Home GearTennis Racquets Do You Need a New Racquet?

Do You Need a New Racquet?

by Jonas Eriksson

Something in your game feels off, you’re not happy with your recent results and one of your key shots isn’t working as it should. Do you need a new racquet?

The question is that most of the time you don’t, but it’s damn fun to buy one. A lot of the time, the money we spend buying new racquets and strings could have been better put to use with a coach and a few tennis lessons. But on the other hand tennis is supposed to be fun and buying new gear IS fun! Also, there is a reason that tennis players are so picky with their gear = it IS important.

But before you order a new racquet, maybe it’s time to go for a run, take a lesson, think it through and see what happens. Will you be fine with the racquet you have? Maybe you just need to add some lead tape, find a more suitable tennis string or put some blu tack in the handle (silicone is also fine, but messier)?

Maybe you still want to buy a new racquet? New is nice, new can be refreshing, but don’t expect a new racquet to bring you a completely new game. Only hard work and paying attention to your own technique and fitness does that. But if you can find a racquet that feels like a magic wand in your hand and the right string for it, then that hunt is over for the moment and you can focus on the results.

Or if you’re like me, that will work for about 3-6 months before you’re on your next racquet hunt again.

Where are you in the sometimes vicious, often fun cycle of finding a new tennis racquet for your game? Let us fellow racquetholics know. If you need any guidance, feel free to ask your question in the comment field and I’ll do my best to answer. I’ve been around the block a few times when it comes to tennis racquets…:)

Racquet buying guides

Here is a great racquet buying guide to get you started.
What tennis racquet should I buy?
Top tennis racquets to buy right now
The Gear of the Year 2016
Tennis racquets for juniors
Tennis racquets for kids

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AHMET GULERER May 11, 2017 - 16:28

I am using Head XT Instinct Mp and looking to buy mew racquet. I used it for 5 months and I want more stable and easy to spin racquet. I like 97-100 inch racquets. Which racquet should I try?

Tennisnerd May 12, 2017 - 14:05

Hi Ahmet,
There are various options here and it depends a bit on how heavy and how stiff a racquet you can handle. But here are my recommendations:
* Babolat Pure Strike 98 (2017) – stable, spin-friendly – but deemed as “stiff” and arm-unfriendly by some.
* Yonex DR 98 – Great stick, more stable than previous version. Works best with Yonex Poly Tour Pro strings in my opinion.
* Babolat Pure Aero – great spin and quite stable. Potentially quite stiff so depends on if you have arm-issues or not.
* Wilson Blade 98 CV 16×19 – stable, spin-friendly.
* Yonex VCORE DUEL G 97 (310) – solid option with some great reviews.

Please remember that you could add lead tape to your racquet to increase weight and make it more stable. For example lead at 3 and 9 o’clock on your Instinc racquet might make it feel brand new. Strings are also an important part so if you want more spin – there are lots of spin-friendly strings out there. Solinco Tour Bite or Solinco Hyper-G are two strings I gladly recommend.

Good luck and let me know how it goes. Cheers / J

AHMET GULERER May 13, 2017 - 10:13

I dont have any arm issues and I like Babolat and Wilson more. What do you think about Wilson Pro Staff 97? Some people say it has incosistent string bed. Did you try it?

Tennisnerd May 14, 2017 - 08:13

A hitting partner of mine who is a ex high level (Futures/Challenger) player uses the Wilson Pro Staff 97 and really loves them. I personally believe that there are some inconsistencies in the string bed like you mention, but he has used the model since it came out with no plans of switching so could be a matter of personal taste. Might be a bit sensitive to string choice – he uses Luxilon Alu Power strung at 22 kg. Cheers / J

AHMET GULERER May 14, 2017 - 16:59

Today I went to racquet store and looked at:

1) Babolat Pure Strike 16/19 and 18/20 – liked the shape, cosmetic and weight
2) Babolat Pure Aero did not like cosmetic and shape, weight was good

And looked these racquets on web site:

3) Wilson Pro Staff 97 – Liked Cosmetic and shape
4) Wilson Pro Staff 97 RF – Loved that racquet.

First I am thinking to buy Wilson Pro Staff 97 RF but I dont have any chance to demo it in Turkey. So I am not sure if I can handle 340 gr? I started tennis with 320 gr racquet and was very happy with its weight.

So I am in between those 4 racquet and I need your help and advise than I will buy :)

Tennisnerd May 14, 2017 - 18:00

Hi Ahmet,
Tough one! Just had an hour’s hitting again with the Pure Strike 16/19 and though a lot of people think it’s stiff it is hard to deny that it’s a great racquet and feels quite stable for its low weight.

The RF 97 is also a very good racquet, but it can be a lot of weight to handle in a long match.

Very difficult choice indeed. I’d probably go for the Pure Strike 16/19 personally since I like to swing fast, but it is personal taste and depends a lot on your playing style.

Good luck and let me know how it goes! Where do you usually buy your racquets? Cheers / Jonas

AHMET GULERER May 14, 2017 - 19:49

I usually buy them from SPX or local dealer in Turkey. I will write after I buy :)

AHMET May 15, 2017 - 16:14

I decided to buy Pure Strike 16×19 but I could not find L2 size and there is no place in Turkey :( There is L3 size but it is big for me. So there is 4 choice,

1) Pure Strike 18×20
2) Wilson Pro Staff 97 RF
3) Wilson Pro Staff 97
4) Wilson Blade 16×19

What do you think?

Cheers :)

Tennisnerd May 16, 2017 - 07:42

Aha, shame about the L2 size. You can’t buy from Amazon or another online retailer? Well, if you want decent spin potential in a pretty light weight package, I’d go with the Blade 16×19. I prefer the 2015 version (black/green) myself, but the Countervail is nice too. The Pure Strike 18×20 I haven’t tried myself, but since the Pure 16×19 has quite a tight string pattern so I would assume the 18×20 doesn’t offer much in terms of spin although it has received great reviews as well. Cheers / Jonas

AHMET May 25, 2017 - 14:58

After a lot of search, I decided to add lead and heavier overgrip and than try. In Turkey, I found Wilson Tungsten tape.

I am planning:

1- 10 gr lead at 3 & 9
2- 12 gr overgrip
3- 3 gr. vibration bumper

New specs will be
– 325 gr.
– 6 pt head light without strings
– 338 Swing weight

Should I do this customisation? This is my first try. So I need your suggestion :)

Cheers, Ahmet

Tennisnerd May 25, 2017 - 15:56

Hi Ahmet,
I think this sounds like a sensible idea!

12 gram overgrip sounds like a lot, but maybe you add two? Wilson Pro Overgrip is usually around 6-7 grams.

If you’re up for a higher swing weight I think this is a good start!

I have gone from playing relatively head light racquets to around 4 pts HL in balance and I think most modern setups are quite close to this.

Let me know how it goes. The beauty of customisation is that you can always go back or try less lead tape or add some lead on the handle etc.

Cheers / Jonas

AHMET May 26, 2017 - 09:54

I started to customise Head racquet but when I put racquet on scale, I saw that it is 295 gr. instead of 300 gr I am very very confused. It must be 300 gr but it seems 5 gr. off. Is it normal? Is it the same on Wilson and Babolat racquets?

Tennisnerd May 26, 2017 - 13:27

There are usually differences in weight for most brands. Sometimes they can be quite drastic – 5 grams doesn’t sound too bad though. Wilson are probably the worst at this, but pretty much all racquet companies have a few grams variance…

Chance September 9, 2017 - 17:54

I’m a 4.0 player, tall (6’4) flat hitter/no spin, currently hit the 2015 Pure Drive Team, can lose control on some of my forehands. Any racquet suggestions that would be worth a try demoing? Thanks, love your site!

Tennisnerd September 10, 2017 - 13:25

Sounds like you need a less powerful racquet. I’d check out the Prince Textreme Tour 100P or a Babolat Pure Strike 16×19, or the Wilson Blade 98. This is obviously a bit depending on your game style, but these are all relatively lightweight, easy to use, and slightly less powerful than the Pure Drive.

Let me know how it goes and thanks for the kind words! Cheers / Jonas

James January 11, 2018 - 21:41


I’m getting back into tennis after a 10+ year layoff after being semi-competitive in highschool and college. I actually tried to get back in a few years ago, found I couldn’t play like I used to and got too frustrated to continue. Then I tried hitting some of my friends sticks (Liquidmetal Radical MP 18×20) and found I could feel the ball on my strings and place it where ever I wanted, and I realised that maybe my old rackets just weren’t suited to a game where I don’t just run a million miles far behind the baseline swinging as hard as I can with an extreme western grip. My old sticks were stiff, open string pattern nCodes (and them having years old string probably didn’t help). So I switched to a semiwestern grip, started stepping into the baseline and found that I really love narrow beam, flexy rackets. I’ve demoed a bunch already, I liked the feel of the Babolot Pure Control so much I picked one up right away. The problem I’m having now is with such a dense string bed, I can’t just flick my wrist and get a ton of spin on balls when I’m rushed on defense, so I’m thinking about trying some more open string patterns. So far the ones I’ve liked are the microgel radical, the revpro prestige (tho the 93 inches made a sweet spot too small for my imprecise swings), and the volkl organix G9. I didn’t like anything out of the wilson burn line, or the pure strike line, which felt “hollow” too me on contact, for lack of a better word. I also tried a bunch of less “player” oriented rackets but hated everything bellow 11 ounces or above 98 sq in, which again killed all the feel for me. Any suggestions for new things to try? The new dunlop/srixon is top of my list, but some of the yonex sticks with 16 mains look like they might give me that easy spin I’m looking for. Thanks for any thoughts!

Tennisnerd January 12, 2018 - 09:59

Hi James,
Thanks for your e-mail and your story.

I understand where you’re coming from. Racquets I think you would enjoy:
Yonex VCORE 95D
Prince Textreme Tour 95
Tecnifibre 315 ATP ltd
Yonex Ezone DR 98
Angell K7 Red

This all offer nice flex, are manoeuvrable yet stable and provide enough spin. Remember that strings are a vital part of the racquet as well and can increase your spin potential quite a bit.

Good luck! Cheers / Jonas

Lars July 18, 2019 - 00:32

Been playing for a long time, and was once at a pretty high level, but the last few years something has always felt off. My latest racquet is a PS97 (non autograph) and while I like it okay, balls sail for no reason and the weight seems off. Same for all the 16×19’s I’ve used for the last 10 years or so! I recently dusted off my old Pro Tour 280 and like magic, everything improved. I’m considering buying some PT57A’s I found for sale, but obviously they are expensive (and used, if only slightly) at 250€ each. I’m also considering the Ultra Tour (thanks impart, to your articles!), but I hit with it for just a few minutes and I think I’d have to modify it heavily (which I’ve never done-oops!) to get the right balance, and who knows how it will feel compared the the magic wand. Any thoughts or suggestions on the matter? Thanks for your great work!

Tennisnerd July 18, 2019 - 09:35

Hi Lars,
I would recommend you to try the Srixon Dunlop CX 200 Tour, either in 16×19 or 18×20. Some lead tape at 3 and 9 and you have a magic wand! If you don’t want to do any customization, the HEAD Gravity Pro comes controlled and stable, straight out of the box.

Good luck! / Jonas

PETER PACIONE August 9, 2019 - 20:19

I am a 6 feet 2 inch senior player and now find myself playing more doubles than singles.

I recently switched from HEAD RAD MP to BABOLAT PURE DRIVE 107 hoping for better net performance. I would like to twin this racquet, but before I do I hope to better the performance if possible. Should you have other recommendations, I am eager to hear.

I like the feel hitting ground strokes and would like to ask what string you feel will optimize this racquet?

BTW I just subscribed to your VIP program and anxious to read more of what youre doing.

Cheers / Peter

Tennisnerd August 10, 2019 - 06:52

Hi Peter,
Thanks for your support! The benefit of Patreon is that you can message me directly there and there will also be exclusive content every week. Videos and text…

The Pure Drive 107 could be a good doubles stick. It will take more effort for you to swing it because of the larger head size, but you will have an increased margin for error in rapid doubles play. It is quite a change so interesting to hear how you will like it.

If you don’t find enough stability, there are a few other oversize options you could try:
HEAD Gravity S
Wilson Blade 104
HEAD Radical OS (you could go with any version here)

I would string the Pure Drive with Babolat RPM Blast Rough (more control) or a Solinco Tour Bite Soft (softer feel) at around 50 lbs and see if you need more power or less. Then you can bump up the tension.

Let me know how it goes!

Regards / Jonas


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