A sledgehammer is a terminology used in tennis. It is defined as a two-handed backhand winning move. It is touted a winning move because the ball is hardly ever returned back to the server with this move.
The Backhand in Tennis
In tennis, players use different kinds of strokes to hit the ball. One is the forehand and another is the backhand. The backhand is a shot where the player swings the racket around his or her body with the back of the hand preceding the palm. This shot is usually done at the baseline or as an approach shot. To illustrate it clearly, a right-handed player performing a backhand will have to position the racket on the left side of the body and continues the swing across the body making the racket end at the right side, over the right shoulder.
Compared to a forehand, the backhand generally lacks consistency and power because the player’s dominant hand has to “pull” into the shot. This can be remedied by a two-handed backhand or a sledgehammer, which is more stable and has more power. This type of shot, the two-handed backhand, is used more commonly in the modern game of tennis. But the backhand is not an easy shot to make. Many beginner and club-level tennis players have difficulty hitting a good backhand. Even some advanced tennis players have a better forehand than a backhand.
There are many reasons tennis players opt to use a two-handed backhand or sledgehammer. First is that it is more accurate because two hands are on the racket, making it more stable. Second, higher balls can easily be hit with two-handed backhands. Third, two-handed backhands deliver more power and accuracy to the forehand, maybe even surpassing the latter shot. Fourth, it can be used even with an open stance. Lastly, it is easier to develop than a one-handed backhand shot.
Tennis Players with Great Backhands
Throughout tennis history, perhaps the player with the best backhand is Don Budge. Other players with a powerful backhand, both one- and two-handed backhands include Richard Gasquet, StanislasWawrinka, Roger Federer, Nicolas Almagro, and Mikhail Youzhny. These players stand out because of the power, fluidity, and smoothness of their backhands when playing the game.