Every October James Rolfe reviews one monster movie per day in his Monster Madness feature. This year he started off with Frankenstein. I thought it would be fun to stitch together the best shots in tennis and imagine animating these amalgamation players.
Four tennis monsters will be created. Only one stroke/aspect can be used from a given player. The four monsters will be right handed players with one-handed backhands, right handed players with two-handed backhands, left handed players with one-handed backhands and left handed players with two-handed backhands.
Right Handed Players w/ One-Handed Backhands
1st Serve – Richard Krajicek
2nd Serve – Pete Sampras
Return of Serve – Ivan Lendl
Backhand – Gustavo Kuerten
Forehand – Roger Federer
Net Play – Stefan Edberg
Overhead – Boris Becker
Pete Sampras gets the second serve slot because it is the most important shot in tennis, and Pete hit so many clutch second serves. Obviously, Sampras, Federer, Krajicek, Becker and Stich could all get worked around in different slots. If Guga’s backhand is considered to be too loopy to mesh well with the other players listed, Stich, Haas, Ljubicic or Gasquet could be placed into that slot.
Right Handed Players w/ Two-Handed Backhands
1st Serve – John Isner
2nd Serve – Andy Roddick
Return of Serve – Andre Agassi
Backhand – Novak Djokovic
Forehand – Bjorn Borg
Net Play – Jonas Bjorkman
Overhead – Marat Safin
Juan Martin del Potro could be worked in at the forehand slot, but Bjorn Borg has to be on this list somewhere. Djokovic and Safin could each get the backhand award so I gave Safin the overhead slot.
Left Handed Players w/ One-Handed Backhands
1st Serve – Roscoe Tanner
2nd Serve – Rod Laver
Return of Serve – Henri Leconte
Backhand – Petr Korda
Forehand – Thomas Muster
Net Play – John McEnroe
Overhead – Guy Forget
Andres Gomez and Guillermo Vilas likely could be worked in over and above some of these players. Also, Laver does not win two Grand Slams with a weak second serve.
Left Handed Players w/ Two Handed Backhands
1st Serve – Goran Ivanisevic
2nd Serve – Thomaz Bellucci
Return of Serve – Jimmy Connors
Backhand – Marcelo Rios
Forehand – Rafael Nadal
Net Play – Fernando Verdasco
Overhead – Jurgen Melzer
For this one Nadal and Connors would fill most categories (minus Goran’s serve of course) if my self-imposed rules allowed for more than one shot/aspect of a particular player to be used. If I could use players multiple times it would be first serve, second serve and maybe overhead to Goran, return of serve and backhand to Jimbo and forehand and net play to Rafa. It was just hard coming up with enough two-handed lefties even with Donald Young’s resurgence.
Just based on population numbers the lefties may not have enough guys to fill each aspect/shot as well as one would hope. Still, I think a player with Sampras’ second serve, Federer’s forehand, Edberg’s net play, Guga’s backhand, Lendl’s return, Becker’s overhead and Krajicek’s first serve would be hard to beat off of clay.