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Home GearTennis RacquetsPro player racquets Playing with Novak Djokovic’s Racquet

Playing with Novak Djokovic’s Racquet

by Tennisnerd
Playing with Novak Djokovic's Racquet

I have been playing with Novak Djokovic’s racquet and I wanted to give you my impressions on how it plays and how it differs from his old racquet setup. In 2018 Novak made some significant changes to his racquet setup and they seem to have worked well for him.

Why are tennis nerds so obsessed with pro player specs? Well, I think it is mainly curiosity of what a certain player uses to maximize his game. It should be obvious to most people that using Novak’s racquet is not going to turn you into a better player. A racquet is a personal thing and what Djokovic uses is not necessarily going to work for anyone else. I have been playing with Novak Djokovic’s racquet and hope I can give you some insight into why he uses it.

As many of you know, what a professional player uses and what he endorses are often separate things. Since pro player racquet specs are usually heavy to swing and difficult to use, it does not make much sense for the manufacturer to sell that racquet to recreational players. So instead they try to create new racquets that are easier to use, offer some innovation and are in the same paint job as your favourite player. The HEAD Graphene 360 Speed Pro that Djokovic endorses is, for example, a much easier racquet to use than what he actually plays with. Playing with Novak Djokovic’s racquet makes me realize that I personally play far better tennis with the retail racquet than the pro stock racquet made for Novak.

Playing with Novak Djokovic’s Racquet – What is it?

Playing with Novak Djokovic's Racquet

As I have written on this website before, Novak Djokovic uses a pro stock racquet mold called PT113B. This is based on a mold of the Ti/iRadical HEAD racquet that came out in the early part of this millennium. However, I think the feel is very close to another pro stock racquet, the Wilson H22 that Novak used to use before he changed brands back to HEAD. The racquet is a stable, yet flexible frame that offers good precision, decent power, and a smallish sweet spot.

In 2018 Novak worked together with Andre Agassi as he returned from his elbow injury and together they went to see Agassi’s old racquet guru, Roman Prokes, in New York. Their mission was to tweak Djokovic’s racquet together with HEAD to give him a bit more power and spin in an easier-to-use frame. There is a very interesting podcast interview with Prokes and Greg Shapiro that talks about the changes they worked on here.

Novak’s old specs used to be really heavy with a swing weight of 370. He needs a high swing weight for his game style where he covers the baseline and ends up blocking back a lot of heavy shots. He also needs pinpoint precision to be able to turn defense into attack quickly. But with his elbow issues, he wanted to reduce the swing weight. As the game gets faster every year, swing weights are going down. You will not see many 370 swing weights as the game progresses, but more in the 335-350 range.

Playing with Novak Djokovic’s Racquet – The specs

Playing with Novak Djokovic's Racquet

Together with Roman Prokes, they reduced the amount of lead tape on the racquet which cut six grams in weight from 359 to 353 grams. The balance went down from 32,8 to 32,4 cm and they extended the length slightly to keep the swing weight high, but not too high. Novak’s racquet is just slightly longer than standard length. The biggest change they did was to change the drill pattern from 18×20 to 18×19. The idea was to give Novak easier access to spin without losing too much control from the ultra-tight 18×20.

Here are the strung specs of Novak’s new racquet setup that  I managed to take down:

Head size: 95 sq inches
Length: 27.10 inches
Weight: 353 grams
Balance: 32,4 cm balance
Swing weight: 360
String pattern: 18×19

Novak uses the classic HEAD rectangular grip (pallet TK57), grip size 3, HEAD Finest Calfskin leather grip and two overgrips (one overlapped) which makes the grip closer to a 4. He strings his racquets with natural gut in the mains at 27-28 kg and Alu Power Rough 16L at 26-27 kg (one kg less than the natural gut) depending on the conditions. This is quite a high tension these days and gives him an ultra-controlled response.

Playing with Novak Djokovic’s Racquet – How does it play?

Playing with Novak Djokovic's Racquet

I have played with both of Novak’s racquet setups, the old 18×20 and the new 18×19 with less weight and a slightly extended length. I did find that the new setup was easier to use. The racquet was definitely more manoeuvrable and I liked the 18×19 pattern a lot. I like heavy, 18×20 pattern racquets, but I could see why 18×19 would be a logical evolution of that string pattern. The racquet is heavy and stable and offers great control and comfort. With Novak’s string setup it was not easy to generate power unless you have something close to his technique, but I could see how better players would really like this setup.

During the play-test, I mainly struggled with Novak’s grip shape and size. I normally prefer the TK82S grip pallet in L3 and a TK57 grip pallet in L4 was definitely difficult to adjust to. I did do my best, but it is quite clear that I play better tennis with the racquet Novak endorses than the racquet he actually uses. Still, it was a fun experience and I can see why he uses this setup as he is looking for a high twist weight to play balls on the rise and maximum control to be able to put them within a centimeter of where he wants them to be.

Sadly, I am not Novak when it comes to my tennis ability so I need a bit more forgiveness from my tennis racquet and I would think most people are the same. What do you think? Do you think you would play well with Novak’s racquet specs? Please comment below.

Playing with Novak Djokovic’s Racquet – Video review

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15 comments

Damjan May 25, 2019 - 11:03 am

Hi,
What do you think what retail racket could be the closest to Novak’s racket specs. In term of string pattern and without customisation?
Could be the Tecnifibre?

Reply
Andy May 25, 2019 - 11:51 pm

@damjan no retail racquet will be close to Novak’s specs due to the high swingweight of his, and many other pros, models.

Reply
John May 26, 2019 - 2:55 am

Hello TennisNerd,,great spin on using Novak’s old and new racquet.
I find that more and more players and myself are customizing their own racquets by adding a but more overall lenght to a frame,,,as many top pros play with what’s know as the Extended model usually half an inch longer than the standard 27 inches most racquets are made in..,Like Rafael, Juan Martin and even Serena using 27.5 up to even 28 inch models.
There’s now a very little simple product on the market that can easily add .5 inch to ANY racquet that has a removable butt cap.
It’s called the XTP Xtended Tennis Product butt cap,Google XTP tennis butt cap and multiple videos showing it.and http://www.xtptennisbuttcap.com
Thx.jk

Reply
Germán Eduardo García Doego May 27, 2019 - 10:44 pm

Hello Tennisnerd !!! Greetings from Argentina!!!
I would like to know a little more in detail the lead configuration of the racket, if it has lead under the bumper, amount of lead at 3 and 9, if you use lead at 7 “and silicone in the grip.
It’s the first time I buy prostock rackets (Head TGT263.3) and I need to customize them to be as solid as possible, without exceeding 310 or 315 grams.
Thank you very much for your help !!!
Regards!!!

Reply
Tennisnerd May 28, 2019 - 8:19 am

Hi Germán,
I don’t really know the exact amount of lead tape at 3 and 9, but I would guess it is about 6 grams in total. There is silicone in the grip as well. There was no other lead tape visible on the frame. I think you need to experiment a bit, but if it is a pro stock it might already have silicone in the handle. My favorite location of lead tape it usually 3 and 9, but it depends on what you want to achieve. Start with a little bit and build your way up to see what feels most comfortable and allows you to swing fast with good stability.

Regards / Jonas

Reply
Petr May 28, 2019 - 11:25 am

Hi, good information. Please this weight racquet unstrung? Thank You PP

Reply
Tennisnerd May 28, 2019 - 11:44 am

Hi Petr,
Thanks. The specs are strung. Cheers / Jonas

Reply
Germán Eduardo García Doego May 28, 2019 - 1:25 pm

Thanks for your answer Jonas !!!
The rackets came customized from Head with 328g without strings, which for me is a lot in total weight … I never played with rackets of more than 310 grams … 315 maximum but it was already heavy …
The rackets now I have clean, without lead and without silicone, I take out the leather grip because I need the racket to be as comfortable as possible, since I have elbow problems …
What would you recommend to make it as stable and playable as possible? Where would you place the lead ???

Regards!!!

Reply
Tennisnerd May 29, 2019 - 9:16 am

I would place 4 grams at 3 and 9 and put the same weight underneath the grip, then the racquet won’t be too heavy but should still play more stable.

Let me know how it goes! Regards /J

Reply
JPW May 29, 2019 - 3:03 pm

Hi Jonas – what are these custom racquets the pro’s use made of? I understand the mold is from the Ti/I Radical, but any idea what it is? ie just plain old graphite? Thank you really enjoy your site and Instagram.

Reply
Tizian Otto June 6, 2019 - 7:57 pm

Hey Tennisnerd!!
I am a very enthusiast Tennis Player from Germany. Was playing some years ago in the Tennis Academy Niki Pilic like djoker and Gulbis. Some days ago, i read on your Website that a head racket which is Cheap is close to the h22 but i cant find the Post again 🙁
You said that with some weights it could be a Cheaper Option!

Best regards
Tizian

Reply
Tennisnerd June 9, 2019 - 7:19 pm

Hi Tizian,
I think Angell frames create a feeling of H22, try the TC 97 Custom! Brilliant racquet.

Cheers / Jonas

Reply
David June 14, 2019 - 11:11 pm

If you look closely theres no special drill pattern, just skipped the bottom cross string thats all

Reply
Matt November 2, 2019 - 8:20 pm

After listening to a Roman Prokes interview and this post, I wonder what he’d suggest for Kerber’s racquet set-up?

Reply
Patr December 11, 2019 - 5:22 pm

First of all, the racket used by better and some of the other companies they endorse are not made by the company that makes those rackets that you see in a store. They’re made by outside companies contracted to make those rackets to their specs and then slap their logo on it so that when they go out on the court it looks like they’re playing with the racket that Wilson or head made.

Reply

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