Henin's Onehanded Backhand...

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by cluckcluck, May 31, 2012.

  1. BeHappy

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    You can argue Mauresmo, but not Sabatini. Mauresmo's backhand was to Henin's as Nadal's forehand is to Federer's.
     
    #51
  2. nat75

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    Just watch the Davenport-Sabatini matches from the US Open 1993, Amelia Island 1994 and YEC 1994 and tell me she's just slicing it back. Lindsay was heavier though and that could has been a liability then.
    The Williams sisters in their peak were on a league of their own so that is not the standard to measure all the players. I think Sabatini with her heavy spin and her touch would give the current players a lot of trouble except for her very very questionable 2nd serve.
     
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  3. nat75

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    Alright but we can say Mauresmo is better than Schiavone, Raymond and Navarro.
     
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  4. BeHappy

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    Navarro is the only female player in history who hits her backhand as hard as Mauresmo and Henin. Schiavone's backhand is like Sabatini's.
     
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  5. nat75

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    This one is dadicated to you and the poster who said that Gaby's backhand was weak. :p

    http://youtu.be/nCwS5KIWZI0
     
    #55
  6. BeHappy

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    It's no exaggeration to say that Henin hit every single backhand like that.
     
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  7. nat75

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    OK. Let's see how hard can Henin hit with a Yamaha Ex-110 from 18 years ago strung with 78 pounds and weighting more than 400 grams. :p
     
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  8. BeHappy

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    She used the same racquet as Federer, which is basically a pro staff 6.0.85, which is about 35 years old.
     
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  9. nat75

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    So Federer hits with a racket from 35 years ago?? You must be kidding!
     
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  10. BeHappy

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    Pretty much, since Federer got famous they customized his pro staff 6.0.85 and mass marketed it.
     
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  11. nat75

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    Any good source to read more about it?? I can't imagine hitting hard with an old racket and tolerating all the vibration. Let's not talk about the smaller sweet spot.
     
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  12. Moose Malloy

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    you really haven't seen ever seen players continue to hit their serves once they begin their motion even when their opponent says something/holds up a hand etc? or some other delay? like an umpire saying, 'wait, please?'

    I've probably seen that a hundred times over the years. it was perfectly normal what serena did & its pretty bizarre to think that henin thought that serena was trying to get an easy point(that would mean in that brief moment when Serena started her motion, she expected the umpire not to see Henin & was then trying to win the point after she saw that? uh, ok. I'm sure she was expecting the usual, 'wait, please' from the umpire that has happened hundreds of time when a returner asks for time when they aren't ready after a server has started their motion)

    it's not easy to stop your serve motion once you start it, and what's the point in not stopping, you know the point is dead once your opponent holds you up anyway. the players that don't hit their serves when that happens often awkwardly stop mid motion/try to catch the ball etc. that can be kind of jarring.

    look at edberg continuing to hit his serve when becker audibly says something at '88 Queens(umpire made a major error in not giving Edberg a 1st serve, just another 2nd serve - he then double faulted. and Becker was criticized quite a bit for gamesmanship at the time)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjZnLWogiwQ&t=7m44s
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
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  13. rh310

    rh310 Professional

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    I think what you mean is "it's easier to continue the serve motion to completion rather than stop it in mid-serve."
     
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  14. rh310

    rh310 Professional

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    Thanks for the reference matches. Amelia Island and the 1994 YEC (that was still on indoor carpet at MSG then, if I remember correctly) would not be as strong an example, because both of those surfaces are slow.

    But if Sabatini was dealing with Davenport clocking the crap out of the ball to her BH and was driving through it, then she should at least be on the short list of stellar women's 1HBH.

    Henin did pretty well with her 1HBH against the Williams sisters. I'm sure there are examples where she didn't, but matches I remember seeing she could hang at least, and could win more than once.
     
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  15. norbac

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    Can't recall having seen Gasquet, Federer, Wawrinka, or Haas do it....and if they have, they certainly don't do it as often as Henin did it.
     
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  16. Gizo

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    LOL the women hit far flatter than the men do. Stosur is one of the few WTA players who hit the ball with heavy topspin.

    In terms of aesthetics, I think that Henin's backhand probably looked 'prettier' during the earlier stages of her career, but it was still wreaking havoc on the tour back then. Commentators were waxing lyrical about it at the 2001 French Open and Wimbledon tournaments. Still an amazing shot throughout her career.

    Her return of serve was very good for a one hander (Mauresmo's or Sabatini's backhand returns really didn't come close), her slices and drop shots were every effective, and it was an excellent rally shot on all surfaces.

    Another reason why I rated Henin's backhand over Mauresmo's is that Mauresmo often used to hit cross court with her backhand too much and be scared to hit it down the line, while Henin's was to happy to hit in either direction. Mauresmo's cross court backhand may have been slightly better than Henin's, but Henin's backhand down the line was clearly better.

    At her peak from 2003-2007 she had arguably the best forehand on the tour and one of the top 3 backhands.
     
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  17. nat75

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    Gaby had to deal with Steffi's forehand most of her career. Most of the rallies where Gaby bh agaisnt Steffi's inverted forehand.
     
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  18. BevelDevil

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    Because it is known that rackethead speed potential is higher with a 1hbh, in large part because it is a longer stroke, and also because it is a straight-arm pull-style stroke. (Federer has such a big forehand because of such a straight-arm pull style.)

    Thus, it is one way that short players can "catch up" to taller, stronger players with 2hbhs. Take away the 1hbh, you take away that advantage.


    Do you know of any short pros who have big 2hbhs? Maybe there are, I don't know...


    I never said average/tall players can't hit a good 1hbh. After all, Kuerten was 6'3".

    What I am saying is the power advantage of a 1hbh over the 2hbh is greater for small people, assuming the proper grip is used. In other words, had Henin, Sabatini and Maursemo all used the 2hbh, most likely it would be Henin with the biggest drop in power.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
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  19. Limpinhitter

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    #69
  20. Backhanded Compliment

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    There are lots of them; Michael Chang, Jimmy Connors etc.

    Honestly I think it takes more strength to hit a one hander with authority... it wasnt till I filled out that I realized more of the stroke's potential. I was a twig till age 29 or so.
     
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  21. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    You know that is an interesting point. Even with weight training I was never a strong guy and I have naturally skinny wrists/forearms and thus my one handers is a struggle. There was a player on my HS team who had naturally thick forearms and was a strong kid and he could rip one handers. I also will sometimes see more muscular club players some who are a bit overweight who can just cream one handers as well.

    Technique or no technique it's still amazing how Federer blasts one handers with his "twig" forearms....
     
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  22. Gizo

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    It's an interesting point about more 'short' players on the WTA tour using a one backhand than the taller ones.

    The one hander does offer advantages for dealing with low balls, but then again most of the surfaces are higher bouncing nowadays, and on grass bad bounces aren't any near as common as they used to be.

    For the one hander, a player's athleticism, court positioning and footwork are even more important for them to be able to execute it properly.

    Henin and Mauresmo were two of the best athletes on the tour and were excellent movers on every surface, and Henin's footwork was the best by a considerable distance. She was usually exactly where she needed to be to launch into it.

    Many of the taller players (with the exception of Venus and Dementieva in recent times) have been slow and clumsy movers, so they wouldn't be able to make proper use of a one hander as they would struggle with the court positioning.

    A very tall British girl Naomi Broady who is 1.88m tall has a one handed backhand, but it is a pretty big weakness partially due to her lack of athleticism and mobility. Far too often she has to slice it because she is not in the right position to hit a topspin backhand. Molik's one hander, while better than Broady's also was a liability for similar reasons.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012
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  23. suwanee4712

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    Best womens one handed backhand might be Henin's. I think hers would have been very good in any era. Though my favorite one hander belonged to Catarina Lindqvist. I would have ranked hers first but her slice wasn't good enough for that. Much like early Lendl her backhand was 90% top and not enough versatility.

    Another almost #1 backhand would be Mandlikova's. She often spanked winners during baseline rallies like most people hit forehands. But her slice sometimes wasn't penetrating enough which hurt her on many approaches vs. Evert. Her down the line shot was sheer beauty.

    Goolagong's was gorgeous and should be mentioned. Her birds nest backhand was baffling.

    Also I will mention Martina simply because her slice was so good at setting her up. Only Novotna's crosscourt slice (though less effective) can approach how penetrating Martina's slice could be.
     
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  24. nat75

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    Ummmm...it's hard to assume which one would have the better 2hbh since it depends on the strengh and ability you have on your non dominant hand more than anything else.
    When I think about how a short woman usually plays I think about ASV or Amanda Coetzer more anyone else. Defenders who would feel more comfortable with a 2hbh than a 1hbh. Of course it would be much harder for somebody like Lindsay Davenport to play with a 1hbh due to the lack of speed.
     
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  25. Limpinhitter

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    I don't think so. It takes practice learning how to wield the weight of the racquet and use it effectively. But, not strength. If you are using strength to hit a 1hb, then your technique is flawed and your shot is very limited.
     
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  26. Leelord337

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    #76
  27. BevelDevil

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    When I was thinking "short", I was thinking under 5'8", regardless of gender. Of course, not many ATP players fit that description.

    In any case, I never thought of Michael Chang as having a "big" backhand, "big" as in "powerful."



    I agree with Limpin here. Good technique should overcome most problems.

    However, strong arms can still help, especially when bailing you out of an awkward position. Strength is good, I'm just saying it's not necessary for a good 1hbh.


    Yup.


    Oh, another shortie 1-hander (retired 2007), Anna Smashnova, 5'2", Extreme Eastern backhand grip. Peaked at 15th. Unfortunately, no clean footage of her playing. Here's one though:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOdiE5k0Qk4



    Of course we don't know these hypotheticals with certainty. But if you had to bet money on which one would have the least powerful 2hbh, which would it be?

    Even you said "it depends on strength," and you also agree that smaller women typically have less strength than larger women. So if that's all we have to go on, the best bet sounds like Henin having the weakest 2hbh, no?


    In addition, I wonder if height itself is at least as important as strength. A taller person hits balls that are relatively lower and therefore can more comfortably generate topspin with pace. That same shot will be higher for a short person, and a 1hbh with an extreme grip can generate a lot of topspin with pace, even on high balls, without needing much strength.
     
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  28. nat75

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    Like i said it's impossible to know who would have the better 2hbh because we don't know the ability they have with their non dominant hand. The non dominant hand is the one that commands the stroke.
     
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  29. nat75

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    Females certainly need strength. Have you seen Mauresmo's, Sabatini's, Henin's or even BJK's arms?
     
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  30. BevelDevil

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    If we roll a dice (6-sided), it is "impossible to know" whether the number will be below 2 or above 2. However, I would place my bet on above 2.

    It is rare we can predict things with 100% certainty, but that doesn't mean we can't or shouldn't make educated guesses.


    Need strength?

    Here's Justine in 2000, before her workout craze.

    [​IMG]

    Up to this point she (according to Wikipedia):

    - won the junior girl's singles title at the French Open.

    - regularly reached the late rounds of international competitions

    - won five International Tennis Federation tournaments by the end of 1998.

    - began her professional career on the WTA tour in May 1999

    - became only the fifth player to win her debut WTA Tour event.

    - defeated three top 50 players on the road to the title


    I don't think you need strong arms to have a good 1hbh.

    Strength helps, which is why she began working out. But "need"? No.
     
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  31. Limpinhitter

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    I've seen them all. (I posted the BJK video above). None are as strong as a typical 14 year old boy.
     
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  32. Limpinhitter

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    Strong legs, yes. Strong arm's, no.
     
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  33. Limpinhitter

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    Only us seniors who had the privilege of seeing her play.
     
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  34. nat75

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    Well, the reason they massively teach girls to use a 2hbh is strengh. It's the same reason some of my tennis pals try to emulate my backhand but they cant. They come back to rhe 2hbh. It's the reason I even reconsidered using a 2hbh in my comeback. I couldnt swing the racket more than three times on my backhand side. It just felt too heavy.
     
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  35. Limpinhitter

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    It's technique, not strength. It takes very little strength to swing an 11oz. tennis racquet. When I was in juniors, 10-16 year old girls used 12oz+ wood racquets with 1hb's.
     
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  36. nat75

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    When you don't have the energy to even lift and swing the racket is definitely strengh not technique.
     
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  37. Fintft

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    Especially after watching them both in AO!

    Hey my own 1HBH is better now, they've inspired me to trust it more.
     
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  38. nat75

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    Don't know where this mith of Sabatini's trokes being weak came from. Her shots were so heavy and it was like bricks coming to you. Chris Evert said she practiced with men to recreate the heaviness of her shots.
     
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  39. BTURNER

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    I remember Evert saying something a bit different. She said she could not find anyone to practice with to prepare for Sabatini, "no one hits the ball like Gabby" She also said it was very tiring to play against her because the heavy ball tended to drive you further back in long rallies and she could roll that top for short angles to make you run foreward and wide." Evert hated that flat backhand DTL. It was a huge weapon for Sabatini vs Graf in their rivalry as well.

    Which brings me to a surprise entry. Steffi Graf rarely used her one hander either flat or top, but when she hit it, it had incredible power. She was a tall girl and that arm was so strong that when she flung it through a one handed topspin pass or groundie, it was downright scary. Don't ask me why she let it slide out of her game, as S/vers drifted out. Nothing wrong with it at all!

    With those honorable mentions aside, Henin and Goolagong for their respective eras most impressed me
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
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  40. mxmx

    mxmx Semi-Pro

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    Her name also popped in my mind actually....
     
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