Originally Posted by sureshs
It cannot reliably hit flatter shots without resorting to slicing.
That's unfortunately not true. Back in the days of wooden frames people majorly resorted to flatter trajectories and the 1HBH was an overwhelming favorite. Even in the late 90's, strokes were still pretty flat. Because of this, I would be inclined to think that 1HBH players tend to vary a lot more than their trajectories than 2HBH do. If you've ever watched a few tennis matches, you're perfectly aware that this is what happens on a court.
I'd say that, for some reason, the game 1HBH play is DIFFERENT than the game 2HBH players play -- i.e., they do not use their strokes for the same purpose.
Before Federer became a top player, there were analysts who thought that the slice backhand would become obsolete. It was a purely defensive gesture you would use when you're in trouble in their mind. After all, how can a puffy sitter disturb a top player? He'd run around that ball and he'd smack a forehand winner. Then, that Swiss guy came in and he was slicing the ball in the middle of a neutral rally. Federer has an astonishing forehand, especially when he plays it as an inside ground stroke, but without that slice, you would not have seen him play so many inside forehands in his career. I'd say that Federer minus his slice doesn't have 17 GS titles and I'd go as far as saying that Federer with a 2HBH wouldn't have that slice... at the very least, he wouldn't use it that way. Arguably, not staying in a backhand rally is what has cost him matches against Nadal. The biggest mistake Federer made, I think, was trying too hard to avoid a backhand rally against Nadal's forehand... it gave Nadal the space he needed and it provided him with too many useless unforced errors. Same in late career defeats against Djokovic: not committing himself to a backhand rally, not accepting a lasting neutral situation off that wing has cost him major points. I know both of these cross-court rallies are loosing bets, but there are always good and bad times to change direction, run around, etc. and Federer abused of these things, in my humble opinion. THERE, a 2HBH Federer would have won the matches. There, sticking a to a rally with a lot of simple cross-court strokes would have been a good thing. People remember defeats against Nadal when they think about the 1HBH. They don't think about how many titles Federer owes to his backhand simply because he doesn't finish the point with it and never obliterated anyone with it. However, it earned him the occasions to hurt his opponents with his forehand.
Of course, Gasquet, Wawrinka, Haas and others do not play like Federer since they are not Federer, but you still see them varying their trajectories a lot more than 2HBH do. Regardless of the reason, it seems like using a 1HBH or a 2HBH changes the way you approach a tennis match and that's as important, though less discussed, as the question everyone inquires about here (i.e., which objective advantages, if there are any, are there in using one backhand or the other?). In a similar perspective, tennis hack has a great point about match-ups and tactics.
Originally Posted by tennis_hack
This means everyone ends up having the same strengths and weaknesses off both wings, homogenizing the tour [...].
When everyone plays the same game, difference becomes a weapon.