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hoodjem 01-02-2010 03:32 PM

Greatest Forehands of All Time
 
Lots of talk about volleys, backhands, groundstrokes in general, etc. On another post, 35ft6 was saying that Fed definitely had one of the five best forehands of all time, I agreed with him.

So here we go--
1. Federer
2. Segura
3. Lendl
4. Sampras
5. Borg
6. Nadal
7. Laver
8. Agassi
9. Courier
10. Cochet
11. Tilden
12. Perry
13. Budge
14. Santana
15. Okker
16. Johnston
17. Nastase
18. Vines
19. Gonzales
20. Kramer
21. Becker
22. Safin
23. del Potro
24. Blake
25. Moya

pc1 01-02-2010 03:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hoodjem (Post 4240334)
Los of talk about volleys, backhands, groundstrokes in general, etc. On another post, 35ft6 was saying that Fed definitely had one of the five best forehands of all time, I agreed with him.

So here we go--

1. Federer
2. Segura
3. Laver
4. Sampras
5. Lendl
6. Johnston
7. Nadal

Excellent list. I would put Borg's, Fred Perry's, John Newcombe, Nastase and Tilden up there also. I would think Borg's has to be in consideration for number one since he won on clay and grass with that stroke as the better of his two sides.

I'm glad you put Segura up there since a lot of people think it was the greatest single shot in the history of tennis.

I may move Lendl ahead of Sampras since it was a most consistent shot and they were close in pure power. Sampras' forehand was pretty awesome however.

President 01-02-2010 04:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hoodjem (Post 4240334)
Los of talk about volleys, backhands, groundstrokes in general, etc. On another post, 35ft6 was saying that Fed definitely had one of the five best forehands of all time, I agreed with him.

I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure 35ft6 was talking about Nadal having one of the top 5 forehands of all time. Here is the post:

Quote:

Originally Posted by 35ft6
When Fed was first emerging, people were already saying he might have the best one hander in the game. People talked glowingly about his backhand. It might break down against Nadal on clay, but what other player have you seen consistently exploit his so called weak backhand? Just saying, it can't keep up with the best left handed forehand in tennis history, and probably one of the top 5 best forehands in tennis history PERIOD, on clay, but his backhand is still one of the best strokes in tennis.

It could be that its a different thread you are speaking of. If so, my apologies. Anyway, I think this is a good thread. I am inexperienced compared to many posters here, but I'm wondering why you have James Blake's forehand up there, particularly over Del Potro's. They have comparable power, but Blake's is much more prone to error. Obviously, Del Potro has achieved a lot more, despite being significantly younger.

abmk 01-02-2010 07:27 PM

umm, laver over lendl, nadal, agassi, courier ?????

safin over agassi ????? when on, it was better, but consistency wise, it surely isn't up there

abmk 01-02-2010 07:30 PM

top 5

federer
lendl
nadal
courier
agassi

martini1 01-02-2010 07:49 PM

This has to be categorized by era. The modern racket since the late 90's has changed the fh very much. Nadal's heavy top spin fh for example can't really be compared to players from the 80's because they can't be done in such way (or vice versa).

Federer for sure will top my list on the best forehand.
On Power (hard court) I will pick Safin, Gonzo, and Delpo.
Rafa is up there but I have some reserve since his lost to Soderling in RG. But it could be just an off day...

krosero 01-02-2010 08:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hoodjem (Post 4240334)
Los of talk about volleys, backhands, groundstrokes in general, etc. On another post, 35ft6 was saying that Fed definitely had one of the five best forehands of all time, I agreed with him.

So here we go--

1. Segura
2. Federer
3. Laver
4. Sampras
5. Lendl
6. Johnston
7. Nadal
8. Perry
9. Borg
9. Budge
10. Tilden
11. Courier
12. Safin
13. Vines
15. Agassi
16. Gonzales
17. Kramer
18. Becker
19. Blake
20. del Potro

Laver had an excellent forehand but his backhand was deadlier, and it's hard to see how his FH could go over other guys who were known for their forehands, eg, Sampras, Lendl, Nadal, Borg, Agassi. Pete's FH was not the single best thing in his game (his serve was) but it was a feared stroke that people consistently tried to stay away from; and for the other guys (the baseliners) their FH was their bread-and-butter weapon.

krosero 01-02-2010 08:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pc1 (Post 4240387)
I would think Borg's has to be in consideration for number one since he won on clay and grass with that stroke as the better of his two sides.

that's a very nice point; on any surface it was a weapon, but on clay it was even stronger.

Quote:

Originally Posted by pc1 (Post 4240387)
I may move Lendl ahead of Sampras since it was a most consistent shot and they were close in pure power.

Agree with that too.

urban 01-03-2010 01:32 AM

Cochet and Perry were the first with court opening forehands. Perry modelled his forehand after Cochet, because it was hit so early and close to the ground. Vines had the hardest, big swinging forehand pre WWII. An Aussie with a big forehand was Ken Fletcher. Two of the best topspin forehands were those of Santana and Okker. Santana could hit a forehand in more than 35 ways, as John McPhee once noted. Okker's forehand was hailed by Fred Perry. It was coached by an Indonesian tennis coach, hit from the wrong foot and very flashy and deceptive. Okker was also very mobile and dangerous on the run.

dannykl 01-03-2010 02:03 AM

In the open era, I will list Lendl's forehand as the best ever over Federer and Sampras.

Lendl has a more consistent forehand than Pete and is at least as powerful as Pete's.

Compared with Federer, I think Lendl hits it with more power and still not losing in the consistency department.

Federer at times can be overpowered by other big guns even in the forehand side. For example overpowered by Del po in this US Open. Lendl however is rarely overpowered in the forehand rallies.

martini1 01-03-2010 08:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dannykl (Post 4241424)
Compared with Federer, I think Lendl hits it with more power and still not losing in the consistency department.

Federer at times can be overpowered by other big guns even in the forehand side. For example overpowered by Del po in this US Open. Lendl however is rarely overpowered in the forehand rallies.

I think in order to be the "best", there's more than just power and consistency. They are important but Fed's liquid whip can hit ball pretty much anywhere he wants (most of the time) and it is very efficient. This is the forehand to be learned by juniors and the generation to come.

Delpo's fh is very powerful but he still has a lot to learn on perfecting it. He is still a little predictable and the running fh doesn't stand out as one of the best in tour, yet.

Again, in Lendl era there weren't too many 6'4" 6'6" 200+lb power baseliners with the rackets we see today. I think even Lendl in prime would have the chance of being over powered by the big guys or be constantly on the run by those 3000rpm top spin ground strokes.

Datacipher 01-03-2010 09:38 AM

In terms of extreme power, one should not forget (in no particular order):
1.Flipper (the most powerful groundstrokes of any era)
2.Berasetegui -the hardest pound for pound? Maybe the hardest period.
3.Mancini
4.Bruguera (as much spin and racquet speed off the forehand as Nadal)
5.Korda (the only player I remember who would hit SURE cold winners off the forehand and backhand, because he had racquet speed equal to the most powerful players of all time, great timing, and would hit it flat!)
6.El Aynaoui/Krickstein/Courier - short backswings, economical, built entire game around
9.Larsson - a little like Del Potro, with every bit as much power, though he moved horribly! lol
10.Soderling/johansson

pc1 01-03-2010 09:55 AM

Now I know it was an exhibition but when I saw the Federer against Sampras matches a couple of years ago I got the impression that Sampras' forehand was more penetrating just in general than Federer's. I don't think it was a better forehand but I did believe it was more penetrating. Pete's was flatter and he hurt Federer often with his forehand.

Datacipher 01-03-2010 10:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pc1 (Post 4241992)
Now I know it was an exhibition but when I saw the Federer against Sampras matches a couple of years ago I got the impression that Sampras' forehand was more penetrating just in general than Federer's. I don't think it was a better forehand but I did believe it was more penetrating. Pete's was flatter and he hurt Federer often with his forehand.

It is. There is no question I think. Sampras' forhand is flatter and more penetrating, (not "flat", he can add as much spin as he likes), whereas Federer's has more spin. Federer produces that with a faster swing, and presumably, a lighter racquet, Sampras uses a heavy racquet and swings through the ball more, with a more controlled swing. Pros and cons to both.

On a side note, this is something a lot of posters don't notice/realize, about many of the older players. Their power is deceptive becuase they dont' appear to be flailing as hard, but the combination of heavy racquets and clean striking produces fantastic power. This was certainly also true about the old wood days, so, a young poster, or a non-high level player sees that and thinks, hey, they aren't swinging that hard! But the truth is, they can POUND the ball with that swing. And it's much harder than it appears, as TV is deceptive that way. A lot of what the average fan/poster uses to judge power is actually, in a way, theatrics!

hoodjem 01-03-2010 12:38 PM

Thanks to everyone. Lots of excellent opinons evinced. (I had not realized how little I knew about the great forehands of the game.) Thank you everyone. Keep 'em coming.

(Many edits made.)

hoodjem 01-03-2010 12:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by krosero (Post 4241105)
Laver had an excellent forehand but his backhand was deadlier, and it's hard to see how his FH could go over other guys who were known for their forehands, .

Kros,
I don't disagree but simply offer a different interpretation of Laver's forehand. Yes, the backhand may have been deadlier, but that doesn't make the forehand weaker, only by comparison was it less feared. I regard Laver's forehand as similar to Nadal's: huge lefty power, flat drive or lots of topspin, deep to the corners when wanted or sharply angled when necessary.

martini1 01-03-2010 04:15 PM

Are we slightly going off rail here from "greatest fh" to "most powerful fh"??? Cuz one is just a subset of the other.

Fedace 01-03-2010 04:16 PM

alex clayton

pc1 01-03-2010 04:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hoodjem (Post 4242315)
Kros,
I don't disagree but simply offer a different interpretation of Laver's forehand. Yes, the backhand may have been deadlier, but that doesn't make the forehand weaker, only by comparison was it less feared. I regard Laver's forehand as similar to Nadal's: huge lefty power, flat drive or lots of topspin, deep to the corners when wanted or sharply angled when necessary.

I like this description of Laver's forehand by Julius Heldman-"From the ground, about the only shot that Rod does not clobber is a forehand underspin or chip. I don't recall his using the shot much or at all when he was younger, but as he matured he began occasionally to hold the ball on his racket with some underspin and place it carefully while he ran for the net. But the next time he would literally jump and throw his racket at the ball with all the force he could muster, wrist and arms snapping over at the hit. The shot is unreturnable. It always ends the point, one way or the other, and you can never predict when the lightning will strike, although you know it will be often." The area in bold sounds pretty awesome to me. I think Laver could hit the ball pretty hard. lol.

pc1 01-03-2010 04:31 PM

Hoodjem,

Great that you have Tom Okker there on the list. His forehand was very unique and a great weapon. Arthur Ashe used to write that for a period of time every year, Tom Okker would become the best player in the world. A great talent and it's a shame he never won a major. He won a lot of tournaments and he's better than many that won majors.


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