As a tennis professional and coach, I feel the frustration from my players when they are repeatedly corrected or advised on what tennis grips are the best.
Although it might seem repetitive, here is the deal, grips in tennis exists for a reason. The purpose is to allow each player the opportunity to execute the shot selected with ease and precision. And most professionals on tour today use slight variations of the five main tennis grips to suit their individual style of play.
The Hammer Grip
Or more commonly called the continental, is the utility grip for all players. Used for volleys, two-handed backhands, slice on both forehand and backhand, overhead smash, serve, and up until the ’70s the forehand.
The continental grip forehand lost popularity when the US Open and Australian Open adopted the new hard-court surface over grass, leaving Wimbledon with the lowest bounce, which at the time suited the continental grip over others.
Occasionally seen used for a two-handed backhand. In today’s game, it typically accompanies the ever more disappearing one-handed backhand.
Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Stefano Tsitsipas, Dominic Thiem, and Denis Shapavalov continue to keep the one-hand backhand in the game today.
Roger Federer uses an extreme eastern grip, almost all the way to the conventional and most used semi-western grip. Blending these tennis grip types allows Federer to create more power while still maintaining a reasonable amount of spin.
Other tour players that use this grip are Juan Martin Del Potro, Grigor Dmitrov, Radek Stepanek,
The Most Common
This semi western grip is used by more players on tour. And is a much more comfortable grip for beginners to master in a shorter period.
It allows players to create extreme amounts of topspin. And at the same time, not lose the ability to extend the arm and racquet to generate more power.
Rafael Nadal uses an extreme semi-western, bordering on a full western, allowing him to create an extraordinary 4000 rpm on his forehand.
Rafa’s heaving spinning balls (rpm) has been matched only by the big-hitting Jack Sock. Noted for his unorthodox yet extremely powerful, fast full western grip forehand.
Tennis Grips Western Style
The Western is used by a lot of gun slinging pros. But it is not really suitable for recreational players.
The extreme grip requires precision and impeccable timing for it to be successful. It does, however, create more spin than that of the other grips.
It is an excellent grip if you want to spend hours and hours a day on the court just hitting forehands, but not many people want that or have that kind of free time.
Nick Kyrgios, Karen Kachanov, and Jack Sock are among the top players using this extreme grip.
Tennis Grip Types You can Master
There are more grips for tennis out there; however, players typically only adopt two or three grips if they rely on the continental for their backhand.
While a one-handed player generally has three main grips that they utilize. Eastern for the backhand, Semi Western or Eastern for the forehand, and Continental for everything else.
The combination of tennis grips is ultimately up to the player and what best suits your style of play. So listen to your coach, trust your instincts, and swing away!