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Tennis grip shapes and sizes

by TN

Most players underestimate how important your racquet grip is. Let’s take a look at different tennis grip shapes and sizes.

The different tennis grip shapes and sizes influence how comfortable you feel, how relaxed you can hold the racquet, how easy it is for you to find the proper grip for each stroke etc. The grip shape and size is something you definitely need to consider when you are choosing a tennis racquet.

There are a few things to keep in mind:

What is your grip on the forehand (Eastern, Semi-Western, Full Western)?
What is your grip on the backhand (One-handed, Two-handed)?
What is the size of your hand?

For the two-handed backhand, you might want a longer handle and for a Semi-Western forehand, it might be easier to use an older HEAD style rectangular grip (TK76 – TK82 grip pallet).

One easy way to check if you’re using the correct grip size is to use an Eastern grip (index knuckle and heel pad rest on the 3rd bevel). Then use the index finger of your other hand to slide it in-between your ring finger and palm. The best tennis racquet grip size for you will be the one where your index finger fits snugly within this gap. If there is too much room, the grip is too small and if it’s too tight the grip is too large.

Avoid holding the grip too tight, because you might end up with tennis elbow or forearm injury. Too large a grip will also impact how much you can use your wrist or how easily you can move between different grips.

How can I change my grip?

There are many ways to influence the tennis grip shape and size, but it is always easiest if you’re on the smaller side. Most players use an overgrip and that builds up the grip by half a size. Novak Djokovic uses a grip 3 with two overgrips, one with no overlaps, so this is personal to each player what feels right.

You can also adjust the thickness of your grip by replacing the regular (base) grip with a leather grip (generally thinner to help the player feel the grip bevels) or you can add a thicker, more comfortable synthetic grip. The thickness of the different grips should be listed under specifications. Leather grips add more weight to the handle, synthetic grips are more comfortable for the hand.

Some players skip the base grip and use two overgrips to reduce weight, thickness, and feel the bevels more. There is no right or wrong here, but if you are having issues with wrist pain and forearm pain, the grip might be a part of the problem.

You can also change the grip on some racquets by removing the grip pallet and replacing it with a different shape or another size. This is possible on HEAD racquets, Volkl racquets, and ProKennex racquets. If you go to a professional customizer like Ring&Roll or Unstrung Customs, they can do this for you by molding a new pallet or just changing the pallet (Unstrung now offers 3D-printed custom pallets for example).

Different brands, different shapes

Tennis grip shape and size

If you switch in-between racquets from different brands, you might notice a difference in grip shape and even size. Babolat and Yonex run slightly larger than Wilson and HEAD for example. HEAD used to be more rectangular, but are now making more rounded pallets like Wilson and most other brands. Tecnifibre is still pretty rectangular, same with ProKennex and Volkl. You might love a racquet but can’t switch to it due to that the grip shape feels uncomfortable. If you are really keen to change you might be able to change the grip (see the above section), but many give up and try to find another frame instead.

We are seeing companies adjust their grip shape a bit to accommodate the technical changes in the game. Most players today use the Semi-Western grip, as it is deemed to be the most versatile for handling both high and low balls, flat shots, and topspin-heavy shots.

These are the standard shapes for tennis racquet grips:

The grip shape A is most commonly used and is used by Wilson and HEAD (their new grip shape called TK82S). The top and bottom bevels are a bit longer. Please keep in mind that Angell Tennis calls the flat-topped “A” and the Wilson standard grip shape “B”, which can create some confusion.

Grip shape B in the diagram is called »flat-topped« (TK82 or TK57). It is the traditional HEAD-grip style before they started moving over all their series to the TK82S Speed line shape.

The C-shape is even-sided and is what Prince uses.

The choice is yours

Like I wrote above, there is no right or wrong when it comes to tennis grip shapes and sizes. You need to find what works for you.

Now I am keen to hear, what grip shape, size, and grips (base grip and overgrips) do you use?

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Hubert Krasnod?bski June 26, 2020 - 19:27

“If there is too much room, the grip is too small and if it’s too tight the grip is too large.”- probably it’s the other way around :)

Tennisnerd June 27, 2020 - 06:25

You are right, Hubert! Thanks

Manuel June 27, 2020 - 16:40

I happen to like the TK82S very much lately. I think it is a good fit for a OHBH.

Tennis Lion June 28, 2020 - 08:42

Generally, I prefer the squarer grip shape of Wilson, Dunlop etc because I orientate my hand in play based on where my thumb is. For topspin forehand my thumb is on bevel 1, for topspin one-handed backhand, my thumb is on bevel 3 (I’m a lefthander).

Before I got back into tennis I thought it was possible to sense about 0.5-1mm thickness, but having used various overgrips over the last year I now know that it is possible to feel just 0.1-0.2mm thickness, which is pretty amazing. I would like to see manufacturers putting thicknesses on grip and overgrip packets when they vary by quite a bit. Moreover, I find that the rectangular grips like Volkl feel larger than the square grips of similar official size, probably about half a grip difference in feeling. Hence, I typically use a thinner overgrip on my Volkl racket, compared to normal thickness overgrips on my Wilson and Dunlop rackets.

Shin Young Choi June 29, 2020 - 13:11

In fact, you can replace Wilson pallets with TK82 and TK82S + head butt cap!
That’s what I did with my Tuxedo RF97. But, you need to fully break the Wilson pallet in order to get the embedded weights out. Or just use some sort of weights, e.g. screws, tungsten/lead tape/silicone to add the weight again with new head pallets. It’s definitely doable!

Dragan Tomic August 7, 2020 - 04:01

Hi, does it matter how many overgrips I put? If the grip size is 4, can I make it to be 4 1/4 or even 4 3/8?

Ken September 17, 2020 - 12:17

I prefer the old Head shape (TK82).
Do you know if it is possible/easy to change the gripshape on Yonex rackets to the TH82 shape?

Tennisnerd September 18, 2020 - 16:05

Not unless you got to a professional customizer…

rudi bergner November 10, 2020 - 23:39

C should be the only grip available so there’s no confusion

Clint Atherton December 17, 2020 - 02:11

Do you know if the Head Gravity Pro has the “B” type shape or did they switch to the “A”?

Tennisnerd December 17, 2020 - 09:14

Yes, the Gravity is more Wilson-style (A). All new HEAD racquets except the HEAD Pro Tour 2.0 come with this pallet. But you can always get new pallets yourself and replace it if you prefer the more old-school HEAD rectangular grip.

Tai February 6, 2021 - 10:21

What does the Yonex Ezone tour use?

Tennisnerd February 6, 2021 - 11:07

What grip shape or type? It’s a standard Yonex style grip, slightly larger than Wilson but similar in other ways. It comes with a synthetic grip.

tennis player March 25, 2021 - 04:19

Hey, I ordered a head gravity racket with a grip 4 while the current racket that im using which is a wilson its grip 3. Is there much of a difference?

TN March 25, 2021 - 08:30

Yeah, there will be a bit of a difference in shape and size.

tennis player March 25, 2021 - 13:07

Hey, I ordered a head gravity racket with a grip 4 while the current racket that im using which is a wilson its grip 3. Is there much of a difference?
Yeah, there will be a bit of a difference in shape and size.
Would that affect how I play?

Peer Illner June 6, 2021 - 12:32

Hi Jonas, I’m confused as to why Head change their grip shape. On the TW forums, some say it’s to accommodate today’s semi-western playing style but you mention the tk82 rectangular pallets are good for semi-western. Do you have more info on this?

Alex July 19, 2021 - 12:47

One stupid info:

tk57 are lighter and softer than tk82

I broke tk57 and replaced it with tk82 and the weight and feel of the racquet changed quite a bit

Samuel October 27, 2021 - 18:07

Hey! Do you know if using tourna pro thin replacement grip would be able to bring yonex handles down 1 grip size?
I realise Yonex feels bigger as compared to Wilson on the same grip size.

Niko February 3, 2022 - 01:23

I order 2 Extreme Tours with l2 grip size and i love the racquet but the problem is that they are actually not the same grip size but it says its l2. One feels like an actual l2, the other one is way thinner. It’s very annoying because it changes the feel of the racquet. Before that i tried l3 but it didn’t feel comfortable. What should i do? Maybe get rid of the original grip and put 2 overgrips on both racquets. It’s something i did on my old yonex racquet when I needed to go smaller with my grip size because yonex decided to go thicker with their grip sizes. Do you think it’s an original grip size problem or the handle? Thanks!

TN February 3, 2022 - 21:12

The grip pallets should be exactly the same. Have you removed the basegrip? One can be wrapped tighter for example. Just rewrap it or get a new basegrip until you get them to feel the same.

Faiz June 15, 2022 - 03:30

Hi, first and foremost I love your content. Thank you for all your hard work and content produced.

I can’t decided between a grip 3 or 4 for the Yonex Vcore Pro 97! I seek stability bc I have wrist and knuckle issues from boxing. But like to hit the ball with differ grips lol. I’m a mess! Any suggestions?

TN June 15, 2022 - 09:33

Hi Faiz, it’s easier to buy a three and add one (or even two) overgrip to build it up to a 3.5-4 than to reduce the grip size if a 4 is too big. There is no easy solution because for many players one shoot feels better with one grip size and for the another shot you’d want to go bigger/smaller. You have to find a compromise.

Raphaël August 1, 2022 - 13:49

Hello Jonas,

Thank you for the article. You mention the Head tk82 rectangular pallets are good for semi-western, but then you also mention that the grips are becoming more rounded nowadays, but also that ” We are seeing companies adjust their grip shape a bit to accommodate the technical changes in the game. Most players today use the Semi-Western grip.”

So I was wondering which Head grip shape is better for the Semi-Western grip, the old one or the new one ?

Many thanks,


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