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Old 03-08-2008, 07:26 AM   #1
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Default The One-Handed Backhand

I've played quite a lot of tennis so far in my life, and the thing that has bothered me the most is the regular topspin/flat one-handed backhand. While many people consider it my best shot, I find it very uncomfortable playing most of the time. Although I seem to hit the ball very cleanly and watch the ball all the way until contact, it is only because I wait until the ball is exactly in my hitting zone which is usually in a defensive position on the court (for example, behind the baseline - I typically like to hug that baseline during rallies; I don't like to be pushed back). Of course I try to stay on the baseline but when you play top junior players, it is a bit tough especially when chasing down winners. What usually happens is while I'm running to the ball to hit a backhand, I get to the ball too late to be able to hit on the rise so I am forced to either move backwards to hit the ball coming down, which is quite dangerous tactically, or hit quite a defensive slice. Of course if you play in the top juniors, you know that you are just asking for a beating if you get caught being defensive. I've tried to find out how I can hit a ball that is too high with a one-handed backhand and so far it hasn't been pretty, so I have been using the slice almost exclusively these days unless I get ball that is just right.

Just two years ago, I used to play with a two-handed backhand so I had never experienced much of a "hitting-zone" problem since I was able to hit the ball firmly no matter what height it was at. The only reason why I changed it to a one-handed backhand was because my private coach decided that since I generally never miss with my backhand slice and forehand, I could afford to add a little more offensive capabilities to my game. Since then, I have worked on it tirelessly however I can't seem to get to that next level where I can hit outright winners in most position like a forehand can. I've watched all these amazing one-handed backhand professionals such as Gasquet hitting these balls that seem too high for my hitting-zone and I don't really see much different except maybe a bit less extreme in the grip hold.

Any help is appreciated!

Extra Question: Do you find that the regular one-handed backhand is inferior compared to the two-hander in this era of tennis? Only 3 of the current top 10 players use one-handed backhands compared to the past where virtually no one at the top of the sport used two-handers.
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