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The Disappearance of the One-Handed Backhand: A Nostalgic Tennis Lament

Although all is not lost, the romantics of tennis sigh and lament, who observe in perspective, analyze and, in the face of what is happening today and, above all, in the face of what is coming tomorrow, they demand from the troops: Resist, resist at any cost! ! They ask this small group of intrepid men and women not to lose faith, to believe, to fight against the elements and against the dizzying current reality, because they are the last flag of the aesthetic, of sophistication. Of beauty. Long life upside down with one hand, the nostalgic wish. But the reality is very different. Day by day, …

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Although all is not lost, the romantics of tennis sigh and lament, who observe in perspective, analyze and, in the face of what is happening today and, above all, in the face of what is coming tomorrow, they demand from the troops: Resist, resist at any cost! ! They ask this small group of intrepid men and women not to lose faith, to believe, to fight against the elements and against the dizzying current reality, because they are the last flag of the aesthetic, of sophistication. Of beauty. Long life upside down with one hand, the nostalgic wish. But the reality is very different. Today, the blow that Federer, Graf, Edberg, Navratilova, McEnroe and Gabriela Sabatini sublimated is not only obsolete, but its days are numbered, according to the consensus of specialists. It corroborates the present: the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas disappears from the top 10 and, for the first time since 1973, the official date of the creation of the ATP ranking, none of the 10 best players of the moment hit the ball with one hand, a circumstance that It comes from even further away on the women’s circuit.

“In the women’s team it had already been lost a long time ago. When I played, in the top-100 there were at most four or five reversals to a hand, and in recent times it has continued to be lost. In the new generations of men’s there are still some, but I think the same thing will end up happening. I think that from now on it will be difficult for us to see kids hitting a hand below Alcaraz’s generation [2003]”, introduces Carla Suárez, one of the latest exponents of a maneuver as beautiful as it is complex, which requires perfection and tolls to which very few want to expose themselves today. Without going any further, Carlos Alcaraz himself, a technical prodigy, refused to implement it in his game when he was even younger and devoured videos and more videos about Roger Federer’s fantasy. “So I loved trying new things, doing different shots and things on the court. The one-handed backhand is probably one of the things I only tried one day…”, the Murcian acknowledged last year.

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Although a small handful of stylists survive, they have already become an absolute exception that rows against the current. There are the Dimitrov, Tsitsipas, Musetti or Thiem, or the much more residual traces of Tatjana Maria, Margarita Gasparyan or Viktoria Golubic – none among the top-50 – among women, but the record imposed by modernity aims to end the bang. “Everything is focused on the style of play, towards where tennis has been advancing, which for a long time has focused on power and physicality. In the past, as the game was played more slowly, you had more time to think and prepare the shot well; It didn’t require as much support from that left hand. [en el caso de los diestros; para los zurdos, a la inversa], but suddenly everything shifted towards speed and that has changed everything,” Suárez continues. And Jordi Arrese, another Spaniard who operated in the same way, agrees. “It entails a series of risks that not many are willing to take, because technically you have to be very good; If you are not, like Tsitsipas, you end up penalizing,” says the Barcelona native, who, in addition to the strength-speed factor, is an index in the training aspect.

Carla Suárez, in 2019 during a match against Lauren Davies at Wimbledon.Alastair Grant (AP)

“It is disappearing because we want boys and girls to be good very quickly, and that requires going quickly and safely. To learn to play one hand you need more time and patience, and today’s young people don’t go there. The coaches prefer that they play with two hands, but I think it has many advantages,” continues the Barcelona 92 ​​champion; “From the outset, you have much more anticipation and, above all, it allows you to make better changes of pace, angles and heights, in addition to the influence it has on cuts. But since tactics are being lost in today’s game, no one thinks, so to speak, so those changes of pace that were there before are not needed as much. Defensively, the two-handed backhand provides more solidity, but if it is internalized from a young age it can provide many strategic options. What happens is that now there are very few tournaments on clay, and as on cement [la superficie dominadora] It is different, this beating is being renounced.”

Training, holes, Federer

Basically, it comes down to strength and minimal trades. To the sticks, as they say in slang. Holding the shield with two hands against a serve at 220 km/h is not the same as with one, or repelling the lashes of Alcaraz (20 years old), Rune (20), Sinner (22) and other young people who appear with a bazooka with greater or lesser reinforcement. “I’m here so he doesn’t die. I loved Sampras and if I play like this it is because of Federer,” said Tsitsipas (24), a member of that school of survivors that he forms together with the veterans Lajovic (33), Evans (33) and Wawrinka (38), this paradigm. last (three grand on the record) of the offensive power of the one-handed backhand. “He is a clear example. And there’s Federer, of course. Tactically he was very weak at the beginning, but if he had continued with Edberg [en el banquillo del suizo durante un año, entre 2014 y 2015]I think I would have won 40 grand… Then it changed, and the thing [con Ljubicic] It was different: he blocked his wrist, raised the head of the racket and hit it flatter,” says Arrese. Thanks to the modification, the genius from Basel went on the attack and defeated Rafael Nadal in the five rapid duels that both played since he introduced it, at the 2017 Australian Open.

Jordi Arrese, in 1994 during a match against Cédric Pioline in Nice. / EFE

“To be able to perform it with one hand you need a very good technique that you have been taught since you were little, and above all to have a lot of strength and a lot of stability, because the stability that the support hand gives you in the two-handed backhand is not you have one So, people have seen that tennis was going to continue evolving there, in terms of ball speed, and they have preferred to make things easier for the boys and girls who are starting to play tennis, because when you are little you don’t have as much strength and also requires good tactics, and I think that is why it has been disappearing. It’s more complicated. The other way, with two hands, prevents the boy or girl from having a hole on that side,” says Suárez from his happy retirement, while Spanish tennis remembers the Santana, Gimeno, Orantes, Emilio Sánchez Vicario, Berasategui, Almagro and, of course, the reverse of Conchita Martínez. Internationally, the one-handed brushstrokes of Guillermo Vilas or the sweeps of Ivan Lendl are also left behind.

Faced with the current aridity in the top-10, a devastating fact: nine of the ten that formed in 1973 competed with the one-handed backhand: Ilie Nastase, Manuel Orantes, Stan Smith, Arthur Ashe, Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, John Newcombe, Adriano Panatta and Tom Okker. Only the American Jimmy Connors charged the ball with both.

SINNER ASSIGNS TO THE PODIUM, ALCARAZ DEBUTS IN RÍO AND BADOSA SUFFERS

A. C. | Madrid

The update of the ATP list announces a notable novelty. The Italian Jannik Sinner, champion this weekend in Rotterdam after beating Alex de Miñaur 7-5, 6-4, unseated the Russian Daniil Medvedev as world number three. In this way, he is already listed immediately behind Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz. Since the Davis Cup finals in November, the winner of the Australian Open has had 15 wins and continues to threaten.

Less inspired than him, Alcaraz will embark on the Rio de Janeiro route this Tuesday. After falling in the semifinals in Buenos Aires, the Murcian will debut against the Brazilian Thiago Monteiro (117th in the world); In the previous rounds, both in 2021, equality: 1-1. It will be no earlier than 11:00 p.m. Spanish time (Movistar+ Deportes).

On the other hand, Paula Badosa left the Dubai court in tears on Monday. The Spaniard, 24 years old and 74th in the WTA ranking, had to leave during the duel against the Swiss Lulu Sun, when she had already given up the first set (6-4). Her physical problems already forced her to withdraw in the second round in Thailand, three weeks ago, and prevented her from playing recently in Abu Dhabi.

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2024-02-20 04:15:00
#progressive #extinction #onehanded #backhand #romantic #shot #Tennis #Sports

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