who has the best groundstrokes of all time?

flying24

Banned
Federer's backhand isnt strong enough to say he had the best groundstrokes of all time. My choice would be one of the following:

Nadal
Borg
Laver
Rosewall
 

NonP

Hall of Fame
Questions like this need clarification. What do you mean by "best"? Biggest? Most efficient? Least error-prone? At least the serve is relatively straightforward, groundstrokes are not.
 

cuddles26

Banned
Agassi was owned by every truly great baseliner he played (Courier, Lendl, Federer), and was owned by all the top clay court baseliners (Muster, Kuerten, Bruguera) on clay as well. No way in hell is he the best baseliner ever.
 
Agassi was owned by every truly great baseliner he played (Courier, Lendl, Federer), and was owned by all the top clay court baseliners (Muster, Kuerten, Bruguera) on clay as well. No way in hell is he the best baseliner ever.


I was thinking of ball striking, my fault...

But, Andre is the best ballstriker I have seen...
 

dh003i

Legend
In his prime, and today on a good day, Federer has an exceptional backhand. People seem to forget 2004-2007, especially '05 and '06. On form, his backhand has only weakness: the high topspin balls.

Saying Federer has a bad backhand without qualification is like saying Sampras had a bad backhand without qualification (Sampras in fact had an excellent backhand in his prime).

Sure, on the decline, maybe his backhand isn't great. But it still isn't awful, it's pretty good. Not as consistent as it used to be. So what?
 
The Swedish Viking. He could do just about anything with both his backhand/forehand (power/consistency/placement). He even managed to win at the Big W, where he would use a slice backhand when necessary (dropping the second hand a bit). Then, overall, the French Open is the stiffest test of groundstrokes around.
 

Kobble

Hall of Fame
I'd say the top five is:

Nadal
Agassi
Federer
Kuerten
Safin (when on)

None of these players have a real weakness.

Agassi vs. Federer is very debatable because of Federer's serve advantage. Forehand goes to Federer, and backhand goes to Agassi.

Overall, I think Nadal is the best I've seen.
 

AndrewD

Legend
Federer's backhand isnt strong enough to say he had the best groundstrokes of all time. My choice would be one of the following:

Nadal
Borg
Laver
Rosewall
Rosewall's forehand wasn't as strong as his backhand (admittedly, no-one else's forehand was stronger than Rosewall's backhand)

Nadal couldn't hit an approach shot, excluding a drive, to save himself. Can't take the ball on the rise.

Borg's approach was better (not saying much), but it wasn't what anyone would call 'good' (despite what one fanboy here thinks). Serviceable but mainly due them being rubbish (a crappy shot on grass can be as effective as a well-hit one - especially if it's junk that lands short). Couldn't take the ball on the rise.

Laver was prone to mishits - albeit due to going for heavy top using a continental grip and a standard sized wood racquet. However, he did have a lot more flexibility than the others.

Don Budge deserves a mention. Huge backhand, very big forehand and could actually hit a good approach shot.
 

Clay lover

Hall of Fame
Approach shots I would consider to be a part of the net game rather than the baseline game, but again I may be wrong.

If we are talking about pure baseline exchanges, I think the best varies according to surface.
 

dropshot winner

Hall of Fame
Nalby's forehand is overrated and I agree with TMOP's list
If anything, Nalbandian's forehand is underrated.

It's not a high percentage shot like Nadal or Djokovic's forehand, he hits it flat and sharp angled, with almost no margin for error. When Nalbandian's in form he can keep up in forehand rallys with anyone, including Federer.
 

random1

Rookie
The best combination of FH and BH? I'm in minority, but I choose Nalbandian. His serve is meh though.
I agree - when on, he's as good a ball striker as Agassi. He's an underachiever, and often a headcase, but that's not the question here.

He's one of the few guys who has on occassion pushed Fed around even when Fed is playing well. I watched Nalby practice at the USO a couple of years ago, really amazing to watch up close. IMO, you have to watch live and up close to see the differences in abilities among the top guys, it doesn't come through on TV the same way....
 

fps

Legend
If anything, Nalbandian's forehand is underrated.

It's not a high percentage shot like Nadal or Djokovic's forehand, he hits it flat and sharp angled, with almost no margin for error. When Nalbandian's in form he can keep up in forehand rallys with anyone, including Federer.
we're not talking about whether someone can *keep up* with other players in a rally, we're asking who has the best flipping groundstrokes in history. the fact that he has to be in form to "keep up" in forehand rallies with federer suggests federer has a far better forehand. it doesn't put him in contention for best groundstrokes ever either. great player to watch, but he's nowhere in the history of the greats.

let's get safin out of there as well. "when on" means what? two matches in his life? not enough.
 
AndrewD, I'm a fan for sure, but no "boy", thank you very much.

I agree with much of your analysis as to Borg's approach shot and hitting on the rise. Though, saying he "could not" take the ball on the rise is way too simplistic. His consistency/power of both sides puts him unquestionably in the top tier of baseliners, such as Laver, Nadal, Lendl, Agassi, and Borg. I think Rosewall is just outside that top tier, as he had very good consistency and a great slice backhand in particular, but he was lacking in the power department.
 
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dropshot winner

Hall of Fame
we're not talking about whether someone can *keep up* with other players in a rally, we're asking who has the best flipping groundstrokes in history. the fact that he has to be in form to "keep up" in forehand rallies with federer suggests federer has a far better forehand. it doesn't put him in contention for best groundstrokes ever either. great player to watch, but he's nowhere in the history of the greats.

let's get safin out of there as well. "when on" means what? two matches in his life? not enough.
Never disagreed here, Nalbandian doesn't have the results to be an objective choice for best ground-strokes of all time, but that doesn't change the fact that his forehand is probably rather underrated than overrated.
 
T

TheMagicianOfPrecision

Guest
Never disagreed here, Nalbandian doesn't have the results to be an objective choice for best ground-strokes of all time, but that doesn't change the fact that his forehand is probably rather underrated than overrated.
Agree. And the reason why Nalbandian`s forehand is underrated..well, take a look at his backhand! Thats why.
 
Andre, when you look at pure groundies- power, consistent, accurate, reliable- was/is best, cleanest ball striker on men's side of all time.

And Lindsay Davenport, the same on the women's side.

Now this has to nothing to do with movement, which incidentally was both aforementioned players' weakness IMO.

Hypothetically, Agassi and Davenport with supreme mobility on the court would be nearly unbeatable IMO.

My $.02
 

dropshot winner

Hall of Fame
Andre, when you look at pure groundies- power, consistent, accurate, reliable- was/is best, cleanest ball striker on men's side of all time.

And Lindsay Davenport, the same on the women's side.

Now this has to nothing to do with movement, which incidentally was both aforementioned players' weakness IMO.

Hypothetically, Agassi and Davenport with supreme mobility on the court would be nearly unbeatable IMO.

My $.02
True, but isn't that a case for a lot of players? Give Federer Agassi's or Nalbandian's backhand, or Nadal Sampras' serve and you get a nearly unbeatable player.
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
It's hard not to include speed and footwork along with groundies. Agassi had some of the greatest groundstrokes ever but he wasn't as fast as some so he could be out of position more than for example a Federer. Overall I think Agassi had more solid groundstrokes but Federer is so smooth and hit the shots seemingly with time to spare almost every time that he's more on balance than Agassi may be.

I would go with H L Doherty, Bill Tilden, Hans Nusslein, Ellsworth Vines, Don Budge, Ken Rosewall, Rod Laver, Frank Kovacs, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi, Ivan Lendl, and Federer as possibilities.

I'm a little more reluctant with Federer since he does shank his backhand a lot and his backhand return is very often defensive.

Rosewall, Connors and Borg had both speed, footwork and solid groundies.

I've read a lot about Kovacs and apparently the guy was a genius with the racket and could do anything off the ground. Jack Kramer, who had a super serve said Kovacs was one of the few players he could serve and volley against because of his huge backhand return and his ability to hit a sharp backhand crosscourt. The guy was big, fast and was strong off both sides. The problem with Kovacs was that he was a clown who often was more interested in fooling around on the court than winning. You'd read stories about him lying on the court to watch an airplane passing by.

Lendl was great off both sides but his backhand return wasn't so great so I'm reluctant to include him with people like Connors. It was good but he couldn't drive it like a Rosewall, Laver, Borg or Budge. Off the ground Ivan could hit with anyone. Very consistent and powerful plus he could change the pace with different spins, loops and slices.

In recent times I like Nalbandian's groundies but he's so out of shape at times. He is beautiful to watch when he's in shape and on his game. He can make a great player like Nadal look very ordinary.
 
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PC1, very good point, I COMPLETELY forgot to mention Federer!!! Yes, he's in my top tier of groundstrokers as well. Great movement, and awesome forehand especially. Yet, in recent years, his backhand can become "suspect" and somewhat attackable, especially at RG (French Open).
 

OJ ROD

Semi-Pro
I can't believe nobody has metioned Marcelo Rios. He didn't care about tennis, and still got to number 1.

Nalbandian is not overrated, much less the most overrated on these boards. His results are just not on par with his tennis abilities.
 
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Camilio Pascual

Hall of Fame
Agassi Federer and Lendl
Two out of three ain't bad.
A year ago, I would have agreed with you on all three, but somebody here pointed out that Rajah shanks and mishits a fair amount of groundstrokes. I started comparing him to his opponents and he does do it more than inferior opponents.
Lendl's constant power is forgotten nowadays.
 

zagor

Bionic Poster
If we're talking about pure groundstrokes I'll go with Agassi,won each slam from the baseline in very polarized conditions without being a great mover.
 
Questions like this need clarification. What do you mean by "best"? Biggest? Most efficient? Least error-prone? At least the serve is relatively straightforward, groundstrokes are not.
it should apply to the least error prone, i mean a shot which is efficient or employed in a way that gives the player a point and never produces an error and in a way becomes a trademark shot.
 
I can't believe nobody has metioned Marcelo Rios. He didn't care about tennis, and still got to number 1.

Nalbandian is not overrated, much less the most overrated on these boards. He results are just not on par with his tennis abilities.
Rios is way overrated. He was an underachiever I would agree, but it is not like he did that well anyway, so it isnt as if he would have had this fabulous career even if he had maxed out his so called potential. He only made it past the quarters of a slam once, where he was embarassed by a 30 year old Petr Korda in his 2nd and final slam final. He didnt care about tennis? That is simply not true as he would not have kept trying to come back from all those injuries if he didnt. More significantly perhaps he would not have played the Champions tour regularly when unable to compete at the pro level effectively anymore. People that dont care about tennis dont continue with it when their pro careers are over.

Safin cared about tennis alot less than Rios and still achieved alot more. Nalbandian also cares about tennis less than Rios and has achieved a bit more.
 
S

srinrajesh

Guest
Nadal
Borg
Agassi
Kuerten
Nalbandian
Safin when he's on
Federer
Courier
 
T

TheMagicianOfPrecision

Guest
Two out of three ain't bad.
A year ago, I would have agreed with you on all three, but somebody here pointed out that Rajah shanks and mishits a fair amount of groundstrokes. I started comparing him to his opponents and he does do it more than inferior opponents.
Lendl's constant power is forgotten nowadays.
Thanx I guess.
Although its a matter of opinions right ?:)
 

OJ ROD

Semi-Pro
Rios is way overrated. He was an underachiever I would agree, but it is not like he did that well anyway, so it isnt as if he would have had this fabulous career even if he had maxed out his so called potential. He only made it past the quarters of a slam once, where he was embarassed by a 30 year old Petr Korda in his 2nd and final slam final. He didnt care about tennis? That is simply not true as he would not have kept trying to come back from all those injuries if he didnt. More significantly perhaps he would not have played the Champions tour regularly when unable to compete at the pro level effectively anymore. People that dont care about tennis dont continue with it when their pro careers are over.

Safin cared about tennis alot less than Rios and still achieved alot more. Nalbandian also cares about tennis less than Rios and has achieved a bit more.
I don't think Rios cared about tennis. Rios cared about staying alive and keeping his current lifestyle, which realistically, tennis was his only way of doing it. Tennis wasn't something he care about, it's something he used.

He had incredible talent. Don't take it from me. Moya said he was the most talented player he had ever played. Federer has said that he was one of his favorite player to learn from.

Watch his videos. His effortless manipulation of the ball, and above par power for someone his size is interesting to watch. That is talent, a greater understading for what you are doing, and the physical ability to execute it. He had it.
 
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