Masterclass: Shapovalov's Leaping Backhand
Different players are known for different shots. Rafael Nadal is known for his ferocious forehand and Novak Djokovic his bullet-proof two-handed backhand. Denis Shapovalov, who was an alternate at this year’s Nitto ATP Finals, is known for his leaping one-handed backhand.
“I was hitting it as a junior a lot, so it really came naturally to me,” Shapovalov said.
The Canadian took the time to provide tips to ATPTour.com fans on how to hit the entertaining-but-difficult shot, focussing on five important steps. One of those steps is recognition, about which the lefty said: "Normally I’m looking for a slower, high ball. It might be a shank off an opponent’s racquet or just [a ball that is] slower, inside the court, so I can step in while I’m hitting the shot."
Shapovalov believes his leaping one-hander is an important part of his repertoire.
"If I have the opportunity to go for that shot, I’m going to go for it. First of all, the crowd’s going to go wild. It’s a big momentum changer as well. If you hit that shot in an important point, you kind of put pressure on your opponent," Shapovalov said. "We’re professional tennis players and also showmen. So for me, personally, if I have the opportunity to go for that shot, I go for it."