Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Satsuma Illini, Jun 19, 2012.
Forgot about Corretja, great backhand for sure, i would put him in top 5 in this tread.
I think what helped a lot of the players in volleying was they most of them played doubles regularly. The top players generally don't do that nowadays so they can rest for singles.
A guy like Rosewall who is in my opinion a natural baseliner played doubles with Lew Hoad and developed a fantastic volley.
Funny that no one has mentioned Wawrinka. I'd take his backhand over Federer's any day.
However, I do believe Guga takes the prize in this category. As far as pure baseliner 1-handed backhands go, his was/is the best ever.
Loved both Clerc and Gomez! Like so many players with big forehands Gomez's backhand was underated. I always thought Gomez could've developed a better game for grass. And I enjoyed watching him at the US Open.
Wrong thread! This thread is about who is the greatest baseliner in the open era with a 1hb, not who has the best 1hb in the open era. If that was the question, then the answer is Rod Laver.
Re: Kuerten, if you are limiting your opinion to clay, he probably was the greatest baseliner in the open era with a 1hb, on clay. But, I don't think there's much argument that he wasn't as great as Federer on hard or grass. It could very well have been that his degenerating hip limited him more on less forgiving surfaces. That we don't know unless he has discussed that possibility. But, his results on hard and grass were not in the same league as his clay court results.
Ooops. I misunderstood the question.
Now that I understand it better, I'd have to go w/ Lendl, only because I consider Federer & Sampras as 'All Court' players. Guga *could* have been the best, but I'm guessing his hip injury limited what he could do in US/Aussie Opens.
I would agree that Sampras was an all courter. But, IMO, Federer is as much a baseliner as anyone. He plays almost exclusively from the baseline, even moreso than Lendl, and his baseline game is much better than his net game, maybe moreso than Lendl in that respect too.
I guess you are talking about the Federer of the last few years. I remember the Federer of the early-mid 2000s, when he would hit that short slice backhand, then finish at the net, or rip a forehand "inside-in", then put the easy volley away.
Federer still hits that shot with good effectiveness against some. It doesn't work that well against Nadal or Djokovic. Nadal either belts it down the line with his forehand or hits a heavy topspin forehand sharp crosscourt to the Federer's backhand.
nadal just rips it apart tbh. Federer only rarely uses it vs him in the past 2-3 years ..
federer has way more success with it vs djoker , see for example their FO meeting last year. djoker handles it ok I suppose , but when fed's slice is correctly working, it still causes him some problems ...
My top ten of onehanded backhand players:
or Murray. He pretty much owns Murray in bh to bh exchanges. See 2010 Aus Open. It's not the shot, it's the game style. Nadal picks on everyone's backhand not just 1 handers. He wins against 2 handers just as easily as 1 handers. Nadal is just a bad match up for Fed for many reasons not because of Fed's backhand
Also I like that.
I remember this thread. Still quite surprised to see no love for Fedman in here . I mean, if EDBERG of all people qualifies as a baseliner, then surely Roger does.
I think Wawrinka's backhand is not consistent enough to be number one but I do like it a lot.
Tilden should be on the list and I believe Kovacs should be there also. Others to consider would Lacoste and Nusslein.
No mention of Federer is a bit of joke tbh . The guy won most of his slams largely from the baseline against other baseliners.
Federer 's backhand is the best I've seen with Edberg , IMO , excellent shot .
But I see it as problematic blow when the balls are high and lift.
The backhand has been the weak point too many times to Roger .
I can not put it much higher.
The backhand only appears weak on clay against a certain player. In general it's a strong shot and has been for a while - even though it's not an all-time-great backhand. He has arguably the GOAT forehand and his movement is superb. He would beat everyone on your list if both were forced to play the entire match at the baseline more often than not. I think he's a clear front runner for greatest at the baseline with a one hander.
Good point. It's not a thread about all time great backhands but best baseliners with one handers. Yes Federer should be there.
Edberg actually wasn't a great baseliner. He had a great backhand but he wasn't a great baseliner. McEnroe was probably a better baseliner than him.
If that's the case Jack Kramer and Bobby Riggs should be on the list. Kramer had an excellent backhand and super forehand. Many of Kramer's opponents rank Kramer as one of the best baseliners they had faced including his nemesis Pancho Gonzalez. Gonzalez named Kramer, Segura and Rosewall as the top baseliners he faced in his career.
Rigg's control from the baseline was incredible. He was the master of the lob and drop shot. He also had power when he needed it.
Actually come to think of it perhaps Segura should be there also for the same reasons as Federer.
What about Tilden?
Yet I do think Federer's backhand can be underrated. It's only really been preyed upon by Nadal. Djokovic even now doesn't beat Federer by simply targeting the backhand.
I mentioned Tilden in post 68. Tilden could very well be number one on the list since in his prime he had a great backhand with variety and a great forehand. Vines wrote he never saw a player who could do more on both sides than Tilden. And Vines saw Budge, Perry, Rosewall, Laver, Kramer, Kovacs, Segura, Connors and Borg.
Edberg should be eliminated from the list because while he had a great backhand his baseline play leaves something to be desired. Chang for example was better imo from the baseline than Edberg.
This is a tricky one, but I'll give it a try with my top five, baseliners only as asked (so, no Fed or Haas here)
Retired players: Lendl, Vilas, Guga, Korda, Gaudio - from this group, I saw live Guga and Gaudio, Gaudio had one the most beautiful one handers I ever saw, live or on TV, and that thing was both good looking and effective, lots of power and spin and a very good looking swing
Still on tour: Stan the Man, Gasquet, Kohlshreiber, Garcia-Lopez and probably Cuevas (I hesitate with L. Mayer and Cuevas, saw both live, Cuevas can do more things with his one hander, I have to go with him, but Mayer has a big heavy one hander): from this group the only one I never saw live was Kohlshreiber, the rest I saw live at least two times
My favourite? Gasquet - the guy can do about every trick in the book with his one hander, with a very elegant motion, lots of wrist, a pure delight to watch live. Probably it's the only player I ever saw running around the FH to hit a one-handed BH, he does that a lot
Federer even at his late age has imo improved his backhand. I'm very impressed by this. I don't think Federer's the baseliner he used to be but I wonder if Nadal is healthy could he attack Federer's backhand now like he used to.
I thought of Rosewall too, most particularly as having a great backhand.
But was he a strict (or even mostly a) baseliner? (It seems that just a day or two ago Bobby was offering up Muscles as a great Serve and Volleyer. Bobby, this is NOT A CRITICISM.)
Aren't these categories more or less exclusive? Can he be both a great S&Ver and a great baseliner?
(After all, one almost never goes to the net, and the other almost always goes to the net.)
I picked Rosewall as number one in those days to be honest to be nice to someone. I thought it was possible but frankly Tilden is superior if we don't use the requirement of a great backhand (by that I mean I thought Rosewall's backhand was superior to TIlden's backhand) and Tilden did have a super backhand anyway. However Tilden had a superior forehand to Rosewall's forehand. It's considered one of the best of all time. Here's a video of Tilden around age 38.
This topic can be interpreted in several ways. For example Rod Laver was an excellent baseliner but he wasn't the time to have endless rallies like a Lendl. He loved to control play and get his opponents out of position so he could finish things off at the net.
Vilas Clerc Lendl Guga Henin Schiavone Wawa Gasket Thiem
*my favs chronologically speaking
hoodjem, Thanks for this mild tone of your post.
Of course Rosewall was not a typical baseliner like Ayala or Solomon or Dibbs or Higueras or Arias or Krickstein who mostly stayed at the baseline. He also was not a typical serve-and-volleyer like Olmedo or Sedgman or Newcombe or Roche or Smith or Tanner or Edberg. But Rosewall was great in both departments just like Kramer, Gonzalez, Hoad, Laver, Borg, McEnroe, and Federer are. There were and are not many true all-court players, alas.
I'm unsure of quite how much Federer's backhand has improved- in the Wimbledon to Dubai period of 06 -07 where Federer lost just one match in 62 matchse I think his backhand was easily this good. It's certainly better than it's been for a very long time though atm. I think the main difference is in his heyday Federer would have tournaments where his backhand was on fire but also period swhere perhaps it was a bit inconsistent. I'm not sure if the new frame has helped with this.
As for Nadal, I'm not sure. The backhand itself might deal with the high balls better - it's one facet he has probably worked on a lot. But his movement and stamina has declined so he might not be in the correct position as often as he would have been in his better years in a long match.
Perhaps but I have to admit I really like the way he's hitting his backhand now when he's in position. I would guess it was because of Edberg. I have no doubt his movement and stamina has gone down.
Is this what you're thinking of?
The first couple of points of this video are what I mean when I say I think Federer's backhand in his heyday is a bit underrated;
I don't normally like highlights because they hide the ugly parts of a match but in this case both matches were just crazy from Federer all the way through
Nancy Richey's was better. ;^)B
1. Steffi Graf
2. Suzanne lenglen
3. Helen Wills
4 Mo Connolly
All time, I think those four fit the category, but nobody mentioned them.
I understand Pauline Betz had a great backhand too. Alice Marble around the late 1950s or early 1960s called it the best she had seen.
This guy, of course.
Wawa's is overrated. Not Ricky G level overrated but overrated nevertheless.
Wawa's BH return of serve is often a weak, defensive slice which sets up the point from the get go for the server. If Wawa has time he can crank it no doubt but it is not the weapon that Fed's is (or was, if you prefer, he's getting up there in tennis years). It does not have anywhere the variety or consistency nor is it anywhere Fed's level on the return of serve.
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