View Full Version : The Backhand of Calleri + match report

03-16-2004, 09:59 AM
Is this true?
If it is true, then I am very interested in watching this player.

that is certainly a very distinctive shot.

"Calleri hammered his returns of Nadal’s still-suspect serves with abandon, constantly worrying his young opponent’s service games. And he stepped into the ball smartly to hit cracking winners, particularly with his smooth but potent one-handed backhand. One thing we noticed today was that Calleri will sometimes hit high backhands while raising his back foot in the air. We see some players who employ the two-hander, such as Marat Safin and Marcelo Rios, do this, but we can’t recall seeing another one-handed player hit skipping backhands before. "

Here is the match report from tennis on the line

It seems like it was an amazing match

"A small band of cognoscenti out on court 6 had the pleasure of watching the match of the tournament so far. In a stirring encounter, Argentina’s Agustin Calleri needed seven match points, and had to save two, before subduing the feisty Spanish teen Rafael Nadal (pictured at right) after 2 hours and 38 minutes of high-octane slugging.

Rafael Nadal has made himself the talk of the tour with his rapid ascent to the top 50 at the tender age of 17. The kid from Mallorca is remarkable to watch in action. Strongly built for his age, Nadal is also swift, and has the kind of savage intensity that can only be compared to Lleyton Hewitt. Grunting loudly with each shot as if he despises the ball, Nadal possesses a terrific, lashing forehand, and is capable of spectacular winners on the run. His enthusiastic on-court demeanour is also entertaining, as he celebrates his exploits with fist-pumping gestures and cries of “Vamos!”

Today Nadal was up against an opponent with a huge game and steely, if less noisy, determination that matched his own. Calleri had needed to produce a very high level of tennis to subdue Robin Soderling in three long sets yesterday, and we wondered if he would have the resources to produce the same kind of performance on another hot afternoon. He certainly did.

Calleri hammered his returns of Nadal’s still-suspect serves with abandon, constantly worrying his young opponent’s service games. And he stepped into the ball smartly to hit cracking winners, particularly with his smooth but potent one-handed backhand. One thing we noticed today was that Calleri will sometimes hit high backhands while raising his back foot in the air. We see some players who employ the two-hander, such as Marat Safin and Marcelo Rios, do this, but we can’t recall seeing another one-handed player hit skipping backhands before.

Each of the first two sets was decided by one break of serve. Calleri was getting plenty of break chances, and he finally took advantage of a sixth break point of the first set at 3-3, 15-40, by breaking up a hard-hitting rally with a drop shot that Nadal sprinted down, but could not lift over the net.

In the second set Nadal was in danger of going down a set and a break at 2-2, 0-40, but he fought back and saved the game after 2 deuces. Then it was Calleri’s turn to get in trouble in the following game. Nadal made good on his chance with what our informant (arguably Rafael‘s biggest fan), described as a “beautiful cross-court angle“. Nadal held confidently the rest of the way to level the match.

It would have been a lot to ask of a match this good to get even better, but in the third set it did. Nadal was often forced to retrieve Calleri’s mighty blows with spectacular scrambling, and he was capable of putting the Argentine in trouble with his own whipping forehands. The intense, high-quality, all-court tennis was a treat to watch.

At 5-5 of the third, Nadal notched a key break of serve in the most spectacular of fashions, unleashing a lunging forehand passing shot. On the seat of his pants, Nadal pumped his fists and screamed excitedly. With Nadal now serving for the match at 6-5, Calleri dug in his heels, and at 15-30 played a perfect forehand approach and drop volley to set up a double break point. The Argentine made good on his second chance when Nadal sent a running backhand beyond the baseline.

So to the tie-break we go to decide the match. Serving at 2-3, Nadal played two poor service points, losing them on backhand errors. Calleri then won his next two service points, and it was 6-2, quadruple match point for the Argentine. Nadal, fighting like a demon and grunting furiously, refused to go down. He saved the first match point with a cross-court forehand pass; on the second, the kid got a short ball and nailed a forehand winner with a scream; on the third, Calleri attacked the net, feathered a drop volley that Nadal ran down, and with both men at net Nadal won a nose-to-nose reflex volley exchange; on the fourth, Calleri again wanted to come in behind his forehand, but his approach shot was slightly mis-hit and it sailed long. Calleri wasted four match points, but only the fourth could be considered his fault.

We pick up the final tie-break at 6-6.

AC serving: Another Calleri approach shot… Nadal is forced to hit a stunning stretch lob that lands on Calleri’s baseline, Calleri runs it down and sends it back. Nadal has a backhand winner on his racquet but drives it into the net! 7-6 Calleri, match point #5.
RN: Calleri goes to net yet again. Nadal hits a perfect topspin lob, and the crowd erupts. 7-7.
RN: Calleri dominates a baseline rally, gets a short ball and cracks a forehand winner. 8-7 Calleri, match point #6.
AC: Calleri tightens up, hitting a forehand well long, and shakes his head at all these lost chances. 8-8.
AC: Calleri gets to net again, but dumps a backhand volley half way up the net. 9-8, first match point for Nadal.
RN: Nadal gets a short return from Calleri, has a forehand winner on his racquet, but nets it. 9-9
RN: Calleri mis-hits a forehand that lands wide. 10-9 Nadal, match point #2.
AC: Nadal runs down a Calleri drop volley but pushes his stretching reply just wide. 10-10.
AC: Calleri wrong-foots Nadal, who makes an acrobatic, spinning recovery. But it lands short, and Calleri confidently comes in to nail the overhead. 11-10 Calleri, match point #7.
RN: An anticlimactic finish: Nadal dumps a routine backhand into the net. Game, set and match Calleri, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (12-10).
Calleri had been appreciative of Nadal throughout the contest, saying “Buena!” after his fine shots, and he gave the kid a hug after the match. The small crowd stood and applauded both players, as if to thank them for this brilliant match won by the narrowest of margins. Calleri won 109 total points, to 107 to Nadal. In the end Calleri needed every bit of his versatility, powerful shot-making skill and class to prevail.

As for Nadal, who at age 17 is already a dangerous opponent for anyone, he confirmed his great potential. With more experience, a steadier backhand and a more penetrating serve (he hit zero aces over three long sets), he should soon be contending for Grand Slam titles. Perhaps sooner than we think…"

03-16-2004, 10:02 AM

Wish I'd seen that sucker.

03-16-2004, 10:03 AM
I think the best match I've ever seen Calleri play was when he beat Ferrero in Davis Cup last year in Spain. He goes for a lot on the returns of clay a little like Gonzalez but overall better margin. Calleri is very strongly built and I suspect if he loses in this tournament it won't be from conditioning.

03-16-2004, 10:14 AM
Yep, it's all true. It was written by Ed Toombs, who sat next to me for the match. Guess you can figuree out who the biggest fan was. :lol: :lol:

It was a fantastic match, although very neve wracking for me. The thing that was most impressive, though, was that Rafa and Tommy Robredo came out a couple hours later for doubles, and they were there to win the match. Rafa put the tough loss behind him, and did well in the dubs. :D

Hawaii 5.0
03-16-2004, 10:55 AM
ILoveChokers I've been working on a true jumping one hand backhand while Calleri does skip he isn't really jumping into those bh's as I've been practicing and it's physically much harder than the similar two hander becuase of balance timing,direction and sheer stress points on the body.Excellent report with gripping descriptions and both men are great players, too bad someone had to lose.

Fat Boy
03-16-2004, 10:55 AM
I'm not a bum bandit or anything, but it's always struck me that Calleri's one of the best looking guys on tour.

What do you red blooded girlies think?

03-16-2004, 11:36 AM
When we do our report tonight, we'll take a poll amongst us red-blooded girls. *lol* Personally, I've never really noticed his looks, so he doesn't go into my category of best-looking guys on Tour.

03-17-2004, 01:51 AM
Well, I asked the gals about Calleri, and they opened up the ATP media guide, and said he does appear to be handsome, but he really isn't on any of our radar screens.

But as the players often say, the higher your ranking is, the better looking you get. So let's see how he does in the rankings. He likely will move into the Top 20 this week.

Also, Ed Toombs read your comments today, and was glad that you enjoyed his article. :lol:

David I.
03-17-2004, 04:59 PM
I saw the Calleri/Nadal match at it was by far the best match I saw at the tournament. It was the first time I saw Nadal and he has Hewitt's intensity and quickness and the amazing ability to slide several feet on hardcourts. The kid's got a bright future. His youthful exuburance may have cost him the match on his first match point. He had a very short ball and the open court and he swung way too hard and flat and hit the tape. An inch higher, or a more controlled swing and the match was his.

His serve was a weakness. If it is true that he is right-handed playing as a lefty, maybe he should serve right-handed? His forehand also tended to have too much topspin and land short. I suspect a top player would be able to step in and put those away.

03-17-2004, 09:58 PM
Hi, David. Although not many journalists saw it, those who did are calling it the match of the tournament so far. Which is kind of sad. Hopefully we'll get some more quality matches in the next few days.

I agree with most of your comments, except about his forehand, which is very dangerous. In fact, Andy said in a recent interview that they don't consider Nadal a teenage up-and-comer. They consider him a "Spanish player with a hell of a forehand." Unlike most Americans, I've seen many of his matches (mostly on tape), and players avoid his forehand like the plague. :lol:

And Moya recently wrote a great article about how being a lefty is an advantage on the Tour. And most likely it's that advantage that has given Rafa the edge, even though his serve isn't that strong. It just comes in at an odd angle. I mean, he and Calleri duked it out for 3 sets, and went to a third set TB, and Rafa never got an ace.

Hopefully his serve will improve with time. He knows that he needs to work on it. And he's growing for sure. The ATP guide lists him at 6 feet, and everyone has been saying he must be taller than that. What did you think?

But clay is his surface, and he has beaten top claycourters before. It will be interesting to see what happened when he gets back to clay.

But if nothing else, it's fun watching him play. Glad you enjoyed it. I did, too.