Determining the right racquet and string combination is paramount to extracting the most performance out of your equipment. It starts with the racquet frame and then the strings. A common and effective approach to frame selection is to write down the attributes which you like and do not like about your current racquet. This will serve as your reference. For example, let’s say you enjoy the maneuverability and lightness of your racquet but it does not provide enough power for you to hit with consistent depth. Based on this you may want to look into heavier and/or stiffer frames which will provide you more power but with a more headlight balance to retain good maneuverability. The frame once selected can then be fine tuned even more with string selection, grip modification and weighting.
Designed for player’s with relatively short compact swings
- Power oriented
- Larger headsizes min. 107 square inches
- Lightweight, usually less than 9.5oz (269 grams)
- Balance is usually even to head heavy
Designed for intermediate players with moderate swings and swing speeds
- Medium powered
- Midplus to large head sizes ranging from 98 to 107 square inches
- Medium weight ranging from 9.5oz (269 grams) to 11oz (312 grams) strung
- Slightly headlight to even balance
Designed for experienced players with fast long swings
- Low powered
- Mid to midplus head sizes ranging from 90 to 100 sq inches
- Medium high to high weights ranging from 11 oz to 12.5 oz strung
- Headlight balance
Larger-provides more spin, power, stability and larger sweetspot at the expense of less control
Stiffness or RA
- Low- below 60 Provides good comfort but low powered
- Mid- 60 to 68 Provides reasonable comfort with medium levels of power
- High-above 68 Provides minimum comfort with high levels of power
String Pattern (Mains x Crosses)
The more open the string pattern the more power, spin and comfort at the expense of control
Some string patterns from open to closed are:
Static weight is basically how much the racquet weighs. The heavier the racquet; the more power and stability it has. Static weight affects mainly the overall manoeuvrability. However these attributes can be varied depending on where the weight is located, ie. head heavy vs head light. Balance is measured in terms of the distance from the balance point of a racquet to the mid point of its length. In general, a head heavy racquet will provide more power and stability than a head light racquet even if both racquets weight the same. The balance also affects the swingweight of the racquet. Swingweight is the measurement of the resistance to movement of the racquet in a circle. In simpler terms, it is the measurement of how easy it is to swing the racquet. A racquet which swings easier than another racquet is said to have a lower swingweight than the other racquet.
Although not too common today there are some models which have extended lengths beyond the standard 27″ length. Most of the extended models offered are between 1/2″ to 1″ longer. The longer the racquet is the more reach one has and the more power one is able to generate. The trade-off is slightly more weight and less maneuverability.
Racquet and String Care
Although Tennis racquets are well built and can handle the many stresses associated with playing the game reasonable handling and care of it off the court can extend their playability and durability significantly.
Try to store racquets in room temperature environments with low temperature fluctuations. High temperatures have been known to decrease the playability of strings due to heat fatigue. To a lesser degree heat can also affect the frame’s stiffness as well depending on the length of exposure and severity.
High humidity and/or direct exposure to moisture is a big no-no when it comes to natural gut strings. If you are using anything but natural gut you should be fine.
Buy a proper racquet bag where there is plenty of room for your racquets is important to protecting your racquet’s finish. To protect racquets and strings from severe heat some bags have an insulated compartment. Also, it is a good idea to not to put too many racquets in one compartment.
One should change grips or overgrips as soon as any signs of wear shows. This ensures a good grip surface to reduce the possibility of a racquet flying out of one’s hands and thereby risking damage to the racquet.