The Nadal backhand

Zverev is now ranked 6th and Federer 7th.
Yes, but we are in 2021 now. He was above him in 2020. Anyway the point was that he was in the top10 without playing which has to be the highest peak of all time. I wanted to add Zverev in the silly joke because he did complain about that one thing particularly (and he was right). Wanted to punch both Zverev and Fed in the same sentence... :)
 

Start da Game

Hall of Fame
It worsened in 2015-2016. Since 2017 onwards, it's the same as usual. On clay it has even improved. Remember the RG 2019 SF where he made a lot of impressive backhand winners. During the RG 2020 final he also made solid backhand winners.

P.S.: why do you write like this........with so many points after ending a sentence?...............It's gramatically incorrect to write like this..........
i feel that writing like this enhances readability and removes stress from the eyes of the readers.........the sentences are nicely spread out........i wish one day the whole world writes like this........

speaking of the backhand - it took a nosedive after 2011 miami final.........it was an amazing shot until that point.........after that he suddenly stopped driving the ball and started jabbing at the backhands with open stance.........he was either looping them high with no punch or slicing it all the time, making it extremely vulnerable to be punished by those with good forehands.........

i feel it was probably due to lack of confidence than anything else..........origins of chickendal can be traced back to 2011 actually.........there were times when his backhand did fire occasionally even in the recent times but that old consistency of 2008, 2009, 2010 is long gone.........
 

David Le

Hall of Fame
Nadal’s backhand isn’t Top 5 in history, but definitely in the middle-end of Top 10 list imo.
 

skaj

Legend
When it is firing DTL he wins Majors on all surfaces. Has destroyed Djokovic in particular in numerous Major finals with that shot.
However it is not a great shot. It is a good shot that can be great at times. It is far inferior to Djokovic or Murray. It has also cost him big matches as he does not hit straight through it. Most notably AO 2012 final when 40-15 with a chance to go 5-2 up. Also failed him v Federer at AO in 2017 and Thiem in 2020 and this year as well.
Indoors it is a liability.
Overall therefore i would say it is top 10 of all time at best. But can be lethal on occasion..often in Major finals which a pretty good time for it to be on

Hardly. Nalbandian, Djokovic, Safin, Agassi, Gasquet, Wawrinka, Nishikori, Murray, Laver, Connors, that's already 10 I think.
 

David Le

Hall of Fame
Hardly. Nalbandian, Djokovic, Safin, Agassi, Gasquet, Wawrinka, Nishikori, Murray, Laver, Connors, that's already 10 I think.
If we are talking about two-handed backhands he’s in Top 10. If we are talking about just backhands in general (one and two) than he’s at least between 7-10.
 

skaj

Legend
If we are talking about two-handed backhands he’s in Top 10. If we are talking about just backhands in general (one and two) than he’s at least between 7-10.
Two-handers only, off the top of my head:
Nalbandian
Djokovic
Agassi
Safin
Mecir
Murray
Nishikori
Connors
Kafelnikov
Wilander

That's already 10.
 

jarko111

Hall of Fame
I mean, It's a really awesome shot. And he's going to be the Slam Leader soon and you don't get there by just having one shot. I've always been amazed at the big 3's ability to hit offense in a defensive position. The problem is that it isn't his most talked about shot which is why you started this thread. When it's obviously better under pressure, over a long career than almost anyone else backhand.
 

David Le

Hall of Fame
Two-handers only, off the top of my head:
Nalbandian
Djokovic
Agassi
Safin
Mecir
Murray
Nishikori
Connors
Kafelnikov
Wilander

That's already 10.
Idk who’s Mecir is (had to look him up) so I’ll have to watch vids of him. Wilander is a good choice, forgot about him. Everyone else are great choices.
 

skaj

Legend
Idk who’s Mecir is (had to look him up) so I’ll have to watch vids of him. Wilander is a good choice, forgot about him. Everyone else are great choices.
He had a great backhand, amazing control, excellent at redirecting the ball, but he could also generate a lot of pace himself and hit a super fast killer backhand out of nowhere; wonderful disguise, and it looked beautiful on a top of all of that.
 

skaj

Legend
Really? I thought the Becker backhand was exceptional. His FH was a liability i felt
I would that say his backhand was okay, but his forehand was a more dangerous weapon. That's at least how I remember him. His biggest weapon was his serve though, I have no doubt about that.
 
Really? I thought the Becker backhand was exceptional. His FH was a liability i felt
Remember that on TT solidity is underrated and flash is overrated. I wouldn't say Becker's forehand was a liability but it could be leaky alright. Never saw anybody get him into trouble playing backhands. Had a pretty solid drive. Not as good as Edberg, but Edberg had the best OBH in that era anyway.
 

skaj

Legend
Remember that on TT solidity is underrated and flash is overrated. I wouldn't say Becker's forehand was a liability but it could be leaky alright. Never saw anybody get him into trouble playing backhands. Had a pretty solid drive. Not as good as Edberg, but Edberg had the best OBH in that era anyway.
Yes, pretty solid, not exceptional and better than Nadal's.
 

aldeayeah

Legend
Considering that it has to handle everyone's CC forehands, it's a rock solid shot.

He just doesn't have the usual weaknesses of a left handed player.

His BH is much better than usually given credit and is pretty close to the best on tour (which is Djokovic's) on most surfaces.

It sometimes gets exposed on low bouncing surfaces but that's more of a knee/age problem, 2008-2009 Nadal had no issue hitting low BHs.

As of AO 2009, Nadal had probably the best BH on the tour.
 

skaj

Legend
Considering that it has to handle everyone's CC forehands, it's a rock solid shot.

He just doesn't have the usual weaknesses of a left handed player.

His BH is much better than usually given credit and is pretty close to the best on tour (which is Djokovic's) on most surfaces.

It sometimes gets exposed on low bouncing surfaces but that's more of a knee/age problem, 2008-2009 Nadal had no issue hitting low BHs.

As of AO 2009, Nadal had probably the best BH on the tour.
Better than Djokovic, Nalbandian, Safin, Murray, Wawrinka, Gasquet...?
 
Yes, pretty solid, not exceptional and better than Nadal's.
I would have to think about that. On slow-medium hard courts and clay, I would take Nadal's backhand. On fast courts/grass, Becker. Becker's backhand return on grass was great, obviously had to be to have been in all but one Wimbledon final from 85 to 91. Nadal's highly defensive return position docks him a lot of points compared to Andre, Nole, Connors, etc. If you're leaving the option of serve and volley open to the opponent all the time, you likely wouldn't have been a great returner in any era other than the modern one.
 

Beckerserve

Legend
Remember that on TT solidity is underrated and flash is overrated. I wouldn't say Becker's forehand was a liability but it could be leaky alright. Never saw anybody get him into trouble playing backhands. Had a pretty solid drive. Not as good as Edberg, but Edberg had the best OBH in that era anyway.
Oh Edberg BH was a step up from Beckers as were his volleys. Edberg was probably more complete in terms of surface transition. Becker was a fast court specialist
 

Beckerserve

Legend
I would that say his backhand was okay, but his forehand was a more dangerous weapon. That's at least how I remember him. His biggest weapon was his serve though, I have no doubt about that.
Yep. His serve was what his game was built around and i think it is why in 90s outside grass and carpet he became ineffectual for long periods as by then other huge servers were around like Krajicek Ivanisevic stich sampras so the becker serve was not uniquely massive which meant on slower courts players handled it better as returns were being forced to improve due to the big servers. Becker became more complete as a player in 1995 when the penny dropped for him . Took him 4 years to figure it out.
 

skaj

Legend
I would have to think about that. On slow-medium hard courts and clay, I would take Nadal's backhand. On fast courts/grass, Becker. Becker's backhand return on grass was great, obviously had to be to have been in all but one Wimbledon final from 85 to 91. Nadal's highly defensive return position docks him a lot of points compared to Andre, Nole, Connors, etc. If you're leaving the option of serve and volley open to the opponent all the time, you likely wouldn't have been a great returner in any era other than the modern one.
Yes, I agree with the most of this but that would make them more less equal, not one better than the other. And neither of those backhands I would call exceptional, except maybe Nadal's crosscourt on the run, but that's largely his mobility and power and not so much the shot itself.
 
Yes, I agree with the most of this but that would make them more less equal, not one better than the other. And neither of those backhands I would call exceptional, except maybe Nadal's crosscourt on the run, but that's largely his mobility and power and not so much the shot itself.
Actually , I think the shot is fine and the problem is more with how he has been tactically wired to treat the backhand as a defensive shield. And it's not REALLY a problem except when we compare him to players like Agassi or Djokovic who attack a lot more with the backhand. Nadal's gameplan is to make the backhand a wall, forcing players to try to open up his forehand corner or to handcuff him on the backhand side at which he can sprint across for a running forehand or run around and hit an inside out screamer. In the last few years, we have seen that he is more wont to use the cross-court to devastating effect. And IIRC he did pull out the DTL too against Djokovic in the RG final last year. We might yet see further evolution then in how he uses the backhand.
 

skaj

Legend
Actually , I think the shot is fine and the problem is more with how he has been tactically wired to treat the backhand as a defensive shield. And it's not REALLY a problem except when we compare him to players like Agassi or Djokovic who attack a lot more with the backhand. Nadal's gameplan is to make the backhand a wall, forcing players to try to open up his forehand corner or to handcuff him on the backhand side at which he can sprint across for a running forehand or run around and hit an inside out screamer. In the last few years, we have seen that he is more wont to use the cross-court to devastating effect. And IIRC he did pull out the DTL too against Djokovic in the RG final last year. We might yet see further evolution then in how he uses the backhand.
Nobody said it's not fine or that it is a problem, just that it's not exceptional. He builds his game plan in the limits of what he can do with his shot. If he had an Agassi/Safin/Nalbandian backhand he would attack much more with it(who wouldn't).
 
Top