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I've heard that the pros are playing with smaller grips these days. I think Nadal plays with a 4 1/4 (2) and Roger plays with a 4 3/8 (3). Growing up I played with a 4 5/8 (5), but now I am vascilating between a 3 and a 4. I can't seem to make my mind up. Anybody else switching grip sizes?

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I believe i have a 43/4" grip size , but have been using a 41/4" for lack of knowledge - dint really care about grip sizes at first, but now as i have started to get into the nuances , i realize i must correct it. Is there a way to increase the size about 1/2".
Is there some website where i can see the different styles of grips - i think i use an Eastern for now.
I played on a high school tennis team with a Jack Kramer wood decades ago with a 4-5/8, but now use 4-3/8 on my Wilson Hammer 6.3, which I find much better. As pros like Nadal get stronger in their wrist and whip the racquet around more like squash racquets for some shots, I guess it's sustainable. I'm working on wrist rotations with low freeweights and a squeeze grip. Anybody find using a Bowflex to strengthen forehand and backhand (one handed) swings useful?
A too small grip can lead to elbow injury.
Tom said:
A too small grip can lead to elbow injury.
I agree with Tom.
I've always found that the smaller grip sizes improved my back hand because I could grip the racquet firmer. Conversely, larger grip sizes gave me more zip on my forehand. Of course this didn't matter if I used a two-handed approach on either side. So, finding one that sort of fits between the two would seem like the ideal solution to me.
there's your answer right there!!!

hofertennis said:
Shane, Go for it! If you find yourself losing some stability then build the grip back up to 4 1/2. It's easy to get a smaller grip and build it up then to down size your grip.
Tom said:
A too small grip can lead to elbow injury.
IT'S THE OTHER WAY AROUND! Changing to a smaller grip (combined with a few other changes) actually relieved me of severe tennis elbow. Ask me and I'll explain or just go to Chapter 2 page 32 of "Play Better Tennis In 2 Hours" for the explanation.
Lucile Bosche´ said:
Tom said:
A too small grip can lead to elbow injury.
IT'S THE OTHER WAY AROUND! Changing to a smaller grip (combined with a few other changes) actually relieved me of severe tennis elbow. Ask me and I'll explain or just go to Chapter 2 page 32 of "Play Better Tennis In 2 Hours" for the explanation.
Maybe it was the other changes and not the smaller grip? People have been finding relief for tennis elbow sometimes by just changing racquets. BUT smaller grips DO make you grip the racquet handle tighter.
I think grip size is very important. I have big hands (!!) and going by the normal measuring of the finger placed between finger tips and thumb when holding the racket I come in at well over a 5 ( 4 5/8) but i choose to get a smaller grip 3 (4 3/8) and put a replacement grip on top which adds about 15g and makes a more headlight racket.
Its important to be able to change grips thats why the pros use smaller grips but that doesnt mean they are unusually small. Find whats comfy. Bigger grips (relative to hand size) tend to be more appropriate for players who dont do a lot a grip changes during matches.
Like most things esp tennis getting the right racket (weight, balance and head size), grip (its funny but changing my grips playing golf 25 yrs ago took me from a 5 handicap to a 3) and strings/tension will improve your game.
This is where tennis can start to get kind of pricey. You need to find a racquet that has just the right amount of flex/stiffness for you (this affects the feel you get when striking the ball as well as the vibration that goes through your arm), the right head and throat balance for you (maneuverability at net, baseline power, service power), the right overall weight, finding the right grip size is a must, and finally ... string tension -- some racquets suggest ranges between 45-70#... where do you start? Of course there are also a thousand variations of string types and mixing and matching of crosses and mains to deal with on top of that. As a young man, I thought having the latest and most expensive was the best way to go, so I spent thousands ruining my game and all the while blaming the strings and the grip.

Grip sizes are one thing.. then there is also the grip shape. I believe, unless they changed, Wilsons have squarish grips while Heads tend to be more rectangular. The older Fischers were somewhat squarish, the newer ones from last year are more rectangular. Some racquet manufactuers have interchangeable grip pallets, like some of the Fischer racquets, that can be purchased to change your grip size. The same size with a different shape will feel very different in your hands.

While it makes sense to get a smaller size, and build it up, I'd first get on the courts, use it as an opportunity to meet people, ask to borrow their racquets explaining what your intent is, and find a grip size and shape that feels just right in your hands. If you simply want to dive into it... get one that feels right with your backhand grip. It should be small enough to be comfortable and not too small that it slips in your hand on impact. Then build it up till it's comfortable for your forehand, as well.

Good luck.

Link to Fischer Pallets example
I also grew up in the 70s playing with an L5 (4 5/8).

I switched to the smallest racquet grip sizes as a tip from one of my pros circa 2004. I now play with the smallest grips available made per racquet model, some L1 ( 4 1/8) or L2 (4 1/4). I completely love it, not going back.

It is dependent on learning how to stroke the ball with a softer grip. Earlier in my tennis development, I would hit faster balls with a more firm tighter grip. I have learned that it slows down your racquet head speed.

The pros swing with faster racquet head speed and wave their racquets around like a wand. Compare whipping a racquet around with a small grip vs big one. The small grip gives you more whip freedom (pronation, supination, etc).

If you use a real firm grip on stroking, I wouldn't be so quick to change to smaller sizes. I would demo some racquets with small grips first. Also, give yourself some transition time!

Playing style definitely is a major factor, just be careful when switching to a smaller grip, it will cause you to use your forearms more and has been shown to add tennis elbow stress. I just wrote a brief piece on that at my blog at

best regards


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