An Unnatural Hold?
Look at Martina Navratilova in the picture below. See how her thumb is to the front (or at the contact side) of the racket, as she prepares to serve?
Give a beginner a tennis racket and ask them to serve for the first time, and I’ll pretty much guarantee that they will not use this grip – I’ve certainly never known it happen.
Even though it’s the best grip for the job, it can feel unnatural.
And without the in-flight (or in-throw) modifications that follow, which transform the grip into something else, it is unnatural.
When left to their own devices, most people will take hold of the racket in some kind of forehand grip, with the palm of their hand behind the handle, to give the illusion – the feeling – of strength.
And whilst it does reinforce the racket strings against any impacting object, at the same time it restricts the movements necessary for a good serve.
So, to hammer home this point, when hitting a serve, all the good forehand grips (re-check the forehand section) – the best forehand grips – should be avoided on a serve, because once you start along this path, the illusion of strength can be difficult to spell to break.