One Handed Backhand vs Two Handed Backhand

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Dechizen, Aug 23, 2010.

?

Which backhand is better?

  1. Two Handed Backhand

    41.1%
  2. One Handed Backhand

    58.9%
  1. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    Roger Federer played squash as a kid/teenager. There is no two handed backhand in squash because you have to change direction quickly.

    Wawrinka, Almagro, Gasquet, Roger GOAT Federer are all playing top tennis with their single handers. How can one argue that it is inferior? I would love to see an empirical/longitudinal study on single handed backhands. Surely someone is collecting this data at the juniors, college and pro levels.

    I don't see the "easy to learn" as a valid point. Any tennis player who is worried about which shot is the best is going to spend time honing his/her skills.

    More important question: Why do Americans, at the pro level, have such poor backhands regardless of how many hands they use?
     
  2. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    You started off using evidence from your own game, but after I questioned your logic you started talking about the pros instead. I'll take this to mean you're conceding the point from my last post (see my last post).


    Those are very selective comparisons.

    Safin and Nalbandian are on the short list of all-time great 2hbh. Whereas Federer should not be on the same list for 1hbhs, certainly not for power. And Gasquet's bh is overrated. He can make an occasional highlight reel, but based on his normal exchanges I don't think he should be on the GOAT list.

    Both Federer and Gasquet tend to hit spinny balls. For consistent power I prefer both Almagro and Wawrinka's bhs.

    As for Marat Safin, he was a big, powerful guy (6'4" and strong). He should be able to crush the ball with a 2hbh from his physique alone.

    As for Nalbandian, while he isn't tall, keep in mind he does have very broad shoulders. I think one of the things that makes his bh great isn't just pace, but rather his ability to hit consistently deep.

    Here's his GOAT-contender 2hbh against a good 1hbh of another mature player (Haas). I don't think it's clear that Nalby's hitting much faster than Haas. And if he is, it's because Haas doesn't hit as hard as Wawrinka (sadly, I can't find good-quality videos of Nalb v. Waw).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGithO8nzag


    Since you've mentioned a big, strong player (Safin), I'll go the other way and mention a tiny one: Justine Henin. She was generating at least as much power as her rivals on the bh wing, yet she was much smaller and lighter than any of them. There's no way should could have generated more power using a 2hbh.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  3. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Most people list Djoko, Agassi, and Connors when listing all time best returns of serve. All 2 handed players. Borg also had a great 2 HBH return of serve.

    I think 2 HBH is better. Easier to hit aggresive topspin shot, can be hit later, can be hit easier in open stances, can be hit with smaller swings, better for high balls and can be learned faster.

    1 HBH is prettier and lends itself to slices, low and wide balls. But, you have to hit the ball farther out front, you have to hit from neutral of closed stances and harder to handle high balls.
     
  4. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    dead threads coming back to life, this is what happens in winter lol.

    I am surprised by the poll results.... i hit 1hbh, but have to say the 2hbh is better.

    the all time greats - they are all time greats DESPITE of their 1hbh, not BECAUSE OF it.

    1hbh is only better for people who can't hit 2hbh.
     
  5. johnchung907

    johnchung907 Rookie

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    Are you questioning my logic? All I'm saying is that the 2 hander is better. And no I do not have a weak one-handed backhand.
     
  6. johnchung907

    johnchung907 Rookie

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    And even though henin's one handed backhand was marvelous but she still had a loosing record against serena williams and kim clijsters. Both had amazing 2-handed backhands.
     
  7. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    Or could it be that the 1HBH people are more versatile?
     
  8. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    But it's clear that at the pros level, 1HBH is on the way out and I'm eager to bet that Roger is the last #1 with it alas!

    Americans are bad all around lol. I only like Harrisson's serve and some of his game, but that's about it. Probably not enough clay courts?
     
  9. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    And Henin would have a better record against them and the field if she had a 2hbh?
     
  10. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    Presuming that she could lift Safin's racquet, then yeah, maybe :) Although I love her 1HBH, feet alignment and all.
     
  11. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    The major advantage the 1hbh has is topspin potential. There is so much more room to swing and accelerate the racket. You're unencumbered by two hands, so the wrist is freer to supinate and get a snappy whip on the ball, like on the modern forehand. The modern forehand is an evolution of the forehand, like the modern 'windshield-wiper' 1hbh is an evolution of the 1hbh.

    In today's spin-driven game, if someone with a very strong posterior shoulder and wrist extensors comes along with a 1hbh backhand like Nadal's forehand AND has a forehand like Nadal's forehand he would be a true nightmare to play on any high-bouncing surface. He could change the game. He could hook people off the court from either wing.

    By contrast, I don't see the 2hbh evolving at all. It's the same old dependable but linear shot it always was. For players with a big spinny forehand and a 2hbh, once the ball is on their bh wing, their options are limited. They don't have access to the same topspin, therefore they don't have the same angles. They try to stay in the point until someone dumps their bh into the net, or go DTL to get a forehand.

    The 2hbh is more dependable for rally consistency and ROS, but I don't see it evolving. I don't see anyone hitting crazy topspin with it - the 2nd hand will always limit that.

    Basically the 2hbh is easier to pick up, but the 1hbh has the higher ceiling as far as potential. And has a greater potential to evolve into a crazy spin beast of a shot.
     
  12. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    I see, nice! I'm still working to fulfill some of that potential :oops:
     
  13. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    Not so sure about that...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0qrV6XyeTI&t=3m12s
     
  14. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    In that clip, Djokovic's flat hitting deep to the baseline causes Nadal to cough up a shorter ball. And then an even shorter ball. And finally Djokovic gets that angle because he's halfway up the court already. All the backhands he hit were relatively flat.

    It's different from hooking someone off the court from your own baseline with viscous topspin. The backhand Federer hits at 0.08 in the following video is an example of that;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWoKA21Bm4k

    ...and Federer doesn't even hit nearly the most topspin anyone has ever hit with a 1hbh.

    Let's be clear, the 2hbh is very good for taking the ball early, hitting it deep, changing directions and rallying consistently. These are all things that the 1hbh can also do, but it is much easier to accomplish them with the 2hbh. Currently, Djokovic is the best in the world at doing them.

    However, hitting absolutely crazy amounts of topspin off the backhand is something only the 1hbh can do, because of the wrist range-of-motion, and the longer stroke allowing for more acceleration.

    This is why I think that the 1hbh has the higher ceiling - with the 2hbh it is easier than a 1hbh to do 90% of the things a backhand can do, but there is a remaining 10% of things a backhand can do that can only be done with the 1hbh.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
  15. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    I think the higher top spin potential of the 1hbh is one reason (or the reason) why the stroke seems to be more popular among clay courters. And perhaps this partly explains its demise in the U.S.
     
  16. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    I'm a 1HBH guy but believe the 2HBH is the better shot to have from the baseline to service line. That's crazy in the poll the where the one hand is (so far) decidedly winning.
     
  17. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    So where would the 1hbh be better, then - at the net? When you're not using your backhand anymore, you're using a volley?
     
  18. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    Makes sense!

    One more question though: which one is more difficult to master?
     
  19. johnchung907

    johnchung907 Rookie

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    It may be more popular with the clay courters but it didn't produce the best clay court specialists. Borg and Nadal were the best clay courters and they have 2 handed backhands.
     
  20. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I think clay offers you more time to prep your 1hbh than grass or cement, so 1hbh works on clay.
    Since few players hit with MAXIMUM anything, 1 or 2 makes no difference if they can hit whichever way.
    Player's have 2hbh because that's the way they learned tennis as little kids.
     
  21. DonDiego

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  22. DonDiego

    DonDiego Hall of Fame

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    ''ask'', of course.
     
  23. Venetian

    Venetian Professional

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    2-handed because 2 is more than 1.
     
  24. doobiedoodoo

    doobiedoodoo Rookie

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    If given infinite amount of time to setup, which one would you take? But that is not an option, so the 2HBH consistency and stability wins in today's power/spin game.
     
  25. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    Why hit double handed?!

    Why not just hit a forehand with your non-dominant arm as well, i.e. have two forehands on either side? Why have the baby-sitting 2nd arm on the racquet to brake your movement and rotation?
     
  26. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    I don't think I'm really qualified to answer that since I'm not a coach and not some marvelous tennis freak. But as a tennis player I'd say any balls inside the service line would best be handled with a 1HBH. Don't think half-volleys or volleys would fare well with two hands.

    Every blue moon I've hit a volley with two hands only when needed extra power. Yet my volleys and half-volleys vary so much based on how loose I hold the racquet. I could not imagine having to loosen up both hands to get the right touch. I'm getting away from the OP's question.

    Still, I'd say for drive topspin backhand the two-hander is the way to go -- and that's coming from a guy who uses only 1HBH.
     
  27. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    A play Gasquet uses a lot is using a backhand kicker to move an opponent way into the tramlines, followed by a backhand bullet down the line. Sometimes the backhand kicker is so acute it is an outright winner, however.

    I'm not sure a 2hbh can generate enough spin to pull someone into the tramlines from your own baseline, so this is one play that probably only a 1hbh can do.
     
  28. johnchung907

    johnchung907 Rookie

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    However, gasquet's backhand high kickers could easily be smacked down with a 2 hander backhand.
     
  29. johnchung907

    johnchung907 Rookie

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    See my problem with the one-hander is the dtl one-hander. Federer tends to hit cross-court most of the time... I feel if he hit down the line more often, he could have more winners off the backhand wing. However, this is very hard to execute on clay or hard courts because of the high bounce of the ball on these surfaces.
     
  30. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    not really. watch him hit those against Nadal's forehand (Rafa is a lefty). you won't see a great many down the line 2 handed backhands slamming these shots down.

    The way to neutralise it is to either hit cross court at an even more acute angle, or, the better option, to hit very strong backhand slice.
     
  31. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    You're concluding too much from too little evidence. That's like saying since the 3 greatest players (Laver, Federer, Sampras) had a 1hbh, it must be the best shot. That would be questionable logic, too, just like your own.

    (and btw, by today's standards, Borg's backhand is more of a 1-handed shot)

    Nadal with Almagro/Wawrinka/Gasquet's bh would still be the clay court GOAT. Nadal is great mainly for his fh, movement, stamina and mental toughness.

    As for great clay courters, what about Kuerten, Muster and (on the women's side) Henin? I think Kuerten and Henin were great, in part, because of their backhands.


    Watch Wawrinka v. Nadal Monte Carlo from last year. Wawrinka is punishing Nadal by going sharp cross-court. In fact, Nadal started going after Wawrinka's forehand.
     
  32. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Sorry to disagree, but 2hbh can be quite adept at hitting wide CC angles. You pull up more on the L hand (for rightie) to generate top. Personally, I find this easier to do with 2hbh than 1hbh but my 1hbh sucks. Djoko hits 2 hbh either hard or spinny CC to Rafa's FH quite frequently and follows this with DTL 2hbh. I don't think hitting wide is better for 1hbh or 2hbh but more the quality of the backhand. A good player can do it with either.

    Borg could also hit wide 2 hbh quite frequently with high degree of success.
     
  33. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    I don't buy the "time to prep" argument (at least for groundies) simply because so many good fast-court players have used a 1hbh effectively on that surface (including Sampras and Federer, and almost all old-school grass-court players.)

    However, I do think clay allows players to stand further back, thus allowing the ball to drop lower into the strike zone.


    I agree that the 2hbhs can get good spin and angle, but using Borg (as well as Nadal) as an example is misleading (and perhaps proves the OPs point).

    Both Borg and Nadal's backhands are unconventional. Furthermore, they have key commonalities with the 1hbh: In particular, they are both have their front arms straight and use a pulling action with that arm.

    Agassi also had a dominant front arm, and when he wanted to create a lot of spin he would often let go with his top hand.


    I think the principle is: The more dominant the top hand, the higher the axis of rotation is on the racket, the therefore the less spin potential.

    On the other hand, generating the right amount of spin on the 2hbh is probably easier to learn.
     
  34. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    I wonder though if he's ever practicing it though...
    And I say this based on two things:

    a) He prefers "not to neglect practicing the things he does well" (aka his FH?)

    b) I usually look at his BH to gauge if he's in shape (prepared) for a tournament or not.
     
  35. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    Not in my books :)
     
  36. mitch1340

    mitch1340 New User

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    Years from now, this debate will be irrelevant. Players will use one handed forehands from both sides.
     
  37. ProgressoR

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    It's pretty irrelevant now, here we are a bunch of tennis hacks talking about pro's and their shots while we have mediocre shots at best and thinking it somehow applies to our game. We are so deluded on here...
     

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