Greatest Footwork of All Time!

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Limpinhitter, Sep 3, 2011.

  1. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Hingis positioning was great.Maybe not the fastest but, most likely, the cleverest player of the last 50 years.
     
  2. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Good point.
     
  3. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Martina has always been naturally fast even when overweight. Optimal physical conditioning gave her extra speed and the luxury of nanoseconds to get behind the ball, take those extra small steps to move into it. Footspeed allows consistent footwork and mini-steps to balance and move foreward once you get into range. Evert achieved the same advantage with earlier anticipation.

    On a separate note, how could I have forgotten to include Evonne, who had great footwork?
     
  4. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    How could you forget BJK?
     
  5. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    She hasn't played in 30 years?
     
  6. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Did you happen to notice the title of my thread: "Greatest footwork of ALL TIME?" I guess not!
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  7. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Honestly, I have not seen that much of her when she wasn't either past her prime or having knee trouble, or on a doubles court. From what I have seen her anticipation is on par with Evert's. Sometimes its like she has already seen the point on replay, when she's playing it!
     
  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Good list.But you missed Evonne, the all time dancer on court...and Lenglen, too¡¡¡
     
  9. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Arantxa Sánchez Vicario despite always appearing to be overweight (moderately so) during her playing days was a great mover who never tired. I remember that tremendous 1989 French Open Final where she denied Steffi a consecutive Grand Slam by running everything down. Amazing performance.
     
  10. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Yes, and her footwork ( along her never say die attitude) was the key factor to her success.Otherwise, she´d have been another journeywoman on the tour and never make the top 10.
     
  11. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Steve Tignor wrote this piece a couple of days ago, asking why Nadal is so good on clay. He zeroed in on sliding and said he found it impossible to separate Rafa's movement from his actual shots.

    http://blogs.tennis.com/thewrap/2012/06/the-how-and-the-why.html

    As in, what makes Nadal, who is very good on all surfaces, virtually unbeatable—to the tune of a 247-19 career record—on one of them? The New York Times asked that question today, and received an answer from Justin Gimelstob about how Nadal “moves the margins in his favor” by forcing his opponents to play riskier tennis than they normally would. A rather dry answer, perhaps, but it's certainly true. Witness David Ferrer’s losing performance against Rafa today. Ferrer tried to hit bigger and take more risks then he normally does, but it still wasn’t risky enough, not even close. As Jim Courier said during the match, Ferru didn’t just need to hit hard or deep, he needed to be all-out “reckless” and aim straight for the lines to have any chance of winning. You might as well just say he needed to be blind lucky for three straight sets.

    With that in mind, I sat in Chatrier today and tried to get an idea, purely from observation, what makes Nadal’s game so simpatico with crushed brick. It obviously has something to do with his speed and strength and spin and consistency, and the weight of his shots. But it also has something to do with a unique aspect of clay-court tennis—sliding. On clay, when he’s confident, Nadal creates a sliding rhythm to his rallies that he can’t re-create on other courts. His movements are more elegantly connected on clay.

    Nadal’s first moment of confidence came after he broke Ferrer and held to go up 4-2. In the next game, you could see him begin to accelerate, to do his clay version of full flight Federer. He slid to his right and hit his best backhand of the match. On the following shot, he slid the same way and took a bigger cut at his backhand. Next, he slid farther and changed the direction of his backhand to go down the line. Finally, he took his longest slide of the rally in the opposite direction and whipped up on his most ambitious, high-bouncing forehand of the match. Ferrer could only pop it back into the air, and Nadal jumped on it for a swing volley winner. As the rally had progressed, Nadal’s slides had grown longer and more daring, and his shots had followed suit.

    Toni Nadal told the Times that he had been “entranced” by Bjorn Borg’s precise and assured movement on clay, and he thinks Rafa’s footwork is the most underrated aspect his clay game. To me, watching him today, at his best, his movement is impossible to separate from his shots themselves; one flows into the other. I don’t get the feeling, as Courier does, that Nadal “thinks three of four shots in advance.” It seems more instinctive than that. He lets his feet, as much as his mind, take him where he wants to go. A fish in water, Rafa’s in his element on dirt.​
     
  12. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Yep, sliding is essential in clay court tennis, it is a bit like skating. I have seen slowmotion clips from Borg's footwork on clay, he looked more elegant to me, always on his toes. His legs were a bit bow legged, and his toes and feet a little pointing to the inside. He did not that much sliding, you could see that on his socks, which were always quite clean (like Wilander's). Other players with heavier feet, like Lendl or Vilas, had theirs socks always completely pudered by the red dust.
    Despite being more compact built than Borg, Nadal has great movement. On clay, his movement, and ability to cover the court and change direction, looked a bit better to me than that of Fed. On clay, Fed did leave his forehand side often wide open, that made his forehand vulnerable to be hit late. Nadal covers the whole court very well.
     
  13. chrischris

    chrischris Hall of Fame

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    Nadal is the best mover. Federer is the most efficient mover . Nole is a bit of both.
     
  14. skaj

    skaj Rookie

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    best footwork(not foot speed or overall movement...):

    1. Connors
    2. Federer
    3. Rosewall
    4. Mecir
    5. Laver
    6. Edberg
    7. Mcenroe
    8. Chang
    9. Rios
    10. Gerulaitis

    women

    1. Evert
    2. Graf
    3. Hingis
    4. Date
    5. Austin
    6. Navratilova
    7. Henin
    8. Mauresmo
    9. Myskina
    10. Clijsters
     
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  15. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne G.O.A.T.

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    skaj, Excellent list of the male players (I'm not an expert in femal players that much).
     
  16. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Exactly right. The intent of my OP, and this thread (has it been almost 6 years?), was to come up with a consensus list of the greatest footwork of all time. By footwork, I meant the best, most precise, most consistent, most efficient shot preparation and set up, not speed, athleticism or court coverage, etc. Connors is definitely a legitimate pick for top spot. I put Federer at the top because of the precision, and the ease and efficiency of his footwork. See the videos below.

    Below was my last list. I admit to being a bit stubborn about the "consensus" part. Although, I did cave a bit to the Edberg fans. Having skimmed through the thread again, based on the stated criteria, it seems that there might be a place for Agassi, I'm just not sure where.

    Here was my latest effort along with some video that was previously posted that you might enjoy:

    1. Roger Federer
    2. Jimmy Connors
    3. Rod Laver
    4. Ken Rosewall
    5. Stefan Edberg
    6. Ilie Nastase
    7. Bill Tilden
    8. Bjorn Borg
    9. Pancho Gonzales
    10. Ralph Nadal
    11. Vitas Gerulaitis
    12. Miloslav Mecir
    13. Michael Chang
    14. Lleyton Hewitt
    15. Novak Djokovic
    16. John McEnroe
    17. Frank Sedgman
    18. Tomas Muster
    19. Tony Roche
    20. Arthur Ashe
    21. Andy Murray
    22. Pete Sampras
    23. Johan Kriek
    24. Mats Wilander




     
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  17. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    In the 21st century on the women's side (i.e. post Graf), I'd definitely put Henin top of the pile by a considerable distance. Her footwork was absolutely flawless, and allied with her excellent footspeed (Davenport aside the early 00s was a great era for fast female tennis players), meant that she moved incredibly well on all surfaces.
     
  18. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    And I'm very happy that Gerulaitis has been mentioned as well. He was another player that had both tremendous footwork and footspeed allied together, and his court coverage was a serious strength.
     
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  19. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    If you want to make suggestions for the list, please keep in mind that the criteria is footwork (shot preparation and set up), not speed and court coverage.
     
  20. skaj

    skaj Rookie

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    nice videos, thanks! Federer's footwork is more fluid, nicer to look at definitely, he is probably the most beautiful mover after Mecir(who is my absolute favorite). but, Connors' feet work like a machine(dunno how else to describe it), so I stick to him for the no.1 spot in this category.
     
  21. skaj

    skaj Rookie

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    I would give the edge to Hingis for footwork, although Henin had more foot speed and was overall a more efficient mover.
     
  22. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne G.O.A.T.

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    Limpin, Experts were in consensus that Rosewall had the best footwork of his time.
     
  23. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Agreed. I describe Fed's footwork as effortless, efficient and precise, and Connors' as the most precise. For fluid, effortless movement, I also recommend looking at Nastase, the original big cat. But, in my view, his footwork wasn't up there with the very best.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2017
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  24. KG1965

    KG1965 Hall of Fame

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    Vitas Gerulaitis
    Ken Rosewall
    Roger Federer
    Michael Chang
    Rod Laver
     
  25. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    The Edberg fans won,t be happy.
     

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