One key difference between Nadal and Federer forehand


Hall of Fame
In Nadal's forehand, the straightening of the arm and the racquet flip occur at the same time. See here: (mirrored video)

In contrast, Federer straightens the arm first, and then does the flip.

Personally I prefer Nadal's. I find Federer's technique harder to time.
Last edited:


Hall of Fame
Watch slo motion videos (preferably from the back) of both players' FHs, focusing solely on the elbow of the hitting arm. In each case, pause the video AS SOON AS the arm becomes straight. You will see that in Nadal's case, the racquet head is already pointing to the back fence at that point in his motion.

In Federer's case, racquet is still pointing roughly towards the (right) side fence. Look at this pic:

Try as you might, you will not find a pic of Nadal's forehand in which his arm is straightened and the racquet is still pointing to the side as much as Fed's. That is because by the time his arm is straight, Nadal's racquet is already pointing back. That is a key difference. Subtle but crucial.