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Interactive Forum January 2021: Ken Rosewall Backhand

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  • stotty
    replied
    Originally posted by johnyandell View Post
    I don't see the racket head getting below the ball and the face is slightly open. To me this is classic old school slice drive.
    Yep, and the evidence is in your clip and the footage I posted earlier in the thread. I never saw Ken hit a topspin backhand.

    That said, I have no doubt he could if he wanted to. We are talking about an exceptional player for who lowering the racket head would be a doddle.

    I could hit a nice topspin backhand but never used it in real life. Maybe Ken was the same.

    Leave a comment:


  • johnyandell
    replied
    I don't see the racket head getting below the ball and the face is slightly open. To me this is classic old school slice drive.

    Leave a comment:


  • snowrasteh
    replied
    I mentioned earlier that I saw Ken Rosewall hit “one” topspin/ flat backhand in his finals win over Tony Roche at US Open Forest Hills. On YouTube they show a 7-8 min highlight clip of that match, you will see the shot. Harry Holman once said that Rosewall’s backhand is so flat that it sometimes looks like topspin but it is “underspin “

    Leave a comment:


  • ralph
    replied
    I watched a video presentation given by Todd Martin. He seemed to have a different take on the slice backhand. Instead of going directly of high to low through the ball he recommended dropping the racquet head first and then hitting through the ball. That’s what Rosewall seems to be doing in the first video. The contact point is not very high which seems to allow for Rosewall to actually hit up slightly on the ball. I coached a player a long time ago who took the racquet straight back to waist height with a continental grip/open racquet face and hit straight through the ball imparting underpin.

    Leave a comment:


  • seano
    replied
    In the late 80's, the country club I was teaching at, outside Washington D.C. held the Dow World Senior's for 2 years. Ken Rosewall, as well as, many prominent players of that era participated, an incredible experience. I was able to spend alot of off-court time with the players. Ken Rosewall was a true gentleman and amazing to watch on-court. Looking back you appreciate the time much more than at the time.

    SeanO

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  • stotty
    replied
    Originally posted by snowrasteh View Post
    As one of the biggest fans of Ken Rosewall, I can tell you that in his US Open victory over Tony Roche (1970) there is a point where Rosewall is pinned deep on the baseline and hits a counter offensive backhand on the rise. He appears to be hitting flat topspin.
    I watched Rosewall first hand in his 50's. He still hit a magnificent ball even then. When I watched he hit his backhands with a modicum of slice and the shot repeated wonderfully. tennis_chiro, who watched Ken a lot, said he could really knife a sliced backhand viciously when approaching the net. I never once saw Ken hit a topspin backhand. His racket was always laid a little open on contact so I imagine flat was most likely.

    You will see what I mean when you watch him hit backhands in this clip. He gives a walk through of his backhand but, alas, I don't understand Spanish...wish I could. Nevertheless you will get the gist of it.



    Here's another clip - this time in English - where you get to see multiple backhands. This is a really beautiful clip.

    Last edited by stotty; 01-24-2021, 12:49 PM.

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  • johnyandell
    replied
    Could be!

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  • snowrasteh
    replied
    As one of the biggest fans of Ken Rosewall, I can tell you that in his US Open victory over Tony Roche (1970) there is a point where Rosewall is pinned deep on the baseline and hits a counter offensive backhand on the rise. He appears to be hitting flat topspin.

    Leave a comment:


  • johnyandell
    replied
    Smith, With or without wine your analysis is correct.

    Leave a comment:


  • smithc
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • smithc
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • gazelle
    replied
    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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  • doctorhl
    replied
    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?

    Leave a comment:


  • 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?

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