Single most beautiful shot in history?

King No1e

Legend
Thank you for your opinion.
It is generally considered an article of faith that Sampras serve motion is more fluid, more aesthetic and more effective than Federer's. And the 2nd serves are not even comparable.
Have to disagree on this article of faith. Sampras had more power on his serve, but his serve motion looked quite utilitarian and basic. Compare that to Federer, who has a smoother windup and just snaps through it with his entire body like a liquid whip.
Sampras had a better serve obviously though. And was never afraid to blast his 2nd serve harder than his 1st.
To each their own, anyway. It's all subjective.
 

mbm0912

Hall of Fame
Have to disagree on this article of faith. Sampras had more power on his serve, but his serve motion looked quite utilitarian and basic. Compare that to Federer, who has a smoother windup and just snaps through it with his entire body like a liquid whip.
Sampras had a better serve obviously though. And was never afraid to blast his 2nd serve harder than his 1st.
To each their own, anyway. It's all subjective.
Agreed. I don't find anything about Pete's hunched over, net charging game "aesthetic". Effective, sure.
 

King No1e

Legend
Brown comes up with the goods occasionally, but Raonic isn't in the same category.
At least Raonic back in his prime 2015-17. Before the injuries he played an almost exclusively net-rushing game and broke the top 3 with it. Since then he's tried to be a baseline bot and it isn't working for him.
 

McGradey

Rookie
DTL backhand usually looks pretty horny when well executed. Favourite exponents would be:

Wawa
Safin
Agassi
Djoko
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
At least Raonic back in his prime 2015-17. Before the injuries he played an almost exclusively net-rushing game and broke the top 3 with it. Since then he's tried to be a baseline bot and it isn't working for him.
Raonic had an incredibly effective serve back then and rushed in to vulture lots of easy volleys, but he's never had a complete net game like Sampras did.
 

James P

Hall of Fame
Not any individual or any precise shot, in particular, but the most aesthetically pleasing shot to me is the off the court forehand wrapping around the outside of the court back on to the court down the line.
 

Zoolander

Hall of Fame
Funny how Feds forehand was so good early on, but these days its just an ugly hack. Must be the extra 7 sq inches.

Boris Becker's serve?
I was thinking the Sampras jumping smash, but i think you nailed it. Beckers serve was something else.
 

TennisFan3

Legend
Have to disagree on this article of faith. Sampras had more power on his serve, but his serve motion looked quite utilitarian and basic. Compare that to Federer, who has a smoother windup and just snaps through it with his entire body like a liquid whip.
Sampras had a better serve obviously though. And was never afraid to blast his 2nd serve harder than his 1st.
To each their own, anyway. It's all subjective.
Great post. I'm just surprised by the bold. Sampras' serve was anything but utilitarian or basic. The whole bend over sideways, the way he kept the motion on the left side of the head going straight up with his elbows and shoulders - was unique as it got more kinetic path and power. Sampras' famous bend - from a rear ward back scrunch, to a forward back scrunch, while arching his back downward - keeping his hand down and thereby allowing his frame to stay down long enough as he drove upward to generate tremendous kick, swing and pace - is studies even still.

NO ONE in the history of game COMBINED aesthetics, technique and form (leg drive, twist, move back and forth and upwards/downwards) better than Sampras on the serve. A lot of the modern day servers INCLUDING Federer, Raonic and Roddick/Isner - freely admit Sampras' influence on his serve.

Sampras was NOT that tall, nor was he very big/strong in any way. He did not have the technology (poly/hybrid strings) that modern day servers have. Yet his serve was one of the most deadly in the history of the game. He could be construed as the father of the modern day serve. It has to be the greatest shot in the history of this sport followed by Federer's forehand IMO.
 

King No1e

Legend
Great post. I'm just surprised by the bold. Sampras' serve was anything but utilitarian or basic. The whole bend over sideways, the way he kept the motion on the left side of the head going straight up with his elbows and shoulders - was unique as it got more kinetic path and power. Sampras' famous bend - from a rear ward back scrunch, to a forward back scrunch, while arching his back downward - keeping his hand down and thereby allowing his frame to stay down long enough as he drove upward to generate tremendous kick, swing and pace - is studies even still.

NO ONE in the history of game COMBINED aesthetics, technique and form (leg drive, twist, move back and forth and upwards/downwards) better than Sampras on the serve. A lot of the modern day servers INCLUDING Federer, Raonic and Roddick/Isner - freely admit Sampras' influence on his serve.

Sampras was NOT that tall, nor was he very big/strong in any way. He did not have the technology (poly/hybrid strings) that modern day servers have. Yet his serve was one of the most deadly in the history of the game. He could be construed as the father of the modern day serve. It has to be the greatest shot in the history of this sport followed by Federer's forehand IMO.
Maybe I'm just used to seeing every coach in Canada and the US teach Pete's serve technique, resulting in tons of copycats. Sampras's serve motion has sort of become the "default swing" for big servers, especially in North American college tennis.
Case in point Milos, as you mentioned. He has an awesome looking serve that uses the same torque, almost with his back facing the court on the windup, and explosive arm movement using his elbow to snap through it. Very similar to Sampras serve with similar results.
 
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