The eye test: who impressed you the most among those you watched?

R. Schweikart

Professional
Stats are useful and an objective measure of player comparison (to an extent)

But we also know its hard and really unfair to compare different generations with so many variables - surfaces, racket and string tech, prevalent trends of tournament prestige/importance Etc

Stats also tend to force us into binary choices among the top performers.

That’s why I think the ‘eye test’ - the ability of tennis fans to recognize extraordinary and sustained greatness having watched a lot of other tennis players in the same as well as different eras - is a better way to compare and appreciate past players.

It doesn’t force one into mutually exclusive scenarios and while completely subjective, the choices I reckon would come to parallel the same list as someone compiling purely from statistical data. Stats also get into subjective interpretation territory soon enough but with the pretense of certifiable clarity whereas with this approach we are clear frm the outset about the nature of the discussion.

So who are the best players you’ve watched?

To make it a bit more structured, how would you rate them across some parameters ( and this just a starter list, add your own): racket skills, athleticism, tactics, anticipation/court vision, endurance, mental strength, sportsmanship - that make these players and/or certain seasons of these players extraordinary to you?

examples of certain plays, achievements to illustrate your conclusions etc are always valuable.

The main condition is that you should have watched these players live (on tv/in stadium).

Merely citing stats from an era does not count and there are countless threads for that. Im aware this precludes older players whom most of us can only appreciate from achival footage but this keeps our discussions more ‘real’ rather than esoteric.

racket skills: Graf, Hingis, Henin
athleticism: Graf, V. Williams, S. Williams
tactics: Navratilova, Hingis, Barty
anticipation/court vision: Seles, Hingis
endurance: Graf, Sanchez
mental strength: Evert, Graf
sportsmanship: Graf, Clijsters
elegance: Graf, Henin
forehand: Graf
serve: S. Williams
slice backhand: Graf
topspin backhand: Henin
volley: Navratilova, Novotna
 

R. Schweikart

Professional
FOREHAND:
Federer for how natural the shot was. He hits it with such ease, yet it’s so deadly; on a top of it all a gorgeous stroke.
Stosur, I love the quick wrist action that results in great disguise, pace, depth and that nadalesque spin which gives the ball an unpredictable trajectory and hard to control bounce. Beautiful, compact, fierce shot.
Sampras’s running forehand( ka-boom!).
Nadal’s (in)famous banana passing shot on the run.

BACKHAND:
Henin, Gasquet(Basically, what I said about Federer’s forehand applies to those two)
Nalbandian. It’s just so good – powerful attacks, redirecting the ball so well, creating amazing angles, crosscourt, down the line, lobs, drops... all-around excellence, plus it was nice to look at.

SLICE:
Graf. It was so sharp, went super low and deep. A mean shot.
Federer, he places it so well, rarely misses and again he does it so (seemingly)easily.
Dologopolov, for its astounding spin.

SERVE:
Sampras, the first serve was a killer, just boom out of nowhere, superb disguise, perfect placement, great speed. Then the second was even more impressive, and the service motion is marvelous.
Serena for coming up with the right serve at the right time.

VOLLEYS:
McEnroe, his feel for the ball at the net was just unbelievable.
Edberg, so accurate and elegant when volleying.
Navratilova, that backhand volley was insanely good.
You forgot someone in your "forehand" department.
 

Rosstour

Legend
Fed is the most 'different' guy I've ever watched live. The dude was a cheat code unto himself. He knew where every ball was going and put them away effortlessly. No one else has ever looked like that, not even Djok-or-'dal.
 

R. Schweikart

Professional
I didn't think you knew.
You wrote about Stosur:
" I love the quick wrist action that results in great disguise, pace, depth and that nadalesque spin which gives the ball an unpredictable trajectory and hard to control bounce. Beautiful, compact, fierce shot."

A player with a 57.5 career winning percentage can't have a great forehand.
Unless we want to dilute the meaning of "great" into something unrecognizable.

But you are free to be impressed of course.
However - more than by Fräulein Forehand's forehand....?
 

skaj

Legend
You wrote about Stosur:
" I love the quick wrist action that results in great disguise, pace, depth and that nadalesque spin which gives the ball an unpredictable trajectory and hard to control bounce. Beautiful, compact, fierce shot."

A player with a 57.5 career winning percentage can't have a great forehand.
Unless we want to dilute the meaning of "great" into something unrecognizable.

But you are free to be impressed of course.
However - more than by Fräulein Forehand's forehand....?
Maybe in a head of a person who for some reason refuses to think, it can't. In reality it, of course, can.

Yes, I wrote that(without the odd underline though), I remember it well.

And yes, more than Graf's forehand which from this perspective, 30+ years, several other as good forehands and numerous improvements overall in the WTA later is not as impressive as it used to be.
 

R. Schweikart

Professional
Maybe in a head of a person who for some reason refuses to think, it can't. In reality it, of course, can.

Yes, I wrote that(without the odd underline though), I remember it well.

And yes, more than Graf's forehand which from this perspective, 30+ years, several other as good forehands and numerous improvements overall in the WTA later is not as impressive as it used to be.

:-D

Players like Graf and others of the 80s and 90s were technically so much better tennis players than the Stosurs of today it isn't pretty.
What do you think a young Steffi's forehand combined with modern racquet and string technology would do to today's top players?
Right, she would murder them.
Kimiko Date said it, Andrea Petkovic admitted it. Both know Steffi, have played against her or at least practiced with her.

I
 

skaj

Legend
:-D

Players like Graf and others of the 80s and 90s were technically so much better tennis players than the Stosurs of today it isn't pretty.
What do you think a young Steffi's forehand combined with modern racquet and string technology would do to today's top players?
Right, she would murder them.
Kimiko Date said it, Andrea Petkovic admitted it. Both know Steffi, have played against her or at least practiced with her.

I
I don't know what the idea of players in the 80s and 90s being "so much better tennis players than Stosurs of today" has to do with what we've been discussing.

As for the today's players if you are talking about prime Graf, she would win against them most of the time probably, the field today is terrible. Again I don't know what does that have to do with what we are discussing. Nor do I know what Kimiko Date and Graf's compatriot mentioned "admitted".

Even more do I not know why are you constantly posting hysterical emojis to posts that are not funny at all.

All in all, your posts here don't make much sense, perhaps you should think a bit more before you write. They seem like a bunch of digressions, and we shouldn't waste time on those.
 

R. Schweikart

Professional
...
All in all, your posts here don't make much sense, perhaps you should think a bit more before you write. They seem like a bunch of digressions, and we shouldn't waste time on those.
That from someone who thinks Stosur or some other players of today have a greater forehand than Steffi is really funny.
 

skaj

Legend
That from someone who thinks Stosur or some other players of today have a greater forehand than Steffi is really funny.
Again, thinking that something that isn't funny is funny, poor logic behind conclusions(or intentional fabricating, I'm not sure), plus ad hominem comments in the lack of arguments...
 

skaj

Legend
You are funny because you accuse people of things you do yourself.
Yes, that's exactly what I was talking about in my last two posts - nothing funny about that, I do not do that, you can't find an example of me doing that, and you are again talking about me in your post instead of the topic of the thread/discussion.

So, again, please lets get back to the topic, your digressions are highly unnecessary.
 

R. Schweikart

Professional
Yes, that's exactly what I was talking about in my last two posts - nothing funny about that, I do not do that, you can't find an example of me doing that, and you are again talking about me in your post instead of the topic of the thread/discussion.
...
Talking about me in your posts instead of the topic is exactly what you are doing here in this thread.
And that is funny!
 

skaj

Legend
Talking about me in your posts instead of the topic is exactly what you are doing here in this thread.
And that is funny!
Nope. As I said, and I will quote myself " you can't find an example of me doing that ".

And yet again, and I will quote myself from my last post here too: " please lets get back to the topic ".
 

skaj

Legend
Here are a few examples:
Posts #165, #167, #169, #171.

Which is really funny!
Nope, those are not examples of ad hominem comments. Those are comments about your posts, about what you have said, not about you.
#165 comment on your " A player with a 57.5 career winning percentage can't have a great forehand. " (= it's illogical, the idea).
# 167 expressing my wonderment regarding your posts, suggesting what you should do - you should think more before you write and not write any more digression, so we wouldn't waste more time on illogical ideas and digressions.
#169 talking about your post, not you
# 171 again, talking about your post, what you wrote, not you.

I hope it is clear now.

I am not interested in you personally what so ever, I just respond to what you write.

Now can you please get back to the topic of tennis.
 

R. Schweikart

Professional
Nope, those are not examples of ad hominem comments. Those are comments about your posts, about what you have said, not about you.
#165 comment on your " A player with a 57.5 career winning percentage can't have a great forehand. " (= it's illogical, the idea).
# 167 expressing my wonderment regarding your posts, suggesting what you should do - you should think more before you write and not write any more digression, so we wouldn't waste more time on illogical ideas and digressions.
#169 talking about your post, not you
# 171 again, talking about your post, what you wrote, not you.
...
#165:
“Maybe in a head of a person who for some reason refuses to think…“

#167:
“…do I not know why are you constantly posting hysterical emojis…“
“…perhaps you should think a bit more before you write…“

#169:
“…poor logic behind conclusions(or intentional fabricating, I'm not sure)…“

#171:
“And yet again, poor logic, ad hominem,…“

:laughing:
 

Antónis

Professional
Fed is the most 'different' guy I've ever watched live. The dude was a cheat code unto himself. He knew where every ball was going and put them away effortlessly. No one else has ever looked like that, not even Djok-or-'dal.
The "thing" with him (and I saw him live too) starts with very fast and light with his feet. He moved effortless, and he reach the ball very early.
And he has very good hands, and the combination of both is what makes him better than most players
His FH is (or was) one of the best ever, period.
His serve is great (a bit lower level compared to Sampras, who had the best serve ever, at least for me), and he kills it if he runs around the BH
Very impressive, and I never was a fan of him
 
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