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TENNIS FOREHAND GRIP | How Djokovic Gets Spin


Hey everyone, it’s Jeff Salzenstein at JeffSalzensteinTennis.com, and in today’s video, we are going to answer a question that came up from a Tennis Forehand Solution member: a player that invested in the Tennis Forehand Solution, and had a question about a specific video. So, what I thought I would do today is answer that question over at the blog today, and then of course, if you’re smart, if you make the smart choice, you’re going to invest in the Tennis Forehand Solution, because not only has the feedback been phenomenal, but it will help your forehand. It is going to take your forehand to the next level. I’m covering all of the bases there, and I’m also adding new videos as we go along to answer your questions as members, because at the end of the day, I want to help you guys get better at tennis. So, the first part is, we’re going to talk about players that have an Eastern forehand. Now, in the Tennis Forehand Solution, I talked about how the Semi-Western grip, where you basically hold the racket like this. Okay, this is what the pros are doing. This is the preferred forehand. Now, even a guy like Federer, or del Potro, they’re not semi-Western, but they’re pretty darn close. Now, a lot of the Eastern forehands out there are more in that- that continental area for that wrecked player. So, I’m going to show you what you need to do with your backswing on the- on the Eastern forehand, because we haven’t talked about that too much in the Tennis Forehand Solution. Then, I’m going to go into the specific question that was asked to me that I’m going to answer on- on how to take your racket back properly if you have a semi-Western grip. So, Eastern forehand. To start, basically, you’re going to have that Eastern or that Continental grip, depends on how extreme you are, and when you start the racket, you want to make sure the strings that are going to hit the ball are going to be facing the net. Because of the grip, you’re not going to be able to turn your wrist like a normal forehand. So, you’re going to have to adapt here. The strings will face as you get ready, and as you prepare for the forehand. So, I’m going to do my best Eastern forehand demonstration now, even though it’s not a natural shot for me. Then, we’re going to come back, and answer that Semi-Western grip question on the take back. So, again, that’s not what we teach in the Tennis Forehand Solution, but I want to make sure that I helped provide some solutions for those that don’t have a semi-Western grip, and they’re not going to switch to a Semi-Western grip. Basically, you go with that Eastern forehand, Continental forehand, strings are going to face the net. Now, we’re going to go on to part 2, where I give you a solution on how you can change that to a Semi-Western grip, and get plenty of top spin like pros like Novak Djokovic. In this part of the video, we’re going to talk about the semi-Western grip, and how it relates to the backswing. And here’s the deal: when you deal with grips on the forehand, the take-back is going to be dependent on the grip, as far as how the backswing looks. We just talked about what happens in the Eastern forehand. With a Semi-Western grip, it really depends on how extreme your grip is with a Semi-Western. If you’re closer to Western, if you have an extreme semi-Western, I call it, like, Rafa Nadal or Novak Djokovic, when you take the racket back, the strings that are going to hit the ball as soon as you take the racket back, it’s- it can start to turn and face towards the back corner like this. This is what you see Djokovic doing. If you have difficult time getting spin, I recommend this for some players: to take the racket back, and kind of, you turn the wrist a little bit, so that the strings face the back fence. Now, if your grip is not extreme enough, if it is not a true Semi-Western to extreme Semi-Western, it’s going to feel funny. If you’re more Eastern, you’re not going to be able to turn that wrist back like this. It’s going to feel awkward, so, make sure your grp is way over like Djokovic, if you’re going to try this technique that I’m talking about right here. So, when you take it back like Djokovic, make sure the strings are facing the back fence or this back corner over here, and then, you’re going to be able to get you’re able to drop the racket face. It’s going to be closed, and you’re going to be able to hit plenty of spin. So, I’m going to go ahead and show that to you right now. Again, the great thing about tennis is you don’t have to do a certain way. You don’t have to perform your- you don’t have to hit your forehand like Novak Djokovic, but what I’m trying to do is provide solutions for different forehands out there. So, if your grip is extreme, or you want to make it extreme, and you’re still having a hard time getting spin, make sure that the racket strings face towards the back fence, and you’ll be good to go on your forehand. So hopefully, you enjoyed this video, and leave a comment down below, and I’m also going to post a link in this blog that if you haven’t picked up the Tennis Forehand Solution, I highly recommend that you do so, because it is an incredible program, and it’s helping a ton of players, and it’s my life’s work on the forehand, getting people started on the fundamentals. Will talk to you soon. Thanks for your time, and we’ll see you later.

David Frank

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72 COMMENTS

  1. Brian Chowaniec Posted on September 16, 2011 at 12:55 am

    how do u find an extreme semi western grip

    Reply
  2. Krutchtacular Posted on September 16, 2011 at 2:43 am

    Why is it that even though Federer uses a more conservative semi-western that he generates a ton of topspin? I've heard he gets a ton of RPMs, second only to Nadal.

    Reply
  3. joshwesthill Posted on September 16, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    @Krutchtacular
    federer doesn't use a semi-western grip, he uses an eastern grip

    Reply
  4. Krutchtacular Posted on September 18, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    @joshwesthill Do you have some proof? From all the analysis videos I've seen, like the FYB ones, it looks like he's using an extreme eastern or eastern.

    Reply
  5. Amir B Posted on October 7, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    @Krutchtacular no.. second is Fernando Verdasco, then its Roger Federer

    Reply
  6. Krutchtacular Posted on January 30, 2012 at 3:36 am

    @laxwithme Extreme eastern/conservative semi-western are equivalent, if I'm not mistaken.

    Reply
  7. Benjaxin Posted on February 10, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    that eastern grip demo was like watching Rod Laver!!!! Try a Federer Eastern grip forehand…. he holds an eastern grip… whether you think so or not…. PS Conservative semi western? Are you serious? never heard of it…its an eastern!!!!! 😉

    Reply
  8. Charnae Chie Posted on February 28, 2012 at 12:08 am

    My right ear enjoyed this.. -_-

    Reply
  9. Charnae Chie Posted on March 8, 2012 at 12:22 am

    @tshirttime84 Haha you're right! i'm always doing that.. (:

    Reply
  10. Alan Watts Posted on April 7, 2012 at 8:17 am

    i dont even know where in the video you found that he was teaching about finishing high. Get your ears checked. finishing high or across your body should be a personal preference, windshield wiper is not mandatory

    Reply
  11. Alan Watts Posted on April 7, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    you know nothing about tennis. you are probably a 3.0 player

    Reply
  12. Alan Watts Posted on April 8, 2012 at 2:50 am

    I believe you've been playing with yourself since you were 4. And I believe you can even do it with your left hand. 🙂

    Reply
  13. Jim Pedraza Posted on April 12, 2012 at 3:39 am

    MY LEFT EAR ENJOYED THIS VIDEO LOL

    Reply
  14. Eduardo Pereyra Posted on April 12, 2012 at 6:57 am

    im sure that when he plays for serious he doesnt do the strokes exactly like the ones in the video. also he was maybe a bit uncomfortable with the eastern, so his instinct was to compensate with a flat shot with high follow through. i thought his semi western forehand was pretty good, you cant say it was flawed.

    Reply
  15. Eduardo Pereyra Posted on April 12, 2012 at 7:02 am

    actually djokovic's follow through goes over the shoulder a lot

    Reply
  16. wolfinsignia Posted on April 28, 2012 at 3:51 am

    i agree, djokovic incorporates old fashion forehand. in which you whip the ball. you know the low to high and over the shoulder style that you learned when you start out. it gives the most power since your really pushing the ball but its not as consistent as modern style.

    Reply
  17. patchcreates Posted on May 25, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    I hold an extreme western grip.

    Reply
  18. Casey Hart Posted on June 11, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I'll try it.

    Reply
  19. BillyBobGTS Posted on June 11, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    Helped a lot, thanks!

    Reply
  20. k Posted on June 17, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    I will give a try. Thanks

    Reply
  21. john metyk Posted on June 21, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Federer has a eastern grip that's it for forehand and he routinely has the strings facing the 3 o'clock position del potro has a sw grip an keeps the strings facing forward so go figure. The main thing is the racquet stays up then drops below the ball prior to forward hip rotation

    Reply
  22. msn m Posted on August 20, 2012 at 2:12 am

    thanks for the vid,helped improve my forehand 100% ,went from loosing 6-2 yesterday, to winning 6-0 today!

    Reply
  23. superwindkid Posted on August 24, 2012 at 5:52 am

    Great, my left earphone is broken and my left speaker is broken….why is this vid only have left sound working?

    Reply
  24. ravi48819 Posted on September 21, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    I am using the Eastern grip on the forehand and have heard that the strings must face the ground on the takeback (to get better topspin).

    But in this video, the strings are not facing down on the takeback.

    Reply
  25. giannis neophytou Posted on September 26, 2012 at 11:58 am

    great video man!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  26. haedulus Posted on October 7, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Creating topspin got nothing to do with your grip. If u got the skill you can create a ton of topspin even with an eastern grip. Just look a fed…

    Reply
  27. Richard Milford Posted on October 25, 2012 at 3:32 am

    Jeff, I'm a former nationally ranked junior and Div I college player. However, I grew up playing tennis in the '70's so I have "traditional" forehand with eastern grip. I still enjoy the game and still in shape but I'm trying to transform my forehand to Western opened stance but I am having a really hard time making a transition. I tend to hit alot of balls in the net and over-rotate my body. Do you have any recommendations? Drills? (btw – your videos are really excellent)

    Reply
  28. Luiz Gustavo Posted on November 15, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    My left ear disliked this video.,

    Reply
  29. iangarcia Posted on November 23, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Thanks for showing us a full western but calling it a semi-western.

    Reply
  30. zhangweihuang Posted on December 10, 2012 at 12:25 am

    You swing & hold your racquet like a noob, Where in the world did you get the courage to post this video here?

    Reply
  31. geassed Posted on January 24, 2013 at 11:48 am

    It would serve some of you well to look up who this guy is first before you comment.

    Reply
  32. Jose Carlos Penteado Posted on January 31, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    I recomended… very good guy.

    Reply
  33. haedulus Posted on March 1, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    his shots got 2nd most rpm on tour 😉

    Reply
  34. Peoria Os Posted on March 26, 2013 at 3:22 am

    Fed contorts his arm and his wrist to get a more semi-western like shots. If you notice, his arm is normally straight which is highly unusual for contemporary players. Fed is great and is my favorite player, but Djokovic has the best strokes in the game.

    Reply
  35. Junior Jr Posted on March 27, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    hahahha. Do u know who he is????

    Reply
  36. Saskobest Posted on April 11, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Djokovic forehand is among the best when it comes to topspin.
    1-Nadal
    2-Andreev
    3-Verdasco
    4-Djokovic
    5-Roddick{post 2007}
    are the best spinners in the atp
    Dont compare Fed with them.He wasnt second in the world.The analytics compared the top guys from that time which was in 07.He and roddick averaged the same back then,hitting more than Safin and less than Nadal.You all understood it wrong.He was never second in the world.

    Reply
  37. Reese Williams Posted on April 19, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Actually the comment you have about the strings facing, depending on the grip, is a new one I haven't seen , and it is a good tip.There are so many components to individual comfort, you have to pick out a few things and apply them. thanks

    Reply
  38. Jimmy Wang Posted on April 30, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Thank you so much for your assistance..

    Reply
  39. Peoria Os Posted on April 30, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Fed uses an Eastern grip.

    Reply
  40. MusicRecord Posted on May 2, 2013 at 1:54 am

    what grip use djokovic? western

    Reply
  41. mareqnyc Posted on May 16, 2013 at 2:06 am

    The video is about adjusting take back depending on how extreme your grip is. And YES – you can finish high with semi or even full western depending on the ball you get. Jeff is a former top 100 player and a teaching pro. He knows his stuff.

    Reply
  42. ssaw3008 Posted on May 21, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    lol and also , his left hand!! lol it would be more usefull if the teacher of the tutorial would be right handed!!

    Reply
  43. geeruabuel Posted on May 22, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Experienced is the best teacher.

    Reply
  44. klmaxx5 Posted on June 6, 2013 at 12:02 am

    I still have not learned what grip is which. What bevel does my index knuckle and palm pad rests on etc….Telling me how to swing back with a simi western and I don;t have a clue what simi western in is counter productive for me.

    Reply
  45. hoomanisbackagain Posted on June 6, 2013 at 6:38 am

    /watch?v=eRCWkQfPGvg

    Reply
  46. Theo Beulakker Posted on July 9, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    I find the semi w. a terrific grip must get used to keep my fingers on the handel up position just before contact in order
    to keep the rackethead perpendicular on contactpoint. thanks.

    Reply
  47. THE Roen Posted on July 12, 2013 at 6:50 am

    Fed is halfway between a Eastern and a Semi-Western, aptly named the Extreme Eastern. He's in between the bevels for Eastern and Semi-Western.

    Reply
  48. FourGamingWogs Posted on September 14, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Extreme Semi-Western? They call that western – extreme western..

    Reply
  49. Alexander Boldin Posted on December 20, 2013 at 4:36 pm

     A student cannot feel what you are verbally explaining; by watching any video a student cannot get the physical feeling of the motions.
    My TST_watch Tennis Swing Trainer YouTube_enable users to get visual and physical feeling of the exact mechanics of the right move by seeing and feeling the positions of the racquet, user’s arms_wrists_parts of the body at each moment of the swing.
    The laws of biomechanics/kinematics define the optimal swing;
    a player only demonstrates his own approach to the better use thereof.
     

    Reply
  50. bencreezay Posted on January 9, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Lol extreme semi-western! Genius haha it's just western!

    Reply
  51. colin0622 Posted on January 13, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Now I'm trying to play western forehand, but I found that every shot i made are all to short and weak, I hope to make it deeper like Nole. What shall i do ?!

    Reply
  52. richardflo2flo Posted on January 19, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    You have described this wrong, it is an extension of the wrist, a hyper extension. So all he is actually doing is lay the wrist back. Its wrist lay back. If you use langauge like turn it makes you think of rotation of the wrist. Which you can not actually do cause that joint does not facilitate that movement. I know you might think turn is a laymens term, but its really easy to misunderstand.

    Reply
  53. marjan33z Posted on January 20, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    this is more of a amateur level stroke, not djokovic's. the pro's strokes are much more violent, throwing the racket with a loose wrist, not loopy

    Reply
  54. dcr5401 Posted on May 15, 2014 at 12:13 am

    How do I find the simi western grip? Could you explain using the index knuckle & heel pad; are both on bevel 4 or 3.5? What is strong Eastern?

    Reply
  55. Shahram Pezeshki Posted on July 9, 2014 at 9:20 am

    thanks, very useful for me

    Reply
  56. goh jun kai Posted on August 3, 2014 at 7:54 am

    My left ear enjoyed this.

    Reply
  57. Chew Engsun Posted on January 23, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Thanks for the great tip on how to hit the topspin forehand with the semi western grip.
    The comparison between using the eastern/continental and the semi western (racket facing back fence) in the video says it all. I use the traditional eastern/ continental grip.With the semi western for a forehand , changing grips to hit a single handed backhand drive as J'Hue Casey says would be quite tricky.

    Reply
  58. 222amonra Posted on February 7, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    Don't watch! He speaks and speaks, hits two easy balls and again speaks and speaks.

    Reply
  59. BODYBUILDING EXPERTISE Posted on February 25, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    Jeff 2 days I tried this and I must say, it is a strange,uncomfprtable feeling. Djoko is using this tchnique since being a kid, It's a natural forehand for him. I think that for people like me, club players, even if good level, this technique might cause damages to the security of the forehand shot. And frankly the spin result is not so great.
    I am sure that another "trick" used by Jack Shock or Dominik Thiem, or Kokinakis is much better. These players are prepaering their forehand with the top of the racket head showing the net. This means that if they turn the top of the head backwards doint the BIG KICK just before hitting the ball, this is creating really a strong spinn and the ball is heavy. Speak about this technique.

    Reply
  60. Vis sax Posted on October 16, 2015 at 1:25 am

    Too much talk…

    Reply
  61. alex zivkoVic Posted on December 16, 2015 at 10:04 am

    that´s not djokovic spin his left hand must swing to the body. to get Powerful swing.

    Reply
  62. DeJ Bi Posted on March 24, 2016 at 6:01 am

    that's continental grip not eastern forehand grip you are using.

    Reply
  63. Nice-Elvz Trip Posted on April 2, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    best tennis lesson about diferent fhg for diferent take back…

    Reply
  64. George Oberlander Posted on April 17, 2016 at 1:24 am

    Don't let the tail wag the dog: there is only one way to create topspin and that is to strike the ball using a racquet path that sharply ascends. The steeper the ascent, the greater the amount of spin. Racquet head speed also increases the amount of spin you can get from a given angle of ascent.

    If you look at old videos of Rod Laver (using a continental grip), you will see his forehand has a lot of topspin. If you look at his forehand stroke path you will see the same "loopy" path that modern players use. Grips cannot create topspin; they can only facilitate the ease by which you can generate a substantially ascending racquet head path. The semi-western and western grips, by closing the racquet head make it easier to present a vertical racquet head to the ball at the moment of impact. A continental grip opens the racquet face and requires a LOT of wrist strength to close the racquet head to the vertical position at ball impact at the same time the racquet head path is sharply rising. It is no wonder that Laver's left wrist and forearm muscles were huge.

    Reply
  65. DestroX 7 Posted on May 2, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    djokovic uses western grip

    Reply
  66. JW Kim Posted on June 23, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Totally wrong about Eastern grip. WIth eastern grip, you still can face your racket to the fence at the back and it should be that way. He seems to be confused with Eastern and continental forehand grips.

    Reply
  67. Creees Posted on September 30, 2017 at 7:29 am

    Jeff is a genius, always so helpful and very clear when explaing. But his pants are too baggy must be 2 sizes 2 big lol, is that American fashion?

    Reply
  68. Tennis Life Posted on September 13, 2018 at 1:46 am

    To be brutally honest, that forehand looks nothing like Nole's…

    Reply
  69. Tennis Evolution - Online Tennis Lessons Posted on November 27, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    Forehand myths debunked: Former Top 100 ATP Pro, Jeff Salzenstein, is exposing 3 common myths that could be crippling your forehands potential. Most players make at least 1 of these 3 mistakes… Do you? https://goo.gl/XCpw5X

    Reply
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