Great Shots: Agnieszka Radwanska's Forehand Slice
1. Radwanska starts by taking her racquet back high and turning sideways.
The forehand slice is a lost art in today’s game. Watch Agnieszka Radwanska closely, though, and you’ll see how effective it can be against the world’s best players, never mind at the club level. She’s remarkably balanced. As she begins to transfer her weight from her back foot to her front foot, she keeps her racquet face slightly open, so she can swing down and through the ball and load it up with backspin. Here’s the most important element to copy: Radwanska bends at the knees to the level of the ball. This allows her to stay in the line of the shot and hit with accuracy and consistency.
2. As she transfers all of her weight to her front foot and begins to swing, she gets down lower.
Radwanska is basically pushing down into court as she steps forward into the shot. This keeps her balanced and allows her to absorb the pace of her opponent’s shot. Her eyes are locked on the ball. Her left arm has moved across her body; it acts as a counter-balance to the hitting arm. Her racquet remains above the level of the ball and her wrist is firm.
3. After contact, Radwanska’s upper body has rotated through the shot and her hitting arm is now moving toward the target.
Radwanska’s eyes haven’t stopped focusing on the point of contact. Notice that she doesn’t create spin with her wrist, which has remained firm throughout the shot. Her back foot has started to pivot because of her weight transfer and shoulder turn, but it remains on the ground.
4. Her wrist remains firm and is pointing at the target. It’s really the perfect finish after an excellent unit turn and trunk rotation.
The ball is long gone, yet Radwanska remains low to the ground. This is a very heavy slice, and it’s going to stay out of her opponent’s strike zone. Sure, it’s nice to know how to bash the ball with topspin, like the pros almost always do. But the forehand slice can also work wonders for you.
Rick Macci has worked with five players who have reached a No. 1 world ranking: Andy Roddick, Venus and Serena Williams, Jennifer Capriati and Maria Sharapova.