In the land of the one-handed backhand

by Jonas Eriksson

I love the one-handed backhand. It is a beautiful stroke and great players can make it look effortless. Among the strongest on the tour are Gasquet, Justin-Henin (WTA, but who cares, it is spectacular), Olivier Rochus, Federer, Wavrinka, Ljubicic, Kohlschreiber and I probably forget someone.

Sadly, I can’t hit it as well myself but today I could look forward to two backhand greats in Olivier Rochus and Richard Gasquet battle it out. Gasquet was once called Baby Federer because of his great all-court, all-shot game, but now he is just potential never unleashed and known for kissing a girl who had just taken a drugs and getting arrested for it. It’s not too late for him, but I can’t see his mind suddenly just being there. He is sadly a choker.

Remember that match against Murray in Wimbledon 2009 (or was it 2008)? Where he reached was serving for the match against Murray, up 2 sets to love and 5-3 but then just got the rubber arm and just faded away. For a fan of his beautiful game it was horrible to watch. I think the UK crowd finally got to him. And maybe they got to him badly, because he hasn’t really showed any results since. A great shame.

Olivier Rochus also had a few nice matches and highlights during his career, and just a few weeks ago he beat Novak Djokovic. But he is tiny and lack the power to be a dominant force on tour. Another great shame because he definitely has the game (that rhymes unintentionally).

So what happened in their match in Munich? I didn’t watch it, but I was quite shocked to see the score of 6-0 6-1 in Gasquet’s favour. Is Gasquet in great form? Can he win the tournament? I don’t think so. I think it just wasn’t Rochus’ day today. It is a shame that match between two tennis artists should end this way. I hope I am wrong about Gasquet though, I hope he will prove that he IS in fact the baby Federer. It would be fantastic, for him, for the game. But I doubt it will ever happen.

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