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-   -   Why is it a recurring theme that Americans have average backhands? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=450764)

always_crosscourt 01-13-2013 08:11 AM

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

joeri888 01-13-2013 08:14 AM

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

J011yroger 01-13-2013 08:44 AM

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

Sid_Vicious 01-13-2013 08:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by always_crosscourt (Post 7116544)
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?

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.

RodSmooth 01-13-2013 08:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sid_Vicious (Post 7116590)
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.

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.

Sid_Vicious 01-13-2013 09:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RodSmooth (Post 7116602)
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.

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.

sureshs 01-13-2013 09:11 AM

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.

Sid_Vicious 01-13-2013 09:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sureshs (Post 7116635)
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.

Don't forget Nadal.

GoaLaSSo 01-13-2013 09:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joeri888 (Post 7116549)
You pretty much gave the answer yourself. Big first strike tennis, on quick hard courts with short rallies.

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.

Relinquis 01-13-2013 09:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sureshs (Post 7116635)
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.

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?

Relinquis 01-13-2013 09:41 AM

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

PhrygianDominant 01-13-2013 10:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sid_Vicious (Post 7116590)
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.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Relinquis (Post 7116688)
I don't buy the hardcourt excuse. the previous era had americans with strong backhand and the courts were even faster!

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.

President 01-13-2013 10:51 AM

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.

ollinger 01-13-2013 10:59 AM

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).

tennis_pro 01-13-2013 11:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joeri888 (Post 7116549)
You pretty much gave the answer yourself. Big first strike tennis, on quick hard courts with short rallies.

On what? What would those be today?

soyizgood 01-13-2013 11:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tennis_pro (Post 7116821)
On what? What would those be today?

Maybe Cincinnati and some indoor venues.

Timbo's hopeless slice 01-13-2013 07:48 PM

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?

TheCheese 01-13-2013 07:57 PM

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

slowfox 01-13-2013 08:31 PM

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

TheCheese 01-13-2013 09:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Timbo's hopeless slice (Post 7118019)
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?

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


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