Bad strokes by ATGs

flanker2000fr

Professional
Agassi weakness? Volleys
Djoker weaknesses? Volleys and overheads
Edberg weakness? Forehand
Connors weakness: Low forehands

I see absolutely no weaknesses in the games of Sampras, Becker, McEnroe, Lendl or Fed, aside from mental strength issues with Lendl and Roger. If you want to address mental weakness specifically, that's another topic and another thread. Conditioning among ATG's also could be addressed.
I will disagree with this. Sampras' BH was just about adequate (and less than that, on slow courts / clay), whereas Becker's backhand had a tendency to break under pressure.

As I mentioned above in the thread, Becker's BH was a lot more suspect than Edberg's FH. While not a dominant shot, Edberg was not missing much on this side.
 
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aldeayeah

Hall of Fame
I'm sure you were exaggerating with the "nobody has an answer part", but Nalbandian and Davydenko did put a few beatings on the Rafa FH, all from the backhand wing.
You need to hit a BH on the rise consistently, with the ability to go crosscourt or down the line at will, also it doesn't work on slow courts.

Few players could pull it off. Prime Fed came close, but wasn't consistent enough and often didn't use the right tactics.
 
I will disagree with this. Sampras' BH was just about adequate (and less than that, on slow courts / clay), whereas Becker's backhand had a tendency to break under pressure.

As I mentioned above in the thread, Becker's BH was a lot more suspect than Edberg's FH. While not a dominant shot, Edberg was not missing much on this side.
The forehand is normally a much stronger stroke than the backhand in absolute terms, so this is a flawed comparison. Compare Edberg's FH and Becker's BH to other top players' strokes. Edberg's rally FH wasn't nearly as effective aggressively as a top forehand should be. FH return was decent though.
 

RaulRamirez

Hall of Fame
Should I have added a little gem for you? "the other parts of his game are SO strong, he can easily overcome this weakness". You happy now?
Cool. In truth, I am surprised that such an athletic, polished player does look so stiff on his overheads. I just don't think it comes into play (negatively) that often.
 

flanker2000fr

Professional
The forehand is normally a much stronger stroke than the backhand in absolute terms, so this is a flawed comparison. Compare Edberg's FH and Becker's BH to other top players' strokes. Edberg's rally FH wasn't nearly as effective aggressively as a top forehand should be. FH return was decent though.
I am not saying he had a top forehand. I'm just saying that it is not as weak as people believe. Also, on the return, he was a bit better than just decent. Edberg was a great returner, at least on hard / grass court, with statistics to back it up.

https://www.atptour.com/en/news/stefan-edberg-infosys-february-2017
 
I am not saying he had a top forehand. I'm just saying that it is not as weak as people believe. Also, on the return, he was a bit better than just decent. Edberg was a great returner, at least on hard / grass court, with statistics to back it up.

https://www.atptour.com/en/news/stefan-edberg-infosys-february-2017
I specified the forehand return - great when it clicked but inconsistent. Edberg's backhand return was top notch, both slice and topspin.
Of course I won't say Edberg had a terrible FH, but we're discussing an all-time great here, and for ATG standards his forehand was weak, I like Stefan but this stands out to me, having watched like two dozen full matches of his. We can see that while the worst backhand between (Open era) ATGs is up for debate, the worst forehand is clearly Edberg. This only considered the groundstroke of course, FH volley was very good.
 

TennisFan3

Legend
I'm literally SHOCKED that no one mentioned Nadal's Return of Serve (ROS)? That one single shot.

I would say Djokovic's overhead and Nadal's ROS are the weakest ATG shots. Both of those specific shots are not even worthy a top 10 player. However both Novak and Nadal are soo good in the rest of their game - that this glaring deficiency does NOT hurt them.

And yeah, I know Nadal's serve is not all that great. Not ATG material. But still Nadal's serve >>>>> Nadal's ROS. Nadal's serve is still reasonably effective in setting up his forehand and is underrated.

Nadal's ROS is the single biggest reason why he is unsuccessful at indoor courts and has trouble at low bouncing fast courts. Also why he was so often trounced early in Wimbledon by unknown players. He simply couldn't get the serve return in play.
The liability of a weak ROS puts tremendous pressure on Nadal's own serve. There is no ATG who's ever had so many unreturned serves and serve winners against them. Another reason for Nadal's injuries. He would return super short and the opponents would pound the ball, causing Nadal to do much more running and losing control of the point.

If Nadal had anywhere close to the ROS of Novak/Murray etc - he would have been GOAT and won tons of more slams.
 
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King No1e

Legend
I'm literally SHOCKED that no one mentioned Nadal's Return of Serve (ROS)? That one single shot.

I would say Djokovic's overhead and Nadal's ROS are the weakest ATG shots. Both of those specific shots are not even worthy a top 10 player. However both Novak and Nadal are soo good in the rest of their game - that this glaring deficiency does NOT hurt them.

And yeah, I know Nadal's serve is not all that great. Not ATG material. But still Nadal's serve >>>>> Nadal's ROS. Nadal's serve is still reasonably effective in setting up his forehand and is underrated.

Nadal's ROS is the single biggest reason why he is unsuccessful at indoor courts and has trouble at low bouncing fast courts. Also why he was so often trounced early in Wimbledon by unknown players. He simply couldn't get the serve return in play.
The liability of a weak ROS puts tremendous pressure on Nadal's own serve. There is no ATG who's ever had so many unreturned serves and serve winners against them. Another reason for Nadal's injuries. He would return super short and the opponents would pound the ball, causing Nadal to do much more running and losing control of the point.

If Nadal had anywhere close to the ROS of Novak/Murray etc - he would have been GOAT and won tons of more slams.
ROFLMAO. Nadal's defensive return is one of the greatest ever. Yes it was terrible in his 2014-16 seasons, but what wasn't?
 

aditya123

Professional
I'm literally SHOCKED that no one mentioned Nadal's Return of Serve (ROS)? That one single shot.

I would say Djokovic's overhead and Nadal's ROS are the weakest ATG shots. Both of those specific shots are not even worthy a top 10 player. However both Novak and Nadal are soo good in the rest of their game - that this glaring deficiency does NOT hurt them.

And yeah, I know Nadal's serve is not all that great. Not ATG material. But still Nadal's serve >>>>> Nadal's ROS. Nadal's serve is still reasonably effective in setting up his forehand and is underrated.

Nadal's ROS is the single biggest reason why he is unsuccessful at indoor courts and has trouble at low bouncing fast courts. Also why he was so often trounced early in Wimbledon by unknown players. He simply couldn't get the serve return in play.
The liability of a weak ROS puts tremendous pressure on Nadal's own serve. There is no ATG who's ever had so many unreturned serves and serve winners against them. Another reason for Nadal's injuries. He would return super short and the opponents would pound the ball, causing Nadal to do much more running and losing control of the point.

If Nadal had anywhere close to the ROS of Novak/Murray etc - he would have been GOAT and won tons of more slams.
Hmmm rather than ros his ros position on grass is one of the reason I guess he succumbed early a few times
 

haqq777

Legend
Pretty sure I have read multiple articles with stats that showed Nadal's effectiveness at ROS in the last few years on all surfaces, not just clay. That is most definitely not a weakness.
 

TennisFan3

Legend
ROFLMAO. Nadal's defensive return is one of the greatest ever. Yes it was terrible in his 2014-16 seasons, but what wasn't?
Are you serious? Defensive return? What the hell is that even and what is the point?
I mean I'll give you clay. Nadal's ROS is great there because he can place the ball deep and have it spin.

On EVERY OTHER surface - an offensive ROS >>>> defensive ROS. Would you rather not have the server on defensive by a deep ROS than have a defensive ROS in which the server does the 1-2 punch or hits a deep shot to put you on the defensive.

One of the reasons why Novak is so great is that he can return literally at your feet or right at the baseline so many times. That is a classic offensive ROS.
 

TennisFan3

Legend
Pretty sure I have read multiple articles with stats that showed Nadal's effectiveness at ROS in the last few years on all surfaces, not just clay. That is most definitely not a weakness.
You're mistaking that with overall return game won stats. Yes, those are NOT bad because Nadal's ground game is SOO good. If he can get the ball back in play and point in neutral - he usually has the edge.
But think of faster courts. Grass, hardcourts - where Nadal struggles to return deep or even to get the ball over the net. Every server wins TONS of free points against him.

Now think of what happens when Novak/Andy/Federer face a big server on a fast court.
 

haqq777

Legend
You're mistaking that with overall return game won stats. Yes, those are NOT bad because Nadal's ground game is SOO good. If he can get the ball back in play and point in neutral - he usually has the edge.
But think of faster courts. Grass, hardcourts - where Nadal struggles to return deep or even to get the ball over the net. Every server wins TONS of free points against him.

Now think of what happens when Novak/Andy/Federer face a big server on a fast court.
Thanks. Can you show me stats for grass and hard in the last couple of years compared with other players? Because I certainly don't think that he gives tons of free points to "every server" - I have watched all his matches in grand slams for quite a few years now. He has a different position for ROS, but in terms of effectiveness, he is up there with the best.
 

TennisFan3

Legend
Thanks. Can you show me stats for grass and hard in the last couple of years compared with other players? Because I certainly don't think that he gives tons of free points to "every server" - I have watched all his matches in grand slams for quite a few years now. He has a different position for ROS, but in terms of effectiveness, he is up there with the best.
I will dig that for you. The trouble is that stats are usually measured in return games or points won in which Nadal is still ok because of his strong ground game.
However, I will get serve stats of his opponents. So for ex - compare Kygrios vs Nadal/Fed and Djokovic - and look at aces+ serve winners + points won in less than 2 shots.
Those are typically highest vs Nadal. Meaning Fed/Djoker and other top players don't give as many free points to servers.

The stats that Nadal had against Dustin Brown, Kygrios, Mueller etc were insane. Those guys had tons of aces+ serve winners and quick holds without losing a pt etc..
 

flanker2000fr

Professional
I specified the forehand return - great when it clicked but inconsistent. Edberg's backhand return was top notch, both slice and topspin.
Of course I won't say Edberg had a terrible FH, but we're discussing an all-time great here, and for ATG standards his forehand was weak, I like Stefan but this stands out to me, having watched like two dozen full matches of his. We can see that while the worst backhand between (Open era) ATGs is up for debate, the worst forehand is clearly Edberg. This only considered the groundstroke of course, FH volley was very good.
I think we are saying the same thing, in a different way:
- Edberg's FH in the absolute was not terrible, and actually a decent shot in a number of areas
- Comparatively, most ATG's have FH's ranging from very good (Djokovic, Agassi, Becker) to devastating (Federer, Nadal, Lendl, Sampras), so by comparison Edberg's FH is definitely weak

Having said that, I am not sure that Edberg's FH was comparatively weaker than Mac's. If there's a debate to be had, it is between those two, at least in my book.
 

skaj

Hall of Fame
Edberg's forehand and Sampras' backhand were not bad. Not great of course, but just fine(Pet was more than capable of hitting winners of that side actually).

Some obvious choices:
Nadal's serve(just not a weapon)
Federer's backhand(inconsistent, breaks in longer rallies)
Serena's volleys.
McEnroe's groundstrokes.
Djokovic' overhead.
 

merwy

Legend
I get a bit annoyed when people say that volleys are Novak’s weakness. His net game is pretty good in general. It doesn’t always look good but he has great reach and usually wins those net points by hitting a short cross court volley. Yes his smash is terrible but how many smashes does he really miss per match on average? About 0.2?
The Nadal RG match is the only one that he probably lost because of a bad smash.
 
Edberg's forehand and Sampras' backhand were not bad. Not great of course, but just fine(Pet was more than capable of hitting winners of that side actually).

Some obvious choices:
Nadal's serve(just not a weapon)
Federer's backhand(inconsistent, breaks in longer rallies)
Serena's volleys.
McEnroe's groundstrokes.
Djokovic' overhead.
Nadal's serve not a weapon :oops:
Mac's forehand worse than Edberg's :unsure:
Federer's backhand a bigger liability than Edberg's forehand :-D
 

skaj

Hall of Fame
Nadal's serve not a weapon :oops:
Mac's forehand worse than Edberg's :unsure:
Federer's backhand a bigger liability than Edberg's forehand :-D
Nadal's serve is not enough of a weapon in this era.
McEnroe's groundstrokes overall are worse than Edberg's.
Federer's backhand is more dangerous(at least for a backhand) when hit well, but less reliable than Edberg's forehand.
 
Nadal's serve is not enough of a weapon in this era.
McEnroe's groundstrokes overall are worse than Edberg's.
Federer's backhand is more dangerous(at least for a backhand) when hit well, but less reliable than Edberg's forehand.
What's enough? skajy don't @ me no more, that is, be more or less specific

Moving the lolposts now, point was the forehand not the full groundstroke package.

Forehands are supposed to be more reliable the backhands, yeahm8. Any stats on Fed's BH faring worse against the average BH than Edberg's FH against the average FH?
 

King No1e

Legend
I get a bit annoyed when people say that volleys are Novak’s weakness. His net game is pretty good in general. It doesn’t always look good but he has great reach and usually wins those net points by hitting a short cross court volley. Yes his smash is terrible but how many smashes does he really miss per match on average? About 0.2?
The Nadal RG match is the only one that he probably lost because of a bad smash.
Agreed. His net game has been more than competent since 2013. It's just his overhead.....
 

skaj

Hall of Fame
What's enough? skajy don't @ me no more, that is, be more or less specific

Moving the lolposts now, point was the forehand not the full groundstroke package.

Forehands are supposed to be more reliable the backhands, yeahm8. Any stats on Fed's BH faring worse against the average BH than Edberg's FH against the average FH?
Any stats for the opposite?

John - I was talking about the groundstrokes not the forehand.

Rafael - Enough to be called a weapon.
 
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