The game of tennis is not as simple as it looks! You do not simply hit a ball with a racket and run around the court, there are many different equipment types required in order to hone finesse and skill. Without these various types of equipment, the game would become dull and players would lose their shine.
Tennis Grips one of those pieces of equipment may not be that glamorous to the outsider, but to a budding player, it’s an extremely important piece of kit. We are of course talking about tennis racket grips.
Top Tennis Racket Grips According to the Top 10 ATP and WTA Players
The grip fits onto the handle of the racket and is a support system when holding the racket during a match. It helps the player to hit shots in different ways, and provides support and grip, especially during hot weather when things may become a little sweaty! The other way of describing a grip is the way the racket is held, i.e. a technique used by the player. In this case, the three main types of grip used in the modern game, the Continental, Eastern, and Western. You will sometimes hear the Continental referred to as the Chopper, but the arena and the same. Players also occasionally change grips throughout the course of a match, depending on the shots they’re receiving and which responding shots they need to make.
You can study a player’s game prior to a match, but you have no idea which shots they’re going to send your way until you both reach the court and begin playing. For that reason, you’ll find the top men and women in the game moving between grips throughout the course of big matches.
In terms of the equipment type of grip, you’re looking at a leather grip or an over-grip. The leather grip is usually already installed on the racket when you purchase it, but if this doesn’t feel right to you, you will need to purchase an over-grip to sit on top. It’s best to go and have a proper assessment before you purchase, so you can see what size of over-grip you will need.
Types of Grips
If you’re keen to emulate your tennis playing heroes, you might want to know which grips they use on a regular basis, equipment and technique-wise. We’re going to look at which grips the top 10 players on the ATP and WTA tours use. Before we get there, which players do we need to cover?
Some of the popular Grip Tape, and Overgrips which are used by ATP and WTA
- Babolat Tennis Grips
- Wilson Tennis Grips
- Head Grips
- Yonex Tennis Grips
- Prince Tennis Grips
- Tourna Tennis Grips
The current top 10 men’s players are:
- Novak Djokovic
- Rafael Nadal
- Roger Federer
- Dominic Thiem
- Stefano Tsitsipas
- Kei Nishikori
- Alexander Zverev
- Karen Khadchanov
- Daniil Medvedev
- Kevin Anderson
And the current top 10 women’s players are:
- Ashleigh Barty
- Naomi Osaka
- Karolina Pliskova
- Simona Halep
- Kiki Bertens
- Petra Kvitova
- Elina Svitolina
- Sloane Stephens
- Aryna Sabalenka
- Serena Williams
Grips Favoured by The Top 10 Men’s Players on The ATP Tour
Most male players use and over-grip on their racket, to give them a bespoke grip and feel to the shots they’re making. This is going to vary in terms of size, and it is a very personal choice, i.e. it has to fit your hand measurement and the racket you’re using. With that in mind, we’re going to talk about technique grip here too, so you can purchase an over-grip that suits your racket and your size and you can then work to recreate the technique your favorite players use.
Current world number 3 and tennis legend Roger Federer uses an eastern grip when he plays, something which he has always used and which can be seen very evidently whenever you watch him on TV. He also uses a 4 3/8” grip with an over-grip, as most players do. World number 2 Nadal moves towards the western grip, which he has always stated feels more natural to him. Size-wise, Nadal goes for the 4 1/4” grip with a small over-grip too. Both of these top players feel that with a smaller sized grip they can get more power on their shots.
Of course, you’re interested in world number 1 Djokovic! Djokovic currently uses a western grip, but one which is considered 3/4 western, i.e. a bespoke mixture. This allows the world number one to mix up his shots according to the competitor over the other side of the net. This also allows him to get spin on the ball, something he is famous for during play. Size-wise, Djokovic goes for 4 3/8”, with the same thought process as Federer; i.e. this size gives him more power and wrist snap when hitting his shots.
On the other hand, Dominic Thiem goes for 4 1/4”, just as Nadal. Widely thought to have one of the best forehands in the game, after Nadal, Thiem has a western-style technique, but he has been known to mix this up quite widely throughout games too.
World number 5, Stefano Tsitsipas favors the 4 5/8” size grip with an over-grip included, whilst Kei Nishikori goes for a slightly small 4 3/8” grip to give him more control over strong shots.
As we move towards the bottom the top 10 section, Alexander Zverev opts for a smaller over-grip, using a 4 3/8”, just as Nishikori, with a western-style grip technique. Daniil Medvedev also opts for the smaller grip, with Kevin Anderson, the current world number 10, bringing up the rear with the same measurement as Federer.
Grips Favoured by The Top 10 Women Players on The WTP Tour
As with the men, over-grips are favored by all the top 10 women on the WTA tour, with the current world number one, using a Head Pro over-grip of size 4 3/8”, varying according to game and opponent. Whilst many of the female players use a slightly smaller grip than the men, Serena Williams is the exception. Favoring a larger grip size, of 4 5/8”, Williams likes to create as much power on her shots as possible, overpowering her opponents on her way to another victory.
Tourna Grip Original
Head Hydrsorb Pro Grip – From Head website
Former world number one, Naomi Osaka uses a Yonex Super Grip Over-grip with a smaller size whereas Karolina Pliskova opts for the Tourna Grip XL, with no size known, but the XL gives you an idea that she tends to be more towards the larger grip size, just like Williams.
Yonex Super Grips at Yonex website
As sizes are very similar throughout the female players in terms of grip size, it’s worth looking at the brand names they use instead. These are all varied, but Wilson is one of the most commonly seen, with Simona Halep and Kiki Bertens amongst those who opt for this particular grip make.
Petra Kvitova ops for the Perforated Pro Over-grip, with Elina Svitolina, goes for the Advantage Over-grip.
Why an Over-grip is a Vital Piece of Kit For Budding Tennis Players
As you can see, not one single player avoids an over-grip. This is something you need to look into if you want to become a top player at some point in the future.
Whilst rackets come with a grip, usually a leather grip, these are not bespoke, meaning that if you want extra control over your shots and you want to have peace of mind when holding your racket, you need an over-grip to create a fit which suits your hand and your specific requirements.
When shopping for a grip you need to take your time and listen to advise. It’s a good idea to head to a specialist sports shop for measurement purposes, to ensure that you get the right size for your needs. It’s also important to shop around in terms of brand, as some of these are going to be more expensive than others, simply because of the recognized name. For instance, Wilson is a big tennis name, and you’ll probably find that Wilson over-grips are more expensive than names you might not have heard of. Does that mean they’re lower in standard? Not always, but Wilson is renowned for a reason!
It really depends on your budget and what you’re aiming to do. The biggest names in the men’s and women’s games always opt for equipment which allows them to make the shots they want, i.e. Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal want power, whereas Federer still wants power but he wants finesse perhaps more. For that reason, figuring out what is important to you before you shop for a grip is probably a good idea. That will inform you of grip size, and the type of grip you go for.
Wilson Pro Overgrip from Wilson website (Used by many Tennis Professionals)
Of course, there is more to a game of tennis than a grip, and your racket will have several other components that make up the whole. That being said, how you hold the racket is one of the most important items – without power you will not get that ball over the net, and without being able to hold the racket comfortably and with control, your game will be extremely sub-standard.