Q. What is a Junkballer in Tennis?
A. It is someone who basically varies the speed of the return (hitting it slower) in order to get their opponent off balance. Disrupt the rhythm of the game to disrupt their stroke. (Wikipedia)
With that out of the way, here are my top 10 Junkies in the history of tennis.
1. Fabrice Santoro
Nicknamed ‘The Magician’, he could also have been called ‘Slice and Dice’. Fabrice did possess some power that offset his slices, which was lethal. Just ask Marat Safin, who almost had to book himself into therapy after playing him.
2. Jan Siemerink
Called ‘The Garbage Man’ by Andre Agassi in his Autobiography, Siemerink chipped and charged his way to net, never providing his opponents much rhythm.
3. Brad Gilbert
Here’s a man who wrote a book called ‘Winning Ugly’ so the answer’s in the title. Brad out the trash every game for collection.
4. Mikael Pernfors
Top spin was Pernfor’s poison and he used it well. His top spin lobs and drop shots drove opponents nuts, just ask Ivan Lendl.
5. Mansour Bharami
The man from Iran has a bigger bag of tricks than Houdini and playing an exhibition with this guy, is enough to drive anyone to drink. Highly entertaining stuff mind.
6. Karsten Braasch
We know about the crazy serve and change over antics, but it didn’t end there. Braasch knew how to throw opponents off on court too with a clever use of slice, approach shots and possible leaving cigarette butts on the court for good measure.
7. Miloslav Mecir
Known as the ‘Big Cat’, Mecir was known to frustrate the Swedish players during his time. Why them, I have no idea, but shot disguise and the ability to retrieve must have irked the Swedish sensibility.
8. Radek Stepanek
Almost a Karsten Braasch 2.0 The Worm knows how to get under the skin of opponents and will do what it takes to get the W.
9. John McEnroe
Between his slice, chip and charge, pushed forehands and backhands, Mac was a nightmare to play. A combination of junk was mighty successful though.
10. Alex Dolgopolov
A newcomer to the club, but based on the extreme slice backhand, drop shot and whip forehand, The Dog can dump a lot of trash on his opponents.