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Old 10-22-2012, 01:12 PM   #10
mntlblok
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Default More spiral spin stuff

It's not "quite" the same trajectory and bounce as a kicker, but when Nadal hits his topspin, lefty forehand off a high ball, that ball curves *significantly* to his left in the air, and often kicks significantly to the right after it hits the court. It always amazes me how this doesn't seem to throw off the opponent (the kick off the bounce), but I'm sure those guys can tell from his stroke what the ball's going to do after it's struck. Watch carefully on TV both the ball flight and the bounce next time he plays on TV. Actually, any topspin shot off a high ball will likely to have at least *some* of the in-flight curve. Extremely low balls will have the opposite curve in flight.

The kick (or not) is determined by whether (or how much) spiral (or "corkscrew" or "gyro") spin is applied. The curve in the air is due to the fact that the path of the string bed across the ball is not just "up", but also "across" to the right when a ball is up that high. One can only reach so high. . .

My new, two-handed (righty) topspin backhand off really high balls does the same thing (when I don't frame it) - to a much lesser degree than Rafa's.

To compare this kind of shot to a serve, though, I'd go with the "screwball" serve - the one that curves to the right in the air (by a righty). I suppose the kick could be manipulated somewhat, too, but the opposite curve has always been enough to throw *me* off as the receiver.

Kevin
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