BH: Wawrinka vs Murray. Or why 2-hands seems a better choice

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by DonDiego, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. DonDiego

    DonDiego Hall of Fame

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    I just came across this clip of Wawrinka and Murray hitting backhand to backhand (start the clip at around 5 min.)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4Tq0hOR_7c

    What I'm noticing is, while Wawrinka has one of the best 1-hander in the world, he seems to have trouble keeping pace with Murray. Or, rather, Murray seems to produce the same pace and heaviness than Waw but with less effort.

    I'm not saying this short clip will end the debate once for all, but I just thought I would share. Wawrinka actually hit some nasty BH in it, but it just feels like Murray, with its 2-hands, can do the same with more ''ease''. And this (perceived) ease is what has always lured me into switching to a 2-hander.
     
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  2. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Murray's hitting flatter and standing closer to the baseline, so his shots are more penetrating. From my experience, my two hander gives me an edge in rallying backhand to backhand against a one hander, but I always have to be on alert because the one hander is more versatile. In other words, my opponent can slice or angle the ball at a moment's notice whereas I can't disguise this. Then again, I can redirect the ball down the line without giving too much away.
     
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  3. DonDiego

    DonDiego Hall of Fame

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    I thought the slice (at least the dropshot) was easier to disguise with two hands, since you're already using the continental grip.
     
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  4. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    If I want to hit a two hander, I have to slide my left hand from the throat of the racket down to the handle. The instant I do this, I'm committed, and my opponent knows what's coming. If I had a one hander, I could keep my left hand on the throat the whole time and change my intention with a last minute grip change.
     
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  5. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    Faking from slice to drive: I'm not sure either 1 or 2 handed have an advantage. The 1-hander has to change grips, which is a pretty big tell. The 2-hander has to slide his top hand down, which is also a tell. I don't think one tell is more obvious than the other.

    Faking from drive to slice: I think the 2hbh wins here usually. No grip change and only a small tell right before the forward swing.

    In both cases, note that most 1hbh players seem to use a different takeback on slice vs. topspin. This takes away a lot of the disguise potential.


    I think a lot of the talk of the supposed 1hbh "disguise" advantage comes from old timers who are used to seeing 1hbh drives with continental grips, and 2-handers who had weak or nonexistent slices.
     
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  6. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Professional

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    Am I the only 2-hander who doesn't hold the throat with the non-dominant hand during rallies?

    Several years ago, I found that holding the throat when I'm at the baseline served no purpose, so I switched to the same ready position that I use when returning serve (left hand set for a backhand, right hand set for a forehand). This makes it easier to take the ball on the rise and/or defend against deep shots to the backhand, because I don't have to take extra time to get my left hand into position.

    I still slide my left hand up to the throat whenever I decide to hit slice backhands or come up to the net, but that doesn't really cause any problems because I always have enough time to make that change in those situations.

    I understand why Agassi held the throat, since his ready position during rallies was to have his right hand set for a backhand (he switched his grip during the take-back on forehands). In that case, the right hand controls the racket while the left slides down to the handle, so no extra time involved. But for those who prefer to have the dominant hand set for a forehand, holding the throat with the non-dominant hand just seems to make backhand prep time slower and more fiddly (each hand has to control the racket at some point while the other hand changes grip/position).
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2014
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  7. PhrygianDominant

    PhrygianDominant Hall of Fame

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    I have thought about this too. When I play a 2hbh, I do the Agassi thing. I have a strong continental on the RH, and so the LH just needs to grab hold for a backhand, and I have to switch grips for a forehand. The forehand grip change is really easy, I almost don't need the LH to help, so it doesn't bother me.

    When playing with a 1hbh, I have my non hitting arm comfortably on the throat for most of the time.
     
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  8. 0d1n

    0d1n Hall of Fame

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    The "less effort" thing is your perception. I don't see it.
    Wawrinka is the one near the camera so you can see all the small adjustments, footwork...etc, and you can hear his "grunts" which I think are the reasons for your perceived "more work". Murray on the other hand is far, and you can't see detail, you just see him hitting the ball.
    If you would see Murray close and Wawrinka far, the perceptions would most likely be reversed.

    Also...apparently "Wawrinka’s topspin backhand was the fastest among the top-ranked players at Wimbledon this year."...so it looks like he can "keep up with pace" when compared with anyone.

    This is a quote from this article: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/08/22/magazine/stan-wawrinka-backhand.html

    Now...the fact they put Florian Mayer's picture and called him Leonardo Mayer (when poor Florian uses a 2 hander) may create some credibility issue, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Mistakes are in human nature, and I quite like the article regardless :).
     
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  9. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Professional

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    I never could get used to doing a FH grip change during the take-back, which is why I went with the left hand on the handle and right hand set for a FH.

    For players like you, I understand the non-dominant hand on the throat. But, I've seen a lot of 2-handers who set the dominant hand with a semi-western/western grip and the non-dominant hand on the throat. I found that, if you can hit a flat, deep shot to the backhand, you can often get a weak/floating slice that you can attack on the next ball because they can't set up for the 2-hander fast enough.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2014
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  10. HommyTaas

    HommyTaas Banned

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    It depends on your game style.
    If you are a counterpuncher, usually two hands is better to defend and deflect pace.
    If you are aggressive, there are generally lots of benefits to a one hander with the ability to generate pace, more variety etc.
     
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  11. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    This only makes sense if you are having trouble with your one handed backhand. Let me share with you some of my experience as a single handed backhand player.

    I personally changed years ago and spent over a year playing my backhands two handed. My one handed backhand was very inconsistent and that was quite a drag on my game. You can't easily defend your ground when half of the court leaves you empty handed. I figured that hitting with two hands should make my stroke more consistent, which it did after a while. Of course, I never got to the point of enjoying exceptional ease with this stroke, but I did have my moments where it worked very well. By the end, I could even hit a few winners with it.

    With that being said, I played my first 4 or 5 years of tennis as a one handed backhand player and, frankly, I always loved playing that shot. When it works, it feels like you don't even have to try to hit huge backhands. So, I fooled around with it and, noticing that I could still hit with one hand, I gave up on my two handed backhand, going right back where I had started. It wasn't any worst than it used to be, although it surely was not any better. Still, I played it.

    This went on until I got struck by an idea: what about changing my grip, going all the way for something like Henin? That day, when I went to the court, magic happened. Every problem I used to have with it, I no longer do and, unlike I had initially feared, I could still rip big shots with it. Today, even when my rhythm is off, even when I have troubles reading the game and moving around the court, even my forehand breaks down, my backhand allows me to stay in the match. It's no longer a drag on my game and, when I play my best tennis, this is by far my best shot.


    This comes down to an important factor about tennis: confidence. If you are confident about a shot, that is, if you are convinced that you will make it happen, even when it's a tight situation, you will play a good shot way more often. If you do not believe that it will work, you are likelier to not make work. The day you become confident about a one handed backhand is the last day you will think about going two handed.
     
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  12. Alexrb

    Alexrb Rookie

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    I read this entire thing and couldn't figure out whether or not you ended up as a 2h or 1h lol.
     
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  13. DonDiego

    DonDiego Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for sharing! What grip are you talking about exactly. I already hit with an extreme eastern, which allows for high net clearance and loads of spin.

    What about serve returns? I hit groundstrokes with one hand, but return with two. I don't understand why more 1-hander don't do that. I mean, just watching the US Open right now, you can see how many points 1-handers lose just because of UE on their returns.

    BTW: here's my 1-hander. https://vimeo.com/98671802

    I have a tendency to step up a bit too early in the shot, and sometimes end up hitting on my toes. I hit many winners, mostly DTL, but I feel a 2-hander would work better on a number of shots (close to the baseline, with high pace, when I don't have time to switch grips, etc.).

    I also started to work on the two-hander, you can see it here: https://vimeo.com/98743516
     
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  14. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    good words, encouraging.
    so yea, what's that magic grip position you're talking about?
     
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  15. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    I hold the racquet with a forehand grip so I always change for a backhand, whether continental for a slice or eastern for a drive/topspin.

    You can see the flexibility advantage in the OHBH with Wawrinka when he rips the backhand down the line and his opponent is just standing there expecting a crosscourt. Federer hit a few of these looping, short-angled crosscourt backhands too which Matesivic just watched go by.

    You also have to have better footwork in getting your body lined up with the OHBH - and you can see the effort in watching a guy like Dimitrov. That is somewhat negated by the footwork required to get closer to the ball with the 2HBH because of less reach.
     
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  16. 0d1n

    0d1n Hall of Fame

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    I like your 2 hander, it looks fairly smooth and natural.
    There's something funky going on with the wrist on your 1 hander takeback, I feel, but you seem to be making pretty good contact. Is that still the case in matches when you don't see the same type of ball over and over ??
     
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  17. heninfan99

    heninfan99 Legend

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    I'd rather have Stan's BH but the two-hander is more tiring. You have to get pretty close to the ball and work your core more.
    The one-hander gives you way more reach and the whipping motion gives you easy power if you're really good at it.

    Of course the set up for the one-hander is a bit more involved.
     
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  18. crazyups

    crazyups Semi-Pro

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    If someone keeps pounding your 1 hander your arm and shoulder on your dominant side can often tire out too soon. And your hand and wrist receives more stress that is felt the next day depending on different factors and off course the player. The 2 hander develops a more balanced body physically speaking. However, the 1 hander is more fun.
     
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  19. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    Federer and Wawrinka both use heavy racquets which should decrease the amount of stress on their arms compared to light frames. I think that a lot of players find that you usually want a heavier racquet with a OHBH as you'll get more shock and twisting effects on your arm compared to a 2HBH.
     
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  20. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    true. the racquet mass helps a lot in decreasing the amount of wrist fatigue.
    a side question: what would be the best exercise to strengthen the wrist for 1hbh?
     
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  21. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    Flexbar.

    I do it about five days a week.

    You can use a dumbbell, or a wrist roller (old device on a universal gym) but the flexbar is fairly light and portable. We have one in the fitness center in my office.

    It's also used for Tennis Elbow recovery. It works both the medial and lateral.
     
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  22. souledge

    souledge Semi-Pro

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    What you give up in reach for the 2HBH, you gain in being able to hit open stance on the stretch.
     
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  23. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    this kind?
    [​IMG]

    ATM i have a dumbbell on my desk (1.5K), and i slowly do all kind of wrist movements until my muscles burn.. hope that's enough..
     
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  24. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    The players with really good OHBHs (Wawrinka, Federer, Dimitrov) whip their feet around really quickly so that they have the proper leverage. Fed can also hit the open-stance OHBH - well it's open-stance but the other leg is in the process of following through so it's not a true open stance. I will hit open-stance OHBHs if I don't have the time and hope that the weight of the racquet gets the ball back decently.
     
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  25. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    #25
  26. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    ^^^^^^ thanks.

    this was posted at the pro forum, but for those who missed it:

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/08/22/magazine/stan-wawrinka-backhand.html?_r=0
     
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  27. heninfan99

    heninfan99 Legend

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    You can be much lazier and reach even further with a slice with the one hander.

    Stretch/splits are not an option for most of us. :)


     
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  28. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    The "better choice" for any player is the stroke that they have the stronger aptitude to develop. There are potential upsides and drawbacks to each style, but I don't think they matter to Stan or Andy.
     
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  29. souledge

    souledge Semi-Pro

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    Well slice is the same between either 1HBH topspin or 2HBH topspin, so it's a wash. Unless we're talking about 2HBH slice which I don't see the majority of 2HBH topspin players doing.

    I think the discussion is much more interesting when you want to reply with topspin and stretched wide with either BH.

    Thank you kung fu growing up! I still have some groin flexibility to make those stretches to my left.
     
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  30. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    If the ball is coming in fairly hard, then you can often use a very short blocking stroke to get the ball back high and deep. If the person is coming in then you can use a little brush stroke with the forearm to hit a low dipping shot. You may have time to lift the shoulder to add a little spin.

    Watching Fed for many years shows a wide variet of tricks available with the 1hbh to mitigate its weaknesses.
     
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  31. stevenhatchy

    stevenhatchy New User

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    Interesting thread. Wonderful reading
     
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  32. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Pick up a semi-western forehand grip and flip it over. There you have my one handed backhand grip. Basically, I barely ever move my hand to hit forehand and backhands.

    I said it worked magically, but I never intended to say that it could work for everyone. The point was more about how it worked for me -- it was the missing piece of my puzzle -- and that was meant as a comment to cheer up people who face problems with their one handed backhand. It worked out all fine for me in the end and I am not even peculiarly gifted as an athlete, so there must be some hope for other people willing to put in the work.
     
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  33. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    I second the motion.
     
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  34. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    The interesting fact about Federer here is that he always stood very close to the baseline and he is well known for his backhand passing shots. The supposedly time consuming one handed backhand did not seem to be much of a problem to him.

    Of course, you can argue that it's Federer and that we are not Federer, but we do not face the same opponents either and, must I add, Federer's backhand has never been reckoned to be an exceptionally good stroke.

    So, the appropriate amateur equivalent would be someone playing an above average one handed backhand against other amateurs of his own level. In these circumstances, if the experiences at the top of the game are of any help, I dare say you can do with one hand what others do with two -- and, moreover, time should not be so much of a drag.
     
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  35. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    #35
  36. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    I think that the use of the "modern backhand" (racquet vertical then swing down and through) as opposed to bringing it straight back behind you, saves a bit of time, similar to the modern forehand. Fed will also use an abbreviated followthrough if he's pressed and the incoming shot has a lot of pace so that he can use the income pace as pace on his own ball.

    Some of the stuff that Fed does reminds me of stuff that you do in table tennis. In general, you can't do a lot of table tennis shots in tennis because the ball and racquet are so heavy but you can get away with some things that can potentially cause injury if you have a strong wrist and good timing and you know your limits.
     
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