Greatest Forehands of All Time

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by hoodjem, Jan 2, 2010.

  1. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    Can the success at the net of Borg and Connors be attributed to their superior baseline game? Superior baseliners can outflank their opponent and close the net for the easy kill, especially in the 70's when hitting passing shot was harder than now. If you watch Nadal or Djokovic, they can use this strategy a lot, especially against inferior players. When meeting their match on the baseline, they will come in less because they can't come in good conditions.
     
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  2. Flash O'Groove

    Flash O'Groove Hall of Fame

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    Pure flat power you have to have Monfils up there. But I'm absolutely opposed to rank forehand only by power, or only at their peak. Gonzalez had a nice forehand but so low percentage it could backfire very often, and this is true for all big hitters, who can be in deep trouble if they aren't in control of the points. If they are moved around, if the opponent mix-up the spin and so on, their monster forehands can become errors machines. Look at how Murray perturbed Stan at the FO. Stan has a very powerful forehand, but this day he would have been better with Ferrer's forehand. A steady shot which can land deep 10 shots in a row before the easy kill. Federer and Nadal can generate winners at will, but they can also be Ferrer steady. They are by far the best forehands.
     
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  3. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    I have no doubt about that. Serve and volleyers had some problems with Borg and Connors because of their great returns of serve and no one could stay at the baseline with them generally speaking when they were at their best. Some exceptions could be Vilas at times, Orantes on clay or Nastase at times.
     
  4. TadDavis

    TadDavis Rookie

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    Thank you, NonP. Interesting perspectives. It could just be that I don't remember seeing Lendl, or anybody else, go for broke the way Andre would in his early days. In those instances, Andre's fh just seemed bigger than any I had seen at that point. On average, the edge goes to Lendl, for sure.
     
  5. NonP

    NonP Hall of Fame

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    That Roddick FH is big but I wouldn't put it among the very top. Another thing is how much time he had to set it up. The reason why I said we shouldn't look at mph only is 'cause given enough time just about any pro with a strong FH can smack the bejesus out of the ball. Go on YT and you'll see even Novak and Murray hitting monster FHs that clocked in as high as 110+ mph, but nobody would nominate these two as having the two biggest FHs ever. Perhaps a better term for this contest would be easy power, though that still doesn't excuse us from having to define a set of parameters.

    It's been a while since I've seen a Monf match so I'll have to brush up my memory. Anyway I do agree with you on the futility of looking at power only and in fact said so myself earlier. Still there could be worse discussions to be had, like you-know-what regarding a certain year. ;)

    Glad to be of help, TD. Yes, as I said earlier Lendl was more strategic with his FH than Agassi or even Sampras, but when he went for it few if any hit it harder. And he really had no weakness and could go cross court, inside out, down the line, on the run, you name it. That stands in contrast to even the very greatest FHs we've mentioned: Fed's running FH has always been something of a sore thumb, Pete's I-O FH wasn't as strong as its CC and running counterparts, Rafa's heavy topspin sometimes means sacrificing pace and his running FH can be rather predictable (he almost always goes DTL rather than CC, probably due to his extreme SW grip), Courier wasn't nearly as good on the run, Agassi lacked that extra ounce of power, Delpo lacks variety, etc.

    Mind you, if we had to rank 'em I'd still probably take Fed's because he could do so much with it, but Lendl's is definitely up there, I'd say top 4-5 at worst of the Open era. Pretty decent for a player nobody cares about. :cool:
     
  6. NatF

    NatF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Murray hits a lot flatter so he can get some serious MPH on his forehand. Roddick did used to stay very deep in the court where he could unload, I wouldn't say he had easy power but I don't think it was particularly difficult for him to generate that kind of pace. He had a huge 1-2 punch when he was putting away short balls generated by serve as well.

    Guys like Fognini and Berdych have easy power, if that's what you're going for. I think your list seems to generally favour flatter hitters - obviously you have the likes of Berasategui in there as well. Guys who hit with more topsin obviously have a lot of racquet head speed. But yes I would certainly put Blake up there with the guys you mentioned originally at least. How do you feel about the likes of Safin?
     
  7. NonP

    NonP Hall of Fame

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    Saw the Djoko-Monf match earlier. Gael definitely deserves to be in the biggest-FH convo. :cool: After factoring in consistency, though, nah. :p

    After the Kei-Muzz match I'm less included to consider Murray. And the kind of easy power of a Fognini or Berdych isn't exactly what I had in mind. In terms of pure mph they'd probably be up there, but I don't think they had quite the same weight behind their shots as some of the guys we've mentioned. And in Berdych's case he doesn't take the ball that early. Fog does, though if we were putting a premium on how quick the ball gets to your opponent I might take Korda above them all, since he'd also hit it so flat.

    Safin I don't think is a strong contender. I'm actually not sure he'd match say Boris and Stan off the FH side, and even these two I don't think hit it harder than the very biggest FH bashers.
     
  8. dr7

    dr7 Rookie

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    Verdasco can hit some serious bullets when he flattens, check some of his YouTube highlights against Nadal.


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  9. NatF

    NatF Talk Tennis Guru

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    There are a long list of matches to show why Murray's forehand is suspect, the Kei match is just the last in that list. People can get quite on high Murray but his forehand has generally been exposed by the very best players. He goes down the middle and cross court far too much, it generally drops shot and generating power and winners of that side is far to much like rolling the dice for him compared the all time great forehands.

    Sounds like you had something very specific in mind. If you're talking about weight of shot then the likes of Federer and Nadal are surely up there.
     
  10. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    Too bad he doesn't have the forehand of his coach.
     
  11. NatF

    NatF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Or even Lendl's second serve. Unfortunately Murray's two biggest deficiencies are the most important shots in the game.
     
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  12. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Some official stats on the recent Del Potro Murray matches.
    At the Olympics Del Potro had the edge in fh winners, 20 to 10.
    In Davis Cup Murray had the edge, 31 to 26, which is rather surprising.
     
  13. NatF

    NatF Talk Tennis Guru

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    Those Davis Cup stats probably mostly reflect the difference in movement. But surely one of the highest numbers of forehand winners I've seen from Murray.
     
  14. VintageMac84

    VintageMac84 New User

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  15. VintageMac84

    VintageMac84 New User

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    A great list, and way to many to dispute. But for ME...it all started and ended with LENDL !!! Just to damn awesome !
     
  16. Shaolin

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    Moya deserves more credit for having one of the best forehands. Ferrero also had an awesome one.
     
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  17. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

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    Even Gonzalez admitted Kramer had a better forehand than he did. Kramer's forehand was ranked by Gonzalez as one of the two best he had seen, next to Segura. I would move it to the top ten. The forehand had power (it was time I think around 107 mph), accurate and consistent. And it had nice topspin. I would put it in the top ten.
     
  18. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    Lendl had a great forehand. But, there were quite a few great ones before and after him. Some before may have been greater. Some after certainly were, IMO. Some great forehands before Lendl include: Bill Johnston, Bill Tilden, Ellsworth Vines, Don Budge, Fred Perry, Jack Kramer, Pancho Segura, Rod Laver, John Newcombe, Tom Okker, Ilie Nastase. Of those, arguably Tilden, Vines and Segura were greater. Some great forehands after Lendl that I think were clearly greater include: Pete Sampras, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
     

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