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Old 09-02-2012, 12:23 PM   #1
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Default Flat v. Topspin Forehand - Nadal as a case study

Was watching some highlights of Nadal vs. Hewitt in Australia 2004. Nadal's FH was so different - he's rip flat FH winners and make aggressive returns, whereas now he'd hit a usual topspin FH rally shot to get the point in play instead. Clearly he (and Toni) thought that risking the errors from the flat shot wasn't worth it and it would be better for him to use the topspin more. Looking at the results, that's borne out. Is that case an example of an overall trend? Those hitting flatter won't be as successful long term?

Would Nadal have had as much success sticking with the flatter FH? Part of me wishes he'd still go for that flat FH more on HCs. Just save himself all the running and go for winners...

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Old 09-02-2012, 12:27 PM   #2
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Default Re: Flat v. Topspin Forehand - Nadal as a case study

why such a drastic change in technique i'll never understand.
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Old 09-02-2012, 12:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: Flat v. Topspin Forehand - Nadal as a case study

Well, such thing as "flat" shot doesn`t exist. Only from high point maybe, but is rare thing. All the players use spin. Some more or less.

About trend - it is going on already. Fed is one of the leaders in this department too. Many people I feel don`t see it, but Rogie especially in the last few years relies more on placement and spin hitting his forehand wing. Djokovic - the same.

About Nadal - no, I think he wouldn`t win as much without this ingenious spin from him. Very easy - without it even on clay it would have been 50-50 with Federer. Fed would have taken a lot off his titles in this way.
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Old 09-02-2012, 12:33 PM   #4
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Default Re: Flat v. Topspin Forehand - Nadal as a case study

It is possible to hit "flat" with a western grip. His technique has not changed.
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Old 09-02-2012, 12:36 PM   #5
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Default Re: Flat v. Topspin Forehand - Nadal as a case study

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why such a drastic change in technique i'll never understand.
Because it was a less error-prone shot if he changed it. Players like Soderling etc. hit a lot flatter all the time - they have some amazing wins vs Nadal, Fed etc. but they also have amazing losses. Nadal changing his FH to being a powerful, effective but much safer shot has got him to 11 slams.

Still, odd seeing him as a 17 year old so aggressive and pumped up. Toni's shown in the crowd towards the end - clearly plotting the changes needed to have more success in the future. Would still love to watch one match where Nadal just said, screw safety, I'm going to try and paint the lines and see what happens... Too ingrained in him now to go for the percentages though.
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Old 09-02-2012, 12:36 PM   #6
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Default Re: Flat v. Topspin Forehand - Nadal as a case study

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Old 09-02-2012, 12:40 PM   #7
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Default Re: Flat v. Topspin Forehand - Nadal as a case study

Nobody hits really flat like Sanya said except Stepanek and F. Mayer who maybe the last ones to have an eastern fh grip which means less control on the ball.
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Old 09-02-2012, 12:41 PM   #8
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Default Re: Flat v. Topspin Forehand - Nadal as a case study

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My point was not to discuss Nadal only. He's a clear example of somebody who came on tour hitting much flatter but got success by hitting with more topspin. Was wondering if that will always be the case now. The Del Potros, Soderlings of this world - did they make the wrong choice by not hitting with more topspin? Will future champions be in a similar mould to Nadal, Novak, Murray etc. who all hit with varying amounts of topspin sure but none of whom go for big, flat FH winners ala Gonzo, Soderling, Berdych etc.
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Old 09-02-2012, 12:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: Flat v. Topspin Forehand - Nadal as a case study

Reminds me of Verdasco's forehand in 2009. Nadal should do this more these days IMO.
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Old 09-02-2012, 12:45 PM   #10
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Default Re: Flat v. Topspin Forehand - Nadal as a case study

Gonzo's fh had a lot of spin in it ...
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Old 09-02-2012, 12:55 PM   #11
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Default Re: Flat v. Topspin Forehand - Nadal as a case study

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Old 09-02-2012, 12:59 PM   #12
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Default Re: Flat v. Topspin Forehand - Nadal as a case study

For once Nadals was a bit interesting. Actually i could never understand why the players hit with so much Topspin. To me it seems like so much effort. Instead just the ball flat. Like Agassi used to do.
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Old 09-02-2012, 01:02 PM   #13
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Default Re: Flat v. Topspin Forehand - Nadal as a case study

He hits like that in practice, but during the matches his forehand changes completely.



When his normal game isn't working I wish he could try that but I don't think he feels confident playing like that.
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Old 09-02-2012, 01:11 PM   #14
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Default Re: Flat v. Topspin Forehand - Nadal as a case study

This is why it doesn't make sense when people talk about Nadal learning to play flat for hardcourts - he always could do it.
Possibly something to do with the older surfaces not bouncing as high or being as slow.

And Sanya, when people say 'flat', they just mean 'not much topspin' - obviously not 100% flat.
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Old 09-02-2012, 01:11 PM   #15
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Default Re: Flat v. Topspin Forehand - Nadal as a case study

This is basically the same video but with more than 240p quality:



It would be nice if Nadal can utilise flatter forehands indoors.
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