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View Poll Results: Whose is the greatest forehand ever?

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  • Bjorn Borg

    0 0%
  • Ivan Lendl

    1 6.25%
  • Andre Agassi

    0 0%
  • Pete Sampras

    1 6.25%
  • Roger Federer

    11 68.75%
  • Rafa Nadal

    1 6.25%
  • Novak Djokovic

    2 12.50%
  • Other

    0 0%
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  1. #1

    Great strokes. Forehand, ATP.

    Now we come to perhaps the most difficult stroke to judge. The number of great forehands on the tour, through the ages, is enormous. It has been the bread and butter stroke for so many pros and, despite being hit with many idiosyncrasies, is usually the most mechanically sound stroke of most players. So one caveat will be imposed on this list: you must be a winner of MULTIPLE Slams in order to qualify. Yes, sorry Juan Martin DelPotro. Sorry Marin Cilic. It is an unfair cut but otherwise the list would extend to 16 players, at a minimum. Those not making the cut will make our honorary mention.
    The honorees are:
    Bjorn Borg. The original modern forehand. Borg not only changed the tradition of the grip, which was usually a Continental or an Eastern forehand, to the modern Western forehand. He also shattered the rule of hitting with a closed stance, liberating all players to hit with an open stance and therefore generating more power. People that did not live those days will have a hard time realizing how radical those changes were at the time. Nobody was as instrumental as Borg in modernizing the shot. Nobody, except:
    Ivan Lendl. Lendl also came with an open stance and a western grip. Together with one of the first composite rackets, he completed the revolution. His contribution was more mental and strategic than technical: Lendl was the player that decided that he would hit his forehand as hard as possible, on every single shot, for five sets if needed. If you could keep up with that, fine. Otherwise, you were toast. He was the true pioneer on using the new rackets’ power over long stretches of time.
    Andre Agassi. Image was NOT everything. From the beginning his groundstrokes were one cut above from the rest. Standing on top of the baseline, Agassi could dictate from both sides. As he grew older, he even got better as he understood how to use his forehand in more controlled ways. During his time, he only had one peer on the forehand:
    Pete Sampras. The last Mohican. Sampras was the last pure ball striker, a flat stroke that was deadly. Hitting a shot to his forehand that would force him to hit it on the run was the fastest way to go from offense to defense. Or even more, from offense to losing the point outright. His control, pace and depth were phenomenal.
    Roger Federer. Federer is basically flawless on his strokes, and the forehand is an example. The ability to snap the wrist to generate power and control is off the chart. Plus the beauty of the stroke makes it impeccable.
    Rafael Nadal. The opposite of Federer’s. An idiosyncratic shot, full off quirks and visually curious. But it is his main weapon and, with 19 slams (12 RG), this stroke cannot be left off the list.
    Novak Djokovic. You have a promising prodigy to train. Do you teach him Roger’s forehand? Nah, that is a unique stroke. Rafa’s? Nah, again, too complex and the possibility of an injury is real. You teach him Novak’s. As pure as stroke as ever, perhaps rivaling Sampras. The preparation, the strike zone, the follow through. They are all perfect.

    Honorary mention:
    Juan Del Potro. Yes, a sledgehammer on that side. Only one thing: he has had wrist injuries in the past. So maybe, biomechanically, the stroke is not that pure.
    Fernando Gonzalez. From the point of start (for the racket head) to the completion, the racket traveled almost 360º. Gonzalez had, perhaps, the hardest forehand of all times. Guillermo Saladino, an Argentinean commentator, said it all one time: “Nobody can play with Feña Gonzalez on the forehand. Feña Gonzalez can’t play with Feña Gonzalez on the forehand”.
    Stefan Edberg. What? Insanity? Yes. It was not a weapon and it was his weak side. But when you are the last player to reach #1 and win multiple slams with A CONTINENTAL grip, you must be mentioned. Go ahead, get on the court and try it. It is that difficult to hit.
    Jimmy Connors. The weirdest forehand ever. Must be seen to be believed. Totally flat, a strange follow through, peculiar to the core. But when you see his depth and length of shot, you have to admire the man. How did he manage to do that?
    Boris Becker: he had a second weapon. He truly clocked that side.
    Alberto Berasategui. When you hit your forehand with a BACKHAND WESTERN GRIP, you also make the cut. How does this man still have ligaments in his right wrist is a miracle of the human body.
    Fabrice Santoro. The last two handed FH. No power. Just spin, tricks, disguise, junk and outright foolishness. To remind us that there is more than one way to play this sport.
    Face it. It's the apocalypse.

  2. #2
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    Re: Great strokes. Forehand, ATP.

    What, my boy Marat Safin doesn't even get an honorable mention? That down-the-line FH was always such a treat.

    I voted for Djokovic so maybe i just have a bias towards conspiracy theorists. The 5G made me do it!


  3. #3

    Re: Great strokes. Forehand, ATP.

    Roger. Rafa's lands too short too many times.

    If they were available I would've gone with Gonzalez or Delpo though.
    Meet again we do, old foe...

  4. #4

    Re: Great strokes. Forehand, ATP.

    As I said. There are too many good forehands. Delpo and Gonzo and Marat indeed. I left our Roddick's, even though he had a sledgehammer too. How about Jimmy Arias? For a moment there, his forehand was a trademark. From the Spaniards, I left out Moya and Bruguera, two solid options.
    Left out too: Wilander (lots of pace and depth), Kafelnikov, Enquist, Berdych (who has a beauty) and so many others. And as I said, I made that arbitrary cut of being a multiple slam winner, which makes no sense as it means nothing about how great one shot was.
    Face it. It's the apocalypse.

  5. #5
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    Re: Great strokes. Forehand, ATP.

    Quote Originally Posted by ponchi101 View Post
    As I said. There are too many good forehands. Delpo and Gonzo and Marat indeed. I left our Roddick's, even though he had a sledgehammer too. How about Jimmy Arias? For a moment there, his forehand was a trademark. From the Spaniards, I left out Moya and Bruguera, two solid options.
    Left out too: Wilander (lots of pace and depth), Kafelnikov, Enquist, Berdych (who has a beauty) and so many others. And as I said, I made that arbitrary cut of being a multiple slam winner, which makes no sense as it means nothing about how great one shot was.
    Understandable! If just talking about the beauty of the shot, Moya, Berdych, and maybe Ferrero would be right up there for me.


  6. #6

    Re: Great strokes. Forehand, ATP.

    Hard to think about anyone, but Federer in his prime for this one. Backhand will be much harder to decide...
    Roger forever

  7. #7

    Re: Great strokes. Forehand, ATP.

    I wish Marat and Feña had been among the nominees. Ugh. I might have to go with Sampras.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  8. #8

    Re: Great strokes. Forehand, ATP.

    As for men smelling good there is nothing sexier (other than a good pair of shoes) than a man who knows how to use scent. There are some great ones but my all time favorite is still the one my ex husband used to use, "Pour Un Homme" by Caron. Subtle but packs a wicked punch.

    Mmmm8 I'm sorry for your experience with that guy who probably just like you said poured it on himself. Too many men do that.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  9. #9

    Re: Great strokes. Forehand, ATP.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post
    As for men smelling good there is nothing sexier (other than a good pair of shoes) than a man who knows how to use scent. There are some great ones but my all time favorite is still the one my ex husband used to use, "Pour Un Homme" by Caron. Subtle but packs a wicked punch.
    ....
    Ok, don't hijack this thread. It is about FOREHANDS, nor UNDERARM
    Face it. It's the apocalypse.

  10. #10

    Re: Great strokes. Forehand, ATP.

    I wouldn't vote for him, but I want to give a mention to James Blake. I think you could say similar things about him to what Ponchi said about Fernando Gonzalez.
    Go Pack Go!

  11. #11
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    Re: Great strokes. Forehand, ATP.

    Quote Originally Posted by suliso View Post
    Hard to think about anyone, but Federer in his prime for this one. Backhand will be much harder to decide...
    Are we splitting 1H and 2H backhands?

  12. #12

    Re: Great strokes. Forehand, ATP.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody View Post
    Are we splitting 1H and 2H backhands?
    Yes. To me, two completely different strokes. And grouping them creates the same problem. Too many great shots left out.
    Face it. It's the apocalypse.

  13. #13

    Re: Great strokes. Forehand, ATP.

    The forehand was the shot of late 90's/early 2000's when I first started following tennis--lots of guys not on this list had pretty lethal ones--Roddick, Rusedski, Philippoussis

    Still going with Roger
    This is not the bouquet you toss

  14. #14

    Re: Great strokes. Forehand, ATP.

    Quote Originally Posted by ponchi101 View Post
    Yes. To me, two completely different strokes. And grouping them creates the same problem. Too many great shots left out.
    Ah, that makes it easier. I know my two answers then.
    Roger forever

  15. #15
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    Re: Great strokes. Forehand, ATP.

    Quote Originally Posted by suliso View Post
    Ah, that makes it easier. I know my two answers then.
    For the 1H, I'm gonna struggle to choose between beauty and versatility. Both Swiss though

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