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What is Your Favorite Racquet in 2020?

by Tennisnerd

I am working on my gear of the year video/post for 2020. Now I’m keen to hear what is your favorite racquet in 2020?

Despite it being a strange year, the number of racquet releases has been pretty high. I have decided to separate the list into “tweeners” and “advanced player racquets”. It’s not easy to categorize racquets these days as the differences between a power and spin racquet for example are not huge. And so-called player frames are becoming more powerful to keep up with the trend of modern tennis.

What is a tweener?

The name comes from “in-betweener” which means a racquet that works for both intermediate to advanced players depending on your style. I usually put tweeners at 100 sq inches and around 300 grams.

The category of tweeners is growing every year and I tried a lot of them this year. They all come with very similar specs. Unstrung 300 grams, 16×19 string pattern, 7 pts HL balance, and a thick beam around 25-26 mm.

These types of frames are usually very powerful and spin-friendly to achieve easy depth and height over the net. If you have a flatter stroke technique, with less margin over the net, you might lack some control from the open pattern and high launch angle. But if you need help generating depth, I think these frames are great.

There are two main types in the category, racquets focused on power and racquets focused on spin. They usually come with similar attributes, but spin racquets offer more tech-focused on string movement and being aerodynamic on windshield wiper swing. While power frames come with a lower launch angle and the main purpose being power.

Tweeners released in 2020 (let me know if I forget one).

Wilson Burn 100 V4
Lacoste L20
TenX Pro Xstrike
Dunlop FX 500
Babolat Pure Drive 2021
HEAD Extreme Racquets
Wilson Ultra 100
Diadem FS Nova 100
HEAD Graphene 360+ Speed MP
Angell TC 101 Custom
Dunlop SX series
Yonex Ezone racquets

If we would put them into “Power” and “Spin” categories, it would likely look like this.

Power
Pure Drive 2021
Wilson Ultra 100
Diadem FS Nova
Dunlop FX 500

Spin
Tenx Pro Xstrike
HEAD Extreme
Dunlop SX Series
Wilson Burn V4 100

Difficult to categorize
Angell TC Custom 101
HEAD Speed MP
Lacoste L20 (tailored towards beginners)

Advanced player racquets

I have decided to put all heavier racquets (305g or more) and head sizes below 100 sq inches in this category. A few “series of racquets” such as HEAD Extreme, have a Pro and a Tour that belongs in the advanced player category, while the rest are in the tweener for example.

Dunlop FX 500 Tour
Yonex Ezone Tour
Tecnifibre Tfight RS 305
Tecnifibre Tfight RS 315 
Wilson Pro Staff 97 V13
Wilson Blade 102 SW
Wilson Blade Pro
Wilson Ultra Pro
HEAD Pro Tour 2.0
HEAD Speed Pro
HEAD Prestige Series
Babolat Pure Aero VS
Diadem FS Elevate Tour
Prince Phantom 100X 305 and 320
Prince Phantom 97P
Prince Phantom 93P and 100P

Some manufacturers have been very prolific in 2020! I have decided to exclude racquets released in Jan 2021, such as the new Yonex VCORE and the HEAD Radicals 2021.

I also omit some reviews I have done in 2020 but where racquets were not released in 2020 such as the Heysil racquets or Mantis frames. There are enough frames to consider anyway.

Out of all these racquets, what is your favorite racquet? Why? Please comment below.

I will also deal with the strings released in 2020 in an upcoming post.

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36 comments

Mark Cheetham December 22, 2020 - 9:18 am

My favourite racquet of 2020 is actually a late 2019 release and is the Yonex VCORE PRO 97HD. I bought at the start of January 2020 and have tried many great racquets since, none have matched the 97HD.

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Cam Bowie December 22, 2020 - 9:35 am

My 11 year old son has enjoyed playing with the 2019 Head Radical Lite but I guess that’s old hat. He’s currently checking out the 2020 Yonex Ezone 100 SL and the Radical MP Lite before deciding which one to go with going forward. He also recently tried out the Yonex VCore Pro 100 Alpha. I asked him what he thought of it. “Unforgiving” was all he said. ?

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Nico Maroudas December 22, 2020 - 10:49 am

Dear Jonas
You forgot(?) a racket that is definitely worth mentioning. My current racket which I decided to pick after your very review and never ever looked back for any other.
The DONNAY PRO ONE 97 HEXACORE.
A seriously, serious racket, and you yourself know it!
Regards,Nico

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Nico Maroudas December 22, 2020 - 10:49 am

Dear Jonas
You forgot(?) a racket that is definitely worth mentioning. My current racket which I decided to pick after your very review and never ever looked back for any other.
The DONNAY PRO ONE 97 HEXACORE.
A seriously, serious racket, and you yourself know it!
Regards,Nico

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Dubo December 22, 2020 - 12:22 pm

Not sure if the Yonex VCORE PRO 97HD (320g) was released in 2020 or not but this is my current go to racket. I have demoed the new Ezone Tour 98 and love it. It will complement my current racket very well. One racket to use for more defensive control play while the other one for more agressive and offensive play.

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Diego December 22, 2020 - 12:50 pm

My favourite racquet of 2020 is my Blade v7 16 x 19 with leather grip and 6 grams at 10 and 14, good feel, control and descent power with Head Velocity 1.25mm (cross) and Völkl Cyclone 1.25mm (mains) at 48 lbs (with 32cm balance).

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Roger December 22, 2020 - 1:43 pm

Yonex VCore Pro 97 and 100 in my bag. Love them both. Have a great 2021 everyone

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Tennisnerd December 22, 2020 - 9:08 pm

Same to you, Roger!

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Brett Williams December 22, 2020 - 2:00 pm

I haven’t bought or demoed a new racquet in years. I’m happy with my crop of sticks and school fees and mortgage are the other reason. Since late last year I’ve been using my K Pro Staff 6.1 95 happily, but have a sting hankering to go back to my true loves, BLX Pro Staff 6.1 90 and my Pro Staff 6.0 85. Am hitting tomorrow, and am looking forward to reacquainting with them.

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Kurt December 22, 2020 - 2:01 pm

Ezone Tour 98 – although I didn’t like the feel too much the first few times, with restringing it feels and plays much better.. but hasn’t replaced my customized Vcore 95, but looking forward to trying the new Vcore 95.

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caleb December 22, 2020 - 3:27 pm

Pro Staff 97, fantastic update
Wish they’d make an 18×20
Alternatively they could make it 305 instead of 315, to allow customization

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Brad December 22, 2020 - 3:57 pm

I am most excited to try out the Yonex Ezone 98 and tour version. They look very interesting and I will be demoing some other yonex frames in the spring.

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Phillip December 22, 2020 - 5:04 pm

Head Graphene Extreme tour

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Griffin December 22, 2020 - 5:04 pm

Pro Staff 97 v13 is my racquet of the year. Very precise, good feel (not quite as pure as the Blade but close), good access to spin, and maneuverable. At 315 I actually find there is room for customization to get a little more depth.
Probably more to do with my style and preference but I thought the Ezone Tour didn’t have enough precision and was overpowered, which left me without confidence to put points away.

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Mike December 22, 2020 - 5:26 pm

I didn’t try many racquets this year, but I did try and eventually switched to the Head Pro Tour 2.0. I love hitting every shot with this racquet!

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Tennisnerd December 22, 2020 - 9:07 pm

It’s a very good racquet!

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Leo December 22, 2020 - 5:28 pm

First off, love your community and videos, keep it up.

I’m a long time Prince user so on your list I’d choose the Prince Phantom 100P. I have been using the Prince Classic Graphite 100LB for the last 5 years and finally decided to give the 2018 Prince Phantom Pro 100P. Oh my goodness, it was a very good frame and lots of spin and control, from your reviews, it has lead me to believe the 2020 phantom 100P feels mostly the same good stuff. Since I’m a 28 inch longbody guy, I bought two of the new Prince Phantom 100G LB. You did not include this frame, is it not available in your area? It came out in USA late Aug, early SEP but only came out in November here in Canada. I would love your feedback on this frame. I have yet to string and play with mine yet.

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Tennisnerd December 22, 2020 - 9:06 pm

Thanks! I have yet not tried the 100G LB and I can’t get it here, but I am talking to Prince about getting a demo racquet sent here of the ones I haven’t reviewed. I will keep you posted!

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Panos December 22, 2020 - 6:34 pm

Hi Jonas
How about the Wilson Clash series?
Wasn’t it released in 2020?

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Tennisnerd December 22, 2020 - 9:05 pm

Hey Panos,
No, it was released in 2019 and was included in last year’s video 🙂

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Nate December 22, 2020 - 6:35 pm

For me, it’s been the customised lead taped yonex ezone 98. I didn’t like the ezone 98 initially, but after restringing, and with lead tapes, it plays very well. I haven’t tried the ezone 98 tour as I think it’s a bit heavy for me.

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Carlos de Hostos December 22, 2020 - 9:01 pm

I nominate the Yonex Ezone Tour.

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Angelo December 22, 2020 - 11:26 pm

If Volkl Power Bridge 10 Mid (late 2019) was non included in last year’s video, you should remedy this year.
Top top top stick.

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Tan da man December 23, 2020 - 3:53 am

Definitely the Wilson ultra pro. It is very similar to my Dunlop CX 200 tour 18×20.

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Melvin kuo December 24, 2020 - 4:08 am

It took me all but 5mins to get used to the prostaff v13 . Right off the bat so to speak. It took me 3 months to get a consistent serve on my v7 blade. I really think the v13 prostaff is the best racket of 2020

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Wulfram December 24, 2020 - 5:53 am

I tried the Angell TC101 based on your review and loved it so much I ordered two more!. Love how it combines modern specs in a spin friendly frame, but still retains the old school feel of the old made in Austria Head rackets I grew up with. I only wish it came in 16×20 or 18×19 for just a tad bit more control.

Like you said, you can hit flat, topspin, slices, volleys with it and it is just so, so versatile with few weaknesses. Plus the build quality is quite nice.

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Guilherme December 24, 2020 - 12:02 pm

Maybe I’m cheating a little bit, but I’d go:
– Tweener: Extreme Tour (I’d call it a player’s tweener)
– Player’s: Prestige MP

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José Tirado December 24, 2020 - 4:13 pm

The Yonex ezone 100 was great, a friend of mine bought it, so i have been able to hit with it. A really good racquet, i know most poeple are more interested on the 98-98 tour, but for me the ezone 100 is one of the Best tweener frames out there. But my favorite “release” is the Wilson six one 95 18×20, the legacy of this racquet speaks for itself. Happy holidays!!!

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Kyle Clevenger December 28, 2020 - 3:58 am

I’m loving the new Pure Aero Vs! I added a over grip, 3 grams of tungsten putty to the tail, 3 grams to the 3 & 9. I have it strung with Solinco Hyper G 16L @ 50lbs. I’m getting incredible control, spin and just having a lot of fun with this racquet! I also demoed the VCORE 97 HD & Pure Strike 18×20. Both great racquets, just enjoyed the Aero Vs more.

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Eric December 28, 2020 - 8:29 am

Love my slightly modified Pure Strike 98 16×19 (project one7) but I’m thinking of changes to the 2020 Pure Aero VS. Some great racquets out this year but the Pure Aero VS is the only one that works well for me without much change to my mechanics.

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Yannick December 28, 2020 - 12:58 pm

The Wilson Blade Pro (16×19) is a great racquet. However, make sure not to use a stiff string at a high tension if you have had issues with your wrist, elbow or shoulder, it is not the most arm-friendly racquet out there. That‘s at least what my arm told me, even though the relatively low RA might suggest otherwise.

A hybrid of natural gut and Luxilon 4G Soft proved to be a good solution. A full bed of (a softer) polyester might work too, if you string it low enough. But the hybrid lasts a lot longer and I do not want to restring every other week.
With the right string setup, it plays great. Good access to spin, better than the Blade V7.0, which has a significantly tighter 16×19 pattern. Nice launch angle, not too high, you can flatten out shots really well if you need to.
I think it is also really precise, at least compared to some of my 100 square inch racquets. The power level is perfectly fine, not too high (unlike the Clash 100 Tour I owned) but also not too low that I would be pushed around.

Similar to the Blade V7.0, it feels pretty head-heavy and thus hard to swing. It is supposed to be 6 pts HL, but feels closer to an even balance. Personally, I prefer a more HL weight distribution. Therefore I added a leather grip, two overgrips and a few grams of tungsten putty into the butt cap. With strings and a dampener, the racquet has a total weight of approx. 350g. The handle is foam filled by the way.

One more thing: Be honest with yourself whether you are capable of using the racquet to its full potential. While I love playing with it, I feel like I play most effective with my customised Head Gravity MP. The latter is just easier to use and more forgiving. And the Blade Pro is not cheap, so unless money is not a factor for you, think twice about a purchase. You should be at least an advanced intermediate player with decent footwork.

Another racquet from the list that I owned is the Prince Phantom 100X 305. For some reason I never really became comfortable with it. Not sure what it was. Maybe the grip shape, maybe the open string pattern. It does feel nice though, not harsh on the arm at all and pockets the ball beautifully.

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mark December 28, 2020 - 7:34 pm

Wilson Ultra Pro 16×19. Think of it as an arm friendly RF Autograph.
Not for everyone and it does need customization, but man, what a stick!

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Tommaso December 29, 2020 - 7:05 am

Since last year I had to slowly switch from Babolat Pure Aero to Head Gravity Pro (unfortunately I like to play a lot and after few hours my wrist and elbow get bad) I fell in love.
I don’t know yet if the new Gravity will bring us only cosmetical uddates but I’m looking forward to it. I really feel the Gravity line brought a very nice compromise to the game, offering that 100sq head with nice spin and sweetspot and that 18×20 string pattern which delivers lots of control and somehow a decent amount of precision (yes I come from tweeners).

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Johnson December 30, 2020 - 10:20 pm

I only tried a few racquets on these lists but what I liked the most was the Diadem Elevate FS 98. It had great & direct feel and yet it was comfortable due to the foam. Control was very good with the flat 21.5mm beam and 16×20 pattern and in the sunlight the unique PJ makes you think you are on a beach in Miami!
You do have have to bring your own power, though not unusually so for frames of this genre.
This version is a refinement of the surprisingly good original Elevate 98 to my thinking. It’s too bad that the company does not have more name recognition & wider distribution because I think it would have a bestseller on its hands.

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Charles Hollis January 5, 2021 - 5:04 am

On Jonas’ recommendation(I would rate 5/5 BTW) I bought the Prince Phantom 100X 305. Like many people it just didnt feel like it had enough power. I played with it for a few weeks then tried to change. I like to customize my racquets so I went back to the 100X added 8 grams of lead total between the 3-9 and 10-2. I came from a Head with the TK82 pallet so the prince grip was an adjustment too. I added two Over grips and that helped with Shape and weight. My new string weight of the Phantom is 332. It really changed this stick. No it doesn’t have the power of my previous Head Radical OS limited but I’ve actually had better results with the frame and it doesn’t effect my tennis elbow at all. It’s my racquet of the year. Being an Oversized lover I do have a Prince Phantom 107G on the way to Demo. Can’t wait.

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Tennisnerd January 5, 2021 - 1:56 pm

Happy that the Phantom 100X worked for you, Charles! Sometimes you need to tweak it a bit.

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