Who was the better (cleaner) ball striker - Capriati or Clijsters?

galain

Hall of Fame
Been watching some old tennis while shut in and was thinking both of them have very clean strokes. Clijsters was obviously the better mover but just in terms of hitting the ball, it's hard to separate these two.
 
really? Never thought Clijsters was that clean a hitter. Venus famously said she was thrown off by all the shanks clijsters hit vs her at the USO. It seemed like li na was a much cleaner hitter than clijsters in their AO final(clijsters eventually threw in a lot of off pace loopers when she realized she couldn’t get in a slug fest with her)
 

galain

Hall of Fame
really? Never thought Clijsters was that clean a hitter. Venus famously said she was thrown off by all the shanks clijsters hit vs her at the USO. It seemed like li na was a much cleaner hitter than clijsters in their AO final(clijsters eventually threw in a lot of off pace loopers when she realized she couldn’t get in a slug fest with her)
Thanks Moose - `i shall spend a little more time watching old Kim Clijsters matches!
 

bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
It's an odd question to me because I never thought of either as particularly clean or "dirty." Who is really an example of a "dirty" or "unclean" ball striker? I'd imagine most top players have to be able to hit a higher percentage of balls relatively cleanly. Davenport is often cited as very clean or pure ball striker. As for JCap v. Clijster - I'll go with Jen off the top of my head but would probably have tp watch some videos.
 

bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
What defines a clean striker? Serious question.
Yeah, I don't really know either. Is it lack of shanks? Is it hitting the sweetspot the highest percentage of time compared to other players? Also, does it really matter if you miss? Certainly, plenty of cleanly hit balls have been hit out or into the net.
 

Fedinkum

Legend
Yeah, I don't really know either. Is it lack of shanks? Is it hitting the sweetspot the highest percentage of time compared to other players? Also, does it really matter if you miss? Certainly, plenty of cleanly hit balls have been hit out or into the net.
Yeah, I can name players that I call clean strikers off my head but If you ask me exactly why they are and I will give you inconsistent answers.

So off my head, I think of players like Pliskova, Clister, Key, even Kvitova (although she misses tons of balls all the time.) Are they the heaviest hitters, probably no. Are they the most consistent big hitters, probably no either.

May be clean striker is a term for inconsistent players that regularly hit big but not necessarily in. Or maybe clean strikers are just big babe tennis? I really don’t know the science of this term. Is very intriguing.
 

bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
Yeah, I can name players that I call clean strikers off my head but If you ask me exactly why they are and I will give you inconsistent answers.

So off my head, I think of players like Pliskova, Clister, Key, even Kvitova (although she misses tons of balls all the time.) Are they the heaviest hitters, probably no. Are they the most consistent big hitters, probably no either.

May be clean striker is a term for inconsistent players that regularly hit big but not necessarily in. Or maybe clean strikers are just big babe tennis? I really don’t know the science of this term. Is very intriguing.
But, I don't think inconsistency is part of it. Evert is touted as a very clean ball striker and she was mega-consistent. Again, I don't know what it actually means - but from how I've seen it used, generally the concept of "clean" ball strikers favors flatter (not necessarily completely flat, but flatter, not mega topspin) hitters. Why? Possibly because without the extra spin, there's less margin for error, thus to be consistent and not hit the ball out or into the net - the player has to be that much more precise - in position, out in front, squared up, hitting the sweetspot - i.e, hitting the ball "cleanly." Again, this is just an observation - I'm really not sure what the technical definition is of "clean" hitter.
 

galain

Hall of Fame
It's funny - since posting the thread and reading the responses I've been thinking to myself how I would conceptualise 'clean'. I really just assumed it was shared vocabulary without giving it much through, but now that I'm chewing it over, I'm left scratching. What @bluetrain4 says about a flatter shot that relies less on spin for control is the best description I can think of to explain what I meant originally.

My apologies folks - didn't mean to bamboozle anyone (or myself) with the question!
 

bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
I also think being dubbed a "clean hitter" generally favors someone with simple, "clean" strokes. This is mainly perception - simple strokes certainly don't as a rule result in clean hitting - but if a player is fairly accurate and consistent AND has simple strokes, they'll more likely be dubbed a clean hitter vs. someone who is fairly accurate and consistent but has big, flashy, and/or complicated strokes.
 
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