Originally Posted by fastdunn
I beg to differ a bit here. Federer might be as good as one can get
for a *all-courter* in terms of tennis of last 5 year or so(baseline
oriented game). But in terms of whole tennis history, Sampras
is still the guy who successfully implemented the most optimal
and complete balance of S&V and baseline style.
Federer's more balanced in terms of defense and offense game but
then again he has to be (his service game can get vulnerable).
He has other varieties but he has not been tested in the S&V game
yet. It's hardly played these days but I think it's major style in terms
of whole tennis history. So it's too early to say Federer is such
a all court player.
I disagree Sampras never willing to play defense and retrieve like
Federer or Rafter. He does less often but the very few points he
played as retriever or defense have huge weights. Like 7th game
of a set. See how Sampras run in break points. Sampras' foot speed
is very underrated. I think Sampras is actually faster than Federer
(who has astute movements largely based on superb anticipation)
About the "drawing" opponents using drop shots from baseline,
it's done by all top players these days simply because every body
is playing basleine these days. It's become popular last 5 years.
Federer indeed has very interesting varieties but in terms of
*solid* repitoire of basic elements in tennis, Sampras had that
ideally optimal implementation of classic textbook tennis, IMHO.
I almost agree with you. In fact I used to. My point was I agree that Sampras had a tremendous blend, better than anyone of his time and the vast majority of his predecessors. He was the most complete player I saw until Federer.
All-court tennis as defined by Serious Tennis incorporates "all" styles not most. Sampras rarely retrieved prefered going for outrights during his return games. Miss, winner, short ball, miss, short ball. Then winner, winner and up 0-30 in a game then he'd play however he had to get the break. Fed's return games are much more relentless and consistent and he relies on his speed and ability to play D to stay in until able to turn the tide in the point and does it with regularity to the point you ask "how does he get away with consistently hitting relatively soft returns so often?" Yet Fed can still hit the outright winners off the return that Sampras hit.
I agree with you that Sampras was an extremely underated mover, but he didn't, couldn't grind as much as Fed does regularly, perhaps due to questions about his stamina. Pete would pick his spots to spend that nrg where Roger will do it point after point.
Pete's bh was never near the weapon Roger's is in terms of consistency and variety in spin, pace and placement.
Pete rarely employed angle or took off pace to change the rally and preferred to hit through the court once and then twice. One of Roger's favorite ploys is that soft, low, short angled bh he hits to a 2hbh's side drawing him forward and outside the sideline regularly giving the opponent a choice between a rock and a hard place. Roger displays more than just drop-shots.
Roger is a much more consistent passer. Pete may have been more spectacular but Roger is more consistent.
Pete would display touch on volleys. Roger does that and touch off both wings off the ground.
I am not saying one is better than the other. Pete's serve could tip the match his way and if real on could end points from anywhere in the court.
Roger, while not possessing the serve of a Sampras, it's damn good, and the rest of his game has that much more variety in pace, spin and placement, will defense/retrieve and does in almost every game, displays more touch off the ground, is consistently a more patient baseliner while having the same ability to break the point open off either side that Pete had. As a result of all that Roger is much more willing to prolong points, point after point, than Pete ever was. Roger has also already displayed his prowess on all surfaces where Pete, while not a slouch on clay, was at a disadvantage against many more players on that surface.
Pete was extremely complete with two huge weapons and an achilles heal of stamina and clay.
Roger is all that, minus that one-of-a-kind serve and without the achilles heal. JMHO.