Where does the Sampras forehand rank?

SaintPetros

Hall of Fame
Obviously each generation has conditions that make a certain style relevant, but I believe this extends down to stroke mechanics as well e.g. Rafa's forehand being GOATworthy now but probably attackable off clay in the 90s. So among all-time greats from all eras how would Pete's forehand fare during the generations of those greats (e.g. Laver's time, Connors, Connors/Borg/Mac etc.) given the tech of the time?


MAJOR MAJOR CLARIFICATION QUESTION:
how do you think it does in 60s, 70s, 80s and modern times? does it look different/change mechanically and if so how?
 
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NatF

Bionic Poster
GOAT running forehand. Great shot in general but probably tier 2 overall, below the GOAT shots like Fed, Nadal, Lendl etc...I'd put it beneath Agassi's from that era.
 

SamprasisGOAT

Professional
This thread is not about the greatest baseline game or greatest movement or the greatest ground strokes overall.

It’s about one shot.
The forehand.

Pete Sampras has the greatest forehand of all time.
Now that’s Not a sentence you here on these forums and I’m sure this will be a controversial thread but anyway back to petes forehand.
He’s got the greatest forehand of all times. It’s a fact. The human eye can judge it alone. Nothing else is needed really to make the judgment. He could do anything he wanted to do with it. Blast winners or dictate play. Go for it or be patient. The flatness, heaviness and adaptability is what makes it stand out.
Sampras copied lendls forehand stroke mechanics because Lendl was the player Sampras rooted for over McEnroe and Connors in the 80s as a kid. He also trained with Lendl in 1988 for a month.
Lendl and Sampras both had the pointed elbow preparation and that’s what gave them power and control on the forehand.
Basically Pete took lendls forehand and bettered it. Used it in a different way. With petes blood condition and his lack of stamina training/bad diet he used his forehand to hit clean winners instead of dictate points and moving his opponent around like Lendl did on clay. But Sampras and Lendl have forehands that were very similar in mechanics and technique. Sampras if he had the stamina and movement could easily have won the French open with his forehand alone. But he couldn’t move to well on clay and wasn’t fit enough.
Look at the agassi matches with Sampras. Agassi always went to petes backhand side because agassi knew the point was over if petes forehand was involved. A big compliment to Pete.
A shot to pieces Agassi in 2005 was out hitting a prime Federer forehand to forehand. Only 3 years earlier Sampras had blasted Andre off the court with his forehand.
Agassi had an overall better ground game then Sampras. But forehand to forehand Sampras clearly wins.
Many players have better overall ground games and baseline games then Sampras and would probably win most matches overall if Sampras always stayed back and rallied with them. That’s why Sampras wasn’t a pure baseliner and stuck to his serve and volley in most big matches.
Better baseliners and overall ground games were
Lendl
Djokovic
Federer
Nadal
Borg
Agassi
Connors
Wilander
hell even safin and Hewitt and Murray and wawrinka but none had a better forehand.
 

timnz

Legend
Basically it comes down to this. Sampras had the better forehand running to the right and Federer has the superior inside out forehand
 

SaintPetros

Hall of Fame
GOAT running forehand. Great shot in general but probably tier 2 overall, below the GOAT shots like Fed, Nadal, Lendl etc...I'd put it beneath Agassi's from that era.
how do you think it does in 60s, 70s, 80s and modern times? does it look different/change mechanically and if so how?
 

SaintPetros

Hall of Fame
This threads been done many many times. Most recently by me and it was a 6 pager
preciate the effort but this thread is about his forehand's rank AND how it would fare & take form in each era. So it's more about the spirit of the shot and how it would manifest through time rather than just the shot we know n love
 

SaintPetros

Hall of Fame
Basically it comes down to this. Sampras had the better forehand running to the right and Federer has the superior inside out forehand
'greed but I'd say Pete's forehand is bigger on the forehand side in general while Fed, coming from the European inside out fh mindset has the better fhand on the backhand side.
 

Chadalina

Legend
Obviously each generation has conditions that make a certain style relevant, but I believe this extends down to stroke mechanics as well e.g. Rafa's forehand being GOATworthy now but probably attackable off clay in the 90s. So among all-time greats from all eras how would Pete's forehand fare during the generations of those greats (e.g. Laver's time, Connors, Connors/Borg/Mac etc.) given the tech of the time?


MAJOR MAJOR CLARIFICATION QUESTION:
how do you think it does in 60s, 70s, 80s and modern times? does it look different/change mechanically and if so how?
Ppl dont realize pete used a 15oz racket and still made the prep work. He was never pushed back off that side and hit a super heavy ball.

Fed and other players need the open court for their fh to be effective, pete could hit right to you and put on your heels.

Del po fh is good but it would of been way too clunky on the surface speed petros played on.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
how do you think it does in 60s, 70s, 80s and modern times? does it look different/change mechanically and if so how?
Well Pete turned pro in the 80's so I imagine his forehand would be fine then, probably a bit different with wood but I haven't got a clear grasp on forehand technique in those older decades to say how. I imagine his mindset off that side would translate quite nicely across era's.

Also what makes it tier 2? Consistency????
Yeah I think it's consistency was a bit lesser than the tier one forehands, also it was top tier in terms of generating pace but not so much in terms of creating angles and spin (some of that is the strings, some of that is the technique). So a bit of consistency and a bit of versatility lacking compared to the absolute best. On a good day he could match anyone.
 

SaintPetros

Hall of Fame
Well Pete turned pro in the 80's so I imagine his forehand would be fine then, probably a bit different with wood but I haven't got a clear grasp on forehand technique in those older decades to say how. I imagine his mindset off that side would translate quite nicely across era's.



Yeah I think it's consistency was a bit lesser than the tier one forehands, also it was top tier in terms of generating pace but not so much in terms of creating angles and spin (some of that is the strings, some of that is the technique). So a bit of consistency and a bit of versatility lacking compared to the absolute best. On a good day he could match anyone.
Was consistency that important in his decade tho? Seems like aside from the essentials of being able to keep a rally goin the ability to construct a point wasn't richly rewarded hence Pete's point destructive nature as opposed to someone like Fed who's constructive

Also IMO Pete's BEST forehand was the screamer cross court/up the middle, just because of it's sheer pace
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
Was consistency that important in his decade tho? Seems like aside from the essentials of being able to keep a rally goin the ability to construct a point wasn't richly rewarded hence Pete's point destructive nature as opposed to someone like Fed who's constructive

Also IMO Pete's BEST forehand was the screamer cross court/up the middle, just because of it's sheer pace
Might have had more success at the AO and FO with more consistency or should I say patience- not that it was really his forehand that let him down there. Obviously at his peak it worked for Wimbledon and the USO.
 

Eren

Professional
This one is difficult with the way you state it. I have no idea how Federer's FH would look like with a 80s or a 70s racket. For Nadal it's even more vague, no way in hell he would be able to generate so much spin with an old racket.

My hunch is the following. Both Federer and Sampras hit flat forehands (at least that's what they prefer). Flat forehands are possible to hit with 60s 70s 80s 90s rackets. So Sampras's FH should be good enough in any era. Same goes for Fed's but he would lose power with an 60s 70s 80s racket just like Sampras would lose some power with an older racket.

With the rackets from 00s, I'd say Sampras's FH would be very lethal, second only to Fed's. Sampras would have had a better running FH than Fed's for obvious reasons though.
 

SaintPetros

Hall of Fame
Might have had more success at the AO and FO with more consistency or should I say patience- not that it was really his forehand that let him down there. Obviously at his peak it worked for Wimbledon and the USO.
true...tho I think his lack of commitment to conditioning was what really screwed him over at FO **smh**
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
true...tho I think his lack of commitment to conditioning was what really screwed him over at FO **smh**
He didn't have the movement down IMO. Wasn't comfortable sliding. I think he also wanted to beat dirtballers at their own game sometimes e.g. from the baseline, which was a mistake with his stamina across a whole tournament lol.
 

SaintPetros

Hall of Fame
He didn't have the movement down IMO. Wasn't comfortable sliding. I think he also wanted to beat dirtballers at their own game sometimes e.g. from the baseline, which was a mistake with his stamina across a whole tournament lol.
also true...the stubborn quality that accompanies GOATness *smh* Fed suffered a similar issue on clay (regarding stubbornness) with wanting to just win from the baseline 'til '09 when he incorporated the drop-shot which IMO was the reason he got the French that year.
 

ReeceSachs

Hall of Fame
also true...the stubborn quality that accompanies GOATness *smh* Fed suffered a similar issue on clay (regarding stubbornness) with wanting to just win from the baseline 'til '09 when he incorporated the drop-shot which IMO was the reason he got the French that year.
He tried net rushing/SUV in 08 and it did not work. He was well below par anyway.
2007 he went big on his backhand topspin and drive but his forehand let him down. Amazing defending and rallying.
2006 went big on FH but the BH let him down. Did try to trade here though and Nadal destroyed him on BH side.
2005 was Federer playing more all court tennis. Missed his chances when it looked like he take in 5 though.
He did try different things it is just hard to hold it vs Nadal in his peak.
 

SaintPetros

Hall of Fame
He tried net rushing/SUV in 08 and it did not work
2007 he went big on his backhand topspin and drive but his forehand let him down
2006 went big on FH but the BH let him down
2005 was Federer playing more all court tennis
He did try different things it is just hard to hold it vs Nadal in his peak.
08 was desperation...never gonna work v a great, let alone Nadal in his kingdom
05/06/07 were minor variations that were still Fed staying fundamentally in his comfort zone of getting backed up when Nadal went to his backhand and trying to bail himself out with the humongous forehand
09 was different for two reasons - first and most important - he DIDN'T play Nadal, second - he played with way more baseline variety mixing up pace, spins etc. even on serve and incorporating the drop shot so as not to extend baseline rallies. He tries power baselining against Delpo or Soderling that year and he doesn't make it past the semis - IMO

If we could transport 2017 Fed's backhand and attach it to 2006 Fed's body w/its confidence and pit him against Bull...things get interesting
 

Eren

Professional
08 was desperation...never gonna work v a great, let alone Nadal in his kingdom
05/06/07 were minor variations that were still Fed staying fundamentally in his comfort zone of getting backed up when Nadal went to his backhand and trying to bail himself out with the humongous forehand
09 was different for two reasons - first and most important - he DIDN'T play Nadal, second - he played with way more baseline variety mixing up pace, spins etc. even on serve and incorporating the drop shot so as not to extend baseline rallies. He tries power baselining against Delpo or Soderling that year and he doesn't make it past the semis - IMO

If we could transport 2017 Fed's backhand and attach it to 2006 Fed's body w/its confidence and pit him against Bull...things get interesting
Nadal would still win in 4-5 lol. I have yet to see a one-hander that does not break down against Nadal on clay at RG, let alone against Peak Nadal on clay at RG. Even Wawrinka's BH crumbeld. Hell, even Djokovic's BH has a lot of trouble on PC against Nadal.

Attach Djokovic's BH, Fed's peak FH and perhaps we're on to something. But that guy in unbeatable from the SF: 24-0 says it all.
 

SaintPetros

Hall of Fame
Nadal would still win in 4-5 lol. I have yet to see a one-hander that does not break down against Nadal on clay at RG, let alone against Peak Nadal on clay at RG. Even Wawrinka's BH crumbeld. Hell, even Djokovic's BH has a lot of trouble on PC against Nadal.

Attach Djokovic's BH, Fed's peak FH and perhaps we're on to something. But that guy in unbeatable from the SF: 24-0 says it all.
even getting Nadal to 5 would have done worlds for Fed's confidence
 

King No1e

Legend
It's one of the best ever. His running crosscourt forehand was extraordinary. I'd say #5 behind:
1. Nadal
2. Federer
3. Lendl
4. Verdasco
5. PETE

And yes, I would put Verdasco at #4. His FH is practically the lefty version of Fed's.
 
Nadal would still win in 4-5 lol. I have yet to see a one-hander that does not break down against Nadal on clay at RG, let alone against Peak Nadal on clay at RG. Even Wawrinka's BH crumbeld. Hell, even Djokovic's BH has a lot of trouble on PC against Nadal.

Attach Djokovic's BH, Fed's peak FH and perhaps we're on to something. But that guy in unbeatable from the SF: 24-0 says it all.
Hilarious how the Sampras fans will embrace alternative facts to hold on to some vague and extremely subjective notion of GOAT-dom. Nobody said being stubborn made you the GOAT. It didn't help Graf and it didn't help Sampras either. And if Fed hadn't been open to trying different things, 2017 would have never happened and he would have already been passed by Nadal. Who of course also caught up with him by letting go of stubbornness under Moya.
 

Heuristic

Hall of Fame
Well Pete turned pro in the 80's so I imagine his forehand would be fine then, probably a bit different with wood but I haven't got a clear grasp on forehand technique in those older decades to say how. I imagine his mindset off that side would translate quite nicely across era's.



Yeah I think it's consistency was a bit lesser than the tier one forehands, also it was top tier in terms of generating pace but not so much in terms of creating angles and spin (some of that is the strings, some of that is the technique). So a bit of consistency and a bit of versatility lacking compared to the absolute best. On a good day he could match anyone.
When he was a baseliner. It was not a top shot by modern standards when he became a full time serve and volleyer
 

flanker2000fr

Professional
One of the best ever running forehand, and probably in the top 10 overall.

If I had to build a perfect forehand, it would be Lendl's if played static, and Sampras' if played on the run.
 

flanker2000fr

Professional
Oh common.
Try hitting with a 13.7 oz, 75 sq. in. racquet strung with gut, and then we'll talk. I'm pretty sure that, had he played with modern frames strung with poly, it would have been even more impressive, and certainly would have imparted more spin.

Sampras' forehand would have benefited from this, too, especially the strings. Both him and Lendl had to string natural gut stupidly high (72 lbs+) to keep control of the ball. Given the inherent stiffness of the poly, and its snap back properties, their forehands would have been even more devastating.
 

droliver

Professional
This is ridiculous that this topic keeps being revived. Sampras is nowhere near the discussion of best forehands of all time, and people completely misunderstand how serve dominant a player he was. He had a good forehand that complimented his style, but was not the kind of shot that competes with the best of the best. With an average serve and having to rely on that forehand to win, he would have been a second tier player.
 

SaintPetros

Hall of Fame
This is ridiculous that this topic keeps being revived. Sampras is nowhere near the discussion of best forehands of all time, and people completely misunderstand how serve dominant a player he was. He had a good forehand that complimented his style, but was not the kind of shot that competes with the best of the best. With an average serve and having to rely on that forehand to win, he would have been a second tier player.
try again, it was a bigger forehand than Andre's and the reason he could win key points from the baseline against him
 

SaintPetros

Hall of Fame
It's one of the best ever. His running crosscourt forehand was extraordinary. I'd say #5 behind:
1. Nadal
2. Federer
3. Lendl
4. Verdasco
5. PETE

And yes, I would put Verdasco at #4. His FH is practically the lefty version of Fed's.
switch pete & verdasco and you got a deal
 

mightyrick

Legend
Sampras' forehand is definitely Top 5 in the Open Era. The greatest running forehand of all time for sure, but he also was the originator of the "banana" forehand. The only guy who hits the running banana forehand better than Sampras is Nadal.
 

Oval_Solid

New User
if u say sampras had the best forehand in tennis u wouldnt be wrong
basically sampras forehand came from his racket meaning that if he used some other rackets unless it was extremely similar to the 6.0 85 he wouldnt be able to pull off his forehand
his forehand is like this weird point ending shot but hes able to pull it off even though it extremely low percentage (it is clearing the net only by a few inches) his running forehand is a deadly shot but he can go cross court or up the line, this is only possible with the racket he uses, federer nadal and djokovic can only hit up the line when stretch out wide (maybe they can but just decide not to because it not the right shot so i could be wrong) but sampras would do it on a regular basis
as for the era question if sampras had to play with a wooden racket it would definitely drop the level of his forehand or if he played with a light wide body racket his forehand wouldnt be effective if he used the same mechanics
 

SaintPetros

Hall of Fame
Hilarious how the Sampras fans will embrace alternative facts to hold on to some vague and extremely subjective notion of GOAT-dom. Nobody said being stubborn made you the GOAT. It didn't help Graf and it didn't help Sampras either. And if Fed hadn't been open to trying different things, 2017 would have never happened and he would have already been passed by Nadal. Who of course also caught up with him by letting go of stubbornness under Moya.
being GOAT of your generation is the first step to being overall GOAT tho
 

SaintPetros

Hall of Fame
This is ridiculous that this topic keeps being revived. Sampras is nowhere near the discussion of best forehands of all time, and people completely misunderstand how serve dominant a player he was. He had a good forehand that complimented his style, but was not the kind of shot that competes with the best of the best. With an average serve and having to rely on that forehand to win, he would have been a second tier player.
Fed would also be a second tier player with an average serve lmao
 

Heuristic

Hall of Fame
give him a woodie, aluminum & bazooka frame against the competition and how does that affect the stroke and its mechanics
I don't know. I do know that his FH technique got worse in the second half of his career despite keeping the same racket, so I suspect he simply didn't practice it as much and didn't time the ball like he used to
 
being GOAT of your generation is the first step to being overall GOAT tho
Again, the same lie you guys keep spouting. Fed is five years older than Nadalovic, how would he be of their generation? New players have raised the bar and surpassed the achievements of their predecessors in tennis. Um, just as Fed shaded Sampras. So I am not worried about Nadalovic surprassing him if and when they do. However, it speaks volumes of Sampras fans' insecurity that you guys latch onto two players who don't resemble Sampras style at all and hold a grudge against the one who is the closest to being his successor. I mean, you guys force me to refer to Sampras fans in third person as if I am not part of that group. I loved Sampras back in the day and I don't get the pettiness of you guys at all. Lol how funny to go through life feeling bitter some player surpassed another player's records.
 
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arvind13

Professional
I don't know. I do know that his FH technique got worse in the second half of his career despite keeping the same racket, so I suspect he simply didn't practice it as much and didn't time the ball like he used to
I don't think it got worse. half of his 14 majors were won during the second half of his career. even the last year and a half of his career, when he was struggling, it was his backhand and movement that had deteriorated not his forehand.
 

Flash O'Groove

Hall of Fame
Sampras's forehand is without a doubt one of the best american forehand of recent time. Top 5. Only Roddick, Agassi, Courier and Blake had better forehand.

(and Sock, I forgot Sock). So top 6.
 
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