14 February 2019

Backhand to the future

20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas from Greece stunned Roger Federer at the Australian Open in the battle of the one-handed backhands. That shot has become one of the most talked about in tennis. Here's what you need to know

Why one-handed?

Both Stefanos' mother and father played with one-handed backhands, a fact that did not go unnoticed by the rising young star. But he had another role model too. "Roger Federer was my idol and I wanted to copy him. After some practising, I concluded the one handed backhand fitted me most."

Anything special about the grip?

Stefanos uses the relatively moderate semi-western grip: "I don't have an extreme grip which helps in switching from the forehand to the backhand side."

What are the advantages playing one-handed?

The one-handed shot gives the option to take the ball early, switch quickly from the slice and, when required, to stay back and have more time to think.

Key delivery?

The backhand down the line is Stefano's shot. As he says, a lot of players run around their backhand to play an inside out forehand. This can be a gift to a player with a one handed backhand as it creates the perfect opening for a down-the-line backhand winner.

Will the one-handed backhand have a revival?

Probably not, but as well as Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka and Richard Gasquet, there are several younger stars in the men's game who love the shot including Denis Shapovalov, Dominic Thiem and Grigor Dimitrov.

Improve your own backhand by joining a league and playing matches!

Above: Eurosport, 60 second pro

Above, #NextGenATP, Uncovered: The Secrets To Tsitsipas' One-Handed Backhand