Under & Over
Swing High, Swing Low
In an ideal tennis world, you’d never be forced to hit a ball that was much higher than your chest, but as long as there are difficult opponents, you most surely will.
A major advantage of the two-hander (over one hand) is the ability to deal with higher balls.
Smile – Right Way Up Stroke
Look first to Lleyton on a standard height backhand.
He starts with the racket above his hands on the take back in 2.
Now imagine the racket head is a paintbrush (that means you too, grown ups).
As the racket head drops down and into the swing in 4 and follows on up and through to meet the ball in 5 & 6, the shape he paints is (or would be) something like a smile.
The smiley stroke is the general, right-way-up shape of a topspin groundstroke.
Frown – Upside Down Stroke
These high balls are best avoided, by stepping up the court and hitting the ball on the rise, but this isn’t always possible.
In the click-thru, Venus makes use of the forehand-type strength afforded her by the extra hand and she basically reverses the shape of her swing to form a frown (paint brush, guys).
Frames 3 thru 5 hold the key to this shot and contain the bulk of the frown, as the extra hand gets the racket head up and over the ball.
This wrapping over of the hands looks a bit like a slap, but frame 5 shows that it is a controlled slap, contained within a full (upside down) stroke.
I’ve put the two free-running animations together, below