General TennisTennis Equipment

How To Choose the Right Tennis Racquet

This article takes a look at how to choose a tennis racquet that will suit your game. Think of it as a short buying guide, where I will break down what the specifications mean, what you need to look out for and I'll also make some recommendations for the best tennis racquets to buy in 2017.

Unfortunately, a lot of people tend to fall into the trap of buying a racquet just because their favourite player uses it or they fall in love with the idea of the “control” and “feel” that the racquet manufacturer promises in their advertising campaigns. In some scenarios that may work out just fine but it could lead you to buy the wrong racquet for your game.

Top Tip

Don't buy into the various marketing guff used by the manufacturers about how they have improved their new line of racquets tenfold this year to have more feel and control. A good racquet will last you 5 to 10 years if you take care of it. So like Apple and the iPhone, they have to dress up the advancements to make sure you part with your cash at more regular intervals.

I'm a beginner, what racquet should I buy?

The most common question on any tennis forum from beginners is what racquet I should buy? And the most common advice tends to say ‘buy the cheapest model when starting out'. I disagree with that as it will negatively impact your game and lessen your enjoyment of the sport.

If you're planning on playing once every blue moon then, by all means, pick up a bargain bucket racquet. But if you're looking to play frequently and get to a certain level then you might want to consider reading this guide.

That way you're not starting off with a flimsy racquet that could lead you to develop bad habits. Or feeling like you're never going to learn the sport correctly.

What Types of Racquet Are There?

Generally speaking, racquets can be broken down into three different types, and each type is then made up of 5 key attributes. I'll break down each category below, and I'll show some example racquets for each – they're ones I've used personally, heard positive things about from several sources or demoed.

1.) Beginner Racquets for Power and Game Improvement

wilson pro staff 97ls

Typically these are light rackets that feature large/oversized head sizes, around 107-135 inches. They also have a heavy head balance and are for players with short, slow swings who need the racquet to help them generate power.

Best Beginner Tennis Racquets:

Racquet Headsize  Weight String Pattern
Wilson Blade 98L 98 sq. in 265g 16 x 19 Check Price
Wilson Pro Staff 97LS 97 sq. in 270g 18 x 16 Check Price
Yonex EZONE DR Lite 100 sq. in 270g 16 x 19 Check Price
Babolat Pure Aero Lite 100 sq. in 270g 16 x 19 Check Price
Tecnifibre T-Flash
265 ATP
100 sq. in 265g 16 x 19 Check Price
Wilson Burn 100LS 100 sq. in 280g 18 x 16 Check Price
Prince O3 Blue+ 110 sq. in 265g 16 x 19 Check Price
Head Graphene XT
Instinct REV Pro
100 sq. in 255g 16 x 16 Check Price
Head Ti S6 Titanium 115 sq. in 225g 16 x 19 Check Price

2.) Intermediate Racquets – Inbetweeners

babolat-aero-drive-pro

These are racquets, as the name suggests somewhere between beginner and advanced. They often blend features from the categories either side of them. Weight wise they are medium weight (9-11oz) usually slightly head light and have reasonably large (or mid plus) head sizes. They offer a tad less power than the beginner racquet but consequently provide more feel.

Best Tennis Racquets for Intermediate Players:

Racquet Headsize  Weight String Pattern
Babolat Pure Aero
(My top pick)
100 sq. in. 300g 16 x 19 Check Price
Wilson Blade SW104 104 sq. in. 306g 18 x 29 Check Price
HEAD Graphene
Touch Instinct MP
100 sq. in. 300g 16 x 19 Check Price

3.) Advanced rackets – Control Orientated Racquets

Wilson Blade 98 Countervail

Advanced racquets are of course the type used by professional and high-level club players. They are typically heavier in weight (11.5-13+ ounces), have smaller heads sizes along with thinner and more flexible beams. The balance will usually be head light to keep the manoeuvrability. Advanced racquets are more suited to players who generate pace on the ball and need a lot of control.

Best Tennis Racquets for Advanced Players:

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 x 19 Countervail
98 sq. in. 304g 16 x 19 Check Price
Babolat Pure Strike
16 x 19
98 sq. in. 305g 18 x 19 Check Price

What Factors Do I Need To Consider When Buying a Racquet?

Throwing personal preferences for design out of the window there are only a few characteristics that you need to consider when buying a racquet:

  1. The weight of the racquet
  2. The string pattern of the racquet
  3. The balance of the racquet
  4. The stiffness of the racquet
  5. The head size of the racquet

That's it! Forget kevlar, basalt and the rest of the new materials. Those five things govern the playability of any racquet available today. Of course, the strings in the racquet make a huge difference, but that's another talking point.

Try to remember that one racquet manufacturer doesn't have access to technology that another one doesn't despite what they might tell you in their brochure.

If you play with a Wilson 95sq” and then a Dunlop 95sq” with similar specs and the same string you're not going to feel a whole world of difference. Sure you'll have your favourite, but it's unlikely to be a result of ‘modern technology'.

Weight of a Racquet

The weight of the racquet decides how powerful it's going to be. It also determines how it feels in hand and how easy it is to swing.

When it comes to the weight of the racquet, generally speaking, the heavier the racquet, the more power it has.

The other impact weight has the stability of the frame when you make contact with the ball. Again, it's simple physics, when there is more mass at the point of contact, there is less change in the stability of the racquet in your hand. As a result, heavier racquets feel more stable than lighter ones.

So what weight racquet should I buy? What is better – lighter or heavier? The answer here is it boils down to an individuals strength and conditioning.

The right weight tennis racquet will allow a player to swing equally on all the main points of contact. By that I mean it doesn't matter whether it's a shoulder high ball, or a low ball – you can accelerate the racquet with smaller muscle groups without fatiguing too quickly or losing efficiency.

For example, there's no point having a ridiculously heavy racquet that lets you blast winners on the forehand but tires you out when hitting high balls on the backhand. This will negatively impact all areas of your game and make you enjoy the sport less.

A lot of first-time players tend to opt for lighter racquets purely for the fact they feel easier to play with. This often hampers the way they develop their strokes as they never take a full swing at the ball.

If you are an adult male planning on playing regularly, then I'd recommend going for a reasonably heavy, head light (discussed in the balance section below) racquet somewhere between 30-320 grammes and balanced 5-12pts head light. For females it would be 290-310g, 3-8 pts headlight, 16×19 string pattern. With a 95-105 square inch head.

Remember skill level should not determine racquet weight so don't pick a light one just because you're new to the sport.

The Balance of the Racquet

The balance of a racquet relates to the weight distribution of the racquet and will either be head light, head heavy or evenly balanced.

I would always recommend using a head light racquet for any level of player. If you take a look at the pro game, you will be hard pushed to find any players in the top 500 that use a head heavy racquet, and there has to be a reason for that.

On paper head heavy sounds perfect as you get a lightweight racquet but with more weight where you make contact with the ball (more power) but as a result, you put the body under more stress which is likely to cause tennis elbow.

Less manoeuvrability and an increased chance of tennis related injury mean you should always go head light or at the very least evenly balanced.

The Stiffness of the Racquet

Stiffness relates to how much the racquet bends on impact with a ball and how that affects the power of a shot. A stiffer racquet bends less and thus allows more power. A flexible racquet bends more, resulting in less power as energy is lost from the ball.

Remember racquets don't work like catapults so if a frame bends back it doesn't return to its normal state quick enough to have any impact on the ball to propel it forwards.

Power aside the stiffness of a frame also relates to comfort and control, for this, I think it boils down to personal preference, and you won't find a whole lot of difference between most frames on the market even if they do have different stiffness ratings.

The String Pattern of the Racquet

The string pattern primarily affects the amount of spin a player can impart on the ball, which in turn affects the durability or life of the string.

The most common you'll see are 16 x 19 or 18 x 20. Those denote the amount of string on the main strings (horizontal) and the cross strings (vertical).

A looser string pattern, like the 16 x 19 allows a player to impart more spin on the ball than compared to a denser one (18 x 20). That's because there's more space between the strings, so they move more and snap back into place, all other things being equal.

A denser string pattern will usually mean increased durability of the string as there's less movement on the strings and therefore less abrasion so less spin.

I recommend a 16 x 19 pattern for most players as you'll have easier access to topspin.

The Head Size of the Racquet

Strictly speaking the larger the racquet head size, the more power a player will be able to generate with all other things being equal.

However, that's not to say a 100sq” racquet will produce significantly more power than a 90sq”.

The main benefit to a larger head size is that they provide more forgiveness on off centre hits, without giving a science lesson this is because the larger head size means, the less the racquet twists on impact due to the distribution of weight across the stringbed.

As usual, there is some trade off as a larger head size will result in less control as it becomes harder to yield and manoeuvre the way you want.

For an adult male, I would always recommend a head size of between 95sq” and 100sq”. Any less and you risk struggling against consistent baseliners, and any more will result in a lack of control or manoeuvrability.

My Top Tips for Selecting a Tennis Racquet

  • Do read racquet reviews, I've reviewed some of the best tennis racquets here.
  • If you're planning on spending good money, demo the racquet first.
  • Speak to people who play the game and ask for advice, contact me if you need any help.
  • Don't underestimate how much of a difference string and string tension make to how a racquet performs.
  • Don't buy a racquet just because your favourite pro uses it

What Racquet Specs Do You Recommend?

For a typical adult male, you should be looking at a frame between 300-320g, 5-12pts headlight, with a 16×19 string pattern and a 95-100 square inch head.

For a typical adult female, I recommend 290-310g, 3-8 pts headlight, 16×19 string pattern. With a 95-105 square inch head.

For more recommendations check out my reviews of some of the best tennis racquets right here.

If you have any questions, post them here too.

Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer – I’ll pretty much try and 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 Fed and tennis in general.

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64 thoughts on “How To Choose the Right Tennis Racquet”

  1. Great article!!
    There is ONE thing I disagree with: Head light/ heavy. It’s simple physics that he more weight you have away from the rotation axis, the les acceleration/ speed you have. So a head heavy racket gives you less power (unless you take huge chucks at the ball) since you accelerate less fast. It give you more control. That’s comes from both my experience (maybe I’m weird haha) and simple physics.

    For newbies, I can’t stress how much the string density changes the racket. Two rackets (dunlops) where One has a less dense string pattern. When I you move back to the dense string pattern, I get the feeling the ball barely reaches the net…

    1. Not sure I know what you mean, head heavy means you are putting more mass further out from the center of rotation and that makes the weight of the racquet heavier at contact than it really is so it will give more power.

      The swingweight will of course be higher, but when you get the racquet moving once you get to the point of contact it’s going to want to keep going so it will hit the ball harder… as a result you’ll have less control.

    2. Simon, you are destroying my understanding of racquets. A head heavy racquet will be much more powerful than a head light racquet. It will also swing faster because of the extra weight in the head, and also because head heavy racquets tend to be lighter in weight. A heavy head light racquet is even worse, no power, and all swing speed must be generated by you.

      You can also use a head light, lighter weight racquet to be able to generate more swing speed – obviously, lighter would mean more swing speed – but it would mean sacrificing even more power i.e. a combination of a heavy, head light racquet. In other words, with such a racquet, you’re on your own. As in, Roger Federer, with his PS90. That’s why he is the greatest.

      Please tell me, what am I not understanding? 🙂

      1. I totally messed up, its about energy not speed… My bad! Which does still advantage speed over wight by the way 😛

        Though I do not agree that it will swing faster. it will have a lot more momentum, but unless you have a large enough stroke, you are not accelerating fast enough. I wont go into formulas here (:P) but for the most power you have to find the maximum of weight AND speed.

        So physically, speed has the advantage over wight in terms of power.

        I have tried those catapult rackets, and they’re impossible to get any debt on cause you swing it too slowly. You just can’t accelerate fast enough.

      2. The heavy head will not swing faster. It would go against conservation of energy. However, the heavier head would slow down less on impact (conservation momentum at impact) thus forcing the strings to do more elastic work which translates to more power.

  2. Hah! okay tard late. I shall get the wooden racket then. Too technical for me to fully aprociate but a great article, Jonathan.

    I wonder if you are woman, should look for a lady’s model? If you are petite like myself (less than 5′), shall I get one for junior? I tend to go for design for anything…..not really sensible, I know 😉

    1. I don’t think they have women’s racquet per se but I would say go for a slightly lighter model than what I specified for an adult male, so under 10 ounces, 16 x 19 string pattern I prefer.

      Justin Henin used a 95sq”, 2 pts headlight and she was 5ft 4″ 🙂

    2. Wanda, there is no hope for you in tennis. That’s the sad and bitter truth, unfortunately.

      Fortunately, there’s ping pong! 😉

      1. Hahaha, very true Sid. I’m hopeless so should forget about tennis racket and stick to a wooden spoon.

  3. I bought a ProStaff 95 too, only two weeks ago (the 2013 version, code 2410-13, printed on the frame).
    I’ve been playing Tennis for only 4 months or so – I’m technically a “beginner” – but I love the weight balance and feel of the racket and I think its “advanced” status isn’t necessarily unsuitable for me.

    My first racket was a “beginner” head-heavy racket – 105 sq. inch, called “Federer Pro” and costing about $80.
    I disliked it because its weight felt flimsy while holding it, but heavy-ish while swinging it, and it seemed to give me elbow problems.

    I play 5 days a week, so I decided the switch wasn’t too early if I was going to take my game seriously. One of my considerations – apart from the 95’s lovely balance & feel, was that it was Roger’s 90’s little cousin.

    PS: The ProStaff 95 was Dimitrov’s racket last year – this year he has switched to the 2014 ProStaff Six.One 95S (the spin friendly version).

    1. Hey Vinod,

      Ah so same Pro Staff as mine? I prefer last years paint job compared to this new one.

      Even if you are a beginner but plan on playing a lot I would buy a decent racquet so you develop shots better. 95 is a good call as it will help develop proper stroke play where you do most of the work.

      Wish I could play 5 times a week, I’d be on tour 🙂

  4. As Federer’s change of racket shows, the 90 is becoming very difficult to use against world class relentless baseliners like Dull and Djoker. But I think the 90 (some people still play with Sampras’s 85) will still be hugely popular with club players, weekend warrios etc. At this level rallies usually end pretty quick, and the baseliners are usually pushers with weak ground strokes. But it definitely is the end of an era to see Fed retire the 90 (think he was the only person left on the tour using a 90). As u said, the advantages of a big racket head size probably taper off after 100 sq.in. The 95-100 range will stay in use for a long time, unless there’s some drastic change in racket technology and the nature of the game.

    1. Well I’ve lost to plenty pushers with weak ground strokes courtesy of my own errors with a 90 :). We’ll see if my change works out when I play against a consistent baseliner soon enough.

      I don’t know many players even at club level who use a 90sq” now either though, there are some older guys sticking with those headsizes but even a lot of them are moving to Babolats etc. All youngsters are yielding Babolat these days, 100sq” toys.

      1. Oh boy! Tell me about it. I’ve only recently switched to a PS95, and I’ve lost to a ton of pushers. At club level, 7 out of 10 players are pushers, at mid and lower levels.

        Unfortunately, tennis clubs are moving toward Babolat. Tennis, as an art will die soon, if it hasn’t already died, that is.

      2. Ain’t that right? I see 1 Wilson for every ten Babolats… Honestly, the only people I see using 90sq” now are die hard fed fans who prefer to have his racket rather than play well 😛

      3. Come to Denmark, theres still a lot of Wilson´and Head on mid/high club level. But still a lot of pushers though. I try to kill a few pr. week but they keep showing up every weekend?!! I guess I just have to keep hitting them hard, take away their time and have faith they will soon simply run out of time 😉

  5. Babolat Aero Pro GT 2012.

    Yes at the beginning Jonathan nearly kicked me out of here for that 🙂
    Than went through the PT Inquisition ( is that what you called it ?) then through my repentance, so now i m good!

    Seriously now : as an intermediate player when I got it , I read it was a good twinner ( Power and Control) racket. I just demoed it along with wilson blx juice 100 which also felt ok and decided on AP i guess because of marketing reasons.
    I can say I m pretty pleased with it. I haven’t put to much weight in stringing it which means less strain on my elbow,
    although it gets tender sometimes. A problem is i get to much power sometimes and if I don’t generate enough spin and/or don’t get good timing on my strikes I tend to hit the back fence a lot. Of course that has to do also with my pure technique.

    I agree with you Jonathan that you should nt get a racket cause your fav pro player uses it cause among many reasons i m sure their rackets are totally different than the ones we can buy. Most probably only the paintwork is the same.
    However marketing is in there so you see Feds , Rafas and Novaks rackets are always bestsellers. Its understandable cause brands step upon the fact that no matter how old we are a part of us remains a child. So we all feel or want to feel a litel bit like our idol when we re out there playing. Ofcourse tennis brands know that better so there we go…

    Two tips from me :

    1 don t get a racket from a general sports shop unless you know what you re doing. I wasted 110 bucks like that getting a crapy head racket that almost killed my elbow. Tennis brands do that: Produce mass low price rackets for general retail sport stores for low prices. At the US i think you can get them even from supermarkets.

    2 It is important to get the appropriate racket but its more important to work on your game. I ve got a tennis friend , of course he is much younger , more experienced player and much fitter that beats me easily with an old aluminum adidas that he forgot when he last restrung it.

    Glad you brought something like that to the table Jonathan even its not the most appropriate of times as Fed is in the battle. But then again it may be the most appropriate time cause its the time when everybody is around now!
    Good subject with lots to say and lots to share…

    1. Cheers Gambler and good tips. The racquet won’t make the player you are right, but it can make some big differences with the right setup, string and tension.

  6. Hi Jonathan. .. I personally have had alot of different racquets and played with them in tournaments. I have played with a couple of different Wilsons but I have to say my favourite is an old 80s racquet the Dunlop max 200 G. It had a small head and the shots and feel I thought was fantastic. But with it having a small head I can remember having a few shanks. But I was lucky as I could play either single handed or double handed back hands depending where the ball was bouncing and what shot I wanted to play. I then played with a Slazenger racquet which was more up to date. Damn I miss the good old days. School summer holidays playingttennis from 9 am till the evening. Happy days 🙂

  7. I wish I could play tennis. I had to give up sports because of my back issues. So, I resort to watching. I’m grateful I can do that. Every cloud has a silver lining.

  8. One of my first racquets was a ‘fake’ Kfactor 90 that was super light, I think its less than 270 grams! Then I wanted a genuine racquet, so the Pro Staff 95 was my next purchase and I’ve been using it ever since.

  9. I would like to offer another take on the choice if racquet. It depends what your goal is but if your goal is to learn to play better tennis a few years down the road, PS 90 is a good choice. Yes, you will hit fewer clean shots at times and yes, you will have to time the ball and the rhythm of the entire stroke and yes, it might take some time, perhaps a year. Maybe less, maybe more. But there are rewards, big rewards. If you cannot afford and instructor a couple of times a month the PS 90 might be just the right choice. Started to play with it about year and a half ago. Used to play with the Babolat Pure Drive before that. After a honeymoon with the PD things gradually go worse and worse. My stroke shortened, i was growing more and more frustrated. Couldn’t place the ball, couldn’t get my SH backhand to work. I was ready for a change. Tried toe PS 90. Must have been a good day because I fell in love with the racquet. The feel was amazing. Sure, I noticed that smaller spot but when you hit it and accelerate at the right time. The sound is wonderful. If often think of it as my instructor because it will immediately tell me when my technique is bad and reward med when I do good. It is probably essential to have some clue as to what is good technique. If you don’t, just copy Rogers 🙂

    1. Smaller sweetspot is a myth 🙂

      The added power comes from the extra surface area for off center hits.

      I would say a 95-100 is a better bet for a new player. Head light.

      1. The fact that you are more often able to make use of the flexibility of your strings says little of the amount of flexibility that is there (for a given force).
        There are always variables one can add for any given frame such as tension and string type, or swing speed. However, keeping those equal, the smaller frame will have shorter strings that will flex less with the consequence that the ball will experience larger reaction forces and it will absorb energy to a larger extent than the strings.
        You can increase the size of the sweet spot by adding weights to at 9 and 3’o clock on the frame which will stabilize the head (by increasing the moment of inertia) when you hit the ball off center. That will add some tolerance to off center shots and to the perceived power for essentially the same reason that you put forward, less rotation of the head, more flexing of the strings but if you remove those weights and instead increase head area (and string length) while keeping the moment of inertia unchanged, the spots size will be essentially the same but power will increase with the increased head size (and string length).

  10. I have used the 2010 BLX since the summer of 2011 and I have loved it ever since I first used it. I string it fairly loose (53 lbs) yet I can still generate great power with it. And of course, the control with the frame is ridiculously good, and it is a fantastic racquet to use on the serve. In the next few months I’ll be getting a 95.

    1. My racquet is strung at 56lbs (I think) with Wilson Sensation strings. Not really an expert on this kind of this stuff, I assume my racquet is balanced in terms of power and control?

  11. Excellent article Jonathan, I always wanted to know more about the racquet specification and categorization and how it impact the game. Well done.
    Myself, I don’t play, I just watch 😉 I planned long time ago to play but family commitments and work didn’t allow
    very bad 🙁

  12. Wow I didn’t expect Federer to beat Tsonga. As I thought like Jonathan and gave Tsonga slight favourite to win. From now on everything is a bonus. I really hope he can beat Murray. Come on.

  13. Great work Jonathan.

    I could use some advice. I´ve played a lot of years with the Wilson nSix-One Tour 90 which suited my aggresive gamestyle very well. But someway down the line I face forced to change to a racquet with a bigger sweet spot so I woulden´t have to hit my singlehanded BH perfect every time. I changed to Wilson Pro 100 which was a really amazing racquet for me. But due to a wrist surgery I coulden´t play with a heavy racquet any more.

    So now I play with a Head Instinct S, 270 grams. It´s a little heavy headed which gives me a little power. But I feel now I´m lacking some power, and eapecially the ability to absorp power from my opponents. I have played around my self lately by putting some lead on the head which gives me the things I´m looking for. So I need a racquet that ways ca. 285 grams, heavy headed. Do you, or anybody else have a suggestion? I have

    I play 3-4 times pr. week now indoors when winter and 5 times per week in the outdoor season. I play at tried the WIlson Blade 98″, felt really great but it was to heavy for my wrist unfortunatly.mid high level, as my club is at the second highest level in Denmark.

    1. Well I’m not professing to be an expert on racquet tech but I would be fairly confident that a heavy headed racquet increases the risk of injury as head heavy means the amount of torque and stress on the wrist, elbow and shoulder will be increased.

      No guys on tour use head heavy I am sure. If Del Potro had a head heavy his wrist would have dropped off…

      1. They do use head heavy racquets, the most part of them including Fed. They costomize their racquets. The one you buy in the store is not totally the same as the one they have. The commentator here in Denmark have recently practised with Djokovic and held his racquet, it was extremely head heavy, which I diden´t thougt his was. Fed´s and Delpo´s is.

        But I´m still aiming for a light racquetabout the 285 but with that heavy head which gives me some of the things I othervise would get from a heavier racquet, it feels like anyway now that I have tried a bit of everything.

      2. I just don’t see that being the case. To my knowledge nobody in the top 10, or even 100 would use a head heavy racquet. Why would they need to? They generate their own pace.

        Del Potro surely cannot use head heavy with his wrist, he is risking further injury.

      3. You are correct, no pro player within the top 500 uses a head-heavy racquet that I am aware of. Players like Tomic (I am not a fan) need immense control and can generate their own power, so they rely on their own technique and footwork to generate power, not additional weight on their racquet heads. Also, as aforementioned, additional weight adds stress to elbows, shoulders, and wrists, and that is the last thing any professional player wants.

  14. Great article. Always love reading about this stuff. Oh and yes Wilson is my real name. It’s on my birth certificate. Weird parents that don’t even play tennis. I just want to say that I currently play with last year’s PS 90. I enjoy it but I miss my old PS 85. I still think it’s the greatest racquet I’ve ever owned. I don’t tend to change equipment very often. I started with a Head radical OS when I first started at 15. Lanky kid and that’s what my coach suggested. Kinda strange but the strokes he taught me were all super old school. Long looping forehands and one handed backhands. I think I switched to a Head radical mid plus after 2 years as I found the OS too powerful. That racquet felt great then. I eventually switched to the PS 85 by mistake actually. I bought it for my brother cos he wanted Sampras’ racquet and I gave him a hard time for it. Haha. Until I asked to play with it one day. And that’s all she wrote. The control and feel is just unreal and at net it’s a killer. You just have to think it and it’ll do it for you. Haha. I’m not a ranked pro or anything here but the racquet works well for me. It forces you to strike well because of the small head. I can still hear my coach’s voice in my head. Always keep your eyes on the ball!!! It’s not the most powerful racquet in the world. Most times it feels like I’m playing with a wooden paddle given I do max out the tension in my strings at 60lbs. But given my swing type and how I like to kill the ball sometimes, I think it works cos in a weird way the lack of power compensates and makes it more forgiving in that sense. Haha. I sound a little crazy right now. But I would never recommend playing with the 85 if you’re a beginner though. You know what kind of mistakes you’re making with it. It let’s you know what you did wrong but i would recommend a coach first so at least you have the right swing first. I would recommend the intermediate racquets you described for beginners. I really feel like the light, head heavy and oversized heads are completely useless because you will not develop a proper swing. Just my opinion. In the meantime I’ll stick with my PS 90 for now. I’ve played with it for almost a year now and it works well enough. It is heavy though and on my first serves I can feel like my shoulder problem is coming back. I mean the 85 would give me the exact same problems. I’m 36 now. The only reason I’m not playing my 85 is cos it’s in Toronto. I moved to Milan 2 years ago and haven’t had a chance to go home. When I do, you can bet I’ll be back playing with my 85. Have a good one guys.

    1. They should be supplying you with free racquets for all this free advertising 😀

      Thanks for the comment, never used a PS85 but would love to try.

      Clay courts only in Milan?

      1. Tennis Warehouse is still selling the old PS85 racquets! I might might buy one for my ‘Federer Racquet’ collection!

  15. Excellent article, Jonathan! I’ve just ordered demos of the Wilson Blade 98 & Yonnex Ezone. I look forward to trying them out this week,

  16. I’m having some trouble finding a new racquet. I currently use a Wilson Tidal Wave BLX and I’m having a bit of trouble with tennis elbow. I like to hit from the baseline really deep with a lot of top spin. I do hit with quite a lot of power as well. I’m heading towards more advanced playing at this point – still need some work at the net and some consistency. Do you think the Blade 98 would be good to try or do you have any other suggestions?

    1. Hi,

      I’m not familiar with that racquet and can’t see the specs. Do you know if it’s head heavy or head light?

      Usually tennis elbow stems from something in the technique causing it, and then the racquet and or strings make it worse.

      It’s prob best to try softer strings first and see if it makes a difference?

      As for a new frame, can you demo some? The Blade 98 is a solid frame, might be a bit heavy. From what I can see about the Tidal, you’d be going from a 105 sq ” head to a 98″ so it will take some time to adjust. I would say give the Blade 98S a try….

  17. Brilliant article. I’ve read so many about ‘how to choose a racket’ and absolutely none of them have helped, whereas yours explains everything clearly and provides examples and guidelines as to what to pick at the end of each section.

    1. Do you mean size? Grip the racquet, you should be able to fit the index finger of your other hand between the gap between your fingertips and the palm. If you go on YouTube there are some guides.

      Test a few out and see which is best, I’d always go thinner on the grip as you can always add an overgrip if required.

      1. We’ll, you should *always* use an overgrip. Way easier and cheaper to replace. If the main grip gets dirty with dust+sweat+skin debris, it’s a disgusting sight and you are in for an expensive and not so easy operation. My favourite setup is a leather grip plus Wilson Pro o.g. on top. The leather might put you off by ~20 €/£/$ but it will last a lifetime and give you a great feel for the grip bevels and ball impact.

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