Master the Eastern Forehand Grip: A Comprehensive Guide

By Lin
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If you’ve ever watched Federer, Serena, or Pat Sampras dominate their opponents with blistering forehand winners or clever approach shots, you likely asked yourself how they were able to generate so much power and control over their shots.

Well, they all had one thing in common. Each of them enjoyed using the Eastern forehand grip.

Here, we will look at the Eastern forehand grip in much greater detail and establish whether or not it is a skill you should be adding to your game.

So keep reading to find out more.

Table of Contents

What Is the Easter Forehand Grip?

For those wanting to learn the eastern forehand grip, this is a way to hold your tennis racket while playing. To do this, you need to place the palm side of your index finger knuckle against the third bevel of the tennis racket (right-handed).

Left-handed players want to place the palm side of their index finger knuckle against the seventh bevel. Players must also firmly grip their racket to ensure it doesn’t go flying as soon as they begin their game.

Tip: every tennis racket has eight sides or “bevels.” With the racket head perpendicular to the ground, you can begin numbering the bevels, starting with the top side being one and moving clockwise to eight.

How To Hold The Eastern Forehand Grip

eastern forehand grip
  1. Position your tennis racket head perpendicular to the ground.
  2. The top bevel or “side” is number one, and the following clockwise sides will total eight.
  3. Right-handed players will want to place their index finger knuckle against the third bevel. Left-handed players will place their index finger knuckle on the seventh bevel.

So, the key here is getting that initial count correct on your racket. If you don’t do this correctly, it will be difficult to master the eastern forehand.

We also have an ultimate guide on all tennis grips which may be helpful.

Advantages of Eastern Forehand Grip

One of the primary benefits of using the eastern forehand grip while playing tennis is that it allows you to flatten the ball out. For instance, you have more force when you hit a ball using this grip, resulting in a more aggressive game.

When someone plays tennis using the eastern forehand grip, they cut back on topspin.

Instead of the ball rotating in the air and having high clearance from the net, an eastern forehand grip results in a faster, stronger, lower-clearance stroke for players.

Of course, it will take time to master this new way of holding your racket, but with practice, you should become a dominating force on the court.

Disadvantages of Eastern Forehand Grip 

Although the eastern forehand grip is successful for many tennis players, it has a few setbacks. Generally, this type of grip reduces your ball’s potential topspin, making scoring harder for less experienced players.

Many consider topspin essential for consistent groundstrokes, which can become nonexistent using the eastern forehand method.

The eastern grip can also be awkward-feeling initially, leading to a weaker game. Over time, however, this will subside, and you should be able to hit aggressively with consistency.

Which Pro Player Uses Eastern Forehand Grip?

As you would expect, several former and current pro players use the eastern forehand grip. Here are some of the most well-known cases:

  • Serena Williams
  • Stefanos Tsitispas
  • Grigor Dimitrov
  • Roger Federer
  • Pete Sampras

However, it is important to remember that these players do not exclusively use the eastern forehand grip and often change their grip depending on the surface, conditions, opponent, or game plan.

Each player’s Eastern forehand grip also differed. Federer tended to grip it closer to bevel #4, whereas Sampras was deemed to have a more authentic eastern forehand grip, firmly gripping the racquet on bevel #3.

Eastern Forehand Grip Background

The eastern forehand grip has been around for almost a century, with many believing the popular 1920s player Bill Tilden was the first to use it at a competitive level.

However, it was not a particularly popular option for the next fifty years until Bjorn Borg arrived on the scene. Borg was able to generate plenty of power using this grip but also lots of topspin, which many players struggle to do with this grip.

Borg was also one of the first players to start changing his grip depending on which shot he was playing, which made the eastern forehand grip more viable, as it eradicated the issue many players had, which was that it wasn’t the best grip to use while at the net.

Should I Use Eastern Forehand Grip?

Whether or not the eastern forehand grip is right for you will depend on several factors. If you are new to tennis and want a grip that is easy to pick up and master, then this grip is an excellent option for you.

Alternatively, if you prefer to play an offensive style of tennis, where you play lots of big forehand winners or get up to the net at any opportunity, the eastern forehand grip offers a lot of power, simplicity, and versatility.

Why Eastern Forehand Grip is Less Popular than Before?

The eastern forehand grip has become less used throughout the years, mainly because of its topspin-killing abilities.

Remember, this grip results in less margin of error for players, meaning when you hit the ball: you need to do it with precision. Topspin can help buffer a less experienced stroke, often resulting in a scored point.

The eastern grip tends to be better suited for seasoned tennis players, who have more control over their abilities. More tennis players have opted for a heavy topspin option, the semi-western grip.

This grip allows for a greater margin of error (and might be best for beginners).

Regardless, you want to learn as many grip methods as possible, as these will all come in handy on the court.


Does Federer use an eastern forehand grip?

Yes, Roger Federer is one of the most prominent professionals who used the eastern forehand grip during his playing days.

What are the other forehand grips players use?

  • The Continental Grip
  • The Semi-Western Forehand Grip
  • The Western Forehand Grip
  • The Hawaiian Forehand Grip
  • The Two-Handed Forehand Grip

Is the eastern forehand grip easy to learn?

Fortunately, the eastern forehand grip is very easy to learn, and it is easy to quickly transition your grip for slice shots or volleys.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a new tennis player or have loved this sport for years, mastering the eastern forehand grip takes practice. Generally, this grip requires more precision to give you a powerful, consistent stroke.

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Editor of All Points Tennis and a huge Roger Federer fan, I've spent countless hours studying his moves, especially his forehand and one-handed backhand. I also love writing about all the technical stuff like rackets and strings. I'm super pumped to share my insights with fellow tennis lovers here.