Why Did Venus Change Her Backhand? - TennisForum.com

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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 07:38 AM Thread Starter
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Why Did Venus Change Her Backhand?

I was just watching the 2001 US Open Final and was reminded of how good Venus's backhand was. Even in 2004 when she was at her trough, that show was still money.

But in 2005 she changed the technique, and I really don't see why? She kept the same shot for over a year after abdominal injury so I don't think that was it (even the serve in 2004 was the same as it was in 2003, but then that changed too) so what gave?

In 2005 she had a complete technique overhaul with a new serve, forehand, and backhand. The forehand change was welcome but unless theres something we don't know, I dont understand the other two changes
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 10:44 AM
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Personally i think her serve is better than it was, its a bit more technically correct than the one she used b4 looks a bit less messy for some reason and her 2nd serve is better. Her backhand i think seems to have more moving parts, it used to be very simple, powerful and solid and when she is on its still great but when she isint its actually the shakier shot rather than the forehand these days, itwas the main reason why she lost to hingis, i think she spent alot of time trying to get her forehand together and she neglected the backhand which is why i think its a bit raged but i think she'll pull it back

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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 11:37 AM
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Idk. If I was her, the only shot I would've changed was the forehand. i prefer this forehand actually than the one was she was winning a lot. the current backhand has little use of the legs, is completely open-stance, has little topspin, is jerky and not very fluid, and is too much just arm and wrist. The old backhand used more legs, was hit with more topsin, switched between open and closed stance depending on the shot, was fluid and more simple, and utilized her whole body unlike the one now-a-days.

on to the serve. I don't like this serve because it has even more moving parts than the previous serve. The ball toss is too inconsistent, the speed is down, the feet stay too parallel to the baseline, she doesn't end up in the court after the serve (her body momentum seems to stay where she made contact), the arm and legs are not in coordination, and the second serve is all arm now. There is little variety on the serve now and she can't hit the serve as accurately or as hard as once hit. Opponents can read her serve from the toss now and before they couldn't. Even when Venus hits good serves, the opponents already know where it is going based off the toss.

Not to mention, Venus seems to be pl;aying with even bigger racquets since 2004. Racquets like that allow players to be lazy and use less of their body to hit shots prorperly. Believe me, it happened to be. Venus needs to go back to something 100 sq inches to 105 square inches. Everything except the forehand needs to be like it was from 1999-2004. It is the only way Venus will ever regain her previous form from 2000-2003.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -SMM-
I was just watching the 2001 US Open Final and was reminded of how good Venus's backhand was. Even in 2004 when she was at her trough, that show was still money.

But in 2005 she changed the technique, and I really don't see why? She kept the same shot for over a year after abdominal injury so I don't think that was it (even the serve in 2004 was the same as it was in 2003, but then that changed too) so what gave?

In 2005 she had a complete technique overhaul with a new serve, forehand, and backhand. The forehand change was welcome but unless theres something we don't know, I dont understand the other two changes
Yes, her backhand was a weapon back then, but her forehand has always sucked, to be quite blunt. Many times when a player has a stronger side and the other side is a liability, in their efforts to improve and re-tool the weaker side, the strength is lost in the stronger. Tennis is like that, and it's rare when you see a player with equal ability on forehand and backhand. Striking a tennis ball is a matter of body balance, both physical and mental. Venus Williams, as fast and powerful as she is, has never been a very balanced tennis player- just a fast and powerful shotmaker. Re-tooling her forehand was a very dangerous thing to do for her style of play and stroke production.

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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alfajeffster
Yes, her backhand was a weapon back then, but her forehand has always sucked, to be quite blunt. Many times when a player has a stronger side and the other side is a liability, in their efforts to improve and re-tool the weaker side, the strength is lost in the stronger. Tennis is like that, and it's rare when you see a player with equal ability on forehand and backhand. Striking a tennis ball is a matter of body balance, both physical and mental. Venus Williams, as fast and powerful as she is, has never been a very balanced tennis player- just a fast and powerful shotmaker. Re-tooling her forehand was a very dangerous thing to do for her style of play and stroke production.
Completely agree. I haven't seen too many players who are equally strong off both wings, even the most gifted. Every player starts out with a stronger wing, but some improve on a weaker shot to a great degree because of good balance, and hand-eye co-ordination. Venus is not well balanced on any of her shots, and its no surprise that she is so injury-prone. I don't understand why she completely overhauled her backhand though. It was always a better shot than her forehand.

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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 01:40 PM
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the biggest single reason why she's not as good as in '00-'02, is that her backhand is not as good today as it was then. Back in the day, you took a risk every time you hit to that side because she could always hit a shot to break the rally open. Now you can get away with it a lot of the time.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 01:41 PM
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Maybe Im missing something ..... but Venus's backhand is EXACTLY the same its always been. She made a ton of errors on it against Hingis but that had less to do with her stroke production and more to do with not getting proper footing before hitting the shot. Venus tends to stand flat footed at times (as do I haha) when she has a relativly weak shot not moving her feet at all and hitting the ball either into the net or 10 feet out hense all those errors against Hingis.

I will agree .... she doesnt attack her backhand nearly as much as she use to and is willing to stay in backhand ralleys.

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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tennisrox
Completely agree. I haven't seen too many players who are equally strong off both wings, even the most gifted. Every player starts out with a stronger wing, but some improve on a weaker shot to a great degree because of good balance, and hand-eye co-ordination.

that's one of the things that made Agassi so great and so unique. Absolute balance of strength between his fh and bh. Both his groundstrokes were his strong side.
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vogus
that's one of the things that made Agassi so great and so unique. Absolute balance of strength between his fh and bh. Both his groundstrokes were his strong side.
That's what's so interesting- he did and does have virtually no weaknesses in the groundstroke department on either wing, but he's definitely not a good volleyer by any stretch. His game hasn't changed at all since 1988, just his fitness and dedication. Juxtapose this against Graf's game. Looking at Steffi's forehand from 1987 and then in 1999, it's clear that it changed quite a bit. The direction didn't change that much, but the actual stroke did. The key here is that it didn't change overnight- it took years and lots of dedication and practice, and small steps. Venus has made some drastic changes in her stroke production in a few short years.

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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alfajeffster
That's what's so interesting- he did and does have virtually no weaknesses in the groundstroke department on either wing, but he's definitely not a good volleyer by any stretch.

remember that awful-looking wild forehand volley that probably cost him the '95 USO title against Sampras? He practically hit it off the back fence.
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alfajeffster
That's what's so interesting- he did and does have virtually no weaknesses in the groundstroke department on either wing, but he's definitely not a good volleyer by any stretch. His game hasn't changed at all since 1988, just his fitness and dedication. Juxtapose this against Graf's game. Looking at Steffi's forehand from 1987 and then in 1999, it's clear that it changed quite a bit. The direction didn't change that much, but the actual stroke did. The key here is that it didn't change overnight- it took years and lots of dedication and practice, and small steps. Venus has made some drastic changes in her stroke production in a few short years.
Not only bad volleys, but an awful transition game. There are players that have good vollyes, but how u reach the net is another story.

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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 03:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lenavee
Personally i think her serve is better than it was, its a bit more technically correct than the one she used b4 looks a bit less messy for some reason and her 2nd serve is better. Her backhand i think seems to have more moving parts, it used to be very simple, powerful and solid and when she is on its still great but when she isint its actually the shakier shot rather than the forehand these days, itwas the main reason why she lost to hingis, i think she spent alot of time trying to get her forehand together and she neglected the backhand which is why i think its a bit raged but i think she'll pull it back
If you look at the match against Pironkova, her backhand didn't neglect her as much as her forehand did. If she has a shaky forehand, there must be so much pressure on her backhand to come up with a great shot - that is probably another reason why she lost to Hingis.

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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vogus
the biggest single reason why she's not as good as in '00-'02, is that her backhand is not as good today as it was then. Back in the day, you took a risk every time you hit to that side because she could always hit a shot to break the rally open. Now you can get away with it a lot of the time.
You can say that with everybody. It is because the game has changed. Trust me, Hingis was hitting more winning off the backhand in 1997/98 than she is now. It isn't because her backhand has become worse, it is just because the game has changed.

Let them eat cake.
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by slydevil6142
Maybe Im missing something ..... but Venus's backhand is EXACTLY the same its always been. She made a ton of errors on it against Hingis but that had less to do with her stroke production and more to do with not getting proper footing before hitting the shot. Venus tends to stand flat footed at times (as do I haha) when she has a relativly weak shot not moving her feet at all and hitting the ball either into the net or 10 feet out hense all those errors against Hingis.

I will agree .... she doesnt attack her backhand nearly as much as she use to and is willing to stay in backhand ralleys.
That's what I'm saying. I don't see many technical changes. I think the reason she hits more open stanced is because the game has changed and player are hitting deeper, robbing her of time to close her legs.

Let them eat cake.
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slydevil6142
Maybe Im missing something ..... but Venus's backhand is EXACTLY the same its always been. She made a ton of errors on it against Hingis but that had less to do with her stroke production and more to do with not getting proper footing before hitting the shot. Venus tends to stand flat footed at times (as do I haha) when she has a relativly weak shot not moving her feet at all and hitting the ball either into the net or 10 feet out hense all those errors against Hingis.

I will agree .... she doesnt attack her backhand nearly as much as she use to and is willing to stay in backhand ralleys.
it definitely isn't, if you pay close attention, its very much different.
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