Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Sid_Vicious, Feb 12, 2013.
What do you guys think?
They are different; Agassi hits quite flat and has a textbook forehand. Let's not forget he is probably one of the few short guys in tennis who hit like a big guy. His forehand was an absolute tank of a shot at times. Roddick's on the other hand, is slightly more violent in power, spin and stroke production. There are those who say Roddick actually muscles his forehand: That's BS. Roddick's forehand just takes a little more energy to produce than Agassi's. But Roddick could blast away from the off whilst Agassi had to wait for the right time to strike.
Agassi's forehand complimented his game and his court positioning more than Roddick's. He was able to construct points on the baseline and finish on his FH (and BH) whereas Roddick's forehand 03/04 was something of an anomaly to his game. He routinely took up a defensive position to unleash his FH. He was a defensive minded player even with that forehand from 2001 and 2004 that sometimes he almost had to hit a winner from such a defensive position.
In terms of power, Roddick takes it. But, Roddick's big forehand is a completely different stroke in terms of setup and production to his FH from 2005 on-wards; His long motion meant he had to stay far behind the baseline if he was casually rallying to hit the big one which got his in trouble at times. I've already mentioned Agassi's ability to take the ball early, change up directions and maintain a solid baseline position.
It's the main reason Roddick changed his forehand motion; So he could stay on the baseline.
Agassi's FH is more efficient and is more varied. If I was facing a Nadal-type player and needed to brute force my way to victory. If I was playing Federer - then Agassi would be my bet.
Definitely Agassi IMO. A mid 30s Agassi was staying right with Federer in the forehand exchangs, something even peak Roddick (late 2003-2004) only could to somewhat the occasional match.
This post screams 'I have no clue'.
Are people oblivious to understand that certain players don't like the balls certain players give them? I've actually never seen Federer and Roddick actually get into long exchanges on the FH wing from 2003-2004. It was down to who clobbered the ball first. But then again I only watched most of their matches in that time period so I obviously don't know what I'm talking about.
Roddick's court positioning and his long takeback/backswing combination entitled him to not get into baseline rallies? Did you watch tennis in 2004?
I think Agassi had the better rally FH, whilst Roddick had the better kill/forcing shot.
Agassi had the better forehand over his career, still not sure what happened to A Rod's forehand as he matured but it definitely wan't the weapon it was when he first came up.
Definitely Agassi. More versatile. Even though he used less spin, he was about as consistent with it if not more.
Agassi...easily. Roddick had a big forehand but IMO it was never a great shot, he needed to give up way too much court positioning to hit it (similar to Gasquet's backhand) and it could be error prone. He couldn't even place it that well. On the other hand, Agassi's forehand was one of the best of all time, Roddick's wasn't never even one of the best his era IMO (just one of the biggest but today there are several forehands that are bigger than Roddick's ever was and more accurate as well).
Andre was such a clean striker of the ball, Roddick can't really come close. With an average serve, Roddick has about a top 20 baseline game at his best IMO (whereas Isner and Karlovic are top 200 without their serves).
IMO roddicks Fh was the better shot but Agassi could do more with it because of better court positioning, footwork (Agassi was not a great mover but in short ranges his footwork was very precise and efficient).
This is true for a lot of players. They will have fantastic shots but only if they manage to get in position. Guys like Agassi or federer however can use their FH well all the time because they have the timing, footwork and compactness ( compared to like guys like roddick or Gonzalez who took big swings and thus needed more time and space.
As to what happened with roddicks FH: he still had power later and occasionally showed it ( for example in his last USO). He chose to be a grinder probably he thought this is the necessary adjustment for the slow courts ( personally I think this was a bad decision)
You know how you said that Roddick's two year stretch in 2003-2004 has clouded the mind of posters with nostalgia? Well, it goes both way. Your comment reads like it is has been fueled by serious hindsight bias.
Comparing Roddick's forehand to Gasquet's backhand is pretty ridiculous. A lot of what you say about Roddick's forehand is completely untrue. Yes, when he was stressed in a match, he used to start pressing and that can be said for any tennis player that plays aggressive. Safin, Nalbandian, and Federer were all error-prone players. Also, gave up ground? Roddick's forehand used to be his most trustworthy tool in long rallies. Fact is, Roddick's forehand was a great shot. Tennis fans always like injecting a nice bit of negativity in everything, but it doesn't change a thing. Safin has praised Roddick's forehand. Agassi said in 2004 that Roddick's forehand was one of the biggest shots in the sport that had to be avoided in matches. After the 2004 Wimbledon final, Federer raved about Roddick's powerful inside-in forehands. So, Roddick is not exactly short on testimonies from his peers and that is most important thing. If we went by tennis revisionist theories, Hewitt would be a WTA-level pusher and Sampras would be nothing more than a servebot as some of the tennis historians on this forum like to say.
Also, what's the point of coming with hypothetical scenarios where Roddick has an average serve? That is his major weapon. If you are going to use these types of arguments, lets apply it across the board to all top players. Berdych wouldn't be in the top 10 if he didn't have his ball-bashing forehand. Ditto for Soderling, Tsonga, and Del Potro. How about Nadal? Let's gave him Melzer's forehand and see if he can win RG 7 times.
At it's peak I would choose Roddick's FH, in all other circumstances, Agassi's.
My point in bringing up Roddick with an average serve was that the quality his ground game is not what wins him matches, it's his serve (which was one of the best of all time). Because of the quality and insurance that serve gave him , he was able to ball-bash and hit some big shots. IMO if he were forced to rely on his forehand to the extent of someone like Berdych or Gonzales (both of whom had much worse serves than he did) then I think he would have been much less successful than them because his FH was not on their level. And yes, I do think that Del Potro and Berdych have better forehands than Roddick ever did.
I'm not saying Roddick's forehand was a bad shot but I think it is pretty overrated by people who remember it a little too fondly, IMO it was not up to the level of a truly great forehand like Agassi or even Berdych. It's like saying that Isner has a really great forehand today (not saying Roddick is on Isner's level), he can smash some huge winners sometimes because his serve is so big that he can afford to make errors, but its not actually a great shot. Roddick's forehand was a very good shot but not a great one.
Interesting idea. I agree with everyone in this thread.
Only Del Potro has (had more like) a forehand that was probably better than Roddick. Berdych is the one with the good , but not great forehand. You criticize Roddicks forehand for being erratic and a shot that makes him lose ground yet you think Berdych has a Jesus forehand? Lol. Berdych is the clown who starts missing forehands by 10 feet when he plays guys like Djokovic or Nadal. Even when he is hitting his supposed "great forehand" well, he gets his ass handed to him by Djokovic who redirects his pace and makes the flat foot oaf stumble around. Berdych does not generate incredible angles on his forehand, he struggles clearing the net when he has to really use his wrist to generate racquet head speed inside the court, and his clutchness with the forehand is pathetic because of his relatively flat swing.
Your argument about Roddick having only his serve to win him points is incorrect. Roddick was one of the big hitters who could adapt pretty well to his best shot not helping him. Despite Nalbandian having a great returning day (USO 2003), Roddick hit an enormous amount of forehand winners to keep the match as tight as possible. Nalbandian certainly did not win most forehand to forehand rallies.A clown like Berdych rolls over and dies easily when he is not having a good day of ball bashing or runs into a better player. Roddick at least busted his ass grinding throughout the match trying to find more opportunities to hit forehand winners. He did that a lot during WIM 2004, which is why federer have him props for his inside-in/out forehands
And once again, you can spin this argument the other way. I can say that Berdych and Gonzalez get a sense of safety because they know they can ball bash their way to scoring wins. Berdych and Gonzalez feel just as confident crushing weak shots as roddick does serving huge.The only difference is that Roddick crushed huge serves and forehands unlike Gonzo and Berdych and that is why he is a far superior player than either of them.
I think we are just going to have to agree to disagree, it's true that Roddick did a whole lot more winning than any of these other players. But IMO that was because his serve was MUCH better than any of theirs, and he was a lot mentally tougher. Berdych is a mental clown and has a mediocre serve for his height but he is able to trouble the top players and beat Federer because of his massive and accurate forehand. Unlike Roddick he doesn't have to camp out 10 feet behind the baseline because his backswing is so huge (that's what I meant by Roddick giving up ground and that's why Andy changed his backswing in 2005/2006 to a shorter version, to avoid giving up court) and he can hit spots a lot better with the forehand . I just don't see Roddick's forehand as being on the same technical level as the great ones.
Of course Roddick had some game outside his serve. In the event he didnt he would just be Karlovic, or a bit worse as Karlovic has an even better serve. However one is seriously deluding themselves to think the biggest key to his success and his biggest point getter by far wasnt always the serve. As for if he had just a moderately good serve like Berdych or Gonzalez, he probably would be a top 20 player at best (and I am talking at his peak). As it was his serve was one of the most dominant shots in the game, and unlike someone like Karlovic he was able to put together enough big forehands and other good points to get the wins to be a top 5 player at his peak, and make some slam finals. I also think outside his serve his biggest assets were his mental toughness, fight, and consistency. His forehand was a big weapon for about 18 months, but even then it was just a factor in his success, never the biggest one.
Roddick's forehand is technically not very nice, I agree. However, sometimes great shots are not textbook. Roddick's forehand did not look nice and crisp like Federer or Berdych's, but he was a natural at striking the ball with it. As for Berdych's matches with Federer... tennis is a game of match ups. Berdych might have beaten Federer quite a few times, but lets not forget when Berdych's first win over Federer came in a major..Wimbledon 2010. There is a big difference in the Federer Roddick had to deal with from 2004-2007 than the one Berdych frequently beats up on these days. With that said, Berdych does not beat Federer with accurate forehands. That is what Nadal does when he uses his forehand to get Federer on a string. Berdych hits hard and flat with his forehand to Federer's backhand and, as usual these days, Federer puts up a fluffball that Berdych crushes for a winner.
Federer is also an example of a guy with an accurate forehand. When he is on with that, he probably troubles Djokovic way more than anybody on tour. Berdych's forehand is largely ineffective against Djokovic; it is such a one dimensional shot and guys like Djokovic/Nadal have learned how to absorb it like sponges. Especially Djokovic, he is so comfortable playing Berdych now that he does not even look he is stressed for time like most guys who play Berdych are.
You are right, of course. We are going to have to agree to disagree on this. I saw every minute of Berdych's match against Ferrer at the DC final 2 months ago and just the way Ferrer exposed Berdych's one dimensional ball bashing with solid counterpunching strengthened my belief that Berdych is not the special talent everyone makes him out to be.
This is all I'm saying. Roddick's forehand was a great shot. All his rivals have acknowledged how potent his forehand could be. I think it is unfair that players who are retired get their career's looked upon more and more negatively with each passing year. People say that Sampras was "garbage" on slower surfaces and had a weak baseline, when in reality, Pete won plenty of tournaments on slow HCs, did decently on CC, and often displayed extreme brilliance from the baseline.
You are underrating Berdych big time, but there it seems like there is nothing I can do to change your mind. Roddick's forehand was covered and made to look better than it was by a great serve.
Just to address your last paragraph, Del Potro has been "exposed" 4 times in the last year by Ferrer on ALL surfaces worse than Berdych has, do you also believe that he doesn't have a great forehand? Hell Roddick himself was owned by Ferrer 7-3 H2H while definitely being an overall better player. Ferrer is a very tough player to beat if you are not an exceptional mover like the top 4 (interestingly sone of the only other players to own Ferrer are Monfils and Davydenko, other exceptional movers), he is beating everyone up these days.
Yes, Del Potro's forehand is not all that. People think that because he smashed 110 mph running forehands he automatically gets the best forehand on tour award. Del Potro is a not an offensive minded player and hitting running forehands is not an offensive strategy. He has no instinct to finish points quickly Nothing showcases this like his match against Djokovic at last years USO. Del Potro was standing behind the baseline crushing forehands right down the center of the court in hopes that Djokovic would be overwhelmed and he lost the vast majority of the rallies.
Yeah, Ferrer owned Roddick alright. Every match they played was after 2005. Do you realize how much Roddick's game plummeted from 2004 to 2005? He went from hitting more forehand winners than Federer in the 2004 WIM final (Fed had 3-4 more winners overall) to getting slaughtered in straights sets in the following years final, He finished the match with 19 winners...30 less than Federer.
On the contrary, I think you are overrating Berdych. Berdych's forehand is not the gold standard. As I said, we can agree to disagree.
Berdychs forehand even gave prime Federer trouble sometimes. Look at the 2004 Olympics where it ruined Federers Olympic singles gold dream, they had very tough matches in the Davis Cup once, and one other time at Halle around 06 and 07 where Berdychs forehand was on fire, and at the 2009 Australian Open Berdych went up 2 sets to 0 on Federer who was in midst of winning 4 of 6 slams and reaching 6 finals in a row.
I agree Roddick was a different player after 2004 and never the same again after being coached by Goldfine who didnt seem to understand his game at all.
Sure, it was always a weapon for him, but it also was erratic. Just like Berdych, Roddick put up some spirited fights against prime Federer, but he ended up losing all of them. All in all, both Roddick/Berdych were owned for stretches of 4 years by Federer. Berdych got a lot better over the years while Roddick has declined.
Berdych was also one of the guys who used to overwhelm Nadal with pace like Blake did, but ever since Nadal solidified his baseline game, Berdych has been getting 7+ years of beatings on every single surface.
I agree, Dean Goldfine and John Roddick really aided Roddick in heading for the dump.
Anyway, I think even if you can't agree that Berdych has a better forehand than Roddick you can at least admit that Agassi did. Most people in the poll seem to think so, at least.
Agassi was technically far superior to Roddick, IMO. I watched the 2004 cincy SF again and Roddick was very adept at taking control of the point with his forehand as Agassi was. There were many rallies where Roddick hit forehands so big that Agassi was left smiling. Great match. There was a funny moment where Roddick was pissed off that Agassi kept attacking his 2nd serves and Roddick just armed a forehand return, James Blake style, right past Agassi. They were both laughing it off.
Anyways, I think Roddick, at his very best, could match Agassi's forehand. Roddick had days where he got passive, even in his early career, and that opened a whole can of worms for him and exposed the other big weaknesses in his game like backhand and movement. Agassi was almost always solid. I would give my vote to Agassi though. I'm still impressed with the quality of his hitting in the 2005 USO final. He was in a lot of pain and was teeing off on everything and for a good part of the match was outplaying Federer.
I love it when Berdych hits a winner from his forehand when his swing his not harder than a rally forehand. Just explodes of the court.
though when roddick was playing well, he could match him many times, agassi was simply more consistent .....
their cincy 2004 match was a very good, under-rated match ....
that's not strictly true ...agassi in his early days hit huge off his forehand wing ...without wasting energy ... it was only under gilbert that he toned it down and made it a more consistent shot ...even afterwards, as and when required, he did hit massive FHs ...
I think Agassi's FH seemed slightly bigger than it was because he took the ball so early, I think Roddick when he was really going for had a bigger FH (heavy as well, he hit it with a lot of spin).
agree, roddick's was bigger/heavier when he went for it ....but agassi's wasn't far behind ...
agree that agassi's FH seemed bigger than it was because he took it so early ...
taking it earlier and hitting at say 90% of the pace of someone else who takes it a bit late ...
the effect on the opponent is about the same right ?
Having a long setup (like Gonzo/Roddick) doesn't hinder them physically. Using energy isn't wasting energy if you're getting the power from your legs primarily and first (if the motion/chain is in sync) ; The only downfall of using more energy than say Safin or Agassi (who had effortless strokes) is that a lack of court positioning and coverage they get if the ball comes back.
Easily Roddick. He hit more forehand winners than Federer in their 2004 Wimbledon final.
When Roddick's forehand was on...it was big!
I took stats on 2004 Cincinnati(Agassi d Roddick 75, 67, 76)
Roddick edged Agassi 19-7 in fh winners
Stats from the end of Agassi's career?
I've always loved the unique aesthetic of Roddick's forehand. One of the coolest looking shots of all time, even when it became weak and ineffective.
However, is a comparison of forehands to be decided solely by who can hit the most winners? To me, it doesn't matter that Roddick hit more forehand winners than Federer at Wimbledon 2004. That is one match, and we all know which forehand is more consistently dominant.
Likewise, Agassi's forehand was much more reliable, and he was significantly more dependant on it as a player than Roddick ever was. Roddick's best performance at Wimbledon was during the height of his 'pusher' forehand years.
I think one has to give the edge to Agassi here.
agassis forehand was the real deal, more versatile, more power, hit it earlier, had more choices.. he really toned it down to be more consistent and less flashy as time went on so alot of people who choose roddick might only know the resurgent agassi of late 90s and on.
qft. roddick's peak is much easier to pinpoint on a timeline than agassi's. imho, i consider the peak in agassi's game to be circa 94-95 (beating pete at the aussie) but if you're strictly speaking forehands, then early aa (pre-gilbert) is where you need to look. either way, aa gets the edge in my book. even at roddick's peak, his forehand was prone to break down. if you're gonna compare winners off the forehand, you have compare ues too. agassi at his best didn't give away many free points and used both wings to finish the point. aa didn't rely on his fh as much as roddick did because aa had one of the best backhands, so i could see where that might skew the winner totals as well.
No. Pro's strokes only break down due to a lack of fatigue or poor footwork (which is usually the result in poor fatigue). Mechanically Roddick's power forehand is actually a lot more efficient than his 'consistent' moonballing forehand from 05 onwards.
it doesn't matter WHY it happens, only THAT it happens and the point is that at the peaks aa didn't seem to miss as often as roddick did. anyway, wouldn't a "lack of fatigue" (sic) mean that said pro in question wasn't tired.
tough call, i think they were 2 different forehands. agassi's was a more flat, penetrating ball where as roddicks was considerably heavier. I think roddick was a bit more physically empowering but agassi had such a pure and clean stroke that he blistered the ball. i'd take agassi's forehand if i was rushed and roddick's if i had time to really wind up and take a rip
Sorry I used fatigue incorrectly, my point still stands. Breaking down isn't missing 100mph forehands; A stroke breaks down when you cannot hit consistent shots at half intensity into the court. Roddick's forehand never broke down. Miss-timing isn't breaking down either. Are people actually serious?
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