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sorry if this is a stupid question for all you experts ... ;)
i wasn't into tennis yet during steffi's heyday. but recently i saw some "classic" matches from wimbledon and the us open, and i was wondering if steffi ever played a backhand that was not sliced.

thanks! :wavey:
 

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I think towards the end of her career, definatly at the French Open 99, but yes in the 80's nearly every ball is sliced off the backhand.
 

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Early in her career. She would often hit w/top.
She also used it for hitting passing shots. She had great form, but had much more confidence in her slice, which could be lethal, especially to two-handers.
 

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dava_russianrule said:
I think towards the end of her career, definatly at the French Open 99, but yes in the 80's nearly every ball is sliced off the backhand.

Actually you have it backwards she hit much more top during the early part of her career, I have tapes dating back to 86. She used it successfully a couple of times in the 99 French Final.
 

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Well, I can at least remember 2 (!) backhand-shots Steffi did not slice:

- MP Wimbledon final 1988
- at 4-6 4-5 15-15 French Open final 1999

She could definitely play a "normal" backhand, however she rarely did it in match because "she didn't need to". (didn't she say that herself?)
 

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Often when she played Martina Navratilova she would use it to pass her. I was watching the 95 US Open final and whenever Steffi used it Monica usually butchered it.
 

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Butchered?
 

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Her rolled backhand was breathtaking. It would come out once a match in an important match, and never in the early rounds, and it nearly always produced a stunning winner. I dont know why she never had the confidence to use it more.
 

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JonBcn said:
Her rolled backhand was breathtaking. It would come out once a match in an important match, and never in the early rounds, and it nearly always produced a stunning winner. I dont know why she never had the confidence to use it more.
We might have seen her win a few stunning points with it, but then I'm sure you've forgotten about the times it just ended somewhere in the net. I'm sure that happened far more frequently.
 

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great smash, Steffi used the topspin backhand to beat Pam Shriver in one of the first 'big' matches she had to play (I think it was '84 or '85 US Open quarters or fourth round). The match was three tie-breaks, and consisted almost exclusively of Pam trying to serve/approach/volley, and of Steffi trying to pass her. Terrifically exciting match that proved Steffi could win with topspin.

Another example is the '91 US Open semis, when she lost to Navratilova. She hit plenty of topspin backhands (maybe not quite so many as against Shriver a few years earlier), but Martina was just a shade too accurate on the volley for Steffi to pull off the win.

Thing is, the slice was more natural to her, and most of her opponents didn't continually attack the net against her, so she stayed with the slice.
 

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vancouverite said:
great smash, Steffi used the topspin backhand to beat Pam Shriver in one of the first 'big' matches she had to play (I think it was '84 or '85 US Open quarters or fourth round). The match was three tie-breaks, and consisted almost exclusively of Pam trying to serve/approach/volley, and of Steffi trying to pass her. Terrifically exciting match that proved Steffi could win with topspin.

Another example is the '91 US Open semis, when she lost to Navratilova. She hit plenty of topspin backhands (maybe not quite so many as against Shriver a few years earlier), but Martina was just a shade too accurate on the volley for Steffi to pull off the win.

Thing is, the slice was more natural to her, and most of her opponents didn't continually attack the net against her, so she stayed with the slice.
:eek: Maybe I should indeed not be too critical, I've only followed tennis ever since 94, I'll give her the benifit of the doubt as far as her early career is concerned!
 

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fed cup 91 because she could not slice anymore out of pain :eek:
 

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"I hit with her in practice, and she hits it all the time. It's a great shot, I don't know why she doesn't use it more often" - Mary Joe Fernandez

Steffi used the topspin backhand more often earlier in her career when she had serve-and-volley players like Navratilova, Shriver, Sukova, Kohde-Kilsch, and Mandlikova where she needed to pass more often. When Seles came along, she almost never needed to pass, and the slice actually worked better- keeping the ball low and skidding away from Seles' two-handed forehand. It exposed Seles lack of mobility. It's a tactical thing, really. When playing against all those baseliners with two-handed backhands in the 90s, the slice was a much better choice to set up Steffi's forehand.

A better question would be: Can anyone remember Jana Novotna hitting a topspin backhand in a match?
 

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she used it alot in practice but didn't have the confidence to use it that much during a match
 

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steffi won the match where she played double handed in fed cup :eek:
 

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I think I saw novotna hit a topspin backhand against steffi in new haven 98.
 

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irma said:
I think I saw novotna hit a topspin backhand against steffi in new haven 98.
I have that match on tape, and I'm gonna dig it out tonight and look for one. I didn't much care for that match, because Novotna tanked away the second set, after some pretty great tennis in the first. The crowd actually started booing Jana a little bit toward the end of the second, because it started out like a real dog fight, and Jana just lost interest.
 

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alfajeffster said:
A better question would be: Can anyone remember Jana Novotna hitting a topspin backhand in a match?
I saw her hitting one on a match point against Venus Williams in Hannover'99, and she turned to look to Mandlikova like saying 'look what I've done!'-it's the only time EVER I remember her hitting a topspin backhand (but I didn't see that match against Steffi in New Haven)
 

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novotna probably knew that she would not win anyway. I mean the woman needed to make a pray on tv at the end of 96 after the masters that steffi would shut up soon otherwise she would never win a big title (I know she probably didn't mean that serious but fact is her "wish" was heard)

steffi for sure hit a topspin backhand pass at setpoint or matchpoint in that match with total ease :D
 
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