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August 2019: Tim Henman Forehand

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  • August 2019: Tim Henman Forehand

    Tim Henman Forehand

    So last month we looked at the ever evolving technique on pro forehands with the downward wrist flex in the backswing. (Click Here.) Now let's go totally retro: Tim Henman. Filming him play at over the age of 40 this year I was struck with how compact, simple, effective, and yes powerful it was. His spin rates were about the same as when he was on the main tour, 1500rpm or so.

    And the thought occurred to me. He could beat every 4.5 aspiring player in the country love and love.

    Here's what I see. A great unit turn. A great left arm stretch. A set up in mostly semi-open stances. A vertical swing plan, mostly, with the racket face on edge, with some relatively minor wipering on some balls. Great forward swing extension. A relaxed natural wrap, and very little lag and snap if such a thing really exists anyway.

    I have to wonder how many players out there are torturing themselves trying to be modern and would never consider a forehand as classical as Tim's relevant to their games. But maybe they should. What do you guys say?

    Last edited by johnyandell; 07-31-2019, 08:33 PM.

  • #2
    Tim Henman Forehand

    Last edited by johnyandell; 07-31-2019, 08:26 PM.

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    • #3
      Two questions come to mind: Should a forehand make someone a great junior player, college player, or a pro? How long should it last, five years, ten years, or a lifetime?

      Henman's forehand looks like one that made him a pro and will last him a lifetime. I have seen former college players who used an extreme semi or mild western forehand grip now try to hit with a more classic grip. Practice time tends to go down with age and so does strength and flexibility.

      Tim Henman's forehand is good enough for all levels and it will last him a lifetime.

      Except for the tiniest fraction of tennis players who can reach the highest zenith at some point in their 20's, it is more than enough.

      In fact, I wonder if it should not be taught explicitly. Federer still uses some version of this more classic motion to return serve. So clearly having this as a base forehand is not detrimental to trying to hit a more modern version.

      Comment


      • #4
        He still plays well Tim. I saw him play a few months ago at the NTC. His backhand is a peach. His forehand is a great model for club and player and probably one of the best they could copy.

        Tim was a lovely player to watch and a real treasure for us Brits. Everyone liked him and rooted for him. He's such a nice bloke.

        Stotty

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        • #5
          Hard to pick out anything wrong with this video. His forehand is straight from the textbook. I think all players should be required to hit this way before they go on to more advanced concepts and configurations. Henman was a big hit in Delray Beach when you were down here filming. Fans loved watching his style and he was quite generous with all the off court meet and greets that many of these exos require. Good chap.

          Kyle LaCroix USPTA
          Boca Raton

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          • #6
            Seems to me his style cuts down on injuries. Anyone know anything about his pro injury history?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by doctorhl View Post
              Seems to me his style cuts down on injuries. Anyone know anything about his pro injury history?
              Henman had a shoulder injury that required Arthroscopic surgery in November of 2002 that caused him to iss the 2003 Australian Open. That's really been the only issue physically for him.

              Kyle LaCroix USPTA
              Boca Raton

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              • #8
                No, Tim would liked to have kept playing. Ongoing back problems, along with other persistent injuries, forced him to retire.
                Stotty

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by stotty View Post
                  No, Tim would liked to have kept playing. Ongoing back problems, along with other persistent injuries, forced him to retire.
                  correct. But I was trying to isolate the injuries to his forehand, right side. The back and other issues were nagging towards the end of his career but the shoulder surgery was the closest link to a forehand. Sorry If my previous post wasn't clear, which having re-read it I now see was the case.
                  Thanks for responding stotty.

                  Kyle LaCroix USPTA
                  Boca Raton

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by klacr View Post

                    correct. But I was trying to isolate the injuries to his forehand, right side. The back and other issues were nagging towards the end of his career but the shoulder surgery was the closest link to a forehand. Sorry If my previous post wasn't clear, which having re-read it I now see was the case.
                    Thanks for responding stotty.

                    Kyle LaCroix USPTA
                    Boca Raton
                    Tim's is a great forehand for the club player to model. The club player is way better off with moderate grips that avoid the heavy grip change from forehand to backhand. In fact, there is a strong case that club players might be better off with weak eastern grips on both wings.
                    Stotty

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                    • #11
                      Among current top players, it seems to me Batista-Agut has one of the most conservative forehand grips, a classical-looking swing path, and typically flatter shots than those of most other pro men. He defeated Joker twice this year, and I seem to recall Joker commenting that it is challenging to play against a player with such flat ground strokes. In any case, no doubt it's clearly possible to play at a very high level (higher than any recreational player for sure) with classical ground strokes. As a model for recreational players, eastern forehand grip and flat ground strokes is a great option.

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                      • #12
                        beautiful forehand very simple a great model for beginners and juniors wanting to improve the forehand. Federer is another great example.

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