Learning how to hold a tennis racket is a vital skill in tennis that you must learn.
In the world of tennis, you can use many different grips to hold your tennis racket, with each having its advantages and disadvantages. Some will allow you to hit power more easily and some will allow you to hit spin more easily.
There is no right answer to what grip you should be using, it all comes down to personal preference and what kind of game style you want. If you want to be a heavy-spin, baseline player you may opt to go with a semi-western or full-western grip however, if you want to be more of an all-court player you may prefer an eastern grip as this grip is a lot easier to change between a forehand and volleys.
Before you start practising different ways to hold your tennis racket, first you need to find the best tennis racket that fits you. If when you hold your tennis racket there is space between your thumb and palm, then the grip is too big for you and it will be harder to maneuver. If there isn’t enough room for your index finger on the racket, then the grip is too small for you.
If your grip is too big, you can look at getting thinner grips to put on your racket, but if it is still too big after this, you may want to change to a tennis racket with a small grip. If your grip is too small I’d recommend putting on overgrips until it is at the right size for you.
An easy way to find different grips is to have your tennis racket with the edge of the frame facing upwards so the strings are not visible to you and then you want to imagine the grip is a clock with the narrower side being 12 o’clock.
The second step is to create the V-shape between your thumb and index finger and then you can place this V at different times to find the different grips.
The continental grip, also known as the chopper grip, is the most basic and most versatile grip in tennis as it is the foundation of every tennis player’s game. This grip is used to hit slices, serves and volleys. If you’re a beginner, I’d recommend using this grip for every shot as this means you will not have to change grips at any point.
To find the continental grip you hold the racket with the frame facing downwards (as shown in the image above). Then I want you to create the V-shape between your thumb and index finger and place that V at 12 o’clock. This is the same for both right-handed and left-handed tennis players.
The eastern grip is the much more classical and old-fashioned way of holding a tennis racket but is by no means ineffective. Many tennis players such as Roger Federer and Stefanos Tsitsipas use the Eastern grip and we can all agree they are very successful tennis players.
The eastern grip makes it much easier for you to flatten out the ball and is favourable by tennis players that want to get more power on their strokes as there is much less strain on the wrist and forearm compared to the semi-western and full western grip.
To find the Eastern grip first find the continental grip and then rotate your hand by one bezel, clockwise, and the middle of the V-shape should be at 1 o’clock. If you are left-handed find the continental grip but rotate your hand anti-clockwise to 11 o’clock.
The semi-western grip is the most common grip among tennis players in the modern game. As you rotate your hand around the grip it makes it much easier to hit topspin and with the more technologically advanced rackets nowadays, it makes it easier to hit with power whilst retaining the heavy topspin.
Tennis players such as Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Murray, all use semi-western grips.
To find the semi-western grip first go back to your continental grip and then rotate your hand around until the middle of the V is between 2 and 3 o’clock. For a left-handed player find the continental grip and rotate your hand anti-clockwise to between 10 and 9 o’clock.
The full western grip is the most extreme tennis grip on this list. It allows you to hit great amounts of spin with ease meaning your game will have greater consistency however you will not be able to generate power as easily compared to other, less extreme grips so it requires you to generate more power in your forearm and wrist.
Also with your wrist in such an extreme position, this can put greater strain on your wrist and forearm which could cause injury. However, this does not stop pros such as Jack Sock and Karen Khachanov from creating very successful careers with this grip.
To find the full-western grip, find the semi-western grip and anywhere beyond 3 o’clock is your full-western grip. For left-handed players, anywhere beyond 9 o’clock is your full-western grip.
The two-handed backhand is the most common way of hitting a backhand as the extra hand on the racket can give you more control and stability to hit through your shots. An example of an excellent two-handed backhand would be a player like Alexander Zverev who is dominant from the baseline with his backhand.
To find the two-handed grip for a right-handed tennis player, first, get your right hand and place it at the bottom of the grip with a continental grip. Then get your left hand and place it above your right hand with a semi-western grip. For a left-handed tennis player you just do the opposite, put your left hand at the bottom of the grip with a continental grip and place your right hand above your left hand with a semi-western grip.
The one-handed backhand is the more classical way of hitting a backhand (and I’d say the more elegant looking) however many modern-day tennis players still use it such as Stan Wawrinka, Grigor Dimitrov and, of course, Roger Federer.
To find the one-handed backhand grip for a right-handed tennis player, find your continental grip and move your hand anti-clockwise to 11 o’clock. For a left-handed tennis player find the continental grip and move your hand clockwise to 1 o’clock.
There are many different ways to hold a tennis racket and each one can have a different effect on your game style. To find the best one for you, you need to be going out and practicing your different strokes on the tennis court until you feel comfortable.
If you have a coach, I’d recommend also talking to him about how to hold a tennis racket as they’ll also be able to give you advice and help you practice your different grips.
If after this article you are still confused about how to hold a tennis racket, then I’d recommend checking out this quick and easy YouTube tutorial here.