Wendywood Sports Club Tennis


Delray Beach on short list to host Israeli Davis Cup tennis matches

DELRAY BEACH - Delray Beach is in the running to host an Israeli tennis tournament. Several people confirm to NewsChannel 5 a delegation from Israel was in Delray Beach Monday to talk about using the city's tennis center as a new site.

Last week, the International Tennis Federation ruled Israel must move it's Davis Cup match vs Argentina out of Israel because of the ongoing military conflict between Israel and Hamas. The match was scheduled to be in Tel Aviv September 12-14.

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Venus shows flashes of vintage form

Who saw this one coming?

Venus Williams beat younger sister Serena, the No. 1-ranked player, in the Montreal semifinals this past weekend. Cynics might suspect it was a reward for Venus' remarkable restraint during Serena's doubles meltdown at Wimbledon. In any case, Venus -- at the venerable age of 34 -- is rising once again.

Quickly now, to our latest tennis trending list: This week's Up or Down after a chaotic week at the Rogers Cup.

Click here to read the entire article.

Federer fights off unseeded Falla

WIMBLEDON, England -- For Roger Federer, Wimbledon nearly ended at the beginning.

The six-time champion overcame a two-set deficit to avert a monumental first-round upset, beating Alejandro Falla 5-7, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1), 6-0.

Federer has reached the tournament final each of the past seven years, but Monday he barely survived the traditional opening match on Centre Court as defending champion.

"I live another day," Federer said. "This one is one I should have lost. That's sometimes how grass-court tennis works."

The 60th-ranked and unseeded Falla had lost all 11 sets in his previous four matches against Federer, but the Colombian played brilliant tennis to take charge of the match early. The turnaround came in the fourth set with Falla serving for the match and three points from victory, when Federer broke for only the second time.

Federer played his best after that. It's the third time in a row he has won after losing the first two sets at a Grand Slam event, but the close call was a new experience in such an early round.

"You definitely feel uncomfortable," Federer said. "For me it's not normal to be down two sets to love. Especially at Wimbledon and early on in Grand Slams, it's something I'm not quite used to."

After winning the first two sets, Falla received treatment from a trainer during the next three changeovers for an upper left leg injury, but he said it didn't affect the outcome.

No. 5 Andy Roddick, who lost to Federer in last year's epic final, began his title bid by beating fellow American Rajeev Ram 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. Roddick never faced a break point and committed only 10 unforced errors.

No. 7-seeded Nikolay Davydenko and Lleyton Hewitt of Australia also overcome slow starts.

Davydenko withstood a two-set deficit, along with Kevin Anderson's 36 aces, and won 3-6, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (3), 7-5, 9-7.

Hewitt, the 2002 champion, beat Argentina's Maximo Gonzalez, taking a little more than two hours to complete a 5-7, 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 win.

Hewitt dropped the first set after being broken, for the second time, in the 11th game but was untroubled from that point on against Gonzalez, who is still to win a match on grass.

A former No. 1, Hewitt is now ranked 26th but is seeded 15th at the All England Club due to his excellent record on grass.

Hewitt, who defeated Federer in the Wimbledon warm-up tournament at Halle, will play Evgeny Korolev in the second round.

The first day's play began in warm sunshine and ended with the Centre Court roof closed at twilight to allow the completion of No. 3 Novak Djokovic's victory over Olivier Rochus, 4-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. The match ended at 11 p.m.

No. 11 Marin Cilic lost to Florian Mayer 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (1), and No. 17 Ivan Ljubicic was beaten by Michal Przysiezny 7-5, 7-6 (5), 6-3. No. 16 Jurgen Melzer and No. 21 Gael Monfils advanced, as did Americans Mardy Fish and Brendan Evans.

Dustin Brown, the first Jamaican man to play in a Grand Slam tournament since 1974, lost to Melzer 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

For Falla, the pivotal moment came when he served for the biggest victory of his career at 5-4 in the fourth set. He made shaky errors on the first two points, and a pair of deft forehands by Federer gave him the break.

Federer ran away with the tiebreaker, taking advantage of four more unforced errors by Falla, and the disconsolate Colombian mustered little resistance in the final set.

"I think about the lost opportunity," Falla said. "On the other hand, I played a great match. I had Federer against the ropes."

There had been signs coming into the tournament that Federer might be vulnerable. He lost at the French Open this month in the quarterfinals, his earliest Grand Slam exit in six years. Then he dropped to No. 2 in the rankings behind nemesis Rafael Nadal. Then at a Wimbledon warm-up event came Federer's second grass-court defeat since 2003, extending his drought of nearly five months without a title.

But no one expected so much trouble against a 26-year-old journeyman who has yet to win a tournament. There were stretches of stunned silence from the crowd, dumbfounded by the score. Fans also roared in appreciate of Falla's frequent winners.

"He played great," Federer said. "He was the one who put me in that kind of a score. I thought I was actually playing decent. Credit to him."

The match was Falla's third in the past four weeks against Federer, which at first worked to the Colombian's advantage. He kept Federer off balance by coming to the net often and made good use of cross-court shots from the baseline.

The left-handed Falla was unfazed by Federer's serve, one of the sport's best, and repeatedly won points serving to Federer's backhand -- a tactic frequently employed by another lefty, Nadal.

Federer searched for more than two hours to find his championship form. He slipped several times on the immaculate lawn and shanked shots, hitting one forehand so wild that Falla had to leap out of the way.

The tournament began under partly cloudy skies, with temperatures headed into the mid-70s, but things quickly turned gloomy for Federer. He was 0-for-6 on break point chances before putting a forehand winner on the line to close out the third set.

He lost serve to start the next set, and found himself on the verge of defeat with Falla serving at 5-4.

Then Federer's big surge began. Barely 30 minutes later, he kissed the line with his final shot for a winner and walked to the net to give Falla a sympathetic pat on the shoulder.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

The Williamses' personal playground

WIMBLEDON, England -- Can Roger Federer, beginning play Monday, win his record-equaling seventh title here?

Will Rafael Nadal become the third man in three years to complete the arduous Roland Garros-Wimbledon double -- after more than a quarter century with no man achieving it?

After a four-year and three-year hiatus from the All England Club, respectively, how will Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin fare? Is Maria Sharapova's tender shoulder again ready for prime time?


Maybe the most compelling storyline here -- the longest-running, too -- is so obvious that people are just missing it: Will the Williams sisters continue to make Wimbledon their personal playground? The bigger upset would be if they didn't.

During the past decade, either Venus or Serena has won the title eight times. Only Sharapova (beating Serena in the final in 2004) and Amelie Mauresmo (beating Henin in 2006) have broken the Williamses' death grip on the event. Venus has five titles, including two of the past three, and Serena is a three-time -- and defending -- champion.


This year, Serena is seeded No. 1, with Venus No. 2. If they both reach the final, it would be the fifth all-Williams final and the third in a row.

"We're here to work, and we're here to do our best," Serena said on Sunday. "Hopefully, that's taking home a title.

"What enjoyment we get out of it is just the satisfaction of working hard and seeing the fruitage of that."

Or something like that.

Serena Williams
Steve Bardens/Offside Sports/US PresswireSerena Williams is seeking her fourth Wimbledon title.

The bottom half of the women's draw opens play Monday, so it will be Venus in action first, facing Rossana De Los Rios of Paraguay. Serena will be scheduled to play Tuesday -- against the yowling Michelle Larcher de Brito -- and, with a win (she is 42-0 in first-round matches in the majors), could gain an audience with the Queen of England.

Yes, Queen Elizabeth II will be on hand Thursday for the first time since 1977, her silver jubilee year, and already there is much talk of protocol. Officially, since 2003, players here have not been required to bow or curtsy to royalty, and the 84-year-old monarch has made it clear she will not insist players do so now. The All England Club, however, will ask players ahead of time which they intend to do.


"She hasn't been to this tournament in just forever," Serena said. "I thought, 'Wow, I've just got to make sure I'm here on Thursday.'"

And the curtsy?


"I've been working on my curtsy," she said. "It's a little extreme, so I'm going to have to tone it down. I have a lot of arm movement. I get really low."

Because she is seeded No. 16, Sharapova could run into Serena in the fourth round. After winning in 2004, Sharapova reached the semifinals the next two years. She hasn't won more than three matches since, but her recent results -- and a soft draw (No. 9 seed Daniela Hantuchova is her toughest potential opponent through three rounds) -- suggest she might keep her fourth-round date with Serena.

"She's a really hard worker, and her attitude on the court is definitely carried off the court of never giving up, always fighting," Serena said. "It's not easy to come back from any type of surgery. She is clearly doing well."

The Belgians, too, could meet in the fourth round; the winner of the No. 8 seed Clijsters and No. 17 seed Henin match could produce Venus' opponent in the semifinals. Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam event Henin has yet to win.

"It's cool they're back in the draw," Serena said, "It's fine. I answer this question every week, so look at my other transcripts."

Serena will turn 29 in September, while Venus hit 30 last week. It doesn't seem possible -- especially when you see the photos of young Venus winning here a decade ago -- but this is Venus' 50th Grand Slam event.

To put the Williams sisters' dominance another way, consider their 19 combined Grand Slam singles titles. The rest of the field -- including freshly minted French Open champion Francesca Schiavone -- has 16.

Now that's a story.

Greg Garber is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

Jeff Coetzee at International Launch of GTLF

South African tennis ace, Jeff Coetzee joins French Open winners Juan Carlos Ferrero, Albert Costa and many others at international launch of Global Tennis Legacy Foundation

Paris, France – Yesterday May 22nd 2010 at Les deux etangs / Tir aux pigeons just across the street of Roland Garros, a global team of tennis experts launched a new unique global tennis initiative. This global initiative will consist of minimum of 10 different tennis countries with non-profit Foundations until 2011. The values of the foundation are non-profitable, transparent, independent, sustainable and multi-shared expertise. The foundation will help to optimize the development of the individual talented player on and off court.

  1. The mission of the global and national foundations are:
    To develop, advise and support The next generation Grand Slam and Davis Cup players and personalities by developing custom-made, personalized, high performance tennis and educational programs.
  2. To leave a sustainable tennis legacy and promote the Sport of tennis on a country and global level.
    “We are proud that so many important sports people decided to contribute to this unique tennis concept and leave his or her personal legacy for the promotion of the sport of tennis by helping next generation players and use tennis as a catalyst to promote education and a better world” says Initiator Chris Vermeeren.

Due to our non-profit mission we will reinvest the profits back into the sport of tennis to leave a global and country tennis legacy. The foundation expects to make profit within the next 2 years. Profits will be used to support tennis legacy projects around the world and in the country communities.

  1. The foundation will identify 2 different types of players; potential “next generation” grand slam players and minimum US scholarship level players.
    The foundation provides the following services to the players and parents;
    Develop and organize the best possible custom made & personalized trainings and high performance tennis and education program.
  2. Deliver independent personal advise on all aspects of the game on and off court i.e. Legal advise, contracts, education, finance, coaching, medical, education, mental etcetera.
  3. Provide a part-time expert to get A personal 24/7 service (around 100 hrs a year).
  4. Access to the global GTLF network of allied academies, Coaches and multi functional experts.
  5. Coordinate and negotiate the tennis and academic program.
  6. Answer independently all possible questions parents might have.

The foundation will also provide services to federations, companies and International conferences.
GTLF will work in close cooperation with the different management companies.
GTLF has asked for donations of weeks and or year-scholarships to the 12 allied academies as a contribution to the foundation for our future GTLF players. Many founders, suppliers, ambassadors, experts, advisors, volunteers already committed themselves to donate time, resources and expertise to the GTLF initiative.

South Africa, the leading tennis nation in Africa, has been earmarked by the GTLF as the launching pad for the new foundation  on the continent.
Jeff Coetzee, one of South Africa’s most celebrated pros in the modern era, has been signed by the GTLF as one of their global ambassadors.
“This foundation is very exciting and long overdue,” said Coetzee. “There are so many talented juniors around the world that lack the expertise and guidance to enable them to reach their full potential and turn professional, and now with the GTLF having launched it will enable these juniors to be given the best possible chance of a successful career” continued Coetzee.

Joining Coetzee in supporting the GTLF is the Kainos Tennis Academy based in Stellenbosch, Western Cape. Directed by former world number 1 doubles player and silver Olympic medallist Pietie Norval, the Kainos tennis academy is arguably South Africa’s top breeding ground for future stars. The Academy will serve as a training base for international junior players from the GTLF and Pietie Norval will consult to the foundation.

About the ambassadors and experts:
Every country foundation will tie in active or (semi) retired players and country academies who are committed to give back to the sport of tennis and support the next generation of players. They will be present at the official global launch, at the elite 4 days trainings camp for GTLF players, make appearances at the tennis legacy projects and give general Support to the foundation by providing their knowledge and expertise as a role model for the next generation players.

The list is already impressive and most experts will be present at the press conference: Albert Costa, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Jiri Novak, Jeff Coetzee, Mara Santangelo, Mischa Zverev, Sven Groeneveld, Alexander Zverev, Lieven Maesschalck and many more.
About the founders and suppliers.

GTLF is supported by 4 founders at the moment i.e. Intertrust group, Hertel, Club Med, BWaste International. The suppliers are Barnyard Creative Powerhouse, BrantjesVeerman Advocaten and Tennis Channel. All companies contributed finances, resources, knowledge and expertise.

For further information visit www.gtlf.org or contact The Global Tennis Legacy Foundation Email: [email protected]




Week Ending November 27, 2009

THE Wendywood Sports Club held a tennis clinic for children aged six to 19 in honour of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign. Children from Nkosi’s Haven listened intensely as coaches Allon Rock and Louis Bolling demonstrated how to hold a tennis racket.

The children were divided into various groups to test their skills at hitting the ball. While some were naturals others struggled to hit the ball, but didn’t stop trying. Prizes were handed to the best and most consistent players. The Nkosi’s Haven tennis programme has existed since 2008, reaching over 75 juniors from the Haven.

“The personal development opportunities through sport that our kids are benefiting from are hard to measure,” said Nkosi’s Haven Berea resident manager, Chrina Anyamele. “Our kids love tennis and look forward to the clinic.” Many of Nkosi’s Haven juniors are no strangers to violence and abuse and the tennis programme encourages them to address their personal issues while building confidence. The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children is an international campaign that takes place every year from November 25 to December 10.


Children of South Africa takes shots at Wendywood Sports Club

Last summer, Luca Zordan released his portrait book The Children of China, a project that put faces—young faces so full of potential—to the future of one of the most rapidly developing countries in the world, while raising money to benefit underprivileged kids there. Now Zordan is turning his attention to the youth of South Africa. Working with his Children of China collaborator, children’s fashion stylist Alethea Gold, he has embarked on a portrait project aimed at generating funds for creating afterschool sports programs for disadvantaged kids in South Africa. The Children of South Africa is still in the planning stages, and Luca and Alethea are just beginning to seek sponsorship.

In the meantime, the momentum for The Children of China is still strong. Luca just returned from Hong Kong, where selections from the book were being exhibited in a show co-organized by the Australian Consulate, with the Swire Group as the chief sponsor. Proceeds from that exhibition will benefit the Chi Heng Foundation, which helps children in Henan and Anui in central China who are from AIDS-affected families. In September, Gallery Number 1 in Shanghai will also mount an exhibition of Zordan’s portraits. For more on The Children of China, please visit http://www.thechildrenofchina.org/. To lend your support to The Children of Africa project, please contact Luca directly at luca [at] lucazordan.com.

Luca and Alethea visited WSC on Saturday, August 22, taking photos of our juniors from Nkosi's Haven & Yeoville Tennis Club.  As the Children of South Africa project takes shape, we will be sure to keep you posted.

Get a grip!


The Octagonal Handle

In order to understand the grips, it is important to know that the handle of a racquet always consists of 8 sides, or in other words, has an octagonal shape. A square shape would hurt the hand, while a round shape would not give enough friction to gain a firm grip. The eight sides of the handle are called bevels. We can number the bevels from 1 to 8 as follows: if the blade of the racquet is perpendicular to the ground, the bevel facing up is #1. The one next to it, rotating clockwise is #2, and so on.

The six grips (in clockwise order for right-handed players)

The Continental Grip

The Continental Grip, also called the Chopper grip, is obtained when placing the hand such that the base knuckle of the index finger is right on the 2nd bevel. It is naturally obtained when holding the racket as if it were an axe, for chopping. Hence the second name "Chopper grip". The Continental grip is suitable for a variety of shots and therefore is often taught to absolute beginners, so that they should not bother changing grips while learning the basics of the game. The Continental grip does not allow for much topspin on groundstrokes. Since modern tennis, especially clay court tennis, has shown an evolution towards topspin, the Continental grip has gone out of fashion with professional players for hitting groundstrokes. It is still the preferred grip for serves and volleys. The rest of the grips strike a balance between high spin capacity on one hand, and variety and control on the other hand.

The Eastern Forehand Grip

The Eastern Forehand Grip is obtained when placing the hand such that the base knuckle of the index finger is right on the 3rd bevel. It is naturally obtained when picking up a racquet lying on the ground, or "shaking hands" with a perpendicularly held racquet. The Eastern Forehand grip allows for more topspin on the forehand while keeping control, because the shift along the handle is only 45 degrees (from the multi-purpose Continental grip).

The Western Grip

The Western Grip, is obtained when placing the hand such that the base knuckle of the index finger is right on the 5th bevel. Compared to the Continental grip, the blade has rotated 135 degrees. This forces the wrist in an uncomfortable twist but allows for the greatest possible spin. This is basically equivalent to the Eastern Backhand grip, except that the SAME face of the racquet is used to strike the ball.

The Eastern Backhand Grip

The Eastern Backhand Grip, is obtained when placing the hand such that the base knuckle of the index finger is right on the 1st bevel. This is essentially the same as the Western [forehand] grip and allows for significant spin and control.

The Double-Handed Backhand Grip

The basic Two-Handed Backhand Grip, is obtained by holding the racquet in a regular Continental grip, then placing the left hand above holding it in a left-handed Semi-Western Forehand grip. Holding the racquet using 2 hands for the backhand is very common, but, there are many variations in the precise positioning of the 2 hands.

The evolution of grips used for Forehand

For a number of years the small, apparently frail 1920s player Bill Johnston was considered by many to have had the best forehand of all time, a stroke that he hit shoulder-high using a Western grip. Few top players used the Western grip after the 1920s, but in the latter part of the 20th century, as shot-making techniques and equipment changed radically, the Western forehand made a strong comeback and is now used by many modern players. With the changes in technology, the various grips have become used very differently than previously mentioned. First, the continental grip is used primarily to serve and to volley, not to hit forehand shots, or a backhand slice. The eastern grip is still used, though far less than in the past, and is used to hit very flat shots. It is excellent to hit low passing shots. The most popular grip on the tour, and for "weekend warriors," is the semi-western grip. It gives a nice mix of spin and pace on the forehand, and offers ease to transition to the backhand grip. Finally the western grip (and its extreme variations), are some of the most radical grips used on the tour, mostly by clay-courters, and are used to create massive amounts of topspin.

The evolution of the Backhand grips

The backhand can be executed with either one or both hands. For most of the 20th century it was performed with one hand, using either a backhand Eastern or Continental grip. In modern tennis, there are a few professional players who use a Western one-hand backhand. This shot is held in a similar manner to the Western forehand. It has more topspin potential than for the traditional Eastern one-hander, although it is difficult to hit low balls with this grip. It is virtually impossible to drive a high ball with topspin with an eastern grip without risk of serious injury.[citation needed] It is used by most pros with strong single-handed backhand drives, like Gustavo Kuerten and Richard Gasquet among the men and Justine Henin among the women.

The two-handed backhand is most commonly used with the forehand hand holding the racquet with a Continental grip and the non-dominant hand holding the racquet with an Eastern forehand grip. While this is by far the most common way to hit a two-handed backhand, there are players who use different ways of holding the racquet for a two-handed backhand.

The player long considered to have had the best backhand of all time, Don Budge, had a very powerful one-handed stroke in the 1930s and '40s that imparted topspin onto the ball. Ken Rosewall, another player noted for his one-handed backhand, used a deadly accurate slice backhand with underspin through the 1950s and '60s. Both of them used an Eastern grip. Currently, Roger Federer, who uses an eastern grip, is noted for having a backhand that can drive the ball, impart dramatic spin, slice it deep, or hit a deadly drop shot.He is however, like all who employ an eastern grip, vulnerable to high bouncing balls and is forced to either slice the ball while still high in the air/take it low and early/allow the ball to drop to a comfortable height.

Against powerful claycourters who employ strong western grips and can drive high bouncing balls with great force, there is often not enough time to take the ball on the rise, and many speculate that this weakness is the explanation for Rafael Nadal's dominant record against Federer on the high bouncing clay, where slice is less effective.

The first notable players to use two hands were the 1930s Australians Vivian McGrath and John Bromwich. The two-handed grip gained popularity in the 1970s as Björn Borg, Chris Evert and Jimmy Connors used it to great effect, and it is now used by a large number of the world's best players, including the Williams sisters. One reason is that most professionals have played tennis from an early age, when they were not strong enough to hit a one-handed backhand. Most professionals who use a two-handed backhand often return hard-to-reach balls with a one-handed backhand. They also often use the one-handed backhand slice in rallies as it is a comfortable shot. Andre Agassi in particular increased his use of the one-handed backhand and often hit an unreturnable dropshot with it.

Grips used for Serving

The grip for the serve depends on the type of serve. At professional levels, the flat serve (with little or no spin), is hit with a Continental grip. The server stands at an angle to the baseline, so that he can turn during the service and make contact with the racquet squarely on the ball.

At professional levels, the slice serve is most commonly hit with a Continental grip. The server tosses the ball a little to the right of his body (if he is right-handed) and cuts the ball at the side to impart spin. For a right-hander, the slice serve curves to the left, and is useful in pulling the opponent out wide, or serving into his body. Many players, however, use an Eastern backhand grip for their spin serves; this gives the racquet even more angle as it sweeps across the ball.

There are two types of kick (topspin) serves; the pure topspin serve, and the twist serve. The topspin serve is hit by using a Continental grip and the ball is thrown so that if it were to drop, it would land on the server's head. In the topspin serve, the racquet brushes across the ball to impart topspin. In the American twist serve or kick serve, the racquet is held with an Eastern backhand or Continental grip. The twist serve has both topspin and slice, and, when hit correctly, bounces in the opposite direction from the slice serve. Both these serves are used to make an effective serve that nevertheless has a high safety factor because they clear the net with a relatively high margin of space and use the topspin to pull the ball down into the service box.


Grip Guide - A Grip on Your Game

By Jon Levey
Illustrations by Craig Zuckerman

Fluid, powerful, and accurate strokes are the combination of many factors. But it all starts with how you hold the racquet.

No matter how much time you spend finding the perfect frame to beef up your game, the most important part of your racquet just might be your grip—not what the handle is made of, but how you hold it. Although they’re largely overlooked, grips are the foundation of all the strokes in tennis. Where you position your hand on the eight-sided handle has a huge impact on each ball you hit. Your grip affects the angle of the racquet face, where you make contact, and ultimately the pace, spin, and placement of your shot. The difficulty with grips is choosing the right one for a particular stroke. The fact is, there is no perfect grip; each has its advantages and limitations. But some are clearly better-suited for certain strokes and styles of play than others. This guide will help you to (1) learn to grasp the racquet for each grip correctly, and (2) determine the best uses of each of the common grips.


There are various ways to explain how to find a certain grip, but the simplest and most reliable is to use the base knuckle of your index finger as the main reference point. The diagrams for each grip show the bottom view of a racquet handle (where the butt cap is attached), which has four main sides and four narrower bevels between the sides.


The Continental is the one grip that you can use for every shot, but that hasn’t been standard practice since the days of long pants and skirts. The Continental is used primarily for serves, volleys, overheads, slices, and defensive shots. Find the Continental by putting the base knuckle of your index finger on bevel No. 1, which puts the V created by your thumb and forefinger on top of the handle. Lefties put the knuckle on bevel No. 4.

Hitting with the Continental grip on the serve and overhead is standard, as it allows your forearm and wrist to naturally pronate through contact. This results in a more explosive and versatile shot with the least amount of stress on the arm. It’s also the preferred grip on volleys since it provides a slightly open racquet face for underspin and control. Since you need quick hands at net, having the same grip for forehand and backhand volleys is also crucial. As mentioned, your grip affects the angle of the racquet face. The more closed the face, the higher and farther in front of your body your strike zone should be for proper contact. Since the racquet face is relatively square on a Continental grip, for ground strokes the strike zone is low and to the side of the body. That’s why it’s helpful for defensive shots, low balls, and wide balls that you’re late on.

You can hit flat or with slice using the Continental, but it’s tough to put topspin on the ball. That means hitting with power and keeping the ball in play requires you to aim the shot just above net level, leaving you little margin for error. And without that safety spin, returning a ball out of your strike zone can be difficult. So lack of consistency is often a problem.

Virtually all of them, on serves and volleys.


Place your hand flat against the strings and slide it down to the grip; put the racquet flat on a table, close your eyes, and pick it up; or shake hands with the racquet. These are just a few of the tricks you can use to find an Eastern forehand grip. The more technical way is to hold the racquet in a Continental grip and then turn your hand clockwise (counterclockwise for lefties), so that the base knuckle of your index finger slides over one bevel.

This is generally considered the easiest grip for learning the forehand. It’s versatile, allowing the player to brush up the back of the ball for topspin or flatten out the shot for more power and penetration. It’s easy to switch quickly to other grips from the Eastern, making it a wise choice for players who like to come to net.

The strike zone is higher and farther out in front than with the Continental grip, but it’s still not a great option for returning high shots. An Eastern forehand can be very powerful and penetrating, but because it tends to be a flatter stroke it can also be inconsistent, making it difficult to sustain in long rallies. It’s not the best choice for players looking to put a lot of topspin on their shots and outlast their opponents.

Tim Henman, Lindsay Davenport  


Moving your knuckle one more bevel clockwise (counterclockwise for lefties) from the Eastern forehand grip puts you in a semi-Western grip. This has become a prevalent grip for power baseliners on the pro tours, and many teaching pros encourage their students to use it.

The semi-Western allows a player to apply more topspin to the ball than the Eastern forehand grip, giving the shot greater safety and control, especially on lobs and short angles. Still, you can drive through the ball with this grip to hit a flat drive for a winner or passing shot. It also affords a player the option of taking a bigger swing at the ball since the topspin will help keep it in the court. With a strike zone higher and farther out in front of the body than the Eastern forehand, it’s good for controlling and being aggressive with high shots.

You can run into trouble returning low balls. Since the grip naturally closes the racquet face, forcing you to swing up from underneath the ball, it can be difficult to return lower shots. This, along with having to make a significant grip change to get to the Continental for a volley, is why so many power baseliners are uncomfortable coming to net.

Marat Safin, Svetlana Kuznetsova


From a semi-Western grip, shift your knuckle one more bevel clockwise (counterclockwise for lefties), and you’ve got a full Western grip. Looking down at the racquet, your knuckle should be on the very bottom of the grip. This puts your palm almost completely under the racquet. Clay-court specialists and players who hit with heavy topspin favor this grip.

This is an extreme grip that puts a lot of action on the ball. The positioning of the wrist forces the racquet to whip up the back of the ball severely, generating tremendous topspin. You can hit the ball well above net level and it will still drop into the court. The resulting shot will usually have a high and explosive bounce, pushing your opponent behind the baseline. The strike zone is higher and farther out in front than all other forehand grips. The ability to handle high balls is what makes this grip so popular with clay-courters and juniors.

Low balls can be murder. That’s why professionals with this grip generally don’t do well on faster surfaces, where the ball stays low after the bounce. Also, you need tremendous racquet-head speed and wrist strength to generate adequate pace and spin. Otherwise, your shots will land short and your opponents can attack them. For some, it’s also difficult to flatten shots out, so putting balls away becomes a problem. And just as with the semi- Western, transitioning to net and hitting an effective first volley is a major challenge.

Rafael Nadal, Amelie Mauresmo


From a Continental grip, shift your knuckle one bevel counterclockwise (clockwise for lefties) so that it’s on the very top of the grip. If you drilled a nail through that knuckle, it would go right through the center of the grip (just don’t try that at home).

As with the Eastern forehand, this is a versatile grip that provides good stability for the wrist. You can roll the ball for some spin or hit through it for a more penetrating drive. Some players can slice with an Eastern grip, but if not, a subtle grip change over to the Continental is easy enough to do. This grip also can be used for a kick serve, and it makes the transition to net for volleys a relatively smooth one.

While solid for handling low balls, an Eastern backhand grip is not ideal for hitting topspin shots from around the shoulders. It can be difficult to control these balls, and many times a player is forced to slice them back defensively. You see this most often when players return kick serves that jump up high in the strike zone.

Roger Federer, Lisa Raymond


The backhand’s answer to the Western forehand (a reason some refer to this as a semi-Western backhand), the base knuckle of your index finger moves one bevel counterclockwise from the Eastern backhand (clockwise for lefties). It’s an advanced grip that only stronger and more accomplished players tend to use.

Just as with the Western forehand grips, this is a very popular choice with clay-court players. It naturally closes the racquet face more than a regular Eastern backhand and moves the strike zone higher and farther out in front of you, making it more conducive to handling high balls and returning them with topspin. Some of the most powerful backhands in tennis are held with this grip.

Its limitations are similar to those of the Western forehand. It’s not well-suited for low balls, and because it’s a rather extreme grip it’s difficult to make quick changes for a transition to net. Players with this grip usually have long, elaborate swings and prefer the baseline.

Gustavo Kuerten, Justine Henin- Hardenne 


There’s no doubting the popularity of this grip, but there is some debate about the ideal way to position both hands. One of the most accepted ways is to hold the racquet in your dominant hand with a Continental grip. Then take your nondominant hand and put it above your playing hand in a semi-Western forehand grip.

This is an excellent choice for players who aren’t strong enough to hit a one-handed backhand. A more compact stroke than the one-hander, the two-hander relies on shoulder rotation and an efficient swing to provide power. That’s why it’s particularly effective on the return of serve. It’s also good on low shots, and the extra arm lets you power through on balls that are at shoulder level.

Because both hands are on the racquet, the two-hander limits a player’s reach. So doing anything with wide shots can be tough, especially since it’s difficult to rotate your upper body when stretched. Also, two-handers can become dependent on topspin. Hitting an effective slice calls for extending through the shot with a steady front shoulder. This is unnatural for two-handers, who are taught to open their hips and rotate their shoulders. Taking the nondominant hand off the racquet to hit the slice or volley is also troubling for many twohanders; it’s the reason why they’re generally not comfortable at the net.

Andre Agassi, Maria Sharapova

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