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View Full Version : Who has the better forehand: Serena Williams vs. Justine Henin?


VeeJJ
Oct 27th, 2011, 07:10 AM
Really I think whose forehand and backhand are better both debatable but I'm just asking about their forehands here. Henin's forehand didn't start well but became an exceptional shot. Serena's forehand is a great shot itself. Serena has more raw power, but I feel like Justine's forehand was so good because she absorb pace so well with it and gave back a lot of power at the same time. IDK, it's a toss up for me.

Discuss.

Moveyourfeet
Oct 27th, 2011, 07:21 AM
Really?

No1Curr
Oct 27th, 2011, 09:34 AM
Ree obviously. Henin's is fugly and technically poor.

Kworb
Oct 27th, 2011, 09:57 AM
Henin definitely.

bandabou
Oct 27th, 2011, 10:23 AM
' 05 Oz open SF mp down...enough said.

Pops Maellard
Oct 27th, 2011, 10:29 AM
Serena has the better serve and FH (two most important things), Justine does everything else better.

KBlade
Oct 27th, 2011, 10:35 AM
I'm inclined the give the forehand to Serena. Technically a much more sound shot than Henin's clunky, abbreviated swing. Also, Serena is far more capable of over-powering opponents with her forehand when she really leans into the shot.

Both are prone to sometimes breaking down on this wing, however, when Henin's forehand breaks down, she can spray the ball long or slap it into the net, whereas when Serena's forehand breaks down, it will generally initially become shorter in the court and topspun, becoming more vulnerable to attack, before she begins hitting errors.

Alwaysfan
Oct 27th, 2011, 10:37 AM
WTF!!
Serena by far..
Henin is the backhand queen

bandabou
Oct 27th, 2011, 10:38 AM
Serena has the better serve and FH (two most important things), Justine does everything else better.

Three indusputables: better serve, better forehand AND mentally tougher...overcomes whatever edge Juju might have in other areas.

Miss Atomic Bomb
Oct 27th, 2011, 10:38 AM
I'm inclined the give the forehand to Serena. Technically a much more sound shot than Henin's clunky, abbreviated swing. Also, Serena is far more capable of over-powering opponents with her forehand when she really leans into the shot.


This + due to the constant abbreviations in her FH, Henin's is no where near as versatile (changing directions, creating angles) a her BH or as Serena's FH. Apart from ONE year in her entire career, Justine's FH was never in the same league as Serena or Kim.

Bismarck.
Oct 27th, 2011, 10:53 AM
Henin, although it depends on the timeframe. They're both underrated shots, though.

Rena's forehand from 2002/3 was deadly (fast-paced and due to her movement, highly accurate also) but when she came back after the injury, her forehand has never hit the same monster level except for a couple of occasions (Dubai vs. Ivanovic immediately springs to mind). Henin's forehand may not be as smooth technically, but it allowed her to construct points simply and get easy putaways up at the net, as well as being very powerful.

Mightymirza
Oct 27th, 2011, 11:39 AM
Serena on average :shrug:

ElusiveChanteuse
Oct 27th, 2011, 11:47 AM
I think Rena's better.

serenafan08
Oct 27th, 2011, 12:38 PM
Serena. It depends on the day though. They both have strong groundies and can do damage off both sides. Some days one shot works better than the other.

danieln1
Oct 27th, 2011, 12:43 PM
Henin used to shank her forehands a lot, but it was a very effective shot.

Serena has a more deadlier forehand though.

spencercarlos
Oct 27th, 2011, 01:46 PM
Henin definitely.


























...


NOT
Corrected.

Stonerpova
Oct 27th, 2011, 02:44 PM
Serena. Hers does more damage and has gotten more technically sound as the years have passed.

Sammo
Oct 27th, 2011, 02:45 PM
Serena

pov
Oct 27th, 2011, 03:01 PM
IDK, it's a toss up for me.


I'd have liked if you'd included a poll option for "different but both are excellent."

BlueTrees
Oct 27th, 2011, 03:03 PM
Ree obviously. Henin's is fugly and technically poor.

This

pierce85
Oct 27th, 2011, 03:10 PM
Serena has the better forehand and Justine the better backhand. Many people claim the opposite, just to go against what the majority believes.

shap_half
Oct 27th, 2011, 03:19 PM
This + due to the constant abbreviations in her FH, Henin's is no where near as versatile (changing directions, creating angles) a her BH or as Serena's FH.

This is just not true. While I don't think Justine has the better forehand than Serena (on average), I do think that Justine's forehand is very versatile and has often created eye-popping angles. She didn't generate as much power on it the way Serena can, but she was still able to dominate with that wing and control points with it.

I was trying to track down a YT video of this against Dementieva, but it seems to be lost now.

Apoleb
Oct 27th, 2011, 03:28 PM
Serena has an absolutely stunning looking forehand. It's technically perfect. Here is the slo-mo. Poetry in motion:

BJg5cWEviZo

Now this is the Justine forehand. Obviously, it's inferior technically:

KBioEMX2IdM

Kworb
Oct 27th, 2011, 03:36 PM
In the second half of her career, Justine's FH was her stronger wing and what allowed her to win most of her matches. She would often run around her BH to hit her FH. The way she could rip her FH while moving forward, with the ball going on the rise, was her most reliable attack shot. She could also hit all angles with it inside and outside and could also hit it exceptionally flat and deep. Really one of the best FH in history.

Dominic
Oct 27th, 2011, 04:35 PM
At her peak, every shot of Henin was better than Serena's except serve.

effedcamel
Oct 27th, 2011, 05:28 PM
Justine's was very versatile, she had a great inside-in forehand and inside-out forehand at her peak. I'd say technically Serena's is better but she doesn't have the flexibility.

Kairi
Oct 27th, 2011, 05:33 PM
Serena obviously :spit: why is this even a question...

effedcamel
Oct 27th, 2011, 05:37 PM
Serena obviously :spit: why is this even a question...

Care to elaborate?

cecilija
Oct 27th, 2011, 05:41 PM
Both are iffy, but Henin's was much more versatile. Can Serena even hit inside out forehands?

JCTennisFan
Oct 27th, 2011, 06:24 PM
Serena's shot is more straight-forward and practical. She hits the ball with the raquet rather straight and untilted, cleanly driving through the ball. Henin's shot, contrastingly, is more windshield wiper, where she is not hitting the ball with the raquet untilted and is not driving through the shot as much. Technically Serenas forehand will produce a more consistent shot. Henin's shot is more complicated and has more components which must all be in order for her to hit the shot successfully. This produces a shot that is more erratic and prone to breaking down, because there are more parts which need to be properly managed.

All that being said, though, I do have to say that when Henin was at her peak... the effectiveness of her forehand was just as good as serena's. Their baseline play was really quite comparable at their peaks.... its just the serve that really pulls Serena away from Henin. But then again thats basically the case with Serena against all her contemporaries.

The Dawntreader
Oct 27th, 2011, 06:28 PM
Never liked Henin's forehand technically. Had immaculate footwork around/into the shot, but it was a blemished shot in its stroke production. Could be prone to over-rotating the racquet face, causing shanks, crude errors. It was an immensely improved shot however as her career progressed, and was probably the best on tour in 2007, due to the depth, angle and racquet-head speed she was generating consistently.

But yes, it wasn't that great technically compared to Serena's. It's important to note that in the big matches Henin lost, her forehand was the shot to break down, be it the Wimbledon 2006 final, or the USO Open final vs Sharapova.

Pump-it-UP
Oct 27th, 2011, 06:31 PM
Serena wins in pretty much every department. She generates more power, absorbs power better, redirects with better margin, has a much better FH return, her running/rally FH (CC in particular) is far better, etc etc. I'm confused as to how this poll is so close. Justine's was better in 2007, but that's it. And if people are voting for her based on that, shouldn't they be comparing her FH to Serena's peak forehand too? :confused:

Both are iffy, but Henin's was much more versatile. Can Serena even hit inside out forehands?

:weirdo:

Gdsimmons
Oct 27th, 2011, 06:35 PM
Serena without a doubt. Not even close imo.

edificio
Oct 27th, 2011, 06:42 PM
Justine was expert at reading hand signals.

JCTennisFan
Oct 27th, 2011, 06:44 PM
I think its a pretty close one all in all. I dont think its as much of a blowout as some people would want to believe. Serena's FH is not her more reliable shot... actually neither player has a more consistent forehand. Both players relied on their BH as their superior rally shot..

Serena is a more powerful player physically... so that means she doesnt have to produce as much raquet head speed acceleration to get her pace. Henin on the other hand had to rely on a higher degree of raquet head speed to accomplish the same amount of power. When you start accelerating the raquet head to high levels... your going to naturally be more prone to producing errors because your timing has to become progressively better the faster you accelerate. Honestly Henin had a more difficult shot to hit than Serena did... so I find it no suprise that her shot was the more erratic. But when Henin was hitting her FH cleanly.... she could do most anything with it. Serena, even at her peak, relied more on her big Serve to properly set up the forehand to do damage. Henin, in contrast, didnt have to rely as much on her serve to set that forehand up (and thankfully so considering her first serve percentage had a habit of being in the 40-50 range).

azinna
Oct 27th, 2011, 06:52 PM
Both are iffy, but Henin's was much more versatile. Can Serena even hit inside out forehands?

If you had done as bandabou had suggested, you would know:

' 05 Oz open SF mp down...enough said.

dragonflies
Oct 27th, 2011, 06:57 PM
Serena and Justine both have great forehands. But Serena's has more power, deadlier angles and more versatle. Henin's was solid and more reliable ( even more than her backhand) of late, but not pocess the impression like Serena's.


Serena can hit her forhand winners off first serves and best attacking shots from top players like Davenport, Seles, Venus,Kim, Mauresmo, Hingis, Henin, hence her great records against the top players. Henin's forehand is solid and very effective against lesser players ( sometimes more than Serena's), but less of a weapon against the top tier players.


Both can hit inside out topspins forehands, but only Serena can occasionally hit her forehand winners while the ball bounce below the net. Justine had more sucessful on her forehand dropped volley than Serena though.



When Henin version 2 was back, she tried to be a lot more agressive, esp on the forehand and return, but the accuracy wasn't there, it worked against some lower ranks, like Jie in AO Semis, but failed against higher-pace balls from top players, resulted the loses to Serena and Kim.



Henin's serve is very underrated. Her st serve percentage is usually low, but average speed is up there with anyone and she was rarely got broken when playing well despites the low st serve percentage. She throws herself in and jumps high when serving to generate more power. In fact, I don't recall anyone around Justine's height has a serve similar with hers in terms of power and effectiveness.

bandabou
Oct 27th, 2011, 07:08 PM
At her peak, every shot of Henin was better than Serena's except serve.

:lol: Of course.

No1Curr
Oct 27th, 2011, 08:25 PM
At her peak, every shot of Henin was better than Serena's except serve.

At her peak, every shot of Serena's is better than Henin's with no exceptions :kiss:

Sammo
Oct 27th, 2011, 08:32 PM
Ree obviously. Henin's is fugly and technically poor.

1. Debatable
2. Uhh... just no :lol:

Dominic
Oct 28th, 2011, 03:01 AM
At her peak, every shot of Serena's is better than Henin's with no exceptions :kiss:

:lol: Good one.

Moveyourfeet
Oct 28th, 2011, 03:33 AM
Serena's forehand, in my opinion is clearly better than Henin's forehand.
What makes the juxtaposition tricky, is their differing techniques on the stroke.

Serena hits a more traditional stroke, characterized by a passive wrist, open racquet face on takeback, low to high swing path, follow-through over the shoulder.
Henin hits a modern forehand: more active wrist, racquet face is more closed on takeback (hitting side facing the ground), windsheild wiper swing path, finish across body.
There are other differences to, such as the 'push' 'pull' concept that also affect each stroke.

All things being equal, the modern forehand should produce a better forehand than the traditional stroke, and in men's tennis this pretty much holds true.
This is because the modern stroke has greater spin potential due to the increased racquet head speed from a controlled wrist action. Thus, the men are able to continue to hit bigger but use this modern stroke to generate even more spin to increase their margins, giving you a powerful but safer shot.
The men obviously are stronger and are able to sustain this shotmaking. And this is where the difference lies with the women.

The women that have been able to hit this way successfully, simply put are jocks. Kuznetsova, Stosur, Henin. Henin however has to work harder than these other girls to produce that stroke (which is a huge credit to her) but it means that once she is tentative, or losing confidence, it's way too easy for her to lose power and depth on that stroke, which happened on several occasions.
Even in her most dominant year, her forehand completely deserted her in the 3rd set of the Wimbledon SF.

Serena's stroke by nature allows for easier access to a clean hit through the ball. So the stroke is less likely to break down under pressure. The stroke, combined with her natural abilities gives her access to more power and depth such that when she is out of shape and unfit she can still pound the heck out of the ball.
Henin has to be in great physical shape to maintain her forehand. it was also something she worked on for her entire career and it was a shot she felt she needed to revamp to achieve her goal of winning wimbledon.

Serena's forehand has been able to do more for her over the entire course of her career than Henin's.

And this is why I believe Serena's forehand is better than Justine's.

rimon
Oct 28th, 2011, 05:10 AM
Serena's, definitely. Way more power and when she wasn't playing well, Justine's had a habit of landing too short, and she often shanked it, or slapped it into the net. At their absolute peaks, Serena hit more errors, but that's the only advantage that Justine had. So, Serena, hands down.

rimon
Oct 28th, 2011, 05:19 AM
It's funny when you look at Serena in regards to some of the other players of her generation. Most of them were better in at least one department:

Justine - backhand, finesse, net play and consistency.
Venus - net play and net play.
Martina - net play, consistency and timing.
Lindsay - consistency and timing.
Kim - forehand, consitency and footspeed.
Jennifer - consistency and timing.
Mauresmo - consistency, net play and finesse.
Sharapova - consistency.

Serena's serve and mental strength, probably the two most important things, were/are just in a completely different galaxy. No one comes anywhere near in either category. Lindsay would probably be second in serve, and Justine in mental strength, but as said, neither are close in those respective categories.

visionsen
Oct 28th, 2011, 06:23 AM
I think Serena's forehand is better because she has more power.

bandabou
Oct 28th, 2011, 06:59 AM
It's funny when you look at Serena in regards to some of the other players of her generation. Most of them were better in at least one department:

Justine - backhand, finesse, net play and consistency.
Venus - net play and net play.
Martina - net play, consistency and timing.
Lindsay - consistency and timing.
Kim - forehand, consitency and footspeed.
Jennifer - consistency and timing.
Mauresmo - consistency, net play and finesse.
Sharapova - consistency.

Serena's serve and mental strength, probably the two most important things, were/are just in a completely different galaxy. No one comes anywhere near in either category. Lindsay would probably be second in serve, and Justine in mental strength, but as said, neither are close in those respective categories.

Great isn't it? Serena's solid overall, no obvious weakness..but her main strengths are LIGHT YEARS ahead of other players. That sets her apart.

Miss Atomic Bomb
Oct 28th, 2011, 07:52 AM
Sharapova/Jennifer were more consistent than Serena? Remind me who has the highest win-loss% of all the people listed here?

KBlade
Oct 28th, 2011, 08:26 AM
It's funny when you look at Serena in regards to some of the other players of her generation. Most of them were better in at least one department:

Justine - backhand, finesse, net play and consistency.
Venus - net play and net play.
Martina - net play, consistency and timing.
Lindsay - consistency and timing.
Kim - forehand, consitency and footspeed.
Jennifer - consistency and timing.
Mauresmo - consistency, net play and finesse.
Sharapova - consistency.

Serena's serve and mental strength, probably the two most important things, were/are just in a completely different galaxy. No one comes anywhere near in either category. Lindsay would probably be second in serve, and Justine in mental strength, but as said, neither are close in those respective categories.

I'm not sure whether you're talking about career consistency, or general match consistency, but regardless, the suggestion that Sharapova, Capriati, Venus, and Mauresmo were more consistent than Serena is a little laughable. All of these players are quite temperamental even at best. Capriati and Sharapova have their erratic serve and Venus can be pretty much erratic in every department.

Lindsay is almost unmatched in timing, but unfortunately for her, being good in one department, while severely lacking in others, such as movement, or mental strength in regards to pre-retirement Kim, does not guarantee success. Serena is consistently good or better than nearly every other player in all of the categories that matter when playing well, which is what is most important. Being great in one department is worthless if you're useless in almost every other category.

bandabou
Oct 28th, 2011, 08:53 AM
Good points...Serena has no OBVIOUS weaknesses and one thing people underestimate is her ability to adapt even in matches.