Vikram Khandelwal -

Looking for a new racquet? Here are some of your best options

If you are blaming your tennis racquet every time you shank a ball wide or stuff one in the net, the problem is probably your technique. But if you’ve been unable to keep the gas on for long matches because your arm gets tired, or the ball is not leaving your racquet with as much power as you put in, trying a new tennis racquet is a good option. Make sure not to buy a tennis racquet without trying it first; there are many tennis shops that offer demo trials, sometimes even for free! With that said, let’s dive into the top choices based on your skill level.


BEGINNERS


If you haven’t been playing tennis for more than 3-6 months, the right racquet for you is a swing-light, head-heavy racquet with a large head size that enables you to get the feel of stroking the ball. If you don’t know if your racquet is heavy or not, ask yourself this: Can I hit the ball deep even while I’m running? Is my timing good or am I always late? If your answers were “no” or “late”, your racquet is too heavy. The light weight of the racquet and the large head size will enable you to swing freely without the need for Federer-esque technique.


Choice #1: Babolat Pure Drive 2021

  • Head size: 100 sq. inches
  • Weight: 310 g
  • String pattern: 16x19

The Babolat Pure Drive is a masterfully created racquet good for basically any tennis player, especially those who want to add some power to their game. Indeed, this racquet is perfect for generating easy power and spin. It’s extremely maneuverable, light, and delivers lots of power. Notice how I’ve already said power 4 times? On the flipside, this racquet is not good for players who are seeking feel and control. Players who already hit hard and fast will likely find this racquet hard to control.


Choice #2: Yonex VCore Pro 100

  • Head size: 100 sq. inches
  • Weight: 300 g
  • String pattern: 16x19

If the Pure Drive was the epitome of power, this racquet is all about control. The frame is the lightest on the recommendation list and is designed superbly for generating racquet head speed. This racquet also helps to dampen the vibrational impact of hitting the ball, making it very arm-friendly. It’s very stable, which means it can handle the fast balls quickly. If you are a baseliner, this is a perfect decision because you can swing freely while on the run while controlling your opponent’s power. However, this racquet doesn’t deliver much extra power, so don’t expect to crush every ball with this racquet.


INTERMEDIATE


If you have been playing tennis for anywhere between 1-3 years, the right racquet for you is a medium swingweight, balanced racquet with a moderate head size that can turn your technique into power while still giving you some margin of error.


Choice #1: Yonex Ezone EZONE 98

  • Head size: 98 sq. inches
  • Weight: 305 g
  • String pattern: 16x19

In all honesty, this is a great racquet for both intermediate and advanced players. It offers power and precision, while keeping the feel of the racquet. If you want to hit flat hard balls while charging the net, this is the racquet for you. It’s as light as a beginner racquet, yet offers an incredible amount of stability. Even if you're not the one to hit the big ball every shot, the Yonex Ezone is a good all-rounder for the modern game. The spin it delivers isn’t as proficient as, say, a Babolat Pure Aero, but it makes up for it with power, control and stability.


Choice #2: Wilson Blade 98 16 x 19 V7

  • Head size: 98 sq. inches
  • Weight: 305 g
  • String pattern: 16x19

The Wilson Blade 98 is not about crazy topspin or power; it’s all about smooth control and feel. If you want a racquet that can keep up with the variation in your game and make you feel the ball on the strings longer, then this is the one for you. It boasts an amazing slice backhand and the capability for excellent volleying. That said, it doesn’t excel in its ability to provide topsin or speed, so if you use this racquet you need to have intermediate/advanced technique that allows you to generate your own pace.


ADVANCED


If you have been playing tennis for more than 3 years, the right racquet for you is a swing-heavy, head-light racquet with a small head size that can deliver as much power as possible while still feeling like a natural extension of your arm. You should demo as many racquets as possible to get a feel for what the heaviest racquet you can handle is.


Choice #1: Babolat Pure Strike 16 x 19

  • Head size: 98 sq. inches
  • Weight: 305 g
  • String pattern: 16x19

This racquet is the favorite for Dominic Thiem, who can use it to generate absurd power and spin. For those looking for power and precision, as well as some pop on the serve, this racquet should be on the top of your list. This racquet sacrifices nothing in terms of control. The Pure Strike naturally lends itself to beautiful arcs on the groundstrokes, but you need to have a strong arm to ensure that the racquet doesn’t overpower you. If you already have great racquet head acceleration and want to accompany it with more zing, this racquet ticks all the right boxes.


Choice #2: Wilson Pro Staff 97 V13

  • Head size: 98 sq. inches
  • Weight: 305 g
  • String pattern: 16x19

I use this racquet personally, but I hesitate to recommend it because not everyone can easily take advantage of the control it offers. This frame forces players to learn to stroke through the ball to generate their power, but offers top-notch control and penetration with the right technique. Indeed, there is a sort of paradox related to this racquet in that only the players who use this racquet can develop the technique needed to play with this racquet, and only those with the right technique can adequately use this racquet. Regardless, you should demo this racquet if you want to tap into your inner Roger Federer and gain mastery over the control related to this sport.


PLEASE DON’T FLAME ME


All of the racquets I have mentioned are great in their own right. The point of selecting a new racquet is to find one that almost makes you forget you are playing with one. The more the racquet feels like a natural extension of your arm, the better. If even one part of the racquet feels off to you, don’t buy it. That’s the beauty of the sport; there are so many racquets available that you are guaranteed to find the right one if you keep searching. I’ve only outlined the top choices for most players out there based on my own experience, but this is intended to help you keep searching until you find your ideal tennis racquet. Until then, happy tennis!


Written by - Vikram Khandelwal

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