Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by theagassiman, Mar 17, 2009.
for me Stan Wawrinka
I like Tommy Haas's backhand also.
He does have a nice backhand. I really like the way he hits it.
I read a journalist refer to Haas' backhand as a POWER backhand. It amused me because it made Haas' backhand so powerful that it seemed able to hit the ball through a wall when he hit it well. Maybe he can.
He had great strokes and glided around the court so beautifully...he was a lot of fun to watch. He was very unique. His serve, not so hot, but the ground game made up for it. It was odd that under certain circumstances, he'd crack...he'd cream McEnroe but then gag against Connors or Lendl, even when he was playing them tightly. Got to think there was some junk in his head there...the home country thing w/lendl, and Jimmy playing the usual mind games...so maybe give the guy some slack. Still loved watching him play the top baseliners of the day, Wilander, Lendl and tho' past his true prime, Jimmy. Great entertainment.
My favorite backhands:
OHB: JUSTINE HENIN
OHB SLICE: STEFFi GRAF
2 HANDER: ???
OHB: STEFAN EDBERG + BORIS BECKER + ROD LAVER
OHB SLICE: ROGER FEDERER + ROD LAVER + STEFAN EDBERG
2 HANDER: ANDRE AGASSI + MARAT SAFIN
Mecir = the Baryshnikov of Tennis
To me Mecir moves better than Baryshnikov. lol.
Anyway Mecir has better groundies than Baryshnikov.
Henri Leconte's backhand was impressive. Perfect motion and so versatile.
Haas has a great one handed backhand. Of the players with two handers, I really like both the Nadal and Djokovic backhands.
It seems that Nadal has developed quite a good slice backhand with one hand. Yet, I think when he relies on that shot too much, he opens up the court for big hitters, such as Del Potro at times. When he is at his best, I think he hits his two handed backhand more frequently, with aggression and lots of topspin.
Nadal's backhand is one of the best backhands going currently. Yet, Nadal's forehand is now so good, that at times his backhand sometimes goes overlooked somewhat. In recent years Nadal has developed a great two handed backhand, especially on the run. Plus his passing shot off that wing is excellent.
See an example of his passing backhand passing shot:
See an analysis of Nadal's backhand:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VE_RqaEsBiM (remember, he's a natural right hander, which really helps him)
Djokovic also has an excellent two-hander. From the middle of the court, Djokovic can often pound his two handed backhand with consistency.
Rise of the Two Handed Backhand
See a LOT of great backhand shots here!
Why is Gasquet on your list, but not Nalbandian? Nalbandian has achieved more in his career than Gasquet, and I think many people would rate his backhand as overall better than Gasquet's. And does Nadal really deserve to be on the list, especially when Nalbandian isn't? Nadal's backhand pass is certainly tremendous, and he can generate ridiculous pace with his right hand, but his average rallying backhand is certainly not better than Nalbandian's. When they have played each other, it's clear that Nalby's backhand has the edge. Also, you can tell that Nalby's backhand gives Fed more trouble when they play than Nadal's does. I know that's just one example, but it's clear that especially on hard court, Nadal's bh can drop short and let his opponent dictate play.
And I seriously doubt that Nalby's backhand is not as good as quite a few of those players listed there, like Becker. And you can't argue that because those players achieved more than Nalby, they deserve to be on the list, because that's not indicative of one single shot (Karlovic has arguably the greatest serve in history, but he hasn't accomplished anything with it because the rest of his game is lacking). In Nalby's case, it's his weak mental toughness and focus that hurt his career. And like I stated before, Nalby has accomplished more than Gasquet, yet you have Gasquet on the list.
Like I said before, safin's and nalbandian's BHs are better than anyone on that list except agassi and connors ( in the open era that is )
I prefer Nalbandian's to both Gasquet's and Nadal's.
so do I !
Quite a chorus.
It was certainly clicking at the '05 TMC in Shanghai.
For what it is worth, I like Nalbanian's backhand too. It is a great shot.
Rosewall only had a slice, you can't reach number one thee days with just a slice. He can't have the best backhand of all time. Your list is very tilted to players no one has really seen much of
Pavel had a sick one hander not sure if it should be on the list or not. Safin should definitely be on the list
Just a coincidence but I was cleaning up and found this old Tennis Magazine issue from May of 1999 on Pete Sampras. I thought I'd quote some of the article, written by Sally Jenkins. It discussed the time in June of 1994 at Wimbledon when Sampras hit with Laver, Rosewall and Stolle-Stolle noticed Sampras watching Laver with hungry eyes. "Grab a racquet, Pete," Stolle said.
Sampras glanced uncertainly down at his clothing: a gray T-shirt, baggy checkered shorts, a pair of boat shoes, and no socks. "Come on," Stolle urged.
"This is too good," said Sampras. "We're got to hit a few." He pulled a racquet from his bag and strode onto the court. "I'm breaking every rule of the club."
Then it was Rosewall's turn. "Am I allowed?" he asked. "It would be a great privilege." He joined them.
At that moment, a gentlemen executive of the club arrived. He surveyed the scene and the men on the court--Laver, Rosewall, and Stolle in their impeccable whites, and Sampras in his grunge wear.
Dress code or not, Sampras couldn't let this opportunity slip away. "Come on," he said to the official. "Three of the greatest players who ever lived."
The foursome waited to see if the man would make Sampras stop. "Right," he said after a moment, turning his back on the rule-breaker with a carry-on gesture. "I think I'll return to the office."
For half an hour, Sampras rallied almost silently with the three Australian greats. At one point, he hit a running forehand winner. "That'll do," Laver said softly, appreciatively.
When Rosewall struck a twisting backhand slice that stymied Sampras, Stolle coach the youngster: "Get the elbow up, that's it." Sampras then hit a deep rolling backhand.
"This young man learns fast," Stolle said admiringly.
Later Sampras approached the net. Rosewall passed him with a sharp, compact backhand. "Jesus," Sampras said.
On a subsequent Sampras venture to the net, Rosewall sliced a gentle backhand down the alley. "There's my lunch," Sampras said.
I don't doubt it and I have respect for all greats. Nowadays you start with a topspin backhand it's a requirement now and then a slice develops to make you more deadly. No male pro is going to dominate with only slice anymore.
I noticed that Mancini's name was mentioned a few times in this thread. Does anyone know of any video footage of him (his backhand) that I could watch online or download?
It's an interesting question whether the Rosewall backhand would be effective nowadays. My feeling is that it would be because it was really a very strong flat backhand with a little slice for control. The guy could hit it very sharp crosscourt and it was very effective for pasing shots against anyone, even as you can see by the article against Pete Sampras at times. Rosewall was 60 years old (or at least going to be 60 that year) when he hit with Sampras at that time.
Rosewall's backhand is actually more similar to Connors' backhand or Agassi's backhand in that they are mainly flat backands except I believe Rosewall made fewer errors than either Connors or Agassi. Even adjusting for the rackets, I don't think Rosewall hit quite as hard as Connors or Agassi but he did hit the backhand very powerfully when he was younger and in his prime. He had great disguise on his backhand and it was, like Connors' and Agassi's backhand a great shot for returning serve. His touch on his backhand was beautiful also. He could lob, drop shot and hit heavy flat drives.
The thing about Rosewall is he hit the ball sooooooooo early and he had great concentration so he never missed. Would he have a topspin backhand today? Probably because that's the way they teach things nowadays and it probably would have been a great shot also since he probably would prepare so well and early plus he would still have the Rosewall concentration.
Would it be a better shot if he hit with a topspin backhand instead of his flat with a little slice backhand? I don't know because if you check out how Rosewall use to play against topspin players like Vilas and Nastase, well he had no problems with them as far as handling the spin. I mentioned before how he played a practice set against a young Lendl around 1980 who hit with a lot of topspin and he lost but lost in a close set. Lendl mentioned in one of his books that you can't pass well with a slice backhand, unless you're Ken Rosewall.
Great read. Thanks.
I think that, at that time this event took place, Sampras had won only three slams.
It's just an amazing movie in my mind. It just staggers me in picturing Sampras rushing to the net only to be passed by 60 year old Ken Rosewall and his awesome backhand. I'm sure a lot of people may think that a young Rosewall would never be able to pass Sampras with that ancient backhand of his but we know for a fact that an old Rosewall did several times.
What a picture, Laver, Rosewall, Sampras and Stolle all hitting in 1994. We know now that Sampras was at or near his peak.
That's a great piece PC1. I can picture a "giddy" Sampras wanting to hit with those guys, feeling like a schoolkid, hitting with idols. I love the fact that Sampras had such an appreciation for the Game's Legends. He understands how important/good they were (as does Federer and Borg for example, which is no accident).
The thing I've observed about Rosewall's backhand (from videos only, not live on TV even) was that he'd often not have to lace it down the line with little margin for error. Since he could construct points so well, he'd often use the backhand as that "last nail in the coffin" after about 3-4 shots where he was jerking the net guy around, or as a blazing first pass, sometimes well within the lines. He could hit it on a dime as well if need be.
Against a guy like Sampras, I would not be surprised if he would have figured out ways to get the ball to Sampras' feet on the return, even with a slice backhand, setting up the next couple of shots. His slice didn't seem to "sit up" very much, it just whizzed by guys it looked like, often just clearing the net. Is that accurate?
It seems that he could just "club" the ball off that side. Yet, the ball also had so much "action" on it, that it was likely not easy to keep your volleys "firm" when his BH shot was causing your frame to "twist" a lot if you weren't really keeping your wrist/racquet firm on the volley. I'm sure the ball would often jump off your strings somewhat strangely on volleys when he used such vicious slice.
Too many say that you gotta have that super-powered 109 mph groundstroke in today's game.
I say it's more about placement: if it's out of reach of your opponent and it's going only 70 mph, then you still win the point.
Laver said he hated Muscles's backhand because it did not bounce--it skidded and did not come up at all. Rocket said he had "to hit it off my shoelaces."
Got it Hoodjem. That's all I needed to know. That means..crazy slice, lots of revolutions on that shot!
It depends on what level you are talking about. Everywhere except the men's pro tour and high level juniors a variety of styles win. There are all types of club players from 2.0 -6.0 winning with all types of game.
Winning titles on the men's pro tour is now an exercise in athleticism, extreme power and extreme topspin with polyester strings on surfaces with truer bounces and more uniforms speeds than ever before. To be honest there has been a lack of the creativity on the men's side since graphite took over in the mid 80's. It;s just before it was boring serve fests with the likes of Mark Rosset, Richard Kriajek, Goran and that ilk. Now there are a lot of bring baseline fests.
Rosewall, Kuerten, Vilas
Lately, Gasquet, Wawrinka, and Safin (if you include the 2hbh).
Many years ago I was watching a match and one of the most pure, beautiful backhands that I had ever seen was from Vijay Amritaj.
Sorry I should have been more explicit. I was talking about the current 2010 men's professional tennis game.
I agree. Boring S&V short points replaced by boring baseline fests. This is why we need a return to the complete game--use the entire court.
Here's is a quote from Marty Riessen's book "Match Point" on Rosewall's backhand--"If you are looking for perfection in tennis, watch how many times Rosewall clears the net by no more than an inch off his backhand. He keeps the ball lower and hits closer to the line in a higher percentage of shots than any other player I have seen, and that is as near perfection as one is going to get on a tennis court."
Alberto Mancini had a huge forehand , his backhand was good but the f-hand rocked.
My favorite backhand are those of Edbergs,who had superb variety including a heavy fast slice and topsin and flat ones too. Great lobs and dropshot of that wing and to top it all of we have his famous backhand volley .
That backhand volley stung like a swarm of bees.
I don't know if I agree... if you have Rosewall's backhand it may be viable, but since no one does it is a mute point. As for having the list tilted to players that few have seen... well the list is of "The Best Backhand Ever...", not the best backhand in the last 10 years.
I also agree with what one of the polsters that said... you do not need to blast the ball past someone to win points. You just need to get it outside the reach of your opponent... blasting the ball past your opponent at warp 10 is just overkill... though it is effective... I am more impressed with a surgical strike... something delicate just out of someone's reach.
Contrary to what some would believe... you cannot out run a well struck tennis ball whether it is a hard slice or a hard topspin shot. And I believe Rosewall also hit a flat backhand, but it has been about 35 years since I saw him play.
By the way... nice list of players with great backhands... not everyone is going to agree with the order... and some will be missing from the list... but a well assembled list all the same.
If you can put the ball in the court but out of the reach of your opponent, then you win the point. It does not have to be 100+ mph.
The fastest human beings in the world can barely run 20 mph for short distances, so if you can hit the ball at least 25 mph, then no one can outrun it.
I think that is what I said....???
Yes you did Ripper. I am agreeing with you, and putting it in a very slightly different way.
Good list Hoodjem. What made you decide to move Connors up over Rosewall? I think Borg should be over Kuerten because Borg's backhand was more effective overall on all surfaces. I don't think Kuerten's would be quite as good on grass and hard court even though it would still be superb.
It's a great mixture of old names and new names.
Glad to see Agassi so high. Did any player in history destroy a low sliced ball to him with his BH like Andre did?
i still say Gasquet backhand is the BEST ever..
Apparently Fed's slice worked against Agassi though. After 2002, Fed was 8-0 against Andre. But of course Agassi's backhand should be high on anyone's greatest backhand list.
Me too, but I've been overruled on that one.
Later latest version:
Laver has the most complete backhand of all time:
top spin...followed up by a clutch volley¡¡
slice.. even for passing shots¡¡
but Rosewall´s backhand is the most special one.In fact I haven´t seen it...I´ve listened to it .Such was the floop music it sent to you when you closed your eyes
good list, but i think Becker is too high..
since i'm not old enough to remember the old school players...i would echo agassi's backhand.
even by today's standard, agassi may be the benchmark. consistency, pace, accuracy, depth...just sick. murray, safin, nalbandian maybe the closest in the conversation
I wish I could have seen the older guys...the best I've ever seen...
Separate names with a comma.