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Best Backhand in Tennis - Men

Updated on April 3, 2020

The backhand shot in tennis is one which has evolved dramatically over the years, with the majority of players now using a double-handed backhand. However, there are still some who use the single-handed backhand very effectively and it is regarded as the classiest shot in tennis. Here are my top five backhands on tour.

5 - Kei Nishikori

It was tough to choose between the backhands of the likes of Tomas Berdych, Rafael Nadal, Richard Gasquet but at number five I have gone for Kei Nishikori on the basis of form this season. The Japanese star has made incredible progress in the past year and his backhand has certainly helped him along the way.

He is solid from both sides and it is perhaps his speed and footwork that makes his backhand so good. His flawless technique makes it a shot to admire and he usually looks to open up the court with the forehand before hitting a backhand winner down the line. In the US Open this year he showed that his backhand is a shot that can stack up against the likes of Novak Djokovic.


4 - Ernest Gulbis

At number four I've thrown a wildcard in the mix in the form of the enigmatic Austrian, Ernest Gulbis. The French Open semi-finalist possesses a fine double-hander which is both powerful and consistent.

His forehand has been a constant thorn to his career yet his backhand has been the main reason for his success. It is one of the most powerful on tour yet is very consistent, often in stark contrast to both his attitude and the rest of his game.

3 - Stan Wawrinka

It just doesn't seem right to exclude a one handed backhand from this list so the Swiss star makes it at number three. Some may be surprised that Gasquet's backhand is not on the list but Wawrinka edges it for me.

The acid test for most one handed backhands is when they come up against the likes of Nadal's incredible forehand.In this year's US Open (before Nadal suffered an injury) it was possibly the only time that someone has ever been able to go toe-to-toe with Nadal's forehand against their one-handed backhand.

Wawrinka was able to come over the top of the ball even when Nadal's looping forehand bounced above shoulder height - a shot which is notoriously difficult for one-handers. His backhand may not be as consistent the rest of the players on this list, however, I believe it has to go down as the best one-handed backhand on the tour, perhaps one of the best ever.

2 - Andy Murray

It was a close call between Murray and Djokovic's brilliant backhands for the top spot. The Scot's backhand can be hit incredibly flat which makes it fly through the court with extra pace and he can generate incredible power when he wants. But it's the variety that really sets Murray's backhand apart from others.

He can outmanoeuvre and outthink opponents on the court with the shot, going cross court or down the line with ease, as well as changing the pace and spin of his shots. He also can throw in an extremely effective sliced backhand to mix it up.

1 - Novak Djokovic

If you were searching for the "perfect" backhand in tennis then Novak Djokovic's two-hander is as close as it gets. Consistent, powerful and accurate are all characteristics of which he has in abundance. Like Murray, his flawless footwork enables him to get in the ideal position for the shot.

Any other player would have to play a defensive one handed backhand when pushed off to the sides of the court, however, thanks to the Serb's outstanding speed and flexibility, he is often able to hit winners from the unlikeliest positions.

His duels with Nadal's(left handed) forehand and his backhand (cross-court) have been nothing short of incredible. The world number one's backhand remains the most consistent shot in tennis, and for that reason he gets the top spot in this list!

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