Semi Western Grip: Mastering the Modern Tennis Technique

By Lin
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semi western grip

Understanding the various tennis grips can confuse new and even veteran players. For instance, are you curious about the semi-western grip in tennis and don’t know where to begin? Is learning and using this racket grip essential, or is it one of the lesser-known and played?

The semi western grip is one of three primary tennis grips players should learn and use during practice and match play. Furthermore, most professional players, like Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal, use the semi-western grip when playing, so it’s a good one to master.

Are you curious about what makes a semi-western grip helpful during a tennis match and how to properly hold your racket this way? Read on because we’re here to help!

Table of Contents

What Is A Semi-Western Grip?
How To Hold The Semi-Western Grip
Benefits Of The Semi-Western Grip
Drawbacks Of The Semi-Western Grip
Should I Use The Semi-Western Grip?
Which Tennis Playing Styles Are Best For Semi-Western Grip?
What Is A Semi-Western Backhand Grip?
Which Pro Players Use A Semi-Western Forehand Grip?
What Is The History Of The Semi-Western Grip?

What Is A Semi-Western Grip?

The semi-western grip is between the Eastern and Western grips, allowing for more spin than the Eastern and more forward pace than the Western grip. You will use this grip mainly for forehands, and it can be helpful in effortless transitions between strokes.

Moreover, this grip allows you to hit aggressively with good topspin and net clearance for high-consistency play. When playing at a professional or tournament level, using the semi-western grip should be routine, if not the default for players. After all, it provides a greater margin of error than many other tennis grips, which you always want to do when practicing or competing.

Here is a YouTube video showcasing this grip:

How To Hold The Semi-Western Grip

Regarding holding your racket with the semi-western grip, you want to start by holding the racket’s throat with your non-dominant hand waist high and perpendicular to the ground so you are looking down at bevel number one.

semi western forehand grip

Next, you want to move clockwise to bevel number four, resting your heel pad and index knuckle on bevel number four. This will give you the correct grip, allowing a comfortable, natural grip on the racket.

If you’re a leftie, you must move counterclockwise to bevel number six. Either way, this is a great forehand grip, left-handed or right-handed, so we recommend it.

Benefits Of The Semi-Western Grip

Regarding the benefits of using the semi-western grip in tennis, there are many. To mention a few:

  • It provides a greater margin of error than many other tennis grips.
  • This grip creates heavier top spin on the ball than other grips.
  • Your racket face will be slightly closed, giving you an advantage.
  • The semi-western grip will send the ball over the net at a higher trajectory.
  • You can use this grip with higher balls.

Therefore, applying the semi-western grip to your forehands can make for a stronger game on your end of the court. Often, your opponent (if experienced) will go for high shots in hopes of you failing to find them on your side of the court.

The semi-western grip gives you an advantage in hitting those higher balls back with extreme topspin, so it’s worth practicing. Check out the top 10 forehand drills to improve your forehand.

Drawbacks Of The Semi-Western Grip

Moving to the drawbacks of using a semi-western racket grip in tennis, there are a few to be mindful of. Some cons of this grip include:

  • Returning low balls can be a problem while using the semi-western grip.
  • The transition back to continental grip from semi-western may also confuse new players.

Although these aren’t deal breakers, returning something like a drop shot using the semi-western grip would be nearly impossible. Avoid using it for lower shots that end up near the net.

Should I Use The Semi-Western Grip?

Like any grip or playing technique, you should only use the semi-western grip if it feels comfortable. Although this grip is typically more comfortable and widely used, it doesn’t mean every tennis player will like it. Therefore, switch to something else if you prefer a different grip or find yourself trying to return low balls consistently during a match.

The semi-western forehand is a better ‘beginner’ grip to learn, especially if you want to advance to more challenging ones.

Semi-Western vs. Eastern Grip: What’s Different?

Although both grips will result in a powerful shot, the semi-western tends to be easier to grasp. As we said, the eastern and semi-western are two of the most common grips players will use during matches and practice, so it’s worth understanding both.

In addition, people using a semi-western or western tennis grip can usually generate more topspin than those playing an eastern grip. It’s also easier to hit higher over the net and ensure the ball drops back into the court because of the topspin using a semi-western or western grip.

One of the biggest drawbacks of the eastern grip in tennis is that it usually generates less topspin, which the ball needs to lessen your opponent’s margin of error.

Which Tennis Playing Styles Are Best For Semi-Western Grip?

Regarding the playing styles that work best for the semi-western grip, this could be anything from a leisurely practice or match with friends up to the professional/tournament level. Pro and amateur tennis players utilize this grip because forehands are typically hit using this grip.

The semi-western forehand almost always pops up when we see pro athletes competing on television in tennis matches. Using this grip, you can create a high amount of topspin and force for the ball and a comfortable hold for your racket. That is the perfect storm for players and should be an easy way to increase your margin of error while decreasing the opponent’s.

Start by using this grip during practices and onto match play. This will help with scoring during games and professional events. After all, the less stress on you, the more on the other player.

What Is A Semi-Western Backhand Grip?


For those wanting to use a semi-western backhand grip, this refers to a player placing their hand such that the index finger’s base knuckle is right on bevel #8. Compared to the Continental grip, the blade has rotated 90 degrees clockwise.

Most tennis players use this grip for one-handed backhand, as it provides better topspin than the eastern backhand grip. Before you get to know backhand grip, check out our full guide for One-handed backhand vs two-handed backhand.

Which Pro Players Use A Semi-Western Forehand Grip?

Considering that most professionals use this tennis grip, you’ll find nearly all top-ranking players rely on the semi-western grip during matches. Notably, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Ashleigh Barty use this grip often, as well as icons like Andy Murray.

Because the semi-western grip is easier to learn and perfect, this should be a fairly introductory lesson for you as a tennis player, allowing you to turn it into a lethal strategy during match play. With impressive topspin on your return, this will cut down the opponent’s margin of error. You want to focus on ways to do this so you win your game.

Another pro player who uses this grip (very well) is Serena Williams, so for anyone wanting to mimic her technique, this is certainly an excellent starting place.

What Is The History Of The Semi-Western Grip?

Although many tennis players from previous generations didn’t use a semi-western grip, this has become the norm for modern athletes. Notably, the semi-western grip is well suited for today’s shoulder-high bounces, allowing a player to more easily get the racket up and over the ball at contact to impart the spin.

What the continental grip used to be for players like Laver and generations before him, the Semi-Western is to today’s players like Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic. This grip has evolved from an obscure forehand option to the default for beginner, intermediate, and even advanced tennis players.

We’re sure this will continue to evolve, as tennis does, so who knows: what will the future of the semi-western be?


In this article, we covered the basics behind a semi-western tennis grip and its benefits. Remember that most left and right-handed players use this grip for forehands, so it’s one to learn early on. Also, pro athletes like Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Murray have mastered the semi-western, so why can’t you?

Good luck, and have fun!

For an extensive understanding of all tennis grips, check out our ultimate guide on tennis grips with pros and cons.

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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.