The slice is one of the most underrated shots in the game. It is however vastly important for two main reasons: 1) it disrupts the rhythm of the opponent, used to great effect by Roger Federer, particularly if your opponent is the typical baseliner who like long exchanges of the same kind of shot (sadly, this is how today's game works); 2) it is perhaps the slowest-travelling type of shot in the game that could be produced, and time is also an massively undervalued asset not taken into consideration typically. Let's take a look at our take on who some of the best slicers are!
This is the most obvious choice and you knew he would be mentioned before even reading this. I mean, the slice is a shot so natural to Roger Federer that he even uses it on the backhand side when returning first serves! The slice is an essential part of Federer's game, given that it is defined primarily by variety, and that variety in and of itself is arguably the biggest weapon for Roger Federer, alongside that of his serve. Why is the slice essential for a game built on variety - it is the most unconventional of conventional shots, simple as that. Even Federer's slices come in many varieties - he has the slice drop shot, disguised shot slice and others.. you name it!
This is the other person on our list who typically returns serves on the backhand side with a slice. In fact, he does it much more than Federer with most of his backhand shots being slices - what an untypical Spaniard indeed! Gifted with very good hands, Lopez utilizes his slice in a very deliberate yet natural way, slicing the ball very strategically to points in which his opponent would be exposed. When he feels the opponent gets extended enough, he would go in for the big forehand to finish the point, or set up a series of finishing shots. He may always be hitting slices on the backhand side, but that does not make it a weakness. This is so given how his shots are usually placed - deep enough to render it not so easily attackable when hit down the line or down the centre, or at a sharp angle or endangering position if not hit deeply.
Youzhny's backhand slice is one of the best in the world. His slice has a lot of variety and he can neutralise an opponent's offence quickly with it - Peter Lundgren
Youzhny's coach himself said it. Although the slice is not a shot used that often by Youzhny, as the above two players, it scores enough points to merit Youzhny being on this list. We do not have any analytical opinions on this, but from what we see, Youzhny's slices have this naturalness about them. They are consistently deep, solid and heavy as a result (from the looks of it) in the way that could be compared to Federer's. You may wonder, what is this thing about the naturalness of a slice? To help you out on this, just think Nadal slicing - is that natural? No it is not. And do they look deep and heavy? They certainly don't too. Just look at this exchange below and make the call on this for yourself!
What do you think? Feel free to chat us up on this, on Facebook!
Rovo is an app that connects you with other sports players nearby. It takes the hassle out of coordinating timings and matching others of the same skill level so you can #playmore!
Get the latest versions of the app here