Who has the best forehand in the ATP tour?

Who has the best forehand in the ATP tour?


  • Total voters
    138
I would choose Rafa
1-he is the best with the forehand passing shot (1 point)
2-he and Rog have the best forehand overal (0,5 point)
3-he has the best topspin forehand (1 point)
4-he does not make allot of mistakes with it (1 point)

For fed
1-he has a great forehand passing shot, but not the best (0,5 point)
2-he and Rafa have the best forehand overal (0,5 point)
3-he is the only one who can hit his forehand topspin as well as he can hit it flat (1 point)
4-he does not make allot of mistakes with it but some time he just hits the frame to much ((0,5 point)

Winner
Rafa 3,5 out 4
Roger 2,5 out 4
 
Probably Federer because Nadal has some problems when people hit on that side with some decent power whilst Federer just absorbs it.

If it weren't for that, Nadal no doubt.
 

Lsmkenpo

Hall of Fame
Depends on playing style, if your trying to play offensively and hit winners prime Federer's forehand is the greatest shot in the history of the sport.

The perfect combination of speed and spin.
 

PSNELKE

Legend
Defends on the playing style you like/prefer:

If you likethe brute force, it got to be JMDP, this guy hits the ball incredibly hard with a great consistency, and somehow he manages to return even low bounced balls veery hard.

Nadal plays with amazing Top Spin, his FH isn´t error-prone at all, he knows how to move his opponent all over the court with the incredible accuracy and angled shots.

Fed´s Fh is like a combination of JMDP´s and Rafa´s FH imo.
Like Lsmkenpo said, he combines speed and spin perfectly.
His game is beautiful to watch but unfortunately seems to be pretty error-prone after the years, anyway I think this is due to some mental issues.

That´s why prefer Fed´s FH and why I voted for him on the poll.
 

junk

Semi-Pro
must be Fed's overall but on decline. JMDP's for brutal force. Nadal's curvy passing shots are always highlight material. voted for JMDP because it's got most potential for improvement
 

NamRanger

G.O.A.T.
Depends on playing style, if your trying to play offensively and hit winners prime Federer's forehand is the greatest shot in the history of the sport.

The perfect combination of speed and spin.

Federer's forehand has always been prone to errors. Although he deals with pace better than Nadal, if you can force him into a defensive position in his forehand corner, you'll find that it's actually a little bit easier to bully him off this side since he doesn't have a nasty slice to defend with from that corner.


Safin 2005, Nadal 2005 FO (when he didn't constantly pummel Federer's BH), various matches against Nalbandian, etc. were all pretty good examples of this. You had to hit the ball REALLY well though to do that.
 

Blue Cat

Banned
Federer's FH wing from 2003 - 2007 was arguably the greatest groundstroke the game has ever seen. It didn't break down, you couldn't pressure it and he could switch from defense to attack in a blink of an eye. The only reason it declined was pretty much because his footwork declined which has a heavy impact on his FH. Even still it's a top 3 FH. Yes it does leak errors time to time he's 29 for crying out loud.
 

Talker

Hall of Fame
Fed's always had the best forhand, but it has declined.
Right now it's Djokovic/Nadal.

Years ago you could just watch a Fed match and see countless amazing forhands.
Now it's only a few a match or none.
 
I ended up choosing Delpo although it was hard to choose between him and Nadal. What decided it for me was the amount of power that Delpo can create with it. Sure it is really flat and all but it is also hard as hell. I think players have the most fear towards hitting it to his forehand than anybody else.

If there was a player that had an exact mix between nadal's forehand and Delpo's than it would be unstoppable. Federers is the closest you can get to the mix but he is not quite as extreme in both directions of spin and power.

Oh and thank you for not putting Roddick on this list
 

Lsmkenpo

Hall of Fame
Watch this all the way through and there should be no doubt, not only the pure stroke but the footwork while hitting the forehand is phenomenal. Don't care who your favorite player is, it is hard to find any fault in the Federer
forehand. To me it is the best stroke in the history of the sport.

No one has ever been able to use such a conservative grip to hit through the ball yet achieve such a high rate of spin, the torque generated at contact with such a short hitting window is unique, and will probably never be duplicated.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOKptwpu--0
 
Last edited:

Lsmkenpo

Hall of Fame
Federers is the closest you can get to the mix but he is not quite as extreme in both directions of spin and power.
The only other top player on tour who hits with more avg. rpm of spin from the forehand side than Federer is Nadal.

So he does hit with extreme spin and also about 5-10 mph more avg pace.

Have you seen him hit in person, you can't pick up on TV how much action he puts on the ball along with pace, Nadal has great action too, but his ball doesn't penetrate the court like Federer.
 
Last edited:

li0scc0

Hall of Fame
Why is Gonzalez even listed in this poll?
Well, 6 times as many people (as of right now) have voted for Gonzalez as have voted for Djokovic, Soderling, or Berdych....
nobody hits a forehand harder than Gonzalez.
 

yellowoctopus

Professional
I would choose Rafa
1-he is the best with the forehand passing shot (1 point)
2-he and Rog have the best forehand overal (0,5 point)
3-he has the best topspin forehand (1 point)
4-he does not make allot of mistakes with it (1 point)
5-best forehand defensive shots (1 point)
7-most unique [side] spin (1 point)
1-not 'the best' forehand passing shot (-0.5 point)
6-Injury-prone stroke mechanic (-1 point)


For fed
1-he has a great forehand passing shot, but not the best (0,5 point)
2-he and Rafa have the best forehand overal (0,5 point)
3-he is the only one who can hit his forehand topspin as well as he can hit it flat (1 point)
4-he does not make allot of mistakes with it but some time he just hits the frame to much ((0,5 point)
5-Most deceptive forehand in the game (1 point)
6-Best inside-out forehand (1 point)
7-Best inside-in forehand (1 point)
8-Best forehand lob in today's game, not all time (1 point)
4-he does not make allot of mistakes with it but some time he just hits the frame to much ((0,5 point) yup-Vulnerable in windy conditions.

I lost count but I think both are great. But if I have to recommend one to a young player, it would have to be that of Mr. Federer.

 

gamesetmats

New User
Federer forehand is the best shot in the history of tennis. Sampras' serve is maybe the only one that compares. People who tell otherwise have obviously not seen him play during his best periods or only remember the bad matches against rafa.
 
N

Neutron

Guest
Jeremy Chardy is the modern day Gonzales, he hit over 60 forehand winners against Dolgopolov today.

Probably the most aggressive forehand on tour.
 
I chose Fernando Gonzalez because that was what my eyes used to tell me when I saw him 10 years ago, even if it might not be true.

But I bring some info that might help us:

According to the Match Charting Project, which calculates (FHP) Forehand Potency this way: " (FHP) approximates the number of points whose outcomes were affected by the (forehand): add one point for a winner or an opponent’s forced error, subtract one for an unforced error, add a half-point for a (forehand) that set up a winner or opponent’s error on the following shot, and subtract a half-point for a (forehand) that set up a winning shot from the opponent"

Muster's appears to be one of the best forehands.

The list of forehands, (Higher FHP meaning better)

Player FHP
Bjorn Borg 12.9
Jimmy Connors 6.5
John McEnroe 2.0
Mats Wilander 7.2
Ivan Lendl 10.3
Stefan Edberg 1.9
Boris Becker 5.9
Jim Courier 13.3
Michael Stich 2.0
Michael Chang 9.7

Player FHP
Thomas Muster 18.4
Pete Sampras 6.3
Andre Agassi 13.0
Patrick Rafter 3.5
Carlos Moya 9.8
Lleyton Hewitt 10.0
Guillermo Coria 4.7
David Nalbandian 8.8
Nikolay Davydenko 7.2
Roger Federer 10.0

Player FHP
Rafael Nadal 15.3
Andy Murray 7.2
Novak Djokovic 11.3
Richard Gasquet 1.9
Stan Wawrinka 6.2
Kei Nishikori 5.4
Dominic Thiem 9.3
Alexander Zverev 3.6
Stefanos Tsitsipas 8.3

It appears to be that Nadal tends to win more points with his forehand than Federer with his.

The information was found here:
http://www.tennisabstract.com/blog/2019/07/01/net-play-has-declined-but-this-isnt-why/

The link also shows BHP, backhand potency, and obviously, the best backhand of the big three is Djoko's.
 

BeatlesFan

Talk Tennis Guru
Federer has the greatest forehand of all time. It shouldn’t be a question.
This is a great explanation of why Fed's FH is superior to Nadal's:

"If Nadal's is the most effective forehand, Federer's is probably the most spectacular and breathtaking. Federer is No. 1 here not because his is the most pacy forehand—there are plenty speedier forehands nowadays—but rather because it has proved one of the most versatile known to the sport, and has almost single-handedly encouraged the emergence of a generation of power-hitters.

It is hit with something of an Eastern grip, and is a simple, yet beautifully executed, shot. It is the work of his inhumanly flexible wrist, however, in generating all sorts of angles, that has made his forehand unique. Nadal's is slightly one-dimensional, and certainly utterly destructive for it; yet Federer can hit the cross-court rallyer and open up the down-the-line winner in an instant. Inside-in, or inside-out, Federer hits his forehand with a certain effortless purity. The half-volley, swinging volley or short-angled forehand—these are all well within his repertoire. It has been the variety of Federer's forehand which has earned him so many accolades over the years."

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/616272-top-shot-ranking-the-top-18-forehands-in-mens-tennis-2000-2010#slide18
 

Sport

Legend
Obviously, Nadal has the greatest forehand of all time. It is superior to Federer's one, which lacks the power of Nadal's one.

In fact, Federer's forehand is closer to Djokovic's one than to Nadal's one. Both Djokovic and Federer go for precission, rather than pure power in their forehand shots. Nadal's forehand is both powerful and precise.
 

Sport

Legend
Federer's best shot is the serve, not the forehand, as demonstrated by his much worse results on clay (the surface where the serve is less relevant). On grass (the surface where the serve is more relevant), Federer is the king, which illustrates how the serve is his main weapon.
 
I chose Fernando Gonzalez because that was what my eyes used to tell me when I saw him 10 years ago, even if it might not be true.

But I bring some info that might help us:

According to the Match Charting Project, which calculates (FHP) Forehand Potency this way: " (FHP) approximates the number of points whose outcomes were affected by the (forehand): add one point for a winner or an opponent’s forced error, subtract one for an unforced error, add a half-point for a (forehand) that set up a winner or opponent’s error on the following shot, and subtract a half-point for a (forehand) that set up a winning shot from the opponent"

Muster's appears to be one of the best forehands.

The list of forehands, (Higher FHP meaning better)

Player FHP
Bjorn Borg 12.9
Jimmy Connors 6.5
John McEnroe 2.0
Mats Wilander 7.2
Ivan Lendl 10.3
Stefan Edberg 1.9
Boris Becker 5.9
Jim Courier 13.3
Michael Stich 2.0
Michael Chang 9.7

Player FHP
Thomas Muster 18.4
Pete Sampras 6.3
Andre Agassi 13.0
Patrick Rafter 3.5
Carlos Moya 9.8
Lleyton Hewitt 10.0
Guillermo Coria 4.7
David Nalbandian 8.8
Nikolay Davydenko 7.2
Roger Federer 10.0

Player FHP
Rafael Nadal 15.3
Andy Murray 7.2
Novak Djokovic 11.3
Richard Gasquet 1.9
Stan Wawrinka 6.2
Kei Nishikori 5.4
Dominic Thiem 9.3
Alexander Zverev 3.6
Stefanos Tsitsipas 8.3

It appears to be that Nadal tends to win more points with his forehand than Federer with his.

The information was found here:
http://www.tennisabstract.com/blog/2019/07/01/net-play-has-declined-but-this-isnt-why/

The link also shows BHP, backhand potency, and obviously, the best backhand of the big three is Djoko's.
Borg, Connors, Agassi top 3 backhand potency on the list.
 
Obviously, all of this is subjective.

If by best you mean = wins more points
or if by best you mean = the shot is good, you like it more, it's subjectively more beautiful for you and the player is more popular.

It depends on your definition of 'best'
 
I chose Fernando Gonzalez because that was what my eyes used to tell me when I saw him 10 years ago, even if it might not be true.

But I bring some info that might help us:

According to the Match Charting Project, which calculates (FHP) Forehand Potency this way: " (FHP) approximates the number of points whose outcomes were affected by the (forehand): add one point for a winner or an opponent’s forced error, subtract one for an unforced error, add a half-point for a (forehand) that set up a winner or opponent’s error on the following shot, and subtract a half-point for a (forehand) that set up a winning shot from the opponent"

Muster's appears to be one of the best forehands.

The list of forehands, (Higher FHP meaning better)

Player FHP
Bjorn Borg 12.9
Jimmy Connors 6.5
John McEnroe 2.0
Mats Wilander 7.2
Ivan Lendl 10.3
Stefan Edberg 1.9
Boris Becker 5.9
Jim Courier 13.3
Michael Stich 2.0
Michael Chang 9.7

Player FHP
Thomas Muster 18.4
Pete Sampras 6.3
Andre Agassi 13.0
Patrick Rafter 3.5
Carlos Moya 9.8
Lleyton Hewitt 10.0
Guillermo Coria 4.7
David Nalbandian 8.8
Nikolay Davydenko 7.2
Roger Federer 10.0

Player FHP
Rafael Nadal 15.3
Andy Murray 7.2
Novak Djokovic 11.3
Richard Gasquet 1.9
Stan Wawrinka 6.2
Kei Nishikori 5.4
Dominic Thiem 9.3
Alexander Zverev 3.6
Stefanos Tsitsipas 8.3

It appears to be that Nadal tends to win more points with his forehand than Federer with his.

The information was found here:
http://www.tennisabstract.com/blog/2019/07/01/net-play-has-declined-but-this-isnt-why/

The link also shows BHP, backhand potency, and obviously, the best backhand of the big three is Djoko's.
Sorry I stopped reading after the Hewitt FH on par with Federer’s.
 

DjokoLand

Rookie
I’m a Djokovic fan and I don’t know why he is in the poll. His is solid all round but it doesn’t necessarily have power it’s just consistent. Also when he is not playing well it breaks down.

Overall I would take Fed and then Nadals on clay
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ann

Bhagi Katbamna

Hall of Fame
In the past I would say Federer easily because people couldn't rally with him. Nadal's forehand when it is on is better but there can be days where its off, sometimes it causes him to lose winnable matches. Djokovic's forehand isn't as good as Nadal or Federer but it doesn't break down that often and cause him to lose matches.
 

Jonesy

Rookie
Perhaps Federer's is flashy, but makes many more mistakes compared to Hewitt.
Even though i don't agree with this list i have to consider that Fedr forehand in the last 5 years or more may have brought any data on his forehand down. But any player would have the status on his forehand brought down considerably if they were to play so long in age like Federer is doing. That's why any isolated data must be appreciated with caution.
 

Jonesy

Rookie
In the past I would say Federer easily because people couldn't rally with him. Nadal's forehand when it is on is better but there can be days where its off, sometimes it causes him to lose winnable matches. Djokovic's forehand isn't as good as Nadal or Federer but it doesn't break down that often and cause him to lose matches.
The thing with Djokovic is that he doesn't rely so much on his forehand like Rafa and Fedr do (and many other players too), because he is extremely balanced on both wings. I have that as the reason on why he doesn't really break down so much on his forehand like others, when one wing is not doing good the other one can counterbalance his game. That being said, Djokovic is a very unique player and only few players can bring this feature up to such a high level.
 
Even though i don't agree with this list i have to consider that Fedr forehand in the last 5 years or more may have brought any data on his forehand down. But any player would have the status on his forehand brought down considerably if they were to play so long in age like Federer is doing. That's why any isolated data must be appreciated with caution.
In that case, if Hewitt retired when he was younger (I think when he was 35), Federer's forehand should be better, as the tie-breaker should be whose forehand maintained quality while aging.
 

Jonesy

Rookie
In that case, if Hewitt retired when he was younger (I think when he was 35), Federer's forehand should be better, as the tie-breaker should be whose forehand maintained quality while aging.
It would make sense in general for players to decay in certain aspects of their game with age depending on how far they would go in their career, but in the end it will depend on every individual case. For example Fedr had an absurdly good forehand in his peak years (maybe the best of all time in that period), but after age past thirties he just couldn't keep the same extremely high quality on that wing and it decayed to some bigger extent after each passing year until today.

On the other end Hewitt had a just good forehand (it was a great one but just for comparison with Fed lets keep at that) in his peak years that just didn't decayed that much in comparison to Fed with age because the level just wasn't that big to begin with (Hewitt had other aspects to his game that too made him elite in peak years that decayed much more).

Let's just say it's not black and white in my subjective view, but for data purposes that needs objective information you are right (as Hewitt retired in 2016).
 
It would make sense in general for players to decay in certain aspects of their game with age depending on how far they would go in their career, but in the end it will depend on every individual case. For example Fedr had an absurdly good forehand in his peak years (maybe the best of all time in that period), but after age past thirties he just couldn't keep the same extremely high quality on that wing and it decayed to some bigger extent after each passing year until today.

On the other end Hewitt had a just good forehand (it was a great one but just for comparison with Fed lets keep at that) in his peak years that just didn't decayed that much in comparison to Fed with age because the level just wasn't that big to begin with (Hewitt had other aspects to his game that too made him elite in peak years that decayed much more).

Let's just say it's not black and white in my subjective view, but for data purposes that needs objective information you are right (as Hewitt retired in 2016).
I never looked it like that.

So the question is if we have these two cases, player A who had an incredible shot before and now it's subpar, player B who had an 'averagely' good shot and now still has an 'averagely' good shot, and the data indicates they win and lose the same amount of points during their whole careers with that shot (assuming the data is right), who has the best shot? Player A or B? Is the answer philosophical?
 

Benjamin Rio

Professional
Obviously, Nadal has the greatest forehand of all time. It is superior to Federer's one, which lacks the power of Nadal's one.

In fact, Federer's forehand is closer to Djokovic's one than to Nadal's one. Both Djokovic and Federer go for precission, rather than pure power in their forehand shots. Nadal's forehand is both powerful and precise.
"Obviouly"....thar's why Novak went for Nadal's forehand at the AO final because it was too good obviously.
 

Jonesy

Rookie
I never looked it like that.

So the question is if we have these two cases, player A who had an incredible shot before and now it's subpar, player B who had an 'averagely' good shot and now still has an 'averagely' good shot, and the data indicates they win and lose the same amount of points during their whole careers with that shot (assuming the data is right), who has the best shot? Player A or B? Is the answer philosophical?
I think it will depend on a lot more factors, for example: against which players it was used against; in what stage it was used (grand slams); in what point of the matches it was used (a key moment in helping winning a match).

A player can win a ton of mickey mouse tournaments against low level players that can garner a lot of numbers of "positive data", for me that player will not have a better forehand than a player that used his forehand in crucial moments to win bigger matches in bigger tournaments using it to win crucial points against harder opponents, even though his numbers may be far lower than the first player because he won a lot less matches and tournaments in bigger stages against better opponents.

For me in tennis is never that simple that numbers can mean everything, just look at the deciding factors to win a match: it is not about who make more points in a match as a whole that decides who wins or not, it is who can win the especific crucial points that decides who wins a game, a set, and a match.

For example, someone wins the first two sets of a grand slam 6-0, 6-0, but ends up losing the next three sets 4-6, 4-6, 4-6. The player who lost the match made 24 games and the one who won the match made only 18 games. There are several other cases when you see the statistics post matches that the player who lost made several more points than the one who won the match.

In conclusion, in my opinion a tennis match is not only about how many points you win, it is too about imposing your will over your opponent to win the most important points of a match in its key moments. And that influences my opinion considerably when it comes to evaluate a forehand of a player in comparison to another player. But that doesn't mean that the data statistics aren't important to analize certains aspects of tennis, it just can't be taken isolated from all the multiple variables that contribute to the reality of the sport.
 
Last edited:
Top