Born to a former professional player mother and a full-time tennis coach father, it was somewhat inevitable that Stefanos Tstisipas would find his way onto the professional tennis circuit.
The Greek won his first ATP match in late 2017 and has ascended the rankings ever since, but what racquet does he use that has so far helped him collect five career titles and three Grand Slam semi-final appearances? Let' take a look.
What Racquet Does Tsitsipas Use?
Tsitsipas is sponsored by Wilson and endorses their Blade 98 V7 18 x 20 racquet, and that is the racquet he actually uses in a customised form.
The Blade 98 is the racquet he's used for all of his professional career and a large portion of his junior days.
Whereas the likes of Djokovic, Murray and Medvedev use completely different racquets to the ones they endorse, Stefanos bucks the trend, albeit by using an earlier version of the Blade 98 from 2013.
The 2013 model was the BLX Blade with Amplifeel technology. I remember demoing it when it first came out, and while never my favourite line of racquets, the Blade 98 lets you hit a heavy ball on groundstrokes, thanks to the high degree of plough-through and mass-based power.
What Specification is Tsitsipas's Racquet?
The Blade 98 Tsitsipas is using is not too dissimilar to the retail version of the frame when it was available, and thanks to Impacting Tennis, we know he's added ~10g of silicon into the handle, taking the unstrung weight up to 319g.
There is no sign of lead tape in the hoop, and you can see his full racquet specs below:
|Head Size||98 in²|
|Unstrung Weight||319 g|
|Strung Weight||337 g|
|Unstrung Balance||32.0 cm (~ 7pts HL)|
|Swing Weight||~340 kg.cm2 (strung)|
|String Pattern||18 x 20|
|Grip Style||Wilson Sublime + Wilson Pro Overgrip|
|Grip Size||L3 / 4 3/8″|
Why Does Tsitsipas Use the Blade 98 BLX 2013?
The Blade 98 is a players frame and is best suited to those who want plenty of control due to the denser 18 x 20 string pattern.
Compared to frames like the Pure Aero, the Blade isn't geared for massive topspin, and Tsitsipas isn't that type of player. He's an aggressive ball striker that looks to get forward wherever possible.
The Greek has a quite conservative forehand grip and hits with just about the average rate of spin you'll find on the ATP Tour, and the Blade 98 suits that playing style.
Interestingly on the backhand, there aren't too many one-handers that hit with more spin than him, and the low-ish swing weight (by ATP standards) will allow him to get around the ball more in this regard which helps impart those RPM's.
The 2013 model is one of the stiffer Blade racquets produced, so it has more power and stability than some of the newer models, and when Tsitsipas cranks up that forehand, the ball stays hit.
What String Setup Does Tsitsipas Use?
Tstistipas uses a full bed of Luxilon 4G 1.25mm, with both the mains and crosses strung at 26kg. However, this will probably vary throughout the year depending on altitude, conditions etc. It's a two-piece string job with four tie-off knots, as most pros favour.
Luxilon 4G is a lower-powered polyester string designed for control. It's not the most spin-friendly in Luxilon's lineup but still offers plenty of spin potential and is suited to advanced players who need a poly to ensure they can still find the court when taking full swings at the ball.
Can You Buy Tsitsipas's Racquet?
To get hold of the racquet, Tsitsipas uses you have a few options. If you're not bothered about playing with the latest cosmetics, then finding a Blade 98 BLX from 2013 that's still in good condition will get you his actual racquet which you can then customise to match his specs.
The 2013 model was an all-black affair and I've included an image of it below to help you track one down on eBay etc. Just be aware there was a 103 sq” model too.
The next option would be to buy the latest Wilson Blade 98 V7 18 x 20. This is the latest version and slightly different in construction to the BLX model from 2013, making it lower on the stiffness (RA) scale, but it's not a million miles away from the original.
The final choice would be to pick up the Wilson Blade 98 Pro 18 x 20. Recently Wilson has made some of their pro stock racquets available for retail, and the Blade 98 Pro is based on the H22 mould from Wilson. It can be purchased exclusively from the Wilson Pro Labs series section of their website.
The Blade 98 Pro is a real players racquet, and you'll be getting a stiff frame with a low-ish static weight allowing for customisation. You will also be getting the glossy cosmetics that the Pro's use as they look better on the TV.
Which should you go for? All down to personal choice, I think if it's purely looking for a similar frame to copy your favourite player, get the current Wilson Blade 98 V7 18 x 20.
What do you think of Tsitsipas's racquet specs? Are you surprised he uses a full bed of Poly and not a hybrid? Let me know in the comments.