Petra Kvitova – Two-handed backhand return

Tall-grown leftie Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) secured her place in the history of tennis mainly with her 2 Wimbledon trophies (2011 & 2014) as well as with her 5 Fed Cup titles (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016) for her native Czech Republic. Petra’s best year so far was 2011, when she won also the WTA Tour Finals and reached as the WTA #2 her career high. As she was luckily just recently able to come back to the game after her dubious hand injury from the end of 2016, the list of Petra’s tennis achievements might grow even further in the future years.

Petra’s favorite strokes are the service and the backhand, which is a great combination for her as a left-handed player. Her forehand is a bit mistake prone, as I did write about it in one of the previous articles here already. Below, I am showing some important details from one of Petra’s strengths – backhand return. The comparison between the practice and the match is rather difficult, but it appears that in her so far best year, 2011, Petra has had a bit more of the body-dominance in her return action than in 2016. In general, being able to hit the return either in the open stance or with the stepping in leads mostly to a much more dominant return with body energy involvement than stepping across, which mostly blocks a significant amount of the body energy. The ability to dominate a high amount of the returns from the outside leg (also on the forehand side) is one of the key elements in the game of the very top players. It brings, besides the already mentioned body energy dominance, also the possibility to almost seamlessly (and with a certain level of disguise) vary between the topspin and the slice return. Big factor influencing the return of a player is then obviously the service of the opponent. Excellent servers have the ability to serve so far from the opponent so often that stepping across might be necessary with a higher amount of the returns. The result is then not weaker return only, but also worse recovery.

The main aim of this article is to show the consequences of certain return varieties at the integration of the body energy into the strokes.

 

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) - Two-handed backhand return - 1 of 1 - ready position - 2011 Cincinnati Masters, OH / USA

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) – Two-handed backhand return in a practice – 1 of 1 – ready position – wide stance, both elbows in the front, racket head up, focused eyes – 2011 Cincinnati Masters – Mason, OH / USA

 

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) - Two-handed backhand return - 1 of 1 - ready position - 2011 Cincinnati Masters, OH / USA

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) – Two-handed backhand return in a practice – 1 of 1 – backswing – unit turn with the activation of the outside (= right) leg, body energy starts to transfer forward – 2011 Cincinnati Masters – Mason, OH / USA

 

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) - Two-handed backhand return - 1 of 1 - ready position - 2011 Cincinnati Masters, OH / USA

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) – Two-handed backhand return in a practice – 1 of 3 – ready position – 2011 Cincinnati Masters – Mason, OH / USA

 

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) - Two-handed backhand return - 1 of 1 - ready position - 2011 Cincinnati Masters, OH / USA

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) – Two-handed backhand return in a practice – 2 of 3 – unit turn with a wide feet position, racket head is up, eyes focused on the incoming ball – 2011 Cincinnati Masters – Mason, OH / USA

 

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) - Two-handed backhand return - 1 of 1 - ready position - 2011 Cincinnati Masters, OH / USA

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) – Two-handed backhand return in a practice – 3 of 3 – push-off from the outside (=right) leg, body energy starts its transfer against the ball – 2011 Cincinnati Masters – Mason, OH / USA

 

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) - Two-handed backhand return - 1 of 1 - ready position - 2011 Cincinnati Masters, OH / USA

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) – Two-handed backhand return in a practice – 1 of 3 – ready position – 2011 Cincinnati Masters – Mason, OH / USA

 

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) - Two-handed backhand return - 1 of 1 - ready position - 2011 Cincinnati Masters, OH / USA

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) – Two-handed backhand return in a practice – 2 of 3 – activation of the outside (=right leg) starts the unit turn – 2011 Cincinnati Masters – Mason, OH / USA

 

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) - Two-handed backhand return - 1 of 1 - ready position - 2011 Cincinnati Masters, OH / USA

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) – Two-handed backhand return in a practice – 3 of 3 – after very similar initial body pivot like with the topspin stroke, Petra decided to go for the one-handed slice return instead – 2011 Cincinnati Masters – Mason, OH / USA

 

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) - Two-handed backhand return - 1 of 1 - ready position - 2011 Cincinnati Masters, OH / USA

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) – Two-handed backhand return in a match – 1 of 3 – ready position – 2016 US.Open – New York

 

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) - Two-handed backhand return - 1 of 1 - ready position - 2011 Cincinnati Masters, OH / USA

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) – Two-handed backhand return in a match – 2 of 3 – shortly after the impact of the stroke dominated by the crossover step of the inside (=left) leg (needless to say, Petra was pushed further away from her initial ready position) – 2016 US.Open – New York

 

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) - Two-handed backhand return - 1 of 1 - ready position - 2011 Cincinnati Masters, OH / USA

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) – Two-handed backhand return in a match – 3 of 3 – follow through 2 (=relaxation) – body energy dominance of the stroke is very limited – 2016 US.Open – New York

 

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) - Two-handed backhand return - 1 of 1 - ready position - 2011 Cincinnati Masters, OH / USA

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) – Two-handed backhand return in a match – 1 of 3 – ready position – 2016 US.Open – New York

 

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) - Two-handed backhand return - 1 of 1 - ready position - 2011 Cincinnati Masters, OH / USA

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) – Two-handed backhand return in a match – 2 of 3 – shortly after the impact of the stroke dominated by the crossover step of the inside (=left leg) – opponent’s well-placed service brought Petra out of the position, body energy went to the side instead against the target – 2016 US.Open – New York

 

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) - Two-handed backhand return - 1 of 1 - ready position - 2011 Cincinnati Masters, OH / USA

Petra Kvitova (*90 / CZE) – Two-handed backhand return in a match – 3 of 3 – landing/relaxation – Petra had to invest practically all into just reaching the ball and playing it back, the body energy dominance of this stroke is very limited as is also the recovery – 2016 US.Open – New York

 

This article covers certain aspects of Petra Kvitova’s backhand return and this stroke in general only. Further photos and more details are available upon request at drmgb11(at)gmail.com. More details about these and other significant details necessary for a top performance are being addressed in the seminar “TENNIS 3.0 – Future of the Game”.

 

Photos (August 2011 & August 2016) & text (August 2017) copyright by Dr. Martin G. Baroch. Any further publication of either photos and/or texts with the written permission of the author/copyright owner only!!

DrMGB
Dr. Martin G. Baroch (alias DrMGB) - CPTA's Vice-president - Director of Education and Certifications, long-time USPTA International Head Tester and member of the USPTA Education Committee, owner of the Martin Baroch Tennis Academy & Human Performance Center (MBTA & HPC)
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