Who was the 1st male player to hit predominantly (>50%) open stance forehands?

flanker2000fr

Hall of Fame
Borg comes to mind as the first top player consistently using semi-open / open stance, but I can't say if it was > 50%.
 
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Tshooter

G.O.A.T.
I would say it was pretty clearly Jimmy Arias who popularized the technique

No.

Borg was hitting open stance FH years before Arias. The article is also wrong insofar as Borg didn’t use what today is called “semi-western” (bevel 4); he used an Eastern (bevel 3). And Borg didn’t finish his FH pointing toward the opponent he used more of the modern windshield wiper and he sometimes ended his FH on his right side over his head similar to the way some modern players sometimes do.
 
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droliver

Professional
Borg was hitting open stance FH years before Arias.
Lots of people would hit open stance on occasion (including Borg), but it's really Jimmy Arias who is cited by multiple authorities as "the guy" to where you can trace the modern forehand to. I don't think there's much dispute on that.
 

Tshooter

G.O.A.T.
Lots of people would hit open stance on occasion (including Borg), but it's really Jimmy Arias who is cited by multiple authorities as "the guy" to where you can trace the modern forehand to. I don't think there's much dispute on that.
You changed the topic from 1st male player who hit >50% open stance (Borg before Arias) to ”tracing the modern forehand.“
 
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Drob

Professional
Tom Okker.
Interesting.

you might be right.

I don’t have any DVD of an Okker match. YouTube has very very little on Okker. I watched 14-minute highlight of first set of 1968 USO final; 11-minute highlight of long tiebreak vs Mac at 1980 Wimbledon; 2-minute highlight 1968 French SF; 1 minute of Okker-Rosewall 1970; and < 2 minute Okker-Riessen 1968 Wimbledon.

it so happens that in these highlights he is returning a lot, meaning backhands, and also a lot of net play. Groundstrokes shown are also majority backhands in these films. So hard to say for sure. However I respect your knowledge.

In addition, the limited footage tends to indicate you are correct. Of the roughly dozen forehands shown, the majority are a completely open forehand, a couple are a semi-open FH but not too different from the norm at the time, and a couple are on-the-dead-run.

A worthwhile observation, yours. And makes me wonder if there is any player of significance who hit a lot of open FH prior to Okker.

next time I order DVDs I will try to get an Okker match - maybe the USO final.
 
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urban

Legend
Here on the forum is a complete French TV film (1 and a half hours) of the Laver-Okker semi 1969 at RG (around page 20 of the former pro section). I have two books on tennis strokes of the early 1970s, where long foto series of Okkers forehand are shown. One is "Tennis strokes and strategies" by the US tennis Magazine. Here Okkers forehand is singled out and analyzised by Fred Perry (no stranger to forehands) for its sharp topspin, speed and flexibility. Okker was the first to my knowledge, who regularly played it from the "wrong foot" and with an open stance, means the left foot and leg did not cross at impact, which was normally taught by the tennis books then. The other top player with an open stance at that time was Ilie Nastase. Tom learnt his forehand from an Indonesian tennis teacher, and built it as his main weapon.
 
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Drob

Professional
Here on the forum is a complete French TV film (1 and a half hours) of the Laver-Okker semi 1969 at RG (around page 20 of the former pro section). I have two books on tennis strokes of the early 1970s, where long foto series of Okkers forehand are shown. One is "Tennis strokes and strategies" by the US tennis Magazine. Here Okkers forehand is singled out and analyzised by Fred Perry (no stranger to forehands) for its sharp topspin, speed and flexibility. Okker was the first to my knowledge, who regularly played it from the "wrong foot" and with an open stance, means the left foot and leg did not cross at impact, which was normally taught by the tennis books then. The other top player with an open stance at that time was Ilie Nastase. Tom learnt his forehand from an Indonesian tennis teacher, and built it as his main weapon.
i’ll look for the film - thanks
 

BumElbow

Semi-Pro
Jimmy Arias popularized the open-stance forehand in the modern game. I should know . . . I emulated him and ended up having hernia surgery to repair the groin damage!
 

droliver

Professional
You changed the topic from 1st male player who hit >50% open stance (Borg before Arias) to ”tracing the modern forehand.“
That’s kind of the same thing here. Arias was in fact the first top player to do this type stroke production combing the western/semi western grip, open stance, and windshield wiper wrist snap. There’s really no one else you can point to at the time that took the open stance as the form for their basic shot, whereas you did see a player like Borg do the grip and sometimes the movement, he clearly wasn’t doing the open stance for most of his forehand shots. It was a pretty radical departure from classic techniques, and Arias is widely acknowledged as the genesis
 
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