Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard, a new hope for the one-handed backhand: “I feel I’m Wawrinka”

Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard en Roehampton Club // SEBASTIÁN VARELA NAHMÍAS
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LONDON – When Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard whip his one-handed backhand down the line, he feels like one of the iconic tennis players of the era: “I feel I’m Wawrinka”.

There is no player among the world’s top 650 as young as him with a one-handed backhand in his repertoire. The 20-year-old Frenchman is a new hope of nostalgic devotees of an endangered stroke.

“I used to play two-handed, but at nine I changed,” he told CLAY during the Wimbledon qualifiers. At Roehampton he lost in the last round, but the last-minute withdrawal of Alejandro Davidovich and his good ranking opened the doors to the All England Club.

“The one-handed backhand will be missed in tennis if it ever dies, although I don’t think that will happen because the legacy of Roger Federer‘s backhand will continue to inspire. So will Wawrinka or Richard Gasquet. I would like to see more tennis players with the stroke because it is so beautiful. It’s vintage tennis”.


The Lyon ATP 250 champion knows the advantages and disadvantages of being that weirdo of modern tennis. “It’s an advantage as it allows me to make some shots that don’t need the left hand, although it’s also true that the speed with which it is played on the tour makes it very difficult to manage it. When it doesn’t work for me I prefer to use the slice and I would like to hit two-handed, so then I don’t think I’m Stan!”, the 58th player in the ATP ranking told CLAY.

From Lucky Loser to big surprise, 203 centimeters tall, Mpetshi Perricard took out Sebastian Korda in the first round with 51 aces, and added another 27 by downing Nishioka in the next match. He will face Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori in Saturday’s third round at Wimbledon.

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A different style in a sport that is homogenizing.

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