Why is it a recurring theme that Americans have average backhands?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by always_crosscourt, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    Isner, Harrison, Roddick, Raonic (nearly American) all come to mind as players that have really limited backhands. Exceptions to the rule include Agassi, and possibly, Fish.

    Most Americans want to play 'big man tennis' which is dominating with serve and put away forehand.

    They view their backhand as merely a damage limitation device - so that they can stay in a rally long enough to use a forehand. Federer, Djokovic and even Murray can do all sorts of things off their own backhands to make their opponent uncomfortable - for them hitting a backhand is not about merely staying in a rally.

    Why do you think this is? For a start, the USTA is known to be very quick to mould all players into using a 2hbh, and 1hbh is pretty much banned. But even when you're using 2hbh's, the 'American 2hbh' seems to be especially bad... Mechanically, what is wrong with it?
     
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  2. joeri888

    joeri888 G.O.A.T.

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    You pretty much gave the answer yourself. Big first strike tennis, on quick hard courts with short rallies.
     
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  3. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    I don't think Querry's BH is bad, D-Young's BH is maybe a little better than his FH, Fish's BH is a mile better than his FH, Ginnepri was even on both sides, JMG even on both sides, Todd Martin's BH was fine, Chang's BH was fine.

    J
     
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  4. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    The amount of generic and ugly 2 handed backhands is higher now than ever before. Complete opposite of the 90s when a lot of guys had hideous one handed backhands. It is not just the americans, guys like Ferrer, Tsonga, Monfils, Granollers, Monaco, Troicki etc. have average and ugly 2 handed backhands.
     
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  5. RodSmooth

    RodSmooth Professional

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    I get what your saying about the Americans but you take that back.

    Monfils can rip his backhand, and has one of the most heaviest and consistent backhands when he's on.

    Tsonga can rip his backhand to on a regular basis.

    Ferrer can hit a decent solid backhand consistently.

    All three have well above ave rage backhands just not the best.
     
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  6. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    I am not taking anything back.

    Monfils does not have a great backhand. Heaviest? utterly ridiculous. Consistent? Yes, it is, but that is where the strengths of his backhand end. His backhand is much weaker than his forehand and even on slow surfaces like clay, players with huge forehands can easily dictate play by attacking his backhand.

    Yes, Tsonga can rip his backhand on a regular basis, but that does not mean he has a great backhand. He is stiff as a board when he makes contact with the ball; he has to muscle his way through the contact zone to get decent pace. A lot of the times he hits the ball 10 feet out. His backhand is not impressive to say the least.

    Ferrer has a decent and solid backhand. He gets an A+ for consistency, but that does not mean he has an "above average backhand". The guy would be willing to take a bullet in order to hit a forehand over a backhand.


    What I find interesting is that you seem to think Monfils, Tsonga, and Ferrer are "above average" compared to the American players. If you think Monfils, Tsonga, and Ferrer have above average backhands, then so does Andy Roddick. Roddick did not have great technique, but he did hang into rallies throughout his career like Ferrer and Monfils do.And just like Tsonga, Roddick could also step in and crush the occasional 100 mph backhand winner with his stiff-armed swings.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
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  7. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    What is the point taking the top 3 players as a comparison and saying that American players have bad backhands? And I don't agree that Fed has a better backhand than American players.
     
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  8. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    Don't forget Nadal.
     
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  9. GoaLaSSo

    GoaLaSSo Semi-Pro

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    And this strategy used to be great when courts were faster. It can still work, but it is much easier for players to defend against big shots nowadays.

    I think most American players that were brought up on hardcourts (which is almost all of them) learned to play like this because it worked when they were younger.
     
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  10. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    Fed's backhand is gorgeous. it always has been. even in his match against aggassi as a teen (fed as a teen, not aggassi) people were commenting on how strong he was from the backhand. it's not just power, he has incredible variety from that wing. i can't think of a current american player that has a comparable backhand. can you name 2 please?
     
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  11. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    I don't buy the hardcourt excuse. the previous era had americans with strong backhand and the courts were even faster!
     
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  12. PhrygianDominant

    PhrygianDominant Hall of Fame

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    Backhands in general are weaker. A good backhand, or a player with a better backhand, is an outlier to start with. Our opinions are just biased from watching too many top players, who by default will have better backhands than the average player, or even the average pro player.
     
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  13. President

    President Legend

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    The American tennis elite believed that tennis would always be played on fast hard courts and never thought to develop all-round players as a result. Even now you can hear Patrick McEnroe always talking about "first strike tennis" and the forehand serve combination. That won't win in today's conditions against players that are actually athletic. Even the American's forehands are overrated generally, they can hit it hard but they aren't truly exceptional shots.
     
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  14. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    As children, most Americans grow up playing sports that emphasize muscles used to hit forehands, especially baseball and football (the throwing motion using mostly forehand muscles).
     
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  15. tennis_pro

    tennis_pro G.O.A.T.

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    On what? What would those be today?
     
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  16. soyizgood

    soyizgood G.O.A.T.

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    Maybe Cincinnati and some indoor venues.
     
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  17. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    there's a story I heard oonce, and it may be an urban myth, that when Courier turned up at Nick B's he had no BH to speak of but an awesome FH. Nick proceeded to work on...the FH!

    the rest, as they say, is history.

    I wonder if this has gotten into the heads of some american coaches?
     
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  18. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    Baker has a great backhand. But honestly, most two-handers are average and most americans play with two hands.
     
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  19. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    When Sampras won his first US Open, his backhand was insanely good. I swear he was hitting crazy winners off that wing.
     
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  20. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    I think it's definitely better to have a massive weapon and a weakness than two average shots.
     
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  21. SLD76

    SLD76 Legend

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    dumb poast.

    canadian is not "nearly american"
     
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  22. SLD76

    SLD76 Legend

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    thats cuz you're a troll.
     
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  23. Hawkeye7

    Hawkeye7 Professional

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    Why is it a recurring theme that trolls always survive way too long on this forum?
     
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  24. axel89

    axel89 Banned

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    The fact that u say ferret has an avg backhand is amusing he easily is in the top ten ATM
     
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  25. ark_28

    ark_28 Hall of Fame

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    WHen you can hit a serve at 148 mph like John who cares about a back hand serve and forehand combo are more than enough to beat the worlds best which he has shown with wins over Novak and Federer last year
     
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  26. Doubles

    Doubles Hall of Fame

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    Again with this Isner crap? Rare wins over Fed and Djokovic don't count. If he had a backhand that wasn't borderline terrible, he would be closer to the top five.
     
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  27. kidbourbon

    kidbourbon New User

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    Fed's backhand is average, and is his weakness..
     
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  28. Doubles

    Doubles Hall of Fame

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    Yeah if he had a better bh he would have 20+ slams :rolleyes:
     
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  29. always_crosscourt

    always_crosscourt Banned

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    He's being to Isner what NSK is to Nadal.
     
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  30. heninfan99

    heninfan99 Legend

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    I don't think it's an American thing...for once. I think it just so happens we had a few guys with weaker backhands and maybe not great technique. But Fish, DY, Querrey all have backhands that seem very good to me(as JRoger posted above).

    And Sampras' backhand was a bit underrated.

    I think it's just what they are naturally comfortable with too. Kei was trianed in the US and his two-hander is stellar.
     
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  31. Clay lover

    Clay lover Hall of Fame

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    I think some of you guys expect too much of a two handed backhand, maybe because Djokovic and Murray has set the bar so high.

    I think people on this board have gone way too elitist because they have been spoiled by the big four, and by the media which glorifies success and nitpicks the slightest flaws.

    I laugh so hard when people say Fed's or Nadal's backhand is bad, seriously.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
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  32. JMR

    JMR Semi-Pro

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    Connors had possibly the best backhand of the open era. At the very least, he's in a select group with just a few other players. It was Jimbo's backhand that enabled him to continue to rally effectively against players half his age.

    The best two-handers come from players who habitually put a lot of shoulder and torso rotation into the shot (Connors, Djokovic). Too many players, including some of the Americans mentioned in this thread, rely on wristy, arm-oriented strokes that make it very easy to set up for a forehand on the next shot. If you're a savant, you can pull off a backhand stroke like that (Borg). If you're not, you'll produce a Courier/Roddick backhand. Note that when Connors was coaching Roddick, Andy's backhand improved because he paid more attention to footwork and body position. He also developed a decent slice. But by then it was too late to acquire a backhand that was a genuine strength; Roddick's goal was just to prevent it from being too great a liability.
     
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  33. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    He meant "North American"... :)
     
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  34. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    A good FH and serve are great. the americans should try to keep that strength. fed also does those shots kinda well:).

    however on top of that they need to improve athleticsm, BH and movement.

    the big FH is an important part of modern tennis but just ripping 130 mp serves and 100 mph FHs with nothing to back that up is not going to get the job done on today's courts.
     
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  35. Steve0904

    Steve0904 G.O.A.T.

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    It's not average. His BH has always been pretty good. Of course age probably has something to do with it getting slightly worse. In his prime people said his BH was his weakness because going to his FH was a death wish. It is only truly exposed by Nadal's topspin, and the high bouncing courts of today. Put Federer on the court in Cincy or the WTF and his BH's fine.
     
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