One of the first decisions you have to make as a beginner tennis 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 are the best forehand grips in tennis and show you how to find each of the different grips.
I will also look at the pro and cons of each of the different grip options.
How to find a Forehand Grip on a Tennis Racket?
Before I discuss the various forehand grip options there are, I want to quickly explain how to find a grip on a tennis racket.
The two main reference points I will use for each of the different grips are the location of your index knuckle and your heel pad on the grip of the tennis racket.
Each grip involves placing your index knuckle and your heel pad on a particular bevel of the tennis 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).
Hold the tennis 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 grip.
Forehand Grips in Tennis
Eastern Forehand Grip
The Eastern is the most conservative grip on this list and you can find it by placing your index knuckle and heel pad on bevel number 3.
The Eastern is a good grip for beginners to learn as it feels very natural in your hand and allows you to hit flat and with topspin using one grip.
Pros of Using an Eastern Grip for your Forehand
- Good on Low to Medium Balls
- Easier to hit flat and go for winners
- Feels more natural to hit balls with this grip 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 of Using an Eastern Grip for your Forehand
- 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 an eastern grip.
Tennis Pros Using an Eastern Grip for their Forehand
- Roger Federer
- Juan Martin Del Potro
- Grigor Dimitrov
- Stefanos Tsitsipas
- Ashleigh Barty
- Angelique Kerber
- Petra Kvitova
Semi Western Forehand Grip
The Semi Western Forehand Grip is probably the most popular 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 Grip.
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 forehand as you don’t hit through the ball as much as you would with an Eastern Forehand.
Pros of Using a Semi Western Grip for your Forehand
- It is easier to generate top spin on your balls
- It is easier to hit high balls at shoulder height or above
Cons of Using a Semi Western Grip for your Forehand
- 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 with this grip
Tennis Pros using a Semi Western Grip for their Forehand
Western Forehand Grip
The Western Forehand Grip is the most extreme grip on this list and provides players who are proficient with it a ton of top spin on their shots.
The Western Grip 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 Grip by placing your index knuckle and heel pad on bevel number 5.
It can be very hard to switch to a western grip if you did not start playing tennis with it as it offers a completely different feel when compared with an eastern or semi western grip.
Pros of Using a Western Grip for your Forehand
- Much easier to hit high balls with good top spin
- In the right hands, this grip can generate tremendous topspin
- Is effective on clay courts where you need to hit higher balls
Cons of Using a Western Grip for your Forehand
- Difficult to hit the ball flat with a western grip
- Low balls will be an issue with this grip, which opponents may try and take advantage of
Tennis Pros Using a Western Grip for your Forehand
- Jack Sock
- Kyle Edmond
The Australian Grip
The Australian Grip is a lesser know grip for your forehand that is in the middle of a continental and eastern forehand grip.
Pros of Using an Australian Grip for your Forehand
- 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 grips
Cons of Using an Australian Grip for your Forehand
- It can be difficult to hit high balls with this grip
So What is the Best Forehand Grip to use in Tennis?
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 forehand 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 grip, 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 forehand as it is a very difficult grip to master as its weaknesses outweighs its strengths (especially at the recreational level) so I would stick to using an eastern or semi western grip for your forehand.
There is no one right answer to the question, “what is the best forehand grip for me?” as you can use any of the grips discussed above to be very successful at tennis.
However, 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 grip as it is much easier to learn and feels much more natural to hit with.