Well, I finally did it. This month's Tennis magazine has an article about Jimmy Arias, claiming that he, more than anyone else, is responsible for the new, post-modern western grip forehand that replaced the technically correct modern (i.e. eastern) forehand. (I claim that the modern forehand is eastern because I have a book, published in the 1940s, which describes the eastern style as being "the modern forehand". Since the eastern forehand already has a long tradition of being described as "modern" -- clearly the heavily topspun western style must be post-modern.) Apparently, this shrimp of a kid Jimmy Arias began beating really serious players using his powerful forehand, and so impressed coach Nick Bolletieri that he began teaching this stroke to all his juniors. Many of these players were bigger and more athletic, so when they learned Jimmy's technique and took away his advantage, he "great promise" was never fulfilled. The article notes that when Jimmy Arias plays on the grandmasters circuit, his forehand looks ordinary to today's eyes, whereas the style of opponents his age looks antique. What impressed me, however, was the fact that this revolution began when wooden rackets were still the norm, and therefore would have occurred even if graphite rackets had never been invented. I should have seen it coming. Way back in the middle 1960s Paul Metzler advised in his book, _Advanced Tennis_, that when playing someone with a western grip you shouldn't come to the net on anything he can get a good swing at. His advice was to hang in there and maybe he'll wilt in the second set, the western style being a very tiring way to play (especially on grass courts where he has to squat down lower than everyone else for the low balls). This was especially true in the days before tie-breakers, when a set could go on and on before either player could obtain a two-game advantage. He also advised bringing the western player to the net, as the western grip had poor reach there on balls that were wide or low. Yes, in the old days only rich pampered kids got lessons -- not the kind of people who went into athletics full time. The desperate, gritty kids who had the hunger to claw to the top had to pretty much learn on his own. Whereas a never-married tennis bum like **** Bill Tilden could learn a different grip for every shot, most players had time to learn at most one style, therefore using their ground-stroke grips at the net. If a player happened to start with the Eastern or continental grips, then he could master an all-court game; but if he started (and stayed) with the western grip he'd start losing as soon as his opponents mastered the drop shot. But nowadays most kids with potential can get expert coaching, and everyone can see the best strokes up close and in slow motion on the computer. Kids are taught to volley with the continental no matter how they hit their ground-strokes; they train harder (and have access to excellent surgical repairs should they overdo it); their sets are limited by tie-breakers -- so it no longer matters that the western style is more strenuous. Western grip players, with their big swings, used to have trouble with bad bounces on poorly maintained courts, but no serious matches are played on irregular courts anymore. Several times, in the 1970s, I'd notice that I was hitting my forehand especially well only to realize with dismay that my grip had slipped a quarter-bevel towards western -- a flaw that had to be corrected immediately before the incorrect stroke became grooved and it eventually hold back my progress. But now I see that as a wasted opportunity. I cannot envision any change to the pro game -- not even a return to wooden rackets -- that will lead the pros back to the use of traditionally-correct grips and stances. So, given that everyone these days, from beginner to pro, is cheating on their grips to make the game easier, I might as well do that too. My forehand was already barely within the eastern range -- both heel and big index knuckle solidly on the broad flat plane in back of the grip. But this week, I lowered my index knuckle by half bevel, placing it on the lower edge that lay at the bottom of the broad, flat plane adjacent to the angled bevel towards the bottom -- edging me over the eastern boundary and ever so slightly into western territory. Within a few minutes I was hitting harder and with more topspin, even when hitting with casual footwork and without perfect balance. I'm doing that with forehands on both left and right-handed sides. As long as I have the strength, stability and topspin to allow me to swing freely without fear of error, I don't think I'll need to go any further than that; it's already become more difficult to hit balls that fall below knee level, and at age 52 I don't want to have to start squatting to hit the ball. (I can always switch to a continental slice if someone insists on giving me one ultra-low ball after another.) Now that the top players' style is again relevant to me, maybe I'll even start watching professional tennis again.