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Best Forehand in Tennis - Men

Updated on April 3, 2020

The forehand shot in tennis has developed into the most important shot in the modern game. The racquet technology and increased physical nature of the sport has increased the importance of the forehand as an aggressive and powerful shot.

The players below may have different styles and technique, but they all possess a forehands which set them apart from their rivals.

5 - Marin Cilic

The newly crowned US Open Champion deserves his place in the top five after making remarkable improvements over the past year, particularly on the forehand side. Some would argue that the likes of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Fernando Verdasco have better forehands but this year Cilic has the edge in my opinion.

He has found a balance between both power and consistency, as evidenced by his recent success. His serve and forehand combination helped him overpower the likes of Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori in New York, and the shot has developed into a major weapon.


4 - Novak Djokovic

It may surprise a few that I have Djokovic's forehand at number four, however I think it is very underrated, probably because of just how good his backhand is.

He may not hit the same amount of forehand winners as the other players on this list, but his consistency means the shot deserves a place in the top five, ahead of the likes of Verdasco and Tsonga. He has a great ability to change the direction of the ball and can go toe to toe with anybody in the sport, even Nadal.

3 - Juan Martin Del Potro

The gigantic Argentine has one of the most feared forehands in the sport and is perhaps the most powerful, frequently topping 100mph. At six foot six inches he is able to create incredible coil and power in the shot.

It is particularly potent on hard courts where this shot alone can overpower the majority of opponents. His victory in the 2009 US Open showed everyone just how effective the shot is, helping him defeat Roger Federer in a five set thriller.

2 - Roger Federer

The Swiss legend's forehand one of the classiest shots in tennis. Many have more powerful forehands but Federer's ability to stand inside the court and dictate play with his forehand has been the mainstay of his success. It may not be quite as effective as it was in his prime, coughing up a few more unforced errors, but it is still a shot to be feared.

It is also very hard for opponents to read; he can go cross court or down the line with the flick of a wrist and is able to create incredible angles around the court. Its flat trajectory makes it perfect for the grass courts of Wimbledon where he has been so successful.

1 - Rafael Nadal

It is perhaps no surprise that the Spaniard takes my number one spot. His forehand is one which is different to any other in the history of the sport. By generating incredible amounts of topspin, the tennis ball almost "explodes" off the court; bouncing high and pushing his opponents back. Its effectiveness on clay courts in particular is nothing short of incredible, helping him to win a record nine French Open titles.

Despite the aggressive nature of the shot, it is the increased margin for error that makes his forehand so effective. The increased topspin means the ball dips more as it passes over the net. This means he can play the shot much higher over the net, reducing the chances of his shots hitting the net.

His dominance over Roger Federer can largely be attributed to the way he hits his forehand. As a left-hander, his high-bouncing forehand powers to Federer's one handed backhand. Hitting the ball from above shoulder is one of the most difficult shots for players with a one-handed backhand. It often forces a defensive slice in return, which then allows Nadal to dominate the point.

Rafael Nadal's forehand will go down as one of the best shots in the history of the sport. When his brilliant career comes to an end, I am sure that in many peoples' eyes his forehand will firmly be instilled as the best ever.

Your Opinion

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