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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone who has played me realizes pretty quickly that this is my favorite shot. Justine Henin-Hardenne and Amelie Mauresmo are the only top contemporary players who use the one-handed backhand with great success. My point in starting this thread is to compare their strokes (which are very different) to players of the past with great one-handed backhands:

Evonne Goolagong: could hit flat, roll with topspin, chip, or slice. pretty much do anything including the very difficult backhand overhead. I think Mauresmo hits it more closely to the way Evonne did. She is fluid and flows through the shot, usually hitting it early and without a hitch.

Virginia Wade: generally chipped or sliced the ball, but came over it for passing shots very well. This was her bread-and-butter shot, and she was able to play great defense with it as well. I think Justine on her slice and chip plays a little like Virginia did on this side.

Billie Jean King: well known for her slice, chip, and an odd combination backhand that was hit pretty flat, but somewhere between a flat drive and a slice. I don't think either Justine or Amelie hit the ball anything like Billie Jean.

Hana Mandlikova: had all the shots, and her backhand was less prone to errors. I like watching her backhand, because she was mechanically sound, if not a bit too eager on that side, but when it connected, breathtaking things happened. Justine on the passing shots, albiet with a lot more topspin.

Margaret Court: In the classic Australian mould, virtually never came over a backhand her entire career. Chris Evert said "she had a very good backhand". Hit with a long, flat chip or slice, she could hit it up the line, crosscourt, chip and drop, or down at the feet of the incoming volleyer. I don't think either Justine or Amelie ever hit balls like Court did.

Any others you'd care to opine about?
 

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I think Evonne's is gorgeous. I could watch her hit anything all day. But I do love how smoothe her backhand was. I enjoy the Wade quote that you post a lot referring to the Gonger's backhand.

When I picture Hana in my mind, the first shot that I think of is her backhand. When I first started watching tennis in 1982, it's what made her stand out for me. Some players were really good from the baseline and others were really good from the net. But her backhand (and forehand too) is what made me think that she could do anything.

But maybe, just maybe my favorite backhand of all belonged to Catarina Lindqvist. I've rarely heard of anyone's one handed backhand as a weapon. But folks, I can remember her wailing on that topspin backhand and making it look somewhat similar to a Graf forehand from the baseline. Very flat and very lethal although she didn't have a great slice.

BJK is one of the few players in which it might not be advantageous to lob over her backhand side. Even if you made it, she had the amazing ability to hit a flat driving backhand by you with her back to the net.

Martina's and Steffi's are criticized a lot. But I think both are underated. Martina's in particular turned into a stunning shot later in her career. And I have a hard time saying which one of these players' slice backhands I liked the best. Steffi could maneuver people around with her heavy slice. And Martina's sliced approach was a perfect setup.

Honorable mentions:

Sukova, Khode, Sabatini, Wade
 

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Discussion Starter #4
sonfo said:
Another honorable mention even if she's not retired: Martínez :p
You're right- she's not retired and threads about her should be kept among the living...:lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
HanaFanGA said:
I think Evonne's is gorgeous. I could watch her hit anything all day. But I do love how smoothe her backhand was. I enjoy the Wade quote that you post a lot referring to the Gonger's backhand.

When I picture Hana in my mind, the first shot that I think of is her backhand. When I first started watching tennis in 1982, it's what made her stand out for me. Some players were really good from the baseline and others were really good from the net. But her backhand (and forehand too) is what made me think that she could do anything.

But maybe, just maybe my favorite backhand of all belonged to Catarina Lindqvist. I've rarely heard of anyone's one handed backhand as a weapon. But folks, I can remember her wailing on that topspin backhand and making it look somewhat similar to a Graf forehand from the baseline. Very flat and very lethal although she didn't have a great slice.

BJK is one of the few players in which it might not be advantageous to lob over her backhand side. Even if you made it, she had the amazing ability to hit a flat driving backhand by you with her back to the net.

Martina's and Steffi's are criticized a lot. But I think both are underated. Martina's in particular turned into a stunning shot later in her career. And I have a hard time saying which one of these players' slice backhands I liked the best. Steffi could maneuver people around with her heavy slice. And Martina's sliced approach was a perfect setup.

Honorable mentions:

Sukova, Khode, Sabatini, Wade
Another player who generally gets lambasted here in the Blast (which, having met her, I really can't understand) is Wendy Turnbull. She has a fantastic chip backhand- a classic really. Dependable, economical, and a beautiful thing to watch. I'm with Bud Collins- a real chip skate!:lol:

I remember Catarina Lundqvist very well, but for some reason her backhand doesn't stick out in my mind- my mental picture of her is always blonde- nothing to do with her tennis.
 

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Henin makes the most unforced errors with her backhand of all the players mentioned above.

Bettina Bunge had a beautiful backhand.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Robert1 said:
Henin makes the most unforced errors with her backhand of all the players mentioned above.

Bettina Bunge had a beautiful backhand.
I never saw Bettina play. Describe her game for me, if you don't mind.
 

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alfajeffster said:
Another player who generally gets lambasted here in the Blast (which, having met her, I really can't understand) is Wendy Turnbull. She has a fantastic chip backhand- a classic really. Dependable, economical, and a beautiful thing to watch. I'm with Bud Collins- a real chip skate!:lol:

I remember Catarina Lundqvist very well, but for some reason her backhand doesn't stick out in my mind- my mental picture of her is always blonde- nothing to do with her tennis.
Wendy's backhand was nice to watch. Nothing fancy. She could float it deep into the court without a lot of pace to keep her opponent on the baseline. This could be a defensive move or it could give her time to get into a more offensive position. She could also chip it short where it didn't come up much making it hard for someone to pass her when she came in.

I didn't see Lindqvist play but a panel in WT in the 80's gave her the top one-handed backhand of the current players. Chrissie's backhand was top overall.
 

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Lindqvist had a gorgeous backhand. She hit it way out in front of her which is what made it such an incredible shot! So agressive with the flat and the topspin. She didn't take a huge backswing either which is unusual for a great female one hander of that era.

I just remember Hana having a gorgeous windup on her topspin backhand that was a pure work of art. Tennis Magazine actually used an illustration of Hana's wind-up as an instructional piece. Everything Hana did was v. pretty.
 

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PamShriver said:
Lindqvist had a gorgeous backhand. She hit it way out in front of her which is what made it such an incredible shot! So agressive with the flat and the topspin. She didn't take a huge backswing either which is unusual for a great female one hander of that era.

I just remember Hana having a gorgeous windup on her topspin backhand that was a pure work of art. Tennis Magazine actually used an illustration of Hana's wind-up as an instructional piece. Everything Hana did was v. pretty.

Awww Pammy, you know just how to warm my heart! :hearts: I think it should be mentioned that several pros often talked about Pam's backhand lob. She and Novotna lacked a topspin backhand but could chip and dink you out of position and then hit you with a lob. Takes great hands and soft touch to be able to do that. Pam had plenty of that and smarts as well.

P.S. I recently saw Pam's 1987 Audi Challenge match against Martina shortly after the US Open. Pam pushed Martina to the brink and even HIT A TOPSPIN BACKHAND WINNER! :eek:

I almost fell out of my chair! I think it's the first time that I've ever seen her hit one for a winner. But she left Martina standing in the middle of court flat footed with a ripper!! :worship:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
preacherfan said:
Wendy's backhand was nice to watch. Nothing fancy. She could float it deep into the court without a lot of pace to keep her opponent on the baseline. This could be a defensive move or it could give her time to get into a more offensive position. She could also chip it short where it didn't come up much making it hard for someone to pass her when she came in.

I didn't see Lindqvist play but a panel in WT in the 80's gave her the top one-handed backhand of the current players. Chrissie's backhand was top overall.
Wendy was here in my home town when Chris Evert was here, and I had the chance to watch the Turnbull backhand quite a bit that weekend. She has the classic slice and chip, much more abbreviated and really pretty to watch. She could plant it on a dime in either corner and the ball had some stuff on it. I thought she had some of the better hands that I've ever seen from a tennis player, actually.
 
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