Here's some great pointers! Good luck to you and your brother!
Three Elements of Justine Henin
Make three elements of her complete game work for you.
By Paul Annacone
Photos by Getty Images
1. Be aware of your court positioning.
Many club players struggle to choose the right moments to be aggressive. This often boils down to smart shot selection, a discipline in which Justine Henin excels. She rarely pulls the trig-ger on a backhand down the line unless she has time to set up and is in a position to crack it. Henin recognizes when her opponent has hit a weak shot and uses her foot speed and athleticism to take the ball early and attack. She’s just as aggressive with her feet in these situ-ations as she is with her strokes. You should try to get on top of or inside the baseline before you go on the offensive. If you’re deep in the court, hit a rally ball and wait for a beter opportunity to unload. Playing with that kind of re-straint will help increase your winners and reduce your errors.
2. Use your serve offensively.
Henin is the shortest woman in the Top 10 but she serves remarkably well. She has sound and consistent mechanics and a loose arm, which helps her get surprising pop on the ball. Her second serve, which can be streaky at times, is also dif? cult for her op-ponents to attack. Still, Henin is not an overpow-ering server. What makes her delivery so effective is her ability to move the ball around the box in or-der to start the point on her terms. She’ll slide a serve out wide, stretch-ing her opponent into the doubles alley, and then drive her next ball into the open court to take com-mand of the rally. Henin goes for a one-two punch rather than trying to hit an ace. It’s simple but ex-tremely potent when ex-ecuted properly. And for the club player without an overwhelming serve, it’s a great way to turn your delivery into a real asset.
3. Add versatility to your weapon.
While her fore-hand is very powerful, Henin’s one-hand-ed backhand is her signature stroke, primarily because she can do so much with it. She can slice the ball, hit a deep, high roller or a flat, penetrat-ing drive, and even carve out a delicate drop shot. With all this variation, Henin keeps her opponents off-balance and usually draws errors or short balls that allow her to be more aggressive. So many players, even at the pro level, seem to hit their best shot at one speed—all out. Remem-ber, not every ball has to be blasted. Changing spins, speeds, and heights is extremely valuable. You may have a huge forehand, but if you hit it the same way every time, your opponents will establish a good rhythm returning it. Add some variety and you’ll make that stroke more of a weapon than it already is.