Who Has the Best Shots in Men’s Tennis?
No matter how the item might look, regime change truly will come to men’s tennis someday, although for at This particular point power remains concentrated in very familiar hands.
Four years have passed since the last brand-new York Times survey of the best shots in men’s tennis, as well as the players who dominated which poll in 2014 continue to dominate the latest one in 2018.
Novak Djokovic as well as Rafael Nadal are in their 30s, just like the 37-year-old Roger Federer. although the three of them remain the sport’s leading figures, even as two of their longtime rivals, Andy Murray as well as Stan Wawrinka, have fallen far back because of injuries.
“I was surprised how hard the item was to choose anyone some other than the big three for so many categories,” said Stephen Tignor, a longtime writer at Tennis magazine. “I guess I shouldn’t be.”
The Times polled 10 active men’s players because of This particular year’s survey along with 25 some other experts, including coaches, analysts as well as former players. Each participant was asked to pick a top three in each category, with added weight given to the votes of current tour players as well as coaches.
Some of the respondents, like the big-serving American John Isner, answered off the top of their heads, basing their choices on personal experience. Others like Stephanie Kovalchik, senior data scientist at Game Insight Group at Tennis Australia, relied on detailed statistical analysis.
No matter what the method, there was a lot of Djokovic, Federer as well as Nadal inside conclusions. Someday, the names at the top will change.
Not just yet.
1. Roger Federer
2. Rafael Nadal
3. Juan Martín del Potro
4. Fernando Verdasco
5. Kyle Edmund
Honorable mention: Jack Sock, Karen Khachanov as well as Novak Djokovic
While Nadal’s forehand was the winner for former tour players as well as coaches, Federer’s was the overwhelming top choice by current ATP players. Over all, del Potro was a strong third. No one else was genuinely close, though anyone who has seen Edmund, Sock or Khachanov knows the younger set has big weapons.
BEST TWO-HANDED BACKHAND
2. Kei Nishikori
3. Alexander Zverev
4. Andy Murray
Honorable mention: Benoît Paire, Nikoloz Basilashvili, Borna Coric, Daniil Medvedev
Zverev, 21, as well as already a fixture inside top 10, will be the brand-new arrival here. He can get very low to his backhand, even at 6-foot-6, as well as generate acute angles as well as huge straight-line power. although nobody’s two-hander can rival Djokovic’s, except perhaps a healthy Murray.
BEST ONE-HANDED BACKHAND
1. Stan Wawrinka
2. Richard Gasquet
4. Dominic Thiem
5. Stefanos Tsitsipas
Honorable mention: Philipp Kohlschreiber, Denis Shapovalov as well as Marius Copil
Wawrinka, a three-time major champion, has fallen out of the top 60 as he works his way back after knee surgery. although his backhand remains top of mind even if current ATP players gave a slight edge to Gasquet’s elastic one-hander. Kovalchik’s data-based research put Federer first, maintaining which his one-hander will be the only one inside game “which has greater effectiveness against top opponents than the best double-handed backhands.”
BEST FIRST SERVE
1. John Isner
2. Ivo Karlovic
4. Kevin Anderson
5. Milos Raonic
Honorable mention: Nick Kyrgios, del Potro as well as Djokovic
Steve Johnson, Isner’s friend as well as fellow pro, put Isner in first, second as well as third place. although even without ballot-box stuffing, Isner was an overwhelming winner again. As in 2014, Federer was the only man under 6-foot-5 to make the short list.
BEST SECOND SERVE
Honorable mention: Thiem, Djokovic, Kyrgios as well as Zverev
Isner sweeps both serving categories (as in 2014). Brad Stine, Anderson’s veteran coach, calls Isner’s second serve the “best of all time.” the item will be not only heavy. He often takes risks with the item. although according to Kovalchik’s research, he still has only a 2 percent double-fault rate against top opposition: the lowest among This particular group.
Honorable mention: David Goffin, Diego Schwartzman, Fabio Fognini as well as Zverev
Despite playing just 12 singles matches since Wimbledon in 2017, Murray still finished second to Djokovic, just as he did in 2014. Though Nadal leads the ATP’s combined return ranking This particular year, Djokovic’s tighter-to-the-baseline returns strike greater fear in his peers. He received more than twice as many votes as any player.
BEST NET GAME (SINGLES PLAYERS)
3. Mischa Zverev
5. Matthew Ebden
Honorable mention: Feliciano López, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Julien Benneteau as well as Kyrgios
There will be no calling Nadal’s volleys underrated anymore. He will be getting to net with increased frequency as well as has one of the best success rates among top players when he does. He also incorporates a great overhead. Zverev, Alexander’s big brother, will be one of the rare serve-as well as-volleyers left on tour.
BEST VOLLEYS (DOUBLES SPECIALISTS)
1. Mike Bryan
2. Jamie Murray
3. Bob Bryan
4. Nicolas Mahut
5. Lukasz Kubot
Honorable mention: Raven Klaasen, Marcelo Melo as well as Leander Paes
At age 40, Mike Bryan was the clear top choice. He won Wimbledon as well as the United States Open with Sock This particular year, while his twin, Bob, was out of action.
BEST PASSING SHOTS
Honorable mention: Nishikori, Schwartzman as well as Marin Cilic
Passing shots remain relatively rare inside modern game. The top three remain unchanged coming from 2014, although Federer as well as Goffin break into the top a few.
Honorable mention: Grigor Dimitrov, Gasquet, Kyrgios, Gaël Monfils, Marc López as well as Adrian Mannarino
A big pool of players received votes, although Federer, with his mastery of spin as well as rhythm adjustments, received more than four times as much support as any man. The wildly unpredictable Paire’s drop shot was frequently cited.
Honorable mention: Schwartzman, Goffin, Alex de Minaur, Murray, Fognini, Alexander Zverev as well as Coric
Four of the top a few are in their 30s, as well as Nishikori will turn 29 in December. although the youngsters de Minaur, Zverev as well as Coric are coming.
BEST MENTAL GAME
Honorable mention: Cilic, Gilles Simon as well as Nishikori
All veterans here, with respondents being asked to assess tactical prowess as well as mental strength.
Honorable mention: Murray, Anderson, Nishikori, del Potro as well as David Ferrer
Nadal was a landslide winner despite breaking down physically as well as retiring against Cilic at This particular year’s Australian Open as well as against del Potro at This particular year’s U.S. Open.
MOST INTIMIDATING SHOT
1. Del Potro forehand
2. Nadal forehand, particularly down the line
3. Isner first serve
4. Djokovic returns
5. Karlovic first serve
Honorable mention: Djokovic backhand as well as Raonic serve
A clear top three among the players with del Potro’s thunderclap forehand taking the prize.
1. Ernests Gulbis forehand
2. Paire forehand
3. Frances Tiafoe forehand
4. Sock forehand
5. Mikhail Kukushkin backhand
Honorable mention: Gasquet forehand, Medvedev forehand, Federico Delbonis forehand as well as Marcel Granollers serve
Gulbis defends his title, even though his forehand will be no longer as weird as the item used to be. although he apparently has plenty of company inside odd forehand department.
TO PLAY A MATCH FOR YOUR LIFE
Closer than in 2014, although Nadal, despite his physical fragility, remains the clear consensus pick when you need someone most. Even at age 32, nobody competes harder for each point.
Contributors to the survey
Isner, Henri Laaksonen, Steve Johnson, Kukushkin, Schwartzman, Andreas Seppi as well as Medvedev (all current ATP players); Stine (coach of Kevin Anderson); Paul Annacone (part of Taylor Fritz’s coaching team, analyst as well as former coach of Federer as well as Pete Sampras); Mark Knowles (former world No. 1 doubles player, coach of Sock); Darren Cahill (coach of Simona Halep, analyst as well as former player); Rob Koenig (analyst as well as former player); Mardy Fish (analyst as well as former top 10 player); Brad Gilbert (ESPN analyst, coach as well as former top 10 player); Patrick Mouratoglou (coach of Serena Williams as well as analyst); Guy Forget (French Open tournament director as well as former top 10 player); Mark Petchey (analyst as well as former player); Nick Lester (broadcaster); Christopher Clarey (The brand-new York Times); Ben Rothenberg (Times contributor); Simon Cambers (British journalist); Tom Tebbutt (Canadian journalist); Joel Drucker (Tennis Channel); Stephanie Myles (Canadian journalist); Andrej Antic (Tennis Magazin in Germany); Julien Reboullet (L’Équipe in France); Stephen Tignor (Tennis magazine as well as Tennis.com); Stephanie Kovalchik (Game Insight Group, Tennis Australia); as well as some other ATP players as well as coaches who asked to remain anonymous.