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Interactive Forum May 2021: Karen Khachanov Forehand

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  • Interactive Forum May 2021: Karen Khachanov Forehand

    Karen Khachanov Forehand

    Karen is 6’6” and has one of the fearsome forehands on the tour. He’s currently ranked in the top 25 but who knows who he might beat this year.

    Basically a full western grip. Drops his off arm off immediately in the preparation, like Jack Sock but more extreme. Hits from all stances. Finishes around the shoulder and often over the head.

    What’s it all mean?



  • #2
    A ridiculous forehand. How does he do it? How can anyone hit such a brutal forehand with a grip that extreme? I tried it this afternoon and ball when straight in the ground. I can hit a backhand with that same grip but not a forehand.

    He is awfully strong, however, and keeps his core in the shot wonderfully. What interests me most is how did the shot come about? Did the coach just roll with it or was Khachanov stubborn and uncoachable in that regard? I would love to know. The formative years of a player interest me much more than the finished article.
    Stotty

    Comment


    • #3
      With the added movement the wrist and the elbow, I wonder if his racket and strings specs are in the normal pro range. It would seem that using that technique/ grip means never letting opponent’s return bounce low out of your strike zone.

      Comment


      • #4
        I remember after BG's latest article on the Type 3 forehand versions, the model, the classic, and the modern, as he termed them, I asked him about Khachanov's as it is unusual to me, other than Tiafoe. BG said he would term say the Khachanov forehand has a modern set up and a classical movement through contact, per his Type 3 nomenclature.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by stroke View Post
          I remember after BG's latest article on the Type 3 forehand versions, the model, the classic, and the modern, as he termed them, I asked him about Khachanov's as it is unusual to me, other than Tiafoe. BG said he would term say the Khachanov forehand has a modern set up and a classical movement through contact, per his Type 3 nomenclature.
          Funny how there is room for varied movement patterns as long as one’s pattern includes the critical elements. That’s what makes your coaching job so tough....distinguishing the roots/ stalk from the leaves and when or how much( if any) to prune. I suppose the same distinguishing/ intervention principle could be applied to a player’s mental patterns.

          Comment


          • #6
            His contact point looks fantastic to me. Well out in front and to the side. He's got a pretty extreme "flip" going on there as well. I think the weird neutral wrist and the extreme western grip work together to create a more violent flip. He goes from that neutral wrist to full laid back really quickly creating serious lag. The last shot in the sequence - the close in rear shot, shows the flip action incredibly well.

            Also, maximum torso rotation which reminds me of Soderling. In fact he seems like a brutal combination of Soderling and Jack Sock if that's possible.

            6'6 is a few inches taller than Safin, which is scary. Imagine Diego Schwartzman facing this guy at the net. Must be terrifying.
            Last edited by jeffreycounts; 05-02-2021, 05:06 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by stotty View Post
              A ridiculous forehand.
              https://www.atptour.com/en/players/a...vans/KE29/E687

              A ridiculous forehand sums it up quite nicely. If you want some supporting proof I present his head to head against none other than Daniel Evans.

              https://www.atptour.com/en/players/a...vans/KE29/E687

              Technique being one thing and tactics being the natural progression consider that the it is only the modern tennis court that allows a player with such a ridiculous forehand to exist on the ATP tour. Any player playing with such a forehand is cat food if the ball can consistently be kept below the knees. I watched Karen play Evans both times and at the end of both matches he was fried. As in psychologically fried. Evans tactically took the big gun out of Karen's hands by putting him in a position where he could load and unload the payload.

              Luckily for Karen there are many players on the tour with the same mindset. "Tsitsy" is not one of them either. He doesn't shut the face of the racquet down so therefore is not as vulnerable to the Daniel Evans tactics.
              don_budge
              Performance Analysthttps://www.tennisplayer.net/bulleti...ilies/cool.png

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by doctorhl View Post

                Funny how there is room for varied movement patterns as long as one’s pattern includes the critical elements. That’s what makes your coaching job so tough....distinguishing the roots/ stalk from the leaves and when or how much( if any) to prune. I suppose the same distinguishing/ intervention principle could be applied to a player’s mental patterns.
                The way tennis has developed it has become increasingly tricky to separate style from technique. jeffreycounts sites the flip occurring in Karen's forehand but it is far from the pure BG model when you strip it down its components. Yet it works and is as heavy a forehand as you will see.

                What you don't get with many of these radical forehands is the 'less is more' element, which has always (and I think some of us forget this) underpinned BG's findings: Yes there are other ways to hit a forehand and there is nothing wrong with them but if you want efficiency...as in 'less is more'...then Roger's is the purest forehand out there. It is the most incredible shot to see at Wimbledon when he ratchets it up, and for relatively little more effort. That is sheer efficiency of technique.

                But as I said, Karen's forehand works extremely well when you are 6'6 with an innate ability to pull it off. What I see more and more now is coaches letting things go in a way they would not have 10 years ago. Extreme grips tend to get left and players seems to find a way just fine. Seems extraordinary that at one time most of the tour had continental (or close to) grips.
                Stotty

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by stotty View Post

                  The way tennis has developed it has become increasingly tricky to separate style from technique. jeffreycounts sites the flip occurring in Karen's forehand but it is far from the pure BG model when you strip it down its components. Yet it works and is as heavy a forehand as you will see.

                  What you don't get with many of these radical forehands is the 'less is more' element, which has always (and I think some of us forget this) underpinned BG's findings: Yes there are other ways to hit a forehand and there is nothing wrong with them but if you want efficiency...as in 'less is more'...then Roger's is the purest forehand out there. It is the most incredible shot to see at Wimbledon when he ratchets it up, and for relatively little more effort. That is sheer efficiency of technique.

                  But as I said, Karen's forehand works extremely well when you are 6'6 with an innate ability to pull it off. What I see more and more now is coaches letting things go in a way they would not have 10 years ago. Extreme grips tend to get left and players seems to find a way just fine. Seems extraordinary that at one time most of the tour had continental (or close to) grips.
                  As I am sure BG would say, 'I would not teach it". As BG did say, there are very few pure model type 3 forehands out there(like Fed and Nadal). It is as you say(and BG has said) the most efficient method. Interestingly to me, I have seen the spin rates on Khachanov's forehand, with all that elaborate wrist work and near Hawaiian grip, and the spin rates on Tsitsipas' forehand, which to me is a model type 3 forehand with a mild semi western grip. Tsitsipas gets more rpm's on average on the forehand than Khachanov.
                  Last edited by stroke; 05-03-2021, 09:25 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    His left hand comes off the racquet so quickly!!! In my opinion it looks disorganized from the start... he makes up for it but that’s not the unit turn I would encourage an aspiring tour player to use.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by stotty View Post
                      A ridiculous forehand. How does he do it? How can anyone hit such a brutal forehand with a grip that extreme? I tried it this afternoon and ball when straight in the ground. I can hit a backhand with that same grip but not a forehand.

                      He is awfully strong, however, and keeps his core in the shot wonderfully. What interests me most is how did the shot come about? Did the coach just roll with it or was Khachanov stubborn and uncoachable in that regard? I would love to know. The formative years of a player interest me much more than the finished article.
                      Great points Stotty. I'm more interested in hearing from his coach that helped mold this shot. As for your attempt at this western grip, get that contact point further in front and swing as high as you can. LOL

                      Kyle LaCroix USPTA, PTR
                      Delray Beach
                      SETS Consulting

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Can we talk about this odd flex in the dominant wrist near the end of the preparation? Seems like it would definitely increase the “flip” (racquet speed) since it will naturally place the racquet even further to the outside of the hand (allowing for an increased range of motion for the flip to accelerate). Is it better then the neutral wrist or extended wrist position in some way? Does it increase chance of injury? Francis T is the only other top pro I can think of that does this flexed wrist position during the load.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jeremy93 View Post
                          Can we talk about this odd flex in the dominant wrist near the end of the preparation? Seems like it would definitely increase the “flip” (racquet speed) since it will naturally place the racquet even further to the outside of the hand (allowing for an increased range of motion for the flip to accelerate). Is it better then the neutral wrist or extended wrist position in some way? Does it increase chance of injury? Francis T is the only other top pro I can think of that does this flexed wrist position during the load.
                          That's the most interesting part of the stroke and is in stark contrast to Federer's where the racket arm is on a diagonal with the racquet head slightly raised above the hitting hand. I think it is Karen's way of creating more lag, or at least the feeling of more lag. I think a number of the so-called hybrid forehands tend to have odd ways of creating more lag. Pointing the racket tip forward like Kygrios is a another type of lag-creator perhaps. No doubt it works but I wonder how it plays out invasively? Are muscles and tendons momentarily resisting to create torque as efficiently as in Roger's forehand? I doubt it...but who knows? I only know of one man, perhaps two, who can tell us.
                          Last edited by stotty; 05-05-2021, 12:33 PM.
                          Stotty

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think Stotty is on to it, and BG mentioned something like that one time, the perception of feeling like one is getting more power. I don't think that downward flex preparation could work on a straight arm forehand. And I know that Khachanov's rpm's on his forehand are lower than Nadal and Tsitsipas, a couple of model type 3 forehands. If I had to pick a version of the forehand I prefer that is not in the rigid mold of the model type 3, it would be Berrettini and Fognini, who seem to have all the model type 3 elements except the straight arm.
                            Last edited by stroke; 05-05-2021, 10:58 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by stroke View Post
                              I think Stotty is on to it, and BG mentioned something like that one time, the perception of feeling like one is getting more power. I don't think that downward flex preparation could work on a straight arm forehand. And I know that Khachanov's rpm's on his forehand are lower than Nadal and Tsitsipas, a couple of model type 3 forehands. If I had to pick a version of the forehand I prefer that is not in the rigid mold of the model type 3, it would be Berrettini and Fognini, who seem to have all the model type 3 elements except the straight arm.
                              Personally, I think Fognini's forehand is as efficient as Roger's or Rafa's. It's beautiful. He hits through the ball so well and with less spin than Rafa, and I think Roger, but what you get is a bullet. He has a higher finish and uses the wiper less than most players. He is definitely in the same hemisphere as Roger and Rafa but the rest of his game is less...not much of a serve or much discipline as an individual....which sets him back somewhat. But in the forehand department he's up there...as is Verdasco.
                              Stotty

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