Home GearTennis Racquets Exploring Longer Racquets

Exploring Longer Racquets

by Landon Hendricks

We have a new guest contributor. Fellow tennis nerd, Landon Hendricks, has written about Exploring Longer Racquets.

Exploring Longer Racquets

Longer Racquets (“XL, Plus, Extended”) tennis racquets are currently experiencing a modest surge in popularity. If you’re contemplating switching to a longer frame, you may be wondering why it’s worth considering and which one to choose.

Fortunately, the market isn’t flooded with longer options, making the selection process much less daunting than wading through all standard lengths.

In my experience, I’ve found that for an XL racquet to provide the same whip as a standard frame, it should have a balance of at least 6 points headlight and a swing weight in the 320s. These criteria ruled out the Yonex Plus racquets, leaving me with just a few choices. Among these options, I already owned two ProKennex (PK) racquets that slightly deviated from the listed specs, weighing 302 grams and having a swing weight of 295. Still, I decided to try the new Pure Aero+, believing the extra power would come in handy during moments of low energy.

Longer racquets in match play

After a series of practice matches, my initial plan was to primarily use the 2023 Babolat Pure Aero+ for my latest USTA and UTR season. However, my journey with XL racquets had taken me down this path before, and I had my PK racquets patiently waiting in my bag.

While the Pure Aero+ is a formidable racquet, it lacks the connected ball feel and precision I desired. Its lightweight swing had me struggling on the backhand side and eroded my confidence. I often ran around to avoid backhand shots due to my hesitance. It simply wasn’t working for me. On a whim one day, I picked up my Pro Kennex, and the transformation was almost immediate.

The PK racquet offered a significantly improved ball feel, a slightly higher swing weight, more comfort, and an unexpectedly high power level from its thin beam. Its 16×20 string pattern gave me superior control, allowing me to hit with confidence into tight windows. Despite the added length, the racquet’s 8-point balance made it surprisingly maneuverable. Consequently, I rediscovered my backhand and embarked on a winning streak. The PK racquet was a clear winner over the Pure Aero+.

Are longer racquets for you?

So, who should consider the PK racquet or an XL racquet in general? Let’s examine the pros and cons.

The advantages are compelling. The extra half inch of length provides more leverage for groundstrokes and serves, adding power without increasing the static weight. Additionally, a higher contact point on serves typically translates to greater power. I served with more authority from the baseline and at the net without exerting extra effort.

However, it’s not all smooth sailing. I noticed that I was slightly slower in maneuvering around the court for inside-out forehands, causing my shots to the Ad court to go wide. Maintaining precise footwork is crucial because spacing becomes an issue if caught flat-footed. Approaching the net necessitates a conscious effort to choke up higher on the handle, and some players may find that the added length strains their arms and shoulders, even with a racquet as comfortable as the Pro Kennex.

What did I learn during my five months with an XL racquet? I genuinely appreciate its advantages, such as enhanced backhand performance and an extra punch on serves. However, overcoming the feeling of having to handle that additional length can be challenging, making me uncertain about a long-term commitment to XL racquets.

Swinging an XL racquet can be reminiscent of using a heavier standard-length racquet due to the additional energy required for each swing. With this in mind and a desire to bolster my net game, I added a heavier frame to my bag – but that’s a story for another time. Stay tuned for more updates!

You may also like

1 comment

Mark October 4, 2023 - 01:46

The Solinco Whiteout 18×20 XTD is great extended racquet IMO. It is still my favorite for RACQUET OF THE YEAR 2023.

It’s designed with advanced technology and engineering, making it highly responsive on the court. The racquet provides players with excellent power, control, touch, and stability while also delivering unmatched comfort. One of the most impressive aspects of the Solinco Whiteout is the power it generates on serve. It helps players serve fast and accurately- making it very difficult for opponents to return. This feature of the racquet makes it a perfect companion for serve-and-volley players, who need a racquet that can support them during fast-paced matches.

Another impressive feature of the Solinco Whiteout is the control it offers. This racquet provides superb stability, balance, and control- making it an excellent choice for a player who likes to put some spin on their shots. The 18×20 string pattern adds to that spin, and overall, it’s an excellent racquet for accuracy and precision.

Finally, I must comment on the comfort of this racquet. Tennis players often struggle with shock and vibrations moving up from the handle into their hands. However, the Solinco Whiteout 305 XTD 18×20 addresses that problem with its advanced shock-absorbing technology. It provides a comfortable grip and feel, which is essential during long matches.

In sum, the new Solinco Whiteout 305 XTD 18×20 tennis racquet is an excellent product with remarkable features. It’s perfect for players who want an all-around racquet that can help them generate massive power on serve, while also delivering superb control, touch, and stability. If you are looking for a dependable tennis racquet, this should definitely be your go-to option. I was most impressed.


Leave a Comment