Roger Federer Backhand Analysis – Keys of the Federer Backhand

The Federer backhand has long been considered one of the most graceful and beautiful strokes in tennis. Roger Federer’s backhand is an effortless and smooth shot that produces great results under pressure in both an offensive and defensive situations on a consistent basis. Without the advanced one handed backhand, Federer’s backhand would likely be less feared by his opponents.

Federer’s backhand is a powerful, efficient stroke that is adaptable and versatile. We frequently see Roger Federer play his one handed backhand on the rise as well as from deep behind the baseline. He has the ability to play from various parts of the court. Federer’s backhand is designed to neutralize his opponents shot and maintain good depth on his returns. Unlike most opponents, Roger Federer’s backhand is not an obvious weakness that can easily be exploited. It’s a solid and consistent shot.

The Federer Backhand Grip

Roger Federer’s backhand is a textbook stroke. Federer’s backhand follows a classical approach to the one handed backhand. Federer uses a standard backhand grip for the one handed backhand which is widely known as the best suited grip for the stroke.

One of the reasons why Federer’s backhand is a powerful and efficient shot is due to technique on the backhand. Federer’s backhand is noted for his exquisite technique, in fact one of the best one handed backhands on tour in terms of efficiency. It’s a fluid and efficient stroke that seamlessly flows from one part to the next without any hitches.

Federer’s Backhand Preparation

The preparation of the Federer backhand is an important part of the one handed backhand technique. Roger Federer prepares for the one handed backhand with a unitary body turn. This is called a Unit Turn. A unitary movement is one such that allows the body to turn and coil as a unit, allowing the body to load up power into the core muscles which is essential to generate power.

Preparation is an essential part of world class tennis technique. It is the beginning of the stroke and will determine the player’s ability to generate power and spin later on in the motion. Smooth and fluid preparation is key in tennis technique to achieve an advanced one handed backhand.

World Class preparation for the one handed backhand involves turning the body “back” together to achieve maximum coil. This means that the body should initiate the unitary turn prior to any backswing. An example of poor preparation is taking a big backswing on the one handed backhand without a proper unit turn. This will cause players to arm shots.

At times, we see Federer increase the amount of topspin and rotation with the one handed backhand for safety and greater margin for error. At other times, Federer is able to hit the one handed backhand with aggression pulling his opponents off the court or setting up for an inside out forehand. This would not be possible without having the ability to generate a topspin backhand.

The Roger Federer Backhand: Backswing

Upon viewing many series of slow motion video and comparing them with the rest of top pros with a one handed backhand, Roger Federer’s backhand shares a lot of commonalities. Like most of his peers on tour, Federer starts his backhand with a unitary turn of the body. Then, some compact version of a take back is executed only after his body has turned around forty five degrees. By the time Federer begins any real backswing, the body has turned sideways.

Roger Federer’s Footwork on the Backhand

Watch Roger Federer’s backhand as he hits a quick backhand return. Federer quickly recognizes the incoming ball and gets into the backhand grip. He makes a quick pivot, turning the shoulders and coiling the body with a pivot. This pivot turns the body and brings the racket along for the ride. By simply turning his shoulders and taking an abbreviated and backswing, he is able to make contact with the ball and direct the return for a winner.

On most other occasions, Federer’s backhand is hit with a closed stance and he takes a full complete backswing. This is ideal when he has more time to hit the ball and fully set up for the incoming shot.

Contact Point

As soon as Federer reaches the contact point, the arm usually is straightened out at contact. During the takeback and backswing phase, the arm is usually slightly bent, but at contact point the arm has usually straightened out considerably. Often times Federer’s contact point is in front of the body. The issue of the arm position should occur naturally, provided that the technique earlier on in the swing was correct. This is partially facilitated by the backhand grip, which naturally puts the contact point out in front with the arm ideally straightened out at contact.

Finish and Followthrough

The Federer backhand follow through is essentially the same as with most pros on tour today with the one handed backhand. In today’s modern tennis game, players are hitting the one handed backhand with more pace and spin. The follow through is usually finished up high. In some cases, pro players are using some element of a brushing motion to impart additional topspin to their shots. Federer’s backhand is no exception. This allows for a one handed backhand with both power and spin. At other times, Federer will drive his backhand to flatten out the shot when necessary. This permits for a one handed backhand with greater variety and shot selection.

There are elements of Federer’s backhand that players at any level can develop into their own game. Since Roger Federer’s one handed backhand technique is superfluous, a player cannot go wrong from analysis and modeling even a small part of Roger Federer’s backhand in their game.


The Roger Federer backhand is an integral part of the game of tennis. The analysis of the one handed backhand will likely continue as players evolve as part of every new generation of tennis champions. One thing will never change; however, and that is the Roger Federer Backhand. Federer’s Backhand will likely be a timeless classic textbook stroke that will be referenced for many years to come by future aspiring tennis players.

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