Wawrinka Backhand Revelation

#1
Wawrinka hands down probably hits his backhand harder than anyone in the history of tennis. Most analysis-es of him will attribute this to his effective use of core rotation, where he opens up to the net more than the traditional one-handed backhand.

The closest player I've seen to utilize this is Dominic Thiem but even he rotates to the net less. Why aren't more upcoming juniors and next gen pros who use the one-hander like Shapovalov utilizing this? Is there an unknown drawback that I am missing?
 
#2
Wawrinka hands down probably hits his backhand harder than anyone in the history of tennis. Most analysis-es of him will attribute this to his effective use of core rotation, where he opens up to the net more than the traditional one-handed backhand.

The closest player I've seen to utilize this is Dominic Thiem but even he rotates to the net less. Why aren't more upcoming juniors and next gen pros who use the one-hander like Shapovalov utilizing this? Is there an unknown drawback that I am missing?
Well, it's too late for Denis. His strokes were likely fully formed by the time he was 15, maybe even by age 12.

The players are indeed the teachers but it takes a while for such innovations to filter through to the coaches/stroke makers, some of whom are very stubborn and resistant to change.
 
#3
Successful tennis players almost always learned at an early age. I'm not an instructor. I believe that teaching the one hand backhand is discouraged for children.

There are two ways to initiate the forward motion of the one hand backhand:
1) Moderated force upper body turn with shoulder muscles also separating the upper arm from the chest.
2) More forceful upper body turn with shoulder muscles not separating the upper arm from the chest.

The checkpoint in high speed videos is the chest pressing/in contact with the upper arm and the line between the two shoulders and upper arm moving forward in contact together (imagine viewing the backhand from above). Often it is hard to observe.

My opinion - The shoulder muscles are not strong because they are smaller and the leverage (torque) in not as much for moving the arm and racket as the upper body turning can provide. At a later time before impact the shoulder muscles are used. Details and exact timing of this two phase muscle use is unknown.

Players are hitting backhands using both techniques.

As far as who has the most pace on ground strokes, they are not usually measured. Do you have some studies or data?

Thread on this issue. To shorten read Post #1 and then Post #51 to end.
https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...and-waht-force-to-start-forward-swing.462997/
 
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topspn

Hall of Fame
#4
I learned a 1hbh as a child using a heavy wood dunlop racquet no problem. All this teaching kids two hander blah blah blah is BS
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
#5
Is there an unknown drawback that I am missing?
Yes, big loopy BH with huge follow-through are not as good for faster courts. How well have Wawrinka and Thiem done on grass, for example?

Have you seen how far back Thiem stands on return of serve? Compare to shorter prep, traditional OHBH such as Edberg, which was better on faster surfaces.
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
#6
Wawrinka hands down probably hits his backhand harder than anyone in the history of tennis. Most analysis-es of him will attribute this to his effective use of core rotation, where he opens up to the net more than the traditional one-handed backhand.

The closest player I've seen to utilize this is Dominic Thiem but even he rotates to the net less. Why aren't more upcoming juniors and next gen pros who use the one-hander like Shapovalov utilizing this? Is there an unknown drawback that I am missing?
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
#8
How about both? 2HBH for return of serve and high balls. And 1HBH for everything else.
I'm not sure who and how created the story, but there is no problem with OHBH and groundstrokes on high balls if technique is right. ROS might be a weakness but solution is Almagro / @Shroud grip and return:

 

FiReFTW

Hall of Fame
#9
Considering how strong Wawrinka is from both his backhand and forehand wing, did the OP ever thought about the possibility that its not so much technique but more the physique, explosiveness, strenght, bukly weight?
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
#10
Considering how strong Wawrinka is from both his backhand and forehand wing, did the OP ever thought about the possibility that its not so much technique but more the physique, explosiveness, strenght, bukly weight?
Probably a lot about this is true. Everyone can copy Nadal's technique, but it won't make you hit like Nadal. Besides, Stan's swing path is not and loopy (he lifts the racquet face down prior to swing), hence he has to use his core (plus core strength) more to compensate for the shorter swing path.
What's interesting with Wawrinka's BH hitting is not related to technique only. He hits with right mix of topspin, penetration (pace + depth) and ball height (trajectory). It's not technique only, it's a choice as well.

Speaking of onehanders, was anyone watching RG semifinalist Cecchinato?
 

MisterP

Hall of Fame
#11
I'm not sure who and how created the story, but there is no problem with OHBH and groundstrokes on high balls if technique is right. ROS might be a weakness but solution is Almagro / @Shroud grip and return:

Of course it’s possible. Nobody is saying it isn’t. But Hitting a high ball with a two hander is mechanically easier than one hander.

That video is proof of it. He is using a super extreme bh grip and jumping to keep the ball in the teeny tiny strike zone for his ohbh return.
 
#12
Hi balls to my backhand r my big weakness. And I m finding its mainly psychological not mechanical.

In point play with coach:

As long as I rotate is plenty of power to hit through. With a flatter swing path.

Doing a wind shield wiper door handle turn to produce a CC fast looper also works.

Now if only I could do it in the match
 

mcs1970

Professional
#13
Well, it's too late for Denis. His strokes were likely fully formed by the time he was 15, maybe even by age 12.

The players are indeed the teachers but it takes a while for such innovations to filter through to the coaches/stroke makers, some of whom are very stubborn and resistant to change.
Might not even be stubbornness as much as what you're writing wrt age. There might be coaches who are teaching youngsters to play this way but they might still be too young to break through. Most of Stan's success has been in the last 5 years, and you'd need to start a kid around 10 or 11 to teach them a different way of hitting.

Let's ask the coaches here that question. We know that quite a few of them are on this board. Do you generally teach the 1hbh to a lot of your students? If so, do you specifically look at Stan's technique as something that can be emulated and should be taught? If not, why not?
 
#14
Well, it's too late for Denis. His strokes were likely fully formed by the time he was 15, maybe even by age 12.

The players are indeed the teachers but it takes a while for such innovations to filter through to the coaches/stroke makers, some of whom are very stubborn and resistant to change.
Yeah, great point. I just hope history doesn't pass the mechanics of Stan's backhand as just an "alignment of the stars."
 
#15
Successful tennis players almost always learned at an early age. I'm not an instructor. I believe that teaching the one hand backhand is discouraged for children.

There are two ways to initiate the forward motion of the one hand backhand:
1) Moderated force upper body turn with shoulder muscles also separating the upper arm from the chest.
2) More forceful upper body turn with shoulder muscles not separating the upper arm from the chest.

The checkpoint in high speed videos is the chest pressing/in contact with the upper arm and the line between the two shoulders and upper arm moving forward in contact together (imagine viewing the backhand from above). Often it is hard to observe.

My opinion - The shoulder muscles are not strong because they are smaller and the leverage (torque) in not as much for moving the arm and racket as the upper body turning can provide. At a later time before impact the shoulder muscles are used. Details and exact timing of this two phase muscle use is unknown.

Players are hitting backhands using both techniques.

As far as who has the most pace on ground strokes, they are not usually measured. Do you have some studies or data?

Thread on this issue. To shorten read Post #1 and then Post #51 to end.
https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...and-waht-force-to-start-forward-swing.462997/

Thank you for this information Chas! This, as well as the post you've linked to, is very helpful to me.


My Findings: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/08/22/magazine/stan-wawrinka-backhand.html

Though this is from 2014 and might be rather out-dated, I don't think much has changed in 4 years besides the entering of the next gen players. Although I'm not completely certain about the accuracy of the findings, the post has a section that reveals Wawrinka's backhand was the fastest among other ATP players backhands.
 
#17
Considering how strong Wawrinka is from both his backhand and forehand wing, did the OP ever thought about the possibility that its not so much technique but more the physique, explosiveness, strenght, bukly weight?
Stan is definitely a strong player but I don't think that can be all that is to attribute to his power. According to the ATP, Stan weighs about 179lbs. Compare that to Federer who weighs 187lbs or Thiem who is 180lbs.
 
#18
I think this is still more of the traditional one-handed backhand. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
I just looked at Tsitsipas for the first time in the last week. I could not tell if his chest pressed his upper arm in the videos that I looked at. I don't look at videos from the back because the body blocks the chest & upper arm.

He also does not have as distinct ISR racket bring down with the off hand as I have seen from Wawrinka, Justine Henin and Gasquet. (ISR-ESR discussed in the thread) But I don't understand how that motion relates to the incoming ball height so looking at one shot is not enough. Justine Henin, in a Tennis Channel instruction, demonstrated what appeared to be the ISR-ESR motions of the hitting arm. Lowering the racket and bringing it down with the off arm causing ISR of the hitting arm can be seen by how the wrist and racket rotate. ISR is internal shoulder rotation a defined motion of the shoulder joint. ISR = The upper arm (humerus bone) rotates around its longitudinal axis at the shoulder joint like a top spins, the shoulder joint itself does not necessarily translate anywhere for the joint motion. ISR is called medial shoulder rotation in many countries.
 
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zalive

Hall of Fame
#19
I just looked at Tsitsipas for the first time in the last week. I could not tell if his chest pressed his upper arm in the videos that I looked at. I don't look at videos from the back because the body blocks the chest & upper arm.

He also does not have as distinct ISR racket bring down with the off hand as I have seen from Wawrinka, Justine Henin and Gasquet. (ISR-ESR discussed in the thread) But I don't understand how that motion relates to the in coming ball height so looking at one shot is not enough. Justine Henin, in a Tennis Channel instruction, demonstrated what appeared to be the ISR-ESR motions of the hitting arm. Lowering the racket and bringing it down with the off arm causing ISR of the hitting arm and can be seen by how the wrist and racket rotates. ISR is internal shoulder rotation a defined motion of the shoulder joint. ISR = The upper arm (humerus bone) rotates around its longitudinal axis at the shoulder joint like a top spins, it does not go anywhere. ISR is called medial shoulder rotation in many countries.
I was just just looking highlights from his this year's match vs Gasquet, and I'm not sure if he ever presses his upper arm against the chest.
He seems to miss that last level of power on his BH, though ball trajectory is nice, loopy and deep. But not a weapon, he'll need to work on that shot to further improve it if he wants more...

I think this is still more of the traditional one-handed backhand. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
I'm not sure what do you mean by 'traditional'.
 
#20
Wawrinka hands down probably hits his backhand harder than anyone in the history of tennis. Most analysis-es of him will attribute this to his effective use of core rotation, where he opens up to the net more than the traditional one-handed backhand.

The closest player I've seen to utilize this is Dominic Thiem but even he rotates to the net less. Why aren't more upcoming juniors and next gen pros who use the one-hander like Shapovalov utilizing this? Is there an unknown drawback that I am missing?
I noticed this as well and I've tried hitting that way for a while. It might just be me but I feel like using core rotation makes me pull away from contact early sometimes, where when I do the more closed Federer style backhand, I make cleaner contact more often. I think you definitely need great timing to do the Wawrinka backhand.
 

Nostradamus

Talk Tennis Guru
#21
I'm not sure who and how created the story, but there is no problem with OHBH and groundstrokes on high balls if technique is right. ROS might be a weakness but solution is Almagro / @Shroud grip and return:

don't like it cause that forehand grip you start with is Western forehand grip which is seriously extreme forehand grip
 

MisterP

Hall of Fame
#22
Might not even be stubbornness as much as what you're writing wrt age. There might be coaches who are teaching youngsters to play this way but they might still be too young to break through. Most of Stan's success has been in the last 5 years, and you'd need to start a kid around 10 or 11 to teach them a different way of hitting.

Let's ask the coaches here that question. We know that quite a few of them are on this board. Do you generally teach the 1hbh to a lot of your students? If so, do you specifically look at Stan's technique as something that can be emulated and should be taught? If not, why not?
I think you have the ability to hit a one hander or you don’t.
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
#23
Wawrinka hands down probably hits his backhand harder than anyone in the history of tennis. Most analysis-es of him will attribute this to his effective use of core rotation, where he opens up to the net more than the traditional one-handed backhand.

The closest player I've seen to utilize this is Dominic Thiem but even he rotates to the net less. Why aren't more upcoming juniors and next gen pros who use the one-hander like Shapovalov utilizing this? Is there an unknown drawback that I am missing?
I must apologize, I didn't quite understand what you said the first time, let's hope I understand it much better this time :)

What Stan does might be somewhat more demanding when it comes to controlling hitting against high balls. It's much easier when facing sideways, just lift racquet's head (not the handle), similar to FH and voila, from sideways position or slightly open towards the net it's simple. The more you open up to the net, the more demanding it gets against high balls.

What's good in Stan's technique is that he doesn't spare on core rotation. If you look at Denis, he doesn't rotate back his shoulders on prep as much as he should. He makes it up with acceleration but his consistency suffers - even on practice sessions, which is visible from his sessions. The swing is bit tense, not nearly effortless/fluid as his FH is. He'll likely need to improve it if he wants to go to the top.

Nevertheless, Stan is very worthwhile of taking into consideration for a raw model because of the result, what he has is in ATP terms, very simply, the best onehander on the tour. At least it's so when he's in his peak. So it makes sense to learn from the best.
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
#25
I think you have the ability to hit a one hander or you don’t.
If we talk about kids then yeah, they may fare better with a twohander. If we talk about bigger age or grown ups, well onehander doesn't require any special strength, it requires a technique. It's just as with any other stroke, how to speed up racquet's head so it can win the collision with the ball with ease, transferring its RHS to pace and spin.
 

MisterP

Hall of Fame
#26
Until the 2hbh came into vogue even children and women were hitting 1hbh with much heavier racquets than generally used today. It is definitely not a question of ability.
That’s true. But I know plenty of 3.5s and 4.0s with one handers who can’t hit the broad side of a barn. They’d have been much better off developing a two hander. IMO, people who can hit one handers naturally are born, not made.
 
#27
That’s true. But I know plenty of 3.5s and 4.0s with one handers who can’t hit the broad side of a barn. They’d have been much better off developing a two hander. IMO, people who can hit one handers naturally are born, not made.
Empirical evidence doesn't mean much. I have seen a lot more 2hbh that sucks too at that level simply because more try to play a 2hbh. If you get proper instruction and drill daily, either stroke can be learned. True that some strokes can come more naturally to some than others but there's no innate issues that can prevent anyone from developing a good 1hbh. I still believe most youngsters these days are better off learning the 2hbh but that's a different conversation
 
#28
people over analyse Wawrinka's bh... it's actually no different from others... open up more or less, it's a result of individual's bone structures.
 
#29
Yes, big loopy BH with huge follow-through are not as good for faster courts. How well have Wawrinka and Thiem done on grass, for example?
Wawrinka has done well at Wimbledon. Him being bad on grass is a tennis myth. He has lost to Federer quarter-finals, Del Potro and lost a stellar match against Gasquet in the quarter-finals. He's probably earned over a million dollars in prize money at Wimbledon alone.
 
#32
0:49 - that's substantially more than 6'' in front from his toes...
Are there measurements on where the ball is impacted? Guidelines? References?

The angle between the forearm and racket as viewed from above does not show up well in ground based camera videos. To get the racket face to face the target the arm has to be forward for impact. ( Forward = closer to the net.)

When the phrase 'in front' is used I am never certain if the meaning is
1) closer to the net than the player's body.
2) in front of the body with reference to how the player's body is facing..
 
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IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
#33
Wawrinka has done well at Wimbledon. Him being bad on grass is a tennis myth. He has lost to Federer quarter-finals, Del Potro and lost a stellar match against Gasquet in the quarter-finals. He's probably earned over a million dollars in prize money at Wimbledon alone.
He has only ever reached the quarterfinal at Wimbledon in 13 appearances.

Compared to him winning FO, USO, and AO, I would say he hasn't done very well at Wimbledon...
 
#34
He has only ever reached the quarterfinal at Wimbledon in 13 appearances.

Compared to him winning FO, USO, and AO, I would say he hasn't done very well at Wimbledon...
I get your point but he's made the quarters twice and in one he lost to possibly the best grass court player in history.
 
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#35
Well, it's too late for Denis. His strokes were likely fully formed by the time he was 15, maybe even by age 12.

The players are indeed the teachers but it takes a while for such innovations to filter through to the coaches/stroke makers, some of whom are very stubborn and resistant to change.
Yes. Federer and Nadal are around 15 years and even their straight arm forehands are still not copied despite being the best ever.
 
#36
Stan is definitely a strong player but I don't think that can be all that is to attribute to his power. According to the ATP, Stan weighs about 179lbs. Compare that to Federer who weighs 187lbs or Thiem who is 180lbs.
Player weights are never updated. They are probably asked once when they are 19 and then it stays at that weight until the player retires. Same is true with baseball players
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
#37
Yes. Federer and Nadal are around 15 years and even their straight arm forehands are still not copied despite being the best ever.
I don't think copying technique is the problem. The level of execution is. They can execute their technique in the run, when barely have time to set up, when they don't have enough time to fully set up, when pushed far, when having very little time to react...and for this it's not enough to copy the technique, you have to have their gift as well.
 
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