Federer over the years changed his forehand grip

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by xanger, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. xanger

    xanger New User

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    As we all know, from photos and slow motion footage of various sources, that Federer currently uses an eastern forehand grip. I believe that he started using an eastern forehand grip from 07 to present day(interestingly, this is when he started using the k-factor) . I am also convinced that, from watching many video clips on youtube, before 07 he was using an extreme eastern grip aka semi eastern forehand. I've also seen a change in the quality of his forehand. I find that when he used to hit with an extreme eastern grip, he would hit with more zip on his forehands and his running forehand was one of the best. But in the recent years, his forehand breaks down sometimes, it is less powerful, and is not as consistent/powerful on the run. I believe his forehand swing in genearl has changed to compensate for the grip change.
    My ultimate question is, why did he change his grip?

    Video of the evolution of the roger Federer forehand:
    Notice from the video clip that Federer definately did NOT use an eastern forehand in the earlier years, but that gradually he has shifted to a more conservative grip. It is pretty obvious if you look at his 04 strokes
     
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  2. xanger

    xanger New User

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    #2
  3. Ive said this numerous times but got bashed by the "know it all muppets" on this board !! :evil::evil:
     
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  4. Tsonga#1fan

    Tsonga#1fan Semi-Pro

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    I've never heard of an "extreme eastern grip".
     
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  5. salsainglesa

    salsainglesa Semi-Pro

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    so, what arethe changes he did to the forehand year by year?
    i do notice some changes, but what did you notice?
     
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  6. rk_sports

    rk_sports Hall of Fame

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    Ya! I wish someone does an analysis (like FYB) on this subject!!
     
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  7. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    I am guessing it is in the semi-western neighbourhood...
     
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  8. asafi2

    asafi2 Rookie

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    In an interview someone asked what his forehand grip was and he said it depends on the shot.
     
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  9. xanger

    xanger New User

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    The most obvious change in his forehand technique is that he has abbreviated his backswing much more. Federer also has transitioned into a more closed stance forehand in the past few years. I personally like the way he hit before better because he seemed to put more in the ball, though i suspect he shortened his backswing to achieve better timing of the ball. The abbreviated backswing, the adoption of a more closed stanced fotwork, and shift to a more conservative grip could possibly be the reason why his forehand, though still extraordinary, is not as lethal as it once was.
     
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  10. defrule

    defrule Professional

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    His followthrough is more over "wrap around the shoulder" later in the video compared to the earlier years where his racket whipped up and down to waist level.
     
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  11. xanger

    xanger New User

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    defrule, i didn't notice that till now, and you are right.
    he used to follow through at a much more high-low path than his current "around the shoulder" followthrough.
    I see this as more evidence that he changed from extreme eastern to eastern. It makes sense since its natural to follow through around the shoulder with an eastern
     
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  12. BajeDuane

    BajeDuane New User

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    It looks to me like the backswing is a bit more abbreviated, but the follow through depends on the type of ball he was hitting. When he was attacking he was following through lower, when he was rallying it was more up by his shoulder, and when he was pulled wide he up and around his head.
     
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  13. IvanAndreevich

    IvanAndreevich Legend

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    Who cares?

    I am a Fed fan, btw.
     
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  14. Cup8489

    Cup8489 Legend

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    sorry, i don't think much has changed other than the abbreviated takeback. his forehand was more explosive before, but this could just be a function of the abbreviated takeback.

    I mean, sure he doesn't hit as many random winners like before, but you can hardly say that in last year's wimbledon final that his forehand didn't perform up to usual standards. It kept him in that match, and as far as day in, day out shotmaking in that match, i never saw him hit it better.
     
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  15. big bang

    big bang Hall of Fame

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    Fed sayed in an interview on eurosport that he changes his FH-grip depending on the type of shot hes hitting.. most shots he goes eastern, but some he goes semi-western.
    it also depends on what surface hes playing, on clay he goes semi-western on most forehands. he started doing this on clay in 08 because he felt like he had to make som changes in order to improve his chances at roland garros..
     
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  16. araghava

    araghava Rookie

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    I don't know about the grip change but i have noticed that Fed doesn't use the sharply angled cross court forehand anymore. Early in his career he used to hit this shot a lot. The ball would bounce inside the service line and close to the sideline. Similar to the shot Nadal uses all the time.
     
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  17. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Fed hits primarily with an eastern grip, and sometimes slides his hand over a bit (minus the base of his hand) to a semi position.

    Nothing has changed, and the video provided above is worthless as it doesn't show his hand clearly enough.
     
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  18. ebrainsoft

    ebrainsoft Rookie

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    The thing I have noticed about Federer's grip (forehand, backhand, etc.) is he spreads out his fingers. I've been trying to copy this a it seems to improve control, spin and power, especially if you use a heavy racquet.

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    ^^I also hold my frame this way. Almost as if I'm holding a gun. Thsi is more magnified on the serve. However, it is not as extreme as Fed.
     
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  20. BajeDuane

    BajeDuane New User

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    I also hold my grip that way with my finger spread a bit.

    But I was just at a USPTA testing review, and the tester was saying that a lot of people are holding grips between Eastern and Semi-Western, but currently there is no name for it.
     
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  21. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    ^^^This is absoluetly nothing new. It's called and "extreme eastern", and has been around for as long as I have been playing tennis (late 70's), and most definitely before that.
     
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  22. CrackerJack

    CrackerJack New User

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    Definitely noticed the reduced backswing but the forward motion of the racquet head immediately thereafter is a lot more violent.
    Also, watching his recent matches I've noticed that he meets the ball a little further out in front. Anyone else notice this?
    And the 'slingshot' effect (as mentioned in great detail in another thread) seems to be more common now.
     
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  23. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

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    The one thing you can notice is the abbreviated backswing. I wonder who was behind that idea.

    It seems the shorter backswing makes him gain time on the defensive, but maybe it is also the reason why he nets so many balls on the offensive.
     
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  24. BajeDuane

    BajeDuane New User

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    Well he did say that is one of the names for it, but currently in the USPTA there is no 'official' name for it, and some people call it extreme eastern and some other name that I cannot remember right now. Like when you do the test, you go through all the grips and it is not included.
     
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  25. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    I do to. And in my mind it makes the grip look more easternish, because it puts the index knuckle behind the racket, and other knuckles under it, so it is actually a fusion of western and eastern. Could deserve its own name.
     
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  26. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    The pistol grip puts the knuckels across the bevels, instead of along them. It might be called "hybrid" grip.
     
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  27. raging

    raging Professional

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    Fed would know!

    Interesting debate on what grip Federer has on the forehand, several posters mentioned it depends on the shot and they are right! federer himself has said as much and he would know!
    A lot of biomechanical studies show top players have up to 17?!! different grips(it changes on a millimetre basis) and this is, naturally enough, often not visible to the naked eye. That is why we need high speed film.
    Bottom line is that Federer would know!He wouldn't begin to guess at how many small changes he makes but he can feel the change in grip and hand pressure and that affects how he hits it...and where. What he does depends on his opponent too...
    He probably has had to change more towards western when playing Nadal on Roland Garros hard, dry claycourt and a bit more eastern against Djokovic(who hits a lot flatter),on hardcourt anywhere.

    It is great to see even the number 1 is evolving and adapting his grips...

    There is no one forehand grip.
     
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  28. hyperwarrior

    hyperwarrior Professional

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    It's a shame I didn't notice this thread earlier! I thought I was one of the few who notices some changes in his forehand.
    His backswing is more compact and it looks less powerful than before 07'. I'm wondering why is he changing or is it too hard to keep the same technique over the years?
     
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  29. Omega_7000

    Omega_7000 Hall of Fame

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    Avoid injuries? You might be right...
     
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  30. TheOC

    TheOC New User

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    I wouldn't say he spreads out all of his fingers... His index finger is definitely not held tightly against the other 3 fingers and reaches farther up the grip. This is probably to have better control over the frame as his hand covers a larger area on the grip. My index finger on my grip is extended in this way as well. When I was a junior my coach had me alter my grip so that my index finger went higher on the handle for the previously stated reason.

    Nadal's fingers are set up quite similarly as well with the index finger spread out whereas the other 3 main fingers are held tightly together below the thumb.
    [​IMG]
     
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  31. single_handed_champion

    single_handed_champion Professional

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    Semi-western, you mean. Anyway, you would ideally generate more pace with a compact swing with the conservative grip, but the extreme grip allows more brush and spin, meaning less raw pace but more margin. I actually don't think his grip has really changed to significantly affect his form, but he does move it slightly on higher balls or on clay.

    Maybe his declining foot speed is making the compact swing produce more shanks and misses.
     
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