Whether you are a tennis veteran or a beginner, choosing the your racquet can be a big decision. Gone are the heavy wooden models of yesteryear, and there is more choice than ever. Today's racquets combine high-tech materials and innovative engineering to produce a strong, lightweight, high-quality product.
Things to Consider
Power or Control
One of the first considerations should be whether you want more power, control or a combination of the two.
- Beginners should play with a racquet that's light enough to swing easily, but with enough weight to provide some power. A racquet with an oversize head that weighs between 9 and 10 ounces (255 to 280 grams) will give these players more power and more surface area to make good contact with the ball . A good head size should measure around 107 to 110 square inches (690 to 710 square centimetres). A thicker frame (around 25mm) will also add stiffness and power.
- Intermediate players should look for something in the middle: not too powerful, yet not all about control.
- Advanced players who don't have issues generating power can get away with a smaller, heavier racquet that will provide more control. Look for a racquet with a thinner frame that weighs over 10.5 ounces (300 grams).
Light vs. Heavy Racquet
- Lighter racquets offer greater manoeuvrability making them easier to swing and more suitable for aggressive play, especially around the net.
- Lighter racquets generate less power by themselves, meaning you must swing faster and more efficiently to generate power.
- A light, head-weighted racquet can generate sufficient power without compromising your swing.
- Lighter racquets demand greater accuracy on impact, which makes it more difficult for beginners.
- Lighter racquets tend to be more expensive than heavy racquets.
- Heavier racquets generate more power and are easier to control.
Balance (Head-weighted or Handle-weighted Racquets)
- Most racquets are either head-weighted, handle-weighted or evenly balanced.
- To check a frame's balance, measure it lengthwise and balance it at its exact centre.
- Head-heavy racquets give more power, but are less manoeuvrable around the net, so players who situate themselves mainly at the baseline tend to prefer head-heavy frames.
- Head-light racquets are easier to manoeuvre at the net, but won't deliver the power of head-heavy frames when you hit from the baseline.
- Serve-and-volleyers, all-court players and advanced players who take full swings generally like head-light racquets.
- Evenly balanced frames offer a blend of power from the baseline and manoeuvrability at the net. They usually appeal to all-court players.
Flexibility (Stiff or Flexible)
- Stiff racquets bend and torque less.
- Stiff racquets are usually more powerful. A flexible racquet requires the player to produce more power.
- Stiff racquets are usually more accurate due to reduced flex on impact providing a more consistent result.
- Flexible racquets are more comfortable because they produce less shock. This helps to avoid tennis elbow problems.
Racquet Head Shape and Size
- Greater hitting area means there is a greater margin for error.
- Oversize racquets offer a larger sweet spot. This means more power but less control.
- Mid-size/small-size racquets have a medium sweetspot and power with very good control.
- Racquets are made with a number of composite materials. Most of this has little effect on the racquet's performance.
- High-end racquets are now typically constructed of Titanium and carbon.
- Aluminium is very often used for lower-priced racquets because it's cheap and durable. However, it lacks the playability of other materials.
Open or Dense String Pattern
- An open string pattern has more space between the strings allowing you to put more spin on the ball.
- Dense string patterns will give you less spin, but more overall control at directing shots.