Yesterday I had a hitting session with promising young player here in Stockholm. I was playing with my 350+ gram LM Radical Tour and he was using the low-powered 335 gram Prince Textreme Tour 95. Still he was hitting harder than me…
A lot of professional players use really heavy racquets with high swing weights, but not all of them. I’ve seen professional tennis players use really low static weight racquets and still whip up a monster of a tennis ball. It comes down to two things mainly: good technique and racquet head speed.
With proper technique you don’t need to be the Hulk or use a heavy racquet to hit a heavy ball. Sometimes it’s actually more difficult to hit a heavy ball with a heavier racquet because you can’t get the kind of racquet head speed and timing that you want. I’ve always gravitated towards heavy racquets and used to play with a HEAD IG Prestige MP with some lead at 3 and 9 making it 370 grams strung. I would not be playing a racquet that heavy again in a competitive setting to be honest, it’s just too much to swing.
Today I’m gravitating to having starting out with a medium static weight, around 305-15 grams unstrung and then adding lead on top to increase stability and power. The HEAD Liquidmetal Radical Tour is on the border of being too heavy with 335 grams unstrung. Taking into account variances in weight between different racquets, getting a slightly heavier one will make them impossible to match without bumping up the weight beyond my level of comfort.
What is good about a heavy racquet then? Well, the weight helps you with stability and comfort shot will also improve. The only real downside of a heavy racquet is that swing speed will decrease which also might impact timing negatively and reduce the amount of top spin you can put on the ball.
A lighter racquet is usually less comfortable because you need to make it stiffer for it to still be stable and it won’t give you the same weight on your shots, but you can still hit a really fast and heavy ball if you amp up your swing speed.
What do I mean by lighter? Well, in my opinion unless you are a complete beginner, you shouldn’t use a racquet weighing less than 300 grams unstrung. If you take the most popular “light-weight” racquet of all time, the Babolat Pure Drive, it’s very easy to use, spin-friendly, fast to whip around and relatively stable due to its high stiffness rating of 70+ RA strung. The issue with Pure Drive is that it can be too powerful and wreak havoc on your arm. A recent racquet with similar characteristics is the new Tecnifibre Tflash PS 300 that play-tester Chris from TW are switching to as his main racquet.
But then there are lighter, more control-oriented racquets such as the Tecnifibre Tfight 315 Ltd, the Wilson Ultra Tour, the Prince Textreme Tour 95 (not exactly “light” at 320 grams unstrung, but quite head light so relatively easy to swing), the Yonex AI/DR 98 etc, etc. They don’t give you much free power, but are easy to swing and offer plenty of customization options. With a relatively low static weight you can add as much lead tape as you want, remove, add, remove, until you get your desired weight. This is why most pro stock racquets come in at around 300 grams in hair pin form and are then customized to a much higher weight.
Are there any pro players that use lighter racquets? Yes, most players of the younger generation are using lighter racquets on average than the likes of Federer, Djokovic and Murray who all play with massive swing weights. Next-gen players Kyrgios, Thiem, Khachanov and Goffin all play with racquets with significantly lower swing weight and instead hit with massive swing speed. Just watch Thiem and Kyrgios unload a forehand and you’ll see what I mean.
So you can definitely hit a potent ball with a lighter racquet. This is all up to your technique and style of play. I tend to swing much faster with a lighter racquet and recently I’ve been getting better results that way.
Below is a clip of me playing so-so tennis against my buddy Axel who despite a lighter frame still smacks the ball, especially on the backhand side. At least I got some good returns going, which is the way I usually play against younger players. Shorten up the points and go all-in on your strengths.
What weight on your racquet do you prefer? Does a lighter racquet make you play differently? Please comment below!
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