The reason why the modern forehand is naturally open-stance is two-fold: 1) the open stance keeps the hand closer to the ball, making it easier to find it. Imagine turning sideways similarly to shake hands with another person. You would be unbalanced and reaching uncomfortably across your body for his hand.
2) The modern forehand is circular, across the body, not in the direction of your shot. This makes the contact more of a brush, where you spin the ball and feel it longer, thus having more control than on the straight through-the-ball stroke.
Beyond that, there is a lot less stress on the lower back, hip, knee and ankle.
Tracking the ball with the racquet in front, just like the pros, has definite advantages as well. The ball slows down appreciably, 60% from baseline to baseline. When you track the ball with the racquet in front and wait till the ball is near to take a complete swing, you observe and adjust to this slow-down and trajectory of the ball a lot better. Early preparation leads to an early swing decision where you still don't know your contact point.
Unfortunately, tennis is mainly taught sideways, preparing early, stepping forward and hitting through the ball.
You could call this conventional tennis or baseball tennis, and it will derail your progress.
Give a try to the new techniques and decide for yourself what works best.
And watch my DVDs. Knowledge is power and you could improve beyond what anyone let you believe you could.
Oscar Wegner - TennisTeacher.com