End Of An Era: Tsitsipas' Top 10 Exit Ends Everlasting One-Handed Backhand Streak

End Of An Era: Tsitsipas' Top 10 Exit Ends Everlasting One-Handed Backhand Streak

by Nurein Ahmed

Since the ATP Rankings were introduced in 1973, there has always been at least one player with a single-handed backhand who featured in the world's Top 10 every single week.

But that long and remarkable streak will come to an end when the ATP publishes its fresh rankings on Monday, February 19th. All the players who belong in the ATP's Top 10 are double-handers because the man who had protected that specialty shot and record, for the most part, is leaving that band.

Greece's Stefanos Tsitsas was the sole one-hander in the Top 10 since the end of 2021, but he will exit the upper elite group on Monday for the first time since 2019, the year he actually broke through into the Top 10. He will dip from 10th to 11th ahead of his title defense in Los Cabos, Mexico.

This was confirmed by Taylor Fritz's win in the quarterfinal of Delray. Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov, who plays with a single-handed backhand, was in prime position to save the day. The World No. 13 needed to reach the Rotterdam Open final this week but lost in the semifinal to Alex de Minaur.

Although the one-handed backhand varies among different players who utilize it, it remains one of the most aesthetically pleasing and elegant shots in tennis because it calls for a combination of many things like racquet control, excellent timing, and, most importantly, correct technique.

At least 11 of the 28 men who have reached the ATP World No. 1 ranking have been one-handers, including John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Pete Sampras, and most notably, Roger Federer, but none of them remain active on the ATP Tour.

There are fears that the one-handed backhand is becoming extinct in professional tennis, but the absence of single-handers in the Top 10 is only expected to be for a short-lived period as both Tsitsipas and Dimitrov can break back the barrier in the next few weeks as they don't defend many points.


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