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The Best Advanced Player Racquets

by TN

I don’t like saying “The Best” because it is all subjective. But these are some of the best advanced player racquets on the market today.

The Best Advanced Player Racquets

Yesterday I published a video where Jesús Echevarri and I try a number of advanced player racquets. These include racquets from HEAD, Babolat and Wilson. In a previous session, we also tested Yonex VCORE and Ezone, so I will mention those as well in this post.

There are so many good racquets out there and I can’t mention them all here so I will focus on somewhat recent releases. The racquets we tested in the video are (click for my review):

Wilson Shift Pro
HEAD Gravity Pro Auxetic
Babolat Pure Aero 98
HEAD Extreme Tour Auxetic
Babolat Pure Aero Rafa Origin

In this written review, I will also mention the Yonex Ezone Tour 98 and the Yonex VCORE 98. There are other racquets to note as well and I will comment on the Solinco Whiteout 305 18×20 and Tecnifibre Tfight ISO 305. Jesús also tried the new HEAD Radical Pro Auxetic but wasn’t a huge fan.

Babolat Pure Aero Rafa Origin

The Babolat Pure Aero Rafa Origin was a bit of a bonus racquet in the play-test. I usually bring it because people love hitting with Rafa’s racquet specs, and even if it’s not a perfect match with what Rafael Nadal currently uses, it’s pretty damn close.

It’s a fun racquet to hit and beautiful to put on the wall. It can generate a heavy ball and with the right mechanics, you can allow the racquet to do most of the work. But if you’re late on the ball, it’s a very punishing racquet. Jesús agreed with all this, he thought it was a fun and pretty pleasant hit, but not something that can match the usability of the other frames mentioned here. If you want to feel how a “tank of a racquet” plays, consider getting this one.

You can check out the Babolat Pure Aero Rafa racquets from my friends at Tennis Warehouse, Tennis Warehouse Europe and Tennis Only.

Babolat Pure Aero Rafa Origin specifications

Head Size: 100 in / 645.16 cm
Length: 27in / 68.58cm
Strung Weight:11.9oz / 337g
Balance: 13.38in / 33.99cm / 1 pts HL
Swingweight: 371
Stiffness: 70
Beam Width: 23mm / 26mm / 23mm
Composition: Graphite
Power Level: Low-Medium
Stroke Style: Medium-Full
Swing Speed: Medium-Fast
Racquet Colors: Pink/Yellow/Black
Grip Type: Babolat Syntec Pro
String Pattern:

16 Mains / 19 Crosses
Mains skip: 8T,8H

Wilson Shift Pro

We played with the Wilson Shift prototype, the heavier, 315g, 18×20 version. The difference between this one and the current Wilson Shift Pro is not vast. Despite it being a relatively heavy racquet by today’s standards, next to the Rafa Origin, Jesús felt it to “play like a toy”. He was half-joking, but when you change in between racquets, drastic weight differences can require some extra time to get over.

When he got dialed in, he liked the Shift Pro a lot, especially on the forehand. It’s a whippy racquet, easy to move, but if you don’t swing fast, it can sail the ball. It’s a racquet made for players who utilize a strong top spin stroke and not for flat hitters or more traditional tennis players.

It’s not as solid as some of the racquets in the play-test. The Gravity Pro is for example much more steady and stable on the backhand, but not quite as maneuverable on the forehand. If you’re a spin player that wants a racquet with a nice feel, good spin potential and decent control, the Shift Pro should be considered.

Wilson Shift Pro specifications

Head Size: 99 in² / 639 cm²
Length: 27 in / 68.58 cm
Strung Weight: 11.7 oz / 332 g
Balance: 12.75 in / 32.39 cm / 6 pts HL
Swingweight: 332
Stiffness: 68
Beam Width: 23.5mm / 23.5mm / 23.5mm
Composition: Graphite
Colours: White
Grip Type: Wilson Pro Performance
String Pattern:

18 Mains / 20 Crosses
Mains skip: 8T,10T,8H,10H

String Tension: 21-26 kg/48-58 lb

These are the listed specifications from Tennis Warehouse Europe. You can also check out and purchase the Shift Pro at the official Wilson website. 

HEAD Gravity Pro Auxetic

The Gravity Pro is a popular racquet on the ATP Tour. You have players like Zverev, Rublev and Safiullin using it, just to name a few.

Most advanced players just need a few shots with the Gravity Pro to realize that this is a classy racquet. It offers the control and feel of older control racquets but with added plow-through and forgiveness thanks to the teardrop head shape and 100 sq inch head size.

Jesús was like Nikki, smitten straight away. But he couldn’t get quite the speed and maneuverability on his forehand compared to some other racquets in the play test. The Gravity Pro is a solid, control-oriented racquet, but it’s not the most spin-friendly with its 18×20 string pattern and thin beam. And some players will struggle to maneuver the “beefy” 330+ swing weight.

Check out the Gravity line of racquets from our friends at Tennis Warehouse, Tennis Warehouse Europe, and Tennis Only.

Gravity Pro specifications

Head Size: 100 in / 645.16 cm
Length: 27in / 68.58cm
Strung Weight:11.7oz / 332g
Balance: 12.75in / 32.39cm / 6 pts HL
Swingweight: 334
Stiffness: 63
Beam Width: 20mm / 20mm / 20mm
Composition: Graphene 360+/Graphite
Power Level: Low
Stroke Style: Full
Swing Speed: Fast
Racquet Colors:Black
Grip Type: Head Hydrosorb Pro
String Pattern:

18 Mains / 20 Crosses
Mains skip: 8T,10T,8H,10H

Babolat Pure Aero 98

The Babolat Pure Aero 98 is the continuation of the Pure Aero VS, which has become a bestseller among advanced tennis players. I am sure the Aero 98 is doing pretty well with players like Carlos Alcaraz and Holger Rune using it.

This was also Jesús’ favorite racquet in the play-test and most likely the one he would choose for match play if he got back to competitive tennis again. It’s very whippy, quite powerful and offers loads of spin potential. Flat hitters might find the ball going long, but players who utilize top spin to push their opponents back will probably like this one. The Aero 98 is a bit more muted compared to the Aero VS.

Have you tried the Babolat Pure Aero 98? You can check out the specs and more at Tennis Warehouse, Tennis Warehouse Europe, and Tennis Only (Australia).

Babolat Pure Aero 98 specifications

Head Size: 98 in / 632.26 cm
Length: 27in / 68.58cm
Strung Weight:11.4oz / 323g
Balance: 12.79in / 32.49cm / 6 pts HL
Swingweight: 327
Stiffness: 65
Beam Width: 21mm / 23mm / 22mm
Composition: Graphite
Power Level: Low-Medium
Stroke Style: Medium-Full
Swing Speed: Medium-Fast
Racquet Colors:Black/Yellow
Grip Type: Syntec Pro
String Pattern:

16 Mains / 20 Crosses
Mains skip: 7T,9T,7H,9H

HEAD Extreme Tour Auxetic

This racquet is a strong competitor to the Pure Aero 98 and does most things similarly. They are in the controlled spin racquet category. However, while the Extreme handles flatter shots better and offers a bit more control, it doesn’t give the same power and spin potential as the Aero 98. It’s a bit more “civilized”.

Jesús liked this racquet, too but preferred the action he could get on the ball with the Aero 98. I personally prefer the Extreme for my one-handed backhand, but I also understand what he means in terms of power.

Like with most things racquets, it’s a matter of taste and game style in the end.

You can check out the HEAD Extreme Tour Auxetic at Tennis Warehouse, Tennis Warehouse Europe, and Tennis Only.

HEAD Extreme Tour Auxetic specifications

Head Size: 98 in / 632.26 cm
Length: 27in / 68.58cm
Strung Weight:11.3oz / 320g
Balance: 12.79in / 32.49cm / 6 pts HL
Swingweight: 317
Stiffness: 63
Beam Width: 22mm / 23mm / 21mm
Composition: Graphene 360+/Graphite
Power Level: Low-Medium
Stroke Style: Medium-Full
Swing Speed: Medium-Fast
Racquet Colors:Black
Grip Type: Hydrosorb Pro
String Pattern:

16 Mains / 19 Crosses
Mains skip: 8T,8H

Yonex Ezone 98 Tour

You probably see the Ezone 98 “everywhere.” I do. It’s one of those modern classics in the racquet market. It offers an excellent power level for a 98 and plays with a slightly larger sweet spot thanks to the isometric head shape, which is distinct for Yonex racquets.

The Tour model is a slightly heavier 98. It’s also good, especially if you don’t want to customize your racquet, but when I tested it with my friend Nikki, he preferred to adjust the weight himself as the extra weight in the Tour model seems to be added to the throat.

Jesús, who has a whippier forehand than Nikki, preferred more spin-oriented racquets like the Yonex VCORE 98. The Ezone Tour is a nice racquet if you want a really solid power racquet in a more controlled head size.

You can check out the Yonex Ezone 98 Tour from our friends at Tennis Warehouse, Tennis Only , or Tennis Warehouse Europe.

Yonex Ezone Tour 98 specifications

Head size: 98 sq inches
Length: 27 in or 68.5 cm
Weight: 315g or 11.1 oz (standard is 305g)
Balance: 32 cm or 7 pts HL
Swing weight: 300 (around 330 w strings)
Stiffness: 65 (around 62 w strings)
Beam: 23/24/19 mm
String pattern: 16×19

Yonex VCORE 98 (and 95)

If the Ezone is focused more on direct power and works better for flatter hitting, the VCORE 98 has more flex and is more centered around a high launch angle and spin potential. The new 2023 VCORE line from Yonex offered more of everything and a softer feel than the predecessor. More comfort, power and spin. Not sure that is always a good thing as the VCOREs are a bit more difficult to control this time. But they are nice and soft, and if control is an issue, you can always go for the VCORE 95.

Several of my advanced playing friends (ex-pros)  liked the VCORE 95 a lot, but found the larger 98 a bit too powerful and lively. I agree with that sentiment.

The Yonex VCORE 98 plays more like a 100 sq inch racquet, which is a good thing for many players and has received quite a high and consistent review score on Tennis Warehouse. You can also check it out on Tennis Only if you’re based down under.

Yonex VCORE 98 Specifications

Head Size: 98 in / 632.26 cm
Length: 27in / 68.58cm
Strung Weight:11.4oz / 323g
Balance: 12.79in / 32.49cm / 6 pts HL
Swingweight: 318
Stiffness: 62
Beam Width: 23mm / 23mm / 21mm
Composition: 2G-Namd FlexForce/H.M. Graphite
Power Level: Low-Medium
Stroke Style: Medium-Full
Swing Speed: Medium-Fast
Racquet Colors:Red
Grip Type: Yonex Synthetic
String Pattern:

16 Mains / 19 Crosses
Mains skip: 7T,9T,8H

Solinco Whiteout 98

For players looking for a more controlled response, but not all the way to Prestige-land, consider the Solinco Whiteout 98. It plays with a solid response, excellent control and a decent power level for the spec range.

Most high-level players who tested it with me liked it, but it’s not as spinny as most other racquets in this play-test and more comparable to the Gravity Pro.

You can find the 18×20 version at Tennis Warehouse, Tennis Warehouse Europe and Tennis Only. There is also a 16×19 version for players looking for more spin and maneuverability (fewer strings lower the swing weight).

Solinco Whiteout 98 18×20 specifications

Head Size: 98 in / 632.26 cm
Length: 27in / 68.58cm
Strung Weight: 11.4oz / 323g
Balance: 13in / 33.02cm / 4 pts HL
Swingweight: 324
Stiffness: 66
Beam Width: 21.7mm / 21.7mm / 21.7mm
Composition: 40T Carbon/Graphite
Power Level: Low
Stroke Style: Full
Swing Speed: Fast
Racquet Colors: White
Grip Type: Solinco Synthetic
String Pattern: 18 Mains / 20 Crosses
Mains skip: 8T,10T,8H,10H
(Two Pieces, No Shared Holes)

Tecnifibre Tfight ISO 305

This has been a huge hit among advanced players. The high swing weight, solid feel and nice power feels “pro stock” in a way. Not everyone is in love with the feel. Nikki was not a fan, I found it excellent but a tad heavy, but some of my other tennis friends really love the solidity and plow-through that this racquet. I find the TF40 to still be my favorite Tecnifibre racquet, but I do understand the appeal of the ISO 305. It’s a very competent racquet for advanced players who look for control and can handle the swing weight.

Buy the Tecnifibre Tfight ISO 305 from Tennis Warehouse or Tennis Warehouse Europe or Tennis Only.

Tecnifibre Tfight ISO 305 Specifications

Head Size: 98 in / 632.26 cm
Length: 27in / 68.58cm
Strung Weight:11.3oz / 320g
Balance: 13.12in / 33.32cm / 3 pts HL
Swingweight: 338
Stiffness: 64
Beam Width: 22.5mm / 22.5mm / 22.5mm
Composition: Dynacore HD/Graphite
Power Level: Low-Medium
Stroke Style: Full
Swing Speed: Fast
Racquet Colors:White
Grip Type: Tecnifibre Synthetic
String Pattern:

18 Mains / 19 Crosses
Mains skip: 8T,10T,8H,10H

HEAD Radical MP Auxetic

I worried about adding too many racquets to this list, but I felt like I wanted to include my own racquet of choice at the moment (this tends to change, but this has been my main frame since it came out). The Radical MP Auxetic is a control frame, but offers a bit more power and spin potential than Prestiges and Pro Staffs.

I found the Auxetic version to play more solid and comfortable than the predecessor. It’s one of those racquets that give you exactly what you put into it, which I like.

This is overall a very versatile frame, but doesn’t give you anything extra and players who want to maximize spin or power have many better options above. I just wanted to mention this one as it is a pretty recent release.

You can check out the new HEAD Radicals at Tennis Warehouse, Tennis Warehouse Europe, and Tennis Only.

HEAD Radical MP Auxetic specifications

Head Size: 98 in / 632.26 cm
Length: 27in / 68.58cm
Strung Weight:11.2oz / 318g
Balance: 13in / 33.02cm / 4 pts HL
Swingweight: 323
Stiffness: 65
Beam Width: 20mm / 23mm / 21mm
Composition: Graphene 360+/Graphite
Power Level: Low-Medium
Stroke Style: Medium-Full
Swing Speed: Medium-Fast
Racquet Colors:Orange/Blue
Grip Type: Head Hydrosorb Pro
String Pattern:

16 Mains / 19 Crosses
Mains skip: 8T, 8H

Summary

These are all excellent modern racquets for advanced players. You hit with loads of spin? Maybe a Shift or an Aero? You want great control and plow-through? Maybe a Gravity Pro or a Tfight ISO 305? You put priority on control but want something slightly easier to swing? Maybe a Radical MP or Whiteout 305? You want easy power and forgiveness in a control frame? The Ezone 98 is your friend. But if you prioritize spin, I do go for the VCORE series.

If you want to feel like Rafael Nadal for a while and you love heavy bats, you need to demo the Rafa Origin!

I hope this helps you. Please use the links to the racquets if you want to purchase anything. We get a small commission if you do, which helps Tennisnerd stay afloat.

My personal favorites right now are

  1. HEAD Radical MP Auxetic – just so dependable
  2. HEAD Extreme Tour Auxetic – A bit more power than the one above, easy to switch in between.
  3. Babolat Pure Aero 98 – I have a lot of fun with this frame, although it doesn’t suit me that well.
  4. Wilson Shift Pro – Excellent frame, but like with the Aero I tend to hit long with it.
  5. Yonex VCORE 95 – Very good, the most powerful 95 I have played. A bit muted perhaps.
  6. Solinco Whiteout 98 18×20 – Feels pretty much at home, but also a little too dampened compared to the Radical.
  7. Yonex Ezone 98 Tour – Great frame, but I prefer the regular Ezone not to have a lot of weight in the throat.
  8. Tecnifibre Tfight ISO 305 – I really like this, but sometimes I struggle with its weight
  9. HEAD Gravity Pro Auxetic – Same here. It’s a solid frame, but to me, it feels a bit too heavy to swing effectively.
  10. Babolat Pure Aero Rafa Origin – I hit some best tennis in my life with this racquet, but it doesn’t last long. Fun one!

Thanks for reading this far and for supporting Tennisnerd – a work of pure tennis passion.

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3 comments

David July 24, 2023 - 18:16

Specs for the Rafa Origin can’t be right. 10.7oz???

Reply
Mark July 24, 2023 - 18:27

I sure would’ve liked to see the Solinco Whiteout 18 x 20 XTD included in this test. Everyone I’ve spoken to that trade this racket loves it. Checks all the boxes.

Reply
Jonas July 30, 2023 - 02:14

You’re right. The specs are from the Babolat Pure Aero Rafa, not the Origin. I noticed it too, from the Swingweight. Which of course is not 323 but 371.
Jonas will probably correct this when he reads the comments ;-) …

Reply

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