Commentary

Best movers in the game

Updated: May 18, 2011, 11:23 AM ET
By Greg Garber | ESPN.com

Jose Higueras was born on an olive plantation in Granada, Spain, some 58 years ago. Later, he was a ball boy at a tennis club in Barcelona.

He was a patient professional, most comfortable on the soft clay; 17 of his 18 titles came on the dirt. He was a semifinalist at Roland Garros in 1982 and 1983. He was much sought after as a coach and helped a number of players win the title he never could in Paris. Today, he works for the USTA as the director of coaching for elite player development. His mind remains as agile as his game used to be.

"All sports -- except maybe chess -- are sports of movement," said Higueras from his home in Palm Springs, Calif. "In tennis, it is absolutely vital."

Clearly, he has given this a great deal of thought. In a recent 30-minute conversation, he offered a nuanced catalogue of the world's best movers, past and present. He and a dozen other respected experts ranked the best movers on clay, on hard courts, men and women, now and then. Here are those collective (and highly subjective) results:

Clay/men

1. Rafael Nadal

2. Novak Djokovic

3. Roger Federer

Honorable mention: David Ferrer

Clay/women

1. Kim Clijsters

2. Caroline Wozniacki

3. Serena Williams

Honorable mention: Jelena Jankovic, Dominika Cibulkova, Vera Zvonareva

Hard court/men

1. Novak Djokovic

2. Rafael Nadal

3. Andy Murray

Honorable mention: Roger Federer

Hard court/women

1. Kim Clijsters

2. Serena Williams

3. Caroline Wozniacki

Honorable mention: Jelena Jankovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova

All-time/men

1. Bjorn Borg

2. Rafael Nadal

3. Rod Laver

Honorable mention: Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic

All-time/women

1. Steffi Graf

2. Martina Navratilova

3. Serena Williams

Honorable mention: Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters, Martina Hingis

Greg Garber is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

Greg Garber

Writer, Reporter
Greg Garber joined ESPN in 1991 and provides reports for NFL Countdown and SportsCenter. He is also a regular contributor to Outside the Lines and a senior writer for ESPN.com.