In this short blog post, I am going to discuss the pros and cons of the various different forehand grips. I will explore the different playing styles that these grips are best suited to and the players that use them, in order to help you find the grip that will work best for you. We will also look at how these forehand grips generate different types of spin on the ball which can work very well on some surfaces while at the same time, work very poorly on others. The grips that we will be focusing on today are the eastern, semi-western, and full western grips.
The Eastern Grip
This forehand grip was first introduced to the game of tennis by none other than Bjorn Borg who at the time was considered to have an extreme grip. In the modern game, however, the eastern grip is seen as the least extreme grip of all. Roger Federer has one of the best and most effective forehands of all time which he can attribute to this eastern grip. Players who use this grip are highly aggressive with their forehand and like to be on top of the point by taking control of the point with their forehand. This grip is most effective in dealing with low fast balls as it serves to block the ball well. Nevertheless, high topspin balls are this grips weakness as you need a lot of racket head speed to counteract the spin and keep the ball on the court. This grip produces a heavy flat ball which works best on faster surfaces which would explain the unmatched success of Roger Federer at the Wimbledon grand-slam over the last two decades. If you find that you struggle to generate power on the court or suffer from any injuries like tennis elbow this grip is best suited to you as it will help you to generate easy power without the need for a lot of racket head speed.
The Semi-Western Grip
Modern tennis coaches teach this grip to advanced juniors and adult players as it is effective in creating large amounts of topspin which kicks up on your opponent's court, and also with a minor change in your racket path, it creates a heavy flat ball. People who use this grip are all court players and counter punchers who can be defensive and aggressive. This is the grip of choice for many of the top pros on tour at the moment such as Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, and Simona Halep. This grip is suited to all surfaces and is possibly most effective on hard court. If you are an advanced player who likes to use both spin and power to derail your opponent then this grip is perfect for you.
The Full Western Grip
The full western grip is considered as an extreme grip in the modern game of tennis. It generates massive amounts of topspin which means this grip is best suited to clay courts. People who use this grip are grinders and try to rally their opponents off the court and win with consistency. This grip has many flaws in my opinion. Firstly, you need to generate massive amounts of racket head speed in order to create any sort of power. Therefore, this grip can cause injury. I used to use this grip but I changed to a semi-western because the full western was causing me to have so many shoulder injuries. This grip is also very ineffective in receiving low balls such as slice as the grip doesn't allow for simple blocking of the ball because racket head speed is always required! Jack Sock is possibly the most notable player to use this grip. However, Djokovic uses a hybrid between the semi-western and the full western which is a very advanced grip.
There is a load of YouTube videos available which demonstrate these grips and we would highly recommend that you check them out. We will release our own video on this topic soon. Next time you go down to the tennis court try out these grips and see which one suits you best. Remember that changing your grip is not easy and takes time and dedication. Make sure you ask your coach what the best grip is for you before you choose one and then keep at it!!!