If you watch top level tennis these days – juniors, college or pro – you will rarely see players using the classic, old-school footwork when hitting their forehands (turn sideways and step toward the ball with the left foot [right handers]). The overwhelming majority of forehands hit are “open stance, where the shoulders and hips are turned sideways, but the right foot steps sideways into the shot, not the left foot. And when hitting open stance, the shoulders and hips rotate and “open up” to face forward. Players will use the open stance when the ball is hit wide to their forehand, making them run; on high balls; on deep balls; or a combination of these 3 things. There just isn’t time to take a step with the left foot towards the ball – inevitably, the left foot steps sideways and the body gets in the way preventing hitting the ball in front of the body. Contact will always be cramped and behind the body. Hitting open stance gets the body out of the way and allows a player to contact in front – and with the hips rotating while hitting, there can be tremendous power in the shot. Players will only step forward into the shot with the left foot if the ball coming to them is shorter, lower and right to them – something that doesn’t happen a whole lot in tennis.
Try the open stance forehand yourself – then you can hit Djokovic type winner forehands from anywhere on the court!!