So John Isner is now in yet another holding-serveathon against a journeyman. This time, it’s against Ricardo Mello in Indian Wells.
But you know how people stare at Isner’s serve? I can’t stop staring at his backhand.
First off, I don’t even know why anyone that tall needs a two-handed backhand. But whatever. If that’s what he wants to do, fine. What I can’t take, though, is that grip. It looks like a forehand grip to me, and he just bends his wrist way over when he hits the backhand. Otherwise, the racquet head would be facing the wrong way.
As a result, he takes all his size and weight, and eliminates any advantage they might give him. Instead, he seems to be pushing a left-handed forehand with a weak-wristed other hand on the racquet. Look how much more cocked his bottom-hand wrist is than Andre Agassi’s, Fernando Verdasco’s and Rafael Nadal’s.
There are always armchair critics of tennis players. I don’t get why Roger Federer uses that heavy, stiff racquet from the 1990s. But couldn’t Isner just adjust his grip a little, or a lot? That straight-arm backhand people are trying to teach now does not call for a cocked wrist.