Photo Tour of Male Pro One-Handed Topspin Backhand Grips

01
of 07

Feliciano Lopez's One-Handed Topspin Backhand Grip

Feliciano Lopez's One-Handed Topspin Backhand Grip
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For topspin backhands, Feliciano Lopez uses a grip extremely close to Continental, turned a tiny bit toward the Modified Eastern. The Continental grip is not well suited to hitting topspin, and Feliciano hits relatively few topspins. Feliciano's Continental grip would work better for slice, but he turns his grip halfway toward the Eastern forehand grip for slices. Feliciano used to have a major weakness on the backhand side, where he couldn't reliably hit a decent topspin, but that weakness is less glaring recently, as his topspin backhand has improved.

02
of 07

James Blake's One-Handed Topspin Backhand Grip

James Blake's One-Handed Topspin Backhand Grip
Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

Like Feliciano Lopez, James Blake uses, for topspin backhands, a grip extremely close to Continental, turned a tiny bit toward the Modified Eastern, and as with Lopez, Blake's backhand used to be by far his weaker side, but it has improved somewhat in the later part of his career. James may not have had as much incentive to move away from a Continental grip on the backhand, because he likes to hit flatter than almost anyone else on the ATP Tour, and while his Continental backhand grip is poorly suited to hitting topspin, it can be adequate for hitting flat. James likes to hit his backhand and especially his forehand extremely hard, and hard, flat shots are inherently risky; therefore, James is one of the streakiest players in tennis, hitting lots of winners when he can find his tiny window over the net and lots of errors when he can't.

03
of 07

Mikhail Youzhny's One-Handed Topspin Backhand Grip

Mikhail Youzhny's One-Handed Topspin Backhand Grip
Hamish Blair / Getty Images

For topspin backhands, Mikhail Youzhny uses a backhand grip around 3/4 of the way from Continental toward Modified Eastern. His grip is close enough to Modified Eastern to allow him to hit topspin with reasonable comfort, but most players would hit stronger topspin with a grip right on Modified Eastern or closer to Full Eastern. Mikhail's backhand grip would work well for slice, but he changes to an Eastern forehand grip for his slice.

04
of 07

Nicolas Almagro's One-Handed Topspin Backhand Grip

Nicolas Almagro's One-Handed Topspin Backhand Grip
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Nicolas Almagro uses a Full Eastern backhand grip, which is nicely suited to hitting the strong topspin that makes Spaniards like him most comfortable on clay. Nicolas considers his forehand his strongest weapon, but his backhand, thanks in large part to his strong grip, can also produce aggressive shots.

05
of 07

Stanislas Wawrinka's One-Handed Topspin Backhand Grip

Stanislas Wawrinka's One-Handed Topspin Backhand Grip
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Stanislas Wawrinka uses a Modified Eastern grip to hit one of the most efficient topspin backhands in professional tennis. Stan can deliver a ton of power and topspin on his backhand, and he does it with such a simple stroke, many consider his backhand ideal to emulate. Stan's Modified Eastern grip allows him a slightly later point of contact than a Full Eastern would, but it doesn't support the racquet quite as solidly as a Full Eastern would. For many players, this would be a trade-off, but Stan is strong enough to compensate for the slight weakness of the grip while still benefiting from its timing advantage.

06
of 07

Roger Federer's One-Handed Topspin Backhand Grip

Roger Federer's One-Handed Topspin Backhand Grip
Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

For topspin backhands, Roger Federer uses a grip between Modified Eastern and Full Eastern. Roger's backhand has improved steadily over the course of his career. It's always been his biggest weakness, but in Roger's case, that just means it hasn't been as brilliant as the rest of his game. For years, the one player who could stop Roger at Grand Slams was Rafael Nadal, who had a very simple strategy: hit heavy topspins to kick the ball high to Roger's backhand. No one-hander likes high backhands, but Roger has gotten much better at handling them, while also markedly increasing the power and topspin he can deliver on balls he meets at more comfortable heights.

07
of 07

Richard Gasquet's One-Handed Topspin Backhand Grip

Richard Gasquet's One-Handed Topspin Backhand Grip
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Richard Gasquet uses a backhand grip a bit beyond the Full Eastern, toward the Semi-Western. Richard has arguably the best and almost certainly the most explosive one-handed topspin backhand of all time. His backhand grip is the equivalent of a 3/4 Western grip on the forehand side in how much it favors heavy topspin generated with a long, upward, whipping swing. No one hits a one-hander with a bigger, freer swing than Gasquet's, and no one produces a more potent result. Most players would find Richard's backhand grip difficult, because it requires meeting the ball farther forward and with a more aggressive swing, but for a player like Gasquet whose mind can get in the way, a stroke that encourages letting loose can be just the thing. If the rest of his game were as good as his backhand, Richard would be a top contender at every tournament.