Originally Posted by Nathaniel_Near
The eternal question, and it's hard to hone down the answer. I see it as the ability to hit many different and effective shots from many positions on the court. The great shot-makers can produce impressive and shocking shots from just about anywhere, whether it be of an offensive or defensive nature (most attach it to offence more than defence). The special shot-makers won't just have a tremendous array of shots, but also the ability to improvise on the spot and conjure up plays from unlikely scenarios that save their previously disadvantageous position in the rally. Sampras and Nole, whilst having solid general rally strokes in general (especially Nole), were/are also both very good shot-makers.
I agree that on the whole Nole's ground-strokes are superior to Pete's bu tthat all things considered, Pete is the superior shot-maker, though it isn't a landslide victory. Nole has many great things going for him, particularly impressive is his ability to change the angle of attack in the middle of a rally, as well as his outstretched backhands which still generate tremendous pace and danger through the ball.
I agree; Djoker's angles are incredible and he seems to geometrically bully his opponents. I somewhat prefer this style of beautiful point construction and defense to offense to Fed/Pete's gracefully potent offensive attack and definitely prefer it to ball bashers. I realize I am in the minority in this. I concede that an offensive 'shotmaking' style seems to appeal to a great many people and on some level I recognize its beauty and get why people would find it superior to a Nadal type style of play. But I find Djoker's groundstrokes magnificent to watch in a more real, visceral sense than Sampras' one two punch or booming forehand.
As a young 5.5 player who was never good enough to fulfill my dream of going pro, I watch pro tennis to see the game being played as perfectly as it can...to me Djoker's groundstrokes minus the slice are about as clean and perfect as one can hit them.