Why Federer Recommends Kids Learn A Two-Handed Backhand
Former World No. 1 Roger Federer hits an elegant one-handed backhand. But after his second-round win at the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday, he suggested that kids don’t have to follow his example, at least in that department.
“Double-handed backhand,” said Federer of which backhand children should learn first. “It's easier. It's that simple. If they want to change later on, I will teach them that one. But I can't teach them a double-hander as I can't hit that one.”
In the current Top 20 of the ATP Rankings, four players hit a one-handed backhand: Federer, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Marco Cecchinato. The highest-ranked left-hander who utilises a one-hander is World No. 25 Denis Shapovalov. Federer says that players can change as they get older and further develop their games, but that it is best to start with two hands on the racquet on the backhand wing.
“Like with everything in life, you also have your own character. Some people decide to change it at 8, some at 14, some later, because they find it a good challenge,” Federer said. “For now, that's what it is. Who cares anyway if they hit a double-hander or not? It shouldn't be in the press.”
While it’s impossible to tell how the 37-year-old Swiss would have performed with a two-handed backhand, Federer’s decision to hit a one-hander has served him well over the years. His 100 tour-level trophies speak for themselves. But that is not the only decision that has paid off for the father of four over the years.
“I took strong decisions in terms of management throughout my career. Took strong decisions with coaching. Had some moments where I let go of coaches that were maybe, for the outside people, not a logical step, but for me really the only step,” Federer said. “I also made mistakes along the way in this regard. But still, as a player, you have to believe [in your decisions]. It's your career. You've got to go after your gut feeling and heart and go where your heart takes you. We only have one career, so I really tried to make the most of that, but do it the nice way.
“I think I definitely got lucky to have met [my wife] Mirka so early, too... Professionally speaking, for my life, [she] gave me great consistency and she was very professional as a player herself, which I can't say of myself early on in my career.
“A lot of things went well for me: the people I had around me, friends and family and coaches and so forth… I have a lot of people to thank when it all comes to the very end.”
But Federer is still going strong. The fourth seed is trying to win a record sixth title in Indian Wells. He’ll have to be at his best in the third round against compatriot and former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka, who battled past 29th seed Marton Fucsovics in three sets.
Federer leads Wawrinka 21-3 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, including a win in the 2017 final at this ATP Masters 1000 tournament. Perhaps fittingly, Wawrinka also hits a one-handed backhand.
“I think we will see a great Stan here, down the road, without a doubt, because I know what he can do. I think a lot of Stan,” Federer said. “He's got all the different options how to win points. He's a fighter and a winner. I hope he's going to be in the Top 20, Top 10 again very soon.”