Would you rather have Ivo Karlovic’s serve or Rafael Nadal’s forehand? When you think of the best return in the game, is it Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray whose name springs to mind? What would your perfect tennis player look like?
This was the topic that Gael Monfils and Murray tackled on Twitch during their Nitto ATP Finals coverage on Sunday, as the pair live-streamed their commentary and banter while watching Daniil Medvedev’s three-set championship clash with Dominic Thiem.
When it came to one of the most important shots in the game, Murray gave honourable mention to big servers John Isner and Ivo Karlovic, but ultimately opted for Nick Kyrgios’ powerful first delivery.
“Honestly, I would have picked the same, also Kyrgios,” Monfils replied. “For me because it’s definitely tough to read. It’s fast, accurate, he can do anything with it. It’s definitely one of the bigger serves I’ve ever seen on the tour.”
Novak Djokovic’s groundstrokes also received a lot of praise from Monfils and Murray, with both players unanimously picking the World No. 1’s return as the best on the tour.
“He’s not an unbelievably aggressive returner, it’s not like he’s hitting lots of clean winners on the return. But he’s just got great depth,” Murray said. “He doesn’t miss many. He returns well on the first and second serve, I think overall he’s the best returner. And when he’s on with the return, you’re getting hardly any free points, which is big.”
“He builds a lot of pressure on your serve, to do something, to force a little bit sometimes or even to slow down a bit and mix up the speeds,” Monfils added. “But when he’s on, his return is unbelievable. I’ll go for Novak as well.”
The pair were split when it came time to choose a forehand, with the Frenchman naming Juan Martin del Potro’s shot as his top pick.[WATCH LIVE 3]
“The consistency, the power, the accuracy – for me it’s one of the biggest forehands we have on the tour,” he said. “He can hit forehands from, I feel like, anywhere on the court. It can be a winner with his forehand.”
“I’ll take Rafa’s forehand,” Murray countered. “I rarely see Rafa’s forehand being the reason he’s lost matches. And it’s never really let him down in very big matches and big moments. I feel like it’s extremely reliable.
“I think it’s been a huge reason for the 13 Roland Garros [titles] that he’s won. That’s 13, one-three.”
Check out Monfils’ Twitch channel to see the rest of their picks as Monfils and Murray built their perfect players – and find out which of their own shots and qualities they named to the list.