Chopper grip

What is the definition of The Chopper Grip in tennis?

The chopper grip in tennis refers to a specific way of holding the racquet to execute certain shots. Often used for serves, volleys, sliced backhands, and smashes, the chopper grip is an essential technique for many players to master. Originating from its resemblance to how one would hold an axe or a chopping tool, this versatile grip may greatly contribute to a player’s performance on the court.

Due to its versatility, the chopper grip is favored by many tennis players worldwide. Knowing how to effectively employ this grip ensures a variety of shot types can be achieved with ease. Additionally, understanding the proper technique for performing the chopper grip plays a crucial role in maximizing its benefits and overcoming its limitations. As such, learning the chopper grip is an invaluable skill for tennis players at all levels.

Key Takeaways

  • The chopper grip is a versatile technique used in executing various tennis shots
  • Mastering the chopper grip offers players a diverse range of shots to employ during matches
  • Proper understanding and execution of the chopper grip is vital to maximizing its benefits on the court

Origin of the Chopper Grip

The chopper grip, also known as the continental grip, is a particular way of holding the tennis racket. It has its origins on the European continent when grass courts were more common, and tennis balls did not bounce as high as they do now on hard courts. This grip allowed players to adapt to the lower bounce and perform various shots with ease.

The name “chopper grip” comes from the similarity in appearance to holding the handle of a chopping tool. The racket handle is divided into several bevels, and the chopper grip is defined by placing the base knuckle of the index finger on bevel #2. Mainly used for serves, volleys, sliced backhands, and smashes, the chopper grip has remained popular as it offers control and versatility in these specific shots.

Players such as Rod Laver and Pete Sampras have been known to use the chopper grip effectively, making it a classic technique in the world of tennis. It provides a solid foundation for executing various types of shots without having to change grip positions significantly. The chopper grip has also been known for its effectiveness in producing slice and spin on serves.

However, the chopper grip is not as popular for executing groundstrokes, as it can limit the topspin generation compared to other grips like the Eastern or Semi-Western. Despite this, it remains a crucial part of a player’s arsenal as it allows them to perform a wide range of shots, making it easier to adapt to different playing styles and court surfaces.

Functions and Uses of the Chopper Grip

The chopper grip, also known as the continental grip, is a versatile grip used in tennis for a variety of shots. With this grip, the base knuckle of the index finger is placed on the third bevel of the racquet handle, resembling the way one would hold an axe. The chopper grip provides various advantages in specific game scenarios, making it an essential skill for tennis players to master.

Serve and Volley Games

In serve and volley games, the chopper grip is particularly useful due to its ability to generate power and create spin. One of the key advantages of this grip is that it allows players to swing the racquet head faster when serving. The chopper grip is also beneficial for executing volleys, as it enables quick reflexes and stable racquet positioning to control the ball better.

Some points to consider when using the chopper grip in serve and volley games:

  • Improve power and spin on serve
  • Enable faster racquet head speed
  • Allow for quick reflexes and stability during volleys

Return of Service

The chopper grip also plays a crucial role in the return of service. When preparing to return an opponent’s serve, players must be ready to react to various types of shots. The versatility of the chopper grip allows players to switch between different shots more seamlessly, such as transitioning from a sliced backhand to a forehand volley.

A few aspects to note for using the chopper grip during return of service:

  • Enhance the ability to adapt to different shots
  • Switch between shots quickly and efficiently
  • Provide stability and control for accurate returns

By understanding the functions and uses of the chopper grip in tennis, players can benefit from its versatility in both serve and volley games as well as during return of service. The grip offers unique advantages in generating power, creating spin, and adapting to various shots, making it an essential skill for tennis players to develop and incorporate into their game strategy.

How to Perform the Chopper Grip

Hand Position

The chopper grip, also known as the continental grip, starts with the correct hand position. The base knuckle of the index finger and the heel of the hand should both rest on the third bevel of the racket handle. The remaining fingers should wrap naturally around the handle, while the thumb supports the grip from behind. This grip resembles holding a hammer or an axe, hence the name “chopper grip.”

Racket Orientation

When assuming the chopper grip, the racket orientation should be perpendicular to the ground with the strings facing forward. The chopper grip allows for versatility in various strokes, including the serve, volley, sliced backhand, and smash. To generate maximum power and control, ensure the wrist remains firm and the swing motion is fluid.

In summary, the chopper grip is an essential tennis grip for players looking to improve their all-around game. By focusing on proper hand positioning and maintaining correct racket orientation, players can effectively execute a variety of strokes using this grip.

Benefits and Limitations of the Chopper Grip


The chopper grip, also known as the Continental grip, offers various advantages to tennis players.

  • Versatility: It allows players to perform different strokes, including serves, volleys, sliced backhands, and smashes; essentially providing the ability to execute the entire range of shots.
  • Power generation: The chopper grip supports the generation of power during serves. By promoting a fast racket head swing, players can produce powerful serves and create spin.
  • Control: As a neutral grip, it offers better control when executing volleys and slices, which helps in maintaining accuracy and precision in shots.


Despite its advantages, the chopper grip also has some limitations:

  • Limited topspin: Utilizing this grip for groundstrokes can result in limited topspin generation compared to other grips, such as the Semi-Western grip.
  • Difficulty in transition: Players who primarily use an Eastern or Western grip for groundstrokes may find it challenging to switch to the chopper grip for serving and volleying.
  • Less comfort: For some players, the chopper grip might feel less comfortable compared to more modern grips, especially during prolonged gameplay.

In summary, the chopper grip offers several benefits, such as versatility, power generation, and control, making it suitable for various strokes in tennis. However, its limitations, including limited topspin and potential difficulty in transition, may require an adjustment period for some players.