Tennis EquipmentTennis Racquets

Best Tennis Rackets For 2022 – Buyers Guide

Check out my top tips and recommendations on choosing the best tennis racket for your game.

Are you looking for a new tennis racket but unsure about which one to buy? Take a look at my recommendations on finding the best tennis racket and some frames that I think are the best on the market right now.

This buying guide is for you if:

  • you require a new tennis racket and want to make sure it's the right one for you
  • you want to change racket spec, but you don't know what to change
  • you have a racket in mind but want someone to provide a second opinion

Who this guide is not for:

Let's begin.

Why There is No Such Thing as the Best Tennis Racket

Fed Pro Staff 97

If you were hoping for this blog post to provide a list of the Top 10 rackets available right now, then I have some bad news for you 😆 this guide is more orientated around finding the best racket for your game, not giving a single frame a moniker of best.

While I will make some specific racket recommendations further down the page, the first point I need to stress is that there is no such thing as the ‘best tennis racket'.

It is easy to give products in specific categories the ‘best' tag, like a paper shredder or even a tennis ball machine, but this is not the case for tennis rackets.

You'll have probably stumbled across a few tennis racket reviews and the best of guides already that tell you X, is the best racket, but this is not the case.

Different racket specifications suit different game styles. Why? Because what works brilliantly for one player will not work for another. 

Giving any racket ‘best' status is misleading, and the result is consumers parting with their hard-earned cash on a racket that might not be suited to their game. 

Now we've got that out of the way, I recommend you read this guide in full to understand tennis rackets better, and that will put you well on the way to finding the best tennis racket for your game.

How To Choose The Best Tennis Racket

choose-racquet

Hop on any tennis forum, and you'll quickly realise that buying a new racket is a tricky and challenging decision for most players. There are hundreds of posts asking questions like “which racket should I buy?” “what is the best tennis racket brand?” “what tennis racket is best for me?” ‘is the Wilson RF97 Pro Staff a good buy?' and many more.

Read any further, and you'll see many replies from well-meaning users who often share anecdotal evidence, which only further confuses the process.

In reality, when it comes to choosing a new racket, it's relatively simple. The best tennis racket for you is always: the heaviest racket you can handle, the type of tennis you play, and the duration you are on the court. 

That's it; it isn't the one with the newest gimmicky technology. It isn't the RF97 because Federer uses it, nor is it the most modern and shiniest racket on the market.

If you can find a tennis racket that you can accelerate on all shots/contact points without tiring quickly, then you have found the best tennis racket for your game. So how do we get to that point? 

Do Not Buy Into Marketing Gimmicks and Brand Hype

rf97-laver-cup

Step one in finding the perfect tennis racket is: do not believe the hype.

All the marketing material from the racket brands focus on the sweet spot's size, the racket's power, and various other buzzwords that don't mean much. They're just throwaway terms that hopefully lure you in. 

Despite what the manufacturers might write in their press releases, there have been very few, if any, advancements in racket technology in the last 20 or 30 years. 

Just like the world of smartphone upgrade cycles, for tennis racket manufacturers, their business model relies heavily on convincing people to buy a new tennis racket more frequently than they need to.

Assuming you're not hitting thousands of balls a week with the same fury as Rafael Nadal, a well-made tennis racket will last for years. Manufacturers know this and will do absolutely anything to sell you on the latest and greatest technology.

Use Simple Physics To Determine Which Rackets Work For You

Contact Point

Hitting a tennis ball with a racket is an example of an unbalanced force acting upon an object in motion. We are taking a heavy object (the racket), striking a lighter object (a tennis ball) and hopefully watching it sail over the net deep into the opponents half of the court.

You can put your physics hat on and go much deeper. Still, that momentum transfer process means there are only five characteristics of a tennis racket that govern how it achieves that transfer of kinetic energy and how it feels to the person using it. They are:

  • The weight of the racket
  • The balance of the racket
  • The stiffness of the racket
  • The string pattern of the racket
  • The head size of the racket

That's it! The following job is to match each of those factors to a specification that suits your strength, goals and game style.

Don't Get Tied To One Single Manufacturer

Head Brand

While we all have our preferences in terms of design, colours or which brand racket our favourite players use, the truth of it is that pretty much every mainstream brand out there makes good quality tennis rackets.

This often means rackets of virtually identical specs are entirely interchangeable. If they were just one solid colour, then you probably wouldn't notice any difference between two competing rackets when playing with them. In reality, the only difference is the shape of the grip and the paint job's colour.

That is why I recommend you forget terms like ‘FlexFeel', ‘countervail' or ‘BLX'. How a racket plays is determined solely by the five factors above.

Please note: The type of string makes a huge difference in how any racket will play. That's the reason Federer spends five figures $ per year on racket stringing. Once you have a racket sorted, the next step is finding a suitable string after you have finished this guide.

Choosing a Tennis Racket Based on Those Five Characteristics

Choosing A racket Specs

All rackets have differing weights, swing weights, stiffness ratings, string patterns and head sizes. When you combine those characteristics in certain ways, you end up with rackets that fall into different categories. The categories are as follows:

  • Beginner Rackets: light rackets with large head sizes and head heavy balances
  • Intermediate rackets: slightly heavier than beginner rackets with moderately large head sizes and neutral or somewhat head-light balances
  • Advanced rackets: heavy rackets with medium head sizes and head-light balances

The key to picking up the ideal racket for your game is to tinker with these five characteristics and find something that will generate a deep ball with good speed and spin, all from your normal swing.

You should not feel that you must swing harder, nor hold back your normal swing to get the ball to go where you want it. You should not be thinking about the racket when you play with it, and like the pros often say, it should be an extension of your arm. Let's take a look at how we arrived at that point.

What Weight Tennis racket is Best?

Racquet Weight

Weight is the number one factor in determining the power of the racquet. The equation is simple: the heavier the racket, the more power it has.

Unfortunately, an old wives tale has spread for some reason, meaning many players think the opposite is true. I received this email recently highlighting the point:

Many people I talk to from my club say I should get a heavier racquet. They say the greater mass will bring me more power. Whereas others in the club say lighter is better. However when I look at rackets and their specs online it always seem to be the lightest ones that have the higher power ratings. I sort of now do not know what to believe. Do heavier or lighter rackets give more power?

To see why heavier rackets have more power, take this example: if you have racket Wilson, 400g and racket Head which is 200g, and you swing both at 150mph, then racket Wilson will hit the ball with twice as much power than racket Head.

That's the textbook explanation, but the caveat here is how fast you can swing both rackets. If you're strong, then you might be able to swing both rackets at an equal speed. However, most people will be able to swing the 200g racket faster than the 400g racket, but not twice as fast, resulting in the 400g racket still producing more power. As a result, the trick lies in finding the right balance between your swing speed and racket weight.

With that in mind, I recommend playing the heaviest racket that you can play well with. This weight is different for different people and does not depend on your skill level. It is based on your body weight and physical conditioning. 

To find the right weight racket, you need to demo several rackets and see if you can swing them easily on all planes of contact without quickly fatiguing. That is why I recommend making sure you test rackets against players you usually have a hard time against.

Out of all the people you play with currently, intend to play, or want to play against shortly, you must be able to get to their balls in time and be ready to hit a full normal swing.

Anyone can crush hand-fed balls no matter how heavy the racket is, and anyone can convince themself that a racket is brilliant when they test it out for 20 minutes against Auntie Annie and her chipped forehand. 

Here, the acid test is when you play a competitive match and are on the run. Can you get the racket around on the ball and hit it on time? Or are you always late? Your racket is probably too heavy if you are late on the ball too often.

If you can hit deep when you have time to set the shot up, but it shortens up when you are under pressure or on the run, your racket is probably too heavy.

The reason here is when we hit on the run or higher bouncing balls, our major muscle groups become less involved, and the smaller muscles have to take over and swing that same weight instead.

What are some common errors to look out for when selecting racket weight?

New players to the game often buy very light rackets. Light rackets are extremely easy to wield, but they prevent you from learning better strokes.

Heavier rackets encourage longer, fuller swings at the ball that require better technique and use more of the body.

On the other hand, more advanced players tend to add weight to their rackets, making them overly heavy. It will feel great to smoke balls in the warm-up, but they are late at contact when a match begins because they try to pull too much weight through too quickly and can't handle it.

What is the right weight tennis racquet?

For a typical adult male who plays a lot or has ambitious plans to play a lot, I recommend a weight in the following ranges regardless of skill level: 290-320g (10.5-11.3 oz)

The weight should fall slightly lower for a typical adult female: 280-310g (10.2-11oz).

Weights quoted are for an unstrung racquet. 

Is it ok to buy a heavier racket than I can handle right now?

It is ok to buy a racket with a bit of extra heft if you like it and have the intention of building up some endurance/strength to use it.

But make sure the goals are realistic. Are you going to put in the effort? Don't buy a heavier racket to grow into it if you are not prepared to put in the work.

What Balance of racket is Best?

Racquet Balance Head

The balance of a racket is how the weight is distributed. The balance point would come halfway up the frame on an evenly balanced racquet.

The balance essentially controls one thing: the ‘swing weight' of the racquet. When reading production descriptions or reviews, you will see the terms head-heavy and head-light.

When more of the mass is further out from the centre of rotation towards the racquet's hoop, this is head heavy. It makes the racquet's effective weight when it makes contact with the ball than it is. This adds more power to the frame, at the price of making the racket harder to swing and manoeuvre.

In theory, head-heavy sounds like a good deal, a lighter racket but plenty of power. But there is a trade-off here and a big one. The head of the frame's weight puts extra torque on the wrist, elbow, and shoulder during the swing.

This extra strain means head-heavy rackets are a significant cause of ‘tennis elbow' and other tennis-related injuries. This is why I advise you to stay clear of ‘beginner' tennis rackets. All you get is a racket that hinders stroke development and increases your chances of suffering tennis-related injuries.

Instead, you should always go for a head-light frame, which means more weight in the handle. These are given in points by the manufacturer. Exactly how head light depends on the weight of a racquet. Generally speaking, the heavier the racket, the more head-light it should become.

My recommendations:

  • 280g-300g: 3-5 points head light
  • 305-310g: 5-8 points head light
  • 315-320g: 8-12 points head light

What Stiffness of racket is Best?

Stiffness Rating

The stiffness of a racket contributes to power and comfort. A stiffer racket will give you more power. A softer frame will absorb more energy from the ball and take power away from the shot. The stiffer the frame, the less it deflects or bends on impact, and the more power is kept within the ball.

But is softer always better? But how does that relate to comfort? This is a tricky one and often boils down to personal preference. When a racket strikes a tennis ball, it vibrates. On stiffer frames, the vibrations are harsher but shorter. On softer frames, they're less severe but last longer. 

Generally speaking, softer frames are more comfortable to play with and less likely to cause tennis elbow. But other players might find the exact opposite. When you combine stiffness with the string type, grip size, string pattern etc., a stiffer rated frame can feel just as, if not more comfortable than a lower stiffness racquet.

In my experience, the type of tennis string you have will affect the comfort far more than the racket stiffness, so it is never my most significant consideration. Try a less stiff racket if you have or are worried about arm problems. A lower number rating indicates a more flexible racket, and the higher number a stiffer racket, with the vast majority carrying between a 55 and 75 RA rating.

What String Pattern Should You Choose?

Federer String Savers

The string pattern relates to the number of the cross and main strings on the racket, e.g. 16 main strings x 19 crosses. The pattern affects string bed stiffness and spin potential in terms of how the racket plays.

The stiffer the string bed, the less variation you will get when you hit the ball. A higher string density pattern, such as an 18 x 20, produces a stiffer string bed as it deflects less on ball contact. A lower density bed like 16 x 19 means a less stiff string bed.

Perhaps the more significant factor, though, is spin. A looser string pattern will generate more spin than a tighter string pattern as there is more space between the strings; this creates more movement between them.

I recommend a looser 16 x 19 pattern for most players as access to spin is such a massive part of the modern game. The exception will be if you are a very flat hitter who uses little spin, in which case a tighter pattern might give you a more consistent response. 

What Head Size Should You Get?

Head Size

Like stiffness, head size is another tricky area to say one is better than the other. With a larger head size, you'll see a slight increase in the amount of power you can generate. But this is negligible, and saying a 98sq” frame is more powerful than a 95sq” while all other specs are the same isn't always true.

With a larger head size racket, you get increased rotational stability as strings have a broader surface area. The further from the centre of the stringbed, the frame's weight is distributed, the more force is required to twist the racket in your hand.

As a result, the racket can resist twisting more when you hit a ball off-centre, reducing the miss-hits and balls flying where you don't want them. This is why you will see the term ‘forgiving' in many racket reviews of larger head size frames. 

Like weight, there is a trade-off here as the wider the head becomes, the more difficult it is for the player to twist the racket when they want to. For example, add more spin on an angled volley or when trying to close the face.

For most players. I recommend a head size between 98 and 100 sq inches.

The Best racket Specification For Most Players

Now we've pieced those five things together with some recommendations, the final recommended racket specs you should be looking for are as follows:

For typical adult male:

280-320g, 5-12 points head-light, 16×19 string pattern, 98-100 sq” head size. Stiffness to personal preference after demoing.

For a typical adult female:

270-310g, 3-8 points head-light, 16×19 string pattern, 98-105 sq” head size. Stiffness to personal preference after demoing.

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The 10 Best Tennis rackets For 2022

Yonex Ezone 2020

Based on the recommended specs above, below are what I consider 10 of the best rackets currently on the market.

However, before you rush out and buy one of them, make sure you have read this guide in full. Just because I recommend, a racket does not mean it's the ideal one for your game.

Quick Comparison

Racquet Headsize  Weight String Pattern  
Yonex EZONE 98 2022
(My top pick)
yonez ezone 98 2022
98 sq. in. 305g 16 x 19 Check Price
Wilson Pro Staff 97 V13

pro staff 97 v13 table

97 sq. in. 315g 16 x 19 Check Price
Babolat Pure Drive 2021

pure drive 2021

100 sq. in. 300g 16 x 19 Check Price
Wilson Blade 98 18 X 20 v8

blade 98 v8 table

98 sq. in. 305g 18 x 20 Check Price
Babolat Pure Strike
16 x 19 babolat pure strike 16x19 3rd gen
98 sq. in. 305g 16 x 19 Check Price
Wilson Clash 100 Pro

wilson clash 100 pro

100 sq. in. 310g 16 x 19 Check Price
Yonex VCore Pro 100

yonex vcore pro 100

100 sq. in. 300g 16 x 19 Check Price
Head Prestige Pro 2021

head prestige pro 2021

98 sq. in. 337g 18 x 20 Check Price
Tecnifibre TRebound 298

tecnifibre trebound 298

98 sq. in. 312g 16 x 19 Check Price
ProKennex Ki Q+ 15 Pro

prokennex ki q+ 15 pro

105 sq. in. 320g 16 x 19 Check Price

Yonex EZONE 98 2022 – My Favourite racket of 2022

yonex ezone 98 2022

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The latest EZONE 98 from Yonex is new for 2022, and it's the racket endorsed by Nick Kyrgios. Of course, his spec is slightly different from the retail version, but it's certainly the type of frame that suits his game as it has lots of manoeuvrability, plenty of power, a large sweet spot and a great feel.

For me, the EZONE 98 7th Generation is one of the most user-friendly player's rackets out there, and it's my top pick for 2022 because it suits lots of different game styles.

I know it's not a stereotypical ‘players' frame as it's reasonably light and does need the correct string setup to ensure you get control. However, the Ezone 98 is such a good all-rounder for the modern type game, and for intermediate and advanced players, it's one you should demo.

When I hit with it, I felt like I could play well with it almost immediately, which is not the case with a lot of rackets and somewhat unexpected as even though I was a massive fan of the DR 98 and the 2020 6th gen model, I tend to gravitate towards to heavier, control type frames as I play quite a flat game.

But with the Yonex EZONE 98 2022, I got good power from the word go. My serves were landing in with good pop, and up at the net, it offered solid feel and stability while keeping the excellent playability and performance from the previous DR and AI models.

Any negatives? It is slightly stiffer than the previous version, which might put some players who prefer the softer plusher feeling rackets.

Some players also say that they struggled with control; I didn't have that issue as it was strung with a full bed of Solinco Confidential, which seemed to suit the frame nicely. So I'd go with a control orientated string where possible.

Yonex has also launched the Ezone Tour version of this frame for those looking for a slightly heavier frame alongside the 100, 100L and + (longer racquet) versions in the lineup.

As you'd expect, the Tour model comes in heavier on the scales and has a slightly different balance to give some more stability. I found the Tour a bit trickier to play with and think the standard 98 is a better choice for most players, but if you like the weight in the head, then the Tour is worth demoing. It's also worth noting I've read a few players find the Tour model quite harsh on the arm, so that is one final thing to be aware of.

Yonex Ezone EZONE 98 2022 Specification

Head Size 98 in² / 632.26 cm²
Length 27in / 68.58cm
Unstrung Weight 10.8oz / 305g
Strung Weight 11.4oz / 323g
Balance 12.79in / 32.49cm / 6 pts HL
Swingweight 318
Stiffness 65
Beam Width 23.5mm / 24.5mm / 19.5mm
Composition 2G-NAMD/HM Graphite
Power Level Low-Medium
Stroke Style Medium-Full
Swing Speed Medium-Fast
Racquet Colors Blue
Grip Type Yonex Synthetic
String Pattern 16 Mains / 19 Crosses
String Tension 45-60 pounds

Pros

  • A great blend of power and precision
  • Yonex offer good quality control on all their rackets
  • Feels very stable at the net
  • Perfect racket for the modern tennis player

Cons

  • Some players find the EZONE line, not the arm friendliest.
  • Potentially more suited to a two-handed backhand due to weight distribution
In my opinion, the EZONE EZONE 98 is a racket that all intermediate and experienced players should demo. This racket is worthy if you want a blend of modern power and forgiveness with traditional precision and feel.

Wilson Pro Staff 97 V13

Pro Staff 97 V13

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Another late 2020 release was the latest version of the Wilson Pro Staff 97. Called V13, it's been the racket I've used most frequently for the last six months.

I was not a massive fan of the previous Pro Staff line, which is why I didn't put them on this list for 2020, but this new model is a significant improvement.

Firstly they got rid of the countervail technology that I disliked, but the other significant change is the grommet layup which changes the string spacing. That change has meant a much more consistent response. Combine that with more feel due to no countervail, and you have a classic feeling Pro Staff.

How the Wilson Pro Staff 97 V13 Plays

I've reviewed the Pro Staff 97 V13 in full if you want a more in-depth read, but in a nutshell, this frame offers more feel, and the denser string bed offers you that bit more control.

It essentially plays like a classic Pro Staff. Still, if you have never used an earlier iteration of this frame, that means an excellent feel, incredible stability, and plenty of effortless power when you swing through the ball.

Why I like Pro Staff 97 V13

I'm a big fan of control orientated frames like this, but I included the Pro Staff 97 V13 on this list because I think many players can make good use of this racquet. Everyone I've spoken to that's hit with this frame has been a big fan.

It's not easy to play with and requires you to hit through the ball, but even if you're new to the game, this frame forced you t learn correct, full strokes, making the Pro Staff 97 V13 a good choice.

Verdict

Like all Pro Staff rackets of the past, this is a frame that rewards full swings, and when you are in position early, it gives you plenty of power.

Muscling the ball in with rackets like this isn't easy, but if your legs are working well and you get the feet in the correct position, when you swing fast, you're rewarded with a heavy ball that penetrates the court.

Wilson Pro Staff 97 V13 Specification

Length 27in² / 68.58cm²
Unstrung Weight 11.1oz / 315g
Strung Weight 11.8oz / 334g
Balance 31cm / 10 pts HL
Swingweight 321g
Stiffness 6.4si
Beam Width 21.5mm
Power Level Low
Composition Braided Graphite & Aramid
Stroke Style Full
Swing Speed Fast
Racquet Colour Black elastic base, exposed carbon fibre weave with gloss finish at the tip.
Grip Type Wilson Pro Performance
String Pattern 16 Mains / 19 Crosses
String Tension 50-60 pounds

Pros

  • Good mix of control and power
  • Very cool design & cosmetics
  • More consistent response from the stringbed than previous models

Cons

  • Stiff frame, so something to be aware of if you have arm issues
  • Somewhat sceptical of the longevity of the velvet paint but no issues so far
Fast arm, aggressive players who are looking for plenty of feedback and feel on their shots who can manage a reasonably heavy, stiff frame should demo this frame. That stiffness will give you plenty of power, but you need decent stroke mechanics to generate it.

Babolat Pure Drive 2021

Babolat Pure Drive

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One of the best-selling rackets since the start of this Millenium, the Babolat Pure Drive received a revamp for 2021. Known for its power and ease of use, Babolat has kept those features while adding an HTR system, a different layup to give more power. Secondly, to aid comfort, Babolat's SWX Pure Feel, a viscoelastic rubber between the carbon layers of the racquet.

How the Babolat Pure Drive 2021 Plays

This frame uses the same mould as the 2018 version, but Babolat has improved the frame's feel, edging it closer in playability to the original Pure Drive from the early 1990s.

The Pure Drive is a power and spin frame through and through, so if that's what you are looking for, this is a racket for the shortlist.

It plays just how you would expect a Pure Drive to, very manoeuvrable, light feeling, plenty of power and a real weapon from the baseline.

It's not the most stable frame out there, so for players who want feel, like blocking returns, half volleying etc., then it probably won't be to their taste.

Why I Like the Babolat Pure Drive

Cosmetically Babolat has done an outstanding job with the new Pure Drive, and it's one of the best-looking frames on the market today.

Looks aside, the reason the frame makes my list is because no matter what level of player you are, this racket will suit you. You can put it in the hands of any player, and they'll be able to play with it.

Verdict

If you're a beginner, demo this racquet. If you're an intermediate, demo this racket or if you're an advanced player, demo this racquet. You get the gist 🙂

The Pure Drive is one of the most popular rackets for a reason, and it's probably the one racket I would blindly recommend to any player without knowing anything about their game. 

The only real thing to be careful of is that it's a stiff frame so that it can cause arm issues, and if you're a player that naturally hits a big ball, you might struggle for consistency, but other than that, it's a solid buy for all levels.

Babolat Pure Drive Specification

Head Size 100in² / 645.16cm²
Length 27in / 68.58cm
Unstrung Weight 10.6oz / 300g
Strung Weight 11.2oz / 318g
Balance 32.99cm / 4 pts HL
Swingweight 320
Stiffness 71
Beam Width 23mm / 26mm / 23mm
Power Level Medium
Composition Graphite
Stroke Style Medium-Full
Swing Speed Medium
Racquet Colour Blue
Grip Type Babolat Syntec Pro
String Pattern 16 Mains / 19 Crosses
String Tension 50-59 pounds

Pros

  • Great all-rounder – suits all levels
  • Looks great
  • Power and spin galore

Cons

  • Stiff frame so not arm friendly
  • Launch angle can be tricky to master
  • It will be difficult to control the ball for players who hit big

Wilson Blade 98 18 X 20 V8

wilson blade v8

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The Blade 98 is one of the most widely used frames at the higher recreational, college, and pro-level, thanks to the level of feel, flexibility, and control the frame offers.

The latest version of the Blade line is the 2021 version called Wilson Blade 98 V8, and it comes with something Wilson call FortyFive technology which is a renaming of the FlexFeel and similar to the tech used in the much-talked-about Wilson Clash range.

On last years list of what I considered the best rackets on the market, I included the Blade 98 V7, but in my opinion, the updated V8 is an improvement and will suit more players.

Before we get onto the nuts and bolts of this frame and why I like it, I have to say I think the Blade 98 V8 design is top-notch. The chameleon paint looks excellent. Of course, that shouldn't influence a purchase decision (we all know it does, though 😆 ), but the slick looks of this frame make it easy to see why it sells well. So, how does it play?

How The Blade 98 V8 Plays

I playtested the Wilson Blade 98 in both the 18 x 20 and 16 x 19 string patterns and had a great time with both frames.

While I did like the V7, it was never my racket of choice, but the V8 is a bit stiffer, easier to swing and more manoeuvrable than the previous version so that I could play better tennis with it.

If you are a player who prefers the greater mass, plushness and plough through of the Blade v7, then you probably won't like the v8 as much.

But if you wanted something quicker through the air, more reactive and easier to swing than the v7 while still keeping some of the qualities we've seen on the Blade line in the last decade, then the Blade v8 is going to fit the bill.

Why I Like The Blade 98 v8

The biggest plus of the Blade 98 V8 is comfort and feel. I prefer the 18 x 20 pattern, but players should also consider the 16 x 19 if they want a bit more access to spin. Up at the net, the 305g weight offers excellent control, and you'll be able to finish points with punchy volleys.

Verdict

Overall this is a solid racket and another step forward for the Blade series, which has continued to grow in popularity since it was first launched with the nBlade. Simply a good blend of control and feel while still offering access to spin and power.

If you are a more control-oriented player who likes to mix it up with a lot of variation, then the Blade 98 v8 could be your new weapon of choice. If you want to spank topspin balls like Nadal from the baseline, other rackets are better suited to your game.

Wilson Blade 98 18 x 20 V8 Specifications

Head Size 98in² / 632.26cm²
Length 27in / 68.58cm
Unstrung Weight 10.8oz / 305g
Strung Weight 11.4oz / 323g
Balance 13in / 33.02cm / 4 pts HL
Swingweight 327
Stiffness 60
Beam Width 21mm / 21mm / 21mm
Composition Braided Graphite
Power Level Low
Stroke Style Full
Swing Speed Fast
Racquet Colors Green
Grip Type Wilson Pro Performance
String Pattern 18 Mains / 20 Crosses
String Tension 50-60 pounds

Pros

  • Smooth feeling and controllable power
  • Very stable at net
  • Fast through the air

Cons

  • Not the best racket if you struggle to generate your power on serve
There's also an 16 x 19 version of the Blade 98 V8 racquet. Although I chose the 18 x 20 for this list, I recommend you also demo the 16 x 19 string pattern – you'll get more access to power and spin.

Babolat Pure Strike 16 x 19 4th Gen

Pure Strike 16 X 19

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If you're a member of a tennis club, then you'll no doubt have seen a good chunk of players using Babolat rackets. There's a good reason for that: they make extremely playable frames that suit many different game styles. My favourite racket from the French firm is the Pure Strike 16×19, the racquet of choice for Dominic Thiem.

Babolat has produced a top-quality modern player's racket with the Pure Strike. Compared with earlier models (I played with a Roddick Pure Drive for a while), it is a more controlled racket that offers an excellent feel, quick handling around the net and off the ground; it feels like you have the ball on a piece of string.

It packs a square & elliptical Hybrid Frame Construction and comes with, according to Babolat' FSI Power' technology. Now we know that's just marketing bullshit. But it does seem to translate to more spin, thanks to the wider spacing between the upper cross strings.

How The Babolat Pure Strike 16 x 19 Plays

The Pure Strike features amount to a firm, lively, and precise response on the court. I also like how Babolat have thickened up the beam for added stability, and you'll have no trouble generating plenty of power & spin from this frame. It's also brought some effortless power on serve, so it is ideal if you want some extra pop on your first serve.

Having used a K Factor Pro Staff for a while, I have always enjoyed the classic player frame style rackets that offer a lot of control. While the Pure Strike certainly offers those aspects, it is nicely blended with a modern player's racket's best attributes.

I prefer the 16 x 19 variant due to spin potential compared to the 18 x 20, and while it's not as manoeuvrable or fast as the Pure Drive, I don't think many players will have trouble swinging this 305g frame around.

Why I Like the Pure Strike 16 x 19

I don't think I've seen any reviews on the Pure Strike that err on the side of negativity, and I agree: Babolat has produced a top quality racquet.

The Pure Strike 16 x 19 has brilliant control, a great feel and gives you easy access to power and spin. It is very stable for its weight, and from my testing, you get the manoeuvrability associated with a lightweight racket yet the stability of a much heavier racket.

Verdict

The Pure Strike 16 x 19 has everything: ample control, feel, spin, stability, and power, all in a lightweight 305g frame that's pretty easy to swing.

Like most mass manufacturers, quality control can vary, so if you are buying a matching pair, ask the retailer to try to get them as close as possible on the spec sheet as there are reports of some frames being quite a bit off from the quoted specs.

Babolat Pure Strike 16 x 19 Specifications

Head Size 98in² / 632.26 cm²
Length 27in / 68.58cm
Unstrung Weight 10.8oz / 305g
Balance 13in / 33.02cm / 4 pts HL
Swingweight 327
Stiffness 66
Beam Width 21.3mm / 23.3mm / 21.3mm /
Composition Graphite
Power Level Low-Medium
Stroke Style Medium-Full
Swing Speed Medium-Fast
Racquet Colors White w/Orange & Anthracite
Grip Type Babolat Syntec Team
String Pattern 16 Mains / 19 Crosses
String Tension 50-59 pounds

Pros

  • Extremely playable racquet
  • Easy to swing
  • Offers plenty of power from the back of the court

Cons

  • Some players report that the Pure Strike is not the most arm-friendly of frames.
  • Variable quality control (often an issue with Wilson also)
The Babolat Pure Strike has easy racket head acceleration and ticks all the right boxes for advanced and intermediate players. It's the perfect racket for any player who wants a zippy, great feeling player's racket that offers a nice blend of power, control and spin.

Wilson Clash 100 Pro

wilson clash 100 pro

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Wilson's Clash range is essentially their new flagship product, and Wilson is said to have spent five years developing the Clash to produce a racket designed to kill the notion that stiffer rackets are always more powerful.

They've done this by introducing two new ‘innovations'. I've put that in quote marks because I find it difficult to throw that word around when it comes to rackets, but I will say that Wilson has produced something unique. 

The two new manufacturing processes are called FreeFlex and Stablesmart. These concepts are designed to allow the racket to bend in different ways and are achieved by laying the carbon fibre at different angles to produce new flex points that competing rackets can't achieve.

We expect a stable racket to offer power, spin, and control when you think about it. However, a racket is usually heavier, stiffer, or combines the two to achieve stability.

The Wilson Clash 100 Tour comes in at 310g unstrung and has an RA stiffness rating of 55, making it neither of those. While the Clash has a reasonably thick beam, it is super flexible, which offer comfort and feel. So does the Wilson marketing live up to the hype and provide excellent power performance with great comfort?

I would say sort of. Out of all the rackets I've recommended in this guide, this one is perhaps the most unique, and I'm not sure what other rackets it plays like, maybe a Babolat Pure Drive or maybe one of the ProKennex lines, which I recommend for senior players.

My favourite in the lineup is the Tour model, as it's the most stable of the range and why I included it in this list. I have not tried the Clash 98 model, which may be more suited to my game. But the bottom line is this is a powerful, crisp and spin-friendly, but still comfortable and flexible frame.

How The Wilson Clash Pro Plays

When I first hit with a Clash, it took a bit of getting used to, and I found being able to judge where precisely the ball would land after contact tricky, but after 15 minutes of steady baseline hitting, you get somewhat used to it.

I am a reasonably flat hitter on both wings, and it's clear that the Clash line is not designed for that style of play. This is a big spin players racket for those who like to sit behind the baseline and have that modern Khachanov, Kyrgios style next-gen modern forehand.

I moved my hand round the grip to a more semi-western, hit with a more windshield wiper style and quickly found that is where the Clash Pro does its best work so for players who are looking for effortless power, spin, more flex and comfort than the Clash Pro is a solid choice.

It's also the most arm friendly on my list while still stable. This is probably due to the thick beam's design, so I'd recommend giving the Clash 100 a demo if that's something you are looking for.

Why I Like The Wilson Clash Pro

While it's not the racket for me, I like the Wilson Clash Pro because it suits many modern game styles, and with a lot of players seeking comfort, this racket is a solid choice.

It has an excellent design, exciting specs, and I think many players will find they can hit with more spin and find more angles with this racquet.

Verdict

I would say the Wilson Clash is very similar to a Babolat Pure Drive, just with a much-improved comfort level. If you like that style of racket and the Clash works for your type of groundstrokes, then you might well be on to a winner.

The Wilson Clash Pro is not for everyone, but it is viable for many players, especially those worried about developing niggling arm injuries.

Wilson Clash Pro Specifications

Head Size 100in² / 645.16cm²
Length 27in / 68.58cm
Unstrung Weight 10.9oz / 310g
Strung Weight 11.5oz / 326g
Balance 12.4in / 31.5cm / 9 pts HL
Swingweight 322
Stiffness 55
Beam Width 24.5mm / 24.5mm / 24.5mm
Composition Graphite
Power Level Low-Medium
Stroke Style Medium-Full
Swing Speed Medium-Fast
Racquet Colors Black/Gray/Red
Grip Type Wilson Pro Performance
String Pattern 16 Mains / 19 Crosses
String Tension 48-58 pounds

Pros

  • Good blend of spin, power and comfort
  • Arm friendly yet still stable

Cons

  • It can be a little erratic / less precise than some players frames
  • Not the most powerful of rackets
The Wilson Clash Pro 100 is a fairly unique frame and manages to have great stability and a low flex rating. Big swings are rewarded with this racket, and if you want something arm friendly, you should demo the Clash.

Yonex VCore Pro 100 300 – [Best racket for Intermediate Players]

yonex vcore pro 100 2021

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The final racket on my list is the Vcore Pro 100; it's a great option for a player just starting and an intermediate player in search of a lighter frame that still packs a good dose of precision on full swings.

The lighter weight makes this racket pretty good for doubles, too, as it is very manoeuvrable. While it lacks the mass and plough through the heavier Vcore Pro 97 models, the combination of speed, control and spin produces a stable racket and given I'm a big fan of Yonex rackets due to their quality control; this one gets a thumbs up from me.

How the Yonex Vcore Pro 100 300g Plays

This model has a new throat construction designed to aid topspin and the traditional Yonex isometric head shape, and it plays very similarly to the Vcore Pro 97 310g but is slightly easier to swing.

I found generating racket head speed with this racket a cinch, and for a 300g racket has decent levels of power from the baseline. 

Up at the net, players who are approaching on a wing and a prayer might prefer a racket with a bit more weight behind it as I would say that the Vcore Pro 100 doesn't have the best rotational stability, but it does offer plenty of feel for touch players thanks to that 21mm beam.

Serve wise, this racket is more geared towards spin and precision rather than being an out and out sledgehammer, but I was able to get decent pace on serves, and for some reason, I always seem to serve better with Yonex rackets. Psychological or anecdotal, I'm not sure, but this racket worked well for my serve as it felt like I could add some whip to crank up the MPH.

Why I like the Yonex Vcore Pro 100

I considered this racket a good choice for intermediate players, and it perfectly fits that mould. It's easy to play with, but with a slightly higher swing weight than the previous model, it offers plenty of stability and doesn't get pushed around too easily from the baseline.

Against huge power hitters, then torsional stability may suffer a bit, but I like what this frame offers for the vast majority of players.

It's also comfortable to play with; this may be because Yonex has added their Vibration Dampening Mesh into the handle to help reduce unwanted vibrations. Whether it works as advertised is up for debate, but I found it arm friendly.

I also felt like the ping sound at contact was dulled in the Vcore Pro 100. I occasionally use a vibration dampener to muffle the noise (or power pads), but this was a quieter frame that could be due to the dampening in the handle.

Verdict

The best descriptor of the Vcore 100 300g would be versatile as it does many things well. I think the VCORE Pro 100 is an excellent option for control-type players who want a lighter-weight player's frame.

For anyone who used the previous Vcore 100, you won't have any issues moving to this model as not a whole lot changed other than the usual cosmetic changes, minor tweaks to the feel and just a tiny increase in swing weight.

Yonex VCore Pro 100 Specifications

Head Size 100in² / 645.16cm²
Length 27in / 68.58cm
Unstrung Weight 10.4oz / 295g
Strung Weight 11.2oz / 318g
Balance 13in / 33.02cm / 4 pts HL
Swingweight 321
Stiffness 65
Beam Width 23mm / 23mm / 23mm
Composition 2G-Namd/HM Graphite
Power Level Low-Medium
Stroke Style Medium-Full
Swing Speed Medium-Fast
Racquet Colors Matte Green
Grip Type Yonex Synthetic
String Pattern 16 Mains / 19 Crosses
String Tension 45-60 pounds

Pros

  • Lightweight but slightly higher swing weight gives a solid feeling
  • Ideal for intermediate players
  • Yonex have excellent quality control

Cons

  • Not the most powerful racket out there
The new Vcore Pro 100 300 has improved stability over the previous version, and it's hard to pick out any real flaws with the racquet. Some players might feel it lacks power, but this is a frame worth demoing for control orientated players looking to hit their spots on serve.

Head Prestige Pro 2021

head prestige tour 2021

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The Prestige line from Head has long been the go-to racket for players who demand feedback and precision. At one time, it was the most used racket on the ATP Tour, and while it may have lost some of its Prestige from a marketing perspective with no big names helping sell it when it comes to an advanced players frame, you can't look any further.

The new Prestige rackets came out in 2021, and my favourite is the Head Prestige Pro 2021, which replaces the MP Prestige from 2019.

How the Head Prestige Pro 2021 Plays

This Prestige Pro 2021 provides players with a tour-level swing weight but doesn't have that hard to manoeuvre feeling of heavier static weight frames and is just an all-around solid frame. 

The Prestige will give you a great feel, consistent stringbed response, comfort, and a nice head-light balance if you have the correct technique.

When I playtested it, whenever I had the upper hand from the baseline, it felt like the ball was on a piece of string, and you could land the ball where you wanted it.

The Prestige Pro with its 18 x 20 pattern will work very well for your game for someone who hits a flatter ball with longer strokes.

It has a launch angle that offers enough lift to avoid hearing the ball smack into the tape when you red line the groundstrokes but not one that will balloon the ball 

Why I like the Head Prestige Pro

2021 was when I started to like 18 x 20 string pattern rackets, and the Prestige Pro is another on that list. When your game is ‘on,' this racket is hugely rewarding to play with.

Just bear in mind that this racket is the sort of frame that will work best for physically well-conditioned players, have good technique and play regularly (multiple times per week).

For those who might struggle to handle the weight or think this racket is a bit too advanced, I would recommend the Prestige MP L, which is a slightly more forgiving racket and is also the one I would choose to produce the sort of tennis that wins that matches, and doesn't just feel great for 10 minutes when everything in my game is working.

Head Prestige Pro 2021 Specification

Head Size 98in² / 632.26cm²
Length 27in / 68.58cm
Unstrung Weight 11.3oz / 320g
Strung Weight 11.9oz / 337g
Balance 12.79in / 32.49cm / 6 pts HL
Swingweight 325
Stiffness 60
Beam Width 20mm / 20mm / 20mm
Composition Graphene Inside/Graphite
Power Level Low
Stroke Style Full
Swing Speed Fast
Racquet Colors Maroon
Grip Type Head Hydrosorb Pro
String Pattern 18 Mains / 20 Crosses
String Tension  48-57 pounds

Pros

  • Knife like precision
  • Ideal for advanced players
  • Cool cosmetics

Cons

  • Need to generate your own pace
The ultimate players racket. A classic soft, low power feel that will give those who can wield it precision on all of their shots.

> Read full Head Prestige 2021 playtest.

Tecnifibre T-Rebound IGA 298

tecnifibre trebound 298 iga

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The Tecnifibre T-Rebound 298 is the racket of choice for Iga Swiatek, and its lighter weight is designed to produce speed and spin.

At 298g, it is weighted for intermediate players, so it's a tad lighter than most of the other rackets I recommend on this list, but despite its speed through the air, it doesn't suffer from stability or comfort issues thanks to it being foam filled.

How the Tecnifibre T-Rebound IGA 298 Plays

The T-Rebound IGA 298 is super quick through the air, so this racket is ideal for players who have fast whippy strokes who want to generate spin.

Despite its lower weight and whippiness, thanks to the 98 square inch head, it offers a little more control than most rackets in this spec range.

Given the specs, I expected stability to be a problem, but it feels solid on contact. It doesn't quite have the stability of frames that let you block the ball back on return, but there's more than enough to stop you from being pushed around by bigger hitters.

Why I like the Tecnifibre T-Rebound IGA 298

The T-Rebound works well for all-court players who like a stiffer and crisper feel. It plays somewhat similar to the Pure Drive VS but has more of a pro stock feel because it's foam-filled.

Tecnifibre T-Rebound IGA 298 Specification

Head Size 98in² / 632.26cm²
Length 27in / 68.58cm
Unstrung Weight 10.5oz / 298 g
Strung Weight 11oz / 312g
Balance 12.99in / 32.99cm / 4 pts HL
Swingweight 319
Stiffness 71
Beam Width 23mm / 23mm / 23mm
Composition Dynacore/Graphite
Power Level Low-Medium
Stroke Style Medium-Full
Swing Speed Medium-Fast
Racquet Colors White/Black/Teal
Grip Type Tecnifibre Synthetic
String Pattern 16 Mains / 19 Crosses
String Tension  50-55 pounds

Pros

  • Foam-filled
  • Slick cosmetics
  • Easily customisable

Cons

  • High stiffness will put off some players, although it doesn't feel as stiff as the RA suggests.
The TRebound 298 IGA racket is a good starting point for those who like to customise their frame with weight. At 298g, you have plenty of room to add lead at 3 and 9 to bump up the specs.

ProKennex Ki Q+ 15 Pro

prokennex ki q+ 15 pro

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Pro Kennex is one of the lesser-known racket brands, but they make some high-quality frames, and my favourite is the Ki Q+15 Pro.

Whereas most of the rackets on my best-of list are more traditional ‘players' type rackets, this Ki Q+15 Pro is a more forgiving frame that offers a ton of stability and power.

How the ProKennex Ki Q+ 15 Pro Plays

This frame has a hefty 335 swing weight, and it feels very stable on contact. It's an extended racket at 27.5 inches, so it's a bit more challenging to swing than the other rackets on this list, but this frame is second to none when it comes to redirecting pace and generating power.

I'm not a player who suffers from arm issues, but the Ki Q+ 15 is super comfortable to hit with, and the vibration is minimal. 

I particularly enjoyed serving with this racket. It provided a ton of free power, and it's surprising the difference a 27.5-inch racket can make on serve; you get some extra leverage, and with this racket's swing weight power-friendly specs, you can bomb down the first serve.

Why I Like the ProKennex Ki Q+ 15 Pro

Whenever I've picked up a Pro Kennex racket, I've enjoyed it. The entire lineup feels good to play with.

The consensus is that more flexible rackets are arm friendlier, but Pro Kennex bucks the trend by producing some of the stiffest frames on the market that are super comfortable to play with.

This is thanks to their Kinetic Quadfocus Technology, and this is due to a movable mass in the racquet's head to give protection against vibration, shock and racket torque. 

ProKennex Ki Q+ 15 Specification

Head Size 105in² / 677.42 m²
Length 27.5in / 69.85cm
Unstrung Weight 10.8oz / 305g
Strung Weight 11.3oz / 320g
Balance 12.9in / 32.77cm / 7 pts HL
Swingweight 335
Stiffness 72
Beam Width 26mm / 26mm / 26mm
Composition High Modulus Graphite/SpiralTech Carbon
Power Level Medium
Stroke Style Medium
Swing Speed Medium
Racket Colors Sky Blue/Black
Grip Type ProKennex Synthetic
String Pattern 16 Mains / 19 Crosses
String Tension  50-65 pounds

Pros

  • Arm friendly
  • Extremely stable
  • Easy Power

Cons

  • Too powerful for some players
If you have any sort of arm problems, then Pro Kennex is a brand you should be giving a try. They make the arm friendliest rackets on the market, bar none and have helped countless players play pain-free.

Why Isn't The Wilson RF 97 Autograph On My List?

After writing this post, I was asked why I didn't include the latest Wilson RF 97 Autograph racket in my Top 10 tennis rackets? Well, the answer is simple, and I've written about whether you should buy the RF97 in a dedicated post. But the short version is:

  • This racket is too heavy for most players and will reduce their overall game enjoyment.
  • It doesn't offer better playability than some of the other Wilson models currently on the market.

Currently, very few players can take advantage of RF 97. It's a great racket, but you will be paying for something that makes you play worse in many cases. That, to me, is a waste of money!

So get the standard Pro Staff 97 V13 if that's the design you want. Trust me when I say you might feel like Federer when you step onto the court, but 5 minutes into the match, when you're making unforced errors galore, it soon wears off 🙂

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, a rather in-depth guide on how to find the best tennis racket for your game. Remember, the above is based on my own experience of buying, testing and helping others choose a tennis racket. Your personal experiences may differ.

Everything I have written aside, the most important thing about buying a new racket is that you like it. The way the racket feels to you, how it plays, and how it looks. If a racket feels too stiff, too flimsy, too muted, too light, too heavy, the grip doesn't feel right, you hate the colour, or it hurts in any way when you are hitting, then it isn't the right racket for you.

If you have to think about the equipment in your hand, you will not play to your full potential. You should be able to pick up your racket and play with it without a second thought. Hopefully, this guide helps you on your way to finding the right one 🙂

Got a question about a racket? Got a recommendation for a racket I should add to my list? Need some advice? Leave a comment below or contact me, and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.

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Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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80 Comments

  1. Whooaa! Now that’s a comprehensive guide. Nicely done. The Yonex DR98 is no more. It was superseded in 2019 by the “no DR” version that was not very well received.
    I would also add that there’s no “technology” in racquets. It’s just static materials and geometry.
    I usually gauge the racquet weight limits like this:
    High end: at the service and smash. If it’s too heavy, I feel it immediately. I have to start the swing much earlier and focus hard on doing it the right way. It’s great for cleaning up the technique but it can tire me.
    Low end: my ground strokes become short and jerky and I get terribly lazy with the foot work…

    1. Cheers.

      Yes I agree far too much marketing stuff on ‘technology’. Maybe the only one with a bit of credence is the Clash line as i think they have changed up the manufacturing process for it a bit but I haven’t really looked into it. I thought it felt weird when I hit with it though but it was actually pretty good.

      I think too light is probably worse than too heavy overall. But they both stop you playing your best.

      1. The Clash sucks imo. Too much flex, for a Pro Staff user. Threw my ball over the fence lmao

  2. Hey Jonathan, You are outdoing yourself here. What I don’t like is the mauve overgrip tape. Hate that colour on a racket.
    Otherwise, cheers!

      1. If you sweat normally the wilson pro is great, but since I don’t sweat from my right hand it only feels nice for a few minutes. After that it gets dry and slippery as peach skin. (I’m thinking about writing something about overgrips one of these days. Would it be useful?)

  3. Jonathan, great article! How would you compare the 16×19 to the 18×20 for the Babolat Pure Strike? Also, what are your thoughts on the Head Graphene 360 Speed Pro (Novak’s racket)? I am looking to purchase 1 of these 3 and your help would be greatly appreciated! Which one would you buy?

    1. Thanks.

      For the Pure Strikes, the string pattern will depend on your own preference? If you are an ultra-flat hitter and looking for control, then maybe 18 x 20 is for you. If you want more spin, 16 x 19. I prefer 16 x 19 overall.

      The Graphene 360 is very similar to the Pure Strike IMO. 18 x 20 but from what I remember the strings are quite spaced out on that frame. I think that racquet is getting an update fairly soon so the price will probably drop.

      If I had to pick, I would choose Pure Strike (even the 2017 model as they are going cheaper if you can find them) but there is very little to separate them. Can you demo any them?

  4. Hi Jonathan,
    Yonex Ezone DR98 seems to be an older racquet. Most of the stores do not sell them any more. Is there an equivalent model in the market right now? Also, what do you think about Head Graphene 360 speed MP? Thanks!

    1. Hi,

      Thanks. Yes, I need to update that Yonex one, it was part of my old post on racquets before I made this huge update to the post. I like the latest Yonex Ezone 98 too, 305g one. And I am sure I will like the new model too which launches soon.

      I have hit with the Pro Version of the Head that but not the MP. I am not a huge fan of the Graphene stuff, but these latest versions are definitely the best iteration. From what I heard about the MP it’s arm friendlier than the previous Touch one. Totally depends how you play though? For a baseliner with fast swings it’s one to demo for sure. Someone who is picking up volleys non-stop? Maybe need something more stable.

  5. i demoed the wilson pro staff 97L and it is fantastic. the light version of the wilson pro staff without the weight of the countervail technology is very well balanced and hits wonderfully. i do like it better than the pure strike 16X19. i like the feel of the hit more. but, i do get a little better accuracy with the pure strike.

    1. Cool. From what I’ve read it plays a bit heavier than it actually is due to the swing weight so still feels pretty stable. I hope the PS line gets an update soon, not a fan of that tuxedo black and white paint job. Even Fed sacked it off after like 2 tournaments.

  6. Off topic here…but who is watching the ATP Cup? Some good tennis….was rooting for team GB. Why don’t I warm up to DeMinaur?
    Shapo’s been hitting the ball really well. Those not be be named fans in the arena should be given the boot. Whistling yelling etc during the serve. Anyway, could have been another outcome.

    Did you see Fed’s AO gear? I think I’m going to be sick.

  7. I am, at least the matches that can be watched live due to the timezone. It’s the same format as the last Davis Cup. Being an individual sport, at least this allows the “national” teams to book most of theirs best players and give some meaning to “country A defeats country B”, even though there’s limited national merit in a player achievements. Some of the matches were of very good quality and the “semi-official” characteristic somehow allows for a slightly more relaxed mood (no player likes to lose, even for charity) and some spectacular play.

  8. Thanks for a very useful article. I´ve been playing tennis for over 35 years and still remember the time graphite racquets were a novelty (and came to be the way to go). Most of the rackets iv played with the last 20 something years have changed little. I feell some minor diferences in the way my “default” (head prestige mp) racket feels, but, in my opinion, the big change over the years have been the string tech. Strings are much, much better this days. The multi polys allow for a mix of confort and durability unheard of 20 years ago. Regarding racquets, and although I´ve tried to change I keep on returning to the same racket, just because its what suits me and my game best: the iconic Head Prestige MP (18X20). I think the most important is the perception that the instrument (the racket) is a mere complement to your arm. Sticking with what suits you and not listening to all the garbage marketing BS. Thanks for the well informed article.

    1. Cheers for the feedback.

      Yeah despite what the manufacturers like you tell you, there have been very few changes to racquet technology in the last 30 years.

      I guess you could say there have been a few small innovations, the O Port grommets from Prince, the little tweaks to the throat design / shape, Yonex with the Isometric stuff, and the Wilson Clash is quite interesting to play with but other than that, the rest is all marketing garbage 😀

      1. They must keep earning money and the way do do that is by convincing you that each new model is a revolution. Manufacturers make a profit while we pile up more racquets than we need (guilty).

  9. I think Yonex has the best quality control, you can very easily match racquets without needing to add weight all over the place like Wilson. Good post.

  10. I enjoyed the article, as all the others on this site. I found them very direct and unbiased, honest.
    What is it about Yonex that makes them stand out?
    Is it the combination of isometric head and the fact that is Japanese?
    Is there anything else?
    I sense that there is a common belief that whenever you see something which is “Made in Japan”, you know it’s best quality possible. The same belief goes for their cars.

    1. For me, Yonex has the best quality control on the market. If you try to match 3 racquets, it’s usually the case of picking 3 up and they are all near identical if not bang on the money. That is not the case with Wilson etc.

      I also think their frames play well, the DR98 was such a good racquet. Many people still want them today. That is why I recommend them. Is it because they are Japanese? Maybe, they do make quality goods Toalson strings, for example, are great.

      1. There is an objective ground to it.
        Say (insert some non japanese manufacturer) has this connecting rod that is to be produced with 50 mm length +- 2 mm.
        The output will be 51.9, 48.8, 50.7, etc
        The same part made in Japan with the same specifications will be produced as this:
        50.00, 50.01, 49.99, etc
        And then people get surprised that their Honda/Toyota/Mazda does not leak or consume oil after 200000 km…

  11. Hello Jonathan, thank you for your great article. Very informative.
    I never played with a Yonex but wanted to try it out. From the specifications I would firstly tend to the Yonex Vcore 98 because I prefer “smaller” beams. Do you have tried this racquet and if yes, do you have any comments in comparison to the Ezone 98?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi,

      Depends on how you play?

      I will be doing a full review on the Vcore 98 305g in a month or so as I have the racket to playtest for an extended period. But from an earlier hit with one, I think it’s nice to play with, crisp feeling. I was expecting less feel based on other reviews, but in a hybrid it’s good. Kinda similar to the Ezone 98 tbh.

      If you can wait a month or two then you will get a full picture of the frame, albeit from my perspective.

      Tennis Nerd has a review also which is worth checking out – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GV5nmSIago

  12. I found your article interesting, but very much disagree with your premise that the racket head should be in the 98-100 sq.in. range. My first inquiry would be–who’s your audience? The vast majority of the 3.0–4.5 club player would greatly benefit in having at least 105 sq. in racket. Some of the best age-division players in the country/world (i.e., Mark Vines, Mike Tammen, et.al.– use 110 sq.in rackets enabling them to have complete control AND power on their serves/volleys/groundstrokes/etc…they’re able to fully take advantage of the bigger sweet spot with the larger head size. My advice to nearly all accomplished players is to get used to a lighter racket with a bigger head. I’ve experienced great results with B-level players in using the 115 sq.in. Head Instinct PWR. It’s 8.1oz. unstrung, and due to its manufactured length of 27.7in–I found it was much preferred when I cut the handle shorter to attain the standard 27 in. length. When strung correctly with a good multifilament (NXT 16 gauge at 64-68lbs)–its become a very favored racket by dozens of accomplished players. So I predict with a fair comparative process, a light 110-115 sq.in. racket will prove to be a terrific choice
    N%

    1. Thanks for the comment.

      Interesting thoughts but I don’t think this is generally good advice for the vast majority of players.

      The players you bring up, who after I have googled, are both in their sixties. A larger head size can make sense when you are older, need a bigger hitting area, more rotational stability, more forgiveness. I have a guide on racquets for seniors but this is more of an open age guide, with a focus on a racquet that can help improve you as a player. It is hard to improve with a 115 square inch racquet as you get lazy and don’t learn proper strokes. But it’s certainly one you can transition to when you are older and feel like it would help your game.

      If oversize racquets gave players complete control AND power in their game, then they would be in widespread use on the ATP Tour. So are the pros clueless and missing out on all these advantages you speak of? Or have they realised that light, oversize racquets offer less control, less precision and are harder to maneuver when they need to close the racquet face? I think so.

      Of course, it is horses for courses and I’m sure many players think they can play better with an OS head, but the vast majority of players will play better tennis, learn better stroke mechanics and have more control with something in the range of 98 to 100.

      I don’t think NXT is a particularly good string either so I think we are from different schools of thought when it comes to tennis 😀

      1. Hey Rob and Jonathan,

        Interesting debate. Of course, no way on earth am I challenging the author Jonathan or his comments. You can classify me as a very good beginner or a somehow who is just reached intermediate. My reach on the court is good. But I do not make a full swing. I just place the ball. Control has never been an issue for me but generating power always has been.

        I bought both the Yonex Ezone 98 2020 and the Yonex Vcore Pro 100 300 racquets. I’ve been a big fan of Yonex since my badminton days. Earlier I was using Wilson Federer Pro 105. This racquet has a bigger head size(105 sq in) and much lower unstrung weight( 262grams) than the Yonex rackets. I also put in Wilson NXT 16 at tension 57 lbs on this Wilson racquet. I loved this string as it gives me all the power that I fail to generate. As I said, control has never been an issue for me.

        Every time I hit the court, I start with my Yonex as it is supposed to be better and of course is more than double the price. But my range of shots with the Wilson racquet is so much better. Just yesterday, I was down 1-3 with my Yonex Ezone 98 2020. I swapped it with my Wilson and I ended up winning 6-4. This is not a one off case, I have tried doing this multiple times.

        For me, a bigger head size, lower weight and a multifilament like NXT which you(Jonathan) do not recommend is actually working. Is it because I’m a good beginner instead of an intermediate/advanced player? Is my Wilson racket making me lazy? Or is truely better for my style of play?

      2. Ultimately there is no right answer 🙂 What works for one player, will not work for another.

        I think you should find a racquet you like, and try and grow your game around that. The post I have written is based on what I know to be true about physics and some of my own experiences. So I’ve written it from what I believe will suit the vast majority of players (assuming they are getting some coaching, developing their game, etc.)

        Any player who struggles to generate power will benefit from a more power orientated frame so if the Wilson suits your game, then I would use that.

        I like multifilaments, I just don’t like NXT, they did something to the manufacturing which made it not good IMO.

      3. Thanks Jonathan, yes its very much a personal thing and perhaps that is the beauty. Every player is different.

        BTW, I think I have figured out a problem(just 2 hours back) which I have now resolved. I put the tension at 57lbs and put in the shock absorber as well. This created a stiff string setup. I removed the shock absorber and the Yonex racket seems heaps better. I will update as to how I go with it in the next few hits.

      4. OK, its been 2 months since I’ve been using Yonex Ezone 98. I got it strung with the Yonex Rexis string at 57lbs.

        I must say since this racquet/string combination has a low power, I have now started to do a full swing. My serves are big. Lesser players, some of which consider them as a very good intermediate player, now ask me to go easy on my serve else they fear getting hurt. With great amount of control, Very few occasions do I make an error. My game has improved so much.

        I was wrong when I thought Wilson Federer Pro 105 strung with Wilson NXT 16 was a great combination. It had great power, but that led me to just dabbing at balls rather than doing a full swing. Now with the Yonex Ezone 98 with Yonex Rexis string, my game is excellent.

        Lack of power is not a downfall anymore. Its an advantage as I do a full swing and make less errors. The only downfall is if I play like 3 sets, I do sometimes develop back pain as this is 305 grams and my previous Wilson racquet was very light at 262 grams. I’ve had back pain in the last 2 years, so I just need to strengthen my back.

  13. Hi Jonathan,

    Your article looks great. I’m an intermediate level player. I would like to go for Yonex VCore Pro 100 300. I live in Australia. I found this racquet at 2 places on the same website with a vast difference in the price:
    mydeal.com.au/yonex-vcore-pro-100-300g-tennis-racquet-956913

    and

    mydeal.com.au/yonex-vcore-pro-100-matte-green-300g-tennis-racquet-1124127

    Is the one which is cheaper and of some color other than Matt Green a different racquet? As the names suggest they’re the same or similar. Is it the Vcore racquet instead of the Vcore Pro? If yes, where does it stand?

  14. I ordered 2 racquets for me and my friend(after reading this beautiful article):
    Yonex Ezone 98 (Me)
    Yonex VcorePro 100 300(Friend)

    Now, I ordered for factory strings. I expected them to be Yonex Strings. But the supplier said he gets unstrung racquets and when asked for factory strings, he just uses the cheapest string available(Dunlop ones) and sends it across. He expects us to play around a little bit and then he expects us to get these restrung based on our preference.

    I’m using Ezone 98 and am intermediate. My court coverage is good. I usually don’t struggle for control, but I do struggle to hit power shots. Which string do you suggest me and what tension?
    For example, your answer could be Babolat RPM Blast 1.25 strung at tension 55

    My friend is a good beginner. His court coverage is average. He struggles for control but can hit power shots well. Which string do you suggest for him and what tension?

    Lastly, does it make any difference if I use Yonex Strings with Yonex Racquets or if I use any other strings with Yonex Racquets? Like is it good to use the string from the same brand as the racquet? I assume not, but just wanting to confirm.

    1. Yikes, no, RPM Blast at 55 lbf is too tight. It will feel too dead and uncomfortable. If you really want to go with polyester, make it 52 maximum or even 50 if you struggle with power. You should use a softer polyester instead of RPM like Luxilon Adrenaline at 51 lbf or Dunlop Black Widow at 53.
      This site has a few *really really freaking awesome* string reviews 😀
      As for strings and frames matching brands, that does not matter the least.
      As for a starter string, a great point to kick off is a solid core nylon (a.k.a. “synthetic gut”, a terrible misnomer) at 55 lbf no matter what frame, and then check:
      If it one feels too stiff/dead/powerless, use nylon multifilament next.
      If it feels too elastic/soft/powerful, and incapable of putting spin on the ball, use polyester next.
      Remember a simple rule of thumb: string polyester always 1 – 3 kgf (2-6 lbf) looser that nylon and you should be fine.
      Happy hitting.

  15. This is a fantastic write-up Jonathan 👍🏾
    Thanks a lot for educating players like me.
    I am looking to demo and buy Yonex ezone 98 (2020 model). Othe than RPM blast, any other multifilamnet suggestion along with tension for this racquet? I am looking more for control. As an intermediate player, my reach isn’t always great but I have a full swing. I hope this model is not too stiff and they have a lighter version which is 25 grams lighter and 1 or HL…. wondering if that can be considered but I am skeptical to losr control there. Appreciate if you can ponder your thoughts. Thanks a ton!

    1. Thanks.

      RPM Blast is a stiff poly so very much a control orientated string. So if you feel like you need control it’s either a case of using a poly, stringing a multi quite tight or going for a hybrid.

      What racquet and string are you using at the moment?

      1. Thanks a lot for prompt response!
        I am using volkl super G v1 pro racquet strung with volkl cyclone. I feel it little heavy and my serve sucks with this. Even the baseline balls are going out for home run🙃 ofcourse, most of this has to do with my techniue than racquet. But, I previously played with my friend’s old Yonex racquet (vcore si series I believe). It was fine even though it was little stiff. The current Yonex Ezone 98 2020 model is one racquet I am considering. And also their 285grams (unstrung) model with 1 or HL is another one that I don’t see reviews though. The previous iteration of Yonex Ezone 98 (305g) blue color (2017 I believe) is available many places for a steal price. Would I lose anything by going with previous model? I am not a fan of tight tension multifilament..tried that earlier and couldn’t nplau well. Also, the feel was pretty bad. Either RPM blast 18g at a decent tension like 53 for this model or go with Babolat Xcel 16g kind of multi at 55 is something I should try…Again, I am thinking all these loud and just typing it out. Don’t bother to respond to each and every point 🙃. Thank you once again!

  16. EXCELLENT KNOWLEGABLE WRITE-UP
    BABOLAT PURE DRIVE LITE & YONEX EZONE 100SL (DEEP BLUE) WHICH IS BETTER

  17. Wow, that is nice write up, makes also more sense than the common advice of getting a light racket.

    i am enthusiastic beginner, 45y, reasonably in shape ( could always be better 🙂 ), 2m tall, 97kg. I play 2-3 a week and getting lessons. I also swim and bike. Based on the common advice I got a 275g racket…..

    I reckon I need a heavier racket, I am not experienced enough to know what type of style I prefer playing. I still need to work a lot on my swing. Would you recommend the Ezone 100? or do I need to go heavier right away. My long arms should allow for quite some racket speed.

    thanks, Jacob

    1. The Ezone 100 or 98 is a good racquet. It is better to get something with weight so you learn proper stroke mechanics. But you don’t need to go too heavy, you can always add lead tape if you feel like you need more weight, whereas reducing it is impossible.

      I would also recommend Clash 100, new Pure Drive, Pure Aero.

      Can you demo them first?

  18. Thanks for the great article! I have been really enjoying the latest Ezone 98 305g racket. Apparently, some people (mostly two-handed backhanders) say it’s too light and yet the weight and the balance are just right for me as a non-pro one hander.

      1. What do you think about Head rackets? Is there any nice racket from Head with the similar specs with the newest Ezone 98 (305g) you think? Is quality control of Head co. as bad as Wilson/Babolat? Many thanks,

  19. Not much add, Jonatham 🙂
    For those who are not tech freak, I would add a single but useful recommendation. Never change the racket you used for long time and din’t really feel , you need a new one. Racket frames don’t wear (if you don’t hit regularly the metal post (or hard head of the partner ;)) instead of the ball, hahaha …
    I would eventually play with strings, not with the frame.
    But sometimes there is irrational but irresistible need to have a new one – in this case look for a new frame with possibly similar subjective feel as your old one..
    It’s also my case. Don’t recall why and how I have chose years ago the Dunlop 3hundred with hybrid stringset (don’t remember the model but itr was from Kirschner). I used this racket, not finding something, I would not like. Than the “special” moment came. I started to follow DT, so I wanted to try out Babolat Pure Strike (it was 2016 or 2017, I guess). I have still my old Dunlops (always a pair of the same model) with quite an old hybrid set and the Babolat, with DT string used by him 2 years ago.
    For my level and style of the game I can replace both frames during the game and I don’t feel any substantial (subjective) difference). So I would be still OK with the old Dunlops. But Pure Strike is not so popular in Poland (Heads are reigning)), so, when entering the court, I’m mostly recognized as a member of Thiem-Team and that’s what I wanted. After a game or 2 I can continue with Dunlop and nobody notices, I just changed the racket 😉 Only Thiem must cry for a while because of ugly treachery 😉

  20. I’m curious if anyone has tried the pure drive 2021 compared to the pure drive vs. The thinner beam on the vs could make it more maneuverable but is the racket still as powerful and stable?

    1. It is also a smaller head size and more flexible, so it will be easier to swing and should offer more control. Stable – technically it will be slightly less stable on off-centre hits due to the smaller head size but it will be negligible.

      1. Ah, so it’s likely that the ezone would be a better frame for a more balanced game. Thanks! Super helpful because demoing hasn’t quite reached India yet.

  21. Greetings, and thanks for the articles. Care to opine on a racket to outfit a young, inexperienced high school boy’s team? We have a good budget, and after seeing the players come out to the first practice with everything from garage sale rackets to big brothers ten-year-old stick I realize I have to upgrade everyone. Appreciate any feedback.

    1. Thanks.

      How old are they?

      I am not in the US so don’t know the schools too well, do you buy each pupil a racquet and they all use the same on the team?

      I would probably go with something like a Pure Strike, Pure Aero or a Wilson Burn. Maybe the Wilson Clash. And if they are like 11, 12, 13 etc, then I’d pick a lighter model in those lineups around the 280g mark.

  22. Hey, thanks for this write-up. I just have one question, what’s the difference between the Pure Strike 16×19 you tested and Pure Strike 100 (2020)? I have only the choice of demoing the latter, is it similar to the one you tested?
    Thanks

    1. Hi,

      Thanks.

      Pure Strike 98 16 x 19 is 98 square inch head, the Pure Strike 100 is 100 square inch head. Other than that the specs are virtually identical.

      1. Oh, okay, I see. Would you see that for a less experienced player, Pure Strike 100 would be slightly better fit, given the fact the it likely is more ‘forgiving’ due to bigger sweet spot?

        I will also be demoing Blade 98 V7 and Clash 100, tomorrow. Any advice for demoing? I thought about playing one set with each racket.

        Also, of the three, which one would you recommend for a player of 4.0-4.5? My biggest issue thus far isn’t power, on the contrary, my biggest issue is unforced errors I’m picking up, I more often flat out put the ball out behind the baseline than I kick it in the net. However weird it may sound, it’s like I have enough power but control is lacking. **Note: Using a Wilson K-Factor 93sq inch, model for 2010 I believe (my father’s racket), 324g. Given the fact that I make mistakes quite often by either putting the ball out behind the baseline or in the out left and right side of the field, as well as sometimes kicking it in the net, despite me having a schooled swing etc., I haven’t ruled out the possibility the racket I’m currently using may very well just be too advanced for me or the head too small. Any advice on that?

        Sorry for smotherting you with questions, I appreciate any answer you can provide…

      2. Playing a set with a demo racquet is a good idea. I did write a guide on how best to demo one here – https://www.perfect-tennis.com/tennis-racquet-demo-programs/

        The K Blade is not easy to play with, it is a serious player’s racquet for sure. I can’t say which racquet will be best for you having never seen you play etc, but demoing those three is a good idea and you should be able to feel straight away if one of them suits you better.

        Personally, I would recommend the Clash 100 or Pure Strike 100 out of those ones. They are both slightly more forgiving than the Blade 98 and they both suit a 4.0 – 4.5. Although the Blade 98 will probably feel most familiar given you are using a K Blade at the moment, so it really boils down to which you prefer…

        And yes Pure Strike 100 slightly more forgiving the 98 but there’s not much in it…

      3. Thanks, that was helpful. I’ll check out the article in question!

        I appreciate all the help man!

  23. been picking up tennis for the past few months with a coach. been only a recreational type and been using head liquidmetal 8 (that i picked up ages ago). what racquet would you recommend if i want to pick up a new racket to get better at this?

  24. Hi Jonathan,

    Could you recommend me a current racquet for power, I hit very flat normally.

    I am an advanced player.

    Thank you,

    M

  25. Hi Jonathan,

    Many thanks for this guide, it is very detailed.
    I am an advanced beginner/new intermediate player. I am still working on consistently following through with my FH stroke and do sometimes struggle with hitting the ball too long. I do love the feeling of ripping a pacey winner but I feel i need a balance between this and more accuracy.

    What racket would you recommend? I have been reading the new head speed MP has a good blend between power and accuracy. What are your thoughts about this Vs ezone 100? Or any other options?

    1. Hi,

      Thanks.

      Yeah the Speed MP is a good choice for many players. Compared to the EZONE 100, they are near-identical specs, really the only difference is the Ezone is stiffer so slightly more stable on off-centre hits, and potentially less comfortable depending on what your arm prefers.

      I would also look at the Head Boom MP – https://www.perfect-tennis.com/head-boom-mp-2022-review/ I really liked playing with this frame.

  26. This is an excellent article for a beginner or intermediate selecting a racquet. The only suggestion I’d make is regarding racket head speed and power. You suggest that mass and velocity have the same relationship to power, and that is not correct. “Power” in terms of a tennis racquet striking a ball is kinetic energy. The formula for this is 1/2mass * velocity^2. The speed or velocity in which a racquet is swung has a much greater impact on the “power” of a racquet than its weight. This is the reason for lighter racquets having a higher “power” rating.

    1. Hi,

      Thanks.

      Heavier rackets have more power.

      If you had Racket A (which weighs 350g) and Racket B (which weighs 175g). If you hit the ball with the racket travelling at 100km/h, then Racket A has double the power of Racket B.

      Of course, most people will be able to swing Racket B faster than Racket A. But nowhere near twice as fast, so Racket A is more powerful. The trick is finding the right balance between the weight and your swing speed.

      Lighter rackets are called power rackets due to their head size (more stability on off-centre hits) and their head heavy nature.

      Cheers.

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