It’s not the grip that decrees the hit but the correct advance and impact on the ball

Ana Ivanovic – forehand semi western grip. Look at the good impact and the right position of the string pattern before the hit.

Each tennis player has his own game settings. These settings may be different considerably and it implies that the trajectories of the ball are not always the same.
The distance between the body and the ball, the impact and the role of the legs are the main factors that decree the shot. If the player hits the ball when he is too far from it or his body weight goes backwards, the shot will be weak and vulnerable; otherwise, if the player hits the ball finding the right position of the feet and the optimal knee bend, the shot will be deeper and more effective.
Playing with an opened hold as a semi western or a western grip doesn’t imply that the shot will be necessarily full of spin. Similarly, if the grip is more closed, the hit could take a rotational trajectory.
With regard to the forehand, there are many examples that explain this theory.

Tomas Berdych – forehand semi western grip. He plays flat and penetrating thanks to a great advance on the ball.

Let’s consider Tomas Berdych’s forehand: the Czech has a semi western grip. This grip gives him the possibility to push well forward and simultaneously to take advantage of a good rotation of the ball. Berdych’s shots are completely flat because his impact is considerable and the advance on the ball is flawless.
Ernests Gulbis uses a western grip that theoretically produces more spin and less speed. Instead the Latvian is able to play really fast and penetrating. He’s a really good player from the base line and every time he prepares a huge backswing he can load up the ball with a marked rotation.
Rafa Nadal, who is the greatest exponent of topspin, doesn’t use a full western (grip fully 
turned) or a western, to the contrary of what most of the people think. The Spanish plays with a semi western on the forehand (the same modern grip of Berdych, Del Potro, Safin, Sharapova, Ivanovic, Kvitova and many others who play prevalently flat thanks to a perfect horizontal movement of the string pattern before the impact). Despite this, Nadal produces an incredible spin because he has a very elaborate biomechanics of the legs, the left arm and the body.

           Rafael Nadal, one of the best exponent of topspin in tennis history.

David Ferrer and Andy Roddick, for example, who prefer a western and play topspin, though they use a more exasperated grip than players such as Nadal and Verdasco, they produce a less pronounced spin on the ball.
Fernando Gonzalez hit one of the best forehands ever in tennis. His semi western grip gave him an ideal combination of impact and topspin. For this reason he was called “Stone Hand” by his friends and tennis colleagues.
Roger Federer mainly uses an eastern (classic grip). He is able to play every kind of hit he wants: shots without spin, top spin, long, short, flat hits etc.
The players list could continue but, anyway, the correct advance and impact on the ball, the position of the feet before the backswing and the knee bend are more important than the grip used by the player during the knock-up.

Federico Bazan © all rights reserved

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