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Discussion Starter #1
Before you guys chew me out, bare with me.

I was watching some older tennis videos from the 40s-70s.. and I noticed that everyone had very similar strokes: straight arm all the way through the stroke.

I compared this to the 80s-today and I noticed that women swing completely differently than men. Majority of women have similar strokes, sorta loose in nature, I'd describe them if that makes sense. Men have their own similar traits.

So I'm curious to know is this tennis evolution or are boys taught to hit differently than girls..?
 

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Not sure why but there has long been a difference in playing style even today the men hit with a lot more top spin than the women do, this is why Sam Stosur in her prime had such a strong forehand, it was said she hit it like a man because she would rip it with loads of top spin.
 

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men are physically stronger than women and therefore they can generate heavy topspin much better than women, where as women tend to hit flat. to generate a topspin ball with similar speed as a flat ball takes more strength to generate.
 

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There is a difference, particularly in how FHs are hit. The main impact is the spin, control and how much action there is on the ball once it reaches the other side. Women tend to need to hit flat through the ball to generate power, while the men use greater torque.


The WTA vs ATP Forehand ? BETA

Stosur and Henin were known to use the same FH pattern as on the ATP. The USO F that Stosur won against Serena is a good example of how impactful such a FH can be - Serena had a lot of trouble handling the juice on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
There is a difference, particularly in how FHs are hit. The main impact is the spin, control and how much action there is on the ball once it reaches the other side. Women tend to need to hit flat through the ball to generate power, while the men use greater torque.


The WTA vs ATP Forehand ? BETA

Stosur and Henin were known to use the same FH pattern as on the ATP. The USO F that Stosur won against Serena is a good example of how impactful such a FH can be - Serena had a lot of trouble handling the juice on it.
So a 90mph forehand from an ATP player is more dangerous than a WTA 90mph forehand?

So what about someone like Safina, I recall her hitting her forehand ATP like.
 

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So a 90mph forehand from an ATP player is more dangerous than a WTA 90mph forehand?

So what about someone like Safina, I recall her hitting her forehand ATP like.
In simple terms, yes, given the FH would have more RPMs and therefore higher bounce (so harder to deflect). Of course it depends on where you place such FHs as well.

You will notice on ATP a lot of FHs do not necessarily need to hit the lines or be very deep to be necessarily effective, some are rather 'short' but the work on the ball carries to ball away from the spot, especially when combined with sharp angles.

I don't think Safina had an ATP forehand, in videos I've seen of her motion, her takeback is much more like a WTA style FH. From what I know, Henin, Stosur, Schiavone and McHale are some of the only WTA pro players to use ATP FH technique.
 
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There is a difference, particularly in how FHs are hit.
I never really thought about this before, but is there any difference in the way that ATP and WTA players hit a two handed backhand?

I know that for serves, men definitely put a lot more spin on the ball. particularly for second serves. But again, I am not sure if there are really any major differences in technique for serves. Of course, men generate much more pace on flat serves as they are taller with longer limbs, so can reach up higher and hit down.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I never really thought about this before, but is there any difference in the way that ATP and WTA players hit a two handed backhand?

I know that for serves, men definitely put a lot more spin on the ball. particularly for second serves. But again, I am not sure if there are really any major differences in technique for serves. Of course, men generate much more pace on flat serves as they are taller with longer limbs, so can reach up higher and hit down.
I've noticed that most ATP players hit their backhands with straights arms, while women have more bent arms.
 

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Before you guys chew me out, bare with me.

I was watching some older tennis videos from the 40s-70s.. and I noticed that everyone had very similar strokes: straight arm all the way through the stroke.


This is not a dumb question at all. On the contrary, I am glad to see it posted here.

I am old enough to remember when deluded pundits used to say it was physically impossible for a female player to spike the tennis ball. BJK and others readily refuted that myth. Years ago, critics stared in utter disbelief as Olympic diver Pat McCormick made some moves off the diving board that were thought to be impossible for a woman. She and Paula Pope showed that these moves could be made and that far more "masculine" moves could be made while still being symmetrical, feminine, graceful, and supremely athletic.


Back in the 40s, women and girls were taught to be graceful and feminine at all times when they were on the playing field. This in all sports such as basketball, diving, tennis, field hockey, or whatever. This is why female players used straight arm strokes as the use of hip/shoulder rotation in the strokes were thought to be signs of masculine aggression and unbecoming of a female athlete. While such words may appear to be laughable today (and they are!) this is how athletes were taught in those unenlightened days.

In my early training days when I was learning to coach softball, I was taught not to yell at girls as they were too "sensitive" (unlike boys) and could not withstand the onslaught of a coach's loud diatribes. But I knew better - I yelled at my players and they became winners. After all, I didn't discriminate. So yes, I yelled when necessary ~ and still do though nowadays from the sidelines as I am officially retired from coaching.


Thankfully today we know better than they did in the past. There is no need to assume that girls/women are too "sensitive" or too "weak" to play sports with the same strengths, skills, and intensity as boys/men. Apply the same standards and make the same expectations of the athletes. Eventually, they will evolve into better athletes and better people.
 

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lool my post was deleted even though it was 100% factual. Guess we have to be pc and cant even say men and womens body is different
 

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Racket and string technology amplified the dichotomy probably. In the past, it was much harder to add spin while still maintaining control with wooden racquets, and both genders were basically forced to hit pretty much the same way: emphasis on sweet spot contact, and long follow through to maintain control, resulting in a flatter hit. With string and frame technology, spin was much more easily added and the strength of the wrist correlated with the rpm you can achieve, and more spin meant more safety as well. Men have stronger wrists in general, and the game and technique evolved along these lines: more spin, more margin, while maintaining velocity, and that results in the kind of standard forehand hit you see today, Nadal being an extreme example. Women could only achieve that much rpm, and more often than not they have to sacrifice linear velocity for rpm as well. I believe this led to the flatter forehand hit being prevalent today, because pace is still more important than spin in the women's game.
 

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I never really thought about this before, but is there any difference in the way that ATP and WTA players hit a two handed backhand?

I know that for serves, men definitely put a lot more spin on the ball. particularly for second serves. But again, I am not sure if there are really any major differences in technique for serves. Of course, men generate much more pace on flat serves as they are taller with longer limbs, so can reach up higher and hit down.
it's funny you would say this. I tend to think on average WTA players have better backhands than ATP players.
This could be linked to their training (where they practice this shot a lot), and also that flatter balls are easier to counter for WTA, ATP players must handle the topspin better with their backhands. Also, technically speaking, WTA players are more likely to bend their knees to hit the shot, ATP players not always in the right position (some giraffes just find it difficult). And lastly the BALL is different between the tours. Men use heavier balls, and women use lighter balls. Thus the BH technique would probably be more demanding of men. If I were to list categorically 'best' backhands on tour, I would be able to list women more easily than men.

Women's best two handed backhands (power, pace, accuracy, versatility and ease of direction change):

Li Na
Kim Clijsters
Venus Williams
Victoria Azarenka
Jelena Jankovic
Timea Bacsinszky
Caroline Wozniacki
Simona Halep


This is scratching the surface, a lot of women have solid reliable BHs

Men's best two handed backhands:

Kei Nishikori (probably the most effective offensive backhand weapon on average)
Andy Murray
Novak Djokovic

Hon. mention: Nadal, Gulbis, Paire, Zverev, Chung

On serving, men typically have much sounder technique to make their serves at least reliable. They get extra power due to wrist snap and kinetic chain elements coming together, and they use their legs a lot more. A lot of women don't have proper technique or involve parts of the body that would help make the serve better. A good service motion should be reproducible and smooth.

You can compare the following serve actions:

Serena Williams
Coco Vandeweghe
Sam Stosur
Alicia Molik
Ash Barty

You will see the soundness of the technique makes the hitting smooth, which is to a degree you might see in men. Then look at a Petkovic, Azarenka or Radwanska serve.
 

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In simple terms, yes, given the FH would have more RPMs and therefore higher bounce (so harder to deflect). Of course it depends on where you place such FHs as well.

You will notice on ATP a lot of FHs do not necessarily need to hit the lines or be very deep to be necessarily effective, some are rather 'short' but the work on the ball carries to ball away from the spot, especially when combined with sharp angles.

I don't think Safina had an ATP forehand, in videos I've seen of her motion, her takeback is much more like a WTA style FH. From what I know, Henin, Stosur, Schiavone and McHale are some of the only WTA pro players to use ATP FH technique.
Prime example is Rafa, many of his forehands land mid-court yet due to the rip and angles, the ball often goes a long way cross court. On a clay court that is magnified by how the ball reacts to the court surface.

Even his court position is a bit unusual in that he often plays from well behind the baseline which goes against what many tennis coaches teach as the usual instruction is to be on or just behind the baseline, however the advantage for Rafa standing so far back is that he gives the ball more space to spin though the air further adding to the angle.
 

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Its the spin and the heaviness the guys give, i guess its a natural thing, but based on errani, Serena hits the ball like her men hitting partners. She said that is what makes Serena better, the heaviness on her ball.
 

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Ask Gulbis!

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