Can you get away with using slice only on backhand?

Curious

Hall of Fame
#1
Like Karlovic and F.Lopez. They almost never hit topspin backhand. Lopez started hitting some only in the last year or so.
 

Curious

Hall of Fame
#6
Aren't you from Australia, and you ask this question?


Yes, I guess if it works at the top level why shouldn't it work for rec tennis? But there still remains one issue. Both Karlovic and Lopez seem to prefer slice because their topspin backhand sucks! So it's more like necessity than preference.
 
#7
Yes, I guess if it works at the top level why shouldn't it work for rec tennis? But there still remains one issue. Both Karlovic and Lopez seem to prefer slice because their topspin backhand sucks! So it's more like necessity than preference.
You should consider using Rosewall’s backhand as a model.
 
#9
The last 2 singles matches have been against opponents who liberally used slice and I had rough sledding: combination of footwork and conditioning [both not so good] caused me to miss more than I should have. But at least I know where my biggest weaknesses are.
 
#11
They both can be effective. If the slice stays low and deep it can drive players crazy, but its difficult. Most rec players don't create the depth on it and they just end up being mid court sitters or drop shots. Easy to take advantage of those. When playing someone with a slice backhand, always try and attack by hitting the approach shot to that wing whenever possible.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
#12
Like Karlovic and F.Lopez. They almost never hit topspin backhand. Lopez started hitting some only in the last year or so.
Steve Johnson is good model for mostly slice, but has a decent topspin when needed for passing shots, etc. As high as #21 in world, and 2-time NCAA singles champion.

Your fellow countryman Rafter used the slice quite a bit (especially on return of serve), but also had a decent topspin when needed.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
#13
Can you get away with using slice only on backhand?

Yes but it has limitations. As Agassi's wife has shown, you can't expect to win more than 22 Grand Slam titles.
If I could knife it low and deep consistently, I would rarely use the topspin backhand. Why do we see the slice-slice pattern so often? Because it's so darned hard to do anything with it aside from just slicing back.

 
C

Chadillac

Guest
#14
I use mostly slice unless trying to hit a winner (baseline vs baseline). It works great but you still need to have topspin for passing shots. Otherwise, people just come to net and you cant really hurt them.

Its a good change up, watch johnson play and see how many "easy" shots fritz misses off it.
 
#16
OP...You're a 50 something person at a 4.0 level, if I'm not mistaken. You can get away with only a bh slice just fine in singles. Doubles might be another story with the net guy right there. Even at the 4.0 level, it's an easy kill shot for the net man, unless you can consistently skim the net on those shots.
 

ChaelAZ

Hall of Fame
#17
So we have Graff, Johnson, and pretty much DelPo the last few years, all with good results. So...sure, you can. But you have to understand how to apply that shot properly in a game plan to either a) extract errors, or more so, b) setup for a forehand winner. Most people using slice do it to merely change pace without much through beyond that.
 

Curious

Hall of Fame
#18
OP...You're a 50 something person at a 4.0 level, if I'm not mistaken. You can get away with only a bh slice just fine in singles. Doubles might be another story with the net guy right there. Even at the 4.0 level, it's an easy kill shot for the net man, unless you can consistently skim the net on those shots.
I thought about doubles being a different thing. Lopez plays a lot of doubles. I need to check and see if he uses more topspin in doubles. What about Karlovic? Does he play doubles and what does he do then?
 

Curious

Hall of Fame
#19
So we have Graff, Johnson, and pretty much DelPo the last few years, all with good results. So...sure, you can. But you have to understand how to apply that shot properly in a game plan to either a) extract errors, or more so, b) setup for a forehand winner. Most people using slice do it to merely change pace without much through beyond that.
Apparently these guys who use slice only have developed it into a weapon. They are not just slicing it back. They vary it a lot with angles, speed, depth etc. I opened this thread after watching Karlovic Kyrgios match the other day. He gave Kyrgios so much trouble and annoyance with his slice.
 
#20
I d say if you can get a decent amount of side on it then the answer is yes. If the Net guy hits at my feet often replied with one of those. Basically I try and get underneath it and hit the ball with a 30 degree racket face angled to the side. They often dump it into the net. If you could do the same thing and hit it with a low and slow swing even better.

I would say is if you are going to only slice then you have to develop it. You need that low short Cross Court the fast skidder down the line, the slice lob etc.
 
#26
@Curious, back on topic, yes, you can get away with a slice backhand only if it’s a really good slice. By good, I’m talking about being able to vary the depth as well as keeping it low and skidding. I watched a WTA challengers match where mayo hibi hit maybe 3 topspin back drives. Everything else was a slice and her slice was incredible. I watched her for 2 hours marveling at how effective her slices were. She was quite masterful at varying the depth and angles keeping everything low making her opponent bend down and make adjustments to move forward or backward drawing tons of unforced errors trying to overhit.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
#27
Karlovic Kyrgios match the other day. He gave Kyrgios so much trouble and annoyance with his slice.
Kyrgios BH (which is fairly flat by modern standards) basically rendered useless by Karlovic slice.

Kyrgios FH had some success, but when Karlovic could find the BH, not so much...
 
#29
In doubles, if your return is "slice only" but your slice return is firm and precise, you can play at a high level as long as you return from the side of the court that places your slicing wing on the inside.
One of my former hitting partners was state doubles champion in high school with a slice-only backhand, but he was an excellent deuce court returner.

I'm basically a slice-only returner on the forehand wing (with a very strong 2hb). This makes me an excellent ad-court returner, but a terrible deuce court returner.

As long as your slicing wing is on the inside, you can easily get it past the netperson if you return from on top of the baseline. But if your slicing wing is on the outside (as a righty playing ad court with slice-only bh), you will have a tough time getting your cross-court slice return safely past the netman because it has to cross the net closer to the middle than a cross-court topspin drive.
 
#30
In doubles, if your return is "slice only" but your slice return is firm and precise, you can play at a high level as long as you return from the side of the court that places your slicing wing on the inside.
One of my former hitting partners was state doubles champion in high school with a slice-only backhand, but he was an excellent deuce court returner.

I'm basically a slice-only returner on the forehand wing (with a very strong 2hb). This makes me an excellent ad-court returner, but a terrible deuce court returner.

As long as your slicing wing is on the inside, you can easily get it past the netperson if you return from on top of the baseline. But if your slicing wing is on the outside (as a righty playing ad court with slice-only bh), you will have a tough time getting your cross-court slice return safely past the netman because it has to cross the net closer to the middle than a cross-court topspin drive.
Yeah. Firm and precise are generally not strengths for 3.5-4.0s. :)
 

jaggy

Talk Tennis Guru
#31
In doubles, if your return is "slice only" but your slice return is firm and precise, you can play at a high level as long as you return from the side of the court that places your slicing wing on the inside.
One of my former hitting partners was state doubles champion in high school with a slice-only backhand, but he was an excellent deuce court returner.

I'm basically a slice-only returner on the forehand wing (with a very strong 2hb). This makes me an excellent ad-court returner, but a terrible deuce court returner.

As long as your slicing wing is on the inside, you can easily get it past the netperson if you return from on top of the baseline. But if your slicing wing is on the outside (as a righty playing ad court with slice-only bh), you will have a tough time getting your cross-court slice return safely past the netman because it has to cross the net closer to the middle than a cross-court topspin drive.
That's kind of me, even when I was a strong player I usually played deuce court and sliced. Good net players poaching made me hit a lot of lobs however.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
#32
So we have Graff, Johnson, and pretty much DelPo the last few years, all with good results. So...sure, you can. But you have to understand how to apply that shot properly in a game plan to either a) extract errors, or more so, b) setup for a forehand winner.
Steve Johnson - Taylor Fritz match from today in Houston has some good BH slice examples...
 
#36
Harder to get away with slicing the bh in dubs cuz you’ll put the ball high giving the netman easier putaways.
I think that's true with an outside in slice from the ad court. The inside out slice from the deuce court can be quite a weapon if skillfully applied. It's faster, lower and happens quicker than the ad slice.
 
#37
when i hear rec folks asking this quesition, it's usually because they are having a tough time hitting a topspin (1 or 2 hands) backhand consistently.. (ie. this was asked in "tips" not "pro player discuss")
and often the issue is footwork and prep on that wing...

the same person, usually has dinky/bunty defensive slice, that kinda works against other 3.5's and low 4.0's (especially bashers who provide all the pace), who also have terrible footwork (and the inconsistent depth depth of the dinky slicer, wreaks havoc).

so while the answer is, 'yes', you can get away with slice at the rec levels... i'm not talking about a dinky, bunty slice... that won't fly against mid-high 4.0+.
a good (semi-offensive) slice bh with good prep, requires very good footwork... probably as good as a topspin bh (1 or 2 hand).... along with that., be prepared to defend alot more, since the slice is slow moving, expect your opponents to get more balls back, even if they can't attack it outright.
and if/when they cough up a short ball, better have some weapon (fh, volley, oh,...) to force your opp into an err, or to feed a sitter.

oh yeah, once you develop the footwork to hit an offensive bh, you'll realize your topspin bh has probably improved alot too...
 
#38
when i hear rec folks asking this quesition, it's usually because they are having a tough time hitting a topspin (1 or 2 hands) backhand consistently.. (ie. this was asked in "tips" not "pro player discuss")
and often the issue is footwork and prep on that wing...

the same person, usually has dinky/bunty defensive slice, that kinda works against other 3.5's and low 4.0's (especially bashers who provide all the pace), who also have terrible footwork (and the inconsistent depth depth of the dinky slicer, wreaks havoc).

so while the answer is, 'yes', you can get away with slice at the rec levels... i'm not talking about a dinky, bunty slice... that won't fly against mid-high 4.0+.
a good (semi-offensive) slice bh with good prep, requires very good footwork... probably as good as a topspin bh (1 or 2 hand).... along with that., be prepared to defend alot more, since the slice is slow moving, expect your opponents to get more balls back, even if they can't attack it outright.
and if/when they cough up a short ball, better have some weapon (fh, volley, oh,...) to force your opp into an err, or to feed a sitter.

oh yeah, once you develop the footwork to hit an offensive bh, you'll realize your topspin bh has probably improved alot too...
I've a very good slice. I play regularly with a guy who used to be a 5.0 and my slice is a weapon. I can hit it short, drive it deep or lob off it. If any of my other shots were as good as my slice I would be extremely content with my game. I can't hit a topspin bh even if you pay me to. So I'm not sure about the generalization that players who slice are predominantly hitting dink serves or that the same footwork applies What I've noticed with my slice is that I drive with my hip. For the BH top spin shot weight transfer to the front foot is more important, and too often that's the part that gets me.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
#40
along with that., be prepared to defend alot more, since the slice is slow moving, expect your opponents to get more balls back, even if they can't attack it outright.
You might also be in a better position to cover the court, since the slice is slow moving and therefore gives your opponent less pace to work with (and therefore less to send back in your direction).

The older I get the more I see myself using slice as my neutral rally ball as a way for me to better cover the court, especially against guys that feed off pace. Then, when opponent coughs up a short ball, I can go for a topspin winner or attack the net.
 
#42
Yes you can but you're not really going to be able to hit passing shots off the backhand side and you'll have trouble hitting winners with it too.

So it will be limiting but you can certainly develop a game around a slice only backhand.

I don't see why you'd limit yourself to ONLY hitting slice though. Seems silly...noone I know does it.
 
#43
I've a very good slice. I play regularly with a guy who used to be a 5.0 and my slice is a weapon. I can hit it short, drive it deep or lob off it. If any of my other shots were as good as my slice I would be extremely content with my game. I can't hit a topspin bh even if you pay me to. So I'm not sure about the generalization that players who slice are predominantly hitting dink serves or that the same footwork applies What I've noticed with my slice is that I drive with my hip. For the BH top spin shot weight transfer to the front foot is more important, and too often that's the part that gets me.
the generalization is, "when rec players ask, 'can i get away with slice...?'".
you clearly have a good slice, that worked for you at the 4.5-5.0 level, so you wouldn't have asked that question...

i'll bet a penny that that OP does not have offensive slice like yours.
 
#44
Yes you can but you're not really going to be able to hit passing shots off the backhand side and you'll have trouble hitting winners with it too.

So it will be limiting but you can certainly develop a game around a slice only backhand.

I don't see why you'd limit yourself to ONLY hitting slice though. Seems silly...noone I know does it.
some people have a issue developing an offensive topspin shot (steve johnson, post-surgery-delpotro)... yeah, they can hit it, but in terms of depth, placement, etc... their slice is better.
 
#45
I've a very good slice. I play regularly with a guy who used to be a 5.0 and my slice is a weapon. I can hit it short, drive it deep or lob off it. If any of my other shots were as good as my slice I would be extremely content with my game. I can't hit a topspin bh even if you pay me to. So I'm not sure about the generalization that players who slice are predominantly hitting dink serves or that the same footwork applies What I've noticed with my slice is that I drive with my hip. For the BH top spin shot weight transfer to the front foot is more important, and too often that's the part that gets me.
The traditional drive slice bh is a lost art, even among the top pros.
 
#46
the generalization is, "when rec players ask, 'can i get away with slice...?'".
you clearly have a good slice, that worked for you at the 4.5-5.0 level, so you wouldn't have asked that question...

i'll bet a penny that that OP does not have offensive slice like yours.
Sorry..I'm definitely not claiming to be a 4.5 level player. It's just that my slice is an outlier type of shot that I have. As for the OP, I wasn't even sure if he was asking if he could get away with a slice or if he was asking how far a pro could get away with a slice.
 
#47
Sorry..I'm definitely not claiming to be a 4.5 level player. It's just that my slice is an outlier type of shot that I have. As for the OP, I wasn't even sure if he was asking if he could get away with a slice or if he was asking how far a pro could get away with a slice.
It seems many on this board conflate their own games and situations with what works for the top pros.
 
#48
Compare quality of points played by Graf when she hit forehand and when she did not. Also pay attention to her ball placement from FH and BH
 
#50
Johnson lives by frustrating his opponents with his slice BH. The key, it seems, is that he either keeps it really low so they can't do much with it or he floats they deep within a couple feet of the base line. It's easy to knock his slice BH but it's a damn good slice. He just waits til the opponent makes an error or gives him an easy forehand.
 
Top