Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by hoodjem, Oct 17, 2009.
I always put Connors at the top of this category. He did what Borg did, but did it a few years earlier, catching the serves of Laver, Ashe and Smith and Newcomb while they were a bit fresher and Borg was still sitting in Europe on clay and returned the bombs of Becker,the second serves of Edberg and Cash. He just saw a lot more variety in his longer career. His return did slip a bit real late in his career,
Nice lists by both. I like all the names. I'd probably put Rosewall higher and arguably even number one but it's a matter of opinion. All of the names can be argued to be number one.
I suppose if I had to pick a top three I would pick in alphabetical order Borg, Connors and Rosewall.
Lot of great groundstrokers on these lists. I would love to see the rallies between any two of these players.
Did you ever see the 1974 Wimbledon or US Open finals? Connors positively molested Kenny in both. Lots of good reasons for the one-sidedness, including the fact the muscles was close to 40 years old, and the "Belleville basher" was a prime 21/22. Connors became world no. 1 on 29 July 1974. (Connors won 3 slams in '74: probably his best year.)
It hurts to watch or recall those.
In their respective primes, it would be a great match: touch and grace versus power and ferocity.
Yes that was painful to watch. I mean in their primes. Connors was too much for Rosewall in those days. Ken would be super competitive against anyone else even at around age 40 but against Connors he was a goner.
And still, Rosewall managed to win two service breaks in those 3 sets against Connors at Wim, a testament to his own return game. But his serve was no weapon against the ferocious returning of Connors. I have a book edited by Tennis Magazine of the mid 70s, where John Alexander rates i.a. the best returners. He has Rosewall and Laver at the top, Rosewall for the consistency, Laver for the variety of his returns. Then he rates Jan Kodes and young Connors.
Neither Connors nor Rosewall was a big server.
In the last 20 years.. I'd say Fed has to be considered as one of the best. He reads the servers' tendencies really well, has great reflexes, and gets to the ball with such apparent ease (excellent stretch).
He's dismantled the big servers' primary weapon time and again.
Yes, Federer had/has an excellent return, based on good footwork, concentration and consistency (reminded me on Rosewall). It was not overwhelming, but very solid, setting up exchanges, where Federer could bring in his forehand. The sheer percentage of serves coming back did hamper servers like Roddick. However, over the last few years, his return has lost a bit of bite. Its quite tame nowadays, floating over the net, and not as consistent as it was. You can see the difference in the Wim final this year. In the earlier finals Federer had no difficulties with Roddick's serve at all.
jimmy connors, then agassi.
Fed's return is quite good, but I think it is only superior against some (not all players) like Roddick for instance. Seemed that Fed could always read his serve...I'm less impressed w/Roger's return when he is playing Nadal. Could be the lefty factor. In the last year, Fed's return maybe not quite the same as year's past, not bad either.
But, in terms of all time returns, got to put Andre & Connors & Borg, up there, no?
Andre for the sheer force of his return--absolutely scorching at times
Connors for explosively returning serves no human had a right to reach
Borg for sheer consistency of performance
I haven't seen enough of the pre-open generation to assess, tho' everyone here seems to put Rosewall right up there as well.
from what I've seen in the 90s and 2000s,the good/very good/elite returners:
90s: agassi, kafelnikov,courier,korda,chang, maybe goran too ( he took some pretty good big cuts )
2000s: federer, hewitt,safin,nalbandian,murray,davydenko,ferrer,djokovic
I think Safin on his day is the best Ive seen and Ive watched since mid 70s.
Separate names with a comma.