I find it annoying that it takes me a while to poach the ball. You should keep your thumb closed because like raghu says, it prevents the racket from turning upon impact. Also when facing against power players, you will find that it will be impossible to return the ball unless you have a very firm grip.
If you are looking for killer strikes Bob, I suggest you try practicing sharp cross-court ground strokes with a lot of top-spin that land near where the service-line and singles-side-line meet. Most average tennis players will find that a nearly impossible shot to return.
Also if you simply drive the ball deeper in the court, you increase the pressure and the difficulty to return the ball tremendously; as your opponent either has to back up to hit, attempt a half-volley, or if they are really stupid or really skilled a base-line volley.
E we are doing tennis. I came on here beforehand and learned basics. DO NOT put your thumb up!!!!!! This could break your thumb! If you become an intermediate or even advanced player and you pick up a hard serve you WILL break your thumb.
To position my grip I place the pad of my index finger on a particular bevel. FYI- there are 8 bevels on the handle, bevel 1 is on the top on the handle perpedicular with the ground.
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