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Footwork Masters#3, with Daniil Medvedev: The art of sliding

If you want to learn the art of sliding on clay, then you’ve come to the right place, thanks to Seb Proisy and Footwork Masters.

May 25, 2021
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The figures

In episode three of Footwork Masters, Seb Proisy examines the art of sliding, with the help of the Lacoste AG-LT21, the shoe that has been worn by Daniil Medvedev since the Miami Open.

The versatile sole of the AG-LT21 allows players to play on both hard courts and clay courts and Proisy explains that sliding on clay is an art that only a few can master.

“Sliding on clay depends on two parameters,” Proisy says. “Firstly, the nature of the surface. On heavy, wet clay, the slide will be less possible or necessary. On the other hand, on dry surfaces in very good weather, the crushed brick in contact with the earth is much more volatile, and therefore more demanding for your stance.

“The second parameter; your shoes and more specifically, the sole. There are specific insoles for clay, with deeper grooves that improve the grip. You can also play with multi-purpose or multi-surface soles, like those of the Lacoste AG LT-21.”

Proisy explains that sliding, while it can look nice, is actually something players do out of necessity rather than an aesthetic choice.

“Let me explain: your objective on the court, when you play tennis, is to remain stable on your feet,” he says. “If you slip on clay, it is either because you will have suffered what the Anglo-Saxons call a “slip”; or that you have chosen to do it, what they call “slide”.

“You can choose to slide on clay to cover as much ground as possible at the end of the run. But it’s really a technique that only players of a very good level can claim to have mastered. At a more modest level, if you choose to slide, it will be to avoid losing balance, so that you don’t have to move around so much and try to recover speed.”

Proisy points out that most of the time, professionals don’t slide that often and offers a reminder that the best thing to do on clay is to make sure you stay on your toes and if you’re going to try to slide, slide on thr right foot if you are right-handed and on the left foot for left-handers, enabling shots to be hit with an open stance.

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