Which pro has/had the heaviest strokes?

What is heavy?

In this context I define heavy as:
  • the mix of spin and pace
  • a ball that makes you unconfortable / pushes you back (even if not perfect length)
I've once read an article where an ex pro said that against fed he always felt uncomfortable (like his balls jumped uncomortable) while Rafa was more about spin "only" and Djokovic more about movement and accuracy.
Unfortunately I cant find that article anymore.

edit:
One of my teammates also has something of that. The ball comes... u think u are in position, then its bounces and jumpes off and then suddenly you are late.

What do you think?
 

Tao69

Rookie
What is heavy?

In this context I define heavy as:
  • the mix of spin and pace
  • a ball that makes you unconfortable / pushes you back (even if not perfect length)
I've once read an article where an ex pro said that against fed he always felt uncomfortable (like his balls jumped uncomortable) while Rafa was more about spin "only" and Djokovic more about movement and accuracy.
Unfortunately I cant find that article anymore.

What do you think?
I’m thinking Del Potro, flat and heavy, his pace would just keep your timing under pressure.
 

RaulRamirez

Hall of Fame
Those that come to mind as far as hitting "heavy" - though different - are Rafa, Thiem and Stan.

Per The Big 3, I've read or heard it expressed that Federer takes away his opponent's time, while Rafa and Novak take away his space.
 
What is heavy?

In this context I define heavy as:
  • the mix of spin and pace
  • a ball that makes you unconfortable / pushes you back (even if not perfect length)
I've once read an article where an ex pro said that against fed he always felt uncomfortable (like his balls jumped uncomortable) while Rafa was more about spin "only" and Djokovic more about movement and accuracy.
Unfortunately I cant find that article anymore.

edit:
One of my teammates also has something of that. The ball comes... u think u are in position, then its bounces and jumpes off and then suddenly you are late.

What do you think?
Nadal's forehand is far from being only about spin. If that was the case, Jack Sock's would be better.

What you describe is what a deep forehand by Nadal must feel like on clay.
 

zill

Professional
Those that come to mind as far as hitting "heavy" - though different - are Rafa, Thiem and Stan.

Per The Big 3, I've read or heard it expressed that Federer takes away his opponent's time, while Rafa and Novak take away his space.
Stan's shots are heavier than Thiem's simply because Stan has outhit Djokovic on many accessions but Thiem has failed to do so consistently in any matches.
 

hurworld

Hall of Fame
We need some sort of tech like Playsight to show ball pace + RPM to determine heaviness. Is 50/50 a good weightage to give to both categories?
 
We need some sort of tech like Playsight to show ball pace + RPM to determine heaviness. Is 50/50 a good weightage to give to both categories?
cause for me heavy is when you are in position, but still get uncomfortable...
we should measure how fast, how high, (how far), the ball bounces.
so I wouldnt measure spin and pace but whats happening after the bounce.

also in my own experience, some players u see that the ball is heavy so u can prepare for it. but there are others where I dont see it and thats what causing the suprise... missjudging the ball
 

DRII

G.O.A.T.
Stan's shots are heavier than Thiem's simply because Stan has outhit Djokovic on many accessions but Thiem has failed to do so consistently in any matches.
maybe on avg, but not at the limits.

Wawrinka is mainly much more efficient than Thiem and takes the ball earlier.

Thiem has bigger shots when he's allowed to set up.
 

mightyrick

Legend
Heaviness being defined as high pace and high spin, then it has to be Jack Sock and Rafael Nadal.

Guys like Del Potro and Soderling hit pure flat pace. Sure there is some spin, but they beat you with trajectory and pace -- which takes away time -- not spin.
 

The Blond Blur

Professional
When asked this question most pros instantly say Nadal's name first, so I'll go with him. Fed in his prime is up there, Delpo, Wawa, Dasco, Thiem, Soderling, Berdy, and Gonzo (at least on the forehand side).
 

Cup8489

G.O.A.T.
Heaviness being defined as high pace and high spin, then it has to be Jack Sock and Rafael Nadal.

Guys like Del Potro and Soderling hit pure flat pace. Sure there is some spin, but they beat you with trajectory and pace -- which takes away time -- not spin.
Soderling definitely hit with a good amount of spin too. Watch some of his highlights... the ball is fast but drops quickly. It's a driving topspin shot he hits.
 

mightyrick

Legend
Soderling definitely hit with a good amount of spin too. Watch some of his highlights... the ball is fast but drops quickly. It's a driving topspin shot he hits.
Everyone hits with topspin. Even old school guys with continental grips hit with topspin. But Del Potro and Soderling are nowhere near the spin department of Sock and Nadal.

The drop on Soderling and Del Potro's shots is due primarily to trajectory. Soderling was 6'4" and Del Potro is 6'6". Taller guys with bigger wingspans get more net clearance due to high-contact point and inherently and a very advantageous trajectory. They simply don't need as much spin.

It's kind of like what Brad Gilbert says about John Isner's serving. "You can't teach 6-foot-10".
 

skaj

Hall of Fame
I would add Safin and Agassi; more recently Khachanov.

For women the Williamses, Stosur, Pierce.
 

Rafa4GOAT

Rookie
Tsitsipas after being destroyed by Rafa at the Australian Open:
“He gives you no rhythm. He plays just a different game style than the rest of the players. He has this, I don't know, talent that no other player has. I've never seen a player have this. He makes you play bad."
 
Last edited:

tennishabit

Hall of Fame
What is heavy?

In this context I define heavy as:
  • the mix of spin and pace
  • a ball that makes you unconfortable / pushes you back (even if not perfect length)
I've once read an article where an ex pro said that against fed he always felt uncomfortable (like his balls jumped uncomortable) while Rafa was more about spin "only" and Djokovic more about movement and accuracy.
Unfortunately I cant find that article anymore.

edit:
One of my teammates also has something of that. The ball comes... u think u are in position, then its bounces and jumpes off and then suddenly you are late.

What do you think?
any1 got detailed or everage stat. in terms of the 'hardware' spec of their weapons re. let's say top atp 100's fh/bh:?))
1. km/h
2. rpm
3. cep (circular error probable)

well, 'software' maybe >70% for winning/success as it's multi-dimensional n can hardly be measured/quantified by 1-dimensional number:love::love::love::love::love::love::love:........................
 
Last edited:

Jaitock1991

Hall of Fame
Soderling definitely hit with a good amount of spin too. Watch some of his highlights... the ball is fast but drops quickly. It's a driving topspin shot he hits.
As someone who has watched him live, I can attest to this. Unreal power, and his forehand shots definitely kicks up a lot compared to the other guys I've watched on the same court. Definitely one of the heaviest hitters over the last 20 years.
 

Zoid

Professional
well I think Shapovalov has the fastest average groundstroke speed on tour on both forehand and backhand at the moment, so he would be up there becuase he certainly gives the backhand a heavy dose of spin. My picks for their whole game in no particular order;
Rafa
thiem
stan
soderling

particular shots;
Sock forehand
Fed forehand
verdasco forehand
delpo forehand for sheer speed
gasquet backhand
Roddick second serve
 

Roddick85

Hall of Fame
I think we shouldn't mistake RPM and speed for "heavyness", it's a mix of both. When I think of heavy strokes, I think of a shot that truly destabilizes the opponent or forces him to back away from the baseline to defend.
With that being said, on the current tour, my top pick would be Thiem, Wawrinka and then perhaps Nadal, Del Potro when he's in form and not holding back. I never really followed Soderling much back when he was active, so he's not in my list, but when I think of past players, Agassi was definitely one who could slug it out from both wings, Sampras on serve and forehand is definitely up there as well I think. I also can't forget the "prime" version of Federer who had very big ground strokes back in the days as opposed to today.
 

Fabresque

Professional
Khachanov and Rublev hit very heavy groundstrokes. In contrast to their peer Medvedev.

Basilashvili is a good one. Isner, Delpo, and Soderling are all mentioned for good reason.

One I saw was Cilic. I don’t think he’s a heavy hitter just really aggressive off anything you give him.

Nadal has a very heavy forehand. Jack Sock is another one.

Wawrinka for sure. He’s one of the only guys on tour who can hit through Djokovic, not a small feat.
 
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