Notable Racquet Changes Part 1 (Outside of The Federer)

As somebody who has an affinity and love for playing tennis, I’ve always been very interested in racquet technology. I’ve tested and hit with a wide array of racquets, and personally I believe every one is different, ranging from slight to significant. So now that I’ve been watching tennis religiously over the years, I’m intrigued and curious as to how equipment changes and technology improvements will affect the game of tennis and more specifically each individual’s game. So with the new year, comes new equipment for the players. Players change for a few different reasons, such as signing a lucrative sponsorship deal, or simply because they like the feel of a new racquet. Let’s look at some notable equipment changes other than Roger Federer’s new racquet. All specifications and pictures are from Tennis Warehouse.

Important: Almost every player on tour tinkers and customizes their racquet to some extent, so take these specs with a grain of salt and remember that the version on sale for the public might be different than what a professional player is actually using.

1. Jo Wilfried Tsonga–Jo is sticking with Babolat, however he has switched to the French company’s newest line of rackets: The Pure Strike. Jo is going with the 100 square inch version, and it does appear to be a good fit for his game. An open string pattern along with a low swing-weight allows Tsonga to enforce his aggressive game while maintaining a nice blend of comfort and control.

Specifications: Pure Strike 100

Head Size:
100 sq. in. / 645.16 sq. cm.
Length: 27in / 68.58cm
Strung Weight: 10.8oz / 306.17g
Balance: 12.87in / 32.69cm / 5 pts HL
Swingweight: 304
Stiffness: 65
Beam Width: 21mm / 23mm / 21mm /
Composition: Graphite
Power Level: Low-Medium
Stroke Style: Medium-Full
Swing Speed: Medium-Fast
Racquet Colors:
Black with Coral and White
Grip Type: Babolat Syntec Feel
String Pattern:
16 Mains / 19 Crosses
Mains skip: 8T 8H
One Piece
No Shared Holes

2. Jerzy Janowicz– The big serving Pole, also a Babolat user, has made a minor change in his equipment. His previous racquet, the Babolat AeroPro Storm is no longer being made, and Babolat has introduced a similar line of racquets instead. Janowicz is using the Babolat Pure Control. This looks to be somewhere between the old Pure Storm and old AeroPro Storm, as evidenced by Sam Stosur’s(Pure Storm user) switch to this new frame as well. To be honest I’m not really sure why Janowicz uses this racquet, other than the fact that he grew up with the AeroStorm and enjoyed the feel of that racquet. I actually used the AeroStorm for about two years, and it does have nice feel and comfort, but it’s not exactly a power machine, which you might expect a player like Janowicz to use. Maybe it’s the best stick for his world-famous drop shots?

Specifications: PC-1

 

Head Size:
98 sq. in. / 632.26 sq. cm.
Length: 27in / 68.58cm
Strung Weight: 10.9oz / 309.01g
Balance: 13.12in / 33.32cm / 3 pts HL
Swingweight: 313
Stiffness: 62
Beam Width: 21.5mm / 21.5mm / 21.5mm /
Composition: Graphite/Tungsten & Flex Carbon
Power Level: Low-Medium
Stroke Style: Full
Swing Speed: Fast
Racquet Colors:
Black/ Red/ White
Grip Type: Babolat Skin Feel
String Pattern:
16 Mains / 20 Crosses
Mains skip: 8T 8H
One Piece
No Shared Holes

3. Grigor Dimitrov and Alexandr Dolgopolov– What some might consider an ever so slight change, Dimitrov and Dolgopolov’s update to the Wilson Pro Staff 95S could be a trend setter for racquet technology. Wilson’s new spin affect technology has engineered frames to have extremely open string patterns, this one being 16×15, allowing for crazy amounts of spin. That combined with the classic feel of a Pro Staff and you have an incredible combination of modern technology and an old-school players frame. Dimitrov’s run to the quarterfinals was impressive, and he was serving huge, consistently around 215 kph. Also his slice backhand was noticeably sharp, really staying low to the ground. Dolgopolov also has one of the better slices on tour, so it should be interesting to see how the racquet responds to that.I think this is the wave of the future in racquet technology, and Dimitrov is one of the first to experiment.

Specifications: PS95S-1

Head Size:
95 sq. in. / 612.9 sq. cm.
Length: 27in / 68.58cm
Strung Weight: 11.6oz / 328.85g
Balance: 12.63in / 32.08cm / 7 pts HL
Swingweight: 305
Stiffness: 64
Beam Width: 18mm / 18mm / 18mm /
Composition: Graphite/Kevlar/BLX
Power Level: Low
Stroke Style: Full
Swing Speed: Fast
Racquet Colors:
White/ Red
Grip Type: Wilson Sublime Grip
String Pattern:
16 Mains / 15 Crosses
Mains skip: 8T 8H
One Piece
No Shared Holes

4. Tommy Haas–Although Haas had been using the Head IG Prestige Midplus(my racquet of choice) cosmetic on his racquet for the last couple of years, many speculate that he was really still using his HEAD Pro Tour 630 frame. However the 35 year old German said in an interview in Auckland that he spent a week getting used to the design and specs of his new racquet, the Head Graphene Prestige Midplus(Also the racquet of choice for Florian Mayer and Gilles Simon). The classic Prestige line got a pretty significant update, with the graphene technology changing up the specs on just about all of the Prestige line. This one is .4 oz heavier, but has a lower swing-weight, adding maneuverability to a solid, crisp feeling frame. It should be interesting to see how Haas’ game reacts to a more modern stick.

Specifications: GPMP-1

 

Head Size:
98 sq. in. / 632.26 sq. cm.
Length: 27in / 68.58cm
Strung Weight: 11.7oz / 331.69g
Balance: 12.75in / 32.39cm / 6 pts HL
Swingweight: 328
Stiffness: 64
Beam Width: 21mm / 21mm / 21mm /
Composition: Graphene
Power Level: Low
Stroke Style: Full
Swing Speed: Fast
Racquet Colors:
Black/ Red
Grip Type: Head Hydrosorb Pro
String Pattern:
18 Mains / 20 Crosses
Mains skip: 8T 10T 8H 10H
Two Pieces
No Shared Holes

5. Bernard TomicThe much maligned Australian has switched from his  Yonex VCORE Xi to the new Head YOUTEK Graphene Midplus. Bernie will miss the next couple months due to injury, but I think it’s a good sign that he’s gone back to Head, where he’s had the majority of his success. The Graphene Midplus has a 16×19 string pattern, compared to the 16×20 of his Yonex. It’s also a little bit lighter, so hopefully that means that Bernie can be more aggressive instead of probing from the baseline. Fun fact: This is also Jeremy Chardy’s racquet of choice.

Specifications: HGRMP-1

Head Size:
98 sq. in. / 632.26 sq. cm.
Length: 27in / 68.58cm
Strung Weight: 11.2oz / 317.51g
Balance: 13in / 33.02cm / 4 pts HL
Swingweight: 316
Stiffness: 64
Beam Width: 20.5mm / 23.5mm / 21.5mm /
Composition: Graphene
Power Level: Low-Medium
Stroke Style: Medium-Full
Swing Speed: Medium-Fast
Racquet Colors:
Orange & Black
Grip Type: Hydrosorb Pro
String Pattern:
16 Mains / 19 Crosses
Mains skip: 8H, 8T
Two Pieces
No Shared Holes


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5 thoughts on “Notable Racquet Changes Part 1 (Outside of The Federer)

  1. I know you briefly mentioned it at the beginning of your post, but I’d like to add that probably none of those pros have actually changed their racquet. Most likely, they just got an updated paint job on their old frames.

    Another point I’d like to make is that very often, the product that you buy has different specs than what is advertised. For example, the stock Wilson Pro staff 95 is supposed to weigh 11.6oz strung. I strung two of those racquets (brand new) using exactly the same strings and one weighs 12.0oz, the other 11.8oz.

    • Pierce, you make great points. Many times players are using the same rackets with new paint jobs. However, every one of these players has switched and is using new specs.

  2. Hi Joey, was googling rackets and found this post. Nice research/analysis here. I am a 3.0+ player currently using the Babolat Pure Drive Roddick model but sometimes find it too heavy and too powerful. (Too heavy meaning hard to maneuver, too powerful meaning I have a tendency to hit long) I have been thinking about making a racket change to something a little lighter with less power (and *maybe* a slightly larger head size) — do you have any recommendations? Thanks!

  3. Very interesting article! I play with the Prestige IG Midplus myself and don’t really like the new specs of the Graphene line. I’m surprised that Haas has left the PT57A specs and moved on to new technology. Maybe Federer’s switch has prompted other players to reconsider their frames of choice. You need to use the technology!

  4. Interesting article! I’m playing with a customized Head Prestige IG Midplus myself by the way and I’m not really into the Head Graphene specs. I’m surprised that Tommy Haas is actually switching from his beloved PT57A (Pro Tour pro stock), but maybe Federer’s racket move has prompted players to reconsider the obvious benefits of new technology. More articles about gear please!

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