Back Foot Tennis on a Forehand
Sometimes players are forced onto the back foot by their opponent’s depth & weight of shot.
But here Mats 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 weightless variety used by Mats 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.
‘Well 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.
In these 9 frames we see a fuller example of the weightless topspin that was a big part of Wilander’s patient baseline game, especially on clay.
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 snapshots of related neutralisations of the body weight-forward – similarly engineered weightlessness of shot – Muster is certainly suspending his full body weight – and each neutralises the body weight for different reasons.
Ponder again what different tasks Andy and Thomas are trying to achieve in these two strokes?
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.