Just like Roger Federer, you can use the sliced backhand to good effect on all surfaces whether it’s as a defensive shot or to go on the attack.
1. Federer has such good posture on court and he demonstrates a perfectly stable upper body as he tracks the ball. As he moves to the ball he gets his racket back early.
2. Balance is a trademark of every aspect of Roger’s game and his body remains still as he creates a fantastic wide base which will keep him stable throughout the shot.
3. Notice how well Roger watches the ball as his racket meets the ball. He brings his racket from high to low as he prepares to cut down the back of the ball to impart wicked slice.
[Like most players who have played a lot on clay courts at a young age, Federer moves beautifully on the surface, sliding into the shot as his weight transfers onto his front foot.]
OBJECTIVES - LOW IS THE WAY TO GO
Providing your technique is sound, you can use slice to defend or attack. When you’re forced onto the back foot you can use it to deal with high balls to get them back deep.
You can also use slice to drop the ball short, change the pace of a rally, go on the attack or as an approach – it’s tricky to deal with because it stays so low.
GRIPS - SLICE WITH A CHOPPER
The only grip to use is the Continental or Chopper grip for sliced backhands. Using the correct grip will mean the angle of the racket face will be just right when the ball hits the strings.
4. Roger keeps his head still well after contact. His cut down the back of the ball is more extreme than most players which allows him to create even more spin.
[The racket arm should be pretty much straight on contact. The angle of the racket face is key: too closed and you’ll hit too flat, too open and you ’ll get too much height.]
5. Federer’s balance is superb as he finishes the shot. His left arm extends behind his torso to match the motion of his racket arm which enables him to maintain control of his body after contact.
6. Again, his head is still and has hardly moved throughout the stroke. He calmly shifts his gaze upwards to begin tracking the ball after contact to begin his preparations for the next shot.
[Federer finishes the stroke by beginning to push off with his left foot. This will help him quickly moveback to the middl e of the court]
Like Fed, try to have a wide base on contact. Keeping your head still throughout the shot is a sign of excellent balance.
POSITIONING - AIM TO ACHIVE SWISS TIMING
It’s important to get sideways on to help control direction otherwise you’ll be chopping across your body. It’s also vital to get your contact point out in front and not too far away or too close to your body. And like most shots in tennis, if you get your bodyweight moving forwards then you'll hit with more penetration.
Images by: AMN Images