Better backhand: Safin or Djokovic?

Better backhand?

  • Safin

    Votes: 27 33.8%
  • Djokovic

    Votes: 53 66.3%

  • Total voters
    80

BauerAlmeida

Professional
Two of the best backhands of all time, but Safin is number 1 for me. The effortless power, the ability to go DTL or come up with crazy angles with ease was insane.
 

Backspin1183

G.O.A.T.
If Djokovic is 10, Safin is a firm 9.75.

Mankind had never witnessed a player who dared to use his BH to attack Rafa's FH before Djoko came. There's nothing he can not do with his backhand.

But Safin, despite his dinosaur body, he makes the jumping backhand look so elegant, effortless and still explosive.

)))
Djokovic found the perfect counter to Nadal's game and had the consistency to keep exploiting Nadal's court positioning on hard courts. Nadal usually stays more on the backhand side to run around it or hit as many forehands as he can. That leaves a small room for his forehand side to be exploited which many have tried but none could do the way Djokovic can. Nobody else really has the power, consistency and depth to do this to Nadal.
 

RelentlessAttack

Hall of Fame
Djokovic found the perfect counter to Nadal's game and had the consistency to keep exploiting Nadal's court positioning on hard courts. Nadal usually stays more on the backhand side to run around it or hit as many forehands as he can. That leaves a small room for his forehand side to be exploited which many have tried but none could do the way Djokovic can. Nobody else really has the power, consistency and depth to do this to Nadal.
Well post Madrid 09 Djokovic has basically exploited Nadal’s vulnerability defending the BH side. He goes after the Nadal BH with the cross court FH and then takes control of the rally with the crosscourt BH. That’s why Nadal often comments on the importance of his DTL FH against Djokovic, if it isn’t firing like it did in 2013 he gets crushed in those exchanges. Djokovic also punishes Nadal’s relative weakness (serve) with his own biggest strength (ROS).

Their matchup is actually as lopsided as the prime Fedal one technically and tactically speaking.

On clay this is neutralized by Nadal’s ability to slide, and by the decreased importance of serve/ROS, thus the recent RG beat down.
 

Jonesy

Hall of Fame
Djokovic BH is expected to be more popular because it survived the Nadal forehand, but that doesn't take away the fact Safin BH was something special.
 

Clay lover

Hall of Fame
Well post Madrid 09 Djokovic has basically exploited Nadal’s vulnerability defending the BH side. He goes after the Nadal BH with the cross court FH and then takes control of the rally with the crosscourt BH. That’s why Nadal often comments on the importance of his DTL FH against Djokovic, if it isn’t firing like it did in 2013 he gets crushed in those exchanges. Djokovic also punishes Nadal’s relative weakness (serve) with his own biggest strength (ROS).

Their matchup is actually as lopsided as the prime Fedal one technically and tactically speaking.

On clay this is neutralized by Nadal’s ability to slide, and by the decreased importance of serve/ROS, thus the recent RG beat down.
Agreed. Their hardcourt meetings have basically been defined by who's able to impose their own patterns -- for Djokovic the CC to both wings and for Nadal the DTL to break Djokovic's spamming of the CC. But of course Djoko almost always prevails because his patterns are higher percentage.
 

Backspin1183

G.O.A.T.
Well post Madrid 09 Djokovic has basically exploited Nadal’s vulnerability defending the BH side. He goes after the Nadal BH with the cross court FH and then takes control of the rally with the crosscourt BH. That’s why Nadal often comments on the importance of his DTL FH against Djokovic, if it isn’t firing like it did in 2013 he gets crushed in those exchanges. Djokovic also punishes Nadal’s relative weakness (serve) with his own biggest strength (ROS).

Their matchup is actually as lopsided as the prime Fedal one technically and tactically speaking.

On clay this is neutralized by Nadal’s ability to slide, and by the decreased importance of serve/ROS, thus the recent RG beat down.
That's very well explained. Nadal with his forehand DTL and movement was able to an extend negate the advantage in the match up Novak had before. But Nadal using less and less DTL forehands now and with a more compromised movement, he's not been able to hang with Novak much on hard courts the last few years.

His new game under Moya is actually a good one to play against Novak now. But the problem is that Nadal doesn't stick to it when they play and he is pushed hard. He reverts to his old game which at his current age doesn't work for him anymore. He just needs to play the way he did in the last set of their ATP cup match.
 
Don't know but Djokovic's BH will haunt Fedal's dreams even after retirement.

Safin's movement is HUGELY underrated, dude is EASILY the best mover POUND for POUND of his generation. Don't call him Marathon Marat for nothing!

Leaves Luckovic with his patchy serve ROFLMAO

Uggh. Looks like USO 2000 F still stings. Safin thumped return winners off of Pete serve and scarred him so much that PETE didn't win a slam in next two years.
 
P

PETEhammer

Guest
We’ve now reached the point of you parodying the parodies of your own meme posts. The singularity is near
And yet here you still are, following in my footsteps at the end of all things. I'm glad you're with me, Sam.
 

Druss

Hall of Fame
I’ve gone back and forth on this one. It’s like saying who is prettier, Kournakova or Ivanovic (both 10s).
 

swordtennis

G.O.A.T.
Safin's movement is HUGELY underrated, dude is EASILY the best mover POUND for POUND of his generation. Don't call him Marathon Marat for nothing!

Leaves Luckovic with his patchy serve ROFLMAO
I never thought Safin was that great of a mover.
Even if he was fully fit and dedicated.
There seems to be a myth on how great he was.
In that era he should have probably won a few more majors tho.
 

junior74

Talk Tennis Guru
I never thought Safin was that great of a mover.
Even if he was fully fit and dedicated.
There seems to be a myth on how great he was.
In that era he should have probably won a few more majors tho.
I think a healthy Safin would have won more slams - in any era. He beat prime Sampras and peak Federer in final/ semi final of his titles. He toyed with fresh slam champ Djokovic on the Wimbledon grass.

He never got "great", because he wasn't serious enough about maintaining his body.
 

swordtennis

G.O.A.T.
I think a healthy Safin would have won more slams - in any era. He beat prime Sampras and peak Federer in final/ semi final of his titles. He toyed with fresh slam champ Djokovic on the Wimbledon grass.

He never got "great", because he wasn't serious enough about maintaining his body.
Agreed he "should" have around 5 majors IMO.
The thing i did love about Safin was his BH of course.
But his length and strength.
He was a big strong guy.
 

MeatTornado

G.O.A.T.
Agreed. Their hardcourt meetings have basically been defined by who's able to impose their own patterns -- for Djokovic the CC to both wings and for Nadal the DTL to break Djokovic's spamming of the CC. But of course Djoko almost always prevails because his patterns are higher percentage.
Rafa losing matches because his opponent spams high percentage groundstrokes will always be a guilty pleasure of mine :p
 

Keizer

Hall of Fame
St. Nick didn't bring the power, Big Dave the consistency.
Both inflicted severe beatdowns on Nadal on HC primarily relying on controlling FH-BH CC rallies by taking time away from Rafa (Davydenko more so) or troubling him with angle (Nalbandian more so).
 

ZanderGoga

Semi-Pro
I think Safin could hit a single backhand as well as anyone in history. He just didn't have the mental or physical makeup to string them together tournament after tournament, year after year.
 

6august

Hall of Fame
None of Nalbandian and Davydenko has survived the clay test, where Nadal's CC forehand reaches its max damage )))
 

6august

Hall of Fame
I think Safin could hit a single backhand as well as anyone in history. He just didn't have the mental or physical makeup to string them together tournament after tournament, year after year.
One guy sometimes shows it when he's in a good mood. The other guy shows it from match to match, tournament to tournament, season to season...

How can we put them alongside???

)))))
 

mental midget

Hall of Fame
novak right? i don't know that safin did anything novak can't, really. he plays a more percentage game but can pull trigger dtl and cc, hit angles, pass, etc...and misses less.
 

mental midget

Hall of Fame
novak right? i don't know that safin did anything novak can't, really. he plays a more percentage game but can pull trigger dtl and cc, hit angles, pass, etc...and misses less.
side note to this--i think novak generally plays with a great deal of restraint, but there's no question he can unload off both sides when he's in the mood. it would be interesting to see what happens if he upped his risk tolerance a bit and injected more pace more often.
 

Start da Game

Hall of Fame
consistency is often overlooked in such comparisons, year in year out.........it is not about how good your shot is - it is about what you accomplished over the years with that shot.........answer lies in there.........
 

BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
Djokovic BH is expected to be more popular because it survived the Nadal forehand, but that doesn't take away the fact Safin BH was something special.
Fed's 7-1 against Rafa since 2014, his only loss coming in the semis of the French Open in 2019. So if a one-handed BH player can dominate a rival after turning 33, then Fed's BH must be exceptionally special. :)
 

King No1e

G.O.A.T.
If Djokovic is 10, Safin is a firm 9.75.

Mankind had never witnessed a player who dared to use his BH to attack Rafa's FH before Djoko came. There's nothing he can not do with his backhand.

But Safin, despite his dinosaur body, he makes the jumping backhand look so elegant, effortless and still explosive.

)))
Safin was like a 5'10 athlete in a 6'4 body. How he and Monfils move so well for their height is beyond me.
 

King No1e

G.O.A.T.
Fed's 7-1 against Rafa since 2014, his only loss coming in the semis of the French Open in 2019. So if a one-handed BH player can dominate a rival after turning 33, then Fed's BH must be exceptionally special. :)
I think you're missing a pretty important confounding variable here lol. Nadal was never the same physically after 2014.
 

skaj

Legend
Fed's 7-1 against Rafa since 2014, his only loss coming in the semis of the French Open in 2019. So if a one-handed BH player can dominate a rival after turning 33, then Fed's BH must be exceptionally special. :)
It's Nadal's deteriorating physique that is resulting in that head to head, he lost a step and Federer punishes that.
 

6august

Hall of Fame
Davy played peak Nadal close at Rome 2007.
I know. Still lost. Moreover, sample size is too small. We know even Isner pushed Dal at FO to the limit once.

Even in their HC matches, though Davy's BH works very well, he still aimed at Dal's BH 99% of time. I remember he once said Dal has a tier 2 BH, it tells a lot about his gameplan vs Dal.
 

SonnyT

Hall of Fame
His new game under Moya is actually a good one to play against Novak now. But the problem is that Nadal doesn't stick to it when they play and he is pushed hard. He reverts to his old game which at his current age doesn't work for him anymore. He just needs to play the way he did in the last set of their ATP cup match.
Very good point! Not just Nadal, but almost all players will do what comes naturally, not what their coaches tell them to do, come crunch time! For Nadal, and most players, the most natural shot is the CC, off both wings!

I can understand though, if in crunch time, a player feels queasy about a shot, he shouldn't use it, because he's more likely to make an error!
 

ZanderGoga

Semi-Pro
One guy sometimes shows it when he's in a good mood. The other guy shows it from match to match, tournament to tournament, season to season...

How can we put them alongside???

)))))
I guess by using abstract, meaningless terms like "better."
 
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