The choice of the backhand: From Bjorn Borg to Roger Federer

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The choice of the backhand: From Bjorn Borg to Roger Federer

Roger Federer's elegance or Rafael Nadal's power? Novak Djokovic's effectiveness or Stan Wawrinka's unpredictability? The one-handed or two-handed backhand? This is one of the greatest dilemmas of the tennis players, especially in their youth, when their tennis is still in training: a choice that will be forever.

Today most tennis players have a two-handed backhand, but until the advent of Bjorn Borg, everyone played a one-handed backhand. The Swede wrote the history of tennis in the late 70s and early 80s, with 11 Slam titles won.

In addition to the historic rivalry with John McEnroe, Borg bequeathed the two-handed backhand and also the top-spin. At the time, his two-handed backhand was considered not very elegant, but its effectiveness and power were devastating.

After Borg, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Andy Roddick, Nadal, Djokovic and Andy Murray also adopted this type of backhand. Today Federer, Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem are among the great exponents of the one-handed backhand, the last bastions of classic tennis that is unfortunately disappearing.

The elegance of the one-handed backhand collides with the effectiveness and power of the two-handed backhand: the first will have great speed, the latter much more control and far fewer errors. The choice for a developing tennis player will depend primarily on adaptation and naturalness.

A one-handed backhand can always become a two-handed backhand with the evolution of tennis training. On the contrary, someone using the two-handed backhand is unlikely to return to using the one-handed backhand. A clash between two philosophies, with several great exponents.

From Rene Lacoste and Fred Perry to Rod Laver, from Borg and McEnroe to Agassi and Sampras. Today these different ideologies are borne by Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.