One of the first challenges you’re faced with when you take up tennis is figuring out what grip to use.
To help people out, we put together our “Guide to the ‘Best’ Forehand Grip” which details all the grips and how to find them.
Our conclusion was that there isn’t really a best grip, it’s about finding what suits you, but for many people, that grip will be the semi-western grip, so we’re going to talk you through it in more detail.
The semi-western grip is probably the most popular on tour, and some of the very best are currently using it such as Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Ashleigh Barty.
So, how do you find the semi-western grip, and what are the advantages?
How to Find the Semi-Western Grip
It can get a bit confusing trying to find the different grips.
Not to bore you with personal stories, but once my coach tried to make a slight change to my grip, and I completely got it confused going into a tournament the next weekend.
Well, I ended up losing the only 6-0 6-0 match of my life that day, so it pays to know what you’re looking at when it comes to your grip.
To help make sure you’re getting your grip right here’s a helpful video.
The key thing here is the bevels, of which there are eight. Which bevel you place the knuckle of your index finger on is going to decide what kind of grip you use.
To find the semi-western grip you want the knuckle of your index finger to be in line with the third bevel to the right (left for left-handers) and you want to have your hand fairly relaxed on the grip, with part of it under the handle.
Here’s an example of what it should look like for a right-hander:
And as a leftie, I never forget my fellow lefties, so here’s a look at the semi-western grip for left-handers from the top and bottom:
You don’t have to be absolutely dead on the 3rd bevel with your index finger knuckle, the important thing is finding the grip that feels comfortable and allows you to play your best tennis.
Each pro will have a slightly different way of holding the grip, even within the semi-western category, and it will be the same for you.
Which Pros Use a Semi-Western Forehand Grip?
Everyone has their own unique way of holding the racket, and this means the pros don’t necessarily fit into neat categories.
Both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal use something in between a semi-western and western grip, which makes topspin generation that little bit easier, but again, it’s about finding what is comfortable for you.
Other famous names who use some version of the semi-western grip are Ash Barty, Andy Murray, Dominic Thiem among many others.
Benefits of the Semi-Western Grip
The Semi-Western grip is so popular because it offers a good balance between easy topspin and still being able to hit through the ball.
With the semi-western, you’ve got a bit more wrist movement than with the eastern, and this makes it easier to brush up and over the ball to generate that topspin.
Whereas with a full western, it’s often hard to get your wrist through the ball, that’s not such a problem with the semi-western, and this means you have something of a middle ground.
Because of the flexibility it gives you with the wrist, it’s easy to get over the high ball, something that people can find hard with an eastern, but you can still get under the low ball, which is more difficult with the full western.
A lot of it boils down to what you feel comfortable with, and which grip allows you to get the most out of your game, but there are plenty of benefits to be had from using the semi-western grip.
There’s no real “best” grip to play with, and different players are going to find success with different grips.
However, the semi-western is a great option for lots of people because it offers a little bit of everything.
You’ve got plenty of ability to create topspin, but it’s also possible to flatten the ball out, which is exactly what you want.
It won’t necessarily feel perfectly comfortable when you first start off playing with the semi-western, but with time, you will get used to it and adapt it to suit your game.
Article by: Will