It's not ideal to be missing your world no 1 (Medvedev) and many other top players and I do feel sorry for the vast majority of Russians (not just tennis players), who may not be supportive of their country's actions and feel unable to protest.
Regarding the loss of points, I can't really understand any player saying that it doesn't matter and is really an exhibition. The prize money is huge which will allow many of the lower ranked players the possibility of earning money to allow them to continue with their dream. For the top players it's a great opportunity to go further in the draw with none of the top Russians or Belarusians playing. And for the few in the running to win it, this is Wimbledon! The opportunity to win the most prestigious tournament in the world is not to be sniffed at! The top players will all want another slam and especially the most famous one!
The Importance of Slice for Wimbledon
- The ball really stays low on grass, and if "knifed" the ball will slide through the surface making it difficult for any player with a complicated forehand (like Basilashvili)
- With serves coming at you so quickly, the slice return of serve becomes even more important. (Djokovic & Murray use this option often with big servers)
- Drop shots are more effective, especially if you can get the ball to drop just over the net on softer, undisturbed grass
- Slice approach stays low and flies through the court making the passing shot extremely difficult to make, and keep low over the net
- Slice volleys stay low in a similar vein
- Lots of defending low wide balls on grass
Looking at Berrettini winning Queens (Cinch) again reminded me of the importance of slice, especially on a grass court. Matteo's slice has always been good, but it looks like he has taken it to an even higher level.
The Best Slicers in the Modern Game
Murray, Federer, Evans & Berrettini - for the men
Barty was the best by far until recently retired and Ons Jabeur hits the most beautiful slice drop shots - for the women.
Best Slice of all Time?
For me it has to be Steffi Graf as she almost never came over her backhand and still managed to beat even the best topspin clay courters in her time with a slice (and a great inside out forehand!). I just had a look at her 6th French open win against Hingis in 1999 who struck the ball early and efficiently with great topspin precision, but Graf had a razor like backhand slice which allowed her to both defend and attack well. maneuvering her opponent before pouncing with her great forehand.
Ken Rosewall was rated as the best of his era with the slice but it didn't penetrate like Graf's, nor did he split his hands to any great degree to help generate more speed. Probably blasphemy to any old Rosewall fans, but the game has always evolved and no doubt his slice was the best of that era.
Anyone over the age of 50 will know someone with a great backhand slice at a local level - ask them for a few tips or even better put a video of them on our Facebook page.
Let's find the best slicers out there?
Top Tips To hit A Good Backhand Slice
- Use a continental grip in general or a slight forehand grip for emergencies - some players would advocate a slight forehand grip which helps to generate more racquet head speed. The great Ian Barclay (Oz coach of Pat Cash) believed in this grip.
- Using either of these grips make sure that your wrist stays cocked up - you should see wrinkles in your wrist
- A good shoulder turn when possible is preferable, but if no time and the ball is coming straight at you off a fast 1st serve then raise your elbow to the side and hit slightly across the ball trying to turn slightly off an open stance - similar action to a body ball when at the net playing a defensive backhand volley.
- Try to find the perfect contact point which isn't quite so far in front as many people think - let the ball come on to you and hit it at the side of you just slightly in front.
- Splitting the arms whilst hitting helps create more force on the ball both for the slice groundie and the volley
- Hitting slightly across the ball is only for the games' geniuses like Federer and Murray. Even Novak and Rafa always play a straightforward slice through the ball remaining side on throughout the swing. Practice this by hitting down the line into the tramlines.
- Don't worry so much about style as we can't all look like Federer (actually no one can) and it's much more important that you can defend, attack and manoeuvre the ball with various types of slice. Graf, Barty, Federer and Murray have all utilised a great variety of backhand slices for many situations and tactical choices, especially on the grass of Wimbledon!
Final thought on the slice
The defensive forehand slice - but that's for another day....
Hopefully we will get to see Andy Murray slice and dice his way to the 2nd week of Wimbledon and then who knows..... A favourable draw would certainly help.
Would you like me or Laura to teach you the slice? If yes then join us on our special hosted week in Florence .....
27th August to 3rd September 2022
Click HERE for full info or email firstname.lastname@example.org