Two-Handed Backhand – 010


An Open & Closed Case

In 1 & 2 Martina Hingis has read, reacted, gripped up and got her extra hand high.
Then, in 3 & 4, her backhand opens up, as she slides her left (back) foot over towards the travel line of the ball (rather than her front foot) – in 6 thru 8 we get a full-on view of this same opening.

Now lets see an ‘Open’ and ‘Closed’ delivery in tandem – this image is on the tall side, so – depending on your device – you might have to reduce it to get both players in.
Anyhow, watch the 8 frames and compare the two strokes.

Hingis v Hewitt

Why has Martina opened up, yet Lleyton has delivered closed?

With some players, its simply about choice – and the strokes they’ve grown up with.

Others have been sliding to wide balls on clay courts since they were in diapers, and shifting direction is notoriously difficult on clay, so developing an open delivery on wide balls becomes second nature.

Chiefly, though, it’s about available time.

Abbreviated Payload

Whereas Lleyton in 1 thru 8 (below) faces a shorter, relatively easy ball – under little pressure – Martina in 9 thru 17 has been pulled wide along the baseline and she’s clearly under pressure to cover the gap that has just opened up.

By sliding her back foot closer to the ball, Martina chooses to open up for a quick escape, and deliver her abbreviated payload accordingly.

Consider Lleyton: – At the end of his stroke, he is still locked in to a side-on, closed delivery, which he will spin out of by releasing his back foot, and allowing it to come through.

Contrastingly, Martina has effectively unlocked her stroke for quick movement – a quick escape? – before she even hits the ball.

By delivering open, she avoids locking herself in, so she can shift direction more easily, back to a central position on her baseline to plug any gaping holes into which her opponent can hit a winner.

  • Lleyton has time, so he chooses a Closed Delivery and unleashes his payload along the Foot Line.
  • Martina does not have time, so she serves up her best effort from an abbreviated turn and an Open Delivery, though her shoulders do stay turned until she starts to swing through to Connect 3.


Which of the additional sources – re-sources – of power is trickiest to administer from an Open Delivery?

Two-Handed Backhand 011

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