The Western Forehand Grip: A Complete Overview

Western Forehand Grip

Over the past few decades, tennis grips have become more extreme as the game has evolved from traditional serve and volleys to heavy hitting baseline games. Western forehand grips were developed as a result.

Western forehands, which are sometimes called full-western forehands, naturally generate massive amounts of topspin due to their extreme grip. It allows baseline players to hit more powerful shots while still keeping the ball in play.

The Western Tennis Grip

Western Forehand Grip

A century ago, the continental grip was virtually universally used by tennis players. In those days, tennis players used simpler equipment, such as racquets, tennis balls, and clothing, than they do today.

It makes sense that the sport of tennis has evolved from an ultraconservative continental grip to a much more extreme western grip as tennis has become more competitive.

Consequently, the western grip has become one of the most popular grips for professional and recreational players alike, enabling players to generate unprecedented amounts of topspin.

How To Hold A Western Forehand Grip

Western Forehand Grip

In most cases, playing with a full-western grip is rather awkward and uncomfortable due to its extreme nature. If used correctly, it can be a great option for up-and-coming junior players.

In the racket butt cap, you’ll notice that the grip has eight sides arranged in an octagonal shape. Your index finger should be placed over the fifth bevel as you hold a western forehand grip, which is in some ways at the bottom. This is what it should look like:

Western Grip Advantages

Western Forehand Grip

Western forehand grips have a few advantages, particularly in modern tennis.

Having easy access to topspin is definitely the biggest advantage. With this grip, you’re able to generate a lot of heavy topspin, because the racket face is relatively “closed” at contact. This makes it easier for players to hit higher over the net and much harder without being concerned about the ball sailing past. 

Groundstrokes can be very challenging when you have a lot of topspin and the ball jumps after the bounce due to the extra topspin.

 This forces the opponent into taking the ball on the rise or pushing them well behind the baseline to step into the ball.

With its naturally closed racquet face on contact, you are more likely to be able to control balls with a higher bounce. Especially on clay and high-bouncing courts, this is beneficial.

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Western Grip Disadvantages

Western Forehand Grip

There are, however, a few drawbacks to such an extreme grip.

The racket face will naturally face towards the ground on contact with low-bouncing balls, making it more challenging to hit. This can be especially challenging on surfaces with a low bounce, such as grass (or astroturf at the amateur level) or against players who slice their backhands low.

From the baseline, it will be more difficult to hit a winning shot because flattening groundstrokes will be more challenging.

You should be aware that switching between western grips and continental grips (used for volleys and slice shots) can be more difficult because the “distance” between the two grips is greater. As players advance in level, they become accustomed to swapping grips.

Injuries are also more likely to occur. A western grip can be awkward to use, and if used incorrectly, can cause injuries to the ulnar areas of the wrist and put a lot of strain on the wrist and forearm.

Which Players Use a Western Forehand Grip?

On the pro tour, very few players use the Western forehand grip since it is relatively modern. There are many top players who use it, such as Kei Nishikori, Karen Khachanov, Kyle Edmund and Jack Sock.

Moreover, some players, like Nick Kyrgios, use extreme variants of the semi-western grip, which are so close to full western grips that they are frequently misidentified.

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Should I Use a Western Forehand Grip?

Since every player is different, there is no wrong answer when it comes to picking a tennis grip. It is important to note that the western forehand grip is considered an advanced grip, which can lead to injuries if used incorrectly. We wouldn’t recommend using it at a beginner’s level.

Thus, it is an excellent resource for junior players seeking to develop a solid foundation. Forehand grips that are more easy to use at the beginning, such as eastern or semi-western, should be used first, before slowly changing to Western grips.


Is the Western Forehand Grip Suitable for Beginners?

Yes, of course! It may seem complicated, but the Western Forehand Grip can be very beneficial for beginners. Slowly improve your game by practicing diligently.

How Does the Western Forehand Grip Differ from Other Grips?

Western Forehand Grip stands out because of its unique hand positioning, which allows for higher topspin levels. This grip provides unparalleled power and control over Eastern or Continental grips.

Can I Switch to the Western Forehand Grip Mid-Game?

Mid-game adaptation requires practice. For a seamless transition into actual gameplay, begin incorporating the Western Forehand Grip into your practice sessions.

Does the Western Forehand Grip Lead to Fatigue?

When you first adapt your muscles, you might feel fatigued. Consistent practice, however, will enable you to increase your endurance and reduce fatigue.

Are There Situations Where the Western Forehand Grip is Inadvisable?

Even though the Western Forehand Grip is versatile, it may not be the best choice for all situations. In baseline rallies, it excels, but at the net, may pose problems. Take into account the dynamics of the game as well as your opponent’s strategy.

How Long Does it Take to Master the Western Forehand Grip?

Tennis grips require practice and patience to master. It won’t take you long to see improvements if you dedicate consistent effort and focus on refining your technique.


I congratulate you! You are on a quest to master the Western Forehand Grip in order to transform your tennis game. Using the insights shared here along with dedication and practice, you’ve got what it takes to dominate the court.

Also, read Australian Open Tennis 2024 Dates

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