Most Athletic Player of All Time (ATP)

Most Athletic Player Ever

  • Djokovic

    Votes: 31 20.4%
  • Becker

    Votes: 2 1.3%
  • Nadal

    Votes: 47 30.9%
  • Monfils

    Votes: 53 34.9%
  • Lendl

    Votes: 2 1.3%
  • Dimitrov

    Votes: 1 0.7%
  • Other (tell us who)

    Votes: 16 10.5%

  • Total voters
    152

Pheasant

Hall of Fame
I guess we'll have to define athleticism. If we look at it as a combination of size, strength, speed, agility, and the ability to jump, I'd say it's between Nadal and Monfils. I've seen Monfils bomb serves over 140 mph, jump 3 feet in the air, and run down the most insane shots ever.

Nadal is in the conversation, because he was a hulk that had blazing wheels during his peak years. Young Nadal still might take this. Nadal looks like a running back in the National Football league.

I'm going with Nadal on this one. He looks like the only one that could play just about any other sport, due to his strength, build, and speed.
 
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Red Rick

Talk Tennis Guru
I guess we'll have to define athleticism. If we look at it as a combination of size, strength, speed, agility, and the ability to jump, I'd say it's between Nadal and Monfils. I've seen Monfils bomb serves over 140 mph, jump 3 feet in the air, and run down the most insane shots ever.

Nadal is in the conversation, because he was a hulk that had blazing wheels during his peak years. Young Nadal still might take this. Nadal looks like a running back in the National Football league.

I'm going with Nadal on this one. He looks like the only one that could play just about any other sport, due to his strength, build, and speed.
Exactly this.

Define 'athletic'
 

metsman

G.O.A.T.
Monfils doesn't have the fine motor skills. Djokovic and Murray aren't fast twitch enough I'd say (they don't really have that easy power). Federer's speed fell off too early. Putting Dimitrov is the discussion is hilarious.

I would say it would be between nadal, sampras, and borg in the first tier. If Sampras didn't have thalassemia he would definitely be my #1.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
Quite honestly, Borg was the first guy that came to my mind. But really it's near impossible to pick between a few guys. Specifically Nadal, Djokovic, Borg, Lendl, Sampras and there's a few more. Even Federer deserves his place in this discussion to be honest. Nadal and Djokovic might be able to run faster and they have a bit more endurance, but that doesn't really make them more "athletic." Federer's athleticism is usually underrated because people think he's all about shot making talent and they don't equate that with athleticism.
 

RaulRamirez

Hall of Fame
There are many ways to define athleticism (and wasn't there a recent thread on this?), and I usually look at speed, strength, agility, hand-eye, leaping ability (and not racquet skills, per se). All of the Big 3/4 are exceptional athletes, as are guys like Monfils and Dimitrov.

Purely unscientifically, here is my thumbnail on the top players of the OE:

Fed - Fed is never underrated, except possibly as a "jock". Fast, quick, great agility, can get up easily from both sides for overheads, does tweeners, etc.

Rafa - Pure speed and power that jumps off the screen. Agile, good hops...an obvious jock (and underrated tennis IQ and touch, but that's for a different thread).

Novak - Speed, agility, conditioning and flexibility are off the charts. You don't really see as many highlight-level pure athletic shots, perhaps, as we do with Roger and Rafa, but that's partly due to his exceptional balance and anticipation.

Sampras - Very fluid mover, and powerful, and had great hops. Perhaps, not as agile as The Big 3 as to change of directions, etc.

Borg - Strong, fast and perhaps, the best-conditioned of all.

Lendl - They're all terrific athletes, but I think Ivan's not quite with the others. He moved well, though, and was strong with great conditioning.

Mac - Mostly, a tennis genius, I don't think of him as an exceptional jock.

Connors - Obviously, an amazing competitor with great timing, good speed and power. Mid-level.

Agassi - I'd rate him low on pure athleticism, among the greats.

Becker - Power and decent speed...not as fluid as Sampras.

Edberg - Very smooth mover.

Other old-school "jocks" includ Laver and Nastase. A little later, Yannick Noah.
 

TheGhostOfAgassi

Talk Tennis Guru
I guess we'll have to define athleticism. If we look at it as a combination of size, strength, speed, agility, and the ability to jump, I'd say it's between Nadal and Monfils. I've seen Monfils bomb serves over 140 mph, jump 3 feet in the air, and run down the most insane shots ever.

Nadal is in the conversation, because he was a hulk that had blazing wheels during his peak years. Young Nadal still might take this. Nadal looks like a running back in the National Football league.

I'm going with Nadal on this one. He looks like the only one that could play just about any other sport, due to his strength, build, and speed.
Yeah, Nadal got the speed and the strength, the strong and the light touch.

He isnt only good in tennis. He is an athletic type of person.
 

bjsnider

Hall of Fame
Here's a section on Borg from a book by Matthew Cronin:
...Borg was known as a physiological phenomenon who had a regular pulse rate of only 35. Many called him the perfect athlete, especially after he overwhelmed the field during the European Superstars competition in Vichy, when some of the planet's best athletes from a variety of sports came out. He won the push-up competition--he simply didn't need to stop---and remarkably won the 400-meter hurdles over Guy Drut, who was the 110-meter hurdles champion. "I won because the problem in the 400 meters is breathing," Borg said.
 

King No1e

Legend
Exactly this.

Define 'athletic'
Speed, flexibility, ability to change direction and make quick, rapid moves, and conditioning.
I guess power would factor in this discussion, which is the one area Djokovic doesn't have as much of. But he's the fastest, most flexible, and most agile on the court, which is why he won me over all those years ago and why I consider him the most athletic player ever.
 
D

Deleted member 716271

Guest
I guess we'll have to define athleticism. If we look at it as a combination of size, strength, speed, agility, and the ability to jump, I'd say it's between Nadal and Monfils. I've seen Monfils bomb serves over 140 mph, jump 3 feet in the air, and run down the most insane shots ever.

Nadal is in the conversation, because he was a hulk that had blazing wheels during his peak years. Young Nadal still might take this. Nadal looks like a running back in the National Football league.

I'm going with Nadal on this one. He looks like the only one that could play just about any other sport, due to his strength, build, and speed.
I agree it's Nadal.

Definitely not running back those guys are like 220 pounds at 5 10.

Cornerback for sure though which is the most athletic position.
 

Zoid

Professional
"athletic" in the raw sense depends on metrics of SPEED and POWER at it's core.

The raw athlete is the one who would do well in a combine;

From that the top contenders are Nadal, Monfils, Sampras. I think Monfils is the standout from raw numbers - I believe he was the french under 14 100m champion and could have had a career as a sprinter. I think these guys could be pro at multiple sports. It's evident that a huge part of their games in tennis were based on their athleticism and ability to dominate with power and speed.

Second tier in that company for me are guys like Djokovic, Becker, Borg, Roddick, Rafter, Schrichapan, Edberg, Tsonga.

From another perspective are athletic abilities that are hard to measure with a metric but no doubt are a contributing factor to athleticism and how 'athletic' you think someone is when observing them in motion, these are things like FLEXIBILITY, BALANCE, ENDURANCE, COORDINATION.

From this it's evident Djokovic is incredibly athletic despite looking like a slinky.

A combination of all these factors gives one an overall unique athlete and tennis player in the sense that they can be equally effective with different parts of each metric.

Federer
- speed 8
- power 8
- flexibility 8
- balance 10
- endurance 9
- coordination 10

Nadal
- speed 10
- power 9
- flex 7
- balance 9
- endurance 10
- coordination 9

Djokovic
- speed 9
- power 7
- flex 10
- balance 9
- endurance 10
- coordination 9

Murray
- speed 9
- power 8
- flex 6
- balance 8
- endurance 9
- coordination 9

Sampras
- speed 8
- power 10
- flex 7
- balance 9
- endurance 8
- coordination 9

Monfils
- speed 10
- power 10
- flex 9
- balance 8
- endurance 6
- coordination 8

These are hastily written numbers but there would be other metrics you could add that would also define athletes like touch/feel, agility that are also abilities that help players separate themselves from the pack.

In the end a huge part is the mental side and being confident with your game - that is what makes the distinction of greatness. A lot of top players are great athletes but GOATs are great between the ears and in the heart too.
 

-NN-

G.O.A.T.
Quite honestly, Borg was the first guy that came to my mind. But really it's near impossible to pick between a few guys. Specifically Nadal, Djokovic, Borg, Lendl, Sampras and there's a few more. Even Federer deserves his place in this discussion to be honest. Nadal and Djokovic might be able to run faster and they have a bit more endurance, but that doesn't really make them more "athletic." Federer's athleticism is usually underrated because people think he's all about shot making talent and they don't equate that with athleticism.

Why mention "even Federer" but have Lendl automatically in the discussion?

Federer > Lendl and easily.
 

-NN-

G.O.A.T.
From the women, Graf. But it's a most athletic player of all-time thread and not a WTA thread. :sneaky:
 
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Deleted member 716271

Guest
I think Djokovic is close to Nadal because he is about equal in movement and a bit more flexible but Nadal has more power.

I'd have to give the edge to Nadal though as he has the frame to play more sports although I think Nole would be a better NBA point guard. Can you see it @-NN-?

Monfils is obviously the fastest in a straight line has to be right there with those 2 overall. So poll results are pretty reflective of reality... But I would put Nadal at the top because of power/speed blend.
 

-NN-

G.O.A.T.
I think Djokovic is close to Nadal because he is about equal in movement and a bit more flexible but Nadal has more power.

I'd have to give the edge to Nadal though as he has the frame to play more sports although I think Nole would be a better NBA point guard. Can you see it @-NN-?

Monfils is obviously the fastest in a straight line has to be right there with those 2 overall. So poll results are pretty reflective of reality... But I would put Nadal at the top because of power/speed blend.
I could see him as a gymnast. I feel like any of the Trifecta could have taken up squash and been the best. Also Federer and Nadal for badminton, which would be less kind on Djokovic (smash heavy).

As an NBA point guard? Difficult for me to imagine tennis players as basketball players or why he'd be better suited than say, Nadal, at the position. If it's about an "eye for the pass(ing shot)" don't we take Nadal? Maybe Sampras could do the job.

I'm interested to know what Borg could have achieved in middle distance running.

Ultimately, I think the top athletes have demonstrated such supreme skill and ability and mental fortitude and persistence that they could have found success in a variety of sports.


(lol at this vid)
 
D

Deleted member 716271

Guest
I could see him as a gymnast. I feel like any of the Trifecta could have taken up squash and been the best. Also Federer and Nadal for badminton, which would be less kind on Djokovic (smash heavy).

As an NBA point guard? Difficult for me to imagine tennis players as basketball players or why he'd be better suited than say, Nadal, at the position. If it's about an "eye for the pass(ing shot)" don't we take Nadal? Maybe Sampras could do the job.

I'm interested to know what Borg could have achieved in middle distance running.

Ultimately, I think the top athletes have demonstrated such supreme skill and ability and mental fortitude and persistence that they could have found success in a variety of sports.


(lol at this vid)
I cheated a bit re Djokovic as better basketball player potential. Remembered this article

https://www.atptour.com/en/news/kerr-us-open-2018-feature

Now, it’s safe to say Kerr’s Warriors are doing just fine. But would he give any of the ATP World Tour’s players a shot?

“Gosh. I might go with Djokovic,” Kerr said. “I think he can guard anybody. He moves his feet extremely well. Side to side, I think he can stay in front of anybody. I think he’d be good in the fast break. I’d like to see him on a basketball court.”

Nadal is the only one I could see as an NFL player, although he is only really big enough to play cornerback. And it might be un-pc to say but that is a position that is like 99.9 percent historically black so I don't know...

I do tend to agree most of these guys could be pros in other sports, including Federer.
 

tigonian02

New User
Monfils is the most athletic player on tour. The guy obviously doesn’t practice the way he should. He’s seemingly always out of shape, yet he’s still the fastest player on tour with a very large shot selection. Too bad he never fine tuned any of it. He had an opportunity to be one of the greats.
 
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Deleted member 754093

Guest
Whoever said that Nadal could be a running back in the NFL is beyond delusional. He’d get murdered

Positions Nadal might be able to play:

Kicker
Punter
Quarterback
WR for the Pats
CB (if he can run backwards well)
 
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