Smartest Player at Constructing a point

cadfael_tex

Professional
I've been thinking about smart tennis play lately. I saw a video of a Murray lob volley and was reading a thread about adopting an all-court game. My mind went to Jimmy Conners who I always thought was brilliant at building a point. I remember him moving his opponent around and then taking the opportunity to put away a volley.

Here's the Questions:
Who is the smartest player this way in today's game?
Who is the smartest player in this way of all time?

Let the games begin...
 

DashaandSafin

Hall of Fame
Agassi was a shotmaker before he met Brad. Then he had a gameplan and i considerer him one of the best tacticians out there. Another one would be Fabrice Santoro.
 

VamosRafa

Hall of Fame
snowpuppy said:
Fabrice Santoro and Coria
Sorry, but I saw Coria today, and his shot selection was terrible at times. Granted, his serve was off, and it may be he can only do smart shot selection when the rest of his game is firing.

Totally agree re Fabrice. Talk about someone who does the best with what he has. If nothing else, Fabrice can retire at some point knowing he left it all on the court, and then some. It's been a pleasure to watch him.
 
how about michael chang....he doesn't have much power.
and he would actually study his opponents weakness before playing them.
says so in his book "holding serve"
:)
 

snowpuppy

Semi-Pro
VamosRafa said:
Sorry, but I saw Coria today, and his shot selection was terrible at times. Granted, his serve was off, and it may be he can only do smart shot selection when the rest of his game is firing.

Totally agree re Fabrice. Talk about someone who does the best with what he has. If nothing else, Fabrice can retire at some point knowing he left it all on the court, and then some. It's been a pleasure to watch him.
I understand. It is weird as a clay courter he is suppose to play with a consistent style but for some odd reason he likes to show boat some times. But like you say his serve is weak and he really has no weapons but speed.

With that said, there are reasons why he could've been king of clay before Nadal. He plays defense really well. Knows how to work a guy on the court and is very good in his usage of drop shots (when, where, and how to cover it afterwards) The most memorable times when i witness this was his match in Hamberg (i believe) vs Federer, and seeing him live at wimbledon this yr.
 

35ft6

Legend
Ljubicic was great in Carson City against Agassi. Came out with a game plan, stuck to it for the most part, and comfortably beat Agassi.

Federer is good, too, but we all know that. Heard Nalbandian's arguably the best.
 

s_andrean

Semi-Pro
I'm surprised Juan Carlos Ferrero hasn't been mentioned yet, he works points brilliantly...hope he gets back on form - could be one to watch in 2006.

Agassi is another exceptional tactician
 
Old school

AGP going old school, but I certainly agree. Ashe's game plan which he put together with his insiders (Donald Dell & associates) really befuddled Jimmy Connors in the 1975 Wimbledon final. Connors was unstoppable and no one gave Ashe a chance, but his tactics worked brilliantly.
 

35ft6

Legend
s_andrean said:
I'm surprised Juan Carlos Ferrero hasn't been mentioned yet, he works points brilliantly...
I was going to mention him. On clay, at his best, he barely lets his opponent get a word in edgewise the whole match. And his drop shots are devastating. His inside out forehand dropshot is sick.

Hewitt deserves some credit, too. Once he identifies an opponent's weakness, he'll poke at that thing relentlessly.
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
fedex27 said:
nalbandian deserves some credit
I'm on board with this pick. Nalbandian probably uses his head better than anyone else on tour. He is great at maximizing his strengths while exploiting his opponents weakness. He is also very competent from anywhere on the court.
 

bigserving

Hall of Fame
The most aggressive players must the the ones considered the best point constuctors. Playing from the baseline, even the best laid plans for a point can go awry if you give your oppenent time. When two baseliners are playing a point, sometimes it is hard to tell who is playing offense and who is on defense. That can even change during the course of any given point.

Come with some serious thought if you are going to argue against Sampras on this subject.
 

VGP

Legend
Counterpunchers have to construct points well too.

Brad Gilbert was good at this. He didn't have many weapons and by pro standards could have been considered as sucky. He figured out what his opponents' weaknesses were and played his strengths against them.
 

Mr Topspin

Semi-Pro
um let me guess Federer.

Fed has to be right up there. Anyone see his match with Hewitt at Indian Wells. Some are calling one point in particular which was over 45 strokes - the best point ever. It had everything - literally every shot in the book. He lost the point - but it still showcased his enormous talent.
 
Will have to disagree about Ashe's "great tactical and/or strategic game" as he was mostly a hit-or-miss, slash-and-burn, flashy shotmaker a la Henri Leconte, except not as powerful, and considerably more consistent. On a good day, he could take on anybody, but on a bad day, Arthur was eminently beatable.

Still, that win at Wimbledon against Jimmy was a well-planned one; for once, Arthur went against his instincts, and stuck to his game plan to the end. I feel if he'd done more scouting and planning, Ashe would've won a few more Slams.

I agree about Nalbandian's being perhaps the best out there in terms of tactics, but David lacks the one decisive weapon that could really finish off guys. Roger IMO is slightly less of a thinker than Nalbandian, but, unlike David, Federer HAS the weapons that can finish off guys -- and that is essentially the difference between the two (that is, Roger can go for more risky point construction plays, or even outright winners, and have a greater chance of winning them, and thus spend less time on court, and be less tired over the length of a tournament). Otherwise, I have this sinking feeling that Federer-Nalbandian would be at least as good as, if not better than, the Sampras-Agassi rivalry.
 

Dilettante

Hall of Fame
Federer (is there any aspect of the game where this guy is not among the very best), Ferrero at his best is plain brilliant, Hewitt, Nalbandian is brilliant too.

On clay, Puerta is very effective and smart constructing some points. Just watch FO final: he did Nadal work as no other player did during the tournament.

I'd say that, as a whole pack, Argentinians are good at that.
 

SuperAthlete

New User
Federer, undoubtedly is #1 in my book

Nalbandian is the Brad Gilbert of modern times.

Hewitt absolutely deserves a mention. The ultimate counterpuncher who knows exactly the right time to switch to attack mode.

Gasquet?! Can't say I've seen him play much, but his game seems pretty immature; just hits it as hard as he can
 

Aykhan Mammadov

Hall of Fame
To post No 1.

Answer: today - Federer
In the history - Federer.

Also I'm laughing when I see some posters call Nalbandian. Who is him? The man never won neither Slam, no single Masters series tournament. Stupidiest and most 1-dimensional player I ever seen. What he can - only train his strokes more and more, no fantasy in the court, only preprogrammised durin training combinations.

I'd like also to call Connors, Sampras, from modern players - Moya, Coria, Nadal.
 

galain

Hall of Fame
Changing tours, I thought Hingis always showed a pretty good head for tactics.

Fed I never thought of as a thinker. He just seems to zone in so much when he's confident that he knows he's going to win, and that allows him to relax, go for his shots and play beautiful instinctive tennis. At least, that's how I always saw him. Will have to watch more closely next time.
 

joe1987

Semi-Pro
I was think of Radek Stepanek you should have seen him against nadal. Didn't allow nadal to get into a grove at all.
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
Federer, hands down.

When I think of "point construction" I picture a player who is moving his opponent around pretty much "at will." Kinda like a Puppeteer. The only player today who constantly dictates the points this way...? Federer.

Agassi is the other most recent. Then I go back to Mac. Then, Nastase.

Another very successful, pupeteer of the past was Seguro ... then Gilbert. (The guys on the Tour *hated* playing him.) I'd say Santoro is the "Gilbert" of today -- in his ability to force you to play shots you hate.

Those who are naming Nalbandian (all the other dirt ballers) and Sampras are thinking of "point construction" differently than I.

- KK
 

ohplease

Professional
35ft6 said:
Absolutely. She's the most clever player I've ever seen, male or female.
Word.

Hingis may have been a lot of things, but she came along and made the practitioners of big babe tennis look stupid. I got the impression that was perhaps more due to instinct than smarts (ala Rios), but she had court sense in spades.
 

Aykhan Mammadov

Hall of Fame
I hear the name of Gilbert so much.

Is this because he wrote his arrogant book " Winning Ugly" where he was close to comparing himself with GREATS such as McEnroe, Becker and etc.... ?

Wasn't this man great only in words, not in work. Otherwise where are results? Did he win Slam, maybe many masters ?
 

Camilio Pascual

Hall of Fame
cadfael_tex said:
Here's the Questions:
Who is the smartest player this way in today's game?
Who is the smartest player in this way of all time?

Let the games begin...
Neither one is even in the men's game, there is a much greater premium on point constrction in the women's game, being that there are more shots per point.

Smartest today - Schnyder, Clijsters, or Henin. Schnyder has a quirky ground game that can be baffling and Clijsters game is about as smart and she has superior skills. Henin plays a very smart all-court game that is supported by her excellent 1H BH.
One of the smartest matches played this year was V. Williams v. Kirilenko where Venus was constantly coming in behind effective, deep or angled ground strokes to finish off the points, a la a counterpuncher.

Smartest all-time- Definitely the Chessmeister, Hingis.

She is quintessential all-court player with no big weapons. She said that she intended to not hit the same shot ever twice in a row and to always mix up pace, location, and spin. By forcing the contest to be more of a chess match than an endurance contest, she managed to remain #1 for a few years with weak serves and no power.
 

Aykhan Mammadov

Hall of Fame
hari2 said:
1/Coria
2/Federer
3/Nalbandian
4/Santoro
5/Gasquet

etc...
Again? Didn't u read my post 25 ? New user hari, it is absolute crap to place Gasquet near Federer, Santoro and Coria. Yes this kid is talented but it is so early to compare him with those.

And it is absolute shame to list here at forum the name of Nalbandian as a tennis player not speaking about this thread? In my opinion Nalbandian belongs to category of thousands ungifted players-robots who hardly work over their strokes but can't achieve any good result because of absolute absent any tennis talent and feeling. Did he ever win any serious tennis tournament - say masters or maybe Slam?

And u forgot Moya. He is winner of FO and of 3 Masters tournaments.
 

chair ump

Semi-Pro
kudos for Steps

I think in today's game Stepanek is establishing himself as a very intelligent player...having seen him in person at DC and on tv in Madrid, he has the ability to rally from the back and finish at the net with the best of them. Very crafty, uses angles, soft hands, all court game...good stuff.:)
 

Breaker

Legend
Aykhan Mammadov said:
Again? Didn't u read my post 25 ? New user hari, it is absolute crap to place Gasquet near Federer, Santoro and Coria. Yes this kid is talented but it is so early to compare him with those.

And it is absolute shame to list here at forum the name of Nalbandian as a tennis player not speaking about this thread? In my opinion Nalbandian belongs to category of thousands ungifted players-robots who hardly work over their strokes but can't achieve any good result because of absolute absent any tennis talent and feeling. Did he ever win any serious tennis tournament - say masters or maybe Slam?

And u forgot Moya. He is winner of FO and of 3 Masters tournaments.
Woah, harsh. But I dont think this thread is about results, and people are saying Nalbandian because hes a player who makes every shot count to set up his next shot and almost always picks the best shot to play. Santoro has never won a grand slam or been close but people still mention him because he knows how to set up a point.
 

Andres

G.O.A.T.
Aykhan Mammadov said:
Again? Didn't u read my post 25 ? New user hari, it is absolute crap to place Gasquet near Federer, Santoro and Coria. Yes this kid is talented but it is so early to compare him with those.

And it is absolute shame to list here at forum the name of Nalbandian as a tennis player not speaking about this thread? In my opinion Nalbandian belongs to category of thousands ungifted players-robots who hardly work over their strokes but can't achieve any good result because of absolute absent any tennis talent and feeling. Did he ever win any serious tennis tournament - say masters or maybe Slam?

And u forgot Moya. He is winner of FO and of 3 Masters tournaments.
David is my choice.

And aykhan, I think QF on all GS, one SF at US and RG and a final at Wimby ARE good results... GOOD? Nahh, they're great !!

You love to criticize players, but I've never seen you at QF of AAAANY GS.
 

35ft6

Legend
ohplease said:
Word.

Hingis may have been a lot of things, but she came along and made the practitioners of big babe tennis look stupid. I got the impression that was perhaps more due to instinct than smarts (ala Rios), but she had court sense in spades.
I'm sure that kind of court sense is owes a lot to instinct, but unlike with Rios, even off the court she demonstrated extreme intelligence. She's the sexist ugly girl to ever hit the WTA.
 

35ft6

Legend
slack hack said:
Old School- Wilander

New School- Fedex
If Safin had Wilander's brain, he would have 7 Slams by now.

Federer is capable of constructing almost every type of point that exists and is also the only player I know that can change the design of construction in mid-point without missing a beat. In any given match, Federer may execute every type of point pattern that exists. Sick sick sick tennis mind.
 

FiveO

Hall of Fame
With all the tools, today, Federer. Without all those tools, Nalbandian.

Yesterday? McEnroe and until someone else mentioned him earlier in this thread, Wilander. He was a chameleon. Without anything, Brad Gilbert, who got more out of less game than anyone I can think of.

Of today's women, JHH comes the closest but Hingis was the best ever on the women's side. She beat the best by denying them what they did best up to the point where she was finally (wo)man-handled by the likes of the Williams sisters and other biggest hitters on the tour.
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
slack hack earns a "hack slap" from me. He's trying to make me feel *old* by calling Wilander an "old school" player.

Budge, Gonzales, Kramer, Laver and Newk could qualify as "old school." Wilander's a "recently retired." Geez!!!

- KK
 
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