Tennis is an incredibly diverse game. There are a multitude of different styles, strokes, and forms. Each player is distinctive in the way he/she plays the game, and it’s one of the things that makes the sport so fun to watch.
Today, I’ll be taking a look at some of the most important characteristics – forehand, backhand, speed, mental strength – in the sport and try to create the best tennis player from the current tour. Let’s head right into it.
There’s very little debate as to who the greatest server of all time is. Ivo Karlovic, even at 39 years of age, is still racking up aces with the most lethal serve to ever grace the tour. The Croatian stands at 6’ 11”, making him the tallest player in the history of tennis.
In his long-lived career, Karlovic has hit a staggering total of 12,936 aces – averaging almost 20 a match. Dr. Ivo also lays claim to the highest percentage of service games won – 92.1%. This means that he is almost impossible to break; once he slams down a couple of aces, you might as well give up on getting the break.
Karlovic’s serve is incredibly powerful, and since he’s so tall, he can generate incredible angles and make the ball spin off the court. This combination of power and placement makes his serve unreturnable; even if you can get your racket on the ball, it will be incredibly hard to control the return, let alone hit it back with depth.
Karlovic’s serve is perhaps the best weapon in the history of tennis. It makes service games that much easier to win, and
While there are certainly many contenders for this title – Federer, Rafa – the title for the best forehand in tennis has to go to Juan Martin del Potro. The Argentinian’s forehand is certainly a sight to behold; Delpo’s form is not that of the ordinary tennis player.
The Tower of Tandil uses an Eastern grip, similar to Roger Federer, a rarer grip compared to the more often seen semi-western grip. But Del Potro’s takeback is even more peculiar; where most players keep the racket head closed in favor of more spin, Delpo keeps his racket face very open – allowing him to hit incredibly flat shots.
Del Potro’s forehand is incredibly powerful; while he sacrifices topspin in favor of power, his shots land incredibly deep, and they push back his opponents. Del Potro puts his whole body into every shot he hits, and this allows him to generate incredible power.
Del Potro’s forehand has produced quite a few highlights over the years, and it remains one of the most powerful weapons in the game. The Argentinian is still one of the best players in the world, and he is one of the few who managed to win a Grand Slam in the era of the Big Four – defeating Federer in the 2009 US Open final.
The Argentinian’s forehand is flat, powerful, and incredibly effective. Don’t hit it to Del Potro’s forehand, or you might see the ball sail past you in a flash.
In an era dominated by baseline grinders, Novak reigns supreme. His forehand is incredibly consistent and a great shot, but his backhand is what makes him one of the greatest players of all time.
It is technically immaculate; his form would make any tennis coach envious. But in its technical perfection, it is also the best backhand on tour. It isn’t as powerful as Wawrinka’s or as graceful as Federer’s, but it more than makes up for it in its effectiveness.
Djokovic’s greatest strength on his backhand side is his consistency. Whereas many players struggle on their backhand side, allowing their opponents to target and exploit this weakness, Djokovic is arguably better with his backhand than he is on his forehand. He almost never misses, and he’s able to get great depth and pace on the ball; his backhand can often outrally other players’ forehands.
But where Djokovic truly excels is in his ability to change direction. Djokovic is known for his famed down-the-line backhand, and he makes it look easy, running his opponents around with perfectly placed shots that paint the lines. This ease of placement means his opponents can never be quite certain; they are constantly off-balance and forced to react rather than dictate play.
Djokovic’s backhand is truly magnificent; it is incredibly consistent – making it a great defensive weapon – but Novak is also great at utilizing it offensively. He will badger his opponents relentlessly, and at the slightest show of weakness, Nole’s backhand will be ready to capitalize.
While net play is slowly losing its appeal, particularly with the NextGen, it remains an incredibly effective way to finish the point. As players are losing their touch and ability at the net, there is one man who is keeping the trend alive – Roger Federer.
Federer first arrived on the tour in 1998, when many players still saw the net as the best way to play attacking tennis. This forced the Swiss to develop his net play; baseliners were a rare sight back then, and Federer’s all-court game can be attributed to his age.
While Federer has always been an excellent volleyer, there was a marked improvement in his ability at the net under coach Stefan Edberg. Edberg is known for being arguably the greatest net player of all time, and his coaching revolutionized Roger’s game.
Behind a great baseline game, Federer is able to disrupt his opponents’ rhythm and play the fast-paced style of tennis that so many fans have come to love. And the Swiss Maestro is certainly not afraid of coming in.
He will crowd the net at every opportunity, and if there’s any hesitation from his opponent, his volleys will be punishing. Federer’s volleys are both precise and powerful; even if he doesn’t close the point on the first ball, he’ll often hit a good enough shot to get a good look at the second ball.
Roger is one of the few masters at the net in today’s game. He can do it all. Power, precision, reactions, touch. Federer’s drop volleys are a thing of beauty, and his ability to pull off magnificent recoveries, even on well hit passing shots, make him the best volleyer in the world.
Federer may be a bit old-fashioned, but there’s no denying that his game works. His net play is a relic of the past, but it’s certainly teaching the younger generations a lesson.
Without a doubt, Gael Monfils is the most athletic man in tennis. The Frenchman is known for his dazzling array of acrobatics, and his speed is second to none on the tour.
Monfils is certainly an entertaining sight to behold on the tennis court. He has a large arsenal of trick shots – tweeners, behind-the-back shots, and some absolutely booming forehands. While this does not always make him the most consistent player, you are always in for an interesting match when Monfils is involved.
The reason Monfils is able to get away with his audacious playing style is heavily due to his natural athleticism. Simply put, Monfils is an athletic freak. At 6’ 4”, Monfils is especially lanky, and his long strides and quick reactions allow him to sprint around the court. Many of his fellow players on the tour have named him the quickest tennis player in the world, and for good reason.
Monfils’ dazzling speed allows him to get to almost every ball, and he follows it up with some insane flexibility. This combination allows him to produce some outrageous shots in seemingly impossible situations.
Monfils is the single greatest athlete in the history of the sport, and it allows him to play his incredibly unique brand of tennis.
If there were a player you’d want to play for your life, it would have to be Rafa. Unlike the rest of the Big Four, Nadal rarely seems to have mental lapses, and his drops in form are almost due to injury. Even when he is injured, he continues to fight – playing until he is absolutely forced to retire.
Nadal’s mental strength is one of the attributes that make him arguably the greatest player of all time. He is far from calm under pressure; in fact, it seems like Nadal thrives on pressure. He is known for his loud grunts and ferocious spirit, and when the spotlight is shining bright, he comes up with some great shots.
He is known to break back right after losing his serve, and he fights for every single ball. You will not win a free point off of Rafa; if he can chase the ball down, he will, and his opponents always have to be prepared for the ball to come flying back.
Rafa’s mental game is perfect for his style of tennis; Nadal is a more defensively oriented player, and this means that he grinds his opponents down before unleashing a winner. Rafa’s fighting spirit means you can never really be certain if the match is over, even if the Spaniard is struggling.
Countless times, Rafa has pulled back matches that he should have lost, and this is a testament to his strength and desire to will. There’s no doubt about it. Rafa is truly the warrior of the sport.
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