One Handed Backhand - A Dying Art?

For all of us who have admired the greatest of all time, Roger Federer, we cannot help but awe at his signature one-handed backhand. Earlier this year, we were all left speechless watching Stan Wawrinka assault his opponents with his ferocious one-handed backhand.

The question that continues to boggle me is how come a stroke that is so elegant to watch and still as powerful as a cannon is rapidly on the decline. Why is it that the majority of upcoming juniors all around are choosing to go with a double-handed backhand? Is there a relation between the decline of one-handed backhand and players not being good net players anymore (including top professionals)? Do the tennis coaches really see the one-handed backhand as a liability?

I spoke to a few fellow coaches and they all seem to think that in the past 15 years or so, a greater emphasis has been placed on return-of-serve, and also that kids are picking up the sport at an earlier age. It’s really not practical to start a young five or six year old with a one-handed backhand before he has gained the strength to handle it. As the child progresses he chooses to stick to it rather than exploring to change to a one-handed shot. The theories are endless!

Hence, I conclude that no matter what your level is and no matter what type of backhand you hit, just try out a one-hand backhand just for the sake of it…you will be surprised, you might pick up a new sneaky skill in the process!!!


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