Without the correct grip on your forehand, you will not have a good forehand.
There are several options for your forehand grip in tennis. Roger Federer uses what is called an eastern grip while Nadal uses a semi-western grip.
This comes down to personal preference but most recreational players who have good forehands use an eastern to semi-western grip. Below you’ll learn how to find the best tennis forehand grip for you.
What You’ll Learn
This used to be the most common tennis forehand grip. Roger Federer and several other pro tennis players still use the eastern forehand grip. It allows for a good combination of power and spin on your forehand.
To try the eastern grip, lay your dominant hand out with your palm facing up. Then, lay the racquet in your hand with the strings facing up. Close your hand around the grip, and you’ve got the eastern grip for your forehand.
Your palm should be on the side of the grip when you are in ready position – strings facing to the side.
The Semi-Western grip is the most common forehand grip in tennis. Andy Murry and Rafael Nadal have some of the best semi-western forehands on the pro tennis tour.
If you’re looking for more spin than an eastern grip, then this might be the best fit for you.
How do you know you’re using a semi-western grip?
Start with you’re palm on the right side of the grip, like you have an eastern grip. Then rotate your palm one-eighth of the way around the racquet, towards the bottom of the grip.
The Semi-western grip what I personally use on my forehand. I find it to be the go-to grip for beginner tennis players still developing their groundstrokes.
The full western grip is a difficult grip to use for recreational tennis players. Although it is used by some pros, you need to play a lot of tennis to use this grip because it requires excellent timing and precision. This grip will provide the most spin of any grip in tennis.
To grip the racquet with a full western grip, hold the racquet with your left hand at the neck of the racquet with your strings facing down. Grip the side of the racquet. When you make contact with the ball on your forehand using a full western grip, your hand will be under the racquet with your palm facing up.
It is awkward for most players, so I don’t usually recommend it unless it’s a natural motion for you.
The continental grip is almost never used on forehands in today’s game. It used to be the standard, but as more players developed topspin during the late 20th century, the continental grip died out. It is still used by teaching pros to feed balls, but in match play, you almost never see it.
To grip the racquet with a continental grip, grab the neck of the racquet with your right hand. Then slide your hand, without rotating the racquet, all the way down to the grip. If you’re hitting a slice forehand then, the continental grip is a great option. It is also used for volleys and the serve, but not recommended for forehand groundstrokes.
When deciding which grip is best, you’ll want to do what feels most natural for you. Go out on the court and hit several forehands with each grip to see which one you prefer. Use the images on this page or watch a video on forehand grips will help you know which kind you are using.
Typically a more western grip will result in more topspin while an eastern grip will have more power and be a little flatter ball. I do not recommend a continental grip or a full western for recreational tennis players.
The continental grip doesn’t allow for a lot of topspin on your forehand, so you will struggle to make them consistently. A full western grip does allow for topspin but it does not usually have much power, and it is difficult to time the shot. To master a full western grip, you need to practice for hours a day which most players don’t have time for.
I recommend the semi-western grip for most forehands and expect it will feel most natural for you as well.
For League & Tournament Doubles Players... Every week, I create a new doubles lesson to help you improve. Join Doubles Players From All Over The World & Get A Free 10 Page Doubles Strategy Playbook!
Will Boucek is the Founder & CEO of The Tennis Tribe. He has played tennis for over two decades, including in college. Will has worked with ATP & WTA tour players and coaches. He currently lives in Austin TX where he plays USTA leagues & tournaments, writes about tennis, and teaches doubles workshops.