One-handed Backhand: A Dying Art after Federer's Retirement

One-handed Backhand: A Dying Art after Federer's Retirement

by Kadir Macar

Last updated

Roger Federer's retirement is undoubtedly a significant loss to the tennis world as is his signature shot.

The Swiss Maestro is considered one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, and his impressive skill set is unrivaled by most. One particular stroke that Federer mastered and popularized is the one-handed backhand.

However, with his departure, the use of this once-popular stroke is slowly diminishing from the ATP Tour. In recent years, the two-handed backhand has become the norm, and it's not hard to see why. The stroke provides better stability and power, which is crucial in modern-day tennis.

As a result, the number of players who use the one-handed backhand has dwindled significantly. Back in 2014, there were 26 players in the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings who used the stroke, while in 2023, there are only 11 of them.

The list of players who still utilize the one-handed backhand is impressive. Names like Dominic Thiem, Stan Wawrinka, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Grigor Dimitrov, Richard Gasquet, and Denis Shapovalov are some of the most prominent ones.

However, the majority of these players are in the latter stages of their careers, and after their retirements, the number of players using it will decrease even further.

One-handed backhand is an elegant stroke that requires exceptional technique, timing, and touch. Federer's use of the stroke was a thing of beauty, and he inspired many players to adopt it. However, with the current trend in tennis, it's becoming a rare sight to see.

While the one-handed backhand may be diminishing, it doesn't mean that it's gone forever. Players like Tsitsipas and Shapovalov are still young and have the potential to keep the stroke alive.

Moreover, as we've seen in the past, tennis is a cyclical sport, and trends tend to come and go. Who knows? Maybe in a few years, the one-handed backhand will make a comeback, and we'll see a new generation of players mastering the stroke.


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