The best baseliners in history, my top ten

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The best baseliners in history, my top ten

Post by socal1976 on Mon 04 Feb 2013, 11:41 pm

First topic message reminder :

Now these rankings are based only on a narrow set of requirements covering baseline play. Of course serving, returning, volleys, half volleys, overheads, and drop shots are really not taken into account. That would be deemed outside of the criteria herein judged in the following list. What I did look at here is in forehand, backhand, defense, fitness, consistency, and ability to attack from the back of the court. Now please give your opinions really this a list of players I got a chance to watch so the old boys aren't included lets say circa 1980.

1. Djokovic
2. Nadal
3. Federer
4. Borg
5. lendl
6. Agassi
7. Sampras
8. Connors
9. Wilander
10. Murray


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Re: The best baseliners in history, my top ten

Post by socal1976 on Thu 07 Apr 2016, 5:11 am

laverfan wrote:You have forgotten Vilas, Muster, Leclerc, Bruguera. Some of the greatest clay players have been amazing baseliners.

You like reviving old threads, SoCal? Wink


Sorry, none of those guys make this elite list. Yes Laverfan, when someone is prescient and predicts years in advance that Djokovic is the greatest baseliner we have ever seen, and that genius gets absolutely destroyed on the thread with some even claiming Michael Chang is a better baseliner, well then I think the record demands it. Some are born with greatness, others have it thrust upon them, and some like yours truly exude it from every pore of their being. I was laughed at for this thread, not many people laughing now.

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Re: The best baseliners in history, my top ten

Post by laverfan on Thu 07 Apr 2016, 12:49 pm

My list would be...

1. Nadal
2. Borg
3. Djokovic
4. Lendl
5. Agassi
6. Vilas
7. Federer
8. Muster
9. Connors
10. Kuerten

Murray and Wilander will not make the cut. McEnroe on clay ain't that bad either.

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Re: The best baseliners in history, my top ten

Post by socal1976 on Thu 07 Apr 2016, 5:31 pm

Ask Nadal who his list should be and I am sure he would probably voluntarily switch positions with Djokovic right now. No one covers the BH corner like Djokovic, no one ever, not even the legendary borg can do the full Djokovic split BH.

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Re: The best baseliners in history, my top ten

Post by Henman Bill on Fri 08 Apr 2016, 1:22 am

I think Socal's original list is pretty good. Sampras at 7 strikes me at slightly generous but there isn't anyone else I would have moved more than a place or two.

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Re: The best baseliners in history, my top ten

Post by socal1976 on Fri 08 Apr 2016, 1:46 am

Henman Bill wrote:I think Socal's original list is pretty good. Sampras at 7 strikes me at slightly generous but there isn't anyone else I would have moved more than a place or two.

Thank you HB, I kind of am conflicted on the Sampras pick myself. But in defense of that selection he had one of three most explosive FHs in the history of the game. That gets you half there, then he was very fast. He gets knocked for consistency on the BH and fitness. But a great FH is so much more valuable when talking a baseliner you start the conversation there. You are right though in retrospect I might drop Pete. I feel the guys 7 on down are really close to anybody else in the top 15 or so, not a lot of difference in skill level. Plus Pete's BH was not a bad shot, it could break down, but like the rest of his game it was on more often than it wasn't and when he was on he would just blast one handed BHs for winners. I always felt Fed had the better one hander but Pete was more explosive. Also the conditions were different of course.

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Re: The best baseliners in history, my top ten

Post by Guest on Fri 08 Apr 2016, 1:01 pm

socal1976 wrote:The OP is a freaking genius! One guy actually claimed Chang was a better baseliner lol!

Well....

Check the date and year of the article. At that time you were proposing Djokovic as the best baseliner in history based on his criteria in February 2013.....

So I am assuming that criteria still fits the bill for that argument and anything post Feb 2013 doesn't count to this discussion?

I'll get the goalpost at one end and you get the other Smile

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Re: The best baseliners in history, my top ten

Post by socal1976 on Fri 08 Apr 2016, 3:54 pm

legendkillarV2 wrote:
socal1976 wrote:The OP is a freaking genius! One guy actually claimed Chang was a better baseliner lol!

Well....

Check the date and year of the article. At that time you were proposing Djokovic as the best baseliner in history based on his criteria in February 2013.....

So I am assuming that criteria still fits the bill for that argument and anything post Feb 2013 doesn't count to this discussion?

I'll get the goalpost at one end and you get the other Smile

Yes I understand your consternation. You see, mere mortals possess vision that can only see the here and now. I have been gifted with abilities of reading analyzing long trends and the game, so when I predict that Djokovic is the greatest baseliner OF ALL TIME, I mean 2013, 2003, and even 2016 since I couldn't foresee anyone coming up to crash the list in the intervening years. In fact as HB noted despite this list being made in 2013, even today it holds up pretty well. Despite the catcalls from the typical cast of critics. I did find the claim that Chang being a better baseliner pretty comic. And you know what that statement would be almost as funny in 2013 as it is today.

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Re: The best baseliners in history, my top ten

Post by laverfan on Fri 08 Apr 2016, 4:57 pm

socal1976 wrote:Ask Nadal who his list should be and I am sure he would probably voluntarily switch positions with Djokovic right now.

He would also anoint players the greatest in history. Wink

socal1976 wrote: No one covers the BH corner like Djokovic, no one ever, not even the legendary borg can do the full Djokovic split BH.

Borg did not need to, to cover the BH, IMVHO.

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Re: The best baseliners in history, my top ten

Post by temporary21 on Fri 08 Apr 2016, 5:12 pm

It's very tough to make an all time list, given how much the tech of the time has to be accounted for . I would almost suggest that Novak and Borg are incomparable given how much tennis has advanced

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Re: The best baseliners in history, my top ten

Post by socal1976 on Fri 08 Apr 2016, 5:35 pm

laverfan wrote:
socal1976 wrote:Ask Nadal who his list should be and I am sure he would probably voluntarily switch positions with Djokovic right now.

He would also anoint players the greatest in history. Wink

socal1976 wrote: No one covers the BH corner like Djokovic, no one ever, not even the legendary borg can do the full Djokovic split BH.

Borg did not need to, to cover the BH, IMVHO.

No Borg wouldn't face the explosive inside out FHs that Djokovic has faced racing at his backhand forcing him to turn into plastic man. I bet if you put a lie detector and a gun to Nadal's head and asked him who he thought was the greatest player he has ever faced he would say Djokovic. Certainly, he would say Djokovic is the greatest baseliner ever.

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Re: The best baseliners in history, my top ten

Post by laverfan on Fri 08 Apr 2016, 7:11 pm

socal1976 wrote:No Borg wouldn't face the explosive inside out FHs that Djokovic has faced racing at his backhand forcing him to turn into plastic man. I bet if you put a lie detector and a gun to Nadal's head and asked him who he thought was the greatest player he has ever faced he would say Djokovic. Certainly, he would say Djokovic is the greatest baseliner ever.


... and Deliciano also agrees, we have a consensus, right?

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Re: The best baseliners in history, my top ten

Post by Haddie-nuff on Sat 09 Apr 2016, 6:43 am

No one is comparable to Borg.. he was the ORIGINAL  baseliner
And certainly Djokovic is no where near the best

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Re: The best baseliners in history, my top ten

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Sat 09 Apr 2016, 2:05 pm

I dont know about who's the best baseliner. I do remember how good Rafa was during his peak years - 2007 to 2013. He was so quick around the court, even had time to run around his BH to hit his FH. He was quicker than Djoko on clay, hence was able to beat Djoko so often at the FO. He was clearly the aggressor when it came to the FO vs Djoko and simply incredible during the extended games in the fifth set of that 2013 FO SF. He has 9 FOs, certainly top 2 or 3 spot, no.1 even.

Its difficult to compare peak Rafa vs peak Djoko on grass, for they never met at Wimbledon during their peak except in 2011, but Rafa was better on grass prior to 2011 and Djoko better on grass after 2011. Rafa was still incredible in 2013 on the HCs, beating Djoko twice (Montreal/NY) and was 2-2 on HC vs Djoko that year. Its only from 2014 onwards that Rafa started his decline.


I've never watched Borg but heard that he was incredible from the baseline and incredible in terms of fitness and stamina. I mean the guy won the FO 6 times, certainly no slouch as a baseliner.

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Re: The best baseliners in history, my top ten

Post by lydian on Sat 09 Apr 2016, 2:05 pm

Notable exceptions are Kuerten, Hewitt, Safin (AO05 vs Fed anyone?) and Nalbandian (WTF06 vs Fed!) if we're talking baseline ability. In terms of actually being in top 10 I would add Kuerten from these. I would also add Coria as an honourary mention just for that unforgettable match vs Nadal in Rome 2005 final. Shame about that RG04 final...it destroyed his career in many respects. But talent-wise he was right up there. As was Rios...shame about the guy though!

Yes I would include Sampras too, in his early days he was an out and out baseliner who could outlast/outplay Agassi (who is routinely in peoples top 10) from the back of the court and still has best running FH in history IMO. Later on he had to adapt his style as the anaemia defect (thalassemia) kicked in.

If not for injury we might have been adding Del Potro to this list. The guy is still winning matches now from THAT FH alone!

Finally I would add Courier...for a 2 year period he was largely unbeatable from the back, beating seasoned European clay giants at their own game.

PS. Another guy unbelievably talented from the back was Kafelnikov too.
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Re: The best baseliners in history, my top ten

Post by socal1976 on Sat 09 Apr 2016, 4:49 pm

lydian wrote:Notable exceptions are Kuerten, Hewitt, Safin (AO05 vs Fed anyone?) and Nalbandian (WTF06 vs Fed!)  if we're talking baseline ability. In terms of actually being in top 10 I would add Kuerten from these. I would also add Coria as an honourary mention just for that unforgettable match vs Nadal in Rome 2005 final. Shame about that RG04 final...it destroyed his career in many respects. But talent-wise he was right up there. As was Rios...shame about the guy though!

Yes I would include Sampras too, in his early days he was an out and out baseliner who could outlast/outplay Agassi (who is routinely in peoples top 10) from the back of the court and still has best running FH in history IMO. Later on he had to adapt his style as the anaemia defect (thalassemia) kicked in.

If not for injury we might have been adding Del Potro to this list. The guy is still winning matches now from THAT FH alone!

Finally I would add Courier...for a 2 year period he was largely unbeatable from the back, beating seasoned European clay giants at their own game.

PS. Another guy unbelievably talented from the back was Kafelnikov too.

Yeah, what people forget is that Pete's first USO he won that title almost exclusively from the back of the court. Plus he would hit so many forehands and moved so well that you had a similar problem in finding Pete's BH that you did in finding Rafa's. When I think about aggressively running around the BH Rafa comes to mind now but back then it was Pete. Much better mover especially in his youth than people give him credit for. Also agree with Courier back to back FO followed by a tough loss in the following year in the final to Brugera in a tight match who was no slouch himself.

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Re: The best baseliners in history, my top ten

Post by lydian on Sat 09 Apr 2016, 5:05 pm

Absolutely socal, Sampras was a cat like mover, especially on grass. His reactions around the net were also phenomenal, still the most out and out aggressive player the game has seen IMO.
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Re: The best baseliners in history, my top ten

Post by socal1976 on Sat 09 Apr 2016, 5:08 pm

Yes, he played in an era where the power dominated the game of tennis and he was the best out of the bunch of imposing his attack game on his opponents. He was controlled aggression on every shot from second serve to overhead.

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Re: The best baseliners in history, my top ten

Post by Haddie-nuff on Sat 09 Apr 2016, 5:21 pm

And for many of us ... bored us to tears !!!!

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Re: The best baseliners in history, my top ten

Post by socal1976 on Sat 09 Apr 2016, 5:25 pm

Not my favorite either, watching Sampras at Wimbeldon could be mind numbing.

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