The aim of this article is to characterise the extent to which the dynamic behaviour of a tennis racket is dependent on its mechanical characteristics and the modulation of the player's grip force. This problem is addressed through steps involving both experiment and modelling. The first step was a free boundary condition modal analysis on five commercial rackets. Operational modal analyses were carried out under " slight " , " medium " and " strong " grip force conditions. Modal frequencies and damping factors were then obtained using a high-resolution method. Results indicated that the dynamic behaviour of a racket is not only determined by its mechanical characteristics, but is also highly dependent on the player's grip force. Depending on the grip force intensity, the first two bending modes and the first torsional mode frequencies respectively decreased and increased while damping factors increased. The second step considered the design of a phenomenological hand-gripped racket model. This model is fruitful in that it easily predicts the potential variations in a racket's dynamic behaviour according to the player's grip force. These results provide a new perspective on the player/ racket interaction optimisation by revealing how grip force can drive racket dynamic behaviour, and hence underlining the necessity of taking the player into account in the racket design process.