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7 attributes that could create the ultimate tennis player

Combining the best attributes of all-time greats - Federer's forehand, Nadal's passing shots, Sampras's serve - to create the perfect player

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Feature 30 Apr 2018, 20:14 IST
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ATP Swiss Indoor Basel - Day Seven
Roger Federer (L) and Rafael Nadal

Tennis is one of the most popular games in the world and has been graced by many great players over the decades. The sport can be very demanding at the highest level as it tests both the physical stamina and the mental focus of a player. Whether you are trying to return a 200 kmph serve, attempting to get to a ball at the baseline, or surging towards the net, you need to be supremely fit and agile.

At the same time, it is a surface-oriented game and the playing conditions can vary a lot. A tennis match can be played on a slow clay court, a much faster grass court or a more neutral hard court, and the requisite skill-sets also keep changing according to the playing surface.

Therefore, it is not possible for a player to have all the qualities needed to excel on all the surfaces. However, we can hypothetically come up with the idea of an ideal or ultimate tennis player by taking and combining the best attributes of different players. Here goes the list:

1. Serve (Pete Sampras)

Pete
Pete Sampras

Pete Sampras indisputably boasted of the greatest serve of all time. It was so lethal that even a returner of the caliber of Andre Agassi found it difficult to handle. 

More importantly, Sampras had the uncanny ability of improving the quality of his serve according to the demand of the situation. The more important a point was, the more clinical his serve would get. The 2002 US Open final against Andre Agassi was a glorious exhibition of Sampras's supreme serve.

It was not very extravagant in terms of motion - a slight crouch at the beginning, a quick throw into the air, a swift stretch of the back and then the perfect execution. Sampras's strong shoulder and wrist helped him dish out those great serves one after another. The simplicity of his service action added to the disbelief of the spectators when they saw the ultimate effect of it.

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