The best backhand ever?

I had posted a very similar still photo sequence a few years ago that another member, Mick, made this with:



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Hey 5-0,

That's a cool sequence of the same pictures. I don't have that tech skill. Did you see my post in the Lew Hoad thread with a similar sequence of pictures of the Lew Hoad backhand? My pictures of Rosewall came from the 1973 version of "Rod Laver's Tennis Digest" which is mostly a compilation of stories and articles from World Tennis Magazine from that time. I only wish that the text was easier to read. It's an excellent description of the Rosewall backhand.

I have also seen your post with the artist renderings of Don Budge's grips and groundstrokes. I have the same book by Bill Talbert. I also attended Don Budge's tennis camp and got to watch him play practice sets against his coaches. And I can tell you, even though he was 59 at the time, his athletic talent (balance, timing, coordination), was undiminished and his groundies were as great as anyone who ever played.
 
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Rosewall's backhand in detail

If you want to study the Rosewall backhand and volleys in detail, get the video `Tennis to Win - Vol 1' - it's from the 70s, but is still available (in VHS, don't know about DVD):

http://www.amazon.com/Tennis-Win-Teaching-You-Champions/product-reviews/B0002K62X2

The cover has Newcombe and Borg, but it is mainly Newcombe and Rosewall teaching forehand, backhand, volleys. Newcombe does the forehand segment, Rosewall does the backhand and they both do the volleys. Sue Barker also helps out.

This has Rosewall demonstrating his flat/slice backhand in crystal clear detail with excellent close up camera angles and several slow motion views. And all the segments are quite long (>10 mins each) with tons of hitting by the players to demonstrate their strokes. There are also various match clips from the 70s, with several segments from the Borg-Gerulaitis Wimb 77 SF 5th set (guess that's why they have Borg on the cover, though he does actually appear in Vol 2). Don't recall much interesting in Vol2.

There's another instr video by Tony Roche which also has some clips of Rosewall demonstrating his backhand, but of course nowhere as good as the above video.

Madhavan
 
........His mixture of variety on his bh is perhaps unmatched, and obviously it's been working well for him!............

i dont know the actual numbers of whose backhand has gotten them the most winners.

federers one-hander has a great deal of variety from the limited tennis i have seen.

brisk low slices - with depth, acute angles, and good pace without alot of ole!!! it appears biomechanically compact to me , iow.

federer appears to weave this variety into his backhand in an almost seamless way...with an inside/out forehand hiding nearby.

it seems to work well on return of serve too....within the current power tennis game.

does this seem inaccurate??? and good enough for top 10???
 
........His mixture of variety on his bh is perhaps unmatched, and obviously it's been working well for him!............

i dont know the actual numbers of whose backhand has gotten them the most winners.

federers one-hander has a great deal of variety from the limited tennis i have seen.

brisk low slices - with depth, acute angles, and good pace without alot of ole!!! it appears biomechanically compact to me , iow.

federer appears to weave this variety into his backhand in an almost seamless way...with an inside/out forehand hiding nearby.

it seems to work well on return of serve too....within the current power tennis game.

does this seem inaccurate??? and good enough for top 10???
Federer´s is a good one, very good one.But not top 10.I can think of 15-20 players off my hat that had equally good, excellent BH´s and wouldn´t make top 10.His is a very good one but not top ten.Top ten BH have something else...
 
Guillermo Vilas certainly had one of the finest backhands of all time. The man had a wrist of steel. I saw him hit a ball that landed very short and close to the net and perhaps about two or three feet above the net and Vilas flicked his backhand and hit the ball into the stands behind the court. That was awesome strength. I've seen Laver do similar things with his backhand.

I've always thought that in today's day and age with his excellent speed and heavy topspin power (plus super stamina) that Vilas would be a nightmare today to play against. I think he would be quite similar to Nadal except with a one handed backhand.
 
The best backhand of all time and there is no doubt at all about this, was Jimmy Connors, he could do anything with it. Flat, topspin, slice, lob, drop shot, power, placement, so penetrating, clean winners or never miss, take it on the rise, disguise it, block it, angle it, reverse, return of serve, hit it harder than anyone before, during and after his career. Shall I go on?!
I love some of the one hander topspin backands out there now and over the years, Rosewall, Edberg, Federer etc, but i'm afraid two handed topspin backhands are just stronger.
Borg, Wilander, Agassi, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray.
And of course the greatest of all time 'Jimmy Connors'!
 
Sliced:Rosewall and Edberg with Orantes and maybe Ashe and Patty next
Flat:Budge,Connors and Agassi reign and also a mention for Emmo and Kovacs
Top:Laver and Borg with Vilas,Djokovic and maybe Costa and Safin next
Laver was the most complete
Also great bh those from Hoad,Roche,Korda,Rios,Pietrangelu,Lacoste and,on the ROS,Becker,Kodes,Murray,Lleyton Hewitt and Stolle
 
Sliced:Rosewall and Edberg with Orantes and maybe Ashe and Patty next
Flat:Budge,Connors and Agassi reign and also a mention for Emmo and Kovacs
Top:Laver and Borg with Vilas,Djokovic and maybe Costa and Safin next
Laver was the most complete
Also great bh those from Hoad,Roche,Korda,Rios,Pietrangelu,Lacoste and,on the ROS,Becker,Kodes,Murray,Lleyton Hewitt and Stolle
Kiki,
Excellent list.
Ashe also had an incredible topspin backhand and flat backhand. Ashe and Laver had the most versatile backhands I've ever seen. It's wasn't better than Laver's imo but it was certainly close. Ashe just played too much low percentage tennis and went for too many winners on the backhand side and would miss.

Here's a tremendous match with Ashe and Laver. Incredible amount of backhand winners.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43csIDKmkMk
 
Kiki,
Excellent list.
Ashe also had an incredible topspin backhand and flat backhand. Ashe and Laver had the most versatile backhands I've ever seen. It's wasn't better than Laver's imo but it was certainly close. Ashe just played too much low percentage tennis and went for too many winners on the backhand side and would miss.

Here's a tremendous match with Ashe and Laver. Incredible amount of backhand winners.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43csIDKmkMk
If you were to ask any pro from that era, who's backhand would you like to have? 80% would have said Connors!
 
Laver and Connors are not in the same era
Ok any player from the 60's to 80's (30 years of tennis). Connors backhand was a huge weapon it was like having a huge 1st serve, Gonzalez etc.
Not until Agassi did this occur again.
I agree Laver could hit slice, topspin, dropshots, lobs etc etc and had a complete backhand, as did Edberg, Ashe etc, but as a sheer devastating weapon that would dictate and decide matches, never had a grounstroke had this effect until maybe Lendl's forehand came along.
But that's what's fun about all of this, it's all so subjective!!
 
If you were to ask any pro from that era, who's backhand would you like to have? 80% would have said Connors!
I never said Ashe's backhand was better than Jimmy Connors' backhand but that it was more versatile and it was a great backhand. Clearly Connors had a superior backhand and one of the best of all time, arguably the best of all time.
 
Alright. I bow to the infinite wisdom of many advocates, and to Djoker's recent months of excellent play.

1. Rosewall
2. Laver
3. Connors
4. Kuerten
5. Borg
6. Nalbandian
7. Budge
8. Agassi
9. Edberg
10. Safin
11. Lacoste
12. Ashe
13. Lendl
14. Vilas
15. Kovacs
16. Rios
17. Mancini
18. Mecir
19. Costa
20. Tilden
21. Kodes
22. Stich
23. Wilander
24. Kafelnikov
25. Orantes
26. Korda
27. Murray
28. Almagro
29. Gasquet
30. Becker
31. Djokovic
32. Federer
Latest (as of May 2011) consensus list of BHGOATs.

Should Djokovic be moved up?

Resurrected for currency.
 
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1. Rosewall
2. Laver
3. Connors
4. Kuerten
5. Borg
6. Nalbandian
7. Budge
8. Agassi
9. Edberg
10. Djokovic
11. Safin
12. Lacoste
13. Ashe
14. Lendl
15. Vilas
16. Kovacs
17. Rios
18. Mancini
19. Mecir
20. Orantes
21. Murray
22. Tilden
23. Kodes
24. Stich
25. Wilander
26. Kafelnikov
27. Costa
28. Korda
29. Almagro
30. Gasquet
31. Becker
32. Wawrinka
33. Nüsslein
 
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1. Rosewall
2. Laver
3. Connors
4. Kuerten
5. Borg
6. Nalbandian
7. Budge
8. Agassi
9. Edberg
10. Safin
11. Djokovic
12. Lacoste
13. Ashe
14. Lendl
15. Vilas
16. Kovacs
17. Rios
18. Mancini
19. Mecir
20. Orantes
21. Murray
22. Tilden
23. Kodes
24. Stich
25. Wilander
26. Kafelnikov
27. Costa
28. Korda
29. Almagro
30. Gasquet
31. Becker
32. Federer
hoodjem, Where are Hoad and Nüsslein? I miss them in your excellent list.
 
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TMF

Talk Tennis Guru
^^
Of course Fed's BH isn't that good otherwise he wouldn't have won 17 slams. And if Lendl is as low(#32) as Federer, he could have won more than 8 slams. Haha
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
Djokovic should be higher than that. Shame there are no highlight reels to show off Rosewall and Laver's backhands. Neither would cope with Nadal's topspin like Djokovic does though I think.
 

zagor

Bionic Poster
Djokovic should be higher than that. Shame there are no highlight reels to show off Rosewall and Laver's backhands. Neither would cope with Nadal's topspin like Djokovic does though I think.
Notice how this is supposedly a baseline bash era (where everyone is awful at the net and just slugs it from the backcourt) yet there is only one player from 2000s in the top 10, I guess players today fail at both baselining and netplay :)

To be honest, I think Agassi has a better BH (and by a good margin) than anyone on that list and yes Novak should be up there as well.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
Notice how this is supposedly a baseline bash era (where everyone is awful at the net and just slugs it from the backcourt) yet there is only one player from 2000s in the top 10, I guess players today fail at both baselining and netplay :)

To be honest, I think Agassi has a better BH (and by a good margin) than anyone on that list and yes Novak should be up there as well.
Players today are slower and hit with less pace too I'll have you know ;)

Any matches you recommend I watch to see Agassi's backhand in full flight?
 

zagor

Bionic Poster
Players today are slower and hit with less pace too I'll have you know ;)

Any matches you recommend I watch to see Agassi's backhand in full flight?
I don't know if any match specifically comes to mind, it's kinda like Novak, BH was his most reliable everyday weapon, it's hard to find a match in which his BH didn't work really well.

I'd say maybe his 1995 AO final against Sampras and 2000 AO final against Kafelnikov (just awesome hitting from the baseline in that match from both players).
 

TMF

Talk Tennis Guru
Notice how this is supposedly a baseline bash era (where everyone is awful at the net and just slugs it from the backcourt) yet there is only one player from 2000s in the top 10, I guess players today fail at both baselining and netplay :)

To be honest, I think Agassi has a better BH (and by a good margin) than anyone on that list and yes Novak should be up there as well.
So true. Baseline specialists today you would expect many of their names at the top, much like you see so many best volley players from the past generations stack at the top and NONE for this era.

At least the list for the greatest servers of all time didn't omit the players from 2000s.
 
1. Rosewall
2. Laver
3. Connors
4. Kuerten
5. Borg
6. Nalbandian
7. Budge
8. Agassi
9. Edberg
10. Safin
11. Djokovic
12. Lacoste
13. Ashe
14. Lendl
15. Vilas
16. Kovacs
17. Rios
18. Mancini
19. Mecir
20. Orantes
21. Murray
22. Tilden
23. Kodes
24. Stich
25. Wilander
26. Kafelnikov
27. Costa
28. Korda
29. Almagro
30. Gasquet
31. Becker
32. Federer
An improvement...now, just move Stefan a bit higher and the list is very good.
and good one recalling Mancini, a very underrated guy here, but a player would be comfortable with current baseline bashing.
 
^^
Of course Fed's BH isn't that good otherwise he wouldn't have won 17 slams. And if Lendl is as low(#32) as Federer, he could have won more than 8 slams. Haha
Because Sampras won 14 slams, he must have a great BH also.

Your logic reminds me of Swiss cheese, . . .
. . . or very old havarti.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
Because Sampras won 14 slams, he must have a great BH also.

Your logic reminds me of Swiss cheese, . . .
. . . or very old havarti.
Federer does have a great backhand though, it's not one of the best of all time though. But it's very good. Besides that winning 17 slams in a slower baseline era is abit different to winning 14 in largely fast conditions.
 
1. Rosewall
2. Laver
3. Connors
4. Kuerten
5. Borg
6. Nalbandian
7. Budge
8. Agassi
9. Edberg
10. Djokovic
11. Safin
12. Lacoste
13. Ashe
14. Lendl
15. Vilas
16. Kovacs
17. Rios
18. Mancini
19. Mecir
20. Orantes
21. Murray
22. Tilden
23. Kodes
24. Stich
25. Wilander
26. Kafelnikov
27. Costa
28. Korda
29. Almagro
30. Gasquet
31. Becker
32. Wawrinka
33. Nüsslein
As a huge fan of Nalbandian, I think you have him way too high on this list. Having one of the greatest strokes of all time isn't just about filling highlight reels - it's about using the stroke as a weapon day-in and day-out and against the highest competition. Nalbandian can hit some absolutely incredible shots and generally has a very solid backhand, but it didn't win him much (compared to the greatest players of all time, that is). And he never had that week-in, week-out consistency in any of his strokes to put him up there in the top ten. I'd put him at number 12 at the very[i/] best.
 
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