Eastern Grip in Tennis
Whether you’re a complete beginner, simply trying out the sport for fun, or envisioning becoming a pro, this article is for you.
While tennis players are fully aware that grips are a matter of personal preference, this article will help you explore all about the Eastern Forehand Grip 🙂.
While this article’s main focus is the Eastern Forehand Grip, there is also a discussion about the Eastern Backhand Grip.
👉 The benefits and drawbacks of using the Eastern Grip will also be discussed, which will help you decipher whether it is the one for you!
What is a Grip?
To start with the basics first, a grip is how the player holds a tennis racket to hit the shots right.
Some of the conventional tennis grips include the Continental (also known as “Chopper”), the Eastern (also known as the “Handshake grip”), and the Semi-Western 😍.
If you’re wondering whether you will have to stick to one grip throughout a match, the answer is no.
While there may be one grip you are better at playing with, the chances are you will use various grips throughout your games, as different grips are fundamentally suited to different types of shots.
👉 Although there are many grips to choose from, this article is solely focused on the Eastern Forehand Grip.
How Long Has the Eastern Forehand Grip Been Around?
The Eastern Forehand Grip has been around since the 1920s.
The popularity of this particular grip can be thanks to Bjorn Borg’s success in the 1970s.
He made extensive use of this technique to beat his opponents.
This success tempted other tennis players to follow his lead, making this grip very widely used 🙂.
How to Hold the Eastern Forehand Grip?
To start, you must become familiar with the octagonal-shaped handle of the tennis racket ☺️.
This octagonal base has eight sides, and each side is called a base or bevel.
When the racket is perpendicular to the ground, bevel 1 will be facing upwards. If the racket is rotated clockwise, the next bevel facing upwards will be bevel 2.
These eight sides allow the hand to have a firm grip on the racket. The Eastern Forehand Grip mainly concerns base level three or bevel three.
To hold this grip, the base knuckle of your index finger must be placed on base level 3, or the third bevel; the hand must be closed around the racket handle.
It’s essential to ensure that the grip is not too tight because the wrist must remain flexible.
Otherwise, this could compromise the shots. The more flexible the wrist, the more generating a spin and whipping at the shots becomes possible.
Holding the Eastern Forehand Grip is relatively simple, making it the best choice for beginners 😍.
This ease comes from the fact that this grip fits naturally into the shape and formation of the wrist.
If, as a beginner, you started with the Semi-Western or Western grip and it felt uncomfortable, switching to the Eastern Forehand Grip will be a good way to manage this.
👉 Start by mastering tennis using the Eastern Grip, and you can later work your way to using the other grips.
Professional Players Who Use the Eastern Forehand Grip
Eastern Forehand Grip helped many of the professional tennis players reach that status.
Take Roger Federer, for example; he is one of the world’s most celebrated tennis players, not only due to his training but because he got a good hold of the Eastern Forehand Grip while training.
👉 Here are some more well-known tennis players who can owe their success to the Eastern Forehand Grip .
- Bjorn Borg
- Chris Evert
- Pete Sampras
- Steffi Graf
- Serena Williams
- Stefanos Tsitsipas
- Grigor Dimitrov
With the examples of players above, it could even be possible to claim that getting the hang of the Eastern Forehand grip could be the road to becoming a professional player 🙂!
Benefits of the Eastern Grip
- It is the easiest way to learn the forehand stroke
- As it is a versatile grip, players can comfortably switch to other grip forms during a match.
- It is like the Continental Grip, which is helpful when players want to transition from a forehand to volleys and vice versa. Players who like to attack the net will love this 😍!
- It allows for aggressive play, like Bjorn Borg
- It permits low net clearance and a lower bounce, which can often force your opponent to play defense
- It helps players to flatten out the ball. Although this is insignificant for beginners, it is especially helpful in competitive matches because flattening out the ball means little to no chance of your shot having any errors.
Drawbacks of the Eastern Grip
- It can be difficult to generate topspin repeatedly. While this may not be significant for many players, some prefer using excessive topspin as a means of hitting the ball aggressively.
- Although the ball can be hit aggressively with an Eastern grip, Semi-Western or Western grips ☺️ are considered more suitable for aggressive play.
- This grip also results in the ball being hit flatter, which often results in short rallies. This can prove to be a disadvantage when players are trying to stay in points
Is Eastern Grip the One for You?
This is a common question and major concern among beginners and even among those competing at the professional level.
Unfortunately for both, there is no straightforward answer.
👉 However, below are some helpful guidelines and questions to ask yourself which may help you decide your combat style.
- Are you a beginner? If that is the case, you should begin with the Eastern Grip. It tends to come naturally to most and will allow you to get familiar with the sport first
- What is your preferred style of playing? The Eastern Grip is perfect for those who like to play baseline first and then come to the net.
- What is your grip of choice? This grip allows for more forward pace injection and aggressive play.
- With the Eastern Grip, flatter shots will also characterize your game, compared to semi-western and western grips.
However, there will be less spin in your shots. Additionally, your natural point of contact will predominantly be around the waist level. If you prefer these, it will be worth your while playing using the Eastern Grip ☺️!
All that being said, it is important that you experiment and assess your type of play and grip.
It is advisable to experiment and play around with various grip styles to get a real feel for how you like to play.
Moreover, it is also possible that you will select a predominant grip style that isn’t the Eastern Grip for your games and only occasionally use it!
This is advantageous, as it will help keep your opponent on their toes 🙂.
A variation of the Eastern Grip: The Eastern Backhand Grip
It must be stated that the Eastern Forehand Grip is not the only form of Eastern Grip, as there is also the Eastern Backhand Grip.
The octagonal handle of the tennis racket must also be considered when using this variation 😍.
To use this grip, you will focus on bevel 1. The hand must be placed so that the base knuckle of the index finger and heel of the hand are on bevel 1.
Benefits of Using the Eastern Backhand Grip
- It allows for significant spin and control
- You will not need to change grips if this backhand grip is paired with the Western Grip.
- It makes an excellent choice when you want to serve with an immense spin. It forces your opponent to move to the extreme sides of the court 🙂!
Pros Who Use the Eastern Backhand Grip
👉 Here is the list:
- Chris Evert
- Pete Sampras
- Steffi Graf
- Roger Federer
Many have found their inspiration from Bill Tilden. He invented the Eastern Grip in the 1920s, and have succeeded in their tennis careers ☺️.
Play Better Tennis
Regardless of which grip you choose, it is always important to practice a great deal to play better tennis 😍.
It may even be that you discover that you’re a natural pro in a grip that you never practiced before!
👉 There are plenty of ways, for both beginners and experts, to practice:
- Start taking coaching lessons
- Take a friend along to play
- Join an online community of tennis players
- Watch tennis games to take inspiration from the pros
The Eastern Grip is a well-loved, commonly used grip because it provides solid results and feels fairly natural to use ☺️.
This article discussed the main elements of this grip, drawing on the advantages and disadvantages that using it could potentially bring.
While there is no perfect grip in tennis, this is a solid choice to adopt because of its trustworthiness and ability to aid a player to perform their best 🙂.