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By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Roger Federer

Though Roger Federer isn't the hardest hitter in tennis, the Grand Slam king owns the biggest forehand in the sport says Sam Querrey.

Photo credit: Miami Open

The forehand is the engine driving elite players on the ATP Tour.

But bigger isn’t always better.

More: Querrey on American Revival

When it comes to formidable forehands, Roger Federer’s fluidity trumps the sheer velocity of opponents.

The Federer forehand isn’t the fastest, but it is the most effective forehand in tennis, world No. 13 Sam Querrey told Tennis Now.

Prescient timing, skill straddling the baseline to take the ball on the rise and rob opponents’ reaction time and his ability to shift spins and speeds from the same backswing, make the Swiss’ forehand a supreme shot, said Querrey.

“As far as the biggest forehand, Roger probably,” Querrey told Tennis Now in a conference call to promote his appearance in the New York Open. “But it’s not necessarily that he hits it harder than everyone, he gives you less time.

“He plays so much on top of the court and he takes the ball so early that you feel like you have such a small amount of time in between shots. Even though he’s not hitting the ball the hardest, you really feel like he gives you such a small amount of time to hit it.”

Several players cite Rafael Nadal’s ballistic topspin forehand, Juan Martin del Potro’s laser flat forehand and Jack Sock’s nuclear topspin forehand among the most devastating strokes in the game.

Sock launched one forehand with such force it splattered against the back wall like a paint-ball pellet provoking audible gasps from some fans at the O2 Arena during last month’s Nitto ATP Finals.

While del Potro's ferocious flat forehand may be the most explosive and Sock’s pyrotechnic-powered forehand the best special effect, Federer himself rates Nadal's twisting topspin forehand as the premier shot in the sport with del Potro’s damaging forehand a close second.

"I mean, I think Rafa's for me is maybe number one," Federer told the media after his US Open fourth-round win in September. "It depends on what surface we're talking about. But just throughout the career, I think Rafa's is extremely high, if not my favorite one.

"But DelPo's is flat. When it's flat, clearly margins are smaller. You also have to be in really good position, court position, to be able to do it, when he can do it from further back, as well. He's got a great forehand down the line, inside-out forehand, which in my opinion are maybe more difficult shots to hit."

Forehands are like fingerprints: no two are the exactly the same.

Querrey, who rode his menacing serve and massive forehand to a win over Nadal in the Acapulco final earlier this year, says the best forehands are natural strokes.

“I didn’t model (my forehand) at all. I just hit it—it’s just what came natural to me and that’s what I go with,” Querrey said. “I think most players would say that—most guys you kind of go with what’s natural and work with that.”


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