Creating Frankenstein’s Monsters of Tennis

The Inspiration

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.

The Rules

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.

The Winner?

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.

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Ben Pronin says:

    As much as I love Safin, he had a tendency to miss some easy overheads (particularly when things got close). I’d say give Borg the overhead slot and Del Potro the forehand.

    Verdasco for net play? I’d say just give that to Young. I don’t even know how Verdasco volleys (ie he never does).

    Also, what about movement/footwork?

    1. Dan Martin says:

      I gave Verdasco net play because he plays doubles for Spain with Lopez, but I admit it is not an ideal choice. I’d almost say give Rafa net play and make Verdasco the forehand. As for movement/footwork, I’d have to rework things but that would be a great category. Off hand, Mecir or Murray would get the nod for right handed two-handed players w/out wrecking the other categories. Edberg could get it for his group and maybe slide Rafter into the net play slot. Lefties … Vilas for one-handed guys. The two-handed lefties would have to goto Rafa for movement, slide Verdasco to forehand, and then put Young at the net?

  2. ndadanmartin says:

    After further reflection, Michael Chang, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Murray or Miloslav (sp?) Mecir could easily get the movement slot for two-handed righties.

  3. Dan Martin says:

    I guess SI beat me to it, but there’s was not in October – http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/tennis/01/03/perfect.tennis.player/ They also did not differentiate about backhands or righty/lefty differences. They won’t beat me to it on Arbor Day though! Dr. Ivo and john Isner are the trees of tennis Arbor Day …

  4. tennis fan says:

    Your piece was better than SI’s.

  5. Mike Swanquis says:

    I can’t believe you left out the category for feeding lobs during warm-ups.

  6. Dan Martin says:

    Reblogged this on Tennis Abides and commented:

    For late October, a blast from the past.

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