If you are lost on what racquet to use, one part that will make the journey easier is knowing your racquet spec.
I published my MRR-list (match-ready-racquet list) a little while ago. That list became a bit broader than intended because I am testing so many racquets that it makes sense for me to readily be able to switch from a 95 to a 100 sq inch racquet. But that’s obviously not perfect. I have a racquet spec range and to optimize my own performance and play on the court, I need to stick to that and not have too many options. Knowing your racquet spec is key to finding the right racquet.
Sometimes you think you know your tennis and what you like and then suddenly a racquet comes along and throws you off. I never used to enjoy playing with tweener sticks (100 sq inches, light, powerful), but once I found the Babolat Soft Drive that changed a bit. Arguably, that is softer than most tweeners, but I also started enjoying stiffer frames like the Dunlop FX 500. Sadly, the Dunlop vibrates a bit too much for my arm and I have had to rethink that option for the MRR-list. I have also noticed that I hit my one-hander less consistently with a 100 sq inch racquet. And I feel that the sweet spot of most 95 sq inch racquets is too small for my level of tennis.
Rethinking my racquet spec
That’s why I am rethinking my MRR-list and spec range a bit. This is where I’m currently at:
305-320 grams unstrung
32-33 cm balance strung
16×19 (tight), 18×19 or 16×20
97-98 sq inches
20-23 mm beam
RA of 62-65 strung
I have been swayed by quite a few racquets this year. Here are some comments on them.
HEAD Pro Tour 2.0 – Great feel and control – small sweet spot, too low trajectory
Wilson Ultra Pro – Great feel, control, and excellent for customization – Smallish sweet spot, a bit low-powered
HEAD Extreme Tour – Nice power and spin, a bit too powerful, also some instability unless customized
Heysil Tour 98 – Great feel and control, a bit low trajectory, smallish sweet spot
Dunlop FX 500 – Easy to use, powerful, controlled launch – too stiff, a bit too much power
Wilson Pro Staff 97 – Great feel, control, easy to manuever – looking for a bit more power and stability
HEAD Radical Pro – Great feel, control, easy to maneuver – looking for a bit more power and stability
HEAD Graphene 360+ Speed Pro – Large sweet spot, good stability – feels a bit slow through the air
Prince Phantom 100P – Great feel, large sweet spot – Lacks a bit of power and stability
Confidence in your gear
All of the above are racquet I could take into a match and feel pretty confident with. I have no qualms recommending them to other players. There are always pros and cons with every racquet you choose. The key is finding one that feels right from the get-go, doesn’t open a glaring weakness in your game, and allows you to play freely with confidence. You can never get everything in a racquet.
It’s pretty clear though that I need a bit of pace but not too much, a bit higher launch angle than most 18×20 patterns, decent comfort (no arm-wreckers), and a good-sized (but not enormous) sweet spot.
Right now on my list of becoming the match-ready-racquet number one is:
Babolat Pure Storm Tour GT – Some pop, some spin (16×20), good feel, good comfort – pretty heavy (320g unstrung)
Tecnifibre Tfight RS 305 – Feels fast, decent spin (18×19), good power, nice feel, not sure about comfort…(review to come)
Yonex Ezone 98 Tour – Stable, solid, good spin (tight 16×19), decent power, good comfort, but a bit muted and slow
Wilson Pro Staff 97 V13 – Nice feel and comfort, some pop, good control – lacks a bit of stability
The Heysil Tour 98 and Radical Pro 2021 are still on the list. The Heysil is very good, but I sometimes struggle with the low trajectory of the tight 18×20 and the Radical Pro is also great, but feels a tad unstable (smaller sweet spot). The Radical might play a bit better with some customization, but right now I enjoy its speed through the air and I obviously don’t want to make it sluggish.
It’s pretty clear to me…
That I have a racquet problem! Joking aside, that’s a part of Tennisnerd. But I still want a frame or two that feels like home in serious match play. Testing new frames in every session can become a chore and can be quite tedious and frustrating as you can’t find your best tennis that way.
That’s why I think sticking to a couple within the same spec range is a good idea in general. My deadline is to have a fresh new and shorter MRR-list by the end of the year. If you are curious about the process – watch this space. And if you need help choosing a racquet, check out my consultation service.
Where are you in your racquet journey?