Who has the best backhands in tennis? How does one tell if a backhand is good? These are the two main questions we answer in this question. Read on to find out!
What makes a good backhand?
What we consider a good backhand has to have four things:
One) Power, when needed
Two) Depth when needed
Three) Variability of spins
Four) Good looks
Naturally, the first three elements comes to our minds because these are the factors which allows someone to win a point. In professional tennis, a player typically loses when he reacts badly to a difficult shot - which is typically, well, a shot too power, deep or one that disrupts his rhythm. Do not misunderstand our pick of the fourth factor for one being without substance. Something substantially good is very often also stylistically good - think Roger Federer.
Now who has the best backhands
Not ranked in any order, we have...
Murray has the best two-handed backhand on tour. Many will often argue Djokovic, but we believe that both are essentially the same in quality. Make makes us believe that Murray's is better is its being able to generate pace faster than Djokovic. One corollary to this is Murray flattening out his backhands better than Djokovic. Murray's backhand has proven itself in being very reliable to Murray's counterpunching game, by removing a weakness that most players try to exploit. It is also a huge offensive weapon, as Murray typically flattens his shots out on the backhand side.
In our opinion, the best backhanders are the one-handers and Wawrinka is one of them. We have noticed that like Murray, Wawrinka usually flattens out his shots on the backhand side, and when he does, it is massive. You do not hit backhand winners like Wawrinka, especially on the slower court surfaces like clay. The only drawback from having this powerful backhand of his is that he takes longer than average to do the 'reload', given that his backhand involves the full rotation of the upper body.
Gasquet is widely known to have the most beautiful backhand on the tour - yes it is not Federer's. There is an actual deadliness behind the beauty however. Gasquet's backhand is dangerous for two reasons: one) its ability to flatten out shots from conventionally unusual and unexpected positions, two) its ability to hit a diverse range of spins within a short amount of shots. Unfortunately, Gasquet has not been able to translate such backhand prowess to consistently top-class performance given the weakness of his forehand.
Federer's backhand has come to attention in the recent months, given the attribution of his recent successes to it. Federer's backhand is deadly primarily for its ability to flatten shots in a way undoable by the normal backhand. This we have seen him done frequently since the past against everyone else but Nadal, although he is doing this more often and to everyone as of now. However, having said that, this will no doubt raise some controversy: does this then have to do more with Federer's excellent hand-eye coordination, rather than his backhand technique?
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