What was Pete Sampras racquet? Sampras used a customized Wilson Pro Staff 85 with natural gut strings that weighed close to 400 grams!
Since there is not much tennis going on at the moment, I wanted to devote some extra time to the legends of the sport and their gear. After having dealt with Andre Agassi in a recent post and video, it only felt natural to write about Pete Sampras racquet.
Pete Sampras used a Wilson Pro Staff 85 for pretty much all of his professional career. The racquet was launched in 1983 and used also by Stefan Edberg, Jim Courier, and Roger Federer. Sampras used Pro Staff 85 racquets from St Vincent (they were also produced in Chicago and China) and had them customized by Priority One.
Pete Sampras Racquet Specs
Pete Sampras had lots of lead tape added to his racquet at 3 and 9. He also used power pads, a dampener and strung his racquet with Babolat VS natural gut at 70 lbs or 35 kg tension! His racquets had customized grip pallets and he used a leather grip with a Tourna overgrip. His racquet specs were 384 grams, 32,3 cm balance (6 pts HL) and had a swing weight of 367 strung. With an 85 sq inch head size, the racquet needs a lot more weight to increase stability and power and Pete's racquet was a real weapon. However, it was very heavy to swing and took its toll on his body.
After his career, Pete actually alluded to that he was close-minded not to have considered changing his racquet to something more forgiving. He did do that for his exhibition matches and has since been seen using a Babolat Pure Storm GT with plenty of lead tape at 3 and 9 to increase the swing weight. I am not sure what string he used after he left the Pro Staff 85, but he is definitely using a polyester string.
Call up Johnny Mac and do a review of all the racquets he’s used for forty years. That would be interesting.
I still play with the 95 sq.i. version of the PS 6.0, I presently own 7 playable ones, and keep one I cracked last summer
I also own two 85 sq.i. versions, a late China just like the the one RF played in his younger days, and a St. Vincent made.
They are different and play different, the St. Vincent is way more solid, and is way better built. Sampra’s PS are knowned to be from one of last batches of St. Vincents, with BSQ buttcap code (All PS made in SV have the buttcap code ending on “Q”), legend says he reserved all he could from the BSQ batch. Don’t really know if the legend of the loosing molds is just a legend or the real deal.
I have some doubts about the pallet handle. There’s no pallet system on PS 6.0’s, there’s not even a trap door. Even the KPS (I also own one) has no trap door system.
Wilson produced these 6.0’s 85 (or simply PS mid as they were called) in Chicago, St. V. and China, but also in Taiwan, between the St.V and China period – and there’s also the TW reissue. Some of the early Taiwanese batch were actually made in St. Vincent, and play like a St. V.
Sampras won the US Open in 2002 and announced his retirement in 2003 only. I have vivid memories of a rumor that he was working with Wilson on a replacement for his trusty PS Mid, with a bigger head size, not sure if he was planning a comeback. But look who started to play with a 90 sq.i. PS that year, I believe after RG ? Yes, RF himself. Is this a coincidence or not?
Sampras did play for a period with the N-Code 90, when he started to play the senior tour. He played with it on those exhibition matches in Asia, against RF, in 2008 or so
Keep up the good work, unfortunately I cannot play tennis due to the Covid virus
I have 4 Pete Sampras signed ProStaffs. Not St. Vincent. American made. Used and seems to have signed everything in the bag and gave bag. I find it very hard to believe signatures to be fake. Because it’s hard enough to find 4 of the raquets in a matching colored orange black white pro tennis bag. It also was found with a raquet signed by unused raquet by the Djovak. So 5 total raquets… I’d like some advice as I don’t deal heavily in tennis and I’m more than happy to share my “lucky” and “blessed” find with people that will appreciate it.
4 unsigned alone together, I meant
Email me at email@example.com about the rackets if you want to sell them. I am interested in buying them. Thanks.