What is the Best Forehand Grip to use in Tennis?

Too Many Rackets
5 min readOct 17, 2023

One of the first decisions you have to make as a beginner player is what forehand grip you should use.

Even if you are not a beginner, you may have chosen a more conservative grip when you first started playing tennis but now you want to make a change so that you can progress in your game and compete at a higher level.

This article will look at what the best options are for your forehand and show you how to find each of the different options.

I will also look at the pros and cons of each of the different options.

How to find a Forehand Grip on a Tennis Racket?

Before I discuss the various options for your forehand, I want to quickly explain how to find a grip on a racket.

The two main reference points I will use for each of the different options is the location of your index knuckle and your heel pad on the racket.

Each option involves placing your index knuckle and your heel pad on a particular bevel of the racket.

Tennis racket handles are hexagonal in shape so there are a total of 8 bevels on a racket with each of the bevels being numbered 1 to 8 (see image below).

Copyright Tavernsenses — Numbering of bevels on a tennis racket grip

Hold the racket perpendicularly and then if you are left handed, start at the top bevel and number the bevels from 1–8 in an anticlockwise direction.

If you are right handed then you will number the bevels in a clockwise direction.

Once you know the number of each bevel, you will be able to find the grips detailed below by placing your index knuckle and heel pad on the bevel number given for a particular option.

Forehand Grips in Tennis

The four main options for your tennis forehand are the:

Eastern

Semi-Western

Western

Australian

1. Eastern

The Eastern Grip is the most conservative option on this list and you can find it by placing your index knuckle and heel pad on bevel number 3.

An Eastern is a good forehand option for beginners to learn as it feels very natural in your hand and allows you to hit flat and with topspin.

Pros

Good on Low to Medium Balls

Easier to hit flat and go for winners

Feels more natural to hit balls with an eastern in comparison with more extreme grips like the Western

The Eastern makes it easier to disguise a drop shot as you can quickly switch to a continental grip

The grip is closer to the traditional one handed backhand grip so it is easier to switch between your forehand and backhand grips.

Cons

Harder to generate topspin on high balls

Opponents may hit high top spins balls to your forehand as it is hard to attack balls like these with the eastern.

Tennis Pros Using an Eastern Forehand

Roger Federer

Juan Martin Del Potro

Grigor Dimitrov

Stefanos Tsitsipas

Ashleigh Barty

Angelique Kerber

Petra Kvitova

2. Semi-Western

The Semi Western is probably the most popular forehand grip used on the professional tour with around 70% of pros using it.

It is also very popular at the recreational level as it is much easier to generate topspin using this grip in comparison with the Eastern.

You can find the Semi Western Grip by placing your index knuckle and heel pad on bevel number 4.

If you are used to an eastern forehand then it will take you some time before you get used to hitting the ball with a semi-western as you don’t hit through the ball as much as you would with an Eastern Forehand.

Pros

It is easier to generate top spin on your balls

It is easier to hit high balls at shoulder height or above

Cons

Extremely low balls can be more difficult to hit with a Semi Western Grip

Has a smaller hitting zone than an eastern forehand

It is harder but not impossible to hit flat balls

Tennis Pros Using a Semi-Western Forehand

Rafael Nadal

Andy Murray

3. Western

The Western Grip is the most extreme option on this list and provides players who are proficient with it a ton of top spin on their shots.

The Western isn’t that popular at the recreational level as it is incredibly hard to hit flat using this grip and low balls are nearly impossible if you are at the recreational level.

You can find the Western by placing your index knuckle and heel pad on bevel number 5.

It can be very hard to switch to a Western if you did not start playing tennis with it as it offers a completely different feel when compared with an Eastern or Semi Western.

Pros

Much easier to hit high balls with good top spin

In the right hands, it can generate tremendous topspin

Is effective on clay courts where you need to hit higher balls

Cons

Difficult to hit the ball flat

Low balls will be an issue, which opponents may try and take advantage of

Tennis Pros Using a Western Forehand

Jack Sock

Kyle Edmond

4. The Australian Grip

The Australian Grip is a lesser know option for your forehand that is in the middle of a continental and eastern forehand grip.

Pros

Is a good grip to hit slice with

Makes hitting low balls very easy

Easier to hit flat and go for winners when compared with more extreme options

Cons

It can be difficult to hit high balls

So What is the Best Grip to use?

If you are an adult beginner or an older player then I would recommend using the Eastern Grip for your forehand as it gives you a good balance between power and spin.

In my opinion, it is also much easier to learn as a beginner as the stroke feels natural and more intuitive than the other options.

If you are a junior or more of an advanced adult player then I would highly recommend the Semi Western grip as one of the biggest weaknesses of the eastern forehand is that it can be difficult to deal with high balls.

With the Semi Western, these high balls are much easier to hit and you are much more likely to be able to be more aggressive when returning high balls to your forehand.

I wouldn’t recommend that anyone opts for the Western as it is very difficult to master as its weaknesses outweigh its strengths (especially at the recreational level) so I would stick to using an Eastern or Semi Western grip.

Final Thoughts

If you are a recreational player who has no aspirations of becoming a tennis pro then my recommendation would be to go with an Eastern as it is much easier to learn and feels much more natural to hit with.

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