Roger Federer and 5 of the Most Underrated Movers in Tennis History
Players such as Michael Chang, Lleyton Hewitt or Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario were well known for their ability to track down any ball that came over the net. All three managed to build Hall of Fame-worthy careers based upon their incomparable foot speed.
But there have been a number of players over the years who might not be as renowned for that particular aspect of their game. Following is a look at five of the most underrated movers the sport has seen over the decades.
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When it comes to making tennis look easy, few did it as well as Pete Sampras. More times than not, he was in control of the point, but he could be forced to scramble.
Just when an opponent might think they've forced Sampras to run wide to hit a forehand, the former men's Grand Slam titles leader would get to the ball and crack a winner. Sampras on the run was nearly as deadly as when he was at the service line.
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Most of the time, it was Andre Agassi's opponents who were forced to do the running. The former world No. 1 usually controlled the point from the onset with his ability to take the ball on the rise.
But Agassi could move across the court, too, and hit winners from any position. That could be attributed to his overall tennis genius, but a large part of it goes into the extreme physical work he put in for more than a decade.
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It could be said that hitting the ball with two hands off both the forehand and backhand side could put a player at a disadvantage, as it limits the reach.
However, Monica Seles blasted that notion to pieces to the tune of nine Grand Slam singles titles. She pounded winners with regularity—and not just from the center of the court. If she was forced to take one hand off the racquet in the middle of a rally, she could get herself back in an offensive position by the time the next shot came her way.
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When Boris Becker made his way into the net, his opponent knew they had to come up with a passing shot for the ages to get the ball by him.
His booming serve often left him in position for an easier volley, but if a good return came back seemingly out of reach, Becker would launch himself at the ball.
Diving on grass, clay and hard courts solidified the German superstar as someone who would do whatever it took to get the ball back.
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He's not going to do the splits and lunges as much as his peers Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray will, but if it comes down to it, Roger Federer is more than capable.
He's an offensive genius on the court and can get around to hitting his forehand like few in history ever have. But as gifted as he is there, Federer is the same on defense. He turns awkward positions into opportunities for winners, which can be linked to his sheer talent and ability to move.