On the Origin of Contemporary Tennis – Part 2: The Inside-Out Forehand

The inside-out forehand is one of tennis’ biggest weapons.  Many players use the shot to end a point out right or to take control of a point that will end shortly.  This shot did not emerge out of thin air.  Nick Bollettieri products who emerged in the 1980s tended to have big forehands that included inside-out options.  While Andre Agassi, Aaron Krickstein, and Jimmy Arias all used this shot, but Jim Courier probably added the most value to his game of that Bradenton grouping.  Ivan Lendl could hit an inside-out forehand, and Mats Wilander’s open stance forehand allowed for him to employ this shot as well.  Wilander rarely put the type of pace on the ball associated with a devastating inside-out strike.  I’d like to take a look at Jose Luis Clerc’s inside-out forehand as the best forerunner to the contemporary iteration of this shot.

While much of the above clip is interesting based upon the spin that both Clerc and Guillermo Vilas were generating with wooden racquets.  The point at the 10:00 mark demonstrates that A. Vilas did not smooth service mechanics and B. that Clerc was able to place the ball in similar spots that today’s inside-out forehand often finds when being struck during a rally.

I will now post several videos showing how the shot is used today.

Nadal’s drill begins at 0:16

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