One handed backhand thread: value, technique and else

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by 10isfreak, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    I'd like to discuss a few issues on the one handed backhand.

    Firstly, what sort of take back would be ideal? What pro players seem to have a take back which is easily emulated, which one is a good model for this?

    Secondly, is the one handed backhand fit for the modern game? At the pro level, for men or women and for amateurs in general.

    Thirdly, whose one handed backhand is the best on the tour? This seems silly to some, but it could be measured... here, the best means, that over infinitely many rallies in all possible conditions, the best backhand would earn the most point out of them all.
     
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  2. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    The forehand is well discussed here; the serve is also well covered from time to time. The backhand is a rare bird of discussions, the one handed version of it being rarely touched...

    We need a one handed backhand thread! Bring on the controversy or something!
     
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  3. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Here's a personal factoid:

    The three people I hit with the most often all have a 1hbh. One is my son who is 17. He switched from a 2hbh about 4-5 months ago. He's hitting it really well - can take balls on the rise and hit aggressively across high balls. The other two guys are my age and are both around 5.0 level.

    I have a 2hbh btw, one handed slice.
     
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  4. watungga

    watungga Semi-Pro

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    My takeback is sort of being my grip is the "hinge of a door". If the door could not swing, there'll be no impact on the ball to generate pace.
    The direction of my racquet head, is from 3pm to 6pm to 9am (impact) to 12noon on the high upward motion.

    Its the same principle like Federer forehand.
     
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  5. sunof tennis

    sunof tennis Professional

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    I would use Tommy Haas as a model. Nice economical strokes (both forehand and backhand). Who has the best one hand backhand on tour is debatable-Gasquet, Almagro, Wawrinka are often listed as having the best.
    Finally, having a one hand backhand can work in the modern game as these players plus, of course, Federer have proved. It is all up to the individual, although people often find the two hand easier to learn.
     
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  6. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    choice question - is Federer so successful

    a) because of his 1hbh or
    b) despite his 1hbh

    it's a touch question.. on one hand (no pun), he leads in 2nd srv points won%, but lags in all return stats - 1st, 2nd srv return pts won, bp conversion... therefore you can argue that if he has 2hbh and had any sort of return stats close to what rafa, joker or murray has, he'd have even more success.

    on the other hand, one can argue that his 1hbh helps him in leading in the serve game (he is #1 in 2nd serve points won).... but that argument is a little more difficult to establish.

    even though myself play 1hbh, I believe the answer is b).... and the empirical evidence of what the top 100 or 200 use is pointing that way also... the 2hbh is the better suited for the top guys.

    on the rec level, can be entire different story.
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Takeback is up to the individual. The high takeback of Gasquet/Warinka/Almagro get's cancelled out when you consider McEnroe's direct straight takeback for simplicity.
    The game is not only the backhand, but the combination of all other strokes.
    Best always involves having a good day or a bad day.
     
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  8. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Definitely 2 hander is the way to go if you are starting out as a junior
     
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  9. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    A good thread

    There is a decent RECENT thread about 1 handed backhand by Ash Smith.
    One has to find it
     
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  10. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    you make important points, but what is the breakdown of the serve return stats that are to the backhand? we need to know this to factor for sure that it is the single backhand issue that is the determining variable and not some other factor (maybe he's trying to hit forehand winners off the return?)

    anyway...

    In addition to tommy haas i think gasquet is a good model to follow as he manages to hit a variety of shots with his backhand. he rallies with it a lot and in many cases it is more formidable than his forehand (e.g. his Doha final match against Davydenko a few weeks ago).

    check out federer as well as there are lots of videos of his backhand online.
     
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  11. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    there is no break down... just anecdotal evidence that Fed chips a lot of returns and end up something like 1 for 50 on bps in so many matches against rafa.
     
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  12. Orange614

    Orange614 New User

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    I made the switch from 2hbh to 1hbh after I broke my left wrist about 4 years ago. After hitting the 1hbh for 6-8 months my left wrist had healed but I could not go back to the 2hbh. With loops on fh and bh being so much more prominent in the modern game (opposite of McEnroe straight back) the 1hbh felt better because my range of motion was greater. However, It has taken me until about now to feel fully confident in my backhand again. The hardest thing to adjust to was making contact about 3 or so feet farther in front with the 1 hbh. Second, when playing doubles and returning on the deuce side I always went with a 2hbh when driving the ball. I didn't have time to get shoulders, hips, and feet turned as is necessary to hit the 1hbh so much farther in front.
     
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  13. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    Train to have strong and flexible wrist and model Almagro's 1hbh. The best 1hbh in business.
     
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  14. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

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    You can't blame Federer's passive serve return style on his backhand, it's his style of play and for most of his career he was better in rallies (partially because of his backhand) than anyone else so he plays his return game conservatively.
     
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  15. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    i know 'you can't argue with success'.. but empirical evidence shows that 'conservatively' is not good enough for his standards (14th rank in 2nd srv return points won, while murray joker and rafa are the top3), and he has been trying to reverse that with Paul A's coaching.

    you don't see him being 'conservative' when he gets a 2nd srv on his fh, problem is rafa can serve to his bh the entire match, literally.

    could fed have even more success? that's arguable.
     
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  16. Wilander Fan

    Wilander Fan Hall of Fame

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    One drawback is that you will never dominate the return on the BH with a 1HB. You can chip them all in but a good server just needs to keep it into your BH side. The return on a first serve is basically a swinging volley. Even off a good serve, you can hit a pretty big return from your FH while on the defensive. However, you cant do this from the BH so easily. My theory about Federer's return stats is that he cannot punish a first serve from the BH side though he can get everything back with a chip. On 2nd serve, he can run around on the deuce side but not from the ad side since it opens so much ct up he has to hit a winner with the FH. This is the big matchup issue with Nadal. He can almost always guarantee at least a neutral ball rally every time he serves to the ad side.

    Actually, I think this is actually specific to the Fed BH. Johnny Mac, Edberg and Lendl could punish the BH return because they tended to volley alot more from the BH side and BH volleys used to be more blocky than slice. Mac could really block his BH return with some pace. OTOH, Fed almost always slices his BH volleys. I dont recall ever seeing him hit drive volleys on the BH side.
     
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  17. bhallic24

    bhallic24 Guest

    well i think if you could pick in certain situations:

    for variety: fed's got the best backhand
    for consistency: I'd go almagros or gasquets, both look like they could hit that thing all day.
    for dealing with high bouncing shots to the backhand: gasquets, no question, dude hits it like a boss.
    for return of serve: take feds.
    for finishing winners with it: fed, wawa, or gasquet (but he stands a little too far back)

    I mean that's being picky but all four have fantastic backhands. probably the four best in the world, can't think of anyone else that comes close.
     
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  18. ShoeShiner

    ShoeShiner Rookie

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    For me, GUGA is still the best 1HBH ever.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2013
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  19. bhallic24

    bhallic24 Guest

    With all that head bobbing, he can't possibly keep his head still through contact. A bad model for the kids.

    J/K, like his backhand a ton too.
     
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  20. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    guga is almost impossible for me to copy.. just don't have that kind of flexibility.
     
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  21. Orange614

    Orange614 New User

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    I think that Mac, Edberg, and Lendl could punish returns because serves weren't as big and had less spin. The Balls Fed (and all the other players are seeing) are faster and move much up and down and side to side.

    I think the 1hbh return is tricky because you have to get completely turned with the right shoulder in front and you need to '****' your wrist back to hit a bigger backhand return with 1hbh as opposed to 2hbh where the right and left wrist can stay firm. The serves are coming so fast there is not enough time to do either of the things above that are necessary to punish a 1hbh. While the 3 guys above didn't '****' the wrist back like players today they could at least get turned and have their right shoulder in front.
     
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  22. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    1. I'd say take-back depends on the person and what they are trying to achieve. You could probably use a flatter take-back if you drive the ball more, but adding a higher take back and a little loop to your swing might help a bit with topspin.

    2. Yes, the one-hander can still be a fit for the modern game. You'll see less of them as more people stick to the two hander. Also IMHO, today's baseline based game and slower courts wouldn't provide the reason to switch to a one-hander like Pete did. I think if we see the add

    For the rec player, I don't think it matters that much. I have a one hander and have beaten players with two-handers. In the matches I lost, it wasn't because I had a one-hander, it was because the other guy was better. I think I have a slight advantage when it comes to transitioning and net play in doubles, but then again there are plenty of decent dubs players with two-handers.

    3. Best one-hander on tour today? That's tough, I'd say a tie between Gasquet and Stan.
     
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  23. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    I recently came across an old coach that I barely took the time to listen to before. I watched his lessons on the one handed backhand and, unlike most coaches and players, he swings with a straight take back -- and, he hits it clean very clean.

    What got to me wasn't so much his lessons, but how it would feel to hit it like him. Funnily enough, despite his age, he's only the second coach I heard advising to prepare the racket with a closed face: that is, before the racket moves forward, get the face closed.

    On the forehand, increasingly more people advocate "patting the dog," which is basically getting the racket face closed. Presumably, on the forehand, you supinate your forearm as you swing forward, increasingly opening the racket face... which is easier corrected by closing your face a lot BEFORE swinging and just letting it go. It's the same advice that coach gave, but on the backhand. It somehow became obvious to me that I have been making a crucial mistake all along... and that my moments of success might have been marked by an unusual, though periodic correction of this mistake. I will obviously try this out when I'll get to play tennis. Unfortunately, although I am exited about this prospect, every court is covered with snow and won't open before early April, if I am lucky. (Yes, it drives me nuts)
     
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  24. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    On the one handed backhand, the return is done with an open stance, most of the time. Players learn to drag their racket leg and to step across into a neutral stance, trying to make contact as they take that step (much like a volley, but with a bigger step). As Federer noted, it might look as if the time frame is too short, but you can manage to hit very solid back returns even with a one handed backhand.
     
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  25. President

    President Legend

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    A 2 handed backhand is just so much more solid and consistent, and its easy to get at least a serviceable one. It's rare, once the basic technique is learned, to find an inconsistent and weak 2 handed backhand. A one hander takes more time to develop and is inherently a more unstable shot, so the 2 hander is much more suitable at the rec level. At the pro level the only big disadvantage for a one hander I can see is on the return of serve and actually several important advantages in a rally, but we aren't pros here are we?
     
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  26. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Plenty of rec plays with a serviceable one-hander. Even a mostly slice one-hander is serviceable probably until 4.5.

    One thing you forget is that if you are highly one-side dominant, the two hander may be just as difficult to learn. I've always felt like a pretzel with the two hander. For some people, having a one hander is what fits.
     
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  27. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    i am a pretzel too... maybe that's why it took me so long to build a golf swing.
     
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  28. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    I never golfed, but I hear what you're saying.
     
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  29. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    Firstly, Tommy Haas's takeback is sound.
    Secondly, the 1hbh is meant to be complementary of a great slice. The two together are more than enough wing for the modern game.

    Best topspin 1hbh for length of groundy IMO is Stan's although Ritchie hits the meanest angles with his. What makes Roger's spo good IMO is exactly what I alluded to above, how seamlessly he complements it with his slice in handling his business on that wing.
     
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  30. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

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    Sure but I blame his playing style, not his backhand for how he approaches return games. There have been plenty of good / great returners with one handers. Gasquet destroys second serves with his one hander. A couple years ago he was hitting clean winners on Roddick's serves wish I had a video as a good example.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
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  31. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    yesterday Almagro was cracking returns the whole match against JJ and JJ has pretty snappy serve. Not many times he sliced the bh returns. Unbelievably good 1hbh returns over and over again. Just goes to show 1hbh return can be effective.
     
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  32. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    and yet today, on taped TV somewhere in oiland, Almagro's 1hbh basically let him down, hitting the net or going long more often than his forehands. If he had DJ's consistency on that side alone, it would be close....
    He does seem to have more power, but maybe he's just hitting harder.
     
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  33. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    In the beginning he was hitting winner off his bh in that match. Then I guess errors crept in. usually he like to build up points like on clay but against Dj that's extremely difficult like everybody else. not 1hbh problem really. more pressure in general to build each and every attack.
     
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  34. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    for the service returns, what grips do the pros use in preparation for the first and 2nd serves? Again, assuming a one-handed backhander type player.

    I usually stay ready with a backhand grip as i know most players that level think they're nadal (they're not) and will attack me there, so i expect it and try to attack their serves and punish 2nd serves. i change to the eastern forehand (i always use eastern on my forehand) to return serves on my forehand side. i stay ready with my backhandgrip, but know others stay ready with their forehand grip (whichever it is).

    i wonder what teh pros do. it's difficult to find specific advice on these subtleties as most coaches focus on two handed backhands. my claycourt coach just said hit whatever feels comfortable, but we worked more on my rallying anyway.

    thoughts?
     
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  35. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    Kholschreiber - bh grip; Haas - conti ; Fed - fh grip; I think wawrinka is conti also..... personal preference.
     
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  36. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Unless the server is jut killing it and hitting corners, I"m cheating over a bit so I hit a FH, so I usually start with a FH grip.
     
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  37. ShoeShiner

    ShoeShiner Rookie

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    I don't think so.

    I agree. I had tried to copy his BH once, but too difficult for me.
     
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  38. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    thanks for the feedback guys. much appreciated.

    for the guys who have continental grips, do you know if they use those to hit the ball, or if they adjust for the stroke (forehand or backhand).

    i only use continental on slices, volleys and serves at the moment, but i play squash as well so can hit with pace using that grip if needed. adjusting grips makes sense at my level though, as i have time.
     
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  39. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    oh, sure they have to change grip.... prolly a reason why fed chips the bh return so much, it's a long way around from his fh grip to hit the drive.
     
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  40. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    thanks luvforty
     
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  41. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Win or lose Stan is making a nice argument for the one hander being able to compete in today's game right now in Aus. Open.
     
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  42. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    He was amazing, especially on the backhand side. I like how he doesn't wrap his overgrip the whole way up the handle. Nice touch, although not as extreme as Gasquet's method.

    4 out of the round of 16 at the Australian Open are single-handed backhanders. How does that compare to the general percentage on tour or in the top 100?
     
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  43. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    I think at one point Stan had twice as many back hand winners are Djoker did and Djoker has an effing mean backhand!
     
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  44. Wilander Fan

    Wilander Fan Hall of Fame

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    I think serves were actually bigger back then. The indoor courts looked like they were made of hard slick rubber and the hard courts were basically paint. 50% first serve % was considered OK since you won every one of those points. Now you see 70% and even 80% as the balls are spinning in.
     
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  45. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Serves bigger? Don't quite think so. IMHO - guys can hit it about as hard, if not harder but with a bit more spin.

    Serves more adventitious to the server? Most definitely! Smaller headed sticks, no poly, and faster surfaces would have made it a bit easier to hold IMHO.
     
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  46. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    Here's a topical question:

    Are 1-handers more prone to choking? It would make sense, seeing how the 1hbh is a bigger, faster, more free-flowing stroke. Any bit of tightness could have pronounced effects.



    I think 20% of the top 100 have a 1hbh, so that's about representative.
     
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  47. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    what does Fed do in a tight situation, he runs a lot more and hits the run-around fh a lot more..... that tells you something :)

    yes, it is more prone to choking... Almagro's broke down.

    Wawrinka's didn't... because his stroke is intrinsically more superior.
     
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  48. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    It tells you that Federer doesn't thrust his backhand as much as his forehand... That doesn't necessarily relate to the one handed backhand being, in itself, less of a potent stroke.
     
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  49. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    oh less potent i am sure :)

    we don't mate with our partner on our back lol... humans are built to have weaker backhands.
     
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  50. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    The one handed backhand is not bigger, faster and more free-flowing. The only serious study I read on the subject presented both strokes as equally complex and capable of generating roughly the same kind of pace. And it does make sense: take Gasquet, Almagro, Wawrinka, Federer... they all hit backhands above the 90's for winners (Gasquet breaks the three digits every now and then), exactly like on their forehand side and exactly like any other player who uses a different backhand.

    Arrived at maturity, a player with either stroke might actually present very comparable score sheets. You might ask why would Federer have trouble with his backhand?

    Well, watch his career. He is now better off that wing than he ever been, even when he piled up over 80 wins in a single season. If you recall, Federer didn't hit big returns in his early career: he was a monster at the baseline, so it made sense to be very conservative on the return of serve. Likewise, if you were the owners of his forehand and could move like him, would you resist hitting an inside-out forehand when you can afford to?

    Federer took the very "bad" habit of running around all the time, of slicing when it wasn't necessary and of not attacking the return of serve as much as a normal player should. He barely ever played a match with the intent of using his top spin backhand purposefully until very recently... It's very clear that until he begun challenging his backhand, he could not handle as much off that wing -- it's one of those things which ultimately dooms every champion: you have to be pushed beyond your comfort zone to improve; if not, you regress.

    Federer lived with ups and downs off that wing for years, but if you watch Wawrinka, it's a different story. One of the key things behind getting confident and solid is to commit yourself to doing it, even if it costs you the match... Wawrinka doesn't fool around too much with his court positioning and he commits himself to backhand rallies when necessary. Now, he can even handle Djokovic and have a chance to win the rally and we rarely see a bad backhand day from Wawrinka.

    Federer now commits to hitting more backhand, commits to staying in a neutral rally. He always disliked hitting backhand rallies, always worked his way around it and that's a primary cause of mistakes: he kept trying to hit big shots when he didn't have the right ball to do it; he kept trying to change direction when he wasn't in good position to do it... He was a less exaggerated version of our amateur ball bashers on the backhand side: so frightened at the idea of having to keep up with an other player and so uncomfortable with that backhand, he figured out he'd just "gun it," going for broke way too often.
     
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