Novak Djokovic uses a western grip


The topspin forehand is one of the must hots on the tennis court. Whether you do it with more or less intensity, one thing is for sure, you need to be able to generate top spin.

The topspin forehand is the primary shot in modern tennis. It is used at the professional level to dominate points from the baseline and is responsible for the dramatic increase in tennis being a power game. Virtually every professional tennis player on tour uses a topspin forehand to control strokes from the baseline.

An example of this professional player is Roger Federer. Federer's remarkable topspin forehand gave him his first French Open title as he won his matches point by point with his dominant topspin forehand. In combination with his forehand approach shot, he earned many of his professional titles. Other professional players who use the topspin forehand as their main approach are Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal.

Topspin forehand technique overview
In modern tennis, the tennis topspin forehand is usually performed during a baseline rally and approach shots. You can also use this technique in passing shots. For most professional players, the topspin forehand is their preferred choice in today's high-speed game. A topspin forehand is the best of both worlds because a player can hit the tennis ball with extreme power and top spin while keeping the ball in play.

The correct technique for top spin forehand starts with the semi-western grip, as opposed to the eastern or western grip points. An easy way to find the right semi-western grip is to place your playing hand directly on the strings and then slide your hand down to grab it towards the end.

The posture must match the grip. In this case, there is no way you should be in a closed stance as you will need more trunk rotation for your club to pass over you and have trunk rotation. Instead, you should have a neutral stance or an open stance in order to be able to rotate.

Next, you need to make sure that your point of impact is in front. At one stage the tip of the racket will go over your head and then it may fall below your left shoulder, or in some games it will end a little above your left shoulder. The racket should always have a rainbow shape in front of you.

Below is a step-by-step analysis of how to perform this tennis racket in terms of its footwork, grip, stance, backswing, forward swing, contact, and walk-through.

Topspin forehand footwork

As with all other tennis rackets, tennis topspin forehand footwork begins with the feet to the net. After the first split step, they should be aligned and pulled apart at will. Other players spread their feet farther away than other players. It depends on how comfortable you are. While holding your racket, keep moving, keeping your heels off the ground. You can practice good footwork by jumping on your toes to keep them active and ready to move as soon as you return the ball.

An important point to keep in mind is always the ball during and after the split step. Seconds before your opponent touches the ball, increase the height of your split step and try to synchronize your split step movement with the ball. If your opponent hits the ball to your forehand side, your right foot (right-handed player) should begin the shoulder rotation very quickly. If your right foot is fast enough, you'll be on time to hit the ball. If the ball is too far from the forehand, be prepared to run for the ball with the drop step or gravity step.

Here are some tips for you to use proper footwork while performing tennis topspin forehand and recovering from contact.

* When hitting a ball that is widely placed, the best footwork to use is a drop step or gravity step with your right foot.
* If you are recovering after the ball returns, the crossover step is best. This will allow you to watch your opponent's next move as you are facing them.
* If you hit the ball on the sideline, use the full shuffle step to return to the center baseline.
* If you are forced to hit a ball in the far double corner and throw a forehand cross-court ball back using cross steps or karooca steps, then the last two steps can be shuffle steps when you reach the resort ( depending on your shot selection.) It is enough to be in the middle between the sideline and the center line.
* In the same situation but instead of a cross court, hit the ball down the line, the recovery steps you need to do is the same (cross steps or carioca steps) but you need to use additional shuffle steps the correct position to cover your opponent's next shot as a result of the shot selection in the bottom row.

Topspin forehand grip

While there are acceptable variations to hitting the forehand, the semi-western forehand grip is the best tennis grip that allows players to produce a topspin forehand. The amount of top spin with this grip is greater than with other more conservative tennis grips like the eastern forehand grip. This is because in the semi-western tennis grip the ball is ideally hit at shoulder level. Therefore, more cleaning effect is achieved because the racket is first dropped before the contact between the ball and the racket surface.

Then, when the player swings in an upward motion, the club moves from a low position and hits the ball at shoulder level. This means that the ball is hit from below the ball, creating more top spin. This shows that the grip itself does not affect the amount of topspin generated, but the point of contact. The higher the contact point, the more top spin is generated.

This forehand grip is used in many professional players such as Andy Roddick, Marat Safin, and Venus Williams. This versatile tennis grip is ideal when you are opting for a flatter ball and want to produce topspin at the same time.

Topspin forehand preparation

When you are in the ready position (you are waiting for the ball and ready to hit it), you should always keep your racket ready by supporting your racket with your left hand (right handed) by placing your left hand on the racket neck (part of the club between the main handle and the base of the club head).

As soon as your opponent has contact with the ball (ball touches the racket's face), immediately bring your racket to the side and at the same time wind up the upper part of your body. Remember, both hands are holding the racket at this stage. This position should be maintained until you turn your body sideways. This position allows you a good rotation of your upper body and thus your punching power, even if you only do a short backswing. In this case you also have very good control over your racket.

If you are right-handed, it may be helpful to imagine that your elbow is pointing towards your back (back fence) and your club is angled 45 degrees to the sky with your club face facing the ground. At the same time, your weight should be concentrated on your right foot.


Topspin forehand swing and contact point

In a tennis topspin forehand, you don't have to do a big backswing; you can do a compact backswing. Such a variation allows you to form a C-loop in the air during the backswing. After you've formed a C-loop, drop the racket so that the racket is positioned under the ball.

At this stage, your hips and body will already be unrolled by the time you swing your racket. To keep your balance, move your left arm across your body. The weight of your body is then transferred to your left foot. Keep your eyes on the ball.

The contact between the club head and the ball is usually at the front of the body and at shoulder level. This is the ideal situation or point of contact when using a semi-western tennis grip. The point of contact may vary depending on which grip you are using. The contact point can be on the belt line with an eastern tennis grip to create the topspin forehand if the club head should be positioned under the ball first before contact. When the racket head is positioned under the ball, the brushing effect is created between the ball and the racket surface, creating the powerful topspin tennis forehand.

Hit the wrist

When there is a moment of pressure or when the ball is slightly behind it, you will see Rafael Nadal make a hand gesture. But when he gives himself more time, he usually suggests.

When you hit the wrist, the bat should end almost over your opposite shoulder. It massively increases the ability to spin the ball, but is very physically demanding as your wrist has to do most of the work.

Most of us are not built like Nadal with strong bodies and resilient wrists. Players like Nadal, Murray and even Novak Djokovic will sometimes use this technique because of the speed of the ball, if they are caught a little late in the shot, or because they want to increase the amount of top spin.


Follow and restore topspin forehand

The tennis topspin forehand should end with the elbow in front. The elbow should be pointing at the ball you just hit. The club should be on your left shoulder when you have managed to get enough propulsion in your hand. The consequence can be in your left elbow or in your left hip. Immediately after the follow-up, you need to be ready for the next ball with a split step. This will give your body the right balance. If possible, quickly go back to the middle baseline.

Below is a clip of Marko Djokovic (you probably know his brother better) from the moment he stopped at my tennis school. He and his brother, Novak Djokovic, share several similarities in the way they attack the ball, how they react, and how they move towards the ball and their footwork. Notice how he divides the steps, how he attacks the ball in court, and how it recovers if it moves over the baseline.


Topspin forehand drill

Below is a video of an exercise we usually do at the academy to improve top spin. You start by holding the bat's throat on your heart and standing on the service line. What you then try is to make sure you are generating that top spin that will hold the rally with your partner or with your student.

The goal is to get a lot of rotation, a lot of top spin with an open stance or a neutral stance. The rules are pretty simple, you are not allowed to turn the tip of the club towards your partner and you can only meet foremen.

To turn the drill into a small game, you have to bring the ball over the net three times and then take a point. It's always good to have some fun while you're working on getting top spin on your forehand.

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