The one-handed backhand is arguably the most beautiful tennis shot, combining grace and precision. There is not another shot in the world that gets the crowd on their feet quite like it.
It has helped a number tennis legends to secure their place in history, from Don Budge, Rod Laver, to Pete Sampras and Roger Federer.
In this blog, I rank the top five one-handed backhands on the ATP Tour currently.
5 – Grigor Dimitrov
Dimitrov’s backhand is one of the most flexible in the game due to its variety. He can hit it with topspin, flat, or a slice and the latter is rated by some experts as the best on the tour.
Despite his great technique, Dimitrov’s problem with his backhand is that he uses it mainly as a rally stroke to build up points rather than hit immediate winners.
We hope to see more of that…
4 – Dominic Thiem
Thiem used to hit a two-hander when he was a junior, before he joins the one-handed backhand league later on, following his coach’s advice.
Thiem’s backhand can effectively handle high bouncing balls which have been a big problem for a lot of single-handers especially Federer, which is a key factor in his great performances on clay courts.
3 – Richard Gasquet
Gasquet’s single-handed backhand is considered one of the most graceful and effective of all time. It is known for its consistency, speed and impeccable accuracy and has been widely acclaimed by most pundits. With his backhand, he is able to generate massive pace, even from far behind the baseline, coupled with the amount of top-spin he uses produces problems for many players.
How about that?!
2 – Roger Federer
Tennis fans used to think the Federer’s backhand is his weakness, as his opponents used to consistently exploit it especially on clay courts – but the truth is when Federer decides to go offensive with his one-handed backhand, he can turn it to one of his most lethal weapons.
Federer’s backhand is a powerful, efficient stroke that is adaptable and versatile. It’s solid and consistent and offers great variety. He employs the slice, occasionally using it to lure his opponent to the net and deliver a passing shot. Federer can also fire topspin and flat winners down the line and crosscourt to earn quick points.
If we have to pick Federer’s best shot, it will definitely be his forehand, but his one-handed backhand remains one of the best in the history of tennis.
See how Federer used his backhand to win his 18th Grand Slam title in the Australian Open this year…
1 – Stanislas Wawrinka
Wawrinka’s graceful one-handed backhand is the best on the ATP tour currently – and one of the most beautiful shots in modern tennis.
His backhand drive is hit with plenty of topspin and his flowing racquet perfectly combines power and timing. The shot is ferocious but creates a lot of spin putting opponents immediately on the defensive. Importantly, Wawrinka boasts versatility with his backhand as he can hit the ball flat down the line but also has the expertise to menacingly slice either short or long.
This one-handed backhand has the full package and is that weapon that led “Stan The Man” to beat the odds 3 times and win 3 Grand Slam titles on different surfaces (Against Nadal in the Australian Open and against Djokovic in Roland Garros and the US Open).