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Fresh Takes: The slice forehand has a time and place
More so in the WTA than ATP, the slice forehand can wreak havoc when used correctly.
Published Aug 07, 2021
Today’s young pros are adding new and sometimes radical shots to the classic tennis repertoire. Here’s how to make these next-gen plays work for you, too.
While most coaches don't teach the slice forehand, it can certainly be a disruptive shot.
What type of opponent do you most hate to face? Grinders who never miss and big servers who give you no rhythm are frustrating foes, but what about players who slice every ball within an inch of its life, and have you lunging to keep up with their devilish spins?
Bianca Andreescu must understand how tricky those types of opponents can be, because she incorporates their tactics into her game. The 21-year-old Canadian can drive her ground strokes as well as anyone, but she’s not above taking a hard chop at her forehand in the middle of a rally to give her opponent a different shot to deal with. Often, she’ll come inside the ball for sidespin, which makes it tail away from the other player.
“People hate it because it doesn’t look like a shot a real player would use,” Mayotte says, “and because you have to adjust to a different spin right away.” Along with the surprise factor, Andreescu’s mid-rally slice allows her to use deception. To chop the ball, she raises her racquet above her shoulder, but from there she can also slow down her swing and feather a drop shot instead. The other player doesn’t know what she’s going to do until she sees the flight of the ball. “You want to practice making the slice and the drop look like the same shot,” Mayotte says. If it can fool Andreescu’s opponents, it’s a safe bet that it will do the same against yours.