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FOREHAND WEAPON

   
Watching the Australian Open this past week reminded me how much
players rely on their forehand groundstroke to produce winners. Not only
do they hit more winners off their forehand side but they are using their
forehands to push their opponent off the court. The inside out forehand
has become the weapon of choice for today’s power players.
   First a player must develop a solid forehand groundstroke. This should
be done with topspin to minimize the error potential. Topspin also allows
for more angled shots because it is easier to hit short. It is very important
to push your opponent out wide, thus making it difficult to hit the return
down the line for a winner. If your opponents return is not cross court, they
you will have the chance to take their return and hit your forehand to the
open court for the point.
   Most inside out forehands involve the open stance footwork. Moving
out, stopping your momentum and transferring that power into you shot is
crucial.
   The backhand shot has become a shot to keep the ball in play and
keep you out of trouble. Backhands produce winners in only special
situations such as a passing shot or a short put away. Rarely is the
backhand used to set up and end points.
   So it has become apparent to me that the backhand is the rallying shot
and the forehand is the put-away shot.
   Build up the consistency on your backhand with good topspin and net
clearance. Use your backhand to give you the opportunity hit your
forehand for winners.
   Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic, the top 3 players in the world have good
topspin and may hit more winners. Fernando Gonzalez and James Blake
have bigger forehands but with less topspin and make more errors. My
guess is that’s why they are the world’s best.
   Shore up your backhand and blast away with control on your forehand!

Doug Hofer, USPTA        www.hofertennis.com         January 28, 2008
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