NextGen forehands have ceiling effects in terms of SW

Digital Atheist

Professional
But "rips it when he wants to" isn't any indication of good technique and having an ideal swingweight -- in fact Bartelby isn't addressing what the OP is claiming at all -- which is the *unreliability* of Kyrgios' type of technique and the swingweight that goes with it. Whether he rips it when he wants to has nothing to do with the replicability of his technique, whether the racquet is stable on contact, whether redirection is easier etc., which is what the OP is concerned about, and hence mixed's "umbrage".
I agree with most of that including the bold text, and if mixed had made that point I would have done the same ... but he didn't. I do struggle somewhat to see how you can extrapolate all of the bold wording above from a single sentence comment that didn't address reliability, swingweight, or any of the other characteristics that help define and differentiate the modern forehand from the nextgen. It's possible I missed an earlier comment from @Mixeddubskickserve which would add the necessary context to reach the above conclusions, and if so, I apologise. And if not, I need to know if you are a witch, because I could use your help.

Having said all that, I do understand the context of their comment. I found the OP article quite interesting, and disagree with most of what @Bartelby has written, both here in this thread and on TTW in general. However, that doesn't mean I can't on the rare occasion find myself in agreement with him.

Note: Edited
 

smalahove

Hall of Fame
1. Wrong. Lag is created when the arm starts to get pulled forward/swing 'starts', but the racquet head stays back/put. To do this to an extreme amount you need a to go from flexed ---> extended. Sock has the most lag i've ever seen,
, from 7 to 10 seconds in this clip, sock's arm barely moves forward, yet the racquet head is starting to generate incredible speed/whip The racquet and sock's upper arm are parralell and perhaps converging lines. That is lag. Compare that to Federer,
, who's wrist/arm and racquet head are much more in concert, there is far less disconnect between the two, the move together in harmony/time and the racquet head does not get close to parralel with his upper arm. He gets less lag - not saying he doesn't get great lag - but your belief that he has some of the best lag ever is wrong. Nadal's forehand has gone through more iterations than Federer, and he currently has a more relaxed wrist and generates a lot of lag, but I still think less than sock.

You have to understand that lag is not the everything when it comes to spin and power, an even balanced frame is much harder to lag than 9-points head light, and so creating spin and power is a combination of grip, swing, and racquet specs ((de)/polarised, HL/even/HH, weight, grip size, length etc.) If i were to create a frame with the max lag, I would go polarised, head light, small grips, shorter length; which is essentially what sock has. Kyrgios also has a light, and head light frame. The flexed wrist necessiates a lighter frame - part of the article's point.

2a) Yes, I believe a modern style forehand that uses gravity in the racquet head and a more neutral/extended wrist take back is better; your argument against that is to use Ruud, who is a clay courter with a solid forehand, but nothing of real note when compared to the ones I put forward. He will struggle with a lot of pace/he needs time to play his forehand and it's no surprise he likes clay 2b) Your second point, "an irrelevant observation as long as most ATP players have very similar form (and positions) from the moment wrist lies back and through impact, regardless of wrist position and take back style' discards that wrist position is important because before contact they all get into same position. Sure, but which is EASIER to time / be consistent?? and importantly, does one allow a heavier frame over the other which can have massive performance effects? I contend that the curled wrist struggles with pace more and cannot accomodate a high sw. From my own experience experimenting with these forehands and from pro results.

3) 'Categorically different' - I think they are both modern forehand elements with a larger take back. A larger take back is not it's own category, it's a degree of difference from within the category 'modern take back with racquet tip up). Delpo made US open final only a few years ago with a slice backhand, to think his forehand style doesn't work on these courts is laughable. When he is fit it's still one of the deadliest shots in tennis. It sh*ts on Sock/Kyrgios/Khach FH IMHO.

Regarding lag:

You are talking about two different lags: racket lag and wrist lag.

In golf, which is the sport that has most research on the matter, focus is on the wrist lag, i.e. how far back your wrist is flexed and ulnar deviated, as a result of the forward motion started by the bigger muscles (some are more leg centric, some more upper body), and how long you can maintain this position naturally as a result of the acceleration, managing to release it with maximum force through impact.

To be clear: you can't set / **** the wrist deliberately, they have to fall into this angle due to the lower and upper body acceleration. Secondly, you can't "hold" the angle deliberately in the downswing, it is maintained naturally as a consequence of the sequential firing of the different (big) muscle groups, creation an acceleration (of the different body parts, in sequence), going from the ground up (aka the kinetic chain).







Jack Sock does not have a bigger wrist lag than Fed. The video you posted show Fed warming up ...
This is Fed's trademark wrist lag:

This FH is without a doubt the most difficult FH to learn or emulate.

AthleticBelatedCopepod-small.gif


Regarding what to emulate:

You make an argument for copying the "OldGen" FH, siting DelPo, Gonzalez, Fed, Nadal as examples.
I don't disagree with the overarching idea, just that you lump Fed and Nadal into this category without adressing the intricacies of their FH.
Reg. the straight arm: I am not saying it's better or worse when it comes to results. I am saying it is extremely difficult to emulate if it doesn't fall naturally. And almost no players fall into this category, wether they be professional or recreational. Ask any teaching pro.

So, if your concern is what kids or adults should learn, I argue that DelPo and Gonzalez (or Söderling for that matter), where they do break the plane and have very stable wrists through the swing, are much better ideals than Fed and Nadal.
 
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smalahove

Hall of Fame
This is the best explanation on the differences between the "WTA" and "ATP" styles of forehands, which applies just as well for understanding the differences between different FHs on the men's side as well.

Imo, the cupped wrist is an effect, not a cause. In Kyrgio's case f.inst., as explained in the vid below, he is tall, has wide shoulders and generates power from the upper body, more so than the legs and hips. Which is why we often see him standing pretty straight, more often than not.

Again imo, this (upper body focus) is the main culprit compared to Fed f.inst. Fed has just as much wrist lag, as show above, but he also has more racket lag, i.e. his racket is farther behind than Kyrgios. Whilst Fed has a longer way to go, he starts his motion with his legs, his arm is locked into a straight position, making it easier to assess correct distance (this is well know in f.inst fencing), making the snap into contact more controllable. I.e. he has a longer acceleration phase, giving him a wider margin for error.

Kyrgio otoh, relying on the upper body controlling the sequence of event, has to wait a little bit more than Fed to initiate the swing, i.e. he has a shorter acceleration phase, and that leaves him with a smaller margin for error.

 

Zoid

Hall of Fame
Regarding lag:

You are talking about two different lags: racket lag and wrist lag.

In golf, which is the sport that has most research on the matter, focus is on the wrist lag, i.e. how far back your wrist is flexed and ulnar deviated, as a result of the forward motion started by the bigger muscles (some are more leg centric, some more upper body), and how long you can maintain this position naturally as a result of the acceleration, managing to release it with maximum force through impact.

To be clear: you can't set / **** the wrist deliberately, they have to fall into this angle due to the lower and upper body acceleration. Secondly, you can't "hold" the angle deliberately in the downswing, it is maintained naturally as a consequence of the sequential firing of the different (big) muscle groups, creation an acceleration (of the different body parts, in sequence), going from the ground up (aka the kinetic chain).







Jack Sock does not have a bigger wrist lag than Fed. The video you posted show Fed warming up ...
This is Fed's trademark wrist lag:

This FH is without a doubt the most difficult FH to learn or emulate.

AthleticBelatedCopepod-small.gif


Regarding what to emulate:

You make an argument for copying the "OldGen" FH, siting DelPo, Gonzalez, Fed, Nadal as examples.
I don't disagree with the overarching idea, just that you lump Fed and Nadal into this category without adressing the intricacies of their FH.
Reg. the straight arm: I am not saying it's better or worse when it comes to results. I am saying it is extremely difficult to emulate if it doesn't fall naturally. And almost no players fall into this category, wether they be professional or recreational. Ask any teaching pro.

So, if your concern is what kids or adults should learn, I argue that DelPo and Gonzalez (or Söderling for that matter), where they do break the plane and have very stable wrists through the swing, are much better ideals than Fed and Nadal.
For the record, I am a teaching pro since 2012...

Further, regarding your lag comments, don't complicate things. Lag is simply the delay in time between an action (starting the swing) and a reaction (the racquet being pulled through). More racquet lag creates more wrist lag because as Sock's arm starts to move through the swing it's stretched massively by the racquet hanging back momentarily, Sock clearly generates an obscene amount.


One thing to be clear: more is not better if it is at the expense of timing and control. Give me a forehand with less lag but better timing, and I will make up the difference in power by using a high SW.

Another misconception that the Fed forehand is "harder" to emulate - it drives me crazy hearing this. The straight arm forehand is more a function of grip than anything else. If you have an eastern grip straightening the hitting arm is much easier - tsitispas, delpo, fed, nadal, verdasco - do these players have inherently more 'talent' than their peers? No, they share conservative grips. It does not mean that an eastern forehand = straight arm, it just means that if a player naturally does so its due to their grip accommodating that, nothing more. If the grip is conservative enough it is not difficult to teach this forehand.

You do not want to break the plane on the forehand like WTA and Soderling in the mens game IMO. Delpo does NOT. He uses gravity and keeps his hitting arm on the hitting side throughout.

Again, it's not about minimizing wrist movement to 0 - you want wrist action - but you don't want it to the point it hurts your timing and ability to swing a heavy frame.
 

smalahove

Hall of Fame
We agree on the over-focus on lag.

When comparing Sock and Fed, whilst the wrist lag looks impressive in the Sock pic (more so than I expected), his racket is not lagging behind as much as Fed. He clearly has both elbow and wrist in front of his body, and due to his grip, his wrist is not nearly as extended as Fed's. Sock's wrist is extremely supinated though, which is why his elbow has to be so much in front.



This is much more important than the cupping of the wrist in take back, and has to do, as you point out, the grip you choose.

The straight arm with a neutral/continental/weak grip is def a the weaker option in today's game, where balls often have to be played at shoulder level and above. That Tsitsipas and Batista Agut are able to be competitive is a testament to their overall skills and athleticism, not the straight arm FH with neutral grip. You can't achieve a strong position, with the shoulder behind the shot, on high balls, with a neutral grip, as shown below. He has to play the ball way to the side, he has to hit it late, with a (somewhat) open shoulder position.




I'll leave it at, as there's so much info on this in the golf community, backed by science and metrics, readily available for those interested.
 
I see detailed objections have been raised to the OP. Looks like the question why no 1990s-born players have ATG games, and have rather glaring weaknesses instead, continues to hang in the air.
 

Harry_Wild

G.O.A.T.
What's your opinion on Rublev forehand?
Rublev has the best forehand in the game right now with the possible exception to Rafa's forehand but it is really close to which is the best at generating outright winners from nowhere on the court! Rublev has an extremely powerful forehand and hits it with such conviction too. Both are total forehand weapons that makes them hard to beat! Rafa is a lefty which makes it tough for righties however. Both are so outright exceptional and define their game and signature as a player!
 
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Zoid

Hall of Fame
We agree on the over-focus on lag.

When comparing Sock and Fed, whilst the wrist lag looks impressive in the Sock pic (more so than I expected), his racket is not lagging behind as much as Fed. He clearly has both elbow and wrist in front of his body, and due to his grip, his wrist is not nearly as extended as Fed's. Sock's wrist is extremely supinated though, which is why his elbow has to be so much in front.



This is much more important than the cupping of the wrist in take back, and has to do, as you point out, the grip you choose.

The straight arm with a neutral/continental/weak grip is def a the weaker option in today's game, where balls often have to be played at shoulder level and above. That Tsitsipas and Batista Agut are able to be competitive is a testament to their overall skills and athleticism, not the straight arm FH with neutral grip. You can't achieve a strong position, with the shoulder behind the shot, on high balls, with a neutral grip, as shown below. He has to play the ball way to the side, he has to hit it late, with a (somewhat) open shoulder position.




I'll leave it at, as there's so much info on this in the golf community, backed by science and metrics, readily available for those interested.
Disagree with eastern forehand being disadvantaged in today's game - whilst it is easier to hit a higher ball with a semi or western forehand, most tennis shots still occur below the shoulder, especially if the player can move well. Plus by the time you are a pro the grip strength/stability can help this. I don't think tsitsi struggles with high balls nor did Fed, Fernando, Dimitrov, Delpo, Blake etc. In fact having eastern means you can position yourself very aggressively on the court and take balls extremely early; can shorten take back and still get great plow-through; easier to take the ball early. Blake troubled Rafa so much on hard courts with his positioning and ability to plow through and neutralize rafa's pace.

edit: one thing to keep reminding people. Golf is a static game; ball and player is still. Tennis is dynamic. You want lag but NOT at the expense of control. Golfers create width in the backswing to help increase lag on the downswing because they aren'y rushed; you hit when you're ready. In tennis, you must be able to handle +200kmh into your forehand at a varying width/height/spin. Less lag/more of a block makes it easier to time.
 
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Bartelby

Bionic Poster
Fed is supposed to have an Extreme Eastern, whatever that means, but in any event linear forehands were the rage when Eastern was fashionable. It's a niche choice these days.
 

metsman

G.O.A.T.
Great investigation, but some nextgen people have more traditional takebacks and they still suck. The one constant is a lack of physical talent manifesting itself on the serve, movement, ballstriking, etc no matter the technique, body type, upbringing, etc.

These players are fundamentally not good enough because top athletes do not play tennis anymore, blaming modern conditions is a very small, probably mostly irrelevant part of it (although the same thinking that inspired homogenization probably killed the sport too). Tennis today and for the last 5-10 years in my experience at the youth level is a sport for well off kids who can't even start to cut it at a comparable level at any other sport (besides similarly low tier sports like rowing, volleyball, squash, fencing, etc.) but don't want to retreat into couch potato/video game status and still want to maintain that type of athletic social circle.
 

Clay lover

Hall of Fame
Great investigation, but some nextgen people have more traditional takebacks and they still suck. The one constant is a lack of physical talent manifesting itself on the serve, movement, ballstriking, etc no matter the technique, body type, upbringing, etc.

These players are fundamentally not good enough because top athletes do not play tennis anymore, blaming modern conditions is a very small, probably mostly irrelevant part of it (although the same thinking that inspired homogenization probably killed the sport too). Tennis today and for the last 5-10 years in my experience at the youth level is a sport for well off kids who can't even start to cut it at a comparable level at any other sport but still want to maintain that type of athletic social circle.
True but I am curious as to when tennis started to become "unaffordable" when it has always been an expensive sport. Has the less privileged found better options? Has state support declined?
 

metsman

G.O.A.T.
True but I am curious as to when tennis started to become "unaffordable" when it has always been an expensive sport. Has the less privileged found better options? Has state support declined?
It's not due to cost, tennis was always an upper middle class to upper class sport, but it did draw some of the best athletes from that group. Tennis is so "uncool" among kids these days that it simply will not attract talents who have other options, even if they may be better at tennis!
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Great investigation, but some nextgen people have more traditional takebacks and they still suck. The one constant is a lack of physical talent manifesting itself on the serve, movement, ballstriking, etc no matter the technique, body type, upbringing, etc.

These players are fundamentally not good enough because top athletes do not play tennis anymore, blaming modern conditions is a very small, probably mostly irrelevant part of it (although the same thinking that inspired homogenization probably killed the sport too). Tennis today and for the last 5-10 years in my experience at the youth level is a sport for well off kids who can't even start to cut it at a comparable level at any other sport (besides similarly low tier sports like rowing, volleyball, squash, fencing, etc.) but don't want to retreat into couch potato/video game status and still want to maintain that type of athletic social circle.
Why is volleyball a low tier sport?
 

Jaitock1991

Hall of Fame
Amazing work @Zoid !! :)People like you is the reason I still find great value in being in here after more than 10 years of endless debates and fanboyism doing a great job of drowning the whole forum on a daily basis. Your work is much appreciated :D


Thank you very much.
 
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Ace of Aces

Semi-Pro
I think the initial thesis of next gen forehands being less consistent returning serves isn’t exactly true. The reduction in swing weight is likely a bigger factor. Watch Federer, Wawrinka, Nadal, and even Murray (djokovic‘s ATG return notwithstanding) and they all block the ball back on a ton of first serves. RHS can make up for low swing weight but when you’re just holding the racquet out a brick wall is better. Sock, Kyrgios, and Kokkinakis are the only really new forehand techniques anyway. Sock in particular actually has a unique path the racquet tip travels. Wouldn’t recommend it because even he can’t seem to hit the strings twice in a row but it’s cool nonetheless.
 

Zoid

Hall of Fame
Great investigation, but some nextgen people have more traditional takebacks and they still suck. The one constant is a lack of physical talent manifesting itself on the serve, movement, ballstriking, etc no matter the technique, body type, upbringing, etc.

These players are fundamentally not good enough because top athletes do not play tennis anymore, blaming modern conditions is a very small, probably mostly irrelevant part of it (although the same thinking that inspired homogenization probably killed the sport too). Tennis today and for the last 5-10 years in my experience at the youth level is a sport for well off kids who can't even start to cut it at a comparable level at any other sport (besides similarly low tier sports like rowing, volleyball, squash, fencing, etc.) but don't want to retreat into couch potato/video game status and still want to maintain that type of athletic social circle.
Agree that Fed, Rafa, Nole are athletes in a class of their own. One thing I think Nextgen players lack is the ability to play defence and showcase 'intangibles'; things not taught but acquired through experience. The big four all had an ability to jag back awkward balls, slice, play blue-collar defence, adjust to wind, drop shots etc. I think juniors now grow up with homogenised points that lack the creativity and variety prior gens experienced. Instagram videos of 5-year olds with great looking forehands and backhands look great; but can they handle variety? Kyrgios and Sock display these skillsets to a degree but they don't care for defence/effort. Dan Evans is the antithesis of the nextgen player and I love how creative and intelligent he plays. The success he has for his size and weaponry is incredible. Utilises slice to bring opponents in, neutralize big serves, approach himself, Plays percentages from the corners on defence and can take the ball early on the forehand side and rush players for time. Sneaks exceptionally well and overall maximises his abilities. A great player for juniors of a one-hander to model somewhat.

There are certainly great athletes in this young crop; FAA and Shapo, Dimitrov. But they play dumb IMO - especially shapo. FAA's defence from the corner's is really poor for an athlete that he is with a 2-hander. The offence is there for a lot of these guys but in big moments a great athlete's defence is a huge asset.
 

Zoid

Hall of Fame
I think the initial thesis of next gen forehands being less consistent returning serves isn’t exactly true. The reduction in swing weight is likely a bigger factor. Watch Federer, Wawrinka, Nadal, and even Murray (djokovic‘s ATG return notwithstanding) and they all block the ball back on a ton of first serves. RHS can make up for low swing weight but when you’re just holding the racquet out a brick wall is better. Sock, Kyrgios, and Kokkinakis are the only really new forehand techniques anyway. Sock in particular actually has a unique path the racquet tip travels. Wouldn’t recommend it because even he can’t seem to hit the strings twice in a row but it’s cool nonetheless.
The reduction in swingweight is a function of their swing - they are related.
 

Clay lover

Hall of Fame
I think the initial thesis of next gen forehands being less consistent returning serves isn’t exactly true. The reduction in swing weight is likely a bigger factor. Watch Federer, Wawrinka, Nadal, and even Murray (djokovic‘s ATG return notwithstanding) and they all block the ball back on a ton of first serves. RHS can make up for low swing weight but when you’re just holding the racquet out a brick wall is better. Sock, Kyrgios, and Kokkinakis are the only really new forehand techniques anyway. Sock in particular actually has a unique path the racquet tip travels. Wouldn’t recommend it because even he can’t seem to hit the strings twice in a row but it’s cool nonetheless.
But what the OP is saying is swingweight is also a result of the technique because of the degree of racquet manipulation required before the swing and its reliance on the smaller muscles to get the racquet into firing position.
 

NedStark

Semi-Pro
There are certainly great athletes in this young crop; FAA and Shapo, Dimitrov.
For Dimitrov, his unstable serves and his head let him down. His forehand is quite solid, and he also managed to improve his BH. He also has one of the best BH slices in the tour - he certainly can handle variety, but he lacks one true big weapon.
 

Zoid

Hall of Fame
For Dimitrov, his unstable serves and his head let him down. His forehand is quite solid, and he also managed to improve his BH. He also has one of the best BH slices in the tour - he certainly can handle variety, but he lacks one true big weapon.
Definite kink in his service action - he has fed strokes but doesn't take advantage of them/plays too passively. Has great slice, intangibles, but he mentally was never there either.
 

Ace of Aces

Semi-Pro
But what the OP is saying is swingweight is also a result of the technique because of the degree of racquet manipulation required before the swing and its reliance on the smaller muscles to get the racquet into firing position.
I mostly agree. I was just trying to say some point you are only as good as your weakest link. For example, if someone has Agassi level timing on the rise on their forehand, but a clay court slow, long take back on their backhand, then they can’t take advantage of the strength because they will be exposed if they play inside the baseline. I don’t really think the unique forehand themselves are the problem, but the fact that they bring the lesser swing weight to the rest of the game (required by technique as you point out) that aren’t optimized for the whippy rackets.
 

mental midget

Hall of Fame
good analysis. oversimplification: they just don't hit through the ball as well, with a swing plane that is more horizontal than vertical. nadal's fh is deceiving--he definitely 'rips up' on it, but comes through the ball more it more than it appears. even novak, who has a pretty western grip, still gets a lot of forward movement on the racket. younger guys like tsitsipas and shapovalov do a better job of stroking through the ball, hence their 'easy power'.
 

Clay lover

Hall of Fame
good analysis. oversimplification: they just don't hit through the ball as well, with a swing plane that is more horizontal than vertical. nadal's fh is deceiving--he definitely 'rips up' on it, but comes through the ball more it more than it appears. even novak, who has a pretty western grip, still gets a lot of forward movement on the racket. younger guys like tsitsipas and shapovalov do a better job of stroking through the ball, hence their 'easy power'.
So you're saying the next gen technique closes the racquet and brushes the ball more like in ping pong?
 

Clay lover

Hall of Fame
well, it's a bit of a generalization but that's a decent way of putting it, yeah. i think it's just a natural mechanic that you learn as a junior with a lighter racket, trying to hit with a lot of spin.
Anyway agree with your take on Nadal's forehand -- it, especially the reverese forehand, has to be the single most deceptive shot among all pros' for amateurs because they see him swinging low to high and overlook how much he extends through the shot.

One simply doesn't generate the power Nadal does from difficult positions if all he does is brush up.
 

mental midget

Hall of Fame
Anyway agree with your take on Nadal's forehand -- it, especially the reverese forehand, has to be the single most deceptive shot among all pros' for amateurs because they see him swinging low to high and overlook how much he extends through the shot.

One simply doesn't generate the power Nadal does from difficult positions if all he does is brush up.
totally. it's been said before but when you look closer, there's more in common between nadal's and roger's fh than you might think at first glance, impact through the ball, arm position are quite similar although the finishes take their respective courses.

sinner is one of the younger players who has nice racket trajectory through contact.
 

aaron_h27

Professional
All the next gen low SW players are using open patterns & full poly correct?

I have yet to see anyone using 18x20 and low SW on the tour.

Maybe extra RA, poly and open string pattern allows you to get away with lighter specs Perhaps that's the modern game.

With gut I feel like your racket must have some mass in the hoop because the sweetspot for gut is smaller than full poly. (Have to string gut much tighter than poly)

Definitely prefer Fed, Djok style of play.

Although Medevdev, Zverev are >350 SW and have had better success than their counter parts.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
It's just sad to see arguably the 2 best forehand of all time not have any sort of legacy. Federer and Nadal proved the kind of success you can have in modern conditions with their traditional tackebacks and straight arm follow throughs. And yet there isn't anyone who is carrying on that style. Is it just because coaches and parents are so focused on making tangible progress as children with early results that no one is willing to attempt a long term investment in their form?
There is one (@Red Rick):


and Tsitsipas
Allow poly only as a cross.
Poly in the cross is where you most want a poly, so this restriction would hardly change anything. Federer and Djokovic use ALU in the crosses for instance.
 

lim

Semi-Pro
There is one (@Red Rick):


and Tsitsipas

Poly in the cross is where you most want a poly, so this restriction would hardly change anything. Federer and Djokovic use ALU in the crosses for instance.
Alcaraz has a next gen forehand- his racquet tip points towards the net at preparation, but Rublev, FAA, citybus all have modern forehand preparation so how is the legacy being lost
 
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Bender

G.O.A.T.
Alcaraz has a next gen forehand- his racquet tip points towards the net at preparation, but Rublev, FAA, citybus all have modern forehand preparation so how is the legacy being lost
I don't really buy the idea that the racquet tip pointing towards the net at preparation is uniquely a NextGen thing. At various points in their careers, Fedal have shown similar takebacks to various extremes:







Nadal in 2013 through to 2015 had a forehand takeback that was identical to Alcaraz's in my earlier post:


and if the head pointing towards the net is the only thing that determines whether a forehand takeback is "modern" or "nextgen", then Sampras' takeback would be considered NextGen as well:


although his hitting face points towards the ground, which makes it quite different to contemporary forehands.

But that 2013 Nadal forehand on a technical level appears virtually identical to the forehand Alcaraz is using, and considering Alcaraz's inspirations I daresay the similarities aren't merely coincidental.
 

socallefty

Legend
This forum seems obsessed with the FH and many seem to think that the quality of the FH is the determining factor for who becomes a champion. When I watch the ATP tour, it seems like every top player has a huge weapon with their FH and are consistent with the ability to put away the first short ball they get. To a large extent, this Is true with the serve too although there is some variance in the quality and accuracy of 2nd serves.

Guys with the best BH, best BH slice, best returns and best defense seem to win most of the Grand Slams in the last decade and those seem to be the best differentiators between ATGs and others.

Basically, the Big 3 have prevented everyone else from winning Slams irrespective of what kind of forehand technique they have. If you look at the top 100 in the last five years, my gut feel (haven’t checked it out player-by-player) is that the majority have the Djokovic FH (SW/W grip, ATP take back and bent arm) while the Sock/Kyrgios NextGen FH is a novelty and very few have straight-arm FHs either with conservative Eastern grips. I would also guess that there is a lot of variance in SW between those who are in the top 100 today and it does not correlate very well to rankings.

I know that a few older people on this board desperately want to believe that racquet specs make all the difference in who becomes a good player. They are the same guys who think that tennis was best before surface homogenization and the demise of S/V tennis. Meanwhile, the rest of us love long baseline rallies, 90-100mph FHs at 3500rpm, 80mph BHs at 2500rpm, 1st serves consistently over 130mph, crazy defense against these hard-hit balls etc. I loved tennis in the 70s, 80s, 90s and this century, but I have no problem admitting that the level of tennis and level of entertainment of tennis is at the highest level for me right now and I think that it will only get better as players get taller and stronger.
 

ron schaap

Hall of Fame
Allow poly only as a cross.
you people are crazy thinking like that!
listenuing to that old navratilova with her ugly forehand. she was lucky to be a lefty otherwise she wouldnt be that succesful at serve volley. during the prehistoric gut only period there were a lot of players like Chris Evert, Sabatini, Seles, connors, vilas, wilander and nearly all the other Swedes who stayed far below the baseline and came only to the net when shaking hands. Now that was a very boring period even on Wimbledon. You are nostalgic for no reason. Now there is much more atreactive tennis. also from a young girl from canada!!! Compare that with the boring tennis of austin and Capriati etc of the past!!!!
 

ron schaap

Hall of Fame
Regarding lag:

You are talking about two different lags: racket lag and wrist lag.

In golf, which is the sport that has most research on the matter, focus is on the wrist lag, i.e. how far back your wrist is flexed and ulnar deviated, as a result of the forward motion started by the bigger muscles (some are more leg centric, some more upper body), and how long you can maintain this position naturally as a result of the acceleration, managing to release it with maximum force through impact.

To be clear: you can't set / **** the wrist deliberately, they have to fall into this angle due to the lower and upper body acceleration. Secondly, you can't "hold" the angle deliberately in the downswing, it is maintained naturally as a consequence of the sequential firing of the different (big) muscle groups, creation an acceleration (of the different body parts, in sequence), going from the ground up (aka the kinetic chain).







Jack Sock does not have a bigger wrist lag than Fed. The video you posted show Fed warming up ...
This is Fed's trademark wrist lag:

This FH is without a doubt the most difficult FH to learn or emulate.

AthleticBelatedCopepod-small.gif


Regarding what to emulate:

You make an argument for copying the "OldGen" FH, siting DelPo, Gonzalez, Fed, Nadal as examples.
I don't disagree with the overarching idea, just that you lump Fed and Nadal into this category without adressing the intricacies of their FH.
Reg. the straight arm: I am not saying it's better or worse when it comes to results. I am saying it is extremely difficult to emulate if it doesn't fall naturally. And almost no players fall into this category, wether they be professional or recreational. Ask any teaching pro.

So, if your concern is what kids or adults should learn, I argue that DelPo and Gonzalez (or Söderling for that matter), where they do break the plane and have very stable wrists through the swing, are much better ideals than Fed and Nadal.
furthermore tennis not golf. In golf you grip the club into your fingers not the palm of your hand as in tennis. also the ball lies still.
 

flanker2000fr

Hall of Fame
I know that a few older people on this board desperately want to believe that racquet specs make all the difference in who becomes a good player. They are the same guys who think that tennis was best before surface homogenization and the demise of S/V tennis. Meanwhile, the rest of us love long baseline rallies, 90-100mph FHs at 3500rpm, 80mph BHs at 2500rpm, 1st serves consistently over 130mph, crazy defense against these hard-hit balls etc. I loved tennis in the 70s, 80s, 90s and this century, but I have no problem admitting that the level of tennis and level of entertainment of tennis is at the highest level for me right now and I think that it will only get better as players get taller and stronger.
I don't know about racquet specs, but count me in the dinosaurs who actually liked when there was variety in the playing styles. For all of the massively increased physicality, spin and fast rallies, I find it utterly depressing to see a majority of brainless ball bashers a la Rublev populating the ATP Top 100. At present, the player I enjoy watching the most is actually Ash Barty, with her all court game and variations (still, she generates serious heat on the FH).

Oh, and since the topic was FH execution, as my avatar indicates, I am a massive fan of Lendl's FH. It had some limitations on the very fast grass of the 80's and 90's, but was an absolute bludgeon who could either press the opponent or go for outright winners.
 
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penguin

Professional
conditions create tough players with tough technique. Easy conditions….You know. If I was to take a player from scratch at the age of 7 or 8 today, I would find some old garage sale racquet—perhaps a Dunlop Max 200G or ProStaff or any wooden frame, and chop it down. A heavy racquet does not promote a flexed wrist and a young player will instinctively seek power generation through a longer and higher take back with an extended wrist. Further, I would be wary of playing on bouncy courts — a high bounce promotes a more extreme grip for a youngster, and this has ceiling effects as discussed above. Clay or low and fast hard courts (ideally a combination of the two) would be best. Lastly, mix up occasionally the conditions; play with wooden racquets, synthetic strings, old balls, new balls, tattered balls. Variety develops resistance.

There was a junior max 200g. It is quite possible to injure a junior player by making the conditions too "tough". How will they develop their games when they are bashed around by poly users so can't stay in points with high level juniors using all the modern gear long enough to learn from them? Player development does not happen in isolation- look at the difference between the Murray brothers- Andy has said in the past that Jamie was similarly talented to him but was "ruined" by the old fashioned teaching of the LTA junior coaching of that time. (which is all the more believable when you see his amazing hands in action) Agassi's good footwork development was hindered by the "tough" condition of developing on a court covered in uncleared balls. His older brother played but lost his career due to "tough" playing through a wrist injury, making it worse. The introduction of poly made different styles viable and other styles not starting with Roddick. Arguably better stories were developed by pros that were juniors pre poly and then adopted it as they went pro but that ship has sailed- that development is not possible without a pool of high level juniors all not using poly. If you banned poly below a certain age in all junior tournaments that could recreate that, but then at that age they will struggle to keep up with what poly makes possible- when all the pros were doing and learning that together it could work, but it has been somewhat maxed out now. Ultimately what poly allows is to use a racquet with a lower swingweight that is still powerful enough and the lower swingweight allows you to get it around easier- react faster- get an advantage of speed that trumps a killer stroke. That the advantage of increased SW for returns does not outweigh the advantage of decreased SW increasing RHS on serve allowing it to become a weapons sooner. Juniors that aren't getting results early don't get the chance to play good enough other players to develop. Return game is slower to develop than a weapon serve which can come naturally. By the time the returners can catch up the opportunity will be gone. It takes a particular type of person to aim for the top of the top of the top when those choices could mean no career at all due to not taking easier options. Would Kyrgios have a better career not using his "fast arm" talent and to have followed your advise? I would say he would not have had one at all- his all time great serve depends on an approach that you would have discouraged.

In fact insisting on these sort of strokes that can allow higher as later on will now *prevent* the development of a weapon because they will have to focus that much harder on *consistency* to remain competitive with the equipment aided extra power coming at them compared to what older generation retrievers faced as juniors. You could produce a Goffin, a Nishikori. Wonderful players, but weapon shots have always been a sort of short circuit- a cheat code that uses a combination of some unique characteristic physically of the player with equipment that produces something extreme. Nadal's forehand that you cite was considered incredibly unorthodox when he came onto the tour and you give him as a model? He only went more semi western once he was a multiple champion. All his junior years he used a more western grip than you are insisting is vital.

Optimisations and trial and error have produced styles for present equipment that may not be as pretty, but are an easier way to "bring home the bacon". Honestly this seems to me similar to wood era coaches refusing to add post-lendl "power tennis" strokes into their coaching. The semi-western grip was unorthodox then. Things change. A whole lot of things have to come together to make a world-beater- but your suggested approach seems self-defeating to me, unless it's at *really* early stages- like Anderson's dad making him hit left handed forehands, or Murray learning boxing and other sports for all round coordination/reaction development.

Sorry to be so critical though- your comment was a good read even so... :)
 

flanker2000fr

Hall of Fame
This is a far too mature, researched, interesting and technically accurate thread between posters who actually know what they are writing about and express their differing opinions respectfully, to be on TT.

Can the usual half-brained, one-eyed crowd please step in to start another pointless, ill-tempered scuffle on who's GOAT, please?
 

NedStark

Semi-Pro
True but I am curious as to when tennis started to become "unaffordable" when it has always been an expensive sport. Has the less privileged found better options? Has state support declined?
Just have a look at the earnings of Premier League footballers (even those in average clubs) and tennis players.

I mean, having a weekly salary of £50-70,000 (which is far far from top level salary in PL) will allow you to earn as much as Shapo's total career prize money in just 2-3 years. And Shapo is a top 10 player. And football players have much less expenses.

So, for average kids, it is a no brainer. Lower risk and higher returns. Forget about PL, even having a median Championship salary (£4000/week) can also enable you to have a good life.
 
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Zoid

Hall of Fame
This forum seems obsessed with the FH and many seem to think that the quality of the FH is the determining factor for who becomes a champion. When I watch the ATP tour, it seems like every top player has a huge weapon with their FH and are consistent with the ability to put away the first short ball they get. To a large extent, this Is true with the serve too although there is some variance in the quality and accuracy of 2nd serves.

Guys with the best BH, best BH slice, best returns and best defense seem to win most of the Grand Slams in the last decade and those seem to be the best differentiators between ATGs and others.

Basically, the Big 3 have prevented everyone else from winning Slams irrespective of what kind of forehand technique they have. If you look at the top 100 in the last five years, my gut feel (haven’t checked it out player-by-player) is that the majority have the Djokovic FH (SW/W grip, ATP take back and bent arm) while the Sock/Kyrgios NextGen FH is a novelty and very few have straight-arm FHs either with conservative Eastern grips. I would also guess that there is a lot of variance in SW between those who are in the top 100 today and it does not correlate very well to rankings.

I know that a few older people on this board desperately want to believe that racquet specs make all the difference in who becomes a good player. They are the same guys who think that tennis was best before surface homogenization and the demise of S/V tennis. Meanwhile, the rest of us love long baseline rallies, 90-100mph FHs at 3500rpm, 80mph BHs at 2500rpm, 1st serves consistently over 130mph, crazy defense against these hard-hit balls etc. I loved tennis in the 70s, 80s, 90s and this century, but I have no problem admitting that the level of tennis and level of entertainment of tennis is at the highest level for me right now and I think that it will only get better as players get taller and stronger.
Generally ATG DO have great forehands: Lendl, Sampras, Agassi, Courier, Fed, Nadal, Djokovic. Even the best backhands in the world get run around to hit a forehand. Can inject more speed and get more angle and disguise. There are heaps of players with great forehands and average backhands, very few of the reverse.

Alcaraz is the first youngster to come through in 15 years with what appears to be an ATG forehand married with great movement and intelligent play/variety.

There was a junior max 200g. It is quite possible to injure a junior player by making the conditions too "tough". How will they develop their games when they are bashed around by poly users so can't stay in points with high level juniors using all the modern gear long enough to learn from them? Player development does not happen in isolation- look at the difference between the Murray brothers- Andy has said in the past that Jamie was similarly talented to him but was "ruined" by the old fashioned teaching of the LTA junior coaching of that time. (which is all the more believable when you see his amazing hands in action) Agassi's good footwork development was hindered by the "tough" condition of developing on a court covered in uncleared balls. His older brother played but lost his career due to "tough" playing through a wrist injury, making it worse. The introduction of poly made different styles viable and other styles not starting with Roddick. Arguably better stories were developed by pros that were juniors pre poly and then adopted it as they went pro but that ship has sailed- that development is not possible without a pool of high level juniors all not using poly. If you banned poly below a certain age in all junior tournaments that could recreate that, but then at that age they will struggle to keep up with what poly makes possible- when all the pros were doing and learning that together it could work, but it has been somewhat maxed out now. Ultimately what poly allows is to use a racquet with a lower swingweight that is still powerful enough and the lower swingweight allows you to get it around easier- react faster- get an advantage of speed that trumps a killer stroke. That the advantage of increased SW for returns does not outweigh the advantage of decreased SW increasing RHS on serve allowing it to become a weapons sooner. Juniors that aren't getting results early don't get the chance to play good enough other players to develop. Return game is slower to develop than a weapon serve which can come naturally. By the time the returners can catch up the opportunity will be gone. It takes a particular type of person to aim for the top of the top of the top when those choices could mean no career at all due to not taking easier options. Would Kyrgios have a better career not using his "fast arm" talent and to have followed your advise? I would say he would not have had one at all- his all time great serve depends on an approach that you would have discouraged.

In fact insisting on these sort of strokes that can allow higher as later on will now *prevent* the development of a weapon because they will have to focus that much harder on *consistency* to remain competitive with the equipment aided extra power coming at them compared to what older generation retrievers faced as juniors. You could produce a Goffin, a Nishikori. Wonderful players, but weapon shots have always been a sort of short circuit- a cheat code that uses a combination of some unique characteristic physically of the player with equipment that produces something extreme. Nadal's forehand that you cite was considered incredibly unorthodox when he came onto the tour and you give him as a model? He only went more semi western once he was a multiple champion. All his junior years he used a more western grip than you are insisting is vital.

Optimisations and trial and error have produced styles for present equipment that may not be as pretty, but are an easier way to "bring home the bacon". Honestly this seems to me similar to wood era coaches refusing to add post-lendl "power tennis" strokes into their coaching. The semi-western grip was unorthodox then. Things change. A whole lot of things have to come together to make a world-beater- but your suggested approach seems self-defeating to me, unless it's at *really* early stages- like Anderson's dad making him hit left handed forehands, or Murray learning boxing and other sports for all round coordination/reaction development.

Sorry to be so critical though- your comment was a good read even so... :)
You can teach fundamentals with the things I am proposing and THEN move into poly/modern adjustments, but my core belief (still) is that teaching a modern forehand leads to a better forehand. Also, I don't think Nadal's grip has ever been close to western. IF you find me an image that says so, I'll believe it then. Has always been pretty much semi

Jack Sock forehand is top3 at least.
Sock's forehand is good, but it's not top 3. Djokovic, Nadal, Berrettini, Alcaraz, Thiem all better for me overall.
 
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