Tennis EquipmentTennis Racquets

Best Tennis Racquets For 2020 – Buyers Guide

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

Are you looking for a new tennis racquet but unsure about which one to buy? Take a look at my recommendations on finding the best tennis racquet 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 racquet and want to make sure it's the right one for you
  • you want to change racquet spec, but you don’t know what to change
  • you have a racquet in mind but want someone to provide a second opinion

Who this guide is not for:

Let's begin.

Contents hide

Why There is No Such Thing as the Best Tennis Racquet

Fed Pro Staff 97

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

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

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

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

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

Giving any racquet ‘best' status is misleading, and the result is consumers parting with their hard-earned cash on a racquet 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 gain a better understanding of tennis racquets and that will put you well on the way to finding the best tennis racquet for your game.

How To Choose The Best Tennis Racquet

choose-racquet

Hop on any tennis forum, and you'll quickly realise that buying a new racquet is a difficult and tricky decision for most players. There are hundreds of posts asking questions like “which racquet should I buy?” “what is the best tennis racquet brand?”  “what tennis racquet 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 are often sharing purely anecdotal evidence which only further confuses the process.

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

If you can find a tennis racquet that you can accelerate on all shots/contact points without tiring quickly, then you have found the best tennis racquet 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 racquet is: do not believe the hype.

All the marketing material from the racquet brands focus on the size of the sweet spot, the power of the racquet 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 racquet technology in the last 20 or 30 years. 

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

Assuming you're not hitting thousands of balls a week with the same fury as Rafael Nadal then a well-made tennis racquet 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 Racquets Work For You

Contact Point

Hitting a tennis ball with a racquet is an example of an unbalanced force acting upon an object in motion. We are taking a heavy object (the racquet), and 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, but that process of momentum transfer means there are only really five characteristics of a tennis racquet 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 racquet
  • The balance of the racquet
  • The stiffness of the racquet
  • The string pattern of the racquet
  • The head size of the racquet

That's it! The next job is to try 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 racquet our favourite players uses. The truth of it is that pretty much every mainstream brand out there makes good quality tennis racquets.

This often means racquets 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 racquets when playing with them. In reality, the only difference is the shape of the grip and the colour of the paint job.

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

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

Choosing a Tennis Racquet Based on Those Five Characteristics

Choosing A Racquet Specs

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

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

The key to picking up the ideal racquet 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 racquet 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 arrive at that point.

What Weight Tennis Racquet is Best?

Racquet Weight

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

Unfortunately for some reason, an old wives tale has spread meaning a lot of 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 racquets 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 racquets give more power?

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

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

With that in mind, I recommend playing the heaviest racquet 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 racquet, you need to demo several racquets and see if you can you swing them easily on all planes of contact without quickly fatiguing. That is why I recommend making sure you test racquets against players you usually have a hard time against.

Out of all the people you play with currently, intend to play, or want to be able to play against in the near future, 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 racquet is, and anyone can convince themself that a racquet is brilliant when they test it out for 20 minutes against Auntie Annie and her chipped forehand. 

The acid test here is when you play a competitive match, and you are on the run, can you get the racquet around on the ball, and hit it on time? Or are you always late? If you are late on the ball too often, your racquet is probably too heavy.

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 racquet 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 exact same weight instead.

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

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

Heavier racquets 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 racquets which makes them overly heavy. It will feel great smoking balls in the warm-up, but when a match begins, and they are late at contact because they are trying to pull too much weight through too quickly and can’t handle it.

What is the right weight tennis racquet?

For a normal 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)

For a normal adult female, the weight should slightly lower: 280-310g (10.2-11oz).

Weights quoted are for an unstrung racquet. 

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

It is ok to buy a racquet with a little 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 racquet to grow into it if you are not prepared to put in the work.

What Balance of Racquet is Best?

Racquet Balance Head

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

The balance essentially controls one thing: the ‘swing weight’ of the racquet. You will see the terms head-heavy and head light when reading production descriptions or reviews.

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

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

This extra strain means head-heavy racquets are a significant cause of ‘tennis elbow’ and other tennis-related injuries. This is why I advise you to stay clear of ‘beginner’ tennis racquets. All you get is a racquet 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 there is 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 racquet, the more headlight 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 Racquet is Best?

Stiffness Rating

The stiffness of a racquet contributes to power and comfort. A stiffer racquet 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 how does that relate to comfort? This is a tricky one and often boils down to personal preference. But is softer always better? When a racquet 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 in will affect the comfort far more than the racquet stiffness, so it is never my most significant consideration but if you have, or are worried about arm problems then try to go for a less stiff racquet. A lower number rating indicates a more flexible racquet and the higher number a stiffer racquet 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 racquet, e.g. 16 main strings x 19 crosses. In terms of how the racquet plays, the pattern effects string bed stiffness and spin potential.

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

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.

For most players, I recommend a looser 16 x 19 pattern 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 to say a 98sq” frame is more powerful than a 95sq” while all other specs are the same isn't always necessarily true.

What you do get with a larger head size racquet though is increased rotational stability as there is a broader surface area of strings. The further from the centre of the stringbed the weight of the frame is distributed, the more force is required to twist the racquet in your hand.

As a result, when you hit a ball off-centre, the racquet can resist twisting more which helps to reduce the miss-hits and balls flying where you don't want them. This is why you will see the term ‘forgiving’ in many racquet 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 racquet when they want to. For example, on an angled volley or when trying to close the face add more spin.

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

The Best Racquet Specification For Most Players

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

For typical adult male:

280-320g, 5-12 points headlight, 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 headlight, 16×19 string pattern, 98-105 sq” head size. Stiffness to personal preference after demoing.

The Five Best Tennis Racquets For 2020

Yonex Ezone 2020

Based on the recommended specs above, below are what I consider five of the best racquets 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 racquet does not mean it's the ideal one for your game.

Quick Comparison

Racquet Headsize  Weight String Pattern  
Yonex EZONE DR 98
(My top pick)
98 sq. in. 310g 16 x 19 Check Price
Wilson Blade 98 16×19 v7 98 sq. in. 305g 16 x 19 Check Price
Babolat Pure Strike
16 x 19
98 sq. in. 305g 18 x 19 Check Price
Wilson Clash 100 Tour 100 sq. in. 295g 16 x 19 Check Price
Yonex VCore Pro 100 100 sq. in. 300g 16 x 19 Check Price

The Yonex DR 98 – My Favourite Racquet of 2019 (New model due in 2020)

ezone-98-dr-tennis-racquet

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One of my all time favourite racquets was the Yonex EZONE Ai 98 so when I demoed the EZONE DR 98 I was full of expectation. And guess what? It didn't disappoint. This racquet was my favourite of 2019 and suits lots of different game styles. It blends power, control, spin, and manoeuvrability all into one. Yonex quality control is one of the best and in this latest model they've done a very good job at improving feel and stability up at the net while keeping the excellent playability and performance from the AI line.

Want even better news? With a new Ezone line due before the 2020 Australian Open, you'll be able to pick these up at a discount very soon.

Yonex Ezone Dr 98 Specification

Head Size 98 sq. in.
Length 27in
Unstrung Weight 310g
Balance 12.7in / 32.26cm / 6 pts HL
Swingweight 324
Stiffness 62
Beam Width 23mm / 24mm / 19.5mm
Composition HM Graphite, Nanometric DR, Quake Shut Gel
Power Level Low-Medium
Stroke Style Medium-Full
Swing Speed Fast
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 racquets
  • Feels very stable at the net
  • Perfect racquet for the modern tennis player

Cons

  • Not the cheapest
In my opinion, the EZONE DR 98 is a racquet that all intermediate and experienced players should demo. If you want a blend of modern power and forgiveness with traditional precision and feel, then this racquet is a worthy contender.

The Wilson Blade 98 16 x 19 V7

Blade 98 16 X 19 V7

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I've hit with a couple of Wilson Blade's over the years and it's always been a racquet I've enjoyed. While not one I've picked as my go-to frame, it's easy to see why the Blade 98 is one of the most popular and recognisable racquets out there.

The latest version of the Blade line is the 2019 version called Wilson Blade 98 16 x 19 V7 and it comes with something Wilson call FeelFlex technology which is similar to the FreeFlex in the much-talked-about Wilson Clash range.

While that is a typical gimmicky marketing style name, it does mean this iteration of the Blade has a slightly more flexible frame designed to give more of a ball pocketing feel. After hitting with the V7 I found that is certainly the case and partly the reason this is my favourite version of the Blade to date.

Before we get onto the nuts and bolts of this frame and why I like it, I have to say I think the design of the Blade is top-notch, and it's one of my favourite looking racquets. 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's been a top seller for a number of years. So, how does it play?

How The Blade 98 V7 16 x 19 Plays

The Blade I used was a 16 x 19 model, strung with Babolat RPM Blast (strung at 55lbs) and no other modifications. Quite a spin/control orientated setup which isn't my natural style of play but I've hit with RPM Blast hundreds of time so this was ideal for getting a quick understanding of how the frame played.

My first thoughts after hitting a few balls in anger were the V7 offers way more feel than the Countervail version from a couple of years ago. 

I felt the ball on my strings that little bit longer which is ideal for my game as I use the slice on the backhand often and play with a fair bit of variation.

The one criticism I had of the last Countervail version of the Blade 98 was that it had a rather muted feel. The Countervail technology seemed to take some feedback away from the racket but with the V7 that is not the case.

That's not to say the V7 will be better for everyone, the dampened feel of the CV version will still appeal to a lot of players, especially those who have grown up using stiffer, muted racquets. However, I think this version of the racquet plays better than the Countervail model which felt a bit like I was playing with a frying pan on some shots.

In terms of comparison to the 2015 Blade 98, the older racquet gives you a bit more power and stability but was quite hard on the arm, while the latest V7 edition is more comfortable and slightly easier to play with.

Why I Like the Blade 98

The biggest plus of the Blade 98 V7 is comfort and feel. Not quite as good as the Yonex Ezone 98 in my opinion but with the Blade 98 V7 you'll get a smooth feeling on your groundstrokes and the 16 x 19 string pattern provides plenty of controllable power as the strings are relatively close together. 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 meaning there is nothing I can say I particularly dislike about it.

If you are a more control-oriented player who likes to mix it up with a lot variation, then the Blade 98 V7 could be your new weapon of choice. If you like to spank topspin balls like Nadal from the baseline, there are other racquets that are better suited to your game.

Wilson Blade 98 16 x 19 V7 Specifications

Head Size 98 sq. in.
Length 27in
Unstrung Weight 305g
Balance 13in / 33.02cm / 4 pts HL
Swingweight 328
Stiffness 62
Beam Width 21mm / 21mm / 21mm
Composition Braided Graphite & Basalt
Power Level Low-Medium
Stroke Style Full
Swing Speed Fast
Racquet Colors Black / Green
Grip Type Wilson Pro Performance
String Pattern 16 Mains / 19 Crosses
String Tension 50-60 pounds

Pros

  • Smooth feeling and controllable power
  • Very stable at net
  • Good plough through on groundstrokes

Cons

  • Not the best racquet if you struggle to generate your own power on serve
There's also an 18 x 20 version of this racquet, but I would recommend the 16 x 19 string pattern for virtually all players – you'll get more access to power and spin. Plus on the Blade 98 the strings are quite close together so you get plenty of control on the 16 x 19 variant anyway. If you're an intermediate or advanced player then the Blade 98 16 x 19 V7 ticks a lot of boxes.

The Babolat Pure Strike 16 x 19 

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 racquets. There's a good reason for that because they make extremely playable frames that suit a lot of different game styles. My favourite racquet from the French firm is the Pure Strike 16×19 which is the racquet of choice for Dominic Thiem.

With the Pure Strike, Babolat has produced a top-quality modern player’s racquet. Compared with earlier models (I played with a Roddick Pure Drive for a while) it is a more controlled racquet that offers outstanding 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

On the court, the features of the Pure Strike amount to a firm response that is both lively and precise. 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 a brings some easy 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, and while the Pure Strike certainly offers those aspects, it is nicely blended with the best attributes of a modern player’s racket too.

I prefer the 16 x 19 variant due to spin potential when 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'm of the same opinion: Babolat has produced a top quality racquet.

The Pure Strike 16 x 19 has brilliant control, great feel, and gives you easy access to power and spin. For its weight, it is very stable, and from my testing, you get the manoeuvrability that is 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, do 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 98 sq. in.
Length 27in
Unstrung Weight 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 the Pure Strike is not the most arm friendly of frames out there
  • Variable quality control (often an issue with Wilson also)
The Babolat Pure Strike has easy racquet head acceleration and ticks all the right boxes for advanced and intermediate players. It's the perfect racquet for any player who wants a zippy, great feeling player’s racquet that offers a nice blend of power, control and spin.

Wilson Clash 100 Tour

Wilson Clash 100

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The Clash range from Wilson is essentially their new flagship product and Wilson are said to have spent five years developing the Clash to produce a racquet designed to kill the notion that stiffer racquets are always more powerful.

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

The two new manufacturing processes are called FreeFlex and Stablesmart. Both these concepts are designed to allow the racquet to bend in different ways and are achieved by laying the carbon fibre at different angles to produce new flex points that competing racquets can’t achieve.

When you think about a stable racquet, we expect it to offer power, spin, and control. However to achieve stability a racket is usually heavier, or stiffer or a combination of the two.

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 fairly thick beam, it is super flexible, which offer comfort and feel. So does the Wilson marketing live up to the hype and provide great power performance with great comfort?

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

But the bottom line is this a powerful, crisp and spin-friendly, but still comfortable and flexible frame. 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

How The Wilson Clash Tour 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 fairly flat hitter on both wings and it's clear that the Clash line is not designed for that style of play. This a big spin players racquet 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 Tour does it's best work so for players who are looking for easy power, spin, more flex and comfort then the Clash Tour is a solid choice.

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

Why I Like The Wilson Clash Tour

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

A cool design, interesting specs and I think a lot of players will find they are able to 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 level of comfort. If you like that style of a racquet and the Clash works for your style of groundstrokes then you might well be on to a winner.

The Wilson Clash Tour is definitely not for everyone, but it is a viable choice for many players, especially those who have or are worried about developing niggling arm injuries.

Wilson Clash Tour 100 Specifications

Head Size 100 sq. in.
Length 27in
Unstrung Weight 295g
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

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

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

Yonex Vcore Pro 100 G

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The final racquet on my list is the Vcore Pro 100; it's a great option for a player just starting out but also 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 racquet pretty good for doubles too as its very manoeuvrable. While it lacks the mass and plough through of the heavier Vcore Pro 97 models, the combination of speed, control and spin produce a stable racquet and given I'm a big fan of Yonex racquets 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 top spin along with the traditional Yonex isometric head shape and it plays very similarly to the Vcore Pro 97 310g but is slightly easier to swing.

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

Up at the net, players who are approaching on a wing and a prayer might prefer a racquet 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 racquet 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 racquets. Psychological or anecdotal I'm not sure but this racquet worked well for my serve as it felt like I could really add some whip to crank up the MPH.

Why I like the Yonex Vcore Pro 100

I titled this racquet as a good choice for intermediate players and I think it fits that mould perfectly. 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 for the vast majority of players, I like what this frame offers.

It's also comfortable to play with, this may be due to the fact Yonex have added their Vibration Dampening Mesh into the handle to help reduce unwanted vibrations. I typically use a dampener (or power pads) but I felt like it wasn't needed in the Vcore Pro 100 but of course your mileage may vary if you want to produce a more muted feeling.

Verdict

The best descriptor of the Vcore 100 300g would be versatile as it does a lot of things well. For control type players who want a lighter weight player’s frame, I think the VCORE Pro 100 is a great option.

For anyone who used the previous iteration of the Vcore 100, then 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 a just a small increase in swing weight.

Yonex VCore Pro 100 G Specifications

Head Size 100 sq. in.
Length 27in
Unstrung Weight 295g
Balance 13in / 33.02cm / 4 pts HL
Swingweight 323
Stiffness 65
Beam Width 21mm / 21mm / 21mm
Composition HM Graphite, Black Micro Core, NAMD
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 racquet 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 on serve, but for control orientated players looking to hit their spots on serve, this is a frame worth demoing.

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 racquet in my Top 5 tennis racquets? 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:

  • For most players, this racquet is too heavy and will reduce their overall enjoyment of the game
  • It doesn't offer better playability compared to some of the other Wilson models currently on the market.

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

So get one of the lighter models 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 racquet for your game. Remember the above is based on my own experience of buying, testing and helping others choose a tennis racquet. Your personal experiences may differ.

Everything I have written aside, the most important thing about buying a new racquet is that you like it. The way the racquet feels to you, the way it plays and the way it looks. If a racquet 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 racquet for you.

If you have to think about the equipment in your hand, then you will not be able to play to your full potential. You should be able to pick up your racquet 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 racquet? Got a recommendation for a racquet 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 I can.

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 tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Federer and tennis in general.

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19 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.

  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.

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