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Interactive Forum August 2018 Greg Rusedski Slice Backhand

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  • Interactive Forum August 2018 Greg Rusedski Slice Backhand

    August 2018: Greg Rusedski Slice Backhand

    Recently I had the chance to film one of the great slice backhands in tennis: Greg Rusedksi's at a senior event. We've had a lot of articles on the slice, including the differences in the pro slice and how the spin levels have risen significantly since Rusedski's era (Click Here.) We've put Bernard Tomic's slice up in the Forum (Click Here) as well as Steffi Graf's (Click Here.) We've put up Trey Walke's article on modeling his slice after Ken Rosewall (Click Here.)

    What do you think of Greg's slice? Watch the height of the racket tip in relation to the hand. Would it still work in the pro game? How good is it as a model for the rest of us?


    Last edited by johnyandell; 09-02-2018, 05:03 PM.

  • #2
    August 2018: Greg Rusedski Slice Backhand

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    • #3
      It's a great shot and it's easy to learn once you decide to value it. When I started, I had racket tip vertical at end of backswing. Where did that idea come from? An old video of Rosewall when he was 17 or 18. Then I checked in on a video when he was about ten years older and he had racket laid back more the way Rusedski does in these videos. So I changed to that method and that change didn't take long either.

      So is the moral of the story that Bottle is a copycat and will be swayed by the most recent YouTube video he saw? Perhaps. I try to open myself up to the influence first and sort out the damage later. But in this case there was no looking back.

      It's different advanced players and teaching pros that say I have great slice, and if I say it, I'm sure the next morning it will become untrue. Better not to try to give it an academic grade all the time and just be glad to have such a consistent shot and know that if one hits it like this it will bounce low and even skid sometimes and that it is the best backhand for doubles most of the time in that it forces the opponent to hit up.

      But backhand slices are a constellation with all kinds of variety available. Foremost alternatives should include chops (down!) and crosses (outside in!).

      I wish the same pros would say that my other shots are great.

      Arm straightening here in an active, muscular way seems one ingredient (along with the double roll) although it seems to happen a bit early in the last sequence of Rusedski I just watched compared to Steffi. Some would probably say that's one more thing to go wrong but it's awfully good for adding to the rps of speed.

      (Why talk about rpm's all the time, by the way, when rps seems more tennis specific. Just a personal opinion.)
      Last edited by bottle; 08-01-2018, 09:35 AM.

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      • #4
        Greg used his sliced backhand virtually all the time. He managed to keep opponents at bay with, not sure it would do that now. It's not like Rosewell's who could hit sliced and flat within a similar motion. I like the classic finish of Greg's stroke....racket tip up...how I teach it. Other players - like Roger - often finish with the racket tip pointing at the ground. I have never been too sure how/if the two types of finish influence the shot's outcome in any way.

        I think Roger and Rafa turns their shoulders quite a bit more than Greg.
        Last edited by stotty; 08-01-2018, 01:46 PM.
        Stotty

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        • #5
          Are the grips virtually the same with the chop(racket head down) versus the slice(racket head up)?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by stotty View Post
            Greg used his sliced backhand virtually all the time. He managed to keep opponents at bay with, not sure it would do that now. It's not like Rosewell's who could hit sliced and flat within a similar motion. I like the classic finish of Greg's stroke....racket tip up...how I teach it. Other players - like Roger - often finish with the racket tip pointing at the ground. I have never been too sure how/if the two types of finish influence the shot's outcome in any way.

            I think Roger and Rafa turns their shoulders quite a bit more than Greg.
            Greg had a very similar backhand to Pat Rafter, who also sliced it almost exclusively. I too do not think that style would be viable today. Greg, Pat, and Fernando Gonzalez all played their backhands like that and were in the mix in the top 10.

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            • #7
              doctor,
              don't think there is much grip difference
              stroke,
              yes it's questionable if Greg could even derotate heavy forehands with that swing. but that slice would be unbeatable in ntrp

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              • #8
                It's a wonderful shot the slice backhand. Greg made it to the top 10 on the strength of his lefty serve and the steadiness of the slice. His contact is just on the front edge of the body and a nice deep shoulder turn.

                Kyle LaCroix USPTA
                Boca Raton

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                • #9
                  When we talk about Rosewall and the slice of others, I am not sure if we are not comparing apples and oranges. I saw Rosewall do one of the most remarkable things I have ever seen on a tennis court. Rosewall was practicing against Brian Fairlie, who was a big strong kid with big volleys and overhead. Fairlie stayed on the net in the front half the the forecourt. Rosewall was on the baseline. Fairlie was hitting overheads and strong vollies against Rosewall. This was in Vegas where there is altitude and the ball flies. Rosewall has his toes literally upon the baseline and he put 6 or 8 practice balls within inches of his back foot. In this practice and even when Fairlie hit a big overhead right at Rosewall, Rosewall never backed up one inch. He would have sprained and ankle if he did. I don't think Rosewall had the balls there to stop him from backing up but had them there because he knew he would take the ball on the rise and so he kept them close to him for ease of pick up. Remember Rosewall had a continental fh without much spin. IMO his backhand, while having underspin, was a driving shot that has a lot of a flat shot in it. a purely flat shot will skip and stay low almost like a slice. My point being is that Rosewall's shot was a much flatter and different shot than other's more heavily sliced balls and that his ability to take the ball on the rise so magnificently enhanced and magnified the slicing action/component he had. Food for thought anyway.

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                  • #10
                    I would also ask John Y. if he has a copy of the Rosewall tape he did at the Doral in Florida. It has some interesting and very clear shots of the Rosewall backhand. How nice was it when all the players did a documentary film of their game and they talked about it. Want another project John? It is not to late to get Edberg and Rafter to talk about the dying art of volleying and get it on tape.

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                    • #11
                      Ken,
                      Ha! It would be great to film them. There are a lot of files though of Rafter slices in the original archives>

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by johnyandell View Post
                        Ken,
                        Ha! It would be great to film them. There are a lot of files though of Rafter slices in the original archives>
                        John, I am talking about filming their vollies, their flow,their split steps,their 1st steps, their weight transfer.
                        thanks,
                        ken

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                        • #13
                          Ken, Like I said we have. Look Here:

                          https://www.tennisplayer.net/members...strokecat.html

                          https://www.tennisplayer.net/members/strokearchive/pro_men/greg_rusedski/greg_rusedski_strokecat.html

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