Why do goats have one handed backhands?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by gpt, Jun 25, 2009.

  1. gpt

    gpt Professional

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    Every likely contender for GOAT has a 1 hander. Borg may have been the exception but he opted out too early. Is there more to it than just coincidence?
     
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  2. David_86

    David_86 Rookie

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    I think, until recent times, most players used a one-handed backhand.

    I think also that there are only a handful players who can be considered the GOAT.

    Gonzalez, Borg, Laver, Federer, and maybe some players pre-Gonzalez. (I discount Sampras because I feel that his achievements don't stand up to comparison with Federer's)
     
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  3. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    LOL!!!! I love TW. BTW- you forgot the ;) icon.
     
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  4. CEvertFan

    CEvertFan Hall of Fame

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    The one handed backhand is more versatile than a two hander. ;)
     
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  5. FiveO

    FiveO Hall of Fame

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    Depends on what you mean by recent times.

    From 1975 through 1992, with few exceptions, 3-4 2-handers were represented in the top ten. 4-5 '93-'98, and starting in '99 7 top-tenners and the tour as a whole were predominantly 2-handed.

    5
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2009
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  6. Dark Victory

    Dark Victory Rookie

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    I always thought the same thing also.

    The one-hander is more difficult to master than the two-hander. Which is why it's no surprise that exceptionally gifted players (GOAT level) do take time to develop it as a component of their game.

    The result? When they do mature, the shot becomes an integral part of their game (Pete's one-hander served his S&V game well). It also becomes an indication of virtuosity (Fed's one-hander manifests the ease, grace and smoothness of his play. Same for Laver). No player with a two-hander ever looked effortless or lyrical.

    It's a indicator of genius.
     
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  7. tomn

    tomn New User

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    Agassi

    i think agassi is not THE goat, but he is on that level, since he won all 4 slams and if he would have trained and have been more dedicated earlier in his career instead of the "image is everything" fad, he would have won more slams. he has a great two handed backhand...what do people think about agassi?
     
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  8. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Nah....Agassi got his ass whipped every time he played the one-handed Sampras at Wimbledon and at the US Open, and that was a lot of times. :)
     
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  9. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

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    Back in the past a two handed backhand most considered to be murder since the game was a lot of net play and more about angles instead of power. Borg was a rarity. If you ever have the chance there is a part in a book called "The Rivals" it involves Evert and Navra where they talk about 2 handed backhands. Evert's father a pro coach always tried to switch Evert away from the 2 hander back then as back then it was seen to hurt your game on both the mens and womens tour. The one hander can give more reach and as said is far more versatile. Since the older days used to involve more intricate shot making and net play than just trying to slam consistent baseline rallies with power the one hander was seemingly more effective. Now however the two hander is more effective as the game has changed. In about 30 years I bet we have 6 GOAT candidates 3 1h and 3 2h.
     
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  10. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    goats have one handed backhands because if they used both hoofs they'd fall in the grass.
     
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  11. slack hack

    slack hack Rookie

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    uhh.....Rios, Zvereva,...anybody?
     
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  12. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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  13. Guru

    Guru Banned

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    Henin owned the one handed back hand and she owns Tennis too.
     
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  14. suwanee4712

    suwanee4712 Professional

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    There's lots of room for debate. But I was taught that a 2 handed backhand was a sign of weakness. I guess that doesn't apply to today's game. But I learned how to exploit players with 2 handed backhands slicing low and short to a 2 hander as well as pulling them out wide where they have less reach.

    I am mortified every time that I hear Martina say that she thinks she should've played two hands and then developed the one handed slice like Wilander did. I know why she says that. But if anything, Wilander should want to be more like Martina, and not the other way around.

    I do not believe that Martina could've been as great as she was as a 2 handed player. For one thing, she had no business being on the baseline anyway. Though she tried mightily at the 1986 French Open, she did not win a single grand slam title from the back of the court.

    But what do I know? I don't have 9 Wimby titles. :)
     
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  15. David_86

    David_86 Rookie

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    Mecir had a 2-handed backhand that was very nice to watch.
     
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  16. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    Borg, Wilander, Agassi, Connors, Nadal, Courier. All dominated at one point or another.
     
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  17. saeta119

    saeta119 New User

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    Agassi and Nadal, greatest GOATS ever, and two handed backhands.
     
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  18. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    LOL! Love TW - Greatest Goats ever?????
     
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  19. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    But none of them are even in the discussion when it comes to the GOAT.

    Federer, Sampras, Laver, and (Pancho) Gonzales are in that discussion.
     
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  20. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    Borg not in the discussion?
     
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  21. harryz

    harryz Semi-Pro

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    Greatest GOATS ever reminds me of "Spinal Tap"

    "Tonight I'm gonna rock you tonight"

    Call me old school, but two handed backhands are FUGLY-- period. Nothing as graceful, pretty and versatile as a one handed slice or topspin backhand.

    Players who start as little kids can be forgiven, I suppose, but didn't Pete switch from 2H to 1HBH after Pete Fisher convinced him to make the change?
     
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  22. Fed Kennedy

    Fed Kennedy Hall of Fame

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    Attack, volleys, reach, slice, variety, less running. If you are moving forward the ohbh is your friend. If you want lots and lots of slams longevity and quick points are also your friends. If you have goat-esque timing why not use the 1 hander.
     
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  23. RoddickAce

    RoddickAce Hall of Fame

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    I see you really like to express your love for this message board:).
     
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  24. certifiedjatt

    certifiedjatt Banned

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    completely agree, as obvious from my signature.
    also, i think that most tennis players are 'graduates' of the same curriculum, often by the same academies, coaches, etc. therefore, they all play similarly, same weaknesses, same strengths. every time i go to the courts, public/club, i see the same players in different outfits. all bashing forehands with extreme grips, and almost all with 2hbh. academies are like tennis-player factories, mass producing identical cohorts of players, year after year. coaches are like professors who just want to go through the course outline, year after year.

    those that stand out are often unique. and 1hbh is unique today, as it has been for a while.
     
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  25. Dark Victory

    Dark Victory Rookie

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    My friend who also loves the one-hander used to say that only women should be hitting a two-handed backhand (or any shot for that matter). By that I think he meant that ideally, guys should be strong enough to effectively swing the racket using only one arm. To each his own I guess.

    The two-hander is overwhelmingly ideal now in the modern game.

    Still, as far as GOAT is concerned, the only two-hander who's in the discussion is Borg.

    I think exceptionally gifted/truly genius level players are more likely to develop long-term games (required for sustained dominance) using the one-hander. Having a two-hander connotes grinding, exertion. A one-hander connotes ease and grace. It implies that the player wielding it is less likely to have a stressful game.
     
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  26. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    I heard an Australian say he was taught (in the 1960s) that the two-handed backhand was only fit for girls -- weak girls at that. But the idea that most men are strong enough to use one hand is true only if you consider an underspin-only backhand to be adequate. Looking at old films I see that the vast majority of even the very top players in the years prior to 1970 hit underspin-only on the backhand. Bill Tilden was #2 in the world before he learned to drive his backhand. Don Budge was considered a phenomenon because he hit most backhands flat. Tony Traber in the mid-1950s was said to be the first player (in history!) to hit a predominately topspin backhand. Rod Laver was famous for his topspin backhand, but videos show that he used it only for passing shots. In his autobiography Laver said that he started working on it at age 11, and finally learned to control it during his last years as an amateur. (He couldn't control his topspin backhand until he was already playing and winning Grand Slam events!!!)

    So I think the idea that "most men are strong enough to hit the backhand with one hand" was bunk. They just had low standards for backhand ground-strokes back then.

    So why did most of the very greatest players use one-handed backhands? First of all, they were good enough to hit it adequately well. Second, to be a candidate GOAT you have to be able to win on all surfaces against all kinds of opponents. Usually, that means you must have not only great ground-strokes, but also a great net game. Very few two-handed backhanders develop great net games. Even if they learn to volley one-handed, they still haven't built up the same wrist strength for the backhand volley.

    Hitting the one-handed backhand strengthens your wrist so that you _can_ hit good volleys. Then, throughout most of history, the automatic backhand weakness which most players had _forced_ them to learn to rush the net -- so they could attack their opponent's slice backhand before their own was attacked. Those who finally mastered the one-handed ground-stroke then had it all.
     
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  27. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    The crazyness on TW brings a smile to my face! :)
     
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  28. wangs78

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    I think it also says something about the player who actually spent the time and effort to develop his 1HBH, which is probably much harder to develop, especially early on bc after all you are using only one arm versus two. Players who commit themselves to it are much more likely to not just have competitive personalities, but to have a genuine love for the sport and its history, which I think in the long run is something that could help separate the GOATs from the rest of the pack.
     
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  29. Golden Retriever

    Golden Retriever Hall of Fame

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    Why are there no black nobel price winners in science? Does that mean blacks are not good in science as a whole?

    Why are there no goat with a 2HBH? Does that mean the 2HBH is not good as a whole?

    My conclusion: color and the number of hands you use for the backhand don't make a difference at all.
     
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  30. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Because Cliff Drysdale is not in the GOAT discussion.

    Did Pancho Segura have a two-handed backhand, in addition to this two-handed forehand?
     
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  31. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    This is pretty funny because I used to hear the commentators on TV saying just the exact opposite when Borg/Wilander were on top. They (Drysdale) claimed that two-handed players could hold the shot longer and at the last minute change direction. This was certainly true of Rios, but I really think it's more the player than the stroke type. So I don't know that either is more versatile unless it's because a one-hander is more likely to vary spin, topspin versus slice, more often.

    The one-hander was much easier for me to learn than the two-hander (which I never did), so I'll disagree here.

    With regard to vituosity and genius, Rios' two-hander qualifies as both. Again, I think it's more the player rather than how many hands he/she has on the racquet.

    Very very good post! And, BTW, the reason I responded!

    Well, Wilander became like Navratilova. When Wilander came on tour, he was an East/West player, strictly baseline stuff. For those who remember his 1988, he was a North/South player as well. Wilander was a very good volleyer and made his way to net when the conditions suited him; i.e. at the French, he didn't volley, but he won through attrition. His victory at the 1988 US Open over Lendl saw him make many trips to the net, about triple what Federer makes probably.

    Wilander post-1988 pretty much put his two-handed topspin backhand in the closet and went solely to the one-handed slice. I thought at the time he had just gotten lazy, he was probably more burnt out than anything else. But, point in fact, he did become a lot like Navratilova without an effective a serve.

    The majority of the teaching pros around here start kids off with two-handed backhands until they develop some strength, then they try to get them to one-handed. Stan Smith says that players should have both and learn to return serve with two hands. I have no idea if that's a good idea or not.

    BTW, Pancho Segura was two hands off both sides.
     
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  32. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Segura had a one handed backhand.
     
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  33. Z-Man

    Z-Man Professional

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    That's funny, because in my 4.0 singles days I was always glad to see a 1-hander because I knew they couldn't hurt me on that side and I knew they couldn't handle a high backhand. (I don't have trouble with short slices to my backhand.) But now I see the good 4.5s and up who have 1-handers don't have any trouble on that side. So that's one observation: below 4.5, not many 1-handers can attack with the backhand, and they can't handle high backhands.

    Regarding pros, they all have the talent to hit a 1-hander, but I think most of the GOATs are attacking players, not defensive baseliners. An attacking game works on more surfaces and you can play it longer without wearing your body out. The 1-hander goes better with an attacking game. It's not as reliable, but you can do more with it.

    That said, at the recreational levels, the return of serve is as important as the serve, and I do think 2-handers are better for returns. All of the great returners have 2-handers.
     
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  34. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Up until recent years, most 2 handed backhand players didn't have excellent slice backhands and the two-hander is a liability in the mid-court area (moving forward). We'll see how guys like Murray do who have a good slice one-hander and the ability to play through the mid-court and volley as well as hit two-handers from the baseline. (He'll have to be more aggressive though or he will get beaten too often by guys like Roddick.)
     
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  35. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

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    The stability of a 2 handed backhand, especially on short preparation, make it preferable on service returns (the 2nd most important shot in the game after the serve in modern tennis). While a one handed shot can potentially produce more torque (and therfore pace), it takes more time to set up, requires more strength, and needs excellent timing. At the higher levels, the pace of the ball makes setting up for a full stroke more difficult.

    It is absolutely amazing at what Federer, Gasquet, Warwrinka, Almagro, et al. can do at that level.
     
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  36. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Great point.
    I'm sure Mats would be delighted to hear that.;-)
    But then again, he'd love to have her slam count.
     
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  37. atennisrand

    atennisrand Banned

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    There are many technical reasons which have essentially all been mentioned but I believe it's because it looks damn cool :)
     
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  38. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    No. Borg never won the US Open nor the Australian Open.
     
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  39. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    aussie open was not highly regarded back then and many top players skipped it regularly ( and that includes borg,connors,mcenroe ..... )
     
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