I have been testing the Angell TC 97 Custom 18×20 for a few weeks and here are my thoughts on this racquet. You can of course get your own specs at Angell tennis.
Since the point of Custom Angell racquets is to be able to order the racquet to your ideal specs, I better start off by giving you my specs: standard length, 320 grams, 10 pts head light, 18×20 string pattern, Angell leather grip. These specs are right in my wheelhouse, but you can get your preferred style of racquet when ordering a TC Custom at the Angell website.
Angell TC 97 Custom Review – Racquet design and build
The base of the racquet is sleek, black and stylish, but you can of course choose more adventurous grommet colours when you order yours (I went with black). Head sizes come from 90 to 105 square inches, and all Angell Custom racquets are built with the following:
- High Modulus Carbon
- Foam Core
We can all appreciate the lack of fancy technology promises or amazing dampening materials such as Countervail, Graphene or Textreme. Depending on the model/head size you choose you will be able to choose your stiffness (RA rating), string pattern, grip shape and more. The TC 97 series comes with pre-built stiffness of 66 unstrung, which strung translates to a rather soft 62 (approx).
So Angell offers a “no-bullshit” tennis racquet experience. You get a high quality carbon fibre construction racquet which is then filled with foam, not only in the handle but also throughout the racquet to dampen vibrations. That is all. And it looks and feels like a high-quality product.
Angell TC 97 Custom Review – How does it play?
There has been a lot of buzz on the tennis forums around the classical, timeless feel of the Angell racquets and I can only concur. The Angell TC 97 is in the ballpark of the HEAD Pro Tour 630 (280 in the US, PT57A in pro stock lingo) and the legendary prestige series.
Below you have a video of me playing a point with the Angell. I am going to amp up my video game, bear with me, but what I want to illustrate is the sound. The Angell has the wonderful flex that really makes the ball sink into the racquet bed and pocket the ball. That in itself creates a beautiful sound when you hit the ball. I also appreciate that you can really go all-in on your shots and still feel like you control the ball. The Angell is not a very powerful racquet but like I often say, if you want to learn proper tennis technique and better footwork, you should play with a low-powered frame. Arming a ball with a Pure Drive (for example) can give decent results, but it will not improve your actual game a whole lot. It might even give you arm pain and injuries in the end.
I have not customized the Angell TC 97 Custom myself at all so far, and I am still fiddling around with strings. Right now, I am testing the Halo multifilament string, but it is feeling a little bit too soft. I might throw in my trusted Solinco Hyper-G or RS Lyon in there and see how that works out. Other tennis nerds recommend trying a soft hybrid in the Angell and I could see the potential in that. After the Hyper-G that might be what I will try next.
Angell TC 97 Custom Review – Angell is made for racquet nerds
Angell tennis racquets are made for players who care about what they play with and who go for feel before power. They might not be everyone's cup of tea, but among racquet enthusiasts they have already built quite a strong following, and I think that it is going to grow with time. The number of flexible, control and feel-oriented racquets has dwindled significantly in the last couple of years. Wilson tennis however, has finally picked up the bat with the Wilson Ultra Tour and right now this is the only real new racquet competitor to Angell tennis racquets. If you are looking for a great-feeling stick that gives you confidence to really go for your shots – an Angell racquet should be on your top 3 list of racquets to buy/demo.
Angell TC 97 Custom Review – Check out and buy Angell tennis racquets here.
Let us hope it inspires other racquet companies to come up with tour models that actually reflect what a lot of professional players are using on the ATP tour. The Prince Textreme Tour 95 was a great example proving that you can really create a new, great feeling racquet that does not kill elbows and wrists. The Tecnifibre Tfight 315 ATP Ltd was another one. Now Wilson releases the Ultra Tour and the ball is in Babolat and HEADs court to bring out a true “classic”. HEAD did it a few years back with the excellent Innegra series (HEAD IG Prestige MP and HEAD IG Radical Pro were amazing racquets). Now they have been focused on racquets such as the HEAD MxG (Pure Drive and Pure Aero competitor) which I understand in way, but there is a portion of the market screaming for a HEAD Prestige Tour, which would ideally be a version of the PT57A/E. So if you HEAD reps are reading this, you know what to do next!
Angell TC 97 Custom Review – Paul Angell
Paul Angell runs Angell tennis, a tennis company which specializes in racquet customization, but also sells tennis bags and strings as well as other tennis gear. Paul has more than 20 years experience in the tennis industry and has worked as head of design at Dunlop Slazenger. He has personally manufactured the final Max200G racquets for German sports legend Steffi Graf. He has also been responsible for racquet development for players such as Tim Henman, Tommy Haas, Nicolas Almagro, John McEnroe, Wayne Ferreira, Mark Philippoussis, Marat Safin, and Amelie Mauresmo.
He started Angell tennis in 2012 and has gained a loyal following, especially among racquet aficionados who crave a high-quality product customised to their liking.
Have you had any experience with Angell racquets and/or strings? Please comment your thoughts about their products below!
Hi, thank for your review! I am very interessted in buying a TC97 with the same specs than yours because the specs are pretty similar to one of my favourite rackets the Head Youtek IG Prestige MP… The only thing where i am a bit sceptical is that the TC97 maybe doesn’t swing as easy as the Prestige because of its higher swingweight. How does it feel for you? Do you know the swingweight of your TC97?
In my opinion it doesn’t swing heavier than the HEAD IG Prestige MP, would guess the swing weight to be around 325. I feel like I can really take big swings with mine and my arm doesn’t get tired after two hours of long rallies so should be good. Cheers / J
thank you for your answer! How would you compare the TC97 to the Prestige in power, control, sweetspot?
I would put them like this:
Sweetspot – even
Control – Angell slightly
Power – Angell
Cheers / J
Halo is not poly, you should try Halo2 or your favorite poly to make a good assessment.(tip go really low on tension).
You are absolutely right. I ordered the wrong string but it turned out to play pretty well. Next up is either RS Lyon or Solinco Hyper-G.
I definitely urge recreational players on all levels to try multifilament strings because they’re comfortable and has a decent life-span compared to many polys which you need to cut out after a while not to hurt your arm.
Cheers / Jonas
Jonas, what would be some good multifilament strings?
Also, have you tried Isospeed Cream?
If you want something really soft for your arm, try the Isospeed Cream. It’s a nice string, but I like my response a little more crisp.
A couple of other softer polys:
Luxilon 4G soft, Solinco Tour Bite Soft, Weisscannon Silverstring.
Some good multis are:
Angell Halo, Tecnifibre x-one Biphase (expensive though!), HEAD Intellitour.
Let me know how it goes! If you want a soft response you can also try various hybrids.
What racquet do you use? Cheers / J
Total noob here, I am about to get my first racket (probably tc97 18×20).
I see a lot of Angell users like RS Lyon. Also what about Yonex Poly Tour Pro?
Cool! That’s an awesome first racquet! Both those strings you mention work great in the Angell so you won’t go wrong with either of them. Good luck / J
How is testing going on ? Did Wilson Ultra Tour took the driver’s seat ? What is your current top 3 raquet ?
Testing is going on! 🙂 Wilson Ultra Tour is currently in the driver’s seat actually. It’s a tight race between that and the Angell TC 97 Custom. Right now I prefer the Wilson Ultra though, we’ll see after this week, which is when I’ll conclude my test.
My current three/four top racquets:
1. Wilson Ultra Tour
2. Angell TC 97 Custom
3. Babolat Pure Strike 16×19 or HEAD IG Radical Pro (shared)
Will post a more in-depth review and comparison on Monday!
Cheers / Jonas
are you still playing the Tc97?
Which strings can you recommend for this stick?
Nah, I sold it to a friend of mine with the intention of buying three heavier ones with a different grip shape. But for now I’m stuck with my Liquidmetal Radical Tours. Let’s see how long our relationship lasts!
If it doesn’t work out, I’ll call Angell. Cheers /J
Have you had the opportunity to play with the model TC95 16×19 and 63 RA? What is the difference in behavior for TC97?
Sadly I haven’t! I’m sure it’s a good stick though. Cheers / J
I see from one of your replies that you are considering getting 3 more TC97’s in a heavier weight and from another that you haven’t yet tried the TC95.
I am a current Angell racket user. I have 2 TC95’s (18×20’s) and 2 TC90’s. All are to identical weight and balance specs (320 unstrung weight / 315 balance).
I started with the 2 TC95’s and found the power amazing and the control which accompanied that power surprising. The amount of spin for that string pattern was also a unexpected.
I enjoyed those rackets so much that I decided to risk trying the TC90’s although I had never played with such a small head size. The feel and control when you hit the ball just right with one of those is just exceptional, to such a point that I now rarely use the TC95’s because I enjoy playing with the smaller head rackets so much.
Having read you articles recently on the various classic Wilson and Head frames I would love to see your review of these 2 models and your comparison with some of those other rackets.
Thanks for your comment and sharing your experience. The TC90 I’ve heard many good things about although I would fear that there would be some shanks from my side if I used that racquet in a tournament setting. But I agree a hundred percent when it comes to the great feel of small head sizes. I’ve really enjoyed playing with my Wilson Pro Staff RF 85 lately.
Let’s see if I can put a review together in the future for more Angell racquets. They truly offer a great hitting experience.
Cheers / Jonas
Do you think the TC97 feels more like the i.prestige or the 280/630 head pro tour? Does the TC97 have the same comfort level as the two?
I would say it’s quite close to the 280/630. More than the iPrestige in my opinion. Definitely a very comfortable frame!
Cheers / Jonas
Which gauge of the RS Lyon string do you recommend using on the Angell TC97?
I really recommend Solinco Hyper-G for this racquet. But with RS Lyon I would go with 1.25/17 gauge.
Cheers / Jonas
Which Hyper G gauge do you recommend? So I played with Gauge 1.15 on Headpro tour 280 and I did not like it.
I personally like the 1.25 best. Cheers / Jonas
Hey! Angell racquets seems to be extra sensitive to what kinda strings you use. Gonna try the TC97 with hyper-g strings but im curious about what tension recommendation you have?
Should I go a bit softer than I normally use?
Hyper-G works really well in the TC97. I tried it at 23 kg (1.25 gauge) and it was just right. I wouldn’t go higher than that, but you could try lower.
Cheers / Jonas