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Nadal Does It, Why Can't I?

Rafael Nadal is an incredible player; his physical make-up, movement, tenacity, and "will to win" have ensured his spot in either the #1 or #2 spot in the world... which is pretty remarkable when you are playing in the same era as Roger Federer. Unlike Federer, Nadal's game is an extremely "physical" one, which includes his heavy top-spin forehand hit with a full western grip. People love to emulate the top players (especially when that player is #1 in the world), so if Nadal hits with a full western grip then they want to, too! But, before you make this game style decision, let's examine the western grip a little closer.

The western grip originated on the high-bouncing hard-courts of the Western United States. The biggest drawback of the western grip is that it closes the racket face before contact, and can be awkward returning low balls. It also requires a big grip change when going from the forehand to the backhand, and makes it extremely difficult to hit the driving passing shot.

However, it is an excellent grip for hitting high-balls, using topspin, and for generating immense racket-head speed. Before Nadal put this grip in the spotlight of modern tennis, other players such as Thomas Muster, Sergi Bruguera and Alberto Berasategui all successfully used the same full western grip.

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Page updated on Friday, February 21, 2014
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