Tennis: Federer’s legacy flouted, end of one-handed backhand in the top 10

Holder of a Master’s degree in sports journalism, I fell in love with tennis since childhood and have always loved reading the great stories of this sport. Today, I want to tell them about them, take full advantage of my passion and be as close as possible to the aces of the circuit.

This week, the ATP rankings underwent an incredible upheaval as Stéfanos Tsitsipas fell out of the top 10 for the first time since 2019. The Greek had for a while been the last member of this famous top to have a one-handed backhand, a shot that is becoming more and more rare on the circuit. For the first time in history, there is no player with a one-handed backhand in the top 10, a change of era which reminds us to what extent this legendary shot has spanned the ages.

Many tennis legends have left their mark on the game thanks to a shot that was once almost unanimous: the one-handed backhand. Today an endangered species, there are very few players in the top 100 who still play it this way. Over time, the blow has faded a little and among the younger generation, there are not many examples…

A constantly evolving game

When the first ranking is published ATP In history in 1973, there was only one player with a two-handed backhand. This shows that the difference is enormous 50 years later… Over time, tennis evolves and obviously recent history has seen a slightly different game where power dominates the debates. For a one-handed backhand obviously, adaptation is difficult. “It really bothers me!” My idols were (Stefan) Edberg then (Pete) Sampras… I don’t think it’s the end, but it’s not illogical, on the very high level, that there are no more: it’s a consequence of increasingly stereotyped play on the circuit. Basically, the guys are unplayable. The support, the thighs they have, the way they move… Even the very tall ones move in an incredible way, like the 1.80 m players of twenty years ago” regretted Nicolas Mahut in the columns of The team not long ago, who has a one-handed backhand.

A blow that has become too weak?

Much more tactical before, tennis has allowed a good number of one-handed backhand players to express themselves at the highest level, starting with Roger Federer. But this blow Maestro still remained a weak point when we shelled it and Rafael Nadal had also understood it well. Following its recent mixed results, Stefanos Tsitsipas left the top 10 and spoke on the subject. “It’s a more fun move, I tried both when I was a kid. You could say that the two-handed backhand may give you more control, but nothing compares to the one-handed backhand in the way you open the angles and feel the ball. It helped me a lot on clay and I owe a lot to that hit. I will always be faithful and represent what I choose” he reacted.

11 representatives in the top 100

If there are now no more one-handed backhand players in the top 10, the addition is also hefty in the entire top 100. In fact, at present, only 11 players are making their voice heard. one-handed backhand on the circuit, with varying degrees of success. Besides Stefanos Tsitsipaswe can also talk about Grigor Dimitrov (13th in the world), Stan Wawrinka, Dominic Thiem For example. But one parameter seems important to note: only Lorenzo Musetti (21 years old) is part of this young generation to keep the backhand with one hand. The others are all in their thirties or almost…

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