(by Steve Hopkins)
The first video of Chinese Taipei player Chuang Chih Yuan is from 2017. It shows him developing his backhand flick in two common game situations – (1) for use against short serves to his forehand side, and (2) as an attacking shot following a short return of his serve. In 2016 and 2017 Fan Zhendong had great success with this tactic on his way to World No. 1, and as this was in 2017, this was likely early in Chih-Yuan’s development of the tactic. Many players use both of these tactics on the Pro Tour today. Usually when we see practice video, it shows players confidently striking their best shots and working on their rhythm and pace to get used to a tournament venue. It is rare to see a player as they develop a new stroke – with misses and adjustments and frustration.
The second video is from earlier this year – a Chuang Chih-Yuan upset win over Harimoto at the Qatar Open in March. Note that both players regularly use the backhand flick on short serves to their forehand. Obviously, Chuang Chih-Yuan’s work paid off and three years later the technique is effectively integrated into his game.