Why Roger Federer Needs to Learn Nadal’s Forehand to Succeed Against Novak Djokovic

January 30, 2020 4:24 am

Roger Federer has dominated the tour for over two decades, and has done so on a consistent basis against all the top players. The Swiss maestro has made tennis look easy, with his near-perfect technique, grace and elegance. Roger Federer has always been the aggressor, with an offensive styled approach to his game. The Basel native has a reputation of a player who never backs off from the baseline and takes time away from his opponents, by constantly approaching the net. Federer has often been referred to as the GOAT in the tennis world, for his contributions to tennis on and off the court.

However, two names- Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, have challenged that title and have triumphed over the Swiss number one on multiple occasions. Novak Djokovic has been the more recent of the two to have a leading head-to-head record against Roger Federer.

There are multiple factors that have contributed to Novak’s success against Roger. However today we break down one particular tactic that has troubled Federer the most and what Federer needs to do to find a solution.


Novak Djokovic’s backhand down the line is one of the most lethal shots on the tour if not the most lethal. Despite Federer’s forehand being one of his prime weapons, Djokovic has found success by targeting Roger’s most feared weapon.

By hitting backhands into Federer’s forehand, Novak Djokovic has been prompting very short replies from Federer which then puts Novak in an advantageous position to dictate the rally. Federer has a dangerous forehand in offensive positions. However it lacks the whip and venom from defensive positions.


This is where Rafael Nadal’s ‘banana’ styled forehand comes into play. The amount of whip that Rafael Nadal’s forehand generates, due to his follow-through, helps the ball to rise up enough to give it more depth and at the same time the amount of top-spin brings the ball down within time so that it lands inside the baseline.

This Rafael Nadal forehand generates approximately 18% more topspin than the regular conventional forehand. The forehand on the run gives Nadal a shot with which he can hit offensive shots, with enough depth, even on the run and out of position.


The Rafael Nadal forehand is not an easy shot to perfect. However our experts at PlayYourCourt have broken down the mechanism of the revered forehand, and have tried to underline the important aspects of the shot in the video above. 

Take Care of the Follow Through

Remember that the most important part of the forehand is the follow-through. If you are a right-hander, the right arm must come up-and-above your left shoulder after contact with the ball, as shown below.

The most common mistake made by most of the people trying out the Nadal forehand is that instead of the follow-through coming over their left shoulder, they tend to pull it over the right one.

Notice that this shot is to be played in open stance, and the shot must finish over your right shoulder in a ‘swoosh’ motion as shown in the video above. The whip is what adds a tremendous amount of top-spin on the shot. This is a shot that has earned Rafa unrealistic offensive strength even from defensive positions.

If you think you are ready to try out the special forehand, we have the perfect set of instructions for you to follow.

The video above explains how to perfect the Rafael Nadal forehand, with simple steps and precautions.

If you would like to perfect this shot or other shots similar to the one above or just fine-tune your game, our experts at PlayYourCourt.com are the perfect guides.

Our experts at playyourcourt.com can personally teach you, how to perfect the shot at the location you desire. Apart from this, you get to meet and get to know the tennis playing locals around you and our unique practice-finder can help you find the right player/partner to play tennis with.

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