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post #1 of 51 (permalink) Old 12-26-2008, 08:53 AM Thread Starter
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Trademark shots and/or unique or interesting shots

What are some examples of players' trademark shots, or shots that are unique or interesting?

It can be a strange kind of trick shot, or just really unorthodox technique, or an awesome shot that not many players can hit. Or it can just be something basic that a player does a lot of, which makes it kind of like their trademark. Basically anything that makes a player stand out.

But if you're going to mention a shot, mention what it is about it, like whether it is a technical thing rather than just something like "Safin's backhand".

There are many examples out there, but I can't be bothered writing in detail about all of them.

The more elaborate examples that I've written below fall under more the players' strengths...

Roger Federer
The flick backhand half-volley passing shot. His opponent comes in on an approach shot right to his backhand side and Federer’s still on the forehand side of the court. He smoothly and casually strolls his way there, or so it looks and barely makes any backswing nor does he even look up, he just keeps his head still. He flicks the backhand right at the last second and directs it exactly where he wants to for a winning shot.

He's also got the short-slice backhand intended to make his opponents scoop it back up and force themselves into the net, after finding themselves in no-man’s land. Then Federer whips across an easy passing shot winner straight past them, while making his opponents feel silly and hopeless in the process.

Rafael Nadal
The unusually powerful double-handed backhand crosscourt passing shot, where he swings the racquet through in a straight line making the racquet seem more like a sword, cricket bat or other similar sort of equipment. He bends his knees down incredibly low and his racquet nearly hits the ground on the initial contact. Commentators refer to it as being like a double-handed forehand.

Andy Murray
The high loopy forehand crosscourt that he throws in to completely throw his opponent off-rhythm before throwing in the fast-paced flat forehand or backhand the next shot. Two of the most contrasting shots you could play consecutively, and Murray does it deliberately. Most players only hit change-up loopy forehands to give themselves more time to get back into the court, or either they usually hit with a fair amount of topspin as it is. But Murray uses it as a regular shot in his repertoire.

Nikolay Davydenko
I once read someone describe Davydenko on form as like “playing on skates”. The way he sprints from side-to-side, then sets himself in position right on top of the ball each time with perfect timing, makes movement and racquet control almost synchronous with each other at contact.

I also like the strangely nice feel he has on those double-handed volley dropshots. He can’t seem to hit any other kind of effective volleys but he bends down really low and opens his racquet face right out flat, instead of at an angle like most people would. He barely moves his racquet at all, keeping it in the same position to cut under the ball making it stop dead as it bounces over the net.

David Nalbandian
The backhand crosscourt angle shot, that he throws in the middle of a neutral rally catching his opponents completely by surprise. He flicks his racquet across, using almost entirely his left wrist, with his right hand as support. Most players need to either slow the pace down when attempting a short angle, roll over it with top spin or both but Nalbandian almost does it entirely with racquet control and feel making it almost impossible to return.

David Ferrer and Tommy Robredo
The effort that they put in to make sure that they hit as many forehands as possible, even if that requires running all the way out of court, only to hit a three-quarter kind of shot, not even a near-winner or setup shot. You get the feeling that not much thought goes into whether any sort of reward will come out of doing it, but rather to follow the mindset of making everything into a forehand, as long as it's humanly possible.

Gael Monfils
He teases his opponent with a floating, mid-court ball, begging for it to be hit for as an approach shot. His opponents do exactly as they should, hitting a deep approach shot into the corner, then you can feel Monfils lighting up with excitement already anticipating the glorious running passing shot winner. He sprints over to the corner three or so metres behind the baseline, does a trademark slide and finds the down-the-line shot, just as he knew he would letting out a predictable “Allez!”.

Fernando Gonzalez
The go-for-broke inside-out forehand, where he takes a massive backswing and you know it’s going to be big before it’s even hit. The backswing itself is intimidating itself, then he gets his footwork in position like he’s putting every ounce of energy into it knowing that he’s not going to be in position if it comes back. But that’s okay because he wants to hit an outright winner off it. I remember when Andy Roddick got back one of his “forehand bombs” in the US Open match, and Gonzalez got to it late and slapped a forehand two metres long afterwards, to essentially give up the point.

Igor Andreev
The sound that comes off his racquet after hitting a forehand. Andreev gets right under the ball, then whips right across it to send it spinning several rotations. Like the complete opposite of a cleanly struck shot.

Richard Gasquet
When he’s on one of his hot streaks and you can tell how eager he is to hit his shots before he even hits them. Gasquet wants to hit glorious winners and he wants them to be spectacular. He puts in that extra hop on the backhand to make it a jumping backhand and gets right on top of that forehand. And just because he's in that kind of form, most of those winners actually come off. It even looks like he's walking quicker and more purposefully in between points than usual.

Then there are some random ones, like...

Andy Roddick’s drive backhand, how he grips his racquet with both hands together close to the middle of the handle, leaving a gap down the bottom, depriving himself of getting the full amount of power out of it.

Janko Tipsarevic, when he’s wrong-footed, going back to retrieve a shot on the backhand side, hits the ball on the other side of the racquet strings. Like a very strange kind of forehand.

Tommy Robredo’s backhand, where he sets himself up with an exaggerated backswing then whips through his backhand, in a windmill sort of motion making almost a full circular rotation. His opponents predictably kick it up high to that side on serve, and he falls backwards three metres behind in the baseline just to be able to prepare for that stroke.

Last edited by krystlel; 12-26-2008 at 09:03 AM.
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post #2 of 51 (permalink) Old 12-26-2008, 10:37 AM
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Re: Trademark shots and/or unique or interesting shots

Kei Nishikori's jumping forehand always brings a smile to my face.

Of course, Sampras's slam dunk smash in the old days...
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post #3 of 51 (permalink) Old 12-26-2008, 10:41 AM
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Re: Trademark shots and/or unique or interesting shots

Odesnik's whip forehand across court.
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post #4 of 51 (permalink) Old 12-26-2008, 10:42 AM
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Re: Trademark shots and/or unique or interesting shots

Florian Mayer's jumping drop shots

I've always liked Karol Kucera's running forehand passing shots

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post #5 of 51 (permalink) Old 12-26-2008, 11:00 AM
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Re: Trademark shots and/or unique or interesting shots

I would add Roddick's serve. His serve motion is quite unique and efficient.

Btw, a very nice overview, krystlel!

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post #6 of 51 (permalink) Old 12-26-2008, 11:35 AM
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Re: Trademark shots and/or unique or interesting shots

Guillermo Coria's touch of magic. Scrambling so well with the drop shots and finishing the opponents off with the next shot. Got Federer on the ropes at Hamburg 2004. It's a pitty he lost that final.
Also his forehand squash slice - sometimes a direct winner like against Robredo at RG2008.

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post #7 of 51 (permalink) Old 12-26-2008, 11:51 AM
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Re: Trademark shots and/or unique or interesting shots

James Blake

Backhand return. It has so little back swing that it almost resembles a block viewed in real-time. But a block he can hit winners with. He takes the ball early, on the rise and out in front and seemingly very close to his body in comparision with some of the smoother backhands on tour. It seems to be an effective shot and a triumph of timing, footwork and hand-eye coordination over orthodox technique.

Novak Djokovic

The stretching wide 2-handed backhand in general. His flexibility allows him incredible reach when he's forced out wide and he can get low enough to hit an aggressive shot with both hands from a splits position where most players would be forced into a 1-handed defensive shot.

great list krystel. I'll think some more....
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post #8 of 51 (permalink) Old 12-26-2008, 11:55 AM
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Re: Trademark shots and/or unique or interesting shots

Rios

The man invented the one leg in the air jump backhand, you see even giants like Safin do it as well.

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post #9 of 51 (permalink) Old 12-26-2008, 12:03 PM
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Re: Trademark shots and/or unique or interesting shots

Nice post and I would add that Nadal also hits that big two handed cross court BH in baseline rallies whn he is really forced wide. The regularity in which he was able to effectively do this is the reason, in my opinion, that his domination of RG was so strong this year. Djokovic in particular who had tested Nadal at Hamburg with rolled CC FH's waiting for the time to attack was completely beaten by the fact that Nadal now had an answer to it.

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post #10 of 51 (permalink) Old 12-26-2008, 12:06 PM
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Re: Trademark shots and/or unique or interesting shots

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Originally Posted by Action Jackson View Post
Rios

The man invented the one leg in the air jump backhand, you see even giants like Safin do it as well.
The fading generation of Frenchies seem to love this shot. Clement and Grosjean in particular cannot get enough.

Speaking of Grosjean, his forehand is a truly unique stroke. I always had trouble accepting it as the major weapon that it was in Grosjeans game because he looks like he is just flicking the ball but he can get some serious pace on that ball and he is a master of the short angles both CC and inside out.

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post #11 of 51 (permalink) Old 12-26-2008, 12:14 PM
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Re: Trademark shots and/or unique or interesting shots

Roger Federer
forehand passing shot on the run + backhand flick passing shot + short extremely angled topspin forehand to either side followed by a drop shot + slice down the line followed by a forehand winner on the opposite side of the court.

David Ferrer
inside-out forehand, was on fire in latter stages of 2007 and won him 80% of points, by far his trademark shot.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
backhand stop volley (and occasionally forehand) that looks out of this world when on fire like in his AO 08 match against Nadal, ball drops dead right at the net, being a volley and not a drop shot is what makes it SO special.

Gilles Simon /Kei Nishikori
jumping backhand winner, looks so cool too

Marat Safin/David Nalbandian
backhand down the line winner, they both change direction so effortlessly and effeciently, a beauty to watch.

Gilles Muller
slice backhand approach shot, stays so low and relatively fast, saw it on fire against Federer in their match in the US 08.

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post #12 of 51 (permalink) Old 12-26-2008, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Trademark shots and/or unique or interesting shots

Quote:
Originally Posted by stebs View Post
The fading generation of Frenchies seem to love this shot. Clement and Grosjean in particular cannot get enough.

Speaking of Grosjean, his forehand is a truly unique stroke. I always had trouble accepting it as the major weapon that it was in Grosjeans game because he looks like he is just flicking the ball but he can get some serious pace on that ball and he is a master of the short angles both CC and inside out.
I was also thinking of Grosjean's forehand, except I found that one particularly hard to describe. I have to admit one large reason why I enjoy watching him is due to the uniqueness of that stroke. He hits it really close to his body and it's a very quick motion with barely any backswing. It looks a lot like he just curls around the ball rather than actually hitting through it except when he flattens out on it which is why the amount of pace he can generate on it seems to be able to take his opponents by surprise.
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post #13 of 51 (permalink) Old 12-26-2008, 03:50 PM
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Re: Trademark shots and/or unique or interesting shots

Santoro
Slice forehand. I don't think a description is even needed. Highly unusual, two handed, and very effective. Also hits two handed volleys off both sides.

Gasquet
I'd have to say the unexpected monster backhand down the line, preceded by a sharp backhand crosscourt.

Nadal
I think Nadal's crosscourt forehand just by itself is unique. Few other balls have the trajectory, height, or sheer power and spin of this shot. Also, his irregular flick finish that he utilizes at least 50% of the time makes it pretty recognizable.

Sampras
The running forehand.

I still believe in the one-handed backhand.
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post #14 of 51 (permalink) Old 12-26-2008, 04:14 PM
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Re: Trademark shots and/or unique or interesting shots

Nadal's forehand flick passing shot. Especially on the run and especially on a big point. The guy rarely misses.

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post #15 of 51 (permalink) Old 12-26-2008, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Trademark shots and/or unique or interesting shots

I particularly like Santoro's slice lobs, very unorthodox.

I think Ancic's forehand is a bit of a strange stroke with its big loopy wind-up and very forced motion - probably one of the most mechanical shots on the tour. You would think from watching his backswing and preparation that his racquet is extremely heavy.

Roddick's serve is very cool looking, it reminds me a bit of a rocket or missile launch, how it's almost completely straight up and down, and so dynamic. He has his feet set really close together and gets his racquet back so far down, and similarly bends his knees really well also.
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