The Eastern Forehand Grip
You often hear people talking about different forehand grips and the general benefits and disadvantages of each one.
With all the different names though, it can be difficult to know what’s what, so we thought we’d put some guides together to help you out.
For a complete overview of all the forehand grips, check out our Guide to the “Best” Forehand Grip.
For this article though we’re going to focus on the Eastern forehand grip, one that’s very much in vogue at the moment.
How to Find the Eastern Forehand Grip
First things first, what is the eastern forehand grip and how do you find it?
When you look at your grip, you’ll see it’s split up into eight sections, separated by what we call bevels.
To measure the kind of grip you use, we normally take the knuckle on your index finger and see which bevel it is on.
This can tell you whether you’re using a continental, eastern, semi-western, or full-western grip.
For right-handers, the numbers go clockwise around the grip face, and for the Eastern forehand grip, you want the big knuckle on your index finger to line up with bevel number three.
For lefties, this is going to be reversed, so the index knuckle should line up with the third bevel to the left.
The main thing with the grip is that it has to feel comfortable for you. No two players are going to have exactly the same grip, so you’ve got to find what works best for you.
If you’re changing to the eastern forehand grip, particularly from something like a full-western, then it’s going to feel very strange at first, but with time, it will begging to feel more comfortable.
Which Pros Use the Eastern Grip
The vast majority of pros use either the eastern forehand grip or the semi-western.
That’s probably because they offer a good middle ground between the continental and full-western grips, allowing for a good balance of power and spin.
A lot of the young guys coming through are using the eastern grip at the moment, and of course, the main man himself, Roger Federer uses this grip.
Along with the great man himself, some other tour pros using the eastern forehand grip are:
- Serena Williams
- Stefanos Tsitispas
- Grigor Dimitrov
The thing to remember when talking about pro’s grips though is that they’re never strictly eastern or semi-western or whatever it might be.
You can roughly categorize people into the groups, but they end up playing with a grip that feels comfortable to them and allows them to play their best tennis.
You should be using the eastern forehand grip in the same way – as a guide.
There isn’t really a right or wrong with this, and it’s not going to matter if you slip a few mm towards semi-western.
Benefits of the Eastern Grip
One of the major benefits with the eastern grip is the ability to flatten the ball out.
The modern game is played with plenty of topspin, but there are still lots of times when you need to hit a flat ball and the eastern can help you with this.
If you’re playing with a semi-western, or, in particular, a full western, it’s much more difficult to hit a flat ball.
That’s not to say you can’t generate plenty of topspin with the eastern as well, although it doesn’t come quite as naturally as with the semi-western and western.
With a semi-western grip, the strings are naturally angled a bit more towards the ground, which makes it easier to roll over the top of the ball.
As you have less angle with the eastern grip, this means you have to engage your wrist a little bit more to get the racket going up and over the ball.
The flipside of this is that it’s easier to drive straight through the ball and hit those big, flat drives.
We always say there is no right grip. There are just certain grips that will suit certain players.
The Eastern is one of the grips that seems to suit a lot of people, so if you’re still figuring out which grip is best for you, then it’s well worth trying.
The main thing though, is that you find something that’s comfortable for you and allows you to play the best tennis possible.
For some people that might be the Eastern grip, and for other people, it might be something else.
You never know though until you get out there and start practicing, so don’t commit to it until you’ve really taken the time to get a feel for it.
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