The Different Types Of Tennis Grips Explained – 2024

Eastern Forehand Grip

As tennis players we all learn to hold a racket in different ways and play with our own unique styles and intracacies.  We all use different grips, tennis professionals and recreational players both use the eastern grip, although it is not as popular as it used to be.

In this article, we will examine the different types of grips used by tennis players.

We start with the eastern forehand grip and the eastern backhand grip, looking at them in detail and examine their advantages and disadvantages.

What is an Eastern Tennis Grip

From the continental grip most players used before the 1920s, the eastern forehand grip was a natural evolution.

Players could switch from continental grip to eastern grip without having to drastically alter the way they held the tennis racquet, while the semi-western grip and western grip are comparatively more extreme.

In the same way as other forehand grips, the eastern grip developed with the rise of competition in the sport, when players began to want to hit more aggressive shots while still maintaining a high margin of error and maintaining a high level of control.

As more and more players adopt the semi-western or western grip, it has become less popular among professional and recreational players.

How To Hold An Eastern Forehand Tennis Grip

Players who pick up a racket for the first time will feel at ease and natural with this grip. Because of this, most tennis coaches begin by teaching the Eastern forehand grip before moving on to other grips.

Eastern Forehand Grip

It is relatively easy to hold an eastern forehand grip. Essentially, all tennis racquet handles form a shape roughly similar to an octagon; an octagon has eight sides, called bevels in tennis, which means they have eight faces.

Using the diagram below, we can easily identify the eastern forehand grip if we label each side with a number.

When you are right-handed, place the palm side of your finger’s index knuckle against the third level, and when you are left-handed, place the knuckle against the seventh bevel.

Eastern Forehand Grip

Eastern grips are pretty comfortable for most players, especially beginners. Many instructors, especially those who feel uncomfortable with the semi-western or western grip, still teach the eastern grip when players first begin.

Advantages of an Eastern Grip

East-west tennis grips can have the advantage that they are close to continental grips, making it easier for players to transition between forehands and volleys. For example, when a player hits an approach shot to the net, it’s relatively easy to change grips and play a follow-up volley, and transition back to the baseline.

Some players may find it easier to transition to forehand or backhand grips when returning serve with the eastern grip.

If the ball ends up traveling in the direction of your backhand, you can easily transition your grip from an eastern forehand grip to a two-handed backhand grip while waiting for the serve to come in.

The eastern grip may be easier to switch than semi-western or western grips, but this does not mean it’s impossible. These grips are commonly used by players who use them.

It should be noted, however, that players transitioning from an eastern to a continental grip will likely have an easier time moving from one mode to another.

Furthermore, a player can hit the ball with less topspin by using the eastern grip. These flat shots won’t be a major advantage for beginners, since there won’t be much margin for error with the shot.

When you are playing in highly competitive tennis matches in US open, however, flattening out the ball can be advantageous when attempting to pass or close out a point by hitting a shot that doesn’t bounce high, making it harder for your opponent to get to it.

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Disadvantages of an Eastern Grip

In general, an eastern grip has the disadvantage of being difficult to generate a lot of topspin.

This might not seem like a major disadvantage to some players. When hitting with more topspin, players are able to maintain high levels of consistency while hitting the ball aggressively.

In spite of the eastern grip, players can still strike the ball aggressively. Topspin is generated more easily by players who use a semi-western or western tennis grip, and a topspin ball generally drops back into the court.

The semi-western or western grip is therefore more common among big-hitting, grinding baseliners.

Which Tennis Players Use an Eastern Forehand Grip?

Some of the best tennis players in the world have used the Eastern grip for decades.

There were players like Bjorn Borg, Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, and Pete Sampras who stood out before the millennium. The women’s tour has featured Ashleigh Barty, Angelique Kerber, and Petra Kvitova recently, as well as Roger Federer, Juan Martin del Potro, and Grigor Dimitrov on the men’s tour.

Should I Use an Eastern Grip?

Eastern grips can be a great place to start for beginners. New players generally find this grip comfortable, although it depends on what style of play they prefer.

Even though eastern grips are less common than they used to be in tennis, they remain a staple grip. Flexibility is the key to growing your grip with your skill set and as you advance in your game.

Our recommendation is to start with the Eastern forehand grip if you are starting from scratch or switching grips. It’s always best, to begin with an Eastern grip and work your way up to a semi-western grip until you are comfortable with it.

What Are The Different Types Of Grips?

You hold your tennis racket with a tennis grip.

You can play different shots during a match depending on where your hand is positioned on the racket. 

Western grips, Semi-Western grips, Continental grips, and Eastern grips are among the different types of grip choices. 

Let’s have a look at the different types of tennis grips

The Semi-Western Forehand Grip

Tennis players commonly grip their forehands in the Semi-Western position. Among the best semi-western forehands on the pro tour are those of Andy Murry and Rafael Nadal.

You might prefer this grip if you need more spin than an eastern grip.

If you use a semi-western grip, how do you know it?

The Full Western Forehand Grip

It can be challenging to use a full western grip as a recreational tennis player. You need excellent timing and precision to use this grip, even though it is used by some pros. There is no grip in tennis that will provide more spin than this one.

The full western grip is applied by gripping the racket with your left hand and facing the strings forward. Take hold of the side of the racquet. Forehands made with a full western grip will have the palm of your hand facing up under the racquet when you make contact with the ball.

In most cases, it isn’t a natural motion for most players, so I don’t recommend it. It is hard to do this with low shots as you have to hit right up the back of the ball.  Nick Kyrgios and Richard Gasquet hit the ball with this tennis grip very well.

The Continental Grip

In today’s game, almost no forehands are used with the continental grip. The continental grip once dominated, but it disappeared as topspin became more prevalent in the late 20th century. Although teaching pros still use it to feed tennis balls, you rarely see it in match play.

Right-handers should grab the racquet’s neck with their right hand when using a continental grip. Once you have reached the grip, slide your hand down without rotating the racquet. The continental grip is a great choice if you’re using a slice forehand. Forehand groundstrokes are not recommended, but they can be used for volleys and serves.

With the Eastern grip, you can hit through shots at more power than with other grips, resulting in less wrist strain.

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Which is the Best Tennis Forehand Grip?

You should choose the grip that feels most natural for you when choosing the best grip. If you want to find out what grip you prefer, try hitting several forehands using each grip on the court.

Watch a video on forehand grips or use the images on this page to determine what you are using.

Extreme topspin is typically produced by a western grip, while power and flatter balls are typically produced by an eastern grip. The continental grip and full western grip are not recommended for recreational tennis players.

You will have trouble consistently making them with the continental grip since it doesn’t allow for much topspin.

While a full western grip allows for topspin, it rarely has much power, and timing the shot is challenging. Most players don’t have the time to practice hours a day in order to master a full western grip.

It feels most natural for you as well to use the semi-western grip on most forehands.

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What is an Eastern forehand grip?

Using the eastern forehand grip, the top bevel of the racket is placed on the index finger, and the hand wraps around the handle. Because of its ease of use and power, this grip is recommended for beginners.

Does the Eastern forehand grip work well?

Beginners will benefit from the eastern forehand grip since it provides a lot of power and is easy to learn. As a result, advanced players should not use this grip since it doesn’t provide as much control.

Can I serve with an Eastern grip?

It’s possible to serve using the eastern grip, but it’s not recommended due to its lack of control. To master your serve, you should use the eastern forehand grip as a beginner.

Final Thoughts

In our view beginners should start off with an eastern forehand grip, which is the easiest and fastest to learn, and then switch up to other grip types over time depending on their own game and personal preference.

It will be very useful for you as a tennis player to master the right techniques of the eastern forehand grip as you advance in your career.

Even professional players can benefit from this type of grip, especially those who work well in all parts of the court. 

Ultimately, you must decide which grip you prefer based on your personal preferences, game style, and strategies. The most important thing is to practice, practice, practice

David Harris

David is the founder and chief writer at Tennis Pursuits. A tennis fanatic, David has extensive experience of the game and has reviewed 100s of products to date. He is passionate about helping others on their tennis journey.

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