Could Nadal be even better with a 1hbh?

Could Nadal be even better with a 1hbh?

  • No

    Votes: 14 77.8%
  • Yes

    Votes: 4 22.2%

  • Total voters


I think that in some ways, Nadal's game would benefit the most out of any other player if he had a 1hbh. Not a classical Haas or Blake type of backhand, but a clay-court 1hbh, similar to Gasquet's, Almagro's or Kuerten's.

The reason I say this is because in some ways Nadal is playing with house money because his backhand is already what most people would say the weakest of the Top Four. It's not like he already has a GOAT-candidate backhand, and any change on it would be tremendously deleterious for his game.

Having a great clay-court 1hbh would allow him to hit more topspin on his backhand wing than what he manages at the moment. For a two-handed backhand, Nadal gets a fair bit of topspin, but it's nowhere near his forehand, whereas Gasquet's backhand, frighteningly, does come close to Nadal-forehand-like rpm's. Similarly with Kuerten's backhand. If Nadal could make people extremely uncomfortable with high kicking balls hooking people off the court from both wings, it would be an extremely lethal combination. Nadal may expend less energy and give up less court positioning from constantly running around his backhand to hit forehands, if his backhand offered him the same kind of options as his forehand.

Where does the 1hbh suffer? On high balls, supposedly. But a clay-court style backhand would make Nadal's backhand solid against high balls, and, as it is, Nadal already struggles with high balls to his own 2hbh against the very few people in the world that are able to consistently pin him on his backhand (i.e. Djokovic and BeastMode Federer). Maybe a 1hbh would make Nadal better at handling high balls to his backhand. And you've got to remember, anyway, that Nadal hits very few backhands in most matches, and spends most of his time forehand-moonballing rightie backhands.

The 1hbh also suffers on the return, yet Nadal is already not the greatest returner, and certainly is used to adopting a very defensive returning position (see my avatar) to give his hypothetical 1hbh plenty of time to wind-up.

Not only tactically, but technically, Nadal would be well served with a 1hbh. His 2hbh uses a double-straight combination at contact, and his left hand uses an eastern backhand grip, indicating a strong left arm presence in his 2hbh, despite Nadal being a natural rightie playing southpaw.

Overall, I think there are plenty of tactical and technical reasons for Nadal to have great success if he had learned a 1hbh when growing up. I think he would have been even more dangerous had he done so.


Hall of Fame
As long as he didn't have to play a right-handed version of himself, maybe.

Actually having a bh as good as Gasquet's would probably be a plus. But taking a random top 100 1hbh would likely be a liability.
The number of hands has nothing to do with it. He'd be better with Djokovic's backhand, of course. Of Nalbandian or Safin's. But his own is solid enough.


Just about every player would be better with a 1HBH, with the possible exception of Djokovic. :shock:

You are stuck in the way back machine badly. I bet you think you have more talent than Nadal, Murray and Cvac combined because they play with modern equipment and you, I assume, do not. You probably think you could take them out with your 65 square inch wooden racket using your glorious one handed backhand and by s&v them off the court. Your delusions about technology ruining tennis are freaking hilarious. :lol:


Bionic Poster
He would be almost bearable with a one-hander.

otoh, it would give him more freedom with the other hand. ;) :D


The number of hands has nothing to do with it. He'd be better with Djokovic's backhand, of course. Of Nalbandian or Safin's. But his own is solid enough.

Nalbandian, Safin, and Djokovic play nothing like Nadal's style.

They all use(d) their 2hbh's stability advantage to stay close to the baseline, hit their backhands relatively flat and try to redirect balls and take time away from their opponents. And they were all far more offensive off the return from the backhand than Nadal is.

Gasquet, and (to a lesser extent) Almagro, actually do play like Nadal - they try to spin their opponents to death (height, bounce, angles) from far behind the baseline. Neither can do it nearly as well on the forehand side (because they don't have the lefty Nadal 3000rpm forehand), but both can actually do it better on the backhand side because one of the advantages of the 1hbh is that it is a freer stroke, allowing more topspin to be generated. Having a good clay-court style 1hbh would allow Nadal to play his heavy topspin attrition from both wings, not just the forehand.

One of the disadvantages of the 1hbh is the time it takes to prepare the shot - but this is negated by how far Nadal stays back to rally and return serve anyway.

I think the 1hbh would be a good fit for Nadal because its strengths and weaknesses are both leveraged and compensated, respectively, by Nadal's currently playing style.