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Tennis & Racket Sports

Best Tennis Racquet

Tennis racquet technology has advanced a long way from the times of stars like Jack Kramer and Stan Smith. Wooden racquets have since been replaced by graphite and other composites offering tremendous power without sacrificing much control. Today's racquets also offer a wide range of playing capabilities, benefiting beginning players, juniors, seniors, individuals who favor a baseline game, a net game, you name it. If you're looking for a new tennis racquet, check out our lists of best tennis racquets in the specific area you're looking for. Also, take the time to read our tennis racquet buyer's guide for a detailed look at the trade-offs involved in choosing a racquet best for you.

Aeropro Drive Junior 25 Tennis Racquet

The Babolat AeroPro Drive Junior comes in 26-inch and 25-inch versions. The racket is designed just like the AeroPro Drive that Rafael Nadal has famously used over the years. The graphite frame is stiff (rated 67) and the head size is 100 square inches. It's a very light frame at 8.6 ounces so juniors will have fun generating great racket head speed. Because the frame is so stiff, it's best for juniors who are already accomplished players.

Babolat Pure Drive Roddick Jr.

The Babolat Pure Drive Roddick Jr. racket is essentially a smaller version of the same racket Andy Roddick used to play with on tour. The racket is made the same as the adult version but it's only 26-inches long but also stiff (rated 68) and powerful, better suited for advanced juniors experienced in controlling the tennis ball. The string pattern on the 100 square inch head is 16x19 which offers more opportunity for greater spin. The racket is slightly heavier at 8.8 ounces than the Babolat AeroPro Junior (8.4 ounces).

Wilson BLX Juice 26 Junior Tennis Racquet

These days, the trend in junior rackets is to mirror the adult version in design and shrink the racket to junior size. That's the case with the #1 and #2 Babolat rackets, and it's also the case with the Wilson Juice 26. Like the adult Juice, the carbon fiber frame is stiff and powerful. The strung weight compares straight up with the Roddick Jr. and so does the 100 square inch head. The difference comes in the string pattern, where the Juice Jr. offers an open 16x15 pattern, instead of the 16x19 on the Roddick Jr. This offers juniors an opportunity to play with a bit more spin.

HEAD YouTek Graphene Instinct Jr. Tennis Racquet

The Head Graphene Instinct Jr. is a junior sized version of the racket Maria Sharapova has been playing with. At 8.5 ounces, this racket is intended for kids 9-11 years old. As with the other junior rackets, the head size is 100-square inches which is fairly standard. You'll find the Instinct is more forgiving than the stiffer frames earlier on this list and a better entry point for younger players. It's still 26-inches long, however, so if your child is really little, you'll probably want to look for a shorter frame.

Head Speed 25 Junior Tennis Racquet

Head makes a range of Speed rackets for junior players. The Speed 25 is, as expected, 25-inches long, extremely light at 7.4 ounces, and has a larger head size at 107 square-inches than other choices on this list. It has a 16x16 string pattern which is a good compromise for players who do not yet have mastery of their strokes. The Speed also comes in 23, 21, and 19-inch versions.

The 19 is only 6 ounces with a 107 square inch head. The Speed series therefore provides a nice line of rackets for a very young player to transition through until he or she advances to be able to handle the stiffer and more powerful frames on this list.

Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 Tennis Racquet

The Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 is a really nice choice for beginners. It offers a big 110 square inch frame along with a very light strung weight of 9.0 ounces. This is a very powerful racquet and you'll need to experiment with the string tension to find what's right for you. One recommendation is to start at the upper end of the recommended range of 53-63 pounds.

The stiffness rating of 70 means you have a very stiff frame, so at low string tensions, you may find the ball flying long on you. If a 60+ pound tension is a little hard on your arm then certainly go to the low end and work your way up to where you find control without any arm issues.

Babolat Drive Lite Blue and White Tennis Racquet

The Babolat Drive Lite is an excellent, lightweight racquet for beginners who want the power of Babolat's other stiff racquets. It weighs 9.6 ounces so even a beginner will have a good opportunity to generate sufficient racquet head speed to strike the ball with authority as their strokes progress and it also has a 16x19 string pattern.

This racquet is slightly head heavy which can add to a feeling of confidence on ground strokes. This racquet is often recommended for juniors but remains 27-inches long just like standard racquets; it's important to know that a junior already feels comfortable with a 27-inch frame before going with this choice. The recommended string tension is between 50-55 pounds, but the racquet should play well even when strung in the high 40s.

Head Youtek Graphene Instinct MP Tennis Racquet

The Head Graphene Instinct MP is Maria Sharapova's racquet, a great choice for players at the advanced level but also a nice option for beginners. It has a 100 square inch head, so the sweet spot is a little smaller than for an oversized racquet, such as the Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3. But if you are a little more athletic than average and have good hand-eye coordination, the MP will be perfectly fine.

At 11 ounces, this is on the heavier side for a beginner but you can also take a look at the sister racquet, the Head Graphene Instinct Rev, which weighs only 9.1 ounces. The racquet has an open string pattern of 16x19, which will help beginners impart more spin for control. Overall, this is a solid high-performance racquet which can boost a beginner's game without costing a fortune.

Prince Tour Pro 100 Tennis Racquet

The Prince Tour 100 is a state-of-the-art racquet good for players in a wide range of abilities. One of the nice things about the racquet is its soft feel. The stiffness rating of 58 is very flexible compared to many other choices which translate to less wear and tear on your arm.

The racquet is rated for string tensions between 53 to 63 pounds, giving you a lot of room to experiment with different feel and playability. This racquet is slightly heavy for beginners but reasonable at 11.3 ounces. Beginners will also appreciate the very wide open string pattern of 16x18 which can assist in imparting extra spin for control.

Volkl Super G 5 Tennis Racquet

The Volkl Super G 5 is another racquet that's a great choice for beginners who aren't on a budget. The Super G 5 is a 100 square inch racquet that's light at 9.8 ounces and also has a very wide open string pattern of 16x18. It's at the opposite end of the spectrum from the Prince Tour 100 in terms of racquet stiffness, rated at a very stiff 71.

Some players coming to tennis as newbies will just love the firm feel of the Super G 5 but others won't and might gravitate to the Prince Tour 100. Either way, the Super G 5 is a very powerful racquet and for players who are new to tennis but not new to sports, the power it offers can make for a lot of fun on the court.

Prince Tour Pro 100 Tennis Racquet

The Prince Tour 100 is a state-of-the-art racquet good for players in a wide range of abilities. One of the nice things about the racquet is its soft feel. The stiffness rating of 58 is very flexible compared to many other choices which translate to less wear and tear on your arm.

The racquet is rated for string tensions between 53 to 63 pounds, giving you a lot of room to experiment with different feel and playability. This racquet is slightly heavy for beginners but reasonable at 11.3 ounces. Beginners will also appreciate the very wide open string pattern of 16x18 which can assist in imparting extra spin for control.

Head Graphene Prestige S

Head has always made rackets that help you if you have elbow problems. The old reliable Liquidmetal Radical and the MicroGEL/Radical were great choices and now Head has their Graphene line of rackets. Graphene is carbon that is organized on an atomic scale, one atom thick, to provide a great deal of strength at very low weight. Head's Graphene rackets vary in racket stiffness but at the flexible end is the Head Graphene Prestige S.

The racket has a stiffness rating of 61 and is pretty light at 11.1 oz strung. If you have tennis elbow you don't want a racket that's too light or too heavy and this racket is probably in your "Goldilocks zone." Like the Prince Tour Pro 100, this racket is 4 points head light and very easy to move to intercept quick volleys. The string pattern is 16 x 19 and interestingly has a recommended string tension range of 48-57 pounds. The low end of 48 pounds is unusual and your elbow will thank you for the loose strings. If you string your own racket you should know that the string pattern is set up for a two-piece string job.

Volkl Power Bridge 10 Mid Tennis Racquets

Volkl has been making tennis rackets for over 40 years and they have a dedicated following. If you like the feel of Volkl rackets, then the black and yellow Power Bridge 10 Midsize is a good choice to take the stress off of your elbow. The racket has a small head size at 93 square inches but it's flexible with a stiffness rating of 59.

It's not going to deliver a lot of power, but for the advanced control player (NTRP 4.5+) who drives opponents crazy with placement rather than speed, this serves well. At 12.1 oz. strung, it's quite a bit heavier than the Head Graphene Prestige S or Prince Tour Pro 100. So, if you are used to a heavier racket and don’t mind a small sweet spot this could be a good first choice before going lighter and bigger.

RZR 98M Tennis Racquet

Gamma is better known more for its strings than for its rackets, but the Gamma RZR 98M is a mid-plus racket with a head size of 98 square inches that you may find to be much to your liking. The "tweener" head size is likely to be relatively easy for players with a sore elbow to adapt to regardless of which racket they are coming from. The racket is balanced to be 6 points head light, which makes for a nice feel on reflex volleys but you may find less plow through on ground strokes.

It has an open 16 x 18 string pattern and a recommended tension of 55-62. The high end of that range wouldn't be a good choice if you're suffering from tennis elbow but you may find that you can add some missing power by going lower than the recommended range.

BABOLAT Pure Control 95 GT Adult Tennis Racquet

As compared to the Babolat Pure Drive that Andy Roddick made famous, and now comes in with a stiffness rating of 72 (in other words, it’s stiff), the Pure Control 95 is much more friendly to your elbow and the racket has a stiffness rating of 58. Made of a combination of graphite and flex carbon, it has a standard 18 x 20 string pattern and weighs 11.9 oz strung. That's a little on the heavy side for tennis-elbow rackets but players coming from a racket that is 12 oz. or more will be happy with this transition.

The 95 square inch head size is more appropriate for an advanced player but this racket is a reasonable choice for someone playing with the popular Babolat stiffer rackets who wants to stay with the brand. Here's something to try with this racket; have your stringer experiment with a 16 x 18 pattern. While the pattern might look funny, see if your elbow laughs along with you.

BABOLAT Pure Aero Tennis Racquet

The Babolat AeroPro Drive GT is famous for being the racket of Rafael Nadal's as well as Fernando Verdasco. But if you want to think about POWER, think about Sam Groth. Avid tennis fans know about Groth, but if you don't, he's an Australian player who routinely hit serves over 140 MPH at the 2014 US Open against Roger Federer. He was clocked over 160 MPH in a Challenger event, so that's unofficially the fastest serve in pro tennis history.

If a racket is yielding that kind of performance, we have to pay it some attention, especially when it’s generating the sort of spin/control Nadal demonstrates. The strung weight is 11.3 ounces, a little on the heavier side but if you want to go heavier you can add some lead weight. The racket performs with string tension as low as 55, but feel free to go lower if you are using a poly string. If you want power, try a Luxilon or similar string and drop the tension further.

VOLKL Organix 1 Tennis Racquet

This racquet has an oversized head at 110 square inches and a supporting “power bridge” strut that goes from the handle to the head to increase the overall rigidity of the racket. The Organix 1 comes in with a stiffness rating of 73 and with than much rigidity you'd think the racket would be less forgiving on control; some extent I think it is, but it has a wide string pattern at 16x17 and that helps compensate.

Amazingly it's only 9 ounces strung, and I can only imagine how much more power it would get if it were 2 ounces heavier. You can experiment with some lead tape if you’d like but the racket is balanced at 6 points head heavy so don't start with the tape at 12 o'clock, instead go closer to the grip.

Head YouTek Graphene PWR Instinct Tennis Racquet

This is a very interesting and powerful racket as its light weight at 8.6 ounces strung contrasts the balanced 11 points head heavy. It’s stiff like all power rackets with a rating of 70 and has a large sweet spot based on the 115 square inch head. Head has also put graphene in this racket, an extremely stiff, carbon sheet that’s a single atom in thinness (also included in many other Head models that are much less stiff). If you're a senior player who wants help with power on a short stroke with a light racket, this is a good “weapon” to test.

Prince Premier 115 ESP Tennis Racquet

Prince makes great rackets and has been doing so for decades. The Prince Premier 115 Extreme String Pattern (ESP) is another interesting and powerful racket. Rated at 73, it's very stiff with a 10.2 ounce strung weight, but what makes it interesting is the very open string pattern of 14x16 and it's 8 points head heavy. The EXO technology that Prince employs in the frame (wide holes for strings) is reported to offer less stress on the arm. I think this is really nice power racket for seniors who still want spin on their ground strokes and/or play aggressive doubles.

Wilson 2014 Juice 100S STRUNG Tennis Racquet

The Wilson Juice line of rackets offers a lot of power for advanced players. The 100S is an extremely stiff frame, rated 74, but with many otherwise standard features. It's 11.2 ounce strung, 4 points head light, and 27 inches long, but the really interesting thing about this racket is the wide 16x15 string pattern.

When you have a racket this stiff, you have to make adjustments in order to tame the power it provides. The wide string pattern is one of those adjustments. When you first try this racket you'll likely fly balls long, at supersonic speed. Remember to impart topspin and play with margin when you are jockeying for advantage in rallies.

Volkl Power Bridge V1 Oversize Tennis Racquet

Our top choice is the Volkl Organix V1 Oversize racket which offers you a 110 square inch frame with moderate stiffness rated at 66. It's three points head light, has a 16 x 19 string pattern, and a recommended string tension of 50-60 pounds.

The 110 square inch frame makes it an oversize racket with a bigger sweet spot at around 100 square inches than the midplus/tweener rackets. At a stiffness of 66, it's less stiff than some of its competition (such as the Wilson Juice 108 with a stiffness of 72) but still offers plenty of power for little effort. It's just slightly head light, which helps with racket speed on serves and it's playable all the way down to the 50 pound tension, making it easier on your arm.

Additionally, the racket comes with a "Bio Sensor" grip, which is Volkl's design for an active vibration dampener in the grip and it’s reported to reduce vibration by 15 percent. Finally, the racket is 10.4 ounces strung which would be lightweight for a normal racket but is more in the sweet spot for senior rackets.

ProKennex Ki Q30 260

ProKennex Ki Q30 260

The ProKennex Ki Q30 260 offers one of the largest frame sizes available today and at 120 square inches, it might be hard to miss. Higher level seniors may find a racket this large to be awkward but less capable players are more likely to enjoy the larger hitting surface.

Rated at 72, it's a stiff racket but the recommended tension ranges from 52-68. At the upper end, you're like to find a very powerful racket that hits like a board, but at the lower end it's pretty arm friendly. Put some soft strings in and you may find it to be easy on you physically and yet still sufficiently powerful to put balls away. The string pattern is 16 x 19, so there's nothing unusual there, but the 9.7 ounce string weight is going to feel much lighter than most traditional rackets but you can always add a little lead tape to the frame.

Dunlop Biomimetic S8.0 Lite Tennis Racquet

The S8.0 Lite racket has a large hitting surface at 115 square inches, offers a big sweet spot, and is rated for string tension all the way down to 52 pounds. With a stiffness rating of 70, you won't need to swing this racket fast to generate enough power on your shots. The racket is part of Dunlop's Biomimetic line, which Dunlop suggests is designed to reduce aerodynamic drag.

This racquet lives up to its name as it’s only 9.5 ounces strung but if you find that's too light, you can add a little weight to the frame using lead tape. Since the racket is already eight points head heavy, I recommend adding the weight closer to the grip than on the placing the lead around the hitting surface as usual. Head heavy rackets are generally better for players who have short strokes and don't need to react quickly to volleys.

Babolat 2013 Drive Max 110 Tennis Racquet

The Babolat Drive Max 110 offers a 110 square inch hitting surface with a bigger than usual sweet spot. It's generally suitable for players up to an NTRP of 4.0, as a 4.5 player would probably want a more traditional frame at a more traditional weight but you can try for yourself and see. The racket is balanced two points head light and comes with a 16 x 20 string pattern; you might try a 16 x 18 variation if your stringer will go along.

The Drive Max 110 is rated for string tension between 50 and 55 pounds, so at 50 pounds you'll find the racket to be easy on your arm, particularly for a stiff frame (rated 72). The racket is only 9.7 ounces strung but if you want, you can add a little weight with lead tape on the sides of the hitting surface.

Wilson Juice 108 Tennis Racquet

The Wilson Juice is a stiff frame and the 108 square inch version comes in at a stiffness of 72. Wilson uses what they call a "parallel drilling" technology with this racket to reduce string friction on the frame while offering a bigger sweet spot. The racket is rated for string tension between 51 and 61 pounds but as a senior, you'll want to start at the low end of the range and see if you can go higher. The racket is evenly balanced and offers a moderate weight at 10.5 ounces strung. Players who are loyal to the Wilson brand could start with the Juice and then migrate up or down in weight, hitting head size, and stiffness to see what racquet works best for you.

BABOLAT Pure Aero Tennis Racquet

The Babolat AeroPro Drive GT is famous for being the racket of Rafael Nadal's as well as Fernando Verdasco. But if you want to think about POWER, think about Sam Groth. Avid tennis fans know about Groth, but if you don't, he's an Australian player who routinely hit serves over 140 MPH at the 2014 US Open against Roger Federer. He was clocked over 160 MPH in a Challenger event, so that's unofficially the fastest serve in pro tennis history.

If a racket is yielding that kind of performance, we have to pay it some attention, especially when it’s generating the sort of spin/control Nadal demonstrates. The strung weight is 11.3 ounces, a little on the heavier side but if you want to go heavier you can add some lead weight. The racket performs with string tension as low as 55, but feel free to go lower if you are using a poly string. If you want power, try a Luxilon or similar string and drop the tension further.

Head Youtek Graphene Speed Pro Tennis Racquet

The Head Graphene Speed Pro is the racket of choice for advanced players like Novak Djokovic and we've all watched him hit with incredible pace coupled with unbelievable precision. This racket is on the stiff end (rated 68) and it has more mass than some other competitors in this class.

Its strung weight is 11.8 ounces and it has a swing weight of 328. The recommended string tension is 48-57, so that's lower than some competing rackets, but you can go to the high end. It's reported that Djokovic uses a hybrid 59/56 with gut and Luxilon.

Since the Luxilon is typically strung at a lower tension than other poly strings, we can intuit that Novak is playing at, or even beyond, the upper end of the tension range for this racket. The racket head is 100 square inches with a string pattern of 18x20, a denser pattern for the larger head size.

WILSON Pro Staff Tennis Racquet

This is the racket with the smallest head size on the list. At 90 square inches the Wilson Pro Staff 90 will feel very small compared to mid-sized or oversized rackets but it offers premium control. First, it weighs more than the average racket, coming in at 12.5 ounces. That's a full one to two ounces more than most rackets you'll see around your club.

It's very head light, which is probably a necessity given its weight and if the racket were head heavy it wouldn’t feel maneuverable. It's not as stiff as other rackets on the list (rated 66), which is again probably a good thing given its mass. In some ways, this is the most demanding racket on the list with the smallest sweet spot and you can’t expect to set up late and still have the racket in the proper hitting zone.

If you’re an intermediate player and feel rushed when playing NTRP 4.5 and higher players, I'd suggest looking for something else. If you are an advanced player who can anticipate balls and get in the optimal power position routinely, this racket could be your personal equivalent of a Stratovarius violin in the hands of a maestro.

Volkl Organix 10 Mid Tennis Racquet

The 93 square inch head of the Volkl Organix 10 Mid offers a smaller sweet spot than larger rackets, but more precise control when you hit that spot. It's a flexible racket (stiffness rating 59) so it's recommended for those who are used to that feel.

Despite the flexibility, the racket is a bit on the heavier side with a strung weight of 11.8 ounces. Its 6 points head light, so it may not feel like it has that much mass, but it does and that helps its plow through. The racket has a 16x19 string pattern and rated for tensions between 50-60 pounds. For more control, try the upper end of the range.

Yonex VCore Xi 100 300G Tennis Racquet

Yonex makes great rackets and the VCORE Xi 100 is a light-weight stiff racket offering very good control for baseliners and all-court players. The racket is 11.1 ounces strung and has a stiffness rating of 71. It can handle a wide range of string tension, from 45 to 60 pounds, but when looking for control, go for the high end of the range.

The string pattern is 16x19 and its balanced head light and if you like, put a little lead weight on the frame at 9 and 3 o'clock, see how it performs for you. If you like that, you could try Stan Wawrinka's Yonex, the VCORE Tour G, which has a swing weight of 333 (10 percent more than the Xi 100) but most players might find that too much to handle.

The 100-square inch head offers a bigger sweet spot than the Volkl Organix 10 or the Wilson Pro Staff 90. If you can't reliably hit the sweet spot on those rackets, try a larger one, like this one, the VCORE Xi 100.

Wilson Two BLX Tennis Racquet

Wilson makes several budget rackets, and at $99 list the Wilson Two BLX is a good choice for players with NTRP ratings between 3.0 and 4.5. The Two BLX is incredibly light, weighing in at just 8.4 ounces. Players with fast swings will want something heavier but for those with compact slower swings the light racket is very maneuverable. It has an extended-length grip to get a bit more leverage on the serve (which you'll need with such a light racket), an oversized hitting zone (110 square inches) and plays almost as stiff as the popular Wilson Juice.

Wilson Triumph Tennis Racquet

It's hard to imagine Wilson could offer a new racket at under $25, but believe it. The Wilson Triumph is an oversized racket with 112 square inches in the head, and balanced 6 points head-light for easy maneuverability. The string pattern is spin friendly at 16x19 inches and the weight strung is 10.2 ounces, so it's at the lighter end of the spectrum but not nearly as light as the Wilson Two BLX. If you're looking for something that will be a weekend have-fun-at-the-court racket, give this some consideration.

Volkl V1 Classic Tennis Racquet

The Volkl V1 Classic is a high-performance racket now available for less than $100. It's a mid-size 102 square inch racket with a stiffness rating of 69. At 10.8 ounces, it's heavier than Wilson's entries on this list and more in line with what competitive players are looking for. One of the things I like is the racket is rated for string tensions as low as 50 pounds. For the occasional, budget-conscious player, a loose tension is nice on the arm/elbow and a player can grow into this racket as he or she improves.

Donnay X-P Dual Tennis Racquet

The Donnay XP Dual is another "tweener" sized racket, at 102 square inches, weighing in at 11 ounces but 6 points head-light. Accomplished players will find this to be a great economical choice for their skill level. Anyone NTRP 4.0 and higher will likely find this racket to be in their zone. It also offers a soft flexible feel with a stiffness rating under 60, making it a good choice for those with arm troubles. The racket lists for a little over $100, but isn’t as expensive as most new rackets.

Dunlop Sports Biomimetic 400 Lite Tennis Racquet

Dunlop makes some great rackets in their Biomimetic series and the 400 Lite is a very affordable, high-performance racket. The racket weighs only 10.1 ounces strung, but with a stiffness rating at 67, you'll still get a sense of power from well-struck balls. The racket serves well, and if you want a little heavier version you can try the 400 (10.9 ounces) or the 400 Tour (11.6 ounces). The 400 Lite is a tweener racket at 100 square inches and you'll find it to offer good playability even at low string tensions.

Aeropro Drive Junior 25 Tennis Racquet

The Babolat AeroPro Drive Junior comes in 26-inch and 25-inch versions. The racket is designed just like the AeroPro Drive that Rafael Nadal has famously used over the years. The graphite frame is stiff (rated 67) and the head size is 100 square inches. It's a very light frame at 8.6 ounces so juniors will have fun generating great racket head speed. Because the frame is so stiff, it's best for juniors who are already accomplished players.

Prince Tour 100T ESP Tennis Racquet

The Prince Tour 100T ESP is another racquet with a 100 square inch head but unlike the Babolat Aero Pro Drive+, it's lighter at 11.1 ounces and feels a lot lighter due to its balance of 6 points head light. But the really interesting thing about this tweener is its 16x16 string pattern. It’s wide open string pattern that affords players the opportunity to put considerable spin on the ball.

You may find that the strings wear out a bit faster with this pattern, but it’s a trade-off worth exploring. Unlike some other racquets on this list, if you want a flexible frame, this is the choice. Its stiffness is only rated at 61 and so those with elbow issues are likely to find this more arm friendly.

Organix V1 Midplus Tennis Racquet

The Volkl Organix V1 Midplus offers a 102 square inch head and strung weight of 10.5 ounces, so it's slightly bigger and lighter than other racquets on this list. The frame stiffness is medium, rated at 66 and offers a wide range of playability for different styles and play levels. The posted string tension ranges from 50 to 60 pounds, so players who like using looser strings will do just fine with this racquet. The racquet can be responsive to advanced players, but can also support those at NTRP 3.5 and below who have slower swings.

Wilson 2014 Juice 100S STRUNG Tennis Racquet

The Wilson Juice line of rackets offers a lot of power for advanced players. The 100S is an extremely stiff frame, rated 74, but with many otherwise standard features. It's 11.2 ounce strung, 4 points head light, and 27 inches long, but the really interesting thing about this racket is the wide 16x15 string pattern.

When you have a racket this stiff, you have to make adjustments in order to tame the power it provides. The wide string pattern is one of those adjustments. When you first try this racket you'll likely fly balls long, at supersonic speed. Remember to impart topspin and play with margin when you are jockeying for advantage in rallies.

Head YouTek Graphene Radical Pro Tennis Racquet

The Head Graphene Radical Pro is the heaviest racquet on the list with a strung weight of 11.5 ounces, putting it right at the upper limit of tweeners. If you want to go lighter, you can try the Head Graphene Radical MP which is a lighter and less stiff version, with a strung weight of 10.4 ounces.

With the Radical Pro, you get a 98 square inch head with a stiffness of 68 and one of the things I love about this racquet is the recommended string tension range of 48-57 pounds. That means players with arm issues can go for looser string jobs and still have confidence the racquet will perform. The racquet has a 16x19 pattern, but with a higher concentration of strings in the center.

Buyer's Guide

Tennis Racquet Buying Guide

Tennis racquets come in various shapes, sizes, lengths, string patterns, string tension and composition to consider as well as racquet stiffness, weight, and balance. As a tennis player, you must wind your way through this maze of features to find the perfect racquet for your style of play. What works for you shouldn’t be expected to work for everyone, but here are some basic concepts to help you navigate towards an appropriate racquet.

Shape and Size

The hitting zone of a tennis racquet is generally oval-shaped with a “sweet spot” for response off the string bed which located near the center (a little lower if the racquet is held vertically). While there are variations in head shape between brands, it’s unclear whether they make any fundamental difference.

What does make a difference is the racquet head size since a bigger head means a larger sweet spot. However, a larger head means less control when hitting in the sweet spot; it’s a trade-off between easily finding the sweet spot and controlling where the ball goes. Beginners should look for larger head sizes so they can quickly find the sweet spot.

Lengths

The longer the racquet, the longer your lever arm which allows for quicker racquet head speed and ball velocity. The standard racquet length is 27 inches but you can find extended racquets at 27.5 and 28 inches, along with shorter racquets made for juniors. A drawback of longer racquets is they’re harder to maneuver and particularly difficult to use when facing incoming balls, especially when playing at the net.

String Patterns

Each racquet has its own unique string pattern with more “open” patterns allowing you to lay more spin on the ball. Generally, the more space between the strings, the more spin you can generate. One common pattern is 18 main strings by 20 cross strings which provides the feel of a solid hitting bed along with other alternative pattern being 16x19 or 16x18.

String Tension and Composition

A racquet will play completely differently at the upper and lower ends of its recommended string tension. When strung tightly, the racquet will feel more like a board but will impart more spin and stroke control. When strung loosely, the racquet may feel more like a trampoline, generating more power but less control. Loose strings are usually in the 45-52 pound range while tight strings are 58 pounds or higher.

Different string types require different tensions with stiff monofilament strings strung looser and softer polyfilament strings strung tighter. Natural gut strings can be strung loosely or tightly depending on your style of play. However, you’ll need to experiment to find what string tension and composition works best for you.

Stiffness

The stiffer the racquet, the more power it will have. Racquet stiffness is measured on a scale where mid-to-high 50s is flexible and anything over 70 is stiff. More “elbow-friendly” racquets are found with stiffness ratings of 55-60.

Players with elbow or other arm troubles will find stiffer racquets put more pressure on joints, aggravating any existing injuries or other painful conditions. Most professional players use stiff racquets but there’s also individuals who prefer the softer feel of flexible racquets.

Weight and Balance

Racquet weight is a trade-off between mass and acceleration. The greater the racquet mass, the greater the force applied on the ball for acceleration. However, a racquet with greater mass will be more difficult to accelerate than a lighter model. Racquet strung weights range generally from a lightweight 9 ounces to a heavier 12 ounces.

Racquets are also weighted to be head light, head heavy, or neutral. A head light racquet will feel more maneuverable while a head heavy racquet will feel firmer on ground strokes, making it easier to move to volleys.

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