Forehand Slices are a Dying Art

King No1e

Hall of Fame
#1
I stumbled upon a clip of this incredible forehand slice by Federer, and it never fails to take my breath away:
Go to 28:36 for the shot in question (the biggest Fedheads probably know the shot I'm talking about anyway)

Only Federer and a handful of older players still use this shot.
Rod Laver and his generation perfected that shot and used it very often on both offense and defense. Nowadays it is almost nonexistent as a strategic shot (only used when players float the ball back in play).

Obsolete or underrated?
Discuss.
 
#4
Defensive forehand slices are slower and float but are still common among the atp tour. This is a forehand squash shot which is not something everyone can pull of. Only guys who can pull them in recent memory are Fedal and Novak to a lesser extent.
 
#6
Definitely underrated. I use forehand slice and drive with side spin relatively often and come to the net. Most people don't know what to do with this kind of ball on their BH.
 

King No1e

Hall of Fame
#7
Defensive forehand slices are slower and float but are still common among the atp tour. This is a forehand squash shot which is not something everyone can pull of. Only guys who can pull them in recent memory are Fedal and Novak to a lesser extent.
Exactly. People only use forehand slices to float the ball back. Even Nadal and Djokovic are nothing compared to Federer and past players in the forehand slice department (squash shot is another word for it).
 
#9
Exactly. People only use forehand slices to float the ball back. Even Nadal and Djokovic are nothing compared to Federer and past players in the forehand slice department (squash shot is another word for it).
Sexi Rogi might be more adept at it but my most recent memory of this shot is Nadal's piece de resistance at 4-2 adv in the fourth set of the 2017 AO final. Still my favourite shot of that tournament.
 
#12
I believe poly strings are terrible for learning tennis, even if they have a higer skill cap.

With poly strings slice should be much more potent than they used to be too.
and it is, the top guys today have drastically more RPMs on their slices than they had in the 90s. The increase there has been more than on top spin forehands, think about that.

The reason the slice isn't used to the same extent is because it is much easier to aggressively counter them with poly strings as well. Back in the wood + gut days, a semi-well-crafted slice forced the opponent to hit a flat ball upwards, which ends up a great floater to pick away at the net. Do the same today and they'll take a massive dump on it.
 
#13
I stumbled upon a clip of this incredible forehand slice by Federer, and it never fails to take my breath away:
Go to 28:36 for the shot in question (the biggest Fedheads probably know the shot I'm talking about anyway)

Only Federer and a handful of older players still use this shot.
Rod Laver and his generation perfected that shot and used it very often on both offense and defense. Nowadays it is almost nonexistent as a strategic shot (only used when players float the ball back in play).

Obsolete or underrated?
Discuss.
His slice on the two points at 28:36 were both defensive shots. Just that in the first one Delpo was out of position and Fed had the open court to redirect the shot to for a winner.

I would say shots like these allow a player to stretch for a ball without risking injury as much, so definitely not obsolete. But not a strategic shot either.
 
#15
I've been using it more in my own singles tennis. It helps in a number of situations. Though that's not even close to being comparable with pro tennis.
 
#16
I use it only when I want to fake a dropshot or when I get a short high ball and I don’t feel confident to put it away with my topspin FH.

I love BH slice though. I doubt it will ever disappear.
 
#18
This is a forehand squash shot which is not something everyone can pull of. Only guys who can pull them in recent memory are Fedal and Novak to a lesser extent.
I’m a mediocre club level player, but strangely I can hit this squash shot under extreme pressure quite well, but I don’t know how to play a normal forehand slice which is even the slightest bit dangerous for my opponent. I totally need the pace of his shot.

By the way, mostly I play against someone who has a slice which is (if executed perfectly) almost unplayable, no matter where I stand. But he is also a "modern" player who has a huge topspin forehand. He has both a table tennis background and massive power (mostly created by his wrist), so sometimes it looks as if he can play tennis with almost the same kinds of spin as on the table.
 
#21
Fed's squash shot - hitting it while the ball is almost behind him - is a stroke of genius. I'm not sure that too many have that in their arsenal, though one occasionally sees more conventional slices. Rarer these days, but...
 
#24
i have seen tsitsipas and thiem slicing off both wings and of course the big 3 too........
Yes, slicing when you're stretched really wide and scrambling is a pretty normal shot. Of course, it's rare to get as much action on it as Rog sometimes does. He has extreme explosiveness in his underarm and ridiculous control over his wrists.

Hitting a solid drive in those kinds of situations is rarer, on either wing, but has become a bit more widespread with some of these open-stance sliders these days. Guys like Djokovic and Zverev go for the drive more often than most other players. One-handers struggle to do so on the backhand, but Shapovalov is an example of someone usually going for the drive even when scrambling (sometimes a highlight reel shot, but results in a lot of wild errors too).
 
#26
That one against Delpo is great, but for me, this one against Nadal in the 2009 AO final takes the cake.


Go to 23:49 in the video for the point. Can't believe Fed still lost this point. Although I guess I can because Nadal is incredible!
Fed hit three winners..including the most amazing squash forehand...and Nadal won the point. As great a point as one will ever see.
 
#27
Yes, slicing when you're stretched really wide and scrambling is a pretty normal shot. Of course, it's rare to get as much action on it as Rog sometimes does. He has extreme explosiveness in his underarm and ridiculous control over his wrists.

Hitting a solid drive in those kinds of situations is rarer, on either wing, but has become a bit more widespread with some of these open-stance sliders these days. Guys like Djokovic and Zverev go for the drive more often than most other players. One-handers struggle to do so on the backhand, but Shapovalov is an example of someone usually going for the drive even when scrambling (sometimes a highlight reel shot, but results in a lot of wild errors too).
yep fed has incredible feel on his right hand, not everyone has that........that shot usually originates out of desperation to defend and somehow land the ball in the court.........we cannot associate current day americans (shapovalov reference) with feel.........artists have been usually from europe.........
 
#28
I have to say I am very surprised I see a thread about forehand slices dying and Djokovic being mentioned.. yet no Andy Murray.

Murray has always next to Fed been an extremely crafty player. I know he hasn't had the results but IMO, much better feel for the ball than Djokovic; I argue if he took advantage of that talent a bit more (not that he doesn't, but a bit more) he would have had even more success.
 
#29
Fed hit three winners..including the most amazing squash forehand...and Nadal won the point. As great a point as one will ever see.
there were some amazing points during that match, i s2g i was watching on my computer early in the morning screaming,and ofc instantly regretting getting up that early to see my fav lose and cry but i was like god damn nadal, never lets up.
 
#31
there were some amazing points during that match, i s2g i was watching on my computer early in the morning screaming,and ofc instantly regretting getting up that early to see my fav lose and cry but i was like god damn nadal, never lets up.
As a Nadal guy, I reacted differently to the result, but still marvel at both of their levels of play. Great match by both.
 
#32
I use it all the time. Any club player worth their salt still use it. The try hards who try to emulate the pros, never use it. They usually get beaten to a pulp by older exprienced layers, who know how to use slices from both sides.
 
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#33
I use it only when I want to fake a dropshot or when I get a short high ball and I don’t feel confident to put it away with my topspin FH.

I love BH slice though. I doubt it will ever disappear.
Yeah when you shape to slice your approach shot its easier to disguise whether you are going to go short or long. If you shape to drive in general you have to slip the grip and slice in order to drop shot, although Rafa among others can drop shot with a fairly extreme grip. (Which ends up being a slice fh anyway)

I'm the same, if I've been missing, or the conditions arent conducive to heavy topspin, I'll slice the putaway ball. Generally I'll hit the outside of the ball like a slice serve if its a high ball. The slice forehand's a more versatile and reliable shot on the low ball for the approach shot in that you can hit it straight or swing it either way. On synthetic grass that I play on mainly, it often has more penetration with less effort and if heavily spun it can skid unpredictably and be really difficult to respond to with an effective passing shot.

The other situation I use it for is blocking the big serve back. It can actually be more effective for passing a serve volleyer, in that you can take it earlier more easily and it doesn't have to go up so high before coming down, these days if you dip it at the incoming volleyers feet, without enough zip, you tend to get drop volleyed anyway.

Heavy slice swinging neutralising shot is the other one, also a pseudo volley half volley. In conclusion depending on the surface I think its anywhere from underrated to highly underrated at the amateur level and a bit underrated/utilised at pro level.
 
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#34
Also may I add that this shot is needed for any club player who likes coming to the net. "Chip and charge".......as they used to say back in the day.
 

Luka888

Professional
#36
Interesting thread. Fed is the king when it comes to slicing. Novak is not too bad and he improved his slicing a lot especially inside out. The timing is the key. Graf was great at it.

I suck because I'm older.
 
#37
Only as an offensive shot. As a defensive shot or change up I still see the pros slicing all the time.
I disagree. Most of the NextGen only slice as an absolute last resort and will trip over themselves trying to dig out a low ball with 2 hands still on the racket.

And they are the future. Sure, most current pros can slice, but they're getting older and phasing out every day.
 
#38
I disagree. Most of the NextGen only slice as an absolute last resort and will trip over themselves trying to dig out a low ball with 2 hands still on the racket.

And they are the future. Sure, most current pros can slice, but they're getting older and phasing out every day.
Yes I suppose you’re right. However I imagine a lot of them will learn to add it over the years. Junior don’t exactly focus on building every shot do they?
 
#39
Understandable ofc great win for him. I on the other hand went from **** this **** to omg maybe he can get no.14 to never mind to wtf happened in that 5th I only went to the bathroom for 5 minutes how did we get here to why the the freak r u crying to aww nadal is sweet to I regret investing in this sport
GOAT post. You described the riveting experience of a tennis fan watching these epics perfectly.
 
#40
Yeah when you shape to slice your approach shot its easier to disguise whether you are going to go short or long. If you shape to drive in general you have to slip the grip and slice in order to drop shot, although Rafa among others can drop shot with a fairly extreme grip. (Which ends up being a slice fh anyway)

I'm the same, if I've been missing, or the conditions arent conducive to heavy topspin, I'll slice the putaway ball. Generally I'll hit the outside of the ball like a slice serve if its a high ball. The slice forehand's a more versatile and reliable shot on the low ball for the approach shot in that you can hit it straight or swing it either way. On synthetic grass that I play on mainly, it often has more penetration with less effort and if heavily spun it can skid unpredictably and be really difficult to respond to with an effective passing shot.

The other situation I use it for is blocking the big serve back. It can actually be more effective for passing a serve volleyer, in that you can take it earlier more easily and it doesn't have to go up so high before coming down, these days if you dip it at the incoming volleyers feet, without enough zip, you tend to get drop volleyed anyway.

Heavy slice swinging neutralising shot is the other one, also a pseudo volley half volley. In conclusion depending on the surface I think its anywhere from underrated to highly underrated at the amateur level and a bit underrated/utilised at pro level.
Chip returns aren't that rare in the pro game, especially because there are so many great servers. Some use it to great effect (Federer) while others just hack the return into play (Wawrinka).
 
#43
Monfils still does it, though it looks lazy and a poor shot selection given his position more often than not. Zverev does it, and you'll find tall rec players like myself that have poor footwork will definitely utilize a forehand slice.
 
#44
and it is, the top guys today have drastically more RPMs on their slices than they had in the 90s. The increase there has been more than on top spin forehands, think about that.

The reason the slice isn't used to the same extent is because it is much easier to aggressively counter them with poly strings as well. Back in the wood + gut days, a semi-well-crafted slice forced the opponent to hit a flat ball upwards, which ends up a great floater to pick away at the net. Do the same today and they'll take a massive dump on it.
Taking a massive dump on court is definitely a great way to describe the transition games of Thiem, Tsitsipas, Zverev, Coric, and the rest of the gang. Well placed slices would drive them up a wall.
 
#45
Taking a massive dump on court is definitely a great way to describe the transition games of Thiem, Tsitsipas, Zverev, Coric, and the rest of the gang. Well placed slices would drive them up a wall.
they obviously counter slices far more effectively than was the norm from the 90s and earlier, yes.
 
#46
Monfils still does it, though it looks lazy and a poor shot selection given his position more often than not. Zverev does it, and you'll find tall rec players like myself that have poor footwork will definitely utilize a forehand slice.
Yeah. Good point. I would not model my game after Monfils.
 
#47
Taking a massive dump on court is definitely a great way to describe the transition games of Thiem, Tsitsipas, Zverev, Coric, and the rest of the gang. Well placed slices would drive them up a wall.
I think that’s the problem. It’s got a very low margin for error. Too low and you dump it in the net. Give it too much air and it just sits up asking to get smacked.

At the rev level it can be very effective especially against tall players.
 
#48
Not only do I use the FH slice, but occasionally I will also use a vicious FH side slice so the ball takes off towards the ad side.
And sometimes I'll combine the two shots just for fun. :)
 
#49
I stumbled upon a clip of this incredible forehand slice by Federer, and it never fails to take my breath away:
Go to 28:36 for the shot in question (the biggest Fedheads probably know the shot I'm talking about anyway)

Only Federer and a handful of older players still use this shot.
Rod Laver and his generation perfected that shot and used it very often on both offense and defense. Nowadays it is almost nonexistent as a strategic shot (only used when players float the ball back in play).

Obsolete or underrated?
Discuss.
I disagree. You almost NEVER want to play forehand slice. It's like saying to the opponent I've run out of ideas or you're pushing me.
Forehand slice is recovery shot when stretched.
 
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