Players with a dominant forehand in tennis have usually found ways to win consistently.
Not only does power come into play, but precision and spin play a role in the modern game as well.
Who possesses the 15 best tennis forehands of all time? Players on the men’s and women’s sides of tennis were considered for this list. How they dominated their competition compared to everyone else determined the ultimate standings.
15. Jack Sock
Think of Jack Sock as the modern-day Fernando Gonzalez as far as forehands are concerned. He generates spin and power that is among the best on tour, but sometimes he gets a little bit too happy about hitting that shot.
He will run around to hit a forehand instead of hitting his backhand, showing the opposition that he doesn’t have the most confidence.
His overall technical side of his play isn’t textbook by any means. It works for him, but his style might not be replicated too much. He does have a very big forehand that can cause a load of problems for others.
14. Ana Ivanović
Her prime didn’t last as long as the other women on this list, but Ana Ivanović had a devastating forehand when it was on. She was able to put it just about anywhere on the court, and the variety kept opponents on their toes.
The forehand was most effective on clay courts. It just so happens to be that her lone major victory came at the French Open.
Injuries and overall inconsistency started to catch up, and she was never able to use her forehand as a lethal weapon for too long.
13. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
A forgotten forehand in tennis history is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Part of the reason why he doesn’t get as many mentions is that he never won a Grand Slam. However, he could hit the ball as hard as he could with his forehand and dictate points.
That forehand is what first gained him recognition when he made it to the final at the Australian Open.
Not only could he flatten it out, but he could add spin to the ball and make it a huge problem to set up other shots. The combination of his serve and forehand gave him a lot of points during his career.
12. Pete Sampras
There is perhaps no greater running forehand in tennis history than what Pete Sampras was able to pull off. Known as a serve and volleyer who could win a lot of quick points, Sampras also had a devastating forehand that was most effective on hard courts.
Some of the modern players have made his forehand not look quite as impressive. In his era, there’s a reason why players actively try to avoid his forehand at all costs.
11. Monica Seles
The most unique forehand to make this list has to be Monica Seles. She was a left-handed, two-fisted player who hit the ball hard on both sides.
She would take the ball early and go for angles as much as possible. A myriad of very varied shots opened up opportunities.
Most people have a picture in their mind when thinking about the best forehands of all time. Two-handed forehands won’t be at the top of anyone’s list. It might not be the prettiest, but it got the job done and caused a ton of damage on tour.
10. Andy Roddick
A powerful serve backed up with a huge forehand can be very problematic for the typical player. Andy Roddick was able to do that for most of his career, getting up to #1 in the world and winning a Grand Slam title along the way.
An ideal service game for Andy Roddick would be either an ace, or a 1-2 punch with a good serve and then a crushing forehand for a winner.
Part of the reason why he had to go for more with his forehand is that his backhand was pretty average by professional standards.
9. Serena Williams
Serena‘s forehand is a little more powerful than her sisters, but the inconsistency drops her down just a little bit.
When her forehand is on, no one in women’s tennis history could compete. She likes taking the ball early from an open stance to hit winners or get to the net to follow things up.
Another thing that hurts Serena Williams in rankings like this is that it’s hard to point out exactly what she is best at. Some other strokes and qualities make her one of the best.
Her forehand gets forgotten a little bit, but she can thump it as good as anyone in the history of the game.
8. Venus Williams
Venus Williams didn’t outshine her sister Serena in too many categories, but the forehand can be an advantage for the older sister. Power was always the name of the game for Venus, but she was able to locate her forehand very well.
Her long, lean frame offered a lot of leverage for shots so that she could put the ball wherever she wanted. Still playing to this day, Venus can cause some trouble in any draw if her forehand is landing.
7. Fernando Verdasco
The Fernando Verdasco forehead was on full display at the Australian Open in 2009. Going against Rafael Nadal in the semifinals, he was hitting with power and spin to cause all sorts of problems.
Even though he lost the match, he had some of the most impressive shots in tournament history.
Inconsistency never allowed Verdasco to win anything big during his career, but he could always rely on his forehand.
He was not afraid to take risks with his forehand, thumping balls to either corner. The fact that he’s left-handed added another wrinkle to his game.
6. Gael Monfils
The raw power of Gael Monfils has allowed him to stay on tour to this day. Not only is he extremely fast, but he has a powerful forehand that can be a major weapon when on.
There isn’t much variety with the forehand, but he hits a very flat and powerful ball off that wing. He will try to wind up and crush balls that sit up in the air as well.
In fact, he’s been known to jump up in the air to get even more leverage when the opportunity arises.
If his forehand was as consistent as some of the others, he would be higher on this list. It goes missing a little bit too much to name it the best of all time.
5. Stefi Graf
One of the many nicknames for Stefi Graf was Fraulein Forehand. She had a lot of outstanding attributes that led to all of her Grand Slam victories, but her forehand is one of the best in women’s tennis history.
Not only did Graf have an amazing forehand, but she worked very hard to get the opportunity to hit it in big situations. Her footwork was impeccable, and that opened up many opportunities to put balls away.
4. Fernando Gonzalez
Fernando Gonzalez is a classic example of a player who had a great forehand and tried to hit it as often as possible.
Often seen running around the forehand to set up as many points as possible, he reached one Grand Slam final playing his unique style.
Unfortunately, Gonzalez didn’t have the all-around game to thrive as a player at the highest level for his entire career.
He loved taking huge swings at the ball and going for the winner, but he had a lot of unforced errors that came along with it. That’s what keeps his forehand a little bit down on his list, as well as his ranking.
3. Rafael Nadal
The most impressive thing about Rafael Nadal‘s forehand is the fact that he’s not even left-handed. His uncle Toni decided to make him a lefthander early on in his career, and he somehow developed one of the most devastating forehands in tennis history.
Other players hit the forehand harder, but his massive spin makes the ball kick up higher and keep his opponents back. He also can hit deep shots consistently, which helps out in wearing the opponent down.
Known mostly for its spin, he famously flattened out his forehand on hardcourts to be a dominant force at the U.S. Open as well. It’s impressive to see the evolution of his forehand like so many other players.
2. Roger Federer
Roger Federer’s forehand is one of the prettiest shots in tennis history. During the prime of his career, he had a very technically sound and powerful forehand.
Even though it didn’t always seem like he was crushing the ball, it was a very fluid shot that could be hit at any angle.
Early on in his career, Federer’s forehand was mostly flat. He loved going with an inside-out forehand, which caught opponents by surprise.
Later on in his career, he was able to add a little bit more spin to his forehand so that he could have a bit more variety.
Adaptability has always been the name of the game for Federer. He went up in racquet head size so that he could compete with the modern game a little bit more.
He might not have the power that he once possessed, but players still avoid his forehand at all costs.
1. Juan Martin Del Potro
Tennis players of his era will stand by Juan Martín del Potro as having the best forehand in the game. He has the size to add additional leverage on shots, and his ability to hit hard, flat winners from just about anywhere helps him significantly.
There was a time when it seemed like del Potro was the future of the sport. He won the U.S. Open, showed the world that he could beat anybody when he was at his best, and had a demeanor to calmly knock out opponents.
However, injuries started to pile up, and he was never able to fully return to the same level of play that he was hoping for.
Forehand winners were abundant during the 2009 U.S. Open. It seems like he could do nothing wrong. At any point, his forehand could hit winners even from neutral positions. The consistency along with power made it the best of the best.
How a Strong Forehand Leads to Success
Players who can hit a strong forehand usually can dictate points on a pretty consistent basis. Although more skills are needed in the modern game to succeed, a good forehand will be a lot of players.
Possessing one of the best forehands in the history of tennis can put everyone on notice. Consistency is key, but the finishing blow makes a difference as well.