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Over time, racket grips wear and need to be replaced.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
At one time tennis manufacturers made rackets with leather grips, which lasted a long time and seldom needed replacing. But those days are long gone; today's rackets are made with synthetic grips. If you're an avid player, it won't take long before your grip becomes worn and needs to be replaced. Installing a new grip correctly, so it looks as if it came straight off the assembly line, isn't too difficult if you have an eye for detail and take your time.1.
Remove the worn grip from the racket's handle. If there's a rubber collar around the top of the grip, slide it up toward the throat. Peel off the tape, referred to as finish tape, from around the top of the worn grip and unwind the grip all the way to the butt cap at the end of the handle. If there's a staple securing the grip to the cap, remove it with needle-nose pliers.
Take the new replacement grip and supplied finish tape out of its packaging. Examine the grip and note that one end is tapered, the top side is covered with a plastic film and the back has a narrow strip of paper running down the middle covering the adhesive.3.
Peel off the plastic film from the top side of the grip. Start with the tapered end, and peel back 8 inches of the paper strip to expose the adhesive. Lay the racket on a flat surface and with most of the grip lying off to the right of the handle, line up the straight edge of the tapered end with the edge of the butt cap. Stick the end of the grip onto the cap and insert a staple through it into the cap. If the staple is not well-seated, lightly tap it with a hammer.4.
Hold the racket with the butt cap pointing up toward the ceiling with your left hand on the shaft of the racket. While holding onto the grip with your right hand, rest the head of the racket against your thigh to help support it during the wrapping process.5.
Pull the grip to the right with your right hand and slowly turn the racket shaft clockwise with your left hand as you start to wrap the grip. During the first turn of the handle, be sure to line up the edge of the grip with the edge of the butt cap.6.
Wrap the grip around the handle at a slight angle as you continue to turn the shaft with your left hand and lightly pull the grip with your right hand. Overlap the edges of the grip 1/16th of an inch with each turn. Remove the paper backing, a few inches at a time, as you make your way to the top of the handle.7.
Make one last wrap just beyond where the top of the grip should end. Take a pen and mark a line to indicate the grip's end. This line should be parallel to the butt cap. Unwrap the grip enough to see the line and cut along it with a pair of scissors to remove the excess grip.8.
Rewrap the cut end around the handle. Take the supplied finish tape and wrap it around the top of the grip to hold it in place. If you slid a rubber collar out of the way at the beginning, slide it back down over the tape.
- After you have removed the worn grip, be sure the handle is clean of any old grip material or adhesive.
- Manufacturers wrap the grips for right-handed players. If you are left-handed, reverse the directional instructions when installing the grip.
- Avoid pulling on the new grip too hard to prevent stretching and damage.
- Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images