Top 5 Tennis Products I’m Looking Forward To In 2020
New footwear, racquets and strings I am hoping to playtest + review this coming season
The world of tennis gear is continually changing with new designs and while I don’t typically get excited about the latest technological breakthroughs (aka marketing gimmicks), there are a handful of new releases I am looking forward to in 2020.
With the blog now covering equipment more regularly, I will try to review a number of items during this coming season.
Here are the top five that caught my eye in recent weeks.
Asics Gel Resolution 8
Asics Gel Resolution 8’s have just hit the shelves, and they’re the updated version of the popular Gel Resolution 7 line worn by players like Gael Monfils and previously Novak Djokovic.
Ultimately the GEL-RESOLUTION 8 tennis shoe reflects ASICS’ commitment to understanding the mechanics of tennis. In contrast to running, which is principally about moving in straight lines, tennis involves a lot of different movements. It’s our job to focus on those, and every new release takes that to the next level. We’ve been selling tennis shoes since 1952, and as playing styles have evolved and become more physical––from the pro ranks right down to youth tennis–our shoes have adapted to meet those requirements. With tennis shoes, the ultimate goal is to give the wearer more time,. That means the time to make that crucial return, prepare for the next shot, seize the upper hand and put your opponent on the back foot. Being able to stop and change direction quickly is vital to that, which is where our new GEL-RESOLUTION™ 8 model comes in Tatsuya Ishikawa, Lead Researcher, Asics
I tested out the Asics Court FF 2 tennis shoes earlier this year, and they quickly became my favourite tennis footwear ahead of the Gel Resolution 7’s I’d used previously.
Can the updated Gel Resolution 8’s knock the FF 2 off the top spot? They’re performing well in reviews I’ve seen so far, and I hope to test them out shortly.
Update: Full Asics Gel Resolution 8 review now live.
Federer’s On Running Shoes
At the back end of 2019, On Running announced they’d struck a deal with Federer as both an investor and in a collaborative role.
2020 should see the fruits of their labour with a Federer designed shoe becoming available for sale. While I doubt they will be bringing out a tennis shoe, I own a pair of Cloud Terry for daily wear and Cloud X for running / HIIT based exercises, so I am interested to see what they come up with, will it be a more fashion orientated shoe or training focused?
If they look like a pair I can get some use out of then I will likely snap up a pair and review them here in a similar style to my Asics reviews.
An Updated Pro Staff Racquet
While the Wilson Pro Staff RF97 isn’t my favourite racquet, you can’t argue with the fact it’s one of the slickest looking frames out there, especially the matte black version from a couple of seasons ago.
I reckon the lineup is due to get an update in 2020 with some new colours. Wilson has brought out a couple of paint jobs in recent years with the tuxedo look which I wasn’t a fan of (nor was Federer as he ditched it instantly) and then the Laver Cup limited edition racquets in red for Chicago and then blue for Geneva.
I haven’t used a Wilson Racquet since I owned a ProStaff 95 a few years ago so while I couldn’t see myself playing regularly with an RF97 Autograph, I’d like to hit with one if they bring out a new paint design for the season.
Yonex EZONE 2020
Given this blog has heavily focused on Federer over the years, you’d think I’d be a hardcore Wilson fan, but in my opinion, it’s Yonex who make the best tennis racquets.
Wilson certainly has the big player endorsements and heavy-hitting marketing. Still, in terms of quality control and how they play, I’m a big fan of the Japanese brand and more specifically the Ezone line of their racquets.
2020 will see the launch of the updated Ezone range, and they will be available in January. So far the racquets have scored well in some playtest videos I’ve seen of prototype models, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the new Ezone 98 top my list of favourite tennis racquets when I get to hit with it.
Babolat RPM Power
A new section on peRFect Tennis has seen Rui review some tennis strings and there are few new products expected in 2020 from the likes of Solinco, Head and Technifibre.
However, one that caught my eye was the new Babolat RPM Power string which is a softer polyester string. The first thing that stood out was the colour of it. As you can see in the picture below, it has a copper look or “electric brown” as Babolat call it and I imagine will look very cool in certain coloured racquets.
We had a real demand for more power, while keeping the famous RPM spin. There was also this demand for a more ‘crisp’ sound and feel, which gives players more confidence. We worked in this direction and did a lot of tests with many players including Dominic Thiem. He was immediately attracted to it and adopted the RPM Power, which reinforced our research. This is particularly satisfying as all specialists know that the Austrian player is looking for the ultimate power with spin, where the ball is spinning fast while having the optimal sensations required by his game. Alexandre Israel, Babolat
The colour means nothing unless the string performs well so it will be interesting to playtest this one. Dominic Thiem has been using it in his Babolat Pure Strike, and it will be on retail sale in December so keep your eyes peeled for a review of it on the blog sometime next year.
Are there any products you have seen hitting the shelves next season that have piqued your interest? Are there any items you’d like to see reviewed here? Let me know in the comments.
PS Merry Christmas to all 🎅🎄
Hey, this was your last official act before unwrapping the Christmas gifts, right? 😆
The last version of the Yonex Ezone got some tepid reviews, especially compared to the previous Ezone DR.
I’ve only hit once with a Yonex (a spare RQis 2 tour from the club, 285 g, extended length) and it was a 30 min drill against the wall. It felt very solid, somewhat stiff, and responded better the faster I swung… and that’s just about it.
I suppose Yonex will try to recover the positive aspects of the DR…which may include a few commercials with Ana Ivanovic.
(Speaking of 98”, ~310 g, last week I added the first 98 sq in to my useless collection, the discontinued Dunlop Force 98 Tour for a bargain)
I am old, giving presents is more fun. I did give a Fed related gift this year though, in the shape of a Jura 😆
The latest Ezones got a bit of criticism, I didn’t mind them. But I think the previous Ezone DR was slightly better. I should really use one as my main racquet as every time I have used them my serve has been way better. But I have a matching pair of Zus frames which are great to play with, not sure I can stomach changing them.
When is the Force 98 playtest?
Ha ha! Not right away. I must first complete a test on another string!
Anyway, it’s being restrung now. The multifilament Dunlop Silk stock strings were already at a low tension (I estimate ~22-23 kgf based on the ping test) which made for an unpredictable, feel-less and spin-less ride. The frame itself must have been made and strung 3 years ago. The bottom of the grip was already a bit discoloured.
Merry Christmas 🎄 Eh
Watching a replay of the Wim 19 final on Be in Sport. I wish I could change the final result…
So the product you are most looking forward to in 2020 is a time machine 😆
If I were to make a guess, I would say that Fed is going to colour his racket like his 2005 one for the olympics. Besides that, I am super hyped for Fed and On collaboration shoes.
Ah ye I bet they do something for the Olympics.
The On stuff should be cool, their existing shoes are well designed and very comfy.
New Rafa interview:
THE MOMENT WHEN YOU FEEL THE MOST PRESSURE IN 2019 IS BEFORE YOUR SF OF ROLAND AGAINST FEDERER, BECAUSE YOU DON’T ALLOW YOURSELF TO LOSE AGAINST HIM “AT HOME”.
FALSE – It was great to be able to face Federer at Roland-Garros so many years after the last time (2011 final), but I never felt the obligation to win. I was convinced that I was playing well and that I was ready for this match, so there was real confidence that everything was going well. When someone is very confident, the pressure naturally fades away. But remember, the day had been very special, with a monstrous wind. It had complicated the match pretty much. Anyway, to beat Federer, you have to be at your max, this doesn’t change.
IN THE 2000’S YEARS, AND EVEN STILL RECENTLY, YOU HAVE OFTEN SAID THAT FEDERER WAS A BETTER PLAYER THAN YOU. NOW, YOU THINK DIFFERENTLY.
TRUE – Before, for sure, Roger was a more complete player than me, on all surfaces. Nowadays, he is 38 years old, me 33, things have changed. He is obviously a unique player, who has a very special way of playing tennis and understanding it. Now, between the two of us, to define who is the strongest, I think it is often about the form of the moment. If I feel very good and he is just normal, I am better than him, but in the opposite case, he is the best. It would be fair enough to say that there is not much difference between us today. Who has been the best? If I want to be honest, I have to say I don’t know.
YOU HAVE THE BEST VOLLEY IN THE WORLD.
FALSE – (laughs) No, no, I don’t have the best volley in the world. I think I’m a pretty quick player who knows more or less how to construct a point when moving forward. I don’t like to qualify myself. Let’s say I’m not bad at the net because I think I understand what to do there and I make quick decisions. But I’m not going to go off on an adventure to the net either, as Federer can wonderfully do.
WHEN, LAST MONTH, FEDERER OUTMATCHED DJOKOVIC AT THE MASTERS, WHICH ENSURES YOU ENDING AS YEAR NUMBER 1, YOU SCREAMED IN FRONT OF YOUR TV.
FALSE – No, no, I didn’t scream, although obviously, it was an important match for me. I followed it quietly from the sofa, I didn’t make a fist pump either. It’s so different when you’re not on the court to create the result. I was of course very happy because it gave me the number one spot at the end of the year, but it was also because I had achieved a lot of other things since the start of the year.
In some ways I like Nadal’s posture. He clearly does not have much patience for the PR speech and is quite transparent and candid. It’s a bit the opposite of Roger who sometimes polishes it so much that you can only guess what he’s really thinking. When Nadal was asked about his marriage’s effect on his concentration, he promptly dismissed it as a “bullshit question” and righteously so in my opinion. Roger would say something like “those are two separate fields of my life and I would like to keep to myself the decision to disclose what I think is relevant for you to analyze or correlate with what is ultimately my only commitment to you: my tennis game.”