How good was Agassi's FH?

Where would you rank Agassi's FH All-Time


  • Total voters
    49
#1
Looking back, I remember how I never really liked Andre's FH compared to the best of the best. His BH was unquestionably great, but although he could hit winners on the FH side, I found it one-dimensional and suspect to breakdown. His FH serve return was like a swat, which caused many missed returns.

I would say that despite his being an All-time great baseliner, his FH was 2nd tier. I would rate many players above him: Blake, Courier, Sampras, Lendl, Borg (technically), Soderling, Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Wawrinka, Davydenko, Delpo and maybe a few more.

Where would you rank Agassi's Forehand...
 
#2
When he debuted and took the tour by storm, the then-#1-player called him "a haircut and a forehand." So his FH, it could be argued, made a bigger splash than his BH, at least in the beginning.
 

skaj

Professional
#5
Looking back, I remember how I never really liked Andre's FH compared to the best of the best. His BH was unquestionably great, but although he could hit winners on the FH side, I found it one-dimensional and suspect to breakdown. His FH serve return was like a swat, which caused many missed returns.

I would say that despite his being an All-time great baseliner, his FH was 2nd tier. I would rate many players above him: Blake, Courier, Sampras, Lendl, Borg (technically), Soderling, Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Wawrinka, Davydenko, Delpo and maybe a few more.

Where would you rank Agassi's Forehand...
Strange that you have ranked all of those people above him. Blake could hit a killer forehand, but it wasn't happening consistently(like with Del Potro for example). Borg had a good one for his era, but I really don't see how can it be better than Agassi's. Novak's is very solid of course, but Andre's a bit more leather, he has more control there. Even Courier's, I would never say it was better, maybe equally good at best. Wawrinka? Davydenko?
 
#8
I would rate many players above him: Blake, Courier, Sampras, Lendl, Borg (technically), Soderling, Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Wawrinka, Davydenko, Delpo and maybe a few more.
It's hard to put players like Blake, Soderling or Wawrinka above him. At their absolute best, you can argue theirs were better than Andre's. But they were far too inconsistent over their careers to say it was a better shot. If we're only counting peak form, then you might as well throw in players like Gonzo, Roddick & Safin too.
 

big ted

Hall of Fame
#9
his forehand was amazing at the time but these days you need a huge forehand just to survive in todays game so its all relative...
when he came on the scene alot of players did not have big forehands (mcenroe, edberg, noah, connors, etc...)
now about everyone in the top 50 has a big forehand
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
#11
Top 5-10. Probably more like top 10. Certainly not below all the guys listed in the OP. Saying Blake had a better FH than Agassi is laughable. Harder yes, when he wanted to hit it 120 MPHs and it only landed in the court 1 out of 10 times but not even close to being better. He's definitely not behind Soderling, Wawrinka, or Davydenko either in the FH department.

The others are debatable, but he's definitely ahead of those 4 guys. If there was one American that might've had a better FH than Agassi and wasn't mentioned by name in the OP it was Roddick. Blake shouldn't even be in this conversation.
 
#12
Top 5-10. Probably more like top 10. Certainly not below all the guys listed in the OP. Saying Blake had a better FH than Agassi is laughable. Harder yes, when he wanted to hit it 120 MPHs and it only landed in the court 1 out of 10 times but not even close to being better. He's definitely not behind Soderling, Wawrinka, or Davydenko either in the FH department.

The others are debatable, but he's definitely ahead of those 4 guys. If there was one American that might've had a better FH than Agassi and wasn't mentioned by name in the OP it was Roddick. Blake shouldn't even be in this conversation.
considering how much better Andre's BH was than all those players makes it hard to really say. I hear what you're saying, but when I watch old matches I remember how error prone he was on that side. I can honestly say I believe that if you put Any of those forehands above on him, he would've had more success in big matches when his slap FH would break down. I would say Roddick, Gonzo same. BIg, but unstable. I guess it's about what yo uthink wins matches. For me its offense, without breaking down...
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
#14
considering how much better Andre's BH was than all those players makes it hard to really say. I hear what you're saying, but when I watch old matches I remember how error prone he was on that side. I can honestly say I believe that if you put Any of those forehands above on him, he would've had more success in big matches when his slap FH would break down. I would say Roddick, Gonzo same. BIg, but unstable. I guess it's about what yo uthink wins matches. For me its offense, without breaking down...
I stand by what I said. There is no conceivable way Agassi has a worse FH than Blake, Soderling, Wawrinka, or Davydenko. The others are at least debatable, but those 4 guys are all below Agassi in the FH department. Agassi's FH was hard and flat because he had no choice for it to be while playing in the eras he did, but I wouldn't call it error prone. If it was error prone he wouldn't have won 8 majors, especially with that average serve, and even with that incredible BH.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
#16
Yeah. And that Backhand of Sampras. Best BH of the 90s, incredible
You think Agassi having the forehand of the 90's is ridiculous then?

I mean disagree, that's fine but the tone of your posts makes you look like a guy that has no clue what he's talking about o_O

TA's match charting has Agassi winning 55% of points where he hit a forehand groundstroke, where as Sampras is at 53%.
 
#17
You think Agassi having the forehand of the 90's is ridiculous then?

I mean disagree, that's fine but the tone of your posts makes you look like a guy that has no clue what he's talking about o_O

TA's match charting has Agassi winning 55% of points where he hit a forehand groundstroke, where as Sampras is at 53%.
Agassi has a better FH overall than Pete IMO. Pete is better at running FH (mostly due to him being more athletic).
 
#18
Agassi's forehand was a very good shot, probably in the top 10 in the Open era.

It was a spectacular shot in his younger years, almost flat and extremely fast. After his ill advised changed of racquet from Prince to Donnay, he was struggling for consistency and started to impart more spin to the ball. That resulted in less outright winners, but it remained an excellent shot with which he could put pressure on his opponent. I think people forget how good that shot remained because his backhand progressed so much that, at his peak, it had become his strongest side, and one of the best two handed backhand ever.
 

Mikael

Professional
#19
Very underrated shot ! Surprisingly consistent given how flat he often hit it, I guess thanks to his very simple and clean technique. Great shot selection too on that side in his later years.
 

Apun94

Hall of Fame
#20
You think Agassi having the forehand of the 90's is ridiculous then?

I mean disagree, that's fine but the tone of your posts makes you look like a guy that has no clue what he's talking about o_O

TA's match charting has Agassi winning 55% of points where he hit a forehand groundstroke, where as Sampras is at 53%.
Numbers are one thing but we all know almost everyone would take Sampras's FH over Agassi's. It's not even close.
Easy to quote numbers when you sit behind a screen and dig up stats rather than actually seeing them play
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
#21
Numbers are one thing but we all know almost everyone would take Sampras's FH over Agassi's. It's not even close.
Easy to quote numbers when you sit behind a screen and dig up stats rather than actually seeing them play
I've watched them play :rolleyes:

Agassi's forehand was the better shot, Sampras could get hot and blast winners on a quick court and was better on the run but in general Agassi's was the better shot.
 
#22
Numbers are one thing but we all know almost everyone would take Sampras's FH over Agassi's. It's not even close.
Easy to quote numbers when you sit behind a screen and dig up stats rather than actually seeing them play
Definitely would not take the Sampras forehand over the Agassi forehand. You're generalizing based on your own opinion.

My opinion: I feel odd saying Andre is top 5 forehand, but when I think about it I would take the Federer forehand, then the Nadal forehand, then the Agassi forehand. Djokovic doesn't come close for me, nor does Sampras.

Those inside out drilled forehands are killers.
 
#24
I've watched them play :rolleyes:

Agassi's forehand was the better shot, Sampras could get hot and blast winners on a quick court and was better on the run but in general Agassi's was the better shot.
Sampras could blast it on a slow court too to be fair, think AO and Miami.

So if you think Agassi had the better groundstrokes on both wings, I guess Sampras had the advantage with sheer servebotting and mental GOATness? He could pwn from the backcourt though, I always think of the 1995 USO F 1st set SP as an iconic example. What a man, eh?
 
#25
Sampras could blast it on a slow court too to be fair, think AO and Miami.

So if you think Agassi had the better groundstrokes on both wings, I guess Sampras had the advantage with sheer servebotting and mental GOATness? He could pwn from the backcourt though, I always think of the 1995 USO F 1st set SP as an iconic example. What a man, eh?
But that set point was the first real rally for something like 15 minutes. Sampras just held and held, and looked for openings. Agassi had a solid hold game AND solid return game. from the baseline, Agassi won most of the points in their h2h. I believe that's quantifiable data.
 
#26
Agassi's game was all about moving the opponent around to tire him out. Not in the sense of a traditional grinder in that Agassi was playing offense by hitting hard, flat shots from corner to corner forcing the opponent to run back and forth along the baseline with little time given that Agassi hit on the rise and camped out along the baseline. It was a very simple strategy that worked except against a player who took time away from him a big serve and good volleys (Sampras). Similarly, Fed was so fast and had so much easy power that he turned the tables on Agassi forcing HIM to run back and forth on the baseline.
 

Apun94

Hall of Fame
#27
Definitely would not take the Sampras forehand over the Agassi forehand. You're generalizing based on your own opinion.

My opinion: I feel odd saying Andre is top 5 forehand, but when I think about it I would take the Federer forehand, then the Nadal forehand, then the Agassi forehand. Djokovic doesn't come close for me, nor does Sampras.

Those inside out drilled forehands are killers.
Bro Sampras FH is top 5 ever. How did he end up with 14 slams? With just a serve??
Agassi FH is top 10
 

Apun94

Hall of Fame
#28
I've watched them play :rolleyes:

Agassi's forehand was the better shot, Sampras could get hot and blast winners on a quick court and was better on the run but in general Agassi's was the better shot.
Agassi FH may have been more consistent but definitely not better than Sampras. If consistency is everything, Djokovic is hands down the GOAT
 
#29
Numbers are one thing but we all know almost everyone would take Sampras's FH over Agassi's. It's not even close.
Easy to quote numbers when you sit behind a screen and dig up stats rather than actually seeing them play
Pete's forehand complemented his aggressive game; a terrific approach forehand, not so consistently amazing off the baseline though his running forehands were delicious. He could get hot once in a while and GOAT to break, the classic Sampras strategy.
 
#30
But that set point was the first real rally for something like 15 minutes. Sampras just held and held, and looked for openings. Agassi had a solid hold game AND solid return game. from the baseline, Agassi won most of the points in their h2h. I believe that's quantifiable data.
Only half of Samprassi matches are currently logged into the TA database, but the rest are all available except for the two early ones, so we'll get them one day to see the exact near-complete figures. No doubt Agassi won most of their baseline points, but the forehand efficiency specifically should be close. Still I wouldn't be surprised to see Agassi with the better rally FH stats, while Sampras with a more effective FH approach.
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
#31
Keep in mind he played in gut era (IDK did he switch to poly in last seasons of his career?).
It's next to impossible to compare hitting with gut and hitting with full bed of poly or with poly-gut hybrid bed. Poly gives additional control ('deadness') and additional spin, as we know.
 

abmk

Bionic Poster
#32
Bro Sampras FH is top 5 ever. How did he end up with 14 slams? With just a serve??
Agassi FH is top 10
serve, top 10 (but not top 5) FH, pretty good to excellent volleys, great movement, solid returning and passing (under-rated in these 2 regards by many)
 
#33
Numbers are one thing but we all know almost everyone would take Sampras's FH over Agassi's. It's not even close.
Easy to quote numbers when you sit behind a screen and dig up stats rather than actually seeing them play
You need BOTH. Our memories filter things out, record very little. If you’ve seen 10 Sampras matches, think of the hundreds and hundreds of Sampras FHs—how can anyone remember even 1% of them?

Numbers help us remember everything. Sampras hit some of the best FHs (running especially) ever, but we forget all the errors he hit, all the FHs dumped into the net.

Overall, Agassi’s FH was better than Sampras’s on a shot for shot, consistency, over all surfaces, against all competition, controlling rallies/matches basis.
 

jga111

Hall of Fame
#34
But that set point was the first real rally for something like 15 minutes. Sampras just held and held, and looked for openings. Agassi had a solid hold game AND solid return game. from the baseline, Agassi won most of the points in their h2h. I believe that's quantifiable data.
What about Clutch points? I only remember Sampras winning those.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
#35
Sampras could blast it on a slow court too to be fair, think AO and Miami.

So if you think Agassi had the better groundstrokes on both wings, I guess Sampras had the advantage with sheer servebotting and mental GOATness? He could pwn from the backcourt though, I always think of the 1995 USO F 1st set SP as an iconic example. What a man, eh?
Well the serve is the most important shot in tennis, he was also much more athletic. The Sampras forehand had the benefit of often following the Sampras serve, he also didn't go balls to the wall on every return game. I see Agassi as being the more consistent weapon, able to take it early and dictate no matter the conditions, where as Sampras had more power and with his athleticism could perhaps be the better shotmaker. I saw some stats in the Former Pro section a while ago, basically it was a forehand comparison between Sampras and Agassi/Courier across a bunch of matches, essentially Sampras forehand came out looking the worst. What Sampras had was GOAT intensity, so when he really dialled in he could win those epic points like at the USO in 1995 and he could out-forehand Agassi on big points but overall Agassi's was better.

And yes fair point about the AO and Miami, I was talking about more about how the quicker courts complimented his game and forehand. His best form at the AO is up there with anyones really IMO.
 
#36
Well the serve is the most important shot in tennis, he was also much more athletic. The Sampras forehand had the benefit of often following the Sampras serve, he also didn't go balls to the wall on every return game. I see Agassi as being the more consistent weapon, able to take it early and dictate no matter the conditions, where as Sampras had more power and with his athleticism could perhaps be the better shotmaker. I saw some stats in the Former Pro section a while ago, basically it was a forehand comparison between Sampras and Agassi/Courier across a bunch of matches, essentially Sampras forehand came out looking the worst. What Sampras had was GOAT intensity, so when he really dialled in he could win those epic points like at the USO in 1995 and he could out-forehand Agassi on big points but overall Agassi's was better.

And yes fair point about the AO and Miami, I was talking about more about how the quicker courts complimented his game and forehand. His best form at the AO is up there with anyones really IMO.
Liking your words as usual.
I wonder if one could see Kyrgios as a really watered down replica of Sampras, with his epic serve + more intensity on big points (see Sackmann's recent post). The rest of the game is much weaker of course, as a feeble replica. And it was good enough to give Big3 serious trouble when they did meet. Imagine what GOATpras would do then, the scenes. 90s would like that comparison, shame he's no longer with us.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
#38
Liking your words as usual.
I wonder if one could see Kyrgios as a really watered down replica of Sampras, with his epic serve + more intensity on big points (see Sackmann's recent post). The rest of the game is much weaker of course, as a feeble replica. And it was good enough to give Big3 serious trouble when they did meet. Imagine what GOATpras would do then, the scenes. 90s would like that comparison, shame he's no longer with us.
Sampras with modern strings would be a beast for sure, would probably have a hold game like Karlovic. I do see the parallels with Kyrgios, more talent and the mental prowess to match would be deadly. I often think of Roddick when I watch Kyrgios, Nick is obviously the better shotmaker with more touch but the way he sort of plays like a grinder half the time despite his obvious weapons is quite similar. Also the loopy forehand with occasional bombs etc...the big serve is biggest similarity of course.
 
#39
Sampras with modern strings would be a beast for sure, would probably have a hold game like Karlovic.
Haha, imagine PETE winning Wimbledon without losing serve, the B3 bootlickers would explode at such a tour de force. In this tour Sampras would kick the geezers' asses for sure.

I do see the parallels with Kyrgios, more talent and the mental prowess to match would be deadly. I often think of Roddick when I watch Kyrgios, Nick is obviously the better shotmaker with more touch but the way he sort of plays like a grinder half the time despite his obvious weapons is quite similar. Also the loopy forehand with occasional bombs etc...the big serve is biggest similarity of course.
So Roddick is a diminished Sampras and Kyrgios is a diminished Roddick, makes sense. The biggest difference is his unwillingness to push himself day in day out, both Petros and Andrew were absolute professionals. How we miss that type of player, sigh.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
#40
Haha, imagine PETE winning Wimbledon without losing serve, the B3 bootlickers would explode at such a tour de force. In this tour Sampras would kick the geezers' asses for sure.
I could actually see Pete doing that tbh. Would be epic.

So Roddick is a diminished Sampras and Kyrgios is a diminished Roddick, makes sense. The biggest difference is his unwillingness to push himself day in day out, both Petros and Andrew were absolute professionals. How we miss that type of player, sigh.
Yeah, both guys maybe phoned it in on clay at times but overall warriors compared to Kyrgios. Sampras and Arod had a lot of heart - Sampras maybe the GOAT heart considering some of his wins like that AO 1995 QF.
 
#41
Looking back, I remember how I never really liked Andre's FH compared to the best of the best. His BH was unquestionably great, but although he could hit winners on the FH side, I found it one-dimensional and suspect to breakdown. His FH serve return was like a swat, which caused many missed returns.

I would say that despite his being an All-time great baseliner, his FH was 2nd tier. I would rate many players above him: Blake, Courier, Sampras, Lendl, Borg (technically), Soderling, Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Wawrinka, Davydenko, Delpo and maybe a few more.

Where would you rank Agassi's Forehand...
You have to put it in the context of the 90's with the racker of the 90's, which could not generate as much spin. Why did players prefer to rush the net on fast surfaces? Because it was less risky than to hit an aggressive shot from the baseline. Why did clay courters constructed very long points? Because hitting a straitgh winner was too risky again.

Agassi played from the baseline both on fast and slow surface with the objective of hitting winners, thus it is only logical it produced a lot of errors.
 
#42
Agassi forehand better than Del Potro forehand? I think not...
Looking at the Agassi forehand from 2003-2005, when you still had fast surfaces but more baseline play, I'd take Delpo's.
 
#43
Agassi forehand better than Del Potro forehand? I think not...
Looking at the Agassi forehand from 2003-2005, when you still had fast surfaces but more baseline play, I'd take Delpo's.
And what are you basing that on, solely velocity? I started watching Andre at age 13 in the juniors and saw the second-ever pro match he ever played against Wilander at IW when he was 15. I saw Andre play live dozens of times and have seen Del Po often as well. Andre with a graphite racket at age 15 hit his FH nearly as fast as Del Po does as a 30 year old with new technology. People will dismiss this, but I'd like to hear from people who saw both of them play live and have an accurate basis of comparison.

Del Po has velocity and that is it. He doesn't have particular accuracy, disguise, the ability to hit the ball with pace on the rise, different spins or the ability to change directions on a dime like Andre did. Agassi for me has the third greatest FH of all time, after young Fed and Rafa's peak FH. Agassi's FH is clearly and vastly superior to Del Po's, who offers velocity and not a whole lot else.
 

FD3S

Hall of Fame
#46
Agassi's FH was compact and had no issues manufacturing pace or redirecting it with interest thanks to his absolutely insane timing. His error count could creep up if he tried to be too ambitious with it, but in general the shots he hit off that wing were so clean you could eat off them. While in absolute terms it might lack in terms of spin (like a Nadal FH) or top end speed (like a Del Potro FH), but as an all around shot it's a very, very difficult task to find one that decisively trumps Andre's; they're out there, but they're few and far between.
 
#47
And what are you basing that on, solely velocity? I started watching Andre at age 13 in the juniors and saw the second-ever pro match he ever played against Wilander at IW when he was 15. I saw Andre play live dozens of times and have seen Del Po often as well. Andre with a graphite racket at age 15 hit his FH nearly as fast as Del Po does as a 30 year old with new technology. People will dismiss this, but I'd like to hear from people who saw both of them play live and have an accurate basis of comparison.

Del Po has velocity and that is it. He doesn't have particular accuracy, disguise, the ability to hit the ball with pace on the rise, different spins or the ability to change directions on a dime like Andre did. Agassi for me has the third greatest FH of all time, after young Fed and Rafa's peak FH. Agassi's FH is clearly and vastly superior to Del Po's, who offers velocity and not a whole lot else.
All I'm saying is that Del Potro has used this so-called unidimensional forehand of his to hit through some of the best defensive players (heck, players) of all time. I consider it a pretty versatile stroke - I doubt you will argue that he cannot hit in on the run or curl it around someone charging the net.

I'm not into comparing eras because surfaces and styles evolve over time, so I'll just say that your "accurate basis of comparison" isn't necessarily all that accurate. You've described certain aspects of the Agassi forehand that you prefer, but that doesn't necessarily translate to him having had a more effective forehand than Delpo does. 20 year old Delpo in the 2009 USO definitely had one of the best forehands of all time. Anybody who can use a forehand to beat Nadal 2, 2, and 2 in the semifinals of a major is no joke in my estimation.
 
#48
I'd take Sampras FH over Agassi. Even Aggasi said it was his down fall ealy in career to hit to it, especially going DTL after opening it up. Sampras buggy whip cross court full run was killer. His wind up when set was huge. Agassi did dominate baseline until later in career. Sampras BH was his Achilles on slow surfaces.
 
#49
Keep in mind he played in gut era (IDK did he switch to poly in last seasons of his career?).
It's next to impossible to compare hitting with gut and hitting with full bed of poly or with poly-gut hybrid bed. Poly gives additional control ('deadness') and additional spin, as we know.
I thought he mostly played kevlar or kevlar/gut hybrid? Could've been all gut or even syn gut in the beginning. Poly (Alu power) in the end, while his game also changed ...maybe partly due to that?
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
#50
I thought he mostly played kevlar or kevlar/gut hybrid? Could've been all gut or even syn gut in the beginning. Poly (Alu power) in the end, while his game also changed ...maybe partly due to that?
You know better than me, kevlar certainly makes more logic with a given head size.
I was mainly trying to point out (to all the folks who didn't take this into account) it's basically hard to compare the quality of stroke in era prior to poly. All the best FHs today use either poly or poly-gut, there's a strong reason for this. Because of this we can only imagine how Agassi might have been hitting his FHs if he used poly for his whole pro career. But it's not hard to imagine he'd have additionally heavier and likely more consistent FH, because this is what poly brings, additional spin, additional control, so actually you can hit the ball harder as well. But comparison of how good his FH was in terms of today's players is still a projection, guessing.
 
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