jo tsonga tennis player doing a backhand

Tennis Smash: 10 Tennis Players With the Best Overhead Play

Asking a specific question, including who has the best tennis smash is an issue of deep contemplation. A smash should be easy to evaluate compared with other tennis strokers—only it isn’t.

If you visit various tennis forums with fans answering the question, you will only have the same names. These are Roger ~ freaking awesome ~ Federer, Andy Roddick, Pete Sampras, Rafael Nadal, Lleyton Hewitt, Andre Agassi, Pat Rafter, and Ken Rosewall, among others.

In a Match Charting Project that analysed more than 3,500 tennis matches, it came up with a list of the best smashes in tennis. The Project measures it by winner/win per smash (W/SM) ratio.

These are the tennis players with the best W/SM ratio as measured against the points won per smash or (PTS/SM).

1) Jo Tsonga | 78% W/SM | 90% PTS/SM

The best smasher in men’s tennis is Tsonga, winning a point 90% of the time he hit a smash. It was all about the quality of his overhead shots that won him an extra point every 600 points compared with other ATP players.

2) Tomas Berdych | 76% W/SM | 88% PTS/SM

Berdych’s best tennis plays involved a forehand smash. His smashes connect 76%of the time, earning him 88% points won for every smash.

3) Pete Sampras | 75% W/SM | 86% PTS/SM

Sampras hits 84% of the smash opportunities with 75% WSM. These hits convert to points 86% of the time. Other than Agassi, Sampras is the only tennis player to have consistent match rates. 

4) Roger Federer | 73% W/SM | 86% PTS/SM

Federer also hits 84% of the smash opportunities afforded to him, and he hits about 50% per smash opportunity. This could mean that the Fed’s smashes are more difficult than other players.

5) Jelena Jankovic | 73% W/SM | 83% PTS/SM

Jankovic is the leading women’s tennis players with the highest percentage of W/SM at 73%. A high percentage of her wins was because of a smash. She even used her famous forehand smash against Williams.

6) Serena Williams | 72% W/SM | 81% PTS/SM

Williams creates 72% wins for every smash she had, converting to 81% of points. 

7) Rafael Nadal | 69% W/SM | 84% PTS/SM

Nadal is the fifth men’s tennis player who creates 69% W/SM. His smashes convert to 84% of points. Again, it is also about the quality of his smashes that are able to generate more points for him.

8) Stefi Graf | 61% W/SM | 81% PTS/SM

When it comes to the quality of smashes, however, Graf holds dominance. She creates 61% W/SM that gives her 81% more points per smash. Her smashes are few, but they almost always convert to points.

9) Svetlana Kuznetsova | 70% W/SM | 79% PTS/SM

Kuznetsova wins tennis matches because of her 70% W/SM record. This converts to 79% points per smash.

10) Simona Halep | 66% W/SM | 76% PTS/SM

Halep’s known for her quick thinking and quicker responses on the court, giving her 66% wins per smash. About 76% of these converts to points.

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If you are to choose, who is the best tennis smasher of all time?

8 Tennis Players that Could be Serena Williams’ Heir

With 23 titles under her belt, Serena Williams is hailed as one of the best woman tennis players, if not the best.

Who can ever replace Williams’ place and take over the throne? So okay, she was displaced several times as world’s No. 1. But the article is talking about her legacy of winning.

At the recently concluded US Open Finals, Bianca Andreescu won her maiden Grand Slam title with 6-3, 7-5. Other than that, she has a fantastic record this year so far at 45-4, beating the top 10 players including Williams.

But Andreescu, the 2019 US Open Finals champion, is not the only one.

Here are the other players who could be Williams heir apparent aside from her.

Belinda Bencic

Bencic broke through the tennis scene in 2012. Her biggest triumph yet was at the Rogers Cup where she beat Caroline Wozniacki, Eugenie Bouchard, Sabine Lisicki, Ana Ivanovic, and Williams herself. She also has a career-high No. 7 ranking.

Simona Halep

Halep is one of the most consistent tennis players, ranking as the world’s No. 1 twice (2017 and 2019). In 2019, she bested Williams at the Wimbledon finals with her offensive, aggressive play. She has another Grand Slam title, the French Open (2018). She is often compared with Justine Henin, who praised the Romanian superstar’s intelligent game.

Naomi Osaka

Osaka was the other half of the infamous 2018 US Open finals, defeating Williams and receiving her trophy amidst the booing crowd. She has also won the 2019 Australian Open, giving her second Grand Slam title. Osaka is known for her aggressive playstyle combined with a powerful serve. She is also one of the most marketable athletes worldwide, ranking second behind Williams,

Ashleigh Barty

Barty won the 2019 French Open for singles. She also played the doubles in the 2018 US Open and won the title. Other than that, she has a career record of 220-83 which means, like Williams, she has the highest winning potential among all the players on the list. 

Elina Svitolina

Svitolina reached the highest ranking of No. 3 in 2015, while her current ranking is No. 5 (August 2019). She has never won a single Grand Slam title, but she the Tour Finals 2018 winner.  

Petra Kvitova

Kvitova has won the Wimbledon trophy twice, against Maria Sharapova in 2011 and Bouchard in 2014. She also appeared in the finals of the Australian Open in 2019. Kvitova currently ranks 6th in all-time rankings.

Madison Keys

Keys won her first WTA singles title in 2014. She consistently appears in the semifinals, quarterfinals and finals of Grand Slam match. She reached a career-high of No. 7 ranking, appearing in the top 25 since 2015.

Sloane Stephens

Stephens reached and beat Williams at the 2013 Australian Open when she was just a teenager. At the 2017 US Open championship, she went against Keys for an all-American match. She also has a Grand Slam title to boast of, the 2017 US Open. Stephens is slowly gaining her momentum, appearing in the Tour Finals in 2018.

 

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Do you agree with our choices of Williams’ presumptive heir? Let us know your thoughts.

Player Feature: Simona Halep

Full Name: Simona Halep 

Birthdate: September 27, 1991

Birthplace: Constanta, Romania 

Years active: 2006 – present

WTA Rank: #4

Key statistics

  • Known for aggressive baseline style
  • Has 19 singles titles
  • Makes 5x fewer errors than opponents
  • Gave Williams two of her worst defeats

Playing without a full-time coach, Simona Halep is an aggressive baseliner who can cover all surfaces. Halep plays right-handed (two-handed backhand). 

She named Justine Henin as one of her primary tennis models. Henin retorted by saying that Halep is an “intelligent game” who is both offensive and aggressive. She has uncanny anticipation and is astonishingly fast. Her strokes are unreadable, but she knows how to disrupt her opposition’s rhythm while disguising her own.

One vital component of Halep’s tennis strategy is her few errors. She always makes fewer errors against her opponents, at about 5x less. She seizes opportunities not to make any error due to her wide back swings and slides despite her small stature (Halep was only 5’6” and 132 lbs). She controls to rally and produces winners in the process without relying on the mistakes of her opponent.

Her agile all-court movement on the court is the end-result of her daily training. She exercises every day for one hour. Her usual regimen includes running, body weight, and resistance activities. She lifts a maximum of 2 kilograms. Halep is an occasional yoga practitioner as well. 

Her breakout season was in 2013. She won six titles against top 20 and top 10 tennis players. Halep was only second to Steffi Graf to do such who also won the same number of titles in 1986. Halep was named the Most Improved Player by the ESPN Center Court.

She became the #2 player in 2014 and ranked #1 twice between 2017 and 2019. The first one was on October 9, 2017, wherein she held the ranking for 16 weeks and again on 2019 for 48 consecutive weeks. Her 64-week #1 combined ranked her as the 10th in women’s tennis history. 

Halep is Wimbledon 2019’s women’s singles champion, outwitting Serena Williams in a two-sets-straight win. She gave Williams two of her worst defeats; first in 2014 WTA Finals by 6-0, 6-2 and in 2019 by 6-2, 6-2.

She won her Grand Slam titles for the first time in several years since she started playing professionally in 2006. She hasn’t won any Australian Open or US Open titles, but she won French Open in 2018 and her latest win, Wimbledon in 2019.

Halep was the second Romanian tennis player to win multiple majors. The first one was Ilie Nastase who won the US Open and French Open in 1972 and 1973, respectively. Nonetheless, she became the only Romanian player to bring home the Venus Rosewater Dish.

She has played almost 700 tennis matches with 19 singles titles and one doubles title. Halep has 486 wins and 207 losses. 

She has played in Africa, South America, Oceania, Asia, Europe, and North America. She was playing for about 14 years on tour. Halep has also played on clay, grass, carpet, indoor, outdoor, but her biggest accomplishments are on hard surfaces with 14 wins and six losses.

Romanian Tennis Federation manages Halep.

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