a close call as the BH wing is the lesser one for both and they generally try to construct the point to end with a FH winner or, in case of Sampras, a volley.
     
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  7. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    I agree. Their groundstrokes were very different, though, so I can see why somebody might think Lendl's was "better." Lendl's strokes were more consistent, but that was his game. Lendl worked his points more, he had big groundstrokes but they sort of wore down his opponents. Sampras could just rip winners out of nowhere, he wasn't as consistent as Ivan, and his highs were higher and his lows were lower. But that was his game. Wilander said he couldn't believe what he was seeing when he first saw Sampras. Pete would rip a winner, then launch one into the stands, then another winner, more unforced errors, then 3 aces and he somehow won. I'm paraphrasing.

    So very different type of groundstrokes, different approaches. Sampras could not touch a racket for a year and come out and still hit winners against anybody. If he's feeling it, he could probably still compete in a set against top 50 guy. Lendl, not so much. He needs to grind people down, he needs to be practicing hard to maintain his technique, his game is predicated on repetition and discipline.

    But back to the question, I give the edge to Federer.
     
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  8. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    spot on!
     
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  9. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Rabb,
    I'd agree . . . up to a point. Sampras's forehand was ever bit as good as Lendl's, and his volleys were better (as well as his serve). But I'd have to stop there. IMO Lendl's backhand was one of the greats, whereas Sampras backhand was really good at its best, when it was not working it was a much weaker shot.
     
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  10. d3tennis

    d3tennis New User

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    Lendl's strokes were part of the era that revolutionized the game. The tucked elbow was a taboo, but then he ushered it in mainstream.

    Pete's backhand was like Edberg's forehand. It could look good, or it could look god awful, but neither were truly hampered by them. They worked around it.

    Define "better". Is "better" more consistent? Is "better" scarier to opponents? Is "better" the ability to create pace? Is "better" the ability to spot place the ball?

    As far as aggressive, it is Pete. He had to be aggressive with his BH to win points off of it. Fed's is a better consistent weapon, so opponents fear it. He can win points without being aggressive. People picked on Pete's BH, so he had to be aggressive to make them change the tactic.
     
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  11. davey25

    davey25 Banned

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    Federer easily. He goes on the attack far more on the backhand than Sampras did (unless you count approaching the the net from it which Sampras does well from that side) and he definitely hits more winners on average than Sampras does from that side. Sampras had a quite average rallying backhand at best.
     
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  12. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Again, no comment on whose is better. But IMO Fed tries to do more with his backhand.
    Sometimes he shanks, sometimes he makes a sharp cross-court angle sizzler. He does seem to try to do more with it.

    After watching the 2010 AO finals today, I'd say Fed is more aggressive.
     
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  13. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    Federer doesn't get enough respect for his backhand I feel. He can guide the ball with it very well down the line or crosscourt, he is a tremendous shotmaker on the backhand side in awkward positions and comes up with all varieties of brilliance from it after the ball has barely bounced or on the full stretch with a flick of the wrist and such. He can sometimes shank it but whenever he plays these guys who people speculate have a better backhand such as Gasquet or Wawrinka or Murray or whomever, he more often than not gets the better of them in the backhand to backhand exchanges. I think the fact Federer sometimes shanks the ball a bit actually distorts peoples view of his forehand.

    Perhaps somebody like Gasquet or Haas do have a better backhand than Federer, but I do not see it. They lack the ability to neutralize a rally they are behind in with backhand defense, which Federer does uncannily. Gasquet is explosive and potent with his stroke, but partly due to the mechanics of his stroke he ends up camping out too far behind the baseline in order to make the best use of his stroke, it's a bigger backhand than Federer's but not as 'vast'. If pressed to choose a backhand to possess out of these 3 guys, I would probably choose Federer's. Other great contemporary backhands would include the backhands of Wawrinka, Kohlschreiber, Murray, Nadal, Nalbandian.

    From watching the AO I can say that his basic rally shot had excellent depth and he consistently made tough and excellent shots with the backhand all tournament long. Against Murray his backhand was actually a wand, he often murdered Murray with precision hitting with the backhand, exploiting the spaces of the court effortlessly and brilliantly.

    Federer can hit over the ball very well, hit it flat or knife the slice, he has tremendous backhand defense with the slice lob, can hit the top lob and also has an excellent drop shot. He has a super strong wrist, clearly one of the strongest in the history of the sport, which allow him to guide the ball with amazing precision very often when stretched out on the backhand side, or to control half volleys even with the ball rattling at him at 100 mph. He also has that consistent, powerful and excellent backhand overhead/smash/whatever that nobody else on the tour seems to be able to produce with the same effectiveness or venom as Federer.

    Federer's backhand isn't close to being one of the most brutal shots in history like say Kuerten's or Laver's were but it is the backhand with the most versatility I have seen since watching tennis more seriously from the mid 90's onwards -- so that is 15 years. Basically, when Federer is flowing the 'vastness' of his options trump the vast majority of other players and of course when he is on song his possibly 'GOAT' forehand allows the space and freedom for his backhand to be even better.

    In Federer's prime also he had such confidence in his backhand pass that he constantly made the play to bring other players in on short cross-court slices in order for him to have the opportunity to make a pass that he was sure he would make.

    It's a tremendous shot and I believe markedly better than Sampras' backhand, which was also good.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
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