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Backhand down the line?


The running forehand.




Running forehands and backhands down-the-line were masterfully employed by Federer in his better years, but if Federer isn't going to be able to use those weapons effectively against Nadal, it's difficult for me to see Sampras doing so. However, I think Sampras had a stronger backhand grip, and so may have been a bit less damaged by Rafa on that side.

The serve seems too easy an answer, so I'm gonna go with the slam dunk smash.


TP is going to make up a new shot to come up with this answer.


I know that's not the winning answer. :^P
I think if Pete were to use the serve-and-volley routine a lot, it's possible he'd get passed a lot. Rafa is great at hitting passing shots against players approaching the net.

Some reasonably good answers from everyone.


I think you're right, banti. That's been the trend lately. :)


The running backhand. :D

Nelson Goodman

Have to go with running forehand, which I think was one of two shots that Sampras simply owned above everyone else (the other being the second serve). I think prime Fed had a *much* better running backhand than prime Pete. Volleys, I'd say even or Fed has the edge: Pete was very clinical and efficient, sure, but that was behind a much bigger serve, while I think Fed overall has greater range of shots on the volley (e.g., unbelievable stop volleys).


I am not sure the question asks "what shot did Pete have that was better than Roger"? To my thinking, it asks which shot did Pete have, that Roger is not using, that would bother Nadal? The running forehand is something Roger has too (Pete's may have been better), he uses it plenty, and it hardly bothers Nadal. I'm not sure that Pete's running forehand would bother Nadal either. So not sure if that is the answer.

The way Nadal beats Federer is by relentlessly pounding his forehand with topspin. Did Pete have something that could neutralize that? Ans: Approach and volley. In short, do not engage Nadal in a rally, unlike Roger who seems to want to do so. But TP wants only one shot, so take your pick -- approach or volley.


Second Service?


Rock = TP fooling with us.


chip and charge.

Nelson Goodman

Chip, I guess I read "what ONE shot Sampras would own - over Federer - that will make him more likely to trouble Nadal?" to mean that it is a shot that Sampras is better at than Fed.

And I think that the running forehand is the one, key shot that the current Fed doesn't have or use. I've been saying this for a while in various posts here: I think the key weakness in Fed's game right now (which, to be clear, I think Fed can work to get back), which both Rafa and Nole have been exposing and exploiting, is his lateral movement to cover his forehand side - on those occasions when he gets there in time to hit a clean shot, Fed typically just rolls it back cross-court. He does not hit a "running forehand" of the sort that Sampras always used to and prime Fed as well: a bullet, screaming at an angle back cross-court or shooting down the line, either way for a clean winner. Fed simply hits a rally shot nowadays, not even an aggressive position shot much less go for a winner. An exception that sticks out b/c it's so rare was the magical shot Fed hit to get to break point at 3-4 in the first set against Rafa yesterday.


Sampras had the ability to bust a serve right through an opponents' racquet stringbed... more than Federer, I guess


I'm with Rock. Sampras' second serve was almost as powerful as his first serve.

More often than not, Roger gets in trouble against Rafa when his first serve percentage drops too much (to well below 50% sometimes). Without getting those first serves in he can't play as aggressively as he would like, and Rafa takes the initiative away from him.

Sampras on the other hand would play exactly the same way with first and second serves. Just put it in and go for the volley. Of course, he would get passed often by Rafa, but Pete knew that this was a percentage play, and that in the long run, he would win the majority of the points.

Would that be enough to beat Rafa? Probably not on clay, but I can see it working on every other surface. Pete would need to raise his game enough to break Rafa once per set, or wait for the tiebreak, where he would have a clear edge.

Easier said than done, but not impossible.


Running forehand.


The kick serve. I think it never lost its sting until the very end of Sampras' career.


Rock, I thought the same.The second serve.


a high % and everlasting first serve


First Service Ace under pressure, on critical points




Sounds good to me Lobbo !! Like this one.


Half volley

Tennis Planet



Congrats Bjornino!! Well done. I thought it was the volley myself and didn't even bother guessing after chips speedy guess.


The only way I can see Sampras successfully executing running forehands against Rafa (if Federer can't do it) would be by trying to hit it every single point/game. He'd have to be thinking of it all the time. Federer never thinks of the same shot twice in one game. Maybe he should have in the past.


Rafa would rarely ever pull Pete out that far on his forehand side because he'd be pummeling Pete's backhand more often.

Congrats, Bjornino!


Also, if I may add something, I've noticed that whenever Fed executes a running forehand, he often stops to see if his shot is going in and by doing so he wastes precious seconds to get back into position. Anyone else notice that or am I seeing things? Maybe he used to do this before too but I didn't notice.

Anyway, congrats Bjornino. First time on WOF? :)


LOl Bjornino on the WOF? WT*?? Just kidding! Congrats. There was a discussion on tennis planet that someone else started about the running forehand sometime ago, can't remember who or when...


Congrats, Bjornino ^!


Thank you TP and thank you all for the congrats! I always felt that running FH could have hurt Nadal. Too bad Sampras wasn't born later, or Nadal/Federer earlier :-)


Congrats Bjornino, although I admit I don't get it. The running forehand is a defensive shot, or at best a shot that allows you to transition from defense to attack. At the very least, to hit it, you need to be pulled wide to your forehand. I don't think Nadal has been beating Federer by pulling him wide to the forehand and Federer being unable to respond. But never mind that. You got it right -- Congrats.


Congrats Bjornino. I beg to differ. I think the first serve would have killed Rafa but not on clay


I so agree with you and Chip on this SE. If anything Mordecai answer made the most sense here. Rock's second serve answer thought would take this down. Overall (not to belittle Bjornino's impressive win:)) this was one of the few times TP has disappointed me in his WOF answers.

Manal Ismail

congrats Bjornino


Congrats- excellent answer!



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