Whether you are hitting a one-handed or a two-handed backhand, there are three different ways you can position your feet, three stances you can use, when you set up to hit that shot. But Before we talk about the particulars of each of these stances, I want to talk more about the feet.
If I’m right-handed and I’m hitting a backhand, I will be making contact on the left side of my body. That makes my left foot my outside foot, and my right foot my inside foot. If you’re left-handed like me, you’ll be making contact on the right side of your body, making your right foot your outside foot and your left foot your inside foot.
With that in mind, if you position yourself to hit the tennis ball with your feet parallel to the baseline, this is called an open stance. If I position myself so that a line drawn between my feet would be perpendicular to the baseline, this would be called a neutral stance. If I step across my body with my inside foot, this is now called a closed stance.
Let’s take a look at some pros using the different backhand stances, and let’s start with the open stance. This is a picture of Gael Monfils hitting a two-handed backhand, and if you drew a line between his outside and inside foot, that line would be parallel with the baseline.
Let’s now look at the neutral stance. Here’s Radek Stepanek hitting a slice backhand, and you can see that the line in between his outside and inside foot is perpendicular to the baseline.
Finally, let’s look at Tommy Haas hitting a closed-stance slice backhand. You can see that he’s stepped across his body with his inside foot, and the line between his feet is now on a diagonal to the baseline.