Back Foot Tennis on the Forehand
Sometimes players are forced onto the back foot by their opponent’s depth & weight of shot.
Mats was the King of Back-Foot Tennis – here he is choosing to hit off the back foot.
Any idea why?
It’s to do with not wanting to add his body weight to the shot.
In the previous frontfoot section, both Andy and Gabby power their weight through and into the shot.
Yes, they are also hitting with topspin: but not the relatively weightless variety used by Mats (above and below).
Mats Wilander wants to hit purely up the back of the ball, for a high, loopy type of topspin (more like a topspin lob), and throughness will interfere with the purer upness he wants.
‘Throughness and upness? Really?’
I always wanted to make an impact on the English language.
‘Don’t be expecting a call from the OED just yet.’
Mats suspends his body weight on the back foot – he neutralises it – enabling him to sink down in 1 and then launch his efforts more acutely up the back of the ball in 2 & 3.
As stated, Mats has chosen to hit off the back foot.
Each shot-type has a particular shape and what Mats is doing here is suspending his body weight to enhance the topspin shape.
Below are two related neutralisations of the body weight-forward – similarly engineered weightlessness of shot – each for different reasons.
We’ve seen them previously, though not in full. Ponder again what different tasks Andy and Thomas are trying to achieve in these frames?
Thomas Muster is hitting a topspin lob – but what about Roddick?
I want to add a further variant of Back Footing – Aggressive Back-footing – but I think it’s best if we cover some other stuff first.