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Photo Study of Venus Williams's Strokes

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Forehand Backswing
Forehand Backswing
Dima Korotayev / Getty Images
As Venus prepares to hit this forehand, her racquet is laid back more than 90 degrees behind her forearm. As she begins her forward swing, the racquet's inertia will stretch her forearm, and her forearm's rebound will add to the racquet's speed and her extraordinary power. The racquet's position only slightly below the ball reveals one of the unusual aspects of Venus's style: unlike most players with a grip as western as hers, she usually doesn't hit with heavy topspin, preferring instead to put most of her swing's energy into forward drive. That's one of the key reasons her best success has come at Wimbledon, where flatter shots skid quickly across the grass.

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