# Henin busts two myths

#### Curious

##### Legend
To hit an ATP forehand you need to
1. have a high elbow on take back
2. close the racket face

A very very smart way to hit a forehand.

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#### PilotPete

##### Hall of Fame
What do you mean by close the racket face?

#### Curious

##### Legend
What do you mean by close the racket face?
so that it's parallel to the ground or even pointing towards the back fence ( in more extreme cases )

#### PilotPete

##### Hall of Fame
so that it's parallel to the ground or even pointing towards the back fence ( in more extreme cases )
How closed the face is or isn't to the ground is completely irrelevant, not sure why people keep mentioning that (I'm talking about all the 'coaches' on Youtube).

The only thing that matters is that the face is closed relative to the swing path, thus allowing contact above the equator of the ball relative to the swing path, thus imparting spin. So yes, to hit topspin the face must always be closed relative to the swing path.

It may end up vertical, slightly closed or even slightly open at contact relative to the ground, depending on the swing path. But again, ground is irrelevant. The steeper the swing path, the more open the face will end up relative to the ground.

#### Curious

##### Legend
How closed the face is or isn't to the ground is completely irrelevant, not sure why people keep mentioning that (I'm talking about all the 'coaches' on Youtube).

The only thing that matters is that the face is closed relative to the swing path, thus allowing contact above the equator of the ball relative to the swing path, thus imparting spin. So yes, to hit topspin the face must always be closed relative to the swing path.

It may end up vertical, slightly closed or even slightly open at contact, depending on the swing path. The steeper the swing path, the more open the face will end up relative to the ground.
Talking about closing the racket face while dropping it and having it closed when the forward swing starts. My coach asked me to ditch that. He says there's no need to add another variable, an extra movement of the racket face from facing the backfence to going towards the ball. Just drop the racket on its edge and swing forward. He says it's one of the reasons why balls go into the net especially when you hit fast incoming balls back.
Look at this. That it works for Edmund doesn't mean it's a good thing for everyone, right?

#### ballmachineguy

##### Professional
As far as the high elbow, she is making a sizable loop with her racquet head. She look more like Agassi (smaller racquet head loop than WTA). But, if she were to not make the racquet head loop, she would be with the elbow. Looks a bit like Swiatek too.

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#### PilotPete

##### Hall of Fame
Talking about closing the racket face while dropping it and having it closed when the forward swing starts. My coach asked me to ditch that. He says there's no need to add another variable, an extra movement of the racket face from facing the backfence to going towards the ball. Just drop the racket on its edge and swing forward. He says it's one of the reasons why balls go into the net especially when you hit fast incoming balls back.
Look at this. That it works for Edmund doesn't mean it's a good thing for everyone, right?

If you want to hit topspin I'd say it is good to drop the racket at least somewhat closed. If you drop the racket on edge it is more likely to open up too much as you swing forward, because at least for me, dropping the racket on edge leads to a flatter swing path, and a flatter ball especially if you are late and don't contact out in front. If you keep it closed then as it opens up when you swing forward, it will remain more closed relative to the swing path.

#### Curious

##### Legend
If you want to hit topspin I'd say it is good to drop the racket at least somewhat closed. If you drop the racket on edge it is more likely to open up too much as you swing forward, because at least for me, dropping the racket on edge leads to a flatter swing path, and a flatter ball especially if you are late and don't contact out in front. If you keep it closed then as it opens up when you swing forward, it will remain more closed relative to the swing path.
I know what you mean and felt the same as well. But doesn't have to be as extreme as parallel to the ground or facing the back fence I reckon. Even when you drop it on its edge it somehow closes to something like 45 degrees to the ground anyway, like what you see in Henin, Agassi or Del Potro forehands. The skill is to be able to avoid opening it too much at contact and that windshield wiper action of course.

#### PilotPete

##### Hall of Fame
I know what you mean and felt the same as well. But doesn't have to be as extreme as parallel to the ground or facing the back fence I reckon. Even when you drop it on its edge is somehow closes to something like 45 degrees to the ground anyway, like what you see in Henin, Agassi or Del Potro forehands. The skill is to be able to avoid opening it too much at contact and that windshield wiper action of course.
I agree, probably 45 degrees to ground is fine.

#### Power Player

##### Bionic Poster
Just get under the ball and hit it. Get really good at that basic skill instead of focusing on all this minuscule detail.

#### Curious

##### Legend
Also shows what a BS pat the dog thing is! Macci must have ruined quite a few rec player forehands.

#### slipgrip93

##### Rookie
Henin's forehand kind of reminds me of Sampras' (probably with a different grip). She is probably my all-time favorite wta player since Graf, with all court skills. Also great at overcoming odds being so much shorter than her contemporaries. I'm usually more focused on and inspired by her backhand, but would agree her fh was top notch also.

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#### zill

##### Hall of Fame
Again am smiling at this thread. Experiment with different takebacks and swings and pick the one that best suits you - one where you can hit reliable balls with power and topspin. Hopefully you will discover the fundamentals steps in the stroke - basic generic steps that needs to be performed to carry out your stroke. But how your optimal stroke looks like exactly will ultimately depend on your physiology and biomechanics both of which you have no control over.

Examples of generic steps are things like turn, torso rotation, weight transfer, swing arm forward, snap, extension etc. How exactly they look like you cannot control.

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#### Curious

##### Legend
Henin's forehand kind of reminds me of Sampras' (probably with a different grip). She is probably my all-time favorite wta player since Graf, with all court skills. Also great at overcoming odds being so much shorter than her contemporaries. I'm usually more focused and inspired by her backhand, but would agree her fh was top notch also.
But Sampras has a huge lift of his hitting elbow, the exact opposite of Henin.

#### Curious

##### Legend
Henin's forehand is like a whippy, wristy slap rather than a full arm swing. Federer and Fognini forehands come only close to hers. Hers is the ultimate compactness. It's a genius idea.

#### ballmachineguy

##### Professional
Henin's forehand is like a whippy, wristy slap rather than a full arm swing. Federer and Fognini forehands come only close to hers. Hers is the ultimate compactness. It's a genius idea.
Will your video be on-court hitting or a living room special?

#### Curious

##### Legend
Will your video be on-court hitting or a living room special?
On-court.

#### Curious

##### Legend
Compare the two players' forehands here. See how her opponent's is a swing, whereas Henin almost slaps the ball. Couldn't be a better demonstration of the completely different forehands.
Who else does it? Mannarino, M.Zverev, @StringSnapper , @TennisProdigy ...

#### StringSnapper

##### Hall of Fame
Compare the two players' forehands here. See how her opponent's is a swing, whereas Henin almost slaps the ball. Couldn't be a better demonstration of the completely different forehands.
Who else does it? Mannarino, M.Zverev, @StringSnapper , @TennisProdigy ...

Oo I like her playstyle. She seems to be a bit under powered though, I'm trying to address this in my own game now by altering my racquet specs. Gonna go for looser thinner strings or change racquet to a 16x19

#### Curious

##### Legend
Oo I like her playstyle. She seems to be a bit under powered though, I'm trying to address this in my own game now by altering my racquet specs. Gonna go for looser thinner strings or change racquet to a 16x19
Her take back is almost too compact.

#### StringSnapper

##### Hall of Fame
Her take back is almost too compact.
She also seems smaller than her opponent, and you dont normally see too many women with compact take backs - the WTA take back is bigger

Someone like Fognini seems to generate plenty of pace with a small takeback

I wonder what their respective racquet specs are

#### Curious

##### Legend
She also seems smaller than her opponent, and you dont normally see too many women with compact take backs - the WTA take back is bigger

Someone like Fognini seems to generate plenty of pace with a small takeback

I wonder what their respective racquet specs are
I read somewhere that Henin used an even balanced racket with a swingweight of 340! Higher than stock RF97.

#### 3virgul14

##### Rookie
@Curious you seem to ignore the fact that she has an ultra quick hip - trunk - torso rotation which requires great core strength. That's why she was so powerful compared to her size. Not just the swing.

Imho Rublev has the same quality today

#### StringSnapper

##### Hall of Fame
I read somewhere that Henin used an even balanced racket with a swingweight of 340! Higher than stock RF97.
Yikes, equivalent to @Shroud specs

#### Raul_SJ

##### G.O.A.T.
To hit an ATP forehand you need to
1. have a high elbow on take back
2. close the racket face

A very very smart way to hit a forehand.
What is the usual reason given for high elbow on take back?

#### vex

##### Hall of Fame
Just get under the ball and hit it. Get really good at that basic skill instead of focusing on all this minuscule detail.
My FH didn’t get good until I stopped thinking about all the mechanical details. Brush up the ball as you plow thru it. It’s really that simple.

#### Curious

##### Legend
@Curious you seem to ignore the fact that she has an ultra quick hip - trunk - torso rotation which requires great core strength. That's why she was so powerful compared to her size. Not just the swing.

Imho Rublev has the same quality today
I’m not ignoring that.

#### Curious

##### Legend
What is the usual reason given for high elbow on take back?
More leverage, easier power generation I guess.

#### Raul_SJ

##### G.O.A.T.
Just get under the ball and hit it. Get really good at that basic skill instead of focusing on all this minuscule detail.
Why does serve doc make a huge deal about strings facing down position? He says to practice hitting that specific position. He is very particular on that!!

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#### Power Player

##### Bionic Poster
Why does serve doc make a huge deal about strings facing down position? He says to practice hitting that specific position. He is very particular on that!!

It just matters the grip you use. It's nothing I'd actively think about. The reason some coaches stress it at first is to give the players the proper feel. But at the end of the day its not something you need to be actively thinking about while playing

#### Curious

##### Legend
Isn't this essentially closing the face?

https://imgbb.com/
Even when you drop it on its edge it somehow closes to something like 45 degrees to the ground anyway, like what you see in Henin, Agassi or Del Potro forehands. The skill is to be able to avoid opening it too much at contact and that windshield wiper action of course.

#### Raul_SJ

##### G.O.A.T.
It just matters the grip you use. It's nothing I'd actively think about. The reason some coaches stress it at first is to give the players the proper feel. But at the end of the day its not something you need to be actively thinking about while playing
Nikola says he never teaches the take back. He says the players will find it on their own. This sounds like an attractive approach... think I will go with this rather than the Macro approach which totally fixates on the take back.

It is weird that two top coaches have totally opposite different approaches on teaching the take back.

#### StringSnapper

##### Hall of Fame
I did try to create her high sw low static weight stick
how'd you find that on the backhand? Everything ive been reading lately is recommending a very headlight balance for 1hbh

#### Shroud

##### G.O.A.T.
how'd you find that on the backhand? Everything ive been reading lately is recommending a very headlight balance for 1hbh
Its the common wisdom. Fwiw i dont think i am super headlight these days. For me, mgri is more important on the 1 hander.

#### StringSnapper

##### Hall of Fame
Its the common wisdom. Fwiw i dont think i am super headlight these days. For me, mgri is more important on the 1 hander.
mgri?

#### Shroud

##### G.O.A.T.
MgR/i. I think thats right. Its a formula for angular momentum. Travlerajm had a few threads on it. Simple version is that you can weight a racket such that at contact it is still- its not accelerating or decelerating at contact. So you can just swing with a loose grip and not have to actively control the racquet face.

If its speeding up at contact you out weight at 12pm till it is still. If its lagging at contact you put weight at 7” up the handle. One reason i can play with high racquet specs is because the MgR/i is right. I often put 30g at the top of the handle

#### Curious

##### Legend
MgR/i. I think thats right. Its a formula for angular momentum. Travlerajm had a few threads on it. Simple version is that you can weight a racket such that at contact it is still- its not accelerating or decelerating at contact. So you can just swing with a loose grip and not have to actively control the racquet face.

If its speeding up at contact you out weight at 12pm till it is still. If its lagging at contact you put weight at 7” up the handle. One reason i can play with high racquet specs is because the MgR/i is right. I often put 30g at the top of the handle

It’ll be funny to see Federer’s reaction when asked about his racket’s MgRi thing.

#### StringSnapper

##### Hall of Fame
My FH didn’t get good until I stopped thinking about all the mechanical details. Brush up the ball as you plow thru it. It’s really that simple.
I like this. More plow for flat, more brush for topspin

vex

#### ballmachineguy

##### Professional
Brushing died a couple decades ago.

#### zill

##### Hall of Fame
Brushing died a couple decades ago.
Really? What do they do instead now?

#### ballmachineguy

##### Professional
Really? What do they do instead now?
Hit through the ball. The grip, the flip and it’s resulting pronation to supination to pronation culminating with the ww motion causes the topspin. It’ll allow you to hit 100+mph. Brushing will get you to 50mph. Might as well use a wood racquet.

#### zill

##### Hall of Fame
Hit through the ball. The grip, the flip and it’s resulting pronation to supination to pronation culminating with the ww motion causes the topspin. It’ll allow you to hit 100+mph. Brushing will get you to 50mph. Might as well use a wood racquet.
We must have different interpretations because to me these two guys are brushing the crap out of the ball!!

#### ballmachineguy

##### Professional
We must have different interpretations because to me these two guys are brushing the crap out of the ball!!

Video is not available in my country. Who are they?

#### zill

##### Hall of Fame
Hit through the ball. The grip, the flip and it’s resulting pronation to supination to pronation culminating with the ww motion causes the topspin. It’ll allow you to hit 100+mph. Brushing will get you to 50mph. Might as well use a wood racquet.
Any use of ww motion is brushing to me.

#### zill

##### Hall of Fame
Video is not available in my country. Who are they?

is that better?

#### ballmachineguy

##### Professional

is that better?
Sorry. Not trying to be trouble, but different “not available” reason, this time.

#### zill

##### Hall of Fame
Ok this. Nadal the epitome of brushing the ball. You can hear it!