After playing tennis for a short while, you’ll start to realise you need to change your grip (usually after it’s shredded away down to the wood!). But when you come to replace your grip, you find there’s a couple of options and don’t know which to choose.
So, what’s the difference between replacement grips and overgrips? Replacement grips are thicker and wrap around the base of the handle. Overgrips are cheaper, thinner, and wrap over the replacement grip. If you use an overgrip, you no longer have to replace the replacement grip, (confusing, I know…), and you only need to worry about replacing the cheaper and easier to apply overgrip.
In this article, we’ll look at the difference between replacement grips and overgrips, the overgrips used by the pros, how often you should replace an overgrip, whether or not you can use an overgrip instead of a replacement grip, and finally, whether or not you can stack overgrips.
Replacement Grips vs. Overgrips
Below we’ll take a look at the difference between replacement grips and overgrips.
Whenever you buy a new racket, the grip that it comes with is a standard (or replacement) grip. These are thicker than overgrips and have adhesive running along the whole grip securing it to your racket. Replacement grips are necessary (or at least highly recommended) to provide adequate cushioning on your racket. They are generally more expensive than an overgip and are harder to apply, but last a little bit longer.
Overgrips are thinner and cheaper, and designed to be applied over the replacement grip. This means you need to change the replacement grip much less often (if at all), and the overgrips are much easier to apply to your racket (although the overgrip will need to be changed more often). Whilst you don’t need to use an overgrip, I recommend it because it’s cheaper, easier, and you get to play with a nice fresh grip more often.
Overgrip can vary quite a lot. For example, Tourna Grips are quite dry and are good if you have sweaty hands. Others, like the Wilson Pro, have a more tacky feel to them. Great when you’re hands are dry, but can get a little slippy when your hands are sweaty.
Do the Pros Use Overgrips?
Yep. Pretty much every pro uses an overgrip over their replacement grip. You will often see them changing their overgips during the change of ends. Richard Gasquet is known to change his at every change of ends!
Below you can find a list of some of the top pros and the overgrips they use:
- Wilson Pro Overgrip – Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic
- Tourna Grip – Andy Murray, Dominic Thiem
- Yonex Supergrap – Stan Wawrinka
- Babolat VS Overgrip – Rafael Nadal
Whilst I wouldn’t recommend using a particular overgrip just because your favorite players uses it, it’s still good to know which grips are considered good enough for the pros. My advice is to try out a few different brands until you find one you like.
How Often Should I Replace an Overgrip?
This depends on a few factors. How often you play, how intense your playing is, the conditions, the durability of the grip you use, etc. The pros might change their overgrips multiple times in a set, but for a recreational player, every week or two should be a good start. After a while you’ll get a feel for when the grip loses it’s grippiness and it’s time for a change.
Can I Use an Overgrip as a Replacement Grip?
It’s not a good idea to use an overgrip as the replacement grip because they are thinner and not as durable. It’s going to feel quite hard and uncomfortable. But if you do decide to, I would advise using at least two and maybe three overgrips to give it some cushioning.
If you find your grip is too thick with the original grip and an overgrip (but you still want to use the overgrip), then you might want to take the original grip off and just use two overgrips. Luckily, grips aren’t too expensive and need to be changed fairly regulalrly anyway, so try a few different combinations until you find what’s comfortable for you.
Can I Stack Overgrips?
If you’re tennis racket grip feels too thin, you can use a few overgrips, or even an additional replacement grip, to pad it out. The problem is, you start to lose the feel of the bevels as you add more layers. For some this isn’t an issue, but many players like the feel of the bevels. An alternative method is to apply a heat shrink sleeve which will add some thickness whilst retaining the bevels.