Novak Djokovic, the current number 1 player in the world has plenty of weapons which enable him to be the dominant player he is today. Novaks’ athleticism around the court is phenomenal and he seems to get to every ball. He has tremendous flexibility and leg strength which coincide with his court coverage. None of this however, would make him number 1 in the world if these attributes did not have amazing groundstrokes attached to it.
Therefore, today we focus of Novaks double handed backhand and more specifically the technique behind it. Before you read on further we encourage you to watch the embedded clip and see what you think about his backhand. Have a look at the size of the swing and Novaks position when hitting the ball and come up with why you think his backhand is one of the best in the world.
Breaking down the backhand. Before the ball has even been hit by his hitting partner, Novaks feet are moving and ready to go. The weight distribution is on the balls of his feet and he split steps just before the ball is hit. This enables him to move immediately to whichever side he needs to go. Now that Novak notices he will need to hit a backhand, he starts his preparation phase of his swing. As you can see he quickly changes his grip BEFORE he takes his racquet back. Then be begins the take back with his shoulder turn. As Novaks gets to the end of his shoulder turn you can see that his racquet is pointing to the back fence and is no higher than his head at any stage. Additionally, at this stage of the swing his racquet is in a vertical position where from this angle of the video, we can clearly see the Head stencil in his strings.
Now that it is time to hit the ball, Novak drops his hands down so he can drive up the back of the ball. Additionally, you can see clearly that Novak extends his left arm all the way through the shot while his body weight is also coming forward. He is using his legs to drive up and his body weight to drive forward to create power with his whole body. His follow through is also great with both arms extending out as far as possible and finishing with the top of the frame on top of the bottom of the frame.
Overall Novaks Djokovic has an excellent backhand that most coaches would want to teach their players. He hits all the fundamental points when teaching and obviously he is extremely consistent from that side and can also attack from it.
Here are the keys points from his backhand
Early take back before the ball bounces
Take back with shoulders pointing to back fence and no higher that his head
Verticle racquet position on his back swing
Leg drive and low to high with his swing
Extension through contact
Follow through, top edge bottom edge
Of course, this is just one of his strengths. A player of his calibre and achievements has a lot of weapons. Take a read of one of our previous articles which dissects his mental ability during the Australian Open.