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Photo Study of Rafael Nadal's Forehand

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Grip, Backswing, and Stance
Rafael Nadal's Forehand Grip, Backswing, and Stance
Clive Brunskill / Getty Images
Rafael Nadal hits a ferociously heavy topspin forehand, which requires a very fast racquet head brushing sharply up the back of the ball. Nadal's forehand grip, between Semi-Western and full Western, encourages topspin, because it makes getting the ball over the net difficult without a sharp upward swing; it also makes hitting topspin easier on high balls. Nadal's grip increases the downward tilt of the stringbed on the backswing; his strings will turn toward a vertical plane as he swings forward. Rafael's stance on this forehand, between semi-open and fully open, will add considerable rotational energy to his swing while still allowing some forward, linear drive from his legs.
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