In the last decade, the one-handed backhand has been almost entirely replaced by the two-handed backhand. In fact, the use of 2 hands gives more stability to the shot, especially during the crunch time, and it helps a lot with high balls and returns.
Even the great Roger Federer admits that his backhand used to be his weakness and it was clear that he was struggling in his match-ups against Rafael Nadal. The King of Clay was extremely good at exposing this weakness with his powerful cross-court forehands. However, things changed a lot for Roger that managed to find more consistency on his backhand, probably helped also by using a racket with a bigger frame.
It’s curious to notice that while almost all players at top level are currently using the double-handed backhand, 3 players have already qualified for the semifinals in London, and all of them use a one-handed backhand: Federer, Tsitsipas, and Thiem.
The advantage of the one-handed backhand
As anticipated, there are some disadvantages using a one-handed backhand. In addition, it’s very difficult for juniors to adopt a one-handed backhand and that could have a toll on their confidence. For example, Novak Djokovic admitted that his beloved former coach Jelena Gencic encouraged him to use a single-hander, but he couldn’t deal with it. Dominic Thiem revealed that the transition from a double-handed backhand to a one-handed backhand was pretty hard as he lost a lot of matches at the beginning.
On the other side, some other players insisted on sticking to the one-handed back like Stefanos Tsitsipas. Eventually, there are some advantages to playing a one-hander such as less stress on the body and also the development of a “better hand” that helps to find more variations.
In addition, there is an interesting theory stating that since a one-handed backhand gives more “pleasure” to execute it, it also provides more “happiness,” and therefore, it helps to achieve better results.
The return of the one-handed backhand?
By reaching the semifinals, Federer, Tsitsipas, and Thiem made a little statement in London in favor of this great shot. Some other exciting players such as Denis Shapovalov may also help to help to keep this great shot alive in the future to come.
Finally, the “good news” is that Italian tennis legend Adriano Panatta has also opened an Academy where he will teach only the one-handed backhand… for good!
Federer in London, ranking, and results in 2019
Tsitsipas in London, ranking, and results in 2019
Tsitsipas will play Nadal in the Round Robin. The head to head is 4-1 for Nadal.
The last time that they squared off, Nadal won 6-3 6-4 in the semifinal in Rome on the 18th May 2019.
The Greek clinched 2 titles in 2019 in Marseille and in Estoril. Stefanos was the finalist in Dubai, in Madrid and in Beijing.
Roger Federer and Stefanos Tsitsipas played each other 4 times. The head to head is 3-1 for Federer.
The last time that they competed against each other, Roger Federer won 6-4 6-4 in the semifinal in Basel on the 26th of October 2019.
Here the highlights.