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How to hit inside-out like Federer


Originally published on: 04/08/10 11:34

‘How to hit inside-out like Federer’ featured in the May 2010 issue of tennishead magazine. For more details on how to subscribe, click here.

Grip it and rip it: West is best. To hit with plenty of topspin, try to keep to a semi-western or full-western grip – whatever feels more comfortable. The more topspin you can generate, the more power you can play with without losing control and the more ‘work’ you’ll get from the ball when it comes off the court.

Attack the right ball: Learn to treat every ball that comes your way with the respect it deserves. If you’re under pressure then don’t go for too much, instead look for height and depth and aim well inside the lines. But when a short, high-bouncing ball lands mid-court, be ready to attack it – take it on the rise, nice and early and out in front. Here’s how Fed does it…

As Federer begins to back-pedal around a central mid-court ball he begins to take his racket back and starts to coil like a spring by turning his shoulders and hips as he moves.

Here Federer is totally rotated. After taking a number of quick, small steps to position himself perfectly, he prepares to ‘step out’ behind the ball to set a wide base and bends his knees so he can power through the shot.

Key point: Notice how focused Federer is on tracking the flight of the ball at all times

Federer is now ready to unleash his racket towards the contact point. With his left leg having stopped his momentum shifting around the ball, his weight is back on his right leg ready to transfer forward as he prepares to strike.

The power transfer sequence has been released – his legs, hips, shoulders and arm are all involved. Check out his wrist – it is ‘laid back’ even more than usual before he snaps through the ball, sending it to the opposite corner.

Key point: The racket head is closed – facing the floor – and below the ball before contact. From here the strings will brush up the back of the ball to create topspin

The force of the explosion of power lifts Federer into the air, but his head remains still and his eyes stay focused on where contact with the ball was made, which ensures he stays balanced during the drive.

Key point: Many club and junior players drop their elbow against the body after hitting the shot – try to keep your elbow up

Federer lands with his weight slightly forward, his base wide, and his knees bent to drive him back to the ready position. Only now has he looked up to track his shot, a sign of confidence that the ball will be where he intended.


Key point: Federer plants his left foot to stop himself from over-rotating, leaving himself ready for the next shot


Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.