Roger FedererTennis Equipment

Should You Buy The Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Racquet?

With the 2018 Laver Cup done and dusted for another year you'll no doubt have seen Roger sporting his limited edition all red Pro Staff RF97 design for this year's event. If you didn't see it then I've posted a picture below:

Federer Red Pro Staff 97

It's the second new paint job of this year following on from the Tuxedo Frame, and he also briefly reverted back to the all matte black frame for the US Open. The changes got me thinking about the racquet and whether or not it's a good buy — the answer is, it depends what you want it for. So let's take a look at the use cases.

I want the RF97 as a piece of memorabilia as Roger is my favourite player

I say yes, buy it. If it is part of a collection and just something that makes you feel closer to Federer then why not. They're not cheap and it's never going to go up in value as it's mass produced in China but it's a cool frame with a guy that's won 20 slams endorsing it.

It's also the closest thing you'll get to owning one of his frames without somehow getting hold of the real thing via one his Foundation Auctions. Just be aware, it is different to what Roger uses despite what the marketing tells you.

And please don't be this dumb:


Hahaha ‘it's autographed' cracks me up every time 😆

I'm new to tennis and want to play like Roger Federer

That's easier said than done 😀 but it's likely an RF97 is going to put you further away from playing like Roger than closer to it. You might look like Roger when you step on the court, but as soon as you need to swing this thing then the vast majority of players will struggle.

The problem is that the RF97 is a heavy frame at 340 grams unstrung. You might pick it up in the store, mimic a forehand and think it feels great, but the problems come in match situations when you're having to hit high bouncing balls or on the stretch.

The RF97 is an unwieldy frame for someone new to the game, so whilst it's brilliant when hitting balls in the strike zone when it's not you pay a heavy price. That is going to slow your improvement and maybe even take away some of the enjoyment.

So no, don't buy it, go lighter (there are lighter Pro Staff models in the same paint job if you are set on the design). For a typical adult male 300-315g is where you should be looking and I have detailed more about choosing a racquet in this post.

But I've seen the reviews on Wilson's website and tennis forums saying this racquet is awesome?

I don't doubt there are players using this frame and playing some great ball with it. But this is the internet, and most people struggle with the truth 😀 . A lot of people singing the praises of the RF97 won't be quite as good as they're making out. I'll pull no punches here and say most people using the RF97 aren't very good players. In some ways, it's a bit of a fanboy racquet and I should know, I used a Pro Staff Six.One 90 for a few years.

I play tennis regularly and I'm considering moving to the RF97

Fed Pro Staff 97

By all means, demo it but in some ways, the above still applies. Unless you're playing at a very high level of tennis, in which case you're probably not reading this, then the RF97 is unviable for most players.

I know there's some macho aspect to using a heavier frame, and in some aspects, heavier is better. For every gram you add you'll gain power, but you'll also lose manoeuvrability when having to defend. So for most players, a slightly lighter frame does a better job at balancing those two things. In the 300-315g range (maybe even lighter depending on your conditioning), you have high performance in the strike zone and the best possible performance when you're in a poor position e.g. off balance, full stretch.

I personally like to look it at from the aspect of what performs better in non-optimal match conditions. When you play matches you'll be spending time in tough spots and it's your opponent's job to make your life difficult out there.

If you're playing mugs that can't make you run and you barely drop points never mind games then the RF97 will actually be a joy to play with as it's stand and deliver. But if you're facing off against guys that are better than you, then you need a racquet that doesn't prevent you from attacking the ball when you're in a poor position due to its weight. The RF97 does prevent that which is why I don't recommend you buy it.

Other things to note about the Wilson Pro Staff RF97

RF97 ProStaff

If you're a serious player and want to buy this frame you will obviously be looking for a matching pair of them. Just be aware that Wilson's weight ranges between the same model can vary a lot.

The frame is 340g unstrung on the specs sheet, but it can be either higher or lower. I demoed an RF97 that was 356g unstrung so the tolerance levels are way out.

If you do buy, make sure you have a retailer that is willing to help get you two frames that are as close as possible in weight and balance on the RDC machine.

Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Racquet Specification

Property Specification
Head Size 97 sq. in. / 625.81 sq. cm.
Length 27in / 68.58cm
Unstrung Weight 12oz / 340g
Balance 12 pts HL
Swingweight 335
Stiffness 68
Beam Width 21.5mm / 21.5mm / 21.5mm /
Composition Graphite braided with aramid
Grip Type Wilson Premium Leather
String Pattern 16 Mains / 19 Crosses
String Job 7T,9T,7H,9H
String Tension 50-60 pounds

Remember, the above is my opinion and it's certainly not a dig at anyone who uses the RF97, it's just purely what I consider to be true. I've used heavy racquets and I know from testing that I play better with a lighter frame and physics tells me most other players will too.

As always, let me know your thoughts or questions in the comments. What are my chances at becoming a Wilson brand ambassador anytime soon? 🙂


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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  1. I think the racquet looks great when Rog uses it. The red version is especially sassy. But I wouldn’t dream of getting one. It’s a pro’s racquet and at 340+g a young man’s racquet. These days I’m playing with well under 300g and lighter is definitely easier on an older arm. Only King Arthur could wield Excalibur.

    1. Truth about the arm pain when getting older with good hitting partner practice more then three times per week.

  2. Totally agree with your assessment Jon. I play with an Ultra model (300 g unstrung) and its easier to maneuver, also the balance it’s something that needs to be taking into account, like you said not all of us play like a pro and a lighter racquet will help with our game more than this model. BTW, I like the Black paint job much more than the tuxedo or the red one.


    1. Yeah, I think it’s too heavy. Playing with something too light teaches bad strokes, but too heavy and you struggle on high bouncing stuff. So it’s all about finding that optimum. And for the vast majority of players, it’s way under 340g.

  3. I’ve had it for a few months and have really enjoyed using it. Roger definitely created it with his game in mind, as the frame works really well for the serve and the volleys. I prefer a heavier racquet (went from a 120 sq. inch as a teen to the 90, then the 95, and now this).

    1. I would say the frame he uses is different to the retail model, despite what the marketing spiel says.

      How much does your stick weigh unstrung? Close to the specs given?

      1. I don´t know Jon, I was looking through other tennis blogs like yours, and Tennisnerd says that his is actually very close if not identical to the retail model

      2. I’ve seen some of the tennisnerd reviews on Youtube, they are good. Just looked at the RF97 one he did but couldn’t see mention of it being the same? Did he have a retail and one of Federer’s side by side? I am sure they are similar but I just can’t see them being identical…

  4. I’ve had it almost from the beginning, first version with black and red (after the famous all black prototype from Hamburg 2013). It is a heavy racquet, any game over 1 hour will make you feel it. Even though is my third “signed” Roger’s racquet, it is the frindliest and most maneuverable. I tried different strings and tensions on it, personally I prefer a bit loose.
    Plus: excellent for serving and volleys, as long as you have time to adjust for volley. Very well balanced.
    Cons: heavy, for a weak or an incorrect movement you can hurt your elbow – I took a few months break after a loose serve :-(. A bit stiff.
    It is really a pro racquet by all means. Enjoy it but with care.

      1. I’ve gone from max to min specs. Better on 26 to 25 or 26 to 24.5 kg.
        I’ve used also used these Weiss CANNON Black 5 Edge, excellent for spin. Again stiff stings, but very maneuverable.
        Anyway my backend is awful so …

  5. Too happy with my PS 6.1 90 BLX to ever let it go. Tried the Autograph 97. Didn’t like it, but to be honest, I don’t like most racquets I try. The PS 90 was love at first sight and that love holds since 2012.

  6. This is all a bit technical for me.I did wander into a sports shop a couple of years ago to buy a tennis racket for my husband
    as he wanted to start playing again after many years.Naively I asked for one like Roger Federers(LOL).The man said that
    would be far too heavy so I bought a light Wilson one.My husband says he is rubbish at tennis,but hasn’t blamed the racket?yet.

  7. @Armstrong,
    Surely with your name you would have no problems wielding Excalibur.?
    Years ago I saw Richard the Lionhearts sword.To think of even lifting it up never mind fighting with it
    encased in plate armour at the same time.

    1. Annie, my “name” is as misleading as it was of my more famous namesake (the cyclist, not the astronaut). These days my arm is best served by a racquet that forgives my increasingly modest talents. The lighter the better. I suspect Roger at my age would likely feel the same. No broadsword for me. But then the Lionheart didn’t last too long, did he?

  8. @Armstrong,
    Sorry I meant Moniker.Got myself in trouble with Dr Evil also.
    Well as regarding the Lionhearted I believe he succumbed to a crossbow quarrel in what was then called the Holy Land.Perhaps it still is.Ten years a King.His queen Berengaria was the only Queen never to set foot in England.Allegedly.Sorry I love medieval history?

    1. Annie, it’s a passion worth having. Of course the authoritative text is Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I can see how a crossbow beats even a broadsword. Unfair match-up. Queen Berengaria probably played the role of a devoted Mirka. But monarchs then – like professional athletes today – tended to have short reigns. And us commoners have a rather easier time of it today. My favourite medieval king was Henry V. Another short life, Agincourt and all that, and of course immortalised by Shakespeare – himself a monarch of the language.

      1. ‘We are glad the Dauphin is so pleasant with us’Who can forget the menace Kenneth Branagh
        injected into his voice on being presented with a box of tennis balls.

      2. Annie, great film – great play. “And we will serve him up a match that will strike sons from their mothers, … that all of France shall bleed from this jest.” And bleed it did. 20,000 French knights to 300 English yeoman. Henry had a formidable backhand.

      3. “His jest will savour but of shallow wit,
        When thousands weep more than did laugh at it.”

  9. Used to play with the 6.1 95, loved that stick. I broke a racket (unfortunately) and when it was discontinued I trialed a few, and loved the Yonex Vcore duel G 97 (310g), which I bought. Tried the RF97, was just too hefty for me… Though the pure black one is absolutely gorgeous!

    1. Yeah, I’m trying to get friends with a 6.1 95, but it’s tough. If I am on a good day, it’s fine. Yesterday I was on a bad day and sprayed errors all over the place because I could not find the bloody sweet spot twice in a row.
      So, an RF97 is not something I would even consider to start considering…
      A tweener is way better for a 3.0-4.0.
      280 g – 300 g unstrung, fit a soft polyester or a good nylon string and it’s good to go.
      It’s all about getting the most enjoyment possible.
      My gear:
      Favourite stick: Dunlop M5.0, weighed up to ~315 g strung, Dunlop S-Gut. Jack of all trades.
      Second: Pure Drive, stock, strung with X-One biphase (oh, dear, the power)
      Heavy stuff:
      Wilson 6.1 95, just for fun. Lux Adrenaline. 355 g strung
      Dunlop M2.0: 355 g strung. Sweet but not that powerful.

      1. Don’t take this the wrong way, but when my technique wasn’t so good the racquet mattered more to me – I felt I needed all the help I could get. Like some wannabe musicians, I thought the choice of instrument was more important than it was. But as I improved my game I felt could make most racquets work for me – although I would still have preferences. After all, you are trying to make the racquet part of your body – an extension of your arm. Feel is very important. The only thing I specifically tend to favour now is a lighter racquet, because I find it easier on an older arm (and shoulder). A pro’s racquet – like Rog’s – and with his specs – would demand too much of both my level of skill and strength. As in all areas of life, “forgiving” is a key word!

  10. After a 20+ year layoff from tennis I got back into it about 5 years ago. When I started back I thought I’d stick with my trusty Prince Graphite that I’ve kept around out of nostalgia (pushing 13oz.) Weight was never a consideration for me because I’ve only ever played with rackets 12.5oz or greater. Not having followed the game for 20 years, I wasn’t even aware it was a thing. I thought I’d try some “new” technology, see if it made a difference. I tried the Aero Pro Drive for a short while. I loved the topspin, but the debilitating golfer’s elbow it gave me led me to sell them quickly (strings didn’t matter). Around this time the RF 97 had just came out and I decided to try that after reading a heavier racket is easier on the elbow because the increased mass absorbs more of the shock, as opposed to a stiff lighter racket where more of the shock is absorbed by the arm. This proved 100% true for me as my golfer’s elbow was gone shortly after switching. I credit the RF 97 for eliminating the need for me to have surgery, which I actually had on the calendar. I see a lot of articles and reviews talking about how the RF 97 is too heavy for anyone but Roger Federer. Has everyone gotten soft? As a kid, the “old guys” I knew were using 110 Wilson Profiles, 110 Pro Staffs, and POG’s. These would all be considered way too heavy by today’s standards it seems, but I remember some pretty good tennis being played back then. I guess it’s all what your use to.

  11. I can understand this author ‘s idea but his reasoning is not strong and maybe false leading.
    If one play against a better player, like your coach, one is always under pressure and late for anything. No matter how light or perfect of your racquet weight, it will not be easy. This said, this author’s argument against rf97a is false. However, one definitely need some muscle to wave this racquet. For me, my single back hand swing is always slower than I wanted to be. This means more work need to be done. With heavy top spin that jump fast and high, it require more speedy swing. The weight also slow down the swing. This ultimately lead to need of a more muscular arm. Not tennis skill. It’s similar to a k88.

    As other reader mentioned, ps90 at same weight is much easier to swing.

    1. I don’t think the reasoning is false. If you play with a racquet that’s too heavy, which in most cases the RF97 is, then you are going to struggle when you are on the run/stretch. Your muscular arm point doesn’t really work for heavy topspin against a one-handed backhand as you claim. You aren’t using those muscles on high bouncing balls, you are using much smaller muscle groups that tire quicker and are less developed. A heavier racquet makes them tire quicker.

  12. I’ve had pro staffs since 1991. From the Taiwan 85 to the latest 97a. I weighted all my rackets to 365-370g each after some time. Sampras was never a wristy player, hence his racquet weighed almost 400g. I’ve recently purchased a few St Vincents (weighted to 370 each inc lead, overgrip (4g) and dampener (2g) – strung) and the RF97a (367g inc overgip and dampener – strung). The commercial RF97a, I have to say feels just like a stiffer pro-staff original with almost too much power. The St Vincent models are the best in my opinion, the feel is just so accurately defined in every shot. The K88 is the closest to the St Vincent models, even though they are made in China. As a long-term user of the PS family, I have to agree with you Jonathan. Unless you have a lot of strength in your arm and wrist, good stable technique and have the muscular endurance to wave almost 365-370g around for 3-4 hours, I would avoid the RF97a or you will get injured. Either that, or you have played with heavy racquets for a long time and know how to ‘manage’ the racquet with your play style. The balance is also different to the usual pro staff series, and mine is almost as heavy in standard form as my weighted 85s. I play with a wooden JK Pro Staff sometimes, weighing over 370g as standard. I would suggest to anyone to imagine comparing playing with a standard wooden racquet – it’s not much different. Reflexes, defence and wristy shots are seriously hampered with a heavier racquet. You have to know how to ‘stretch’ with a heavy racquet with proper technique or you will tear muscles and inflame tendons/ligaments. Been there. From seeing some comparisons with Roger’s actual fame, this is a very close set-up, his average specs are the same. One has to remember that these pro players are very strong in the arm and wrist and do this all day long. Nobody I know plays with a setup anywhere near mine (I hit mostly flat off fh and bh). I stopped going to the gym, played less, and my arm was struggling after a few weeks. Even most pro’s are around the 350g mark max (except the flat hitters like Berdych). Don’t be fooled, the RF97a is a proper pro stick.

    1. Sorry, I forgot to add that most people don’t realise that Roger has a similar grip to Sampras for his shots. They are not from the modern ‘extreme grip’ era, hence why they can play easily with heavier racquets.

  13. Swing weight is only 335. Serena’s racquet is 341.Therefore Serena’s racquet plays heavier. Sledge hammer racquets have a higher swing weight than RF97. The RF97 is very head light and whippy. The extra mass is in the handle making it stable on hard shots. It is actually racquets that are too light that introduce bad technique (arming shots) and lead to injuries.
    You are right about the quality control, I bought one RF97 that was basically even balanced. Now that felt heavy!

  14. Solid advice, have played At a high level when younger and have always used stiff, heavy rackets
    This frame is a beast and I use it but it took some real getting used to. I had to condition my shoulder to adjust to its weight. It really is far too heavy for most players and I’ll probably be moving to something lighter when I eventually switch rackets. But make no mistake, if you have the strength and techinquey it goes through the ball like nothing else

  15. So tired of hearing that unless you play Slams you can’t use a frame over 315 grams. It’s just false. I play at 4.0 ITR level and I have proven myself and all my tennis partner to play better with a 95 (333 grams) than any other lighter frame I’ve had in the past years.

    It all comes to swing speed, some people just feel more confortable with a bit more weight.
    Of course I’ve youre very small and thin probably the extra weight is going to be too much, but that’s not related to your non-pro technique.
    RF97 is a super forgiving frame, you need to play tennis regularly, have a bit a muscles, and play good recreational tennis. You don’t need to play national tournament to benefit from it. Period.

    1. I recommend between 290-320g for most adult males, unstrung.

      The RF97A unstrung is 340g if you get one bang on Wilson’s advertised specification. It is far too heavy for most players to use effectively. It is immense in the strike zone, but on the run, when smaller muscle groups take over the shot, you are late on the ball and fatigue quicker. Anyway, it’s only a recommendation, I am happy for all my opponents to use this racquet to their heart’s content if they so wish, I’ll stick with my 310g.

  16. Thought I’d toss in a comment or two after reading what all these youngsters have to say (I’m 82 this year). As a kid I played with a Jack Kramer woodie; In college and after I used a Slazenger racquet I think was made from a tree trunk! Later I used a Dunlop Maxply Fort, then a Wilson Hyper Hammer. Finally I bought a Wilson 6.1 95 18 x 20, and I’ve used that ever since.
    I’m amused bhy the wimps who complain about 13-ounce racquets. I modify mmy 6.1 to 385 grams strung, 8 points head light, and I play for two or more hours with little arm fatigue. I’m 6′ 1″ tall, 200 pounds and I hope to continue playing for another decade or two. I tried other racquets, not satisfied.
    Bu the way, my best flat serve hits about 92 mph (not every time!)’ so i must e doing something right
    Enjoy your blog.

    1. Like I wrote in the post, there is a certain element of pride in using heavier tennis racquets. Same story with cricket bats. A 385g racquet will be a terrible idea for the vast majority of the players. The days of seeing players like Muster, Sabatini etc use racquets over 400g are gone.

      There are very few pros on the tour that use racquets that are 385g which clearly must tell you something. They are playing to earn a living. If frames that heavy were great for their game, they’d use them. Even Stan is under 380g and he’s built like an absolute tank.

    2. huh… my kid is a slim 1.80 m 19 year old and he also plays with a 6.1 95 with a leather grip, for a grand total of 370 g. He plays very loose, so I guess it’s mostly a matter of getting used to the heft.
      When I was 17, I was a 1.55 m 50 kg Tarzan and used to bang balls all afternoon with a 350 g aluminum “plow”.
      Nowadays my shoulder gets sour much more easily when I use lighter frames…

    3. I could play with a 400g racquet if I wanted to, it’s not that you can’t use them but they aren’t going to help your game. In a competitive setting, I wouldn’t want to be using something at 370g and I have reasonable upper body strength.

      Just like there are virtually zero (if any) pros using head heavy racquets, there aren’t that many pros swinging ultra heavy frames around and there must be a reason for that. If someone like Stan and Djoker are around 360g / 370g strung, I don’t think recreational players should be using that. Look at Nadal down at like 320g or something.

  17. My younger brother learned tennis by picking up my old heavy rackets. He played since he was 9 with my k90 prostaff and after breaking it when he was 13 switched to a BLX 95. We had a private instructor for him teach him mechanics that were as similar to Fed’s style of play (minimum take-back on forehand and 1 Handed backhand). When he broke his BLX 95 racket about a year ago we switched him to prostaff rf97. He plays close to a 4.0/4.5 bracket at high school and plays tournaments regularly. He loved the racket but there were a few drawbacks which he’s only figured out recently on how to tackle:

    1) on the high bouncing ball it requires a tremendous amount of strength to lift this racket to the appropriate contact point. He has focused on taking the ball on earlier and getting a better read of contact points
    2) Backhand has been the harder shot for him to hit, but he relies a lot more on a smooth slice than he does on hitting outright topspin winners. Has required a tremendous amount of work to get right and he’s still finding it difficult when players pick off that side.
    3) Stiffness of the frame is fine when hitting 2 maybe 3 hours. If you’re playing 4+ hours a day you develop a strain on the arm. My brother had a flare up in tennis elbow during the summer because hew as playing as close to 5 hours each day.

    My take from playing with the racket and seeing my brother hit with it is this:
    – For most players this racket is out of reach (including myself). My technique is too loopy and not clean enough to catch the ball early to make this an effective stick. For those that have learned clean contact and mechanics from an early age this racquet might be possible to wield. But again the factors of time, intensity and level of play will determine if you stick with this or not. I suspect that even my brother will switch to something lighter with time.

    1. Thanks for the comment.

      Ye I agree, the RF97 is immense when you are playing stand and deliver tennis, but on the run against guys who can find angles and spin, you are pulling a heavy frame through with weaker muscles.

      1. Maneuverability is difficult yes, but the place where the rf97 doesn’t deliver is probably against junk ballers rather than aggressive topspin players. Against heavy topspin / pace the swingweight is a good counter measure. Where the racket actually ironically sucks at is generating individual pace off of paceless shots (Slice / deep sitters / even serve to an extent). The amount of effort and swing to “kill” a dead ball is tremendous. You don’t naturally generate any Racket Head Speed to get decent topspin (the lighter rackets excel at this) so it requires just more energy to generate the pace for a winner. It is good against redirecting of pace. I would also say that maneuverability is definitely hampered the most at net. Not sure how quick of a hand you need but getting back volleys is a pain with this racket.

      2. Nah I disagree. The sole reason the RF97 is tough to play with is because of its the weight when you are digging balls out of corners. Your weaker muscles are having to work way harder. This is such a big part of the game.

        If you can swing an RF97 as fast as a much lighter racquet, it’s way more powerful than a ‘lighter’ racquet. Which for players reasonable strength in the strike zone, this is possible.

        I used a KFactor 90 for a long time, generating pace and killing short balls is where this frame excelled, when you bring such mass into play the power is tremendous.

        Lighter racquets don’t generate more topspin. Up at net, the RF97 is also great, super solid frame,, manoeuvrable head size.

  18. I learned tennis in 80s. My first racquet was a Wilson Jack Kramer, then Max 200G, then Prince Graphite II. Maybe that is why I am having hard time to grasp that “it may be to heavy for you” warnings wherever RF97 is in discussion. I always benefited from heavier frames, especially when I am in a defensive position. It is easier to bloc, to chip, to tame the opponent’s Nadal-wanna-be topspins. Do not get me wrong; I have three DR98s. However with them I have to “hit” the ball; otherwise I will be pushed around.

    So weight does not intimidate me. But RF97’s stiffness does. I had demo RF97 along with Yonex VCore Pro 330, Prince 93P, and Prince Textreme 95. RF97 was a clear winner but it woke up my tennis elbow (It was strung with multi). My question is whether it is possible to overcome that stiffness with a full bed of natural gut?

  19. It is definitely a heavy frame and requires a reasonably good physical condition and a half decent technique in order to not injure oneself… and it is markedly less forgiving than the frame I used previously (Wilson Blade 98 16×19) whenever late for a shot…
    However, while playing somewhat similarly it delivers (at least for me) much better on some aspects of the game: impressively solid on volleys, great plow through on my forehand, very good punch on serve, and slicing backhand with this frame is just short of magical imho… Half volleys are also quite impressive… It is a fantastic frame to use when playing against players who hit hard as it absorbs and restitute power like nothing else I have tried.
    I have two frames that play very much the same (identical balance, 365g & 363g strung – 340g & 342g unstrung)… The key, in my experience, is to let the racquet do its job – it it too heavy to try and force a shot and I feel I could probably end up hurting myself doing so – but it does wonders whenever playing relaxed and loose. Being well positioned and hit dead center is a pure joy with this frame… It is not the easiest racquet I have ever played – far from it – but when used “properly” it yields results unlike anything I have ever experienced.

  20. Totally agree. This frame feels heavy as hell and is very unforgiving. Unless you are a technically very advanced and physically strong player, you will struggle to hit the sweet spot even on the easiest of shots. To be good with this frame, you need great anticipation in order to put this behemoth in motion before the ball is past you. The PS 6.1 95 and even the PS 6.0 95, although in the same spec ranges, seem to be more “user friendly” than the RF 97. The RF 97 also makes a funny awkward sound when striking the ball with a full bed of poly strings. It is better suited for natural gut or multi filament strings. I’m a 4.5 level player and, after a set, I feel like I’m holding and wielding Thor’s hammer !

    1. Thanks for the comment. Ye, tough to play with. I love it in the strike zone when you are stable and can get your body through the ball, but on the run? Tricky.

      1. I agree, I have one and is amazing from a still position hitting powerful shots but tricky to handle on the run or attacking especially if it’s in a long rallies match as you get tired as the play goes on. Also if the other player is not a strong hitter there’s not much you get out of carrying a heavier racquet on your end. I have a 100 inch and 290g I can use on those occasions and does the job.

  21. Glad to have found this article – helped me (yet again) avoid buying this heavy racquet. Also an RF fan but drawn to this racquet because it is 12 pts HL (unstrung). Makes the racquet feel lighter than it actually is. It would be nice if Wilson could find a way to make the lighter racquets also so very HL or is that not technically possible?

    1. Thanks.

      You could look into a slightly lighter version of the Prostaff that Wilson offer? Same cosmetics.

      If you made a light racquet really head light, it would have no power unless you could swing it at lightspeed. So lighter tend to be more head heavy to put enough mass into the ball.

  22. I personally have 4 RFAs and like you say, there is a weight discrepancy. My sticks weight +-10g, which isn’t too bad i guess.
    I used to use Head Radical (295g) for over 10 years and then got caught up by the Roger syndrome and playing in league matches, i felt i needed a little more, especially when at the net volleying. The extra weight definitely gives me more confidence.
    So going up by +40g was a major jump. At first i couldn’t use it. Then i watched a You Tube video on tennis and this chap suggested to slow down the swing and adjust your technique to the new frame. I have to say that helped greatly. Now over time i’ve managed to learn how to swing with aggression and get the most from the RF97A. However i do agree with your comments about playing under pressure, it is hard to move the stick when at the end at speed. Guess that’s a trade off.
    Overall, im very happy with the RF97A and if you get the right strings, it feels great.

    1. Cool. 10g is quite a lot though in racket terms for a difference between frames.

      Although it can be used to your advantage if you keep the lighter one in the bag for when you are having a bad day on the court, just that bit easier to swing.

  23. I had used the 6.1 95 in its various models since I was in my teens (I’m now in my 40s). When they decided to end that line and I wanted to refresh my bag, I ended up with the RF97 as the specs were as close to the 6.1 95 as I could get from Wilson at the time. It’s definitely not the same racquet. The RF97 is more cumbersome – not vastly, but it’s certainly noticeable. As was pointed out earlier, I most feel it on a ball that I’m having to take at or above shoulder height. Trying to generate spin up there is not ideal. It’s doable, but it’s not optimal.
    For me the biggest difference with the RF97 is the POWER. The +2 inches in head size, mixed with the more open string pattern (I played with the 18×20 6.1 95), mixed with the stiffer frame created a real problem that took me quite some time to get under control, with a LOT of trial and error on string setup. I still try different strings occasionally to see if I can find more control.
    Lastly, I’ll echo what others have said about spec fluctuation. This is a big issue I’ve had with these frames. Of the four frames that I’m currently using there was a difference of 11g and 3/4″ balance between the heaviest and lightest, and no two frames were particularly close to one another. For reference, I just paired four Babolat Pure Drives for a friend and the gap was 3.5g and 1/8″. Quality Control doesn’t seem to be one of Wilson’s strong suits.

  24. Great insight. I just dropped down in racket weight. I am nearly 50 so learned with heavy rackets; wooden frames, then aluminium, then graphite (Max 200g was 354g). I have to admit to not weighing my rackets until recently. My Pro Staff 97s was set up at 380g [strung head taped and extra in handle]. Those rackets were awesome, but I’ve just changed to the new Pro Staff 98l which comes to 340g once I modified it to fit me as I like. Much nicer on the shoulder and allows me to rip it back in the off balance positions. Its been three years since I was last club champion, so lets see if I can regain that before 50!

  25. Awesome to see people commenting on this article for so long and I will add my two cents. I’m a 4.0 and have always played with a heavy stick starting when I was in my early teens (I’m 40 now). I would say if you are fit and have good timing, good strokes and good footwork, then a 340g racquet (obviously head light like the RF97), should be fine. Obviously to have all those things you will probably be a 3.5-4.0 minimum anyway. But I definitely don’t think you need to be a pro or high level college player to handle this kind of weight. But you definitely need good footwork so that you are not arming the ball. I agree with the author that defending on the stretch will be easier with a lighter racquet, but for me with my one-handed backhand, I like having the extra weight to put extra bite and penetration on my defensive slices (including my forehand slice). I’ve tried lighter racquets and the slices I hit just aren’t the same. Anyway, I have used 12.3-12.6oz racquets my entire life so maybe I’m just used to the weight. As my footwork gets slower I will probably switch to a lighter racquet but for the moment, against players of similar level, I don’t feel the heavy racquet impedes my game. Are there tradeoffs? Of course.

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