The Internet loves list and Tennisnerd just needs to get on the bandwagon and produce more lists! Well, I just thought it would be fun to create top lists of most popular/interesting/value-for-money tennis racquets out to buy right now. This list is not scientific, but I'm a certified and licensed racquetaholic that played tennis for most of my life as well as tried most racquet models in some iteration available on the markets so I hope I can use some of that experience in creating this list of the Top Tennis Racquets to Buy Right Now. Like the title says, I've decided to look at racquets you can buy right now and not legendary racquets like the Head Pro Tour 630, the Wilson Pro Staff Classic or other retired tennis racquet models.
Babolat Pure Strike (2017)
The Babolat Pure Strike was probably one of the best launched tennis racquets of all time. With the release of the prototype called Project One 7 in hands of promising and active players all over the world, Babolat managed to create a massive buzz around the new edition of the Babolat Pure Strike. Dominic Thiem was an excellent choice of main ambassador of the line with his flashy brand of aggressive tennis. The design is bold with a mainly white color with some red and black/grey accents.
Then the reviews came in and it was all Babolat could have ever dreamt of. Pretty much all reviews hailed the new Babolat Pure Strike as an excellent racquet for intermediates up to advanced players. They talked about improved feel, stability and comfortability compared to the older Pure Strike and the tennis racquet retailers such as Tennis Warehouse and Tennis Express all gave really high test scores.
It is a nice feeling racquet, but as I write in my small review, maybe not the racquet for players who have arm problems. And I would recommend you to string low and preferably with a softer poly.
The Babolat Pure Strike is endorsed by Dominic Thiem (among others) and available in a bunch of different models.
Wilson Blade (2017)
I've been a long time fan of the Wilson Blade series. Ever since the nBlade in 2006 (the Wilson nCode series was a really good line of racquets) they have captured that modern, crisp, yet quite forgiving feel. And “Blade” really works as a name for the line as the racquet cuts through the air like a knife.
My favorite Blade so far is the 2015 version in 18×20 string pattern which I used for quite a while (I added lead tape and a leather grip) and I recently play-tested the new version with Countervail and although I didn't like that one as much, it is still a very good racquet. A bit too muted for my personal taste since I really like to feel where in the string bed I hit the ball, but a comfortable response for players who are worried about stiff joints.
The current line of Wilson Blades is endorsed by Milos Raonic and Serena Williams.
Yonex DR (2016)
Yonex had a blockbuster hit with the really nice playing Yonex Ai 98 but it did suffer from some instability issues at times although the feel and playability was top notch. With the updated line Yonex DR they made the racquet more stable and slightly crisper and it's now one of the best, most versatile frames on the market.
The racquet is endorsed by Nick Kyrgios.
Head Graphene Touch
Head racquets have always been famous for their feel and with legendary lines such as the Prestige and Radical used by so many great players over the years, they sure have a tradition to maintain. The racquet purists deem the Head IG line as the last classic-feeling racquets in the history of the brand and Head received a lot of criticism for venturing into the “modern” category with stiffer, lighter racquets. Yet you have to understand the Head marketing team trying to reach a younger Pure Drive swinging demographic.
Still, Head Graphene was one of the most hated “racquet technologies” on the tennis forums due to its stiff and somewhat “boardy” feel. Now Head has tried to fix this with the new Head Graphene Touch line of racquets. They have released the Head Graphene Touch Speed and also something called Head Graphene Touch Adaptive, which means you can change weight and string pattern on your racquet similar to the “failure” of the Dunlop iDapt line of racquets.
The Head Graphene Touch Speed is a nice playing line of racquet although according to some they suffer from similar issues as the Wilson Blades, they're a bit too muted. I guess the racquet companies are just trying to find ways to reduce shock to people's arms and I think that's a noble cause in the age of stiffer and stiffer racquets and strings.
The Head Graphene Touch line is endorsed by players such as Novak Djokovic, Tomas Berdych and Alexander Zverev.
I plan to buy new racket but don’t know how to choose. At the moment I play Head Extreme from 2012 or 2011 and it feels pretty good, especially on clay. I have some lead tape on it at 12. But I feel I need a little bit more power.
My playing style is more from defense but when the ball is shorter I like to take my chances and attack. My serve is not so good and at the net I don’t play much. I’m baseline player, I like long rallies!
I play tennis for 7 years.
What kind of racket would you suggest?
The Head Extreme is not a bad racquet – are you using the Pro or the MP version? The extra weight of the pro will give you extra plow-through and power while the MP (midplus) might feel a bit light which in turns can land your balls short at times.
If you don’t have any arm issues and need more power – I would suggest you check out the Babolat Pure Drive. It offers lots of power and spin and is really easy to use. I wrote a post on the latest edition: https://tennisnerd.net/gear/racquets/racquet-review-babolat-pure-drive-with-fsi/3783
If you like to stay with HEAD, the Head Extreme IG Pro is a really good racquet. You could also check out the new MxG 3, which is a very powerful new racquet on the market: https://tennisnerd.net/gear/racquets/head-mxg-3-5-racquet-review/5501
Another one I would check out is the Wilson Burn CV 100 which is powerful but has a nice, dampened response: https://tennisnerd.net/reviews/wilson-burn-with-countervail-review/4394
Let me know how it goes! Good luck on the court.
Cheers / Jonas
Any tips on what racket(s) or string setups to try given my history below? Medium swing length, progressed over the years from flatter ground strokes to more shapely topspin throughout the periods below but am not an extreme topspinner.
– Beginner/Intermediate: 2006 – started off on Lite version Babolat Aero
– Lower Intermediate: 2012-2015 – Pure Drive Roddick (loved the mega power for serves)
– Higher Intermediate: 2015 – Head Graphene XT Radical Pro (RPM Blast) – started off with Radical Lite – skipped MP.
– Higher Intermediate/Advanced: 2017 – current set up as above one strung at 58 one at 62. No customisations.
Also tried original Babolat Pure Strike 2 years ago (the original ‘black’ one – and liked it but it didn’t quite have the power of my current set up or at least that’s what I thought at the time). Only other racket I have tried was the Babolat Aero Drive which felt like a blunderbus to a scalpel!
As an experiment I dug out my Roddick 2012 Pure Drive last week (with very old RPM Blast strings probably around 56 tension) and could not believe how much more ‘easy’ power/ ploughthrough it was still generating … not good for improving my technique as you can get away with flatter shots that stay deep (which I’ve moved away from) but still, I’d forgotten how much serve power it can generate.
I want to try and get a bit more power back (particularly for serves – although it might be a string tension/type change) and was about to try some of the following rackets:
– retry the Babolat Pure strike (which version would you recommend VS Tour 16×20?) and the Babolat Pure Drive Tour
– the Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph (2016 – black one)
– or try a few different heads e.g. Mx3G (when available), Head Graphene XT Extreme Pro – any others?
– was looking at the Yonex range too.
An advice greatly appreciated..
Thanks for your comment.
Nice to see your path of improvement. Seems like you’re a focused and keen tennis player. The sport is much more fun this way!
Back to your question. You’ve played with some stiff/powerful setups so it doesn’t seem like you have any arm problems. This is good news.
Power is a seductive and I’m on a bit of a “power trip” myself at the moment where I’m testing the new Babolat Pure Strike 16×19. Judging by your history of racquets I think you’d really like that stick. I’ve been enjoying it a great deal and are currently using it with a leather grip and strips of lead at 3 and 9 which lands it around 340 grams and a balance of 32 cm.
The Pure Drive Tour and the Roddick is pretty much the same racquet. but if you really liked the Roddick this might be the stick for you. My issue with the Pure Drive is that I get too much power and I prefer really being able to “hit out” so it wouldn’t work for me, but if it’s power you want I think this can do the trick.
The Wilson Pro Staff RF 97 plays nice but is a very heavy racquet so unless you are ready for 355 grams strung – I wouldn’t go for this one.
The HEAD MxG 3 is interesting, but I would really recommend leading it up a bit to get more stability (counterbalancing it in the handle of course).
Yonex racquets are great. I still have my customized Yonex Ai 98s in my bag although I play with the Pure Strikes. It’s hard for me not recommend the Yonex DR 98 and I’ve heard good things about the Yonex SV 98 too.
So you have some interesting options ahead of you. If you have the opportunity to demo racquets where you live I would start with the Pure Strikes and the Yonex DR 98 and take it from there.
Let me know how it goes and good luck!
Cheers / Jonas
Many thanks – much appreciated…
I want to buy Head PT630 /PT57A.
Can you guide me?
I currently play with Wilson RF97, 2016 but find it stiff.
I am 47 yrs old(90 kgs) and ex-boxer, so racquet weight is not a problem.
Yes, the Wilson RF 97 is rather stiff. Check out eBay and prostocktennis.com and you might find a PT630 at a good price!
Cheers / Jonas
I played with the Head Youtek Radical Pro for several years until they were recently stolen. I’m now in the market for a new racquet.
I enjoyed the combination of control and power from my old racquet which I have not been able to replicate with other newer model Head racquets.
The Head Graphene Touch Speed Pro seems to come close., though it has more control and spin than power. But the stiffness of the frame wears out my arm after 90 minutes of playing.
It has been quite some time since I last tried a different brand of racquet. Would you have any suggestions?
The HEAD Youtek Radical Pro was not an easy racquet to swing, but offered good plow-through and control. Since the racquet you are used to had such a low stiffness rating, it’s not easy to find a modern equivalent. If you’re intent on 100 sq inch racquets – these are a few I would check out:
Prince Textreme Warrior and Textreme 100P are modern, arm-friendly racquets that could do the trick. Especially the 100P should fit you.
I’m a bit surprised to hear that you find the Graphene Touch Speed Pro stiff since it has a rather low stiffness rating and muted feel. I’ve heard many good things about the first iteration of the HEAD Graphene Radical Pro – could potentially be a bit stiff for you however, but it is a nice feeling racquet!
I would also check out Volkl V-sense 1 Pro and Yonex DR 98 (this has a slightly smaller head, but a good-sized sweet spot).
Another option is to try and find a used HEAD Youtek Radical Pro on eBay or other used sites?
Good luck and let me know how it goes! Cheers / Jonas
Could you answer me, are there many differences between Head Graphene Touch Speed MP, Graphene Touch Extreme MP and Graphene Touch Instinct MP? The specifications are practically the same…
Agree a hundred percent that it is very confusing for consumers. My take on it is like this:
Extreme MP is very stiff/powerful
Instinct MP is medium stiff/power (the racquet I like the least of the bunch personally)
Speed MP is more controlled and flexible, but not like old Prestiges.
Both Extreme MP and Speed MP played quite nice to me, but I did get some arm pain with a stiff poly in the Extreme MP and I rarely suffer from arm issues.
Cheers / Jonas
I started out with a a Wilson HyperHammer 6.2, a 110 sq inch racquet. My coach then gave an old Wilson ProStaff nCode SixOne to try out, and it had great feel and also kept my technique from deteriorating. It was 95 sq in and 333 grams. I like slicing, and was wondering what you would suggest. I am trying out Yonex eZone DR 98, Babolat PureStrike and Wilson ProStaff RF autograph edition
The nCode Six One 95 is an excellent racquet! You can get a new Six One cheap today if you want to get the same feel. Otherwise I think your demo list makes sense if you’re completely open to what racquet you should have. The difference in weight between the RF97A and the DR98 and Pure Strike is quite big however. For a similar feel to the nCode the RF97A comes really close. Good luck! Cheers / J
The RF97A ended up hurting my hand after a few minutes. I tried a bunch of different racquets from Head, Yonex, Wilson and Babolat. I liked the Yonex eZone 98 (not the DR), now I am trying Babolat Pure Aero, eZone 100 and Volkl V-Sense V1 MP.
Of the ones I tried so far, I still like the nCode Six.One 95 and Yonex eZone 98.
Hi, I plan to buy a new racket to replace my Wilson Prostaff 97 (315g). I’m looking for something similar but with a little more control and flexibility. The Graphene Touch Pro Speed ??Head, is a good option ?, or the previous version Head Speed ??XT pro ?. Or the Yonex VCORE pro 97 (310g) ?. Thank you very much!
Of the ones you mention, the VCORE Pro 97 310 (or the previous version) or Wilson Blade 98 18×20 could be good options for you. I also believe the HEAD Graphene Touch Prestige Tour (I have one for sale, by the way) is a great control-friendly and comfortable option. Hope you find something you like! Cheers / Jonas
I played the Head Graphene Touch Radical MP, Speed MP and Extreme MP. I felt the Extreme MP wasn’t that good. I liked the feel of Speed MP more but it had Babolat Addiction 16 strings, while the Radical MP had a different string and a far more muted feel.
I will most likely go with Speed MP. I don’t think strings will make enough of a difference to change the muted feel of the Radical MP
What would you recommend for a beginner/intermediate player between the Prince Textreme Warrior 107 and the Head Ti.S6?
Thanks in advance