Q: What's the first thing I do when I see a forehand coming my way? A: Turn your shoulders sideways to the net and take the racket back all in one motion -- and you'll be halfway to being famous by Saturday. Q: Should the racket come straight back or in a loop? Could you clear up this controversy once and for all? A: Many pros advocate taking the racket straight back because it's efficient, but when they run out to play they use a loop or figure-eight backswing because it's more rhythmical. Q: I'm still confused about how my forehand is supposed to look and feel. Is there a simple tip that works? A: Try this one: Imagine you're actually throwing your racket over the net (use an old racket if you plan to let go). And no overhand tosses, please. Q: Why can't I dispense with the follow-through once I've made good contact with the ball? Isn't it all for show? A: For show and dough. A nice extended follow-through is what determines the depth of your shots -- it's the difference between pushing and swinging. And hitting deep into the opposing territory is what makes Jimmy Connors rich and famous. Q: Is it all right for an intermediate to start learning a topspin forehand? A: The sooner the better. Topspin means never having to yell "fore" when you really want to smack one. Moderate topspin or "overspin" is easily accomplished (in fact you may already be doing it). Just drop the racket head below the path of the ball on the backswing, then brush up on the outside of it on the way to a higher finish above your head. Control this valuable shot and you'll be an advanced player before Christmas. Q: I can't remember to switch grips for my backhand. Why can't I just use my forehand grip since it feels so secure? A: Lying in a baby carriage once felt secure, but you had to learn how to walk. Hitting backhand with a forehand grip not only displeases your pro, but makes for a crummy, droopy-wristed backhand. Q: Who has a good one-handed backhand to copy? A: Argentine Guillermo Vilas has a backhand more scintillating than his poetry. Q: My pro says I have an "elbow backhand." Is this curable? A: For some it's a serious impediment to greatness. If the elbow leads prematurely, the stroke loses fluidity, power and aesthetic grace. The only "cure" is keeping the elbow pinned to your rib-cage until the moment of contact. Then you can spread your arms like a bird in flight. Q: I tend to get too close to the ball on my backhand. Why is this? A: Overrunning backhands is a kind of "security trap" that many players fall into for fear of "striking out" altogether. Hitting at arm's length may seem scary at first, but once you uncork a few beauties you'll never look back (or crowd another backhand). Q: I was thinking about switching to a two-handed backhand since so many of the top players have one. What do you think? A: The two hander may be very popular, but it's not for everyone. If you've been hitting one-handed backhands for years and/or you're not blessed with extraordinary quickness, it's probably not your stroke. But if you're a beginner having trouble hitting a one hander over the net, you just might need a helping hand.