One Hand Backhand
Swing Volley

Chris Lewit

Federer and Wawrinka - two players who first popularized the one hand backhand swing volley.

The one-handed backhand is still alive on the pro tour and at all levels of recreational play. While I believe in the technical supremacy of the modern two-handed backhand, the one hander remains a beautiful, graceful, and flowing shot that captures attention. It's still viable in the modern high speed game.

The one-handed backhand swing volley is a “rara avis," or a rare bird, indeed. While legends like Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka have popularized the shot to some extent—and make it look easy--all the great one-handed backhand players on the pro tour have the ability to rip the ball out of the air.

Federer uses the one hand backswing swing volley as a counterattack and passing shot.

In this article, I will explore some variations that I see on tour with this singular shot and highlight the key technical and tactical aspects that I teach to my students. My goal is to help parents, coaches and players understand the nuances and help players add the swing volley to their arsenal.

Federer, Tsitsipas, Wawrinka, Shapovalov, etc. You name the single-handed player. They are all willing and able to take the ball out of the air. Federer is particularly adept at the shot and uses the swing backhand volley from the midcourt—not only to attack—but also as a counterattacking passing shot.

Classic and Jumping

The classic one handed swing volley is hit on the ground without jumping. But it's also common for players to elevate the body to achieve a better contact point. When the ball is floating high and players are moving forwards, players frequently jump up to attack the ball.

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Chris Lewit, former #1 for Cornell and Pro Circuit player, has coached numerous top 10 nationally ranked juniors and is a leading coach, educator, and author. He has written two best-selling books, The Secrets of Spanish Tennis and The Tennis Technique Bible.

Chris runs a popular high performance summer tennis camp in the beautiful mountains of Vermont and coaches players world-wide through his virtual school, CLTA Online (

Chris also produces a weekly high performance tennis video talk show and podcast, The Prodigy Maker Show, which is available on Apple Podcasts and all other podcasting directories. All shows can be accessed at

Check out Chris's blog, also at for free articles on high performance junior development and Spanish training. Learn about his camp at or visit the online academy at

The Secrets of Spanish Tennis

What makes Spanish tennis so unique and successful? What exactly are those Spanish coaches doing so differently to develop superstars like Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer that other systems are not doing? These and other questions are answered in The Secrets of Spanish Tennis, the culmination of five years of study on the Spanish way of training by USTA High Performance Coach Chris Lewit.

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