What's the thing Verdasco does

Chyeaah

Professional
I've been watching some backhands to try and improve mine. I've stumbled upon this thing in PoT, Jack Knife or something, but it's what Verdasco does on his backhand. He lifts his back leg up. What difference does it make?

Plus, all the good backhands have their non dominant arm straight and dominant arm bent at contact. Are you meant to do this or keep both arms straight or both arms bent.
 

Fuji

Legend
You mean the mule kick type backhand? I think it's just from a lot of core rotation and upward motion going from the feet up which causes him to leave the ground! :razz:

-Fuji
 

limitup

Professional
Hitting arm on 1HBH should be pretty much straight at contact unless jammed, out of position or late.
 

Chyeaah

Professional
Hitting arm on 1HBH should be pretty much straight at contact unless jammed, out of position or late.
No i mean on a 2HBH. Some people have both arms bent/ boths arms straight/ non dominant arm straight, dominant arm bent?
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Lots of 2HBH players do this on high balls. It helps them get it more in their strike zone instead of hitting it above their shoulders.

Perfect example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96-LeSaXWrc
Yes, this is the reason the Verdasco does this. Here is a video of Marat Safin executing the jumping "mule-kick" backhand.

http://www.hi-techtennis.com/video_sample.php?player_id=8&video_id=184

To study the mule-kick BH, pause the Safin video and then step thru the sequence frame-by-frame using the Left and Right arrow keys on your keyboard.
.
 
Last edited:

Chyeaah

Professional
When they kick, it's like they kick into thin air although their hip rotates like their kicking onto something. Wow... You need good technique for this... Man this is hard. Turning your hip in the air and you also need a good hop or else you will land on the ground too soon...
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
I do that too on backhands when the ball is heading straight to me. Helps me pivot more and not get jammed.

Dogs do that for a different reason I suppose.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
^ Because of shoulder issues, I now have considerable difficulty/pain hitting topspin on high shots. I've adopted a jumping (mule-kick) slice on my FH side. Have not seen anyone else doing this.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Low ball, strong grip, hit the outside of the ball for a sidespin ball with a huge curve.
He couldn't hit a normal topspin off that low a ball, and his other choice would have been a slice forehand, something he doesn't normally do.
 

pvaudio

Legend
OP, are you trying to "incorporate" this shot into your game, or just wondering why they hit it? I ask because much like Federer's flying forehands at times, it's not a shot that's practiced. It's a result of necessity to get to the ball and have it in the strike zone.
 

SStrikerR

Hall of Fame
Personally I've never met anyone who was able to "learn" this shot. They were either athletic enough to get it right away (obviously not great shots at first, but the basics and then improvement from there) or not able to get it at all. I feel like if you need to be taught how to jump off of one leg and twist your body and hit a backhand, you probably shouldn't worry about that shot.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
^ I was able to "learn" the shot. I came across the Safin video a few years back and studied his mechanics. However, it did not click for me right away even tho' I had pretty much figured our the mechanics. I watched the video a bit more and also noticed other (5.5) players executing the shot. Then one day it just clicked -- as I was preparing to hit a high BH shot, I felt (and visualized) the action. From that "feeling" I was able to execute the shot.

The same thing happened some 30 years ago with the scissor-kick overhead -- I just "felt" it as I was preparing to execute the overhead. I believe that the OP might be able to pick up the jumping BH after a while if he continues to watch/study the Safin and the L&R Tennis videos. Watching other players and vids might also help.
.
 
Last edited:

WildVolley

Legend
^ Because of shoulder issues, I now have considerable difficulty/pain hitting topspin on high shots. I've adopted a jumping (mule-kick) slice on my FH side. Have not seen anyone else doing this.
Nishikori does a mule-kick/layup style jumping drive forehand, but you may be one of the few people who hits it with slice.
 

WildVolley

Legend
OP, are you trying to "incorporate" this shot into your game, or just wondering why they hit it? I ask because much like Federer's flying forehands at times, it's not a shot that's practiced. It's a result of necessity to get to the ball and have it in the strike zone.
Sorry, this is simply a false statement. Most of the pros who use this shot use it fairly often. Most of them have definitely practiced it. I've seen pros use it in practice. It is not a one-off spur of the moment thing like some sort of weird flick shot. A lot of the pros even practice things like tweeners, and the mule-kick backhand is much more useful and standard than a tweener.

You can learn this shot by watching the pros and getting someone to feed you balls above your strike zone. Use your left knee to drive up and get height and then time the kick with the forward swing of the racket.
 

pvaudio

Legend
Sorry, this is simply a false statement. Most of the pros who use this shot use it fairly often. Most of them have definitely practiced it. I've seen pros use it in practice. It is not a one-off spur of the moment thing like some sort of weird flick shot. A lot of the pros even practice things like tweeners, and the mule-kick backhand is much more useful and standard than a tweener.

You can learn this shot by watching the pros and getting someone to feed you balls above your strike zone. Use your left knee to drive up and get height and then time the kick with the forward swing of the racket.
No, my statement is 100% true, and you simply said the same thing that I did. I didn't say it was a specialty shot, I said it was a necessity shot. Much like a Federer's in the air forehand, it's the result of needing to get to a ball out of your strike zone. Let's call it needing to hit a high backhand. What I said was exactly what SStrikeR was getting at. This shot results from a situation. So with your practicing counter-argument, no, it is not a shot they practice. It's a shot that occurs during practice when they get a high backhand. Simply practicing a jumping backhand with a kick is missing the point entirely, as it is something which happens because it's the way you hit a certain ball. If you can handle high backhands already, then wanting to learn it because it looks cool is the wrong reason. That is what I said.
 
Last edited:

WildVolley

Legend
No, my statement is 100% true, and you simply said the same thing that I did. I didn't say it was a specialty shot, I said it was a necessity shot. Much like a Federer's in the air forehand, it's the result of needing to get to a ball out of your strike zone. Let's call it needing to hit a high backhand. What I said was exactly what SStrikeR was getting at. This shot results from a situation. So with your practicing counter-argument, no, it is not a shot they practice. It's a shot that occurs during practice when they get a high backhand. Simply practicing a jumping backhand with a kick is missing the point entirely, as it is something which happens because it's the way you hit a certain ball. If you can handle high backhands already, then wanting to learn it because it looks cool is the wrong reason. That is what I said.
OK, we're probably just talking past each other. I agree that it is an advanced shot and not something that should be worked on to just look cool.

I thought you were implying that the pros who use this shot didn't practice it in drills and just naturally had the ability to time the jump. I was just trying to emphasize that there's a technique to the mule-kick backhand and that you need the repetitions to get good at it, much like anything else. The first time it is tried, most of us will likely flub it.

Like many of the things that pros do, someone probably discovered it through experimenting how to lower the contact point on his backhand. He then probably put in repetitions in practice to perfect it and others started imitating it. I expect that it was hit the most on put away drills to lower the contact point while still hitting down into the court. I expect that's how Nishikori also developed his jumping forehand.
 

Chyeaah

Professional
Will try this on court tomorrow. Your body always acts differently when your actually holding a raqcuet and a ball is coming to you.
 

pvaudio

Legend
OK, we're probably just talking past each other. I agree that it is an advanced shot and not something that should be worked on to just look cool.

I thought you were implying that the pros who use this shot didn't practice it in drills and just naturally had the ability to time the jump. I was just trying to emphasize that there's a technique to the mule-kick backhand and that you need the repetitions to get good at it, much like anything else. The first time it is tried, most of us will likely flub it.

Like many of the things that pros do, someone probably discovered it through experimenting how to lower the contact point on his backhand. He then probably put in repetitions in practice to perfect it and others started imitating it. I expect that it was hit the most on put away drills to lower the contact point while still hitting down into the court. I expect that's how Nishikori also developed his jumping forehand.
Indeed sir, I believe it was simply a slight misunderstanding. :)
I used to think that only Safin did this, then Hewitt...and now 10 years later lots of people tend to. Now that I think of it, I don't believe I've ever seen Djokovic let alone Nadal hit a jumping backhand. Murray has, however.
 

blipblop

Rookie
Before I switched to a 1hbh (and back when I was skinny and fit), I would use this shot a lot being only 5'7". I can still do it but I barely get off the ground enough to make it worth it lol. It's better for me to slice high balls on that side.

Grosjean was the first person I remember to use this shot regularly on the pro tour. He's shorter than most so he had to get up high a lot. It was his special move in a way. Anyway, anyone else have any insights on when this move was first introduced/popularized? Evolutions in the game always interest me.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Indeed sir, I believe it was simply a slight misunderstanding. :)
I used to think that only Safin did this, then Hewitt...and now 10 years later lots of people tend to. Now that I think of it, I don't believe I've ever seen Djokovic let alone Nadal hit a jumping backhand. Murray has, however.
It goes even futher back than Safin. Michael Chang brought the jumping BH to pro tennis. Rios developed it further and made it even more popular. Safin perfected it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7ZxlPh4Km0

.
 
Last edited:

blipblop

Rookie
It goes even futher back than Safin. Chang developed a version of this. Rios developed it further and made it more popular.
Ah nice! Chang and Rios were a little before my time, so I didn't get to see them play a lot. I love hearing about innovators of the game.

Thread title should be changed from Verdasco imo. Not to say he's overrated (he is though lol), but there are many others who already patented this shot and do it much better than him.
 

peoplespeace

Professional
Low ball, strong grip, hit the outside of the ball for a sidespin ball with a huge curve.
He couldn't hit a normal topspin off that low a ball, and his other choice would have been a slice forehand, something he doesn't normally do.
Actually this shot (Nadals banana shot against Verdasco) doesnt require a stronger grip than his normal forhand, on the contrary probably, meaning that the length time he squeezes the grip is shorter for this shot than for a normal fh.
 
Top