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Interactive Forum January 2021: Ken Rosewall Backhand

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  • Interactive Forum January 2021: Ken Rosewall Backhand

    Ken Rosewall Backhand

    No video exists of Ken Rosewall hitting a topspin backhand—probably because he never did.

    And very little video exists of the backhand he used for every shot: The slice drive. So here is some rare footage--Ken hitting his backhand as a young junior, a gorgeous backhand from match play, and practice footage of Ken hitting from all 3 stances--neutral, open, and closed.

    Vic Braden once told me that Rosewall's spin level on his slice was about 1500rpm. Makes sense when you see his swing plane.

    As we continue to work through our series on the slice, what are your thoughts?


  • #2
    Wow! Beautiful footage that is Federesque looking. His swing plane is probably the steepest needed to counter the spin/ speed ratios encountered by the wooden rackets of his day. How many years do you suppose separate the Rosewall-Federer slice backhand when they were the same age?

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    • #3
      There is little apparent counter-balance with the non-dominant left arm which makes it more topspin-like. Great to see, lots to think about

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      • #4
        I grew up in South Africa and appreciate becoming an American citizen - best country in the world. As a ball boy during the heydays of the South African Open, I was fortunate to see the worlds best player as they past through RSA. I will never forget watching Ken Rosewall practice on an outside court - I was maybe 14 years old. His backhand slice was magical.

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        • #5
          I forgot to mention - I think the secret to the back slice (besides grips etc) is he straightens his arm just before contact. Had a few glasses of wine but I'll stick by my analysis.

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          • #6
            Smith, With or without wine your analysis is correct.

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