Pros not serving with continental grips

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Slazenger, Aug 29, 2007.

  1. Slazenger

    Slazenger Professional

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    I've known for a long time that Aravene Rezai serves with a forehand grip, but today watching the open, Alun Jones seemed to not serve with a continental grip.
    Did anyone else catch it?
     
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  2. Tennismastery

    Tennismastery Professional

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    Don't be misled by the fact that these players adjust their wrist to mimic a particular grip. Just as many people think that Becker used to use an eastern forehand grip, (I have yet to find a single picture that actually discerns this grip on him), it was his wrist position of turning the racquet so that the face was more closed like an eastern forehand grip that makes people think this.

    I have yet to see any pro actually serve with a eastern forehand and only a rare exception actually serve with a true eastern backhand grip. While good players can manipulate these grips and actually get a reasonable good serve in, they don't provide the optimal racquet position for the majority of effective serves.
     
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  3. krz

    krz Professional

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    Rezai I heard some of the commentators that his grip was pretty close to a forehand grip. Can't imagine how it would work though. The racket face would be going through the air with the face getting all that resistance, racket head speed would be hard to come by.

    Then again theres a reason hes not top server.
     
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  4. Slazenger

    Slazenger Professional

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    I think this may be the case with Jones but Rezai definitely serves with a forehand grip. BTW Rezai is a she.
     
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  5. J-man

    J-man Hall of Fame

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    I caought that too even Tracy Austin pointed that out. There are variety of pro's who don't serve with a "true contiential grips".
     
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  6. Tennismastery

    Tennismastery Professional

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    There are just so few exceptions...I really have seen very little migration away from continental by the pros on tour while being at the various tournaments and watching tennis on television. (I mention this because the average tennis player who doesn't get to pro events only see a handful of pros because of television showing main-draw/headline players.)

    I do agree there are couple players who are using hybrid grips. I just have never seen them and I missed Rezai's match.
     
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  7. gsquicksilver

    gsquicksilver Semi-Pro

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    boris becker serves with a forehand eastern grip.
     
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  8. Vision84

    Vision84 Hall of Fame

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    During the masters final between Federer and Blake the announcers were commenting on how Blake used a forehand grip on his serve. His first serve percentage was very low that match I think.
     
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  9. topgun78956

    topgun78956 New User

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    Ya i saw that too, im so happy Rafa won though but anyway... what is the benefit from using a forehand grip to serve?
     
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  10. Jack & Coke

    Jack & Coke Professional

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    For reference..

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Kinda hard to tell, but.. in the photos above, the base of the index knuckle appear to be right inbetween the plane of the "top" of the grip, and the "Bevel 1" of the grip.

    Almost in the middle of what is defined as "Continental" and "Eastern" forehand grips.. I'd say "more than Continental, but not quite Eastern" haha.

    Definately more of a "forehand" grip than what I use to hit serves with.
     
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  11. Jack & Coke

    Jack & Coke Professional

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    [​IMG]


    Continental
    [​IMG]


    Eastern Forehand
    [​IMG]


    Eastern Backhand
    [​IMG]

    Personally, I use mostly something in between a Continental and Eastern Backhand grip for my serves.. depending on how much I want to kick it or flatten it out.
     
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  12. Jack & Coke

    Jack & Coke Professional

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    interesting quote here too:

     
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  13. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Being tall and not taking lessons, I used to hit with an eastern grip and had a big serve (110mph) with no spin. Now I use continental or eastern backhand to add more spin but I lose some pace. I also used to take the racquet more straight back instead of in the backscratch position. I can still hit serves using all 3 grips but am focusing more on the continental these days where I can hit hard and get a higher percent in. With eastern forehand I was limited to about 40% in the box.
     
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  14. Tennismastery

    Tennismastery Professional

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    Again, a lot of misinformation out there along with limited recognition of what actually happens when pros serve.

    First off, Thank you Jack N Coke for the Becker pictures which legitimizes what I have often discussed regarding his grip: It is certainly NOT an eastern forehand grip! It is nearly as close to the continental grip diagram you also provided...again, good job on finding these.

    Second, the quotes posted by Top Gun are either: A, extrodinarily misinformed as to what a "backspin" serve would be or how it is hit, or B, has no idea what he is looking at when watching a pro like Becker serves.

    First off, Becker hit a hard slice serve with contact about 8 to 10 degrees above the equator on most of his first serve. I have never once seen a video clip of him serving with the racquet hitting under the ball which is what one would have to do to hit the underspin or "Backspin" serve Top Gun was alluding to.

    In order to hit such a serve, not only would a full eastern forehand grip be needed, (which is NOT what Becker used!), but you would have to face the net, pull the elbow down and make contact with the racquet head well behind the hand and hitting elbow! Which, if you look at the pictures Coke provided, his racquet head finishes just after contact well ahead of the hitting hand and elbow!

    Another point about the so called backspin serve. As you approach speeds of about 70 mph, the ball will raise up before gravity can bring the arc back down. Thus, unless you are around 9 feet tall, (three meters for those of you across the pond!), if you hit this backspin serve at say 100 mph, it is absolutely impossible to get it in if you are of normal height!

    Finally, a true slice serve tends to bounce lower than an underspin serve, (depending on the surface and how much fluff is on the ball.) A ball that bounces on its axis has the least amount of friction acting on the ball at the bounce. A backspin serve will actually create the most friction as the ball is spinning backwards and digging into the court with the opposite spin as its direction of travel. A topspin serve, depending on the amount of spin will also create a great deal of friction and end up bounding high.

    This all has been well documented through several studies, some of which I have discussed and read by John Yandell. His excellent study comparing the bounce, the speed after the bounce, the height after the bounce, etc., has answered these questions about spin and resultant action of the ball.

    I hope this sets the record a bit straighter at least as it applies to Becker's grip and serve. I will say that there are indeed a great deal of variations among recreational players...but, very little among top level players. And, please know that many of today's announcers can often make ignorant statements (mainly because they are regurgitating many of the common myths and falicies that have been perpetuated by so-called experts that still exist!)
     
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  15. Jack & Coke

    Jack & Coke Professional

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    Very interesting!

    I'm looking forward to hitting the courts and experimenting with an eastern forehand gripped "back spin serve".. gotta put it to the test.

    Who knows..?

    "if mastered, no can defense"

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. rfprse

    rfprse Professional

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    The one on the far left seems to show it is eastern.
    At least that's what it was called around the time he first came to the scene.
    It's an eastern, a weak one from today's standard, but definitely not continental.

    On the other hand, the picture of an eastern grip that you posted seems a very strong eastern grip, which has the effect of making Becker's grip to look much weaker.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2007
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  17. dave333

    dave333 Hall of Fame

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    Looks more like a strong continental to me.
     
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