Biggest Forehands Ever in Tennis
Over the years we have seen some players with massive forehands grace the professional game.
These players possess the power to unleash thunderbolts on the court, blistering balls past their opponents and shocking tennis fans with their unrivalled pace.
To become a great of the game a player needs to have a complete game.
This means they need to serve well, return well, be able to stay solid from the baseline and have the ability to transition into the net when needed.
However, there are some skills that are more prominent than others, and having a massive forehand is a sign that a player can be aggressive and will always seek to dominate their opponents.
There are a few fundamental elements that you need to master if you want to hit a massive forehand like some of the world’s best tennis players. We explore these in this article!
How Having a Big Forehand Can Benefit Your Game
There are a range of benefits to having a big forehand in tennis.
First and foremost, you can win points more quickly and efficiently when you have a big weapon.
Of course, this is the case with a huge serve, and this will certainly help you dominate your opponents.
However, if your opponent is able to read your serve and block the ball back quickly, your massive advantage will be nullified.
What’s more, you are only serving for half of the games you play, so having a big forehand means you can dominate on return games, as well as backing up your own serve and remaining aggressive from the back of the court.
In a rallying situation, if you can run around your backhand and hit your big forehand, you should have the upper hand in the point more often than not.
The forehand is a naturally more powerful and heavier shot for the vast majority of players, so hitting it as often as possible will maximise your chances of forcing errors out of your opponents.
On the ATP tour, when a player plays more than 2 backhands in a row, they lose the point 70% of the time.
This shows how dominant a forehand can be and how many players will rely on it to set up and win them their points.
So, it is clear how important it is to have a big forehand, but how exactly can you develop your forehand into more of a potent weapon?
Well, let’s find out!
How to Hit a Big Forehand
If you want to have a massive forehand there are a few fundamental elements you will need to master. First of all, you need to have good footwork.
This is an often overlooked but incredibly important aspect of developing all of your tennis shots, especially your forehand.
This is because the best players in the world are able to get their forehand into play by running around their backhand and forcing themselves to hit their forehand as often as possible.
This is no easy feat, especially when the game is being played at such a fast pace.
However, if you can develop the habit of moving over to your forehand side slightly after your serve for example and train yourself to run around any mid-court ball and crush it with your forehand in practice, this should lead to more success on the match court.
Another key to developing a massive forehand is having a loose upper body and a strong lower body.
By this, we mean using your legs as a solid base to stay balanced, load up and explode into the shot, whilst uncoiling your torso, shoulders and arms before you strike the ball.
The idea here is to create a whip-like effect with your body, using your left to generate as much rotational force as possible that can transfer up the kinetic chain, through your body and into the ball.
This all stems from a full unit turn, which involves setting up with your legs facing towards the side of the court, having a full shoulder turn and getting your racket back behind your body and the ball well in advance of contact.
Another key factor you need if you want to hit a massive forehand is a live arm.
This is something you may have heard commentators talk about when watching tennis on TV.
It is a term that can be quite difficult to pin down and can actually encompass a number of different things.
But, it generally refers to the fast twitch muscle fibres in the arm and having an ability to use the forearm and wrist to create massive racket head speed.
This is the last part of the kinetic chain that unleashes on to the ball, once the legs, abdominals and shoulder have done their heavy lifting.
A fast arm is essential for power and spin generation, as the more energy you can transfer from your body onto the ball, the bigger your forehand will be!
This is something that all of the players with the biggest forehands of all time have been able to master, and it is something you can bring into your game with a bit of practice.
Try out some drills that focus on creating more racket head speed, such as hitting multiple ground shots in very quick succession, so you have very little time to recover.
This forces you to take an abbreviated swing at the ball and exaggerates the use of the forearm and wrist in this part of the movement.
You can also hit drive volleys in a similar manner, as this also helps you practice power generation on your forehand swing.
The Biggest Forehands Ever in Tennis
Now we have discussed why having a big forehand is a fundamental part of becoming a better tennis player, especially an aggressive one.
We have also explained how you can add more power to your forehand through generating more racket head speed. But now it’s time to learn from the greats.
Below are a number of the greatest players ever to play the game, all of which have absolutely monstrous forehands.
Whilst there are a number of players that are capable of generating insane firepower from their forehand wings, the players listed below have consistently used their massive forehands to dominate their opponents.
Honourable mentions go to Andy Murray (who holds the world record for the fastest forehand ever hit at 124mph), Fernando Verdasco, James Blake, Andrey Rublev, Benoit Paire and Robin Haase.
Many refer to him as the greatest of all time, and for good reason.
Roger Federer possesses one of the most technically perfect forehands the world has ever seen. Straight out of the textbook, his fluid liquid whip of a forehand is a sight to behold.
He is very comfortable flattening the ball out and dominating opponents with his inside out forehand, but has also adapted his game to add more spin and weight to his armoury.
Federer has adapted to the times and now hits his forehand with more margin for error, spin and consistency.
But, he certainly hasn’t lost his knockout punch and can still finish points whenever he wants with his massive forehand!
When Rafael Nadal burst on the scene in the early 2000s, no one had ever seen a forehand quite like his.
He was famed for his buggy whip technique which he used to generate monster topspin.
This led to Rafa having great success on the clay courts of the French Open, as his massive spin would kick up even higher and push his opponents way back behind the baseline.
He was then able to flatten his forehand out and have an open court to hit a huge winner.
Over the years, Rafa has evolved his forehand to be even more powerful.
He is able to hit insane passing shots with unbelievable power from way outside of the court, thanks to his incredibly fast racket head speed.
Rafael Nadal possesses one of the greatest forehands of all time, and there is no doubt that it is also one of the biggest!
Juan Martin Del Potro
The Tower of Tandil Juan Martin Del Potro shocked the world when he unleashed his massive forehand on Roger Federer at the 2009 US Open.
Del Potro was able to dominate Federer with his huge power, mainly thanks to his flat forehand hammer.
He takes a massive, high swing at the ball and crushes it with unrivaled power time after time.
Del Potro is able to slap the ball with incredible pace and keep the ball in the court with pinpoint accuracy.
That is why he definitely deserves a place on our list of the biggest forehands ever in tennis.
Andy Roddick was certainly a power player through and through.
Whilst he was most famous for his booming serve and held the world’s fastest serving record for a number of years, his forehand was also a force to be reckoned with.
He had a high elbow take back that helped him to generate a lot of power, as well as an athletic, strong build that he could use to uncoil as he struck the ball.
Roddick was one of the most effective ‘1-2 punchers’ ever to play the game, so often backing up his bomb serve with a ferocious forehand.
Often touted as the most fearsome forehand of all time, Fernando Gonzalez had an absolute bullet at his disposal.
The Chilean sensation liked to take huge swings at the ball but had very good timing to go with it.
He would routinely slap returns for winners using his massive forehand, so often dominating players from the backhand corner.
This led him to the Australian Open final in 2007 where he would eventually lose to the great Roger Federer, but Gonzalez still put on a hell of a show with his flashy forehand.
Many professional players pick his forehand when building the perfect tennis player, and there really is no higher compliment than that.
Jack Sock has a very unique forehand technique that is able to generate spin and power beyond belief.
His take back is very close to his body, helping him to wind up his loose wrist and forearm before he unleashes his racket onto the ball with incredible ferocity.
Sock will often run into the tramlines to get around his backhand and unleash his whippy forehand, showing how much confidence he has in hitting winners from that wing.
Whilst his technique is not necessarily one that you would teach young players to copy, the massive power and spin he is able to generate speaks for itself!
The French maverick Gael Monfils is one of the most naturally gifted athletes ever to grace the tennis court.
We are sure he would have been great at any sport he chose, but thankfully he picked tennis!
His forehand is one of the flattest and most powerful on the tour, as he is able to load up and crush high balls better than anyone else.
This is down to his insane athleticism, as he is able to jump up high and get his racket moving down on the ball unlike any other player.
He has a very loose wrist when he hits his forehand, which helps him whip his racket through the ball and generate insane power from any position!
Biggest Forehands Takeaways
Ultimately, having a big forehand can do wonders for a player’s game.
It allows them to be aggressive and pile pressure on their opponents, hit winners from anywhere in the court and means they can play attacking tennis in both serving and returning games.
There are a few fundamental steps to creating more power in your own forehand, including a full unit turn, keeping your arm loose and having quick footwork to get into the right position to strike the ball.
We can all learn from some of the greatest forehands of all time, and we certainly won’t get bored of them absolutely crushing the ball!
It's not all about big forehands but it is about incremental games. We want to help you achieve those gains, and to do it, we've put together a selection of courses with former ATP player, Dave Ireland.Explore Our Courses!
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