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Novak Djokovic’s New Racquet Setup

by Tennisnerd
Playing with Novak Djokovic's Racquet

There is a lot of buzz online about Novak Djokovic’s new racquet setup. Here is what we have found out.

What is then Novak Djokovic’s new racquet setup? Well, he’s still using his HEAD pro stock PT113B mold (based on an old Radical racquet from early 2000) but he is now playing with an extended racquet (27.1) with slightly less weight and an 18×19 string pattern. He applies a bit less lead tape than before to make it more maneuverable. If you want to find out more about Novak Djokovic’s old racquet setup, read this post.

Novak Djokovic’s New Racquet Setup – What Djokovic has to say

Playing with Novak Djokovic's Racquet

“[I] changed the racquet earlier this year,” said Djokovic. “I made some small minor changes that actually in our world are quite significant.”

“Obviously it takes a little bit of time,” said Djokovic. “I think Roger some years ago also had that racquet change, and it took him a little bit [of time], some months, to get comfortable with it.”

“If you think about certain parts of your game you maybe want to improve, maybe the technology, the racquet can help you with that. Why not? It was a big call,” expressed Djokovic.

Novak Djokovic’s New Racquet Setup – Let’s have a closer look

Djokovics Tennis Racquet

The top pic is from when I played with Novak’s new racquet in Marbella. The pic of the old Speed Pro is of his old lead setup.

Here are the specs of Djokovic’s “old” tennis racquet:
Strung Weight: 359g (plenty of lead – see pic)
Strung balance: 32.8cm
Head size: 95 sq. inches
SW: 370
Flex: 60RA strung
Grip: 4 3/8, custom with side bevels extended making it more rectangular. Uses two overgrips over Head Calfskin. First overgrip wrapped with no overlapping, top overgrip normal.

As you can see the swing weight is quite massive. He is using a lighter racquet than Federer, but his swing weight is much higher since there is much more weight in the hoop. This has been a key to Djokovic’s game since a lot of it is playing defensive and being able to handle aggressive shots with pace hit at him.

Novak Djokovic’s New Racquet Setup – How will the changes affect his game

Watching Novak Djokovic Practice
Novak Djokovic’s new racquet setup might not seem as drastic has when Roger Federer changed his racquet from the Pro Staff 90 to the Pro Staff RF97 Autograph (read my review here), but it for sure will impact his game. Djokovic is said to have decreased the amount of lead tape and gone with an extended length racquet (the mold is still the same PT113B). The extended length will increase the swing weight and give him better reach around the court and on serves. It will also make the racquet more powerful. I also think he has changed the lead tape placement to increase the power of the racquet (with a slight decrease in stability and twist weight). The change from 18×20 to 18×19 is likely to slightly increase the spin potential of the racquet which is going to work well with the increase in power.

Novak Djokovic’s new racquet setup is simply a transition for him to become more aggressive and to hit with more power and spin. Not sure exactly how much more comfortable this setup is compared to his old one, but it’s possible that the massive swing weight he used to have didn’t do wonder for his elbow. I’m not sure if I’m imagining this, but it seems like elbow injuries are more common for players using western to semi-western forehand grips (Djokovic, Wawrinka, Kyrgios, Sock, Nishikori) than for example variations of the eastern grip (Roger Federer, Del Potro or Dimitrov). It definitely looks like that kind of swing puts more strain on the elbow, but I might be biased.

Here is a video of Mr Tennisnerd testing the actual Djokovic racquet.

What do you think of Novak Djokovic’s new racquet setup and what impact will it have on his game? Please comment below.

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21 comments

Benicio April 22, 2018 - 11:09 pm

Taking the ball late with Western grip ->>> all shock goes to your elbow, instead of shoulder (because your arm will be bent like ‘L’)

Also, Extreme grips like western it’s challenging to stabilize the racquet in some situations, making you unconsciously squeeze the grip, increasing tendons and muscle fatigue.

BUT, I think these hypothesis are not only cause of Djoko’s injury. Genetics also has a role too.

Tips for those who want to have a long tennis life: Don’t chase the winners balls & drop shots like maniac 🙂

Reply
Joakim April 23, 2018 - 12:06 pm

Novak’s racquet is not only surprisingly heavy in the hoop with a big SW, the frame is also on the flexy/softer side… that aspect is a bit surprising to me given his style of play and also elbow issues. Normally a flexible frame is less control oriented and also kinder to the elbow.

Another surprise is that the pros actually need to add lead tape manually – also seen e.g. on Delpo’s frame. Given that they have custom made ones, why don’t they get these specs done at the factory or at least under the paint job?

Reply
Tennisnerd April 23, 2018 - 2:43 pm

Good questions! I also have a hard time seeing how Novak’s racquet contributed to elbow problems, but maybe it’s just too much to swing with the kind of game style and seriously long rallies that Novak has. Since there are often quite a few pro players using one mold and they have different specifications when it comes to weight, balance and swing weight (as well as handle shape etc), the manufacturer creates one mold per pro stock code and then the players have customization companies such as P1, Ring&Roll etc do the rest. Doing at the factory to be exact to the gram for one player sounds too expensive/complicated.

Reply
thelodger June 1, 2018 - 3:19 pm

Hello
The new djokovic racquet don’t have an extended length. 27 inches racquet. Overgrip placed high on the handle.

Reply
Tennisnerd June 2, 2018 - 10:32 am

Hi,
Alright, where did you get the info? Thanks / Jonas

Reply
thelodger June 2, 2018 - 6:46 pm

Hi Jonas.

Approximatly 2 mouths ago he was in my town (Marbella/south of Spain) to prepar clay season with Vajda his old coach. He was in my club ( puente romano tennis club) and practicing all days on central court . his racquets were very very close to me and i can certify that they have 27 inches . For sur.

Reply
Tennisnerd June 4, 2018 - 5:21 am

Hi,
Alright, you’re from Marbella? I’m there every now and then since I have an apartment in Nueva Andalucia. Send me an e-mail with your contact details if you want to play some tennis when I’m there! Cheers / J

Reply
Rodrigo July 15, 2018 - 9:02 pm

What is the 18×19 rope standard has the advantage, or difference to the 18×20 rope pattern, and 16×19?

Reply
Tennisnerd July 16, 2018 - 12:58 pm

The 18×19 is tighter and more controlled than 16×19, but is supposed to give a bit more spin and comfort than the 18×20.

Reply
Filip October 3, 2018 - 6:31 am

Hi Jonas
Do you know if he changed his string pattern completely to 18/19 or if he does something similair to hyeon chung with his 16/20 string pattern skipping one cross string when Stringing the racquet.

Reply
Tennisnerd October 3, 2018 - 9:34 am

Hi Filip,
From what I have heard it is a new drilling pattern, but I am not a hundred percent sure.

Will try to find out.

Cheers / Jonas

Reply
joseph February 19, 2019 - 8:11 pm

“always used a handicapper game improvement huge racquet” wrote somebody about Djokovic on the internet is this correct? and if so other players do they play with the same rackets?

Reply
Tennisnerd February 21, 2019 - 9:52 pm

No, not at all correct. Djokovic uses a very control-oriented racquet and string setup, more-so than most players. Like Murray, he needs to be inch-perfect with each shot.

Reply
PB March 26, 2019 - 1:06 pm

Always fascinated about the massive power Djoko has in his shots. With no doubt the racket/strings play a big part in this.

However my biggest remark is the semi-scientific assumption that lower racket stiffness is more arm friendly as I also read above. That is the biggest nonsense ever produces by the tennis community. I love high RA rackets as many of my lower RA rackets give me elbow pain. I have also extensively tested RPM Blast 1.35 (which is Nadal’s string) and I could do nothing with it.
I’m a US rating 5.0 player so I can hit a ball but copying Pro Players setup and forum advice really thought me to ignore it and find my own truth and path.

Bottom line is to test and try for yourself!

Reply
Tennisnerd April 5, 2019 - 1:44 pm

I agree that flexible does not always mean arm-friendly. Flexible and stiff is heavily connected to feel. I agree that testing and finding the racquet that suits you is the way to go.

Reply
Ivi April 8, 2019 - 10:19 am

I got a question similar to Filip his above.
I am looking to switch to the Head Speed Pro racket. But I dont like the string pattern 18/20. I also played now for decateds the 18/19 and would like to to keep that.
Now I am trying to find out if you get change this string pattern with a new string tabe on the racket as some have that posibility. Or as Filip sad, if you have to skip one cross string. Would that be the same or are there any significante differences between this two?

Thanks

Reply
Tennisnerd April 9, 2019 - 5:53 am

You can skip a cross string on some racquets with a positive effect, but I haven’t tried it with this one so not sure how it will play. If you like the 18×19 pattern, you should check out the new Tecnifibre Tfight XTC 305. A really nice frame.

Reply
Angus F October 7, 2019 - 9:30 pm

What you did not see ,
was the lead Tape 2 inches long under grip , going from
top of grip to 3/4 qtrs down … it’s 0.5 cm thick custom bridge solid Lead
And adds his swing weight to 397 … Andy Murray is 400 swing w and nadal lightest on tour with 357
Novak uses an old head Nitro if you scrap under top left you will see it over the paint job .

Reply
Tennisnerd October 9, 2019 - 8:15 am

397? I have measured Novak’s new and old setups myself and never got 397. Where did you get this info?

Reply
KingTennis October 30, 2019 - 11:01 pm

One thing I always wondered about was when you say his grip is 4/3/8 is that before or after the overgrips? I guess with two overgrips the final dimensions will be near 4/5/8?
Additionally, what is your view on how these pros would perform with a standard high-street racket? Would Murray, Djoc and Fed really struggle if they were forced to use a standard 300g racket with say 320 SW? Would they start losing to other pros with pro-spec rackets and fall down the rankings; or would they still be better, just not like the feel so much?

Reply
pham hung November 17, 2019 - 7:33 am

Taking the ball late with Western grip ->>> all shock goes to your elbow, instead of shoulder (because your arm will be bent like ‘L’)

Also, Extreme grips like western it’s challenging to stabilize the racquet in some situations, making you unconsciously squeeze the grip, increasing tendons and muscle fatigue.

BUT, I think these hypothesis are not only cause of Djoko’s injury. Genetics also has a role too.

Tips for those who want to have a long tennis life: Don’t chase the winners balls & drop shots like maniac
Good idea, I want to know more

Reply

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