Matteo Berrettini has been one of the most consistent players on the tour in recent years. Though he is yet to win a grand slam, he has made deep runs at many tournaments.
But every time I watch Berrettini play, I can’t overlook the fact that he has a very weak backhand. His slice is decent but his two-handed backhand is probably the worst among the Top 20.
He makes up for his weak backhand by using excellent footwork to hit a slice or by running around to hit a forehand. But top players will exploit his weak backhand easily.
So, how did Matteo Berrettini get to the top echelons of tennis (Top 10 in the world) with such a weak backhand?
History shows that tennis has had several players who succeeded despite huge flaws in their game. Elena Dementieva had a very poor serve but had fantastic groundstrokes that helped her reach two grand slam finals.
Feliciano Lopez, who mostly slices on the backhand side was a staple in the Top 50 for many years. Juan Martin del Potro won the US Open with a so-so backhand. When he returned from multiple surgeries on his left wrist, his backhand got weaker but he still found some success on the tour.
Can Berrettini improve his backhand? It’s possible but a major change to the backhand will be too much for a top player. His coaches certainly realized when Berrettini was young that his backhand could be a liability but couldn’t improve it much despite thousands of hours of practice.