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View Full Version : The slice backhand in women's tennis.


Pops Maellard
Mar 23rd, 2009, 07:44 AM
I wonder why nobody in the WTA seems to use the slice backhand very much. In the ATP they use it heaps. Not comparing the two or anything but how come the women don't use it as much?

Sam L
Mar 23rd, 2009, 07:59 AM
I wonder why nobody in the WTA seems to use the slice backhand very much. In the ATP they use it heaps. Not comparing the two or anything but how come the women don't use it as much?
Well Steffi Graf used it a lot. But that's because she didn't have a strong backhand and she used it as a defensive shot to push the ball back. The problem is that the women hit a lot closer to the lines and there's less margin for error so hitting a lot of slice will expose you to your opponent stepping in and taking advantage of it unless if you can keep it deep.

DOUBLEFIST
Mar 23rd, 2009, 08:02 AM
There aren't a whole lot of women hitting a one handed backhand, either. I think if we saw more single handed backhands we'd certainly see more backhand slices.

DeLorean
Mar 23rd, 2009, 10:25 AM
todays players learn to hit hard and thats it.

jas_aussie
Mar 23rd, 2009, 10:47 AM
Stosur has a nice BH slice except she uses it to much at times

crazillo
Mar 23rd, 2009, 11:37 AM
There is a region in Germany where they prohibit teaching slices. Just ridiculous IMO. You need a slice for certain situations.

Graf and Novotna played it constantly, but there's less and less players using it nowadays. It's an advantage for anyone to improve one's tactical options.

mauresmofan
Mar 23rd, 2009, 12:15 PM
It is strange and you can see when anyone does use it in a rally it often befuddles their opponent because they don't know what to do with it. Graf easily had the best slice backhand - she could really knife the ball which would cause her opponents to have to dig it up giving her time to run around and clout that amazing forehand. I really never felt her backhand was given the credit it deserved.

Golovinjured.
Mar 23rd, 2009, 12:23 PM
Graf :worship:


Remember when Emilie Loit played Serena @ the Australian Open '03 and just hit slices to her all day. It drove her nuts.

Apoleb
Mar 23rd, 2009, 12:40 PM
she used it as a defensive shot to push the ball back

:haha:

--

It's mostly because they haven't been taught to do it properly I assume, and because most of the women's games are built around hitting flat, hard shots, and basically just that.

Nicolás89
Mar 23rd, 2009, 12:41 PM
I don't know about you all but I think bh slices are a very common shot in the WTA.

JujulCactus
Mar 23rd, 2009, 12:55 PM
This week I saw that Cetkovska use it a lot :)
Most of the one-handed backhand players use that shot, like Schiavone, Mauresmo ...

frenchie
Mar 23rd, 2009, 12:58 PM
Radwanska, Cibulkova and Schnyder use it too

miffedmax
Mar 23rd, 2009, 12:59 PM
Bepa has a cool two-handed bh slice which she used rarely, but with great effect.

I do think the prevelance of the two-handed backhanded limits use of the slice because it's harder to disguise it since most players still hit a one-handed slice.

laurie
Mar 23rd, 2009, 01:55 PM
Well Steffi Graf used it a lot. But that's because she didn't have a strong backhand and she used it as a defensive shot to push the ball back. The problem is that the women hit a lot closer to the lines and there's less margin for error so hitting a lot of slice will expose you to your opponent stepping in and taking advantage of it unless if you can keep it deep.

Hmmmm.....

laurie
Mar 23rd, 2009, 02:03 PM
As others have already pointed, nearly 100% of the WTA has two handed backhands now, so really no one is coming through who has variety or uses the one hand backhand.

Obviously the last two players to use this tactic at a very high level have been Justine Henin and Amelie Mauresmo. If used well it can create these opportunities:

- keeping it deep to get short replies and then get the forehand into play

- slice returns deep

- chip and charge on return of serve - both Ameile and Justine were good with that ploy

- slice backhand volleys - if you have good technique on the slice and can get inside it, then you will also have good technique on the volley too.

- slicing midcourt balls to attack to the net as opposed to having to hit up close to the net.

These are the sorts of tactics that made Henin and Mauresmo dangerous players at their peak. The sort of tactics that can give the top of the womens game something extra - ie variety.

moby
Mar 23rd, 2009, 02:11 PM
If used well it can create these opportunities:

- keeping it deep to get short replies and then get the forehand into play

- slice returns deep

- chip and charge on return of serve - both Ameile and Justine were good with that ploy

- slice backhand volleys - if you have good technique on the slice and can get inside it, then you will also have good technique on the volley too.

- slicing midcourt balls to attack to the net as opposed to having to hit up close to the net.

These are the sorts of tactics that made Henin and Mauresmo dangerous players at their peak. The sort of tactics that can give the top of the womens game something extra - ie variety.To add to that, on the defence, the short slice backhand (something Roger excels at) brings the opponent to the net and forces him to lift the ball up... which can set up an easy passing shot. This is especially useful on the WTA, where about 1% of the players can actually volley.

frenchie
Mar 23rd, 2009, 02:15 PM
Players with 2 handed BH who can actually produce a good slice :
Petrova, Kuznetsova, Radwanska, Cibulkova, Schnyder

Who else??

TheBoiledEgg
Mar 23rd, 2009, 02:48 PM
you cant use something you havent a clue how to use

Orbis
Mar 23rd, 2009, 02:51 PM
Players with 2 handed BH who can actually produce a good slice :
Petrova, Kuznetsova, Radwanska, Cibulkova, Schnyder

Who else??

Ivanovic :shrug:

She uses it a lot more now, and has to since her flat backhand can often let her down.

LDVTennis
Mar 23rd, 2009, 03:21 PM
There is a region in Germany where they prohibit teaching slices. Just ridiculous IMO. You need a slice for certain situations.

Graf and Novotna played it constantly, but there's less and less players using it nowadays. It's an advantage for anyone to improve one's tactical options.

That's interesting.

Because it is Boris Becker and Steffi Graf who modernized the slice shot. It is not like the slice shots of old (e.g., Navratilova). Boris and Steffi hit the shot with more of a forward follow-through, thus imparting more pace and even more bite to the ball.

The slice of Navratilova and her generation is too prone to float over the net, to bounce up, and to even land short. Federer's slice backhand is much like this as well.

Boris and Steffi's slice was different. It had a much lower trajectory over the net and because of the swing path (not a wiping motion, but a punching or slapping motion) they could really give the ball some punch and some wicked skid through the court. As Steffi tinkered more with this technique, her backhand slice became something of a hybrid shot, something between a block and slice. See these example on youtube --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvvF4qELOnI&feature=channel_page. In two of those shots, she's blocking the ball with only the open angle of the racquet and the slight downward direction of the swing imparting the slice.

Ultimately, that is really all slice is, the open angle of the racquet. That's why Pat McEnroe even ventured at the AO to say that Tsonga hits his flat forehand with slice, the slice being apparent in the trajectory of the ball after the bounce. Steffi did the same thing on the forehand and it was all because of the angle of her racquet at point of contact.

But, back to Boris and Steffi's slice backhand. In some tennis instruction books, this type of slice backhand was termed the German slice after the two Germans who pioneered it. How interesting to hear that part of Germany never embraced what its two greatest tennis champions created.

miffedmax
Mar 23rd, 2009, 03:47 PM
If Dementieva hit a slice backhand down the line that would be two of the seven signs of the impending apocolypse right there.

frenchie
Mar 23rd, 2009, 03:52 PM
If Dementieva hit a (slice) backhand down the line that would be two of the seven signs of the impending apocolypse right there.

;)

LegionArgentina
Mar 23rd, 2009, 03:54 PM
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