Djokovic's Return of Serve is the best shot of all time.

Aretium

Hall of Fame
Relative to his peers and other players. From just my perspective, I have never seen a shot so deadly. Fed, Nadal's and Del Potro's forehand is up there. Edberg/Mac volleys. Karlovic serve. Nadal's defence. Surely the ros of Djokovic has to be in the top 3. It doesn't seem real to me, seems almost incomprehensible. Consistent depth.

I'd love to put up loads of stats, but I have things to do and this is procrastination enough.

Discuss.
 

DelPo2016

Professional
As big of a fan I am. Delpo's forehand as a whole isn't in the conversation for best shot ever. As go novaks ROS, Agassis was close. Don't think it's vastly above the rest, just slightly.
 

rossi46

Professional
Definitely one of the best returns of serve the game has ever seen, but the best shot of all time ?? Seriously.
 

Aretium

Hall of Fame
Generally I abide by the rule that the serve and the FH are the 2 most important shots in tennis. So, IMO, that leaves the Sampras serve and the Federer FH as the two best shots ever. Probably in that order, too.
I think that is why it impresses me so much, it is not a shot that is typically supposed to be so devastating. Yet it is.
 

Aretium

Hall of Fame
Generally I abide by the rule that the serve and the FH are the 2 most important shots in tennis. So, IMO, that leaves the Sampras serve and the Federer FH as the two best shots ever. Probably in that order, too.
I don't consider Sampras top in terms of the serve. Yes it was awesome, but the stats don't lie. Karlovic no 1. Isner is higher too. I'm sure there is a case for certain Roanics to be classed higher as well due to the nature of the serve.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
I don't consider Sampras top in terms of the serve. Yes it was awesome, but the stats don't lie. Karlovic no 1. Isner is higher too. I'm sure there is a case for certain Roanics to be classed higher as well due to the nature of the serve.
Well, there is debate there yes, but at the end of the day, Sampras got it done against higher levels of competition. I realize that's because his overall game was on another level to the "servebots", but he was certainly clutch with the serve in big matches.
 

Aretium

Hall of Fame
Well, there is debate there yes, but at the end of the day, Sampras got it done against higher levels of competition. I realize that's because his overall game was on another level to the "servebots", but he was certainly clutch with the serve in big matches.
Agree 100%.
 

Aretium

Hall of Fame
Maybe, I should have rephrased this, the gap between Djokovic's return of serve and its closest rival is the largest out of all the shots in history, or something to that extent.
 

beltsman

Legend
Relative to his peers and other players. From just my perspective, I have never seen a shot so deadly. Fed, Nadal's and Del Potro's forehand is up there. Edberg/Mac volleys. Karlovic serve. Nadal's defence. Surely the ros of Djokovic has to be in the top 3. It doesn't seem real to me, seems almost incomprehensible. Consistent depth.

I'd love to put up loads of stats, but I have things to do and this is procrastination enough.

Discuss.
Because he can hit good returns off Murray's WTA second serve? Puhleeze.
 
V

VexlanderPrime

Guest
Relative to his peers and other players. From just my perspective, I have never seen a shot so deadly. Fed, Nadal's and Del Potro's forehand is up there. Edberg/Mac volleys. Karlovic serve. Nadal's defence. Surely the ros of Djokovic has to be in the top 3. It doesn't seem real to me, seems almost incomprehensible. Consistent depth.

I'd love to put up loads of stats, but I have things to do and this is procrastination enough.

Discuss.
K.

No.
 
V

VexlanderPrime

Guest
Generally I abide by the rule that the serve and the FH are the 2 most important shots in tennis. So, IMO, that leaves the Sampras serve and the Federer FH as the two best shots ever. Probably in that order, too.
^ This. Totally agree. Djoker's ROS is a great tool but if his Serve wasn't excellent and his FH elite he wouldn't be nearly as dominant.
 
Generally I abide by the rule that the serve and the FH are the 2 most important shots in tennis. So, IMO, that leaves the Sampras serve and the Federer FH as the two best shots ever. Probably in that order, too.
Karlovic has a better serve than Sampras though.
 
J

JRAJ1988

Guest
Federer's forehand is the greatest shot imo...with Sampras' on the run forehand.

Though Djokovic's return with Agassi's are the greatest returners ever....even Ferrer's ROS is awesome.
 

struggle

Legend
In relative terms to his competition, the times, equipment, athleticsism, being 6'4', conditioning, etc... Connors was about on par.

So was Agassi.

But sure, maybe Joker is the GOAT returner. He's up there.
 

ultradr

Legend
But Agassi and Björkmans return of serve were better imo. And they weren't helped by big balls, slow courts and poly strings.
yeah, I'd love to see if djokovic can return like agassi in 90's on slick grass, north american hard courts, indoor carpets.

but autralian open should be similar as 90's. in fact, AO official claimed it is faster than rebound ace.
novak's return looks really good at AO......

then again today's serves are for accuracy. can't compare to great servers of 90s....
 

6august

Hall of Fame
It's (one of) the best ROS of all time, not the best shot.

No particular shot of any particular name deserves that title.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
Karlovic has a better serve than Sampras though.
As a stand alone shot, yes, but I still think Sampras should be credited for winning bigger matches with the serve even though he was leagues above Karlovic in other areas. Or how about this? When we're talking about the best shots ever we leave it to the ATG's of the sport. It's just hard for me to look past the fact that Karlovic hasn't made it to the tail end of any important tournaments.
 
As a stand alone shot, yes, but I still think Sampras should be credited for winning bigger matches with the serve even though he was leagues above Karlovic in other areas. Or how about this? When we're talking about the best shots ever we leave it to the ATG's of the sport. It's just hard for me to look past the fact that Karlovic hasn't made it to the tail end of any important tournaments.
True. Karlovic's serve also collapses in tiebreaks sometimes when he needs it the most. That is mostly his shaky mental game but still.
 
Yeah. Was there much of a gap between Roddick and Sampras's serve for that matter? Sampras, just like Fed and like any other great player, knew what to do with the second shot.
I think it would be close between Sampras and Roddick. Sampras definitely had far better disguise (Fed would never be able to read Sampras's serve as relatively easily as he does Roddick's) and more perfect placement. Both have great variety and action, and kick serves. Roddick has a bit more raw power on the serve. Sampras's first serve was better quality overall when it went in, but his percentage of first serves in was generally much lower than Roddick. Both had excellent 2nd serves.

Roddick's serve is underrated on this forum. Many here even think Federer has a better serve. While Federer has an excellent serve, I don't believe this is true at all. When he played Roddick it might look that way since Federer is light years a better returner, so handles Roddick's serve atleast as well as Roddick's handles Federer's.
 

metsman

G.O.A.T.
I think it would be close between Sampras and Roddick. Sampras definitely had far better disguise (Fed would never be able to read Sampras's serve as relatively easily as he does Roddick's) and more perfect placement. Both have great variety and action, and kick serves. Roddick has a bit more raw power on the serve. Sampras's first serve was better quality overall when it went in, but his percentage of first serves in was generally much lower than Roddick. Both had excellent 2nd serves.

Roddick's serve is underrated on this forum. Many here even think Federer has a better serve. While Federer has an excellent serve, I don't believe this is true at all. When he played Roddick it might look that way since Federer is light years a better returner, so handles Roddick's serve atleast as well as Roddick's handles Federer's.
yet federer did read sampras' serve in their one meeting better than guys like Agassi ever did....

Federer reads all big servers well, not just Roddick. He read Roddick exceptionally well which is why his serve stats were generally better than Roddick's when they met, but all things considered Federer is likely the best returner ever against huge servers.

Roddick has the best non-servebot serve ever imo. Better than Sampras. His luck he just ran into the one guy who could read it like a book. Imo Goran at his best had a better serve than Sampras too and in small samples guys like Krajiceck and Scud could get up there too. But Sampras' serve was just mind numbingly consistent which set it apart. Always there when he needed it match in match out, tournament in, tournament out. Federer legit has one of the best second serves ever but his first serve is a little below those guys. Federer probably has the best service games of any non servebot ever though and the greatest tiebreak player.
 
One match isn't a lot to go on, though. And Sampras was on dreadful form at the time. He even went to five sets with Barry Cowan two rounds earlier.

What made Sampras's serve better than any of the others, in my view, was its placement. He didn't serve as many aces/service winners as Ivanisevic, but Sampras could with a high degree of reliability serve 3-5 unreturned serves in a row if he needed to bail his way out of trouble. He just paced himself a lot and so wasn't always going all out. Perhaps that was due to the thalassemia, or perhaps he just struggled to motivate himself (in the way that Serena Williams often needs a crisis to produce her best tennis).

yet federer did read sampras' serve in their one meeting better than guys like Agassi ever did....

Federer reads all big servers well, not just Roddick. He read Roddick exceptionally well which is why his serve stats were generally better than Roddick's when they met, but all things considered Federer is likely the best returner ever against huge servers.

Roddick has the best non-servebot serve ever imo. Better than Sampras. His luck he just ran into the one guy who could read it like a book. Imo Goran at his best had a better serve than Sampras too and in small samples guys like Krajiceck and Scud could get up there too. But Sampras' serve was just mind numbingly consistent which set it apart. Always there when he needed it match in match out, tournament in, tournament out. Federer legit has one of the best second serves ever but his first serve is a little below those guys. Federer probably has the best service games of any non servebot ever though and the greatest tiebreak player.
 

metsman

G.O.A.T.
One match isn't a lot to go on, though. And Sampras was on dreadful form at the time. He even went to five sets with Barry Cowan two rounds earlier.

What made Sampras's serve better than any of the others, in my view, was its placement. He didn't serve as many aces/service winners as Ivanisevic, but Sampras could with a high degree of reliability serve 3-5 unreturned serves in a row if he needed to bail his way out of trouble. He just paced himself a lot and so wasn't always going all out. Perhaps that was due to the thalassemia, or perhaps he just struggled to motivate himself (in the way that Serena Williams often needs a crisis to produce her best tennis).
sampras' serve was absolutely fine in that much. yet a 19 year old Federer still read it exceptionally well. Sampras served 69%, federer actually only served 62%. Sampras' return sucked that match which was his dreadful form. A few uncharacteristic errors too but in general he played a decent match. He was fine on serve. Federer matched him ace for ace and more unreturned serves. Part of that was sampras' return but part of it was Federer's reads on Sampras' serve neutralizing it and making his own better (relative to sampras' return). Federer also generated 14 BP on Sampras' serve including 6 in the second set. Sampras also served 76% that set yet fed got all those BP. That's gotta be unheard of.

In terms of clutch though...you're not gonna find a better serve than sampras' although fed's is certainly up there too. Outside of these last two GS finals his serve has come through in huge spots time and time again.
 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
I think it would be close between Sampras and Roddick. Sampras definitely had far better disguise (Fed would never be able to read Sampras's serve as relatively easily as he does Roddick's) and more perfect placement. Both have great variety and action, and kick serves. Roddick has a bit more raw power on the serve. Sampras's first serve was better quality overall when it went in, but his percentage of first serves in was generally much lower than Roddick. Both had excellent 2nd serves.

Roddick's serve is underrated on this forum. Many here even think Federer has a better serve. While Federer has an excellent serve, I don't believe this is true at all. When he played Roddick it might look that way since Federer is light years a better returner, so handles Roddick's serve atleast as well as Roddick's handles Federer's.
Yeah, likewise re Roddick-Sampras. Sampras had better disguise and placement but Roddick had more outright power. For the first few years, the tour did struggle to cope with his serve, including Federer for the first set of Wimbledon 2004.
 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
sampras' serve was absolutely fine in that much. yet a 19 year old Federer still read it exceptionally well. Sampras served 69%, federer actually only served 62%. Sampras' return sucked that match which was his dreadful form. A few uncharacteristic errors too but in general he played a decent match. He was fine on serve. Federer matched him ace for ace and more unreturned serves. Part of that was sampras' return but part of it was Federer's reads on Sampras' serve neutralizing it and making his own better (relative to sampras' return). Federer also generated 14 BP on Sampras' serve including 6 in the second set. Sampras also served 76% that set yet fed got all those BP. That's gotta be unheard of.

In terms of clutch though...you're not gonna find a better serve than sampras' although fed's is certainly up there too. Outside of these last two GS finals his serve has come through in huge spots time and time again.
Wonder what was the second serve stats though. Even in the Safin match, his second serve % was bad. Partly this was down to Sampras obstinately rushing in instead of staying back to respect Safin's fearsome return but I do believe the second serve had weakened at this point. It was the second serve that made Sampras so tough to handle because it was as fast as the first serve of some very respectable servers, like Rafter. Getting a look at a Sampras second serve didn't mean an opportunity to unload. But that is what Safin was doing and maybe Fed too in their Wimb 2001 as Sampras was definitely playing worse there than in the 2000 USO final.
 

metsman

G.O.A.T.
Wonder what was the second serve stats though. Even in the Safin match, his second serve % was bad. Partly this was down to Sampras obstinately rushing in instead of staying back to respect Safin's fearsome return but I do believe the second serve had weakened at this point. It was the second serve that made Sampras so tough to handle because it was as fast as the first serve of some very respectable servers, like Rafter. Getting a look at a Sampras second serve didn't mean an opportunity to unload. But that is what Safin was doing and maybe Fed too in their Wimb 2001 as Sampras was definitely playing worse there than in the 2000 USO final.
eh I thought Sampras level was higher in the 2000 USO but in the match itself he was a tougher opponent in the 2001 Wimby match because it was grass.

But yeah the second serve was definitely an issue at that point I think. Fed won a lot of second serve return points in 01 but sampras served a very high percentage and Federer got the most break points in the set Sampras served close to 80%.
 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
Well, that's kind of what I meant, the grass disguised the drop in his level. It looks more flattering simply because sets on grass usually went to the TB in those days and this one went the distance. Even the Phillippoussis-Fed scoreline suggests a match tougher than it actually was; by the end of the first set only one player looked like winning the match but looking at the TBs and 7-5 scoreline in the third it would look like a gritty 3 setter.
 

metsman

G.O.A.T.
Well, that's kind of what I meant, the grass disguised the drop in his level. It looks more flattering simply because sets on grass usually went to the TB in those days and this one went the distance. Even the Phillippoussis-Fed scoreline suggests a match tougher than it actually was; by the end of the first set only one player looked like winning the match but looking at the TBs and 7-5 scoreline in the third it would look like a gritty 3 setter.
nah it had nothing to do with the score. The Fed-Sampras match was close. Sampras wasn't at his best, neither was Fed, but it was a good pre/post prime match for both. Fed didn't dominate him like Safin did.
 
Certainly he returned outstandingly well. I watched some of it again recently and was very struck that the first thing David Mercer said afterwards was how explosive Federer was off the return.

To be fair to Djokovic, it's harder to come through in huge spots against him than it is against anyone else currently on tour by a long way. (Ferrer and Murray have good returns, but Murray's is too defensive and Ferrer doesn't have the game to back it up). I agree that Federer played less well in the US Open final than in the rest of the tournament, but I think Djokovic played really well in the Wimbledon final.

sampras' serve was absolutely fine in that much. yet a 19 year old Federer still read it exceptionally well. Sampras served 69%, federer actually only served 62%. Sampras' return sucked that match which was his dreadful form. A few uncharacteristic errors too but in general he played a decent match. He was fine on serve. Federer matched him ace for ace and more unreturned serves. Part of that was sampras' return but part of it was Federer's reads on Sampras' serve neutralizing it and making his own better (relative to sampras' return). Federer also generated 14 BP on Sampras' serve including 6 in the second set. Sampras also served 76% that set yet fed got all those BP. That's gotta be unheard of.

In terms of clutch though...you're not gonna find a better serve than sampras' although fed's is certainly up there too. Outside of these last two GS finals his serve has come through in huge spots time and time again.
 

metsman

G.O.A.T.
Certainly he returned outstandingly well. I watched some of it again recently and was very struck that the first thing David Mercer said afterwards was how explosive Federer was off the return.

To be fair to Djokovic, it's harder to come through in huge spots against him than it is against anyone else currently on tour by a long way. (Ferrer and Murray have good returns, but Murray's is too defensive and Ferrer doesn't have the game to back it up). I agree that Federer played less well in the US Open final than in the rest of the tournament, but I think Djokovic played really well in the Wimbledon final.
djoker did play very well in the Wimby final..served well. I was impressed by him that match. Federer still wasn't nearly as good as the Murray match or even the Simon match but that was the level he needed to beat Djokovic. USO Djoker played about as well as he had all tournament (which is to say nothing special). Federer needed to play as well as he did in the Darcis/Gasquet matches to have a chance but instead he played more like he had against the other guys. Because the other guys sucked Federer didn't lose sets but his level was nothing special against Stan or Kohly.
 
djoker did play very well in the Wimby final..served well. I was impressed by him that match. Federer still wasn't nearly as good as the Murray match or even the Simon match but that was the level he needed to beat Djokovic. USO Djoker played about as well as he had all tournament (which is to say nothing special). Federer needed to play as well as he did in the Darcis/Gasquet matches to have a chance but instead he played more like he had against the other guys. Because the other guys sucked Federer didn't lose sets but his level was nothing special against Stan or Kohly.
Agreed that Djokovic was nothing special in the US Open final, but I think he did play a pretty good semi-final (admittedly against weak opposition). I think Simon was so overmatched against Federer that it's hard to make a comparison between that match and the final, but I agree that Federer was better in the semis than in the final. I said in a post earlier today that I think the three best match performances of 2015 in majors were, in no particular order, Wawrinka in the Roland Garros final, Federer in the Wimbledon semis, and Djokovic in the Wimbledon final. (Wawrinka in the RG quarter-finals also deserves an honorable mention).
 
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