Aug 30, 2013
Guards! Bring me the forms I need to fill out to have her taken away! You're going back for the Countess, aren't you? We'll go deliver this crate like professionals, and then we'll go home. So, how 'bout them Knicks? I suppose I could part with 'one' and still be feared…
It’s the Achilles heel of groundstrokes for most of us, and a secret weapon for a lucky few. Whichever it is for you, let Our Backhand Issue make yours better. We’ve loaded the following pages with in-depth instruction from John Evert, including two how-tos for two tricky backhands: the chip return and the backhand drop shot. And if your lack of a world-class backhand makes you feel like you’re less than a whole player, read Allen Fox and Andrew Friedman’s columns, which will teach you how to use your weakest shot to your advantage.
It’s easy to see where those fears originate. Of the 20 players in the men’s and women’s Top 10s, just two of them, Federer and Richard Gasquet, have one-handers. The stroke, as stylish as it may be, is viewed as a liability in today’s power-baseline game; every year it becomes harder to use one arm to fight off the high-kicking topspin that so many players now generate. Federer himself has acknowledged that fact. While it’s too late to add a hand to his backhand, this year he added some size to his racquet to make up some of the difference.
There’s no doubt that the one-hander is in decline, but it’s not dead yet; eight of the 16 men who reached the fourth round at the French Open this year used one. Granted, none of those players was younger than 27, but the shot doesn’t have to die with them. If I were a top junior, I would look at this period of time as an opportunity. When everyone plays the same way, there’s an advantage in doing things differently. And for every downside, the one-handed backhand has an upside, as Federer has proved. While his backhand return never had much power, he could stretch his arm farther to block back more serves. And while he rarely hit blazing backhand winners, no one has used the short chip to maneuver his opponents around as diabolically as he has.
But given that most of these beverages are little more than glorified sugar water with a few electrolytes added into the mix, they seem pricey for what they deliver. Plus, many have additives and flavorings that are largely unpronounceable and totally objectionable. Though not as convenient as buying a pre-made drink, making your own concoction can be cheaper and healthier. Here’s a template for building your own sports drink: