Rafael Nadal's Running Forehand

Rafael Nadal has got one of the biggest and best Forehands in the game, because he has the ability to outmanoeuvre his opponents with a forehand of brutal force and outrageous spin. David Sammel analyzes the frame by frame images taken by tennishead.

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Rafa begins his preparation by taking his racket back, while constantly tracking the ball as he moves

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Rafa's right arm comes across helping with his positioning and the rotation of his body

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Notice the beautiful balance of both arms - they are in line, his shoulders are rotated and notice how he takes a big step which leads him into the shot.

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The full force of his swinging left arm and rotating shoulders and torso will smack firmly into the ball in front of his body

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Here just after contact on this running forehand the step is big, the eyes still on the ball, the racket accelerating so fast that it has brushed up the back and already higher than the ball. (Pointer; good hitting with topspin pictures will show 2 inches before contact the racket below the ball and just after contact above the ball)

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Here you see the leg strength on the run as he breaks after the hit, using his legs in an almost 90 degree squat position to stabilise and stop. His head has not moved yet (all great players trust the ball will go where they want without having to lift their heads to have a good look and mess up their balance and the shot). His arm has accelerated so fast upward that the follow through is behind his head.
 

 

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