2012 French Open

French Open 2012: How Rafael Nadal Trains His Forehand

Nadal's forehand - a weapon of tennis desruction
Nadal's forehand - a weapon of tennis desructionMike Hewitt/Getty Images
Martin BaldridgeCorrespondent IIJune 9, 2012

The Rafael Nadal forehand is one of the greatest weapons in modern day tennis, but how does the “King of Clay” go about training it?

At the 2011 Monte Carlo Masters I observed the Spaniard in practice. Having played a competitive practice set against Andy Murray, Rafa and his uncle then moved to the adjoining court where I videoed their session.

From just behind the service line Toni fed balls short and softy towards the Nadal backhand corner, applying just a hint of topspin. The slow pace of the shot allowed Rafa the time to run round the backhand and unleash forehand after forehand to various areas of the court.


The drill was conducted in batches of six balls with Rafa looking completely exhausted afterwards. Following a minute or so rest the drill would be repeated.


When Toni’s bag of balls was depleted a helper picked him refill the bag before the drill was repeated.


This session continued for around thirty minutes – a simple drill executed with full intensity over and over again.

Looks easy, doesn’t it?

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