How to Backhand Slice in Tennis

how to backhand slice in tennis

During tennis matches, you will find yourself dealing with a different variety of shots. The backhand slice is one of the easiest shots in the game of tennis. It is used to slow the opponent’s game, gaining time and space on the court.

The way to learn this shot is fundamental in your game development. To do it you need to move your racquet from top to bottom, hitting the ball when your racquet and your arm are already moving towards the ground, giving the ball a backspin, making it roll counterclockwise making the shot more difficult for the opponent.

When to use the backhand slice in tennis

The tactic of using backhand slice is a very powerful defensive move to return a strong service from the opponent (those tall players with strong first and second serve), at the same time putting the opponent under pressure with a sliced ball which isn’t the easiest to hit on the court. 

One of the best players doing so is Federer, able to make some stunning savings while forcing the opponent on making easy mistakes, forcing them to push harder the shot and get the ball outside the court quite often as a result.

Apart from the above-mentioned cases, the backhand slice can also be used to change the pace of the match. If the opponent moves faster than you, hitting winners and letting you run around the court this can be absolutely the best shot to try to slow down and change the rhythm of the game.

Slice backhand grip

The ideal grip for this shot is the continental, the same grip that you use for the service. You should have a firm grip to prepare yourself to hit a slice backhand grip.

In this shot, the timing of the slice is massively important. Arriving too early or too late with the approach on the ball makes means a shot to the net, off the court, or even missing it completely. 

How to hit the perfect slice backhand

When you attempt of hitting the sliced backhand you should follow some easy steps, allowing you to make the perfect shot.

Hence why your approach should be first very clean from a preparation point of view as you can see below:

  1. Eyes on the ball
  2. Calculate the distance from the upcoming ball
  3. Start to lift the racquet before at the level of your shoulder while twisting your body
  4. Load your weight on your back foot
  5. Bend your arm in a slide position 
  6. Slice with your movement from high to low at the moment of impact
  7. Hit and follow with your arm after the hit

It might need a lot of practice to make it perfect and to be able to balance your power in the shot, however, when mastered it can be a very strong tool in your bag for games against attacking opponents.

Who has the best slice backhand? 

In the ATP and WTA circuit, some players use this shot quite often while others prefer to hit a strong backhand (one or two-handed). The best slice backhand in the male ATP is the Roger Federer one at the moment, for the smooth technique and efficacy, especially on grass courts. 

During the past years, some hall of fame champions such as Boris Becker, and John McEnroe had solid and aesthetically awesome slice backhand. 

In the women’s circuit instead of ex number 1 in the world, Ash Barty has the edge over Simona Halep. Both players, especially the latter one, love to use this tricky shot to take out the court and space off the opponent, making it difficult for them to play. 


Why is my backhand slice going up?

The most common mistake is in the execution and not in the preparation for the shot. Many times the chop is the shot taken instead of the slice, so we’ll try to explain it to make it more clear. The slice is from high to low high while the chop is from high to low. When you hit a chop, the angle of the racket face at contact will determine the trajectory of the ball. When executed properly, the slice will give you the result you are looking for. You shouldn’t be also too far from the ball as this would result in your backhand slice going up.

How To Get More Power for the backhand slice in tennis

First of all, is very important to know that the backhand slice can be used not solely as a defensive shot but also to attack your opponent. If you execute it well it becomes a winning shot as the ball has a lot of spin effect, bounces low, and makes it difficult for the opponent to hit it (especially against tall players that have a high balance and are in trouble against low shots like this one). 

It is often used as well as an attacking shot when you attack the net, making it difficult for the opponent to shoot a winner with a low ball and the opponent (you in this case) attacking the net. 

The method to be used to increase your speed instead of just preparing with your left hand (if you are right-handed), pull your left-hand putting tension on your wrist so when you will release your left hand and let it go there will be still a lot of tension, allowing the ball and the shot to be faster and more powerful. 

Depending on the height of the ball also you must adjust your shot. 

  • If the ball is high your swing shall go from a high position to a low position. 
  • If the ball is on a medium height, you won’t cut so much but go forward with your movement. 
  • Lastly, if the ball is low you shouldn’t start with the racquet too high but on a medium height, hitting the ball on a linear path or even going slightly higher. 

Use the trick of the tension with medium or high balls as you are also in control. When the balls hitting you are low try to avoid it as you won’t have control over the hit.

Tennis Backhand Slice Wrap up

The backhand slice is one of the shots making a lot of fans fall in love with tennis. Watching the counterclockwise ball spinning and making the opponent struggle to return it to your court is one of the joys of tennis. 

Master it isn’t difficult, just use the tricks we have explained above and make sure your next opponent will have a tough time returning your backhand slice in your next match. 

Training, preparation, and technique are the tricks to make it work perfectly on a tennis court.

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