The 2011 professional tennis season started out with a bang at the Abu Dhabi Exhibition. Checkout the semi-finals highlights between Federer and Soderling as well as Nadal and Berdych.
Watching these matches I started to notice something between all these guy’s forehands that I didn’t notice before. All four of them have huge forehands but what I noticed that separated Nadal and Federer’s forehands from their respective opponents is how fully extended their arms are at contact. At contact, even on low balls, their arms are well out in front and with arms straight. This is demonstrated in the photos below with Nadal.
Now, notice Federer …
There are obvious benefits to hitting out in front, and with a straighter arm, Nadal and Federer gets more leverage and snap in their shot. The head of the racquet indeed behaves like the tip of a bullwhip snapping and crackling. Additionally, with full arm extension and increased reach, they take fewer steps to get to the ball and therefore have less distance to recover. I believe this is the difference that we see when balls come off these guys’ forehands.
Now let’s take a look at how the other big guys hit their forehands.
So, it’s clear that Roddick and Hewitt have quite marked bent elbows and Djokovic, Murray, Soderling, Del Potro and Berdych’s arms are more extended, they are no where near the full extensions of Federer and Nadal.
Alright, enough with the analysis … let’s watch some tennis!
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