How Smith’s grip relates to tennis and why it helps his game

That’s because the western grip gives the ball more top spin, which means more height above the net and a greater chance of landing safely inside the baseline in tennis terms. But in cricket, where there’s more value in hitting the ball farther, something flatter or even backspins can yield rich rewards.

“I probably flipped it up instead of flipping it backwards and letting the ball fly up and further away,” Smith explained. “Thought I turned back some nice ones tonight. The ball just flies a lot better when you do that.

Steve Smith with Roger Federer at the 2018 Australian Open.

Steve Smith with Roger Federer at the 2018 Australian Open.Credit:Instagram

“It’s been a nice transition for me, I feel like I’m hitting well in all forms of the game. Hopefully I can continue to get some runs and help first the Sixers and then the Aussies.”

In a way, Federer’s retirement from tennis in September 2022 may have helped Cricket Australia in its efforts to bring Smith back to the BBL after a similar deal for David Warner, given the temptation to visit the Australian Open in late January between Test matches has decreased assignments.

Smith’s admiration for Federer is long-standing. Back in 2017 he spoke about the kind of cricketer Federer could have been. That same year, Smith indulged in a promotional tennis hit with Canadian pro Milos Raonic on a court at Melbourne Park.


“I compare him a bit to Mark Waugh, who was my favorite cricketer growing up. He just made everything look so easy and effortless,” Smith had said of Federer. “I see similarities in the way the two do business in their respective sports. I think he would be very stylish and make it look easy.”

Regarding the back flare, Smith said that if anything, it helped him stay low on the ball for an SCG surface that rewards this type of stance.

“I have trouble standing up, I can bend down well. Going into extra time is probably not ideal,” he said. “But it probably helped my batting and kept me in my shots a little longer on that wicket. It’s a bit stiff but I hope I can get up ok.” How Smith’s grip relates to tennis and why it helps his game

Ryan Sederquist

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