Whether you are a seasoned tennis player or just beginning to play, the most critical thing you will need is a racquet. Believe it or not, choosing a tennis racquet can be quite overwhelming because of all the choices there are.
What is the best tennis racquet brand? You will find there are many different brands of tennis racquets. Not all racquets are best for all players, but some companies have a longstanding history of high quality. Three companies and racquets that seem to stand above the rest, in no order, are:
Purchasing a quality tennis racquet is of the utmost importance when you begin the process of playing tennis. Although choosing your racquet can be confusing and a bit overwhelming, this article will help you navigate the waters of purchasing a tennis racquet. Read on to learn about some of the top-rated tennis racquets on the market so you can determine which is best for you.
As of 2020, the Prince Sports Company had been established for 50 years. For a company to survive for that period, its quality must be outstanding. Because of this standard of quality, purchasing a Prince racquet is a safe bet. The company also provides a variety of racquets to choose from depending on your skill level and needs.
Prince racquets have been revered by the tennis community since their creation in the early ’70s. Not only are the racquets sturdy, but there are many options for you to choose from. Some of the more notable players to use Prince racquets are John Isner, Lucas Pouille, Kveta Peschke, Michael Chang, and Pam Shriver.
What Types of Prince Racquets are There?
When you choose to purchase a racquet, you will notice there are several sub-categories of racquets within each brand. Prince is not exempt from this classification system. There are four specific categories of Prince racquets you can choose from.
Phantom: Phantom racquets would be classified as a pro-series of racquets. Just because the title of a racquet has the word pro in it, does NOT mean you have to be a pro to use it. This simply means it can successfully meet the needs of a professional-caliber player. The Phantom prides itself on the ability to control the ball with low power and the ability to allow the player to use spin when hitting. This racquet would be best suited for a more aggressive player.
Tour: Tour racquets are engineered for advanced and intermediate players. They are touted as being a bit heavier than other racquets but have a firm control factor. If you are a player that is searching for a racquet that can provide precision and power, this may be one to check out.
Beast: Beast racquets provide something for every level of player. Whether you are a beginner or a more advanced player, you will likely find something that appeals to you and your needs on the court. The selling point of this racquet is its ability to provide stability and control for the player, while not sacrificing the head size.
Legacy: Legacy racquets will meet the needs of players that have a shorter and softer swing. This line of racquets is likely not best for a more aggressive player, because of the amount of power behind an aggressive player’s swing. Another drawing factor to this racquet is the large size of the sweet spot. If you are looking to purchase this racquet, you will need to find an actual Prince retailer, such as Dicks Sporting Goods or Academy Sports.
Babolat is historically one of the longest-lived companies dealing with racquet sports. The company was founded in 1875, and to this day, it consistently creates durable products that are sought after by many elite tennis players. Some of the players that rely on the functionality and durability of Babolat are Caroline Wozniacki, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Roddick.
Babolat racquets come in a variety of options to fit players and their needs adequately. The company has broken the racquets into classifications of performance and game. Performance racquets are going to be more suitable for advanced players, while game racquets are ideal for the recreational player. Remember, you can use racquets from both lines even if you aren’t a pro.
Babolat Performance Series
Pure Drive: This racquet is best suited for advanced players that are searching for both power and the ability to maintain precision. The company touts this racquet’s ability to provide control for the aggressive player.
Pure Aero: This racquet is lightweight, which is perfect for players that enjoy playing with a high degree of spin. The lightweight nature of the racquet allows for quick movement through swings.
Pure Strike: This is the newest racquet in the Babolat family and was created with control in mind. While it is incredibly lightweight, it offers superb control to the player and allows them to use spin while feeling the stability that is typically provided with a heavier racquet.
Babolat Game Series
Aero: This racquet is an excellent racquet for recreational players. It has a larger head and is easy to control while being lightweight. The company state this racquet may be ideal for women because of both control and design features.
Drive: This racquet is geared to the beginner recreational player. It provides a large head size for accuracy and precision when playing.
The Wilson Sporting Goods Company has been making tennis racquets since 1915. You are likely familiar with this sports brand and have probably seen several professional athletes supporting the brand. Notable players that have used Wilson racquets are Pete Sampras, Jimmy Connors, Serena Williams, and Kateryna Kozlova.
When you begin looking at the Wilson racquet brand, you will find seven sub-categories.
Blade: This racquet is thin and flexible, which is well suited for competitive players, but isn’t outside the limits of recreational players that are searching for a racquet that can deliver precision. Many people enjoy this racquet for the ability to put a spin on the ball as well.
Burn: This racquet will serve the baseline player very well. It provides excellent control over groundstrokes while allowing power and the ability to put a spin on the ball.
- Wilson Burn 100 Series Tennis Racket
- Wilson Burn FST 99 Tennis Racquet
- Wilson Burn 100S Countervail Black Tennis Racquet
Clash: The company takes great pride in this racquet for its ability to adapt to any player and stroke. It is lightweight and allows easy control of strokes.
Pro Staff: This racquet is ideal for advanced power players. You can get the racquet with smaller head sizes, which allow for more precise hitting. Because of the smaller head size, beginners may not fare well with this racquet.
Triad: The triad racquet is composed of three distinct parts. Because the three parts are separate and distinct, the shock factor is extremely low.
Ultra: This racquet is made of a lightweight frame that allows precise play while on the court. While this racquet is lightweight, it doesn’t eliminate the ability to use power when playing.
US Open: This racquet is great for the beginning and intermediate player. This racquet is more simplistic, but it offers power as well as control and stability when playing.
How do You Choose a Tennis Racquet?
Now that you have an idea of some of the racquets that are available on the market, it’s essential to know how to go about choosing the best racquet for you. Keep the following factors in mind when choosing a tennis racquet for yourself.
- Head Size
When you begin looking at racquets, you will notice there are several sizes within the same style of a racquet. Choosing the correct length of a racquet is very important. The Five Seasons Family Sports Club indicates in their article Buying your First Racquet: What’s Important and What’s Not, that the best length of a racquet for a beginner is 27 inches.
As you progress in the game and become more adept at playing, you can adjust the length of your racquet to find what is comfortable for you. While it is believed that a shorter racquet provides greater control, you may find the opposite is true. The length of your racquet truly depends on your comfort level when playing.
In the above descriptions, you may have noticed the words head and sweet spot. These two factors are essential when choosing a racquet for the first time. Just to clear up the difference in each:
- The sweet spot is the ideal location for the ball to make contact. It is typically designated with the company emblem and is in the center of the head.
When beginning to play the sport of tennis, you will likely gravitate toward a larger head size because it offers a larger area to make contact with. As you become more experienced with playing tennis, you will likely decrease the head size of your racquet.
Racquet head sizes will typically come in three choices mid, mid-plus, and oversized. As you move up in head size, you also increase the size of the sweet spot. In the Tennis Companion article, Tennis Racquet Head Size and Length, they suggest that a larger head size will also increase the power you can get from the racquet.
You may not think about the weight of a tennis racquet being significant, but the weight of various racquets is quite significant. While the weight is not going to be extreme, it will likely be noticeable as you become more in tune with your racquet and playing the game.
In the article Tennis Racquet Weight for Beginners, it is explained that there are three different weight classes that you will find:
The weight of the racquet will impact your swing and follow-through. An excellent weight, to begin with, would be the mid-weight class, which is between 9.8 and 10.8 ounces.
As you can imagine, strings are critical to the performance of the tennis racquet. While it seems quite simple that a racquet needs strings, there are some things that you need to know before jumping into a purchase. Racquets can be strung very differently. Some racquets have wide-set strings, while others are very closely strung.
When looking at racquets, you will notice that most beginner racquets have quite wide-set strings. While the wide-set strings may be beneficial if you like putting a spin on the ball, they are also more susceptible to breaking because there isn’t as much support provided.
Many players prefer to have close-set strings because they feel it allows them more control over the ball. When the ball hits a racquet with closed strings, not as much power is required to move the ball back over the net. The good news about racquets is they can be restrung very easily by a professional. If you have wide-set strings and are unhappy, just have the racquet restrung. They can also adjust the tension of the strings as well.
Read our full article on Best Tennis Strings.
Tennis Express offers excellent insight into the grips of tennis racquets in their article How to Choose the Right Grip? You have likely noticed all the grip products on the market when it comes to tennis but may not understand why they are important. Choosing the correct grip for your tennis racquet can make all the difference in your ability to use the racquet correctly.
If you neglect to choose the correct grip size, you can risk injuring your arm when playing. This is not a path you want to go down. When gripping the racquet, your fingers should not be fully wrapped around the handle and touching. If you are unable to place an index finger between your finger and thumb, the grip is too small.
When choosing a grip, you need to choose what feels best for you. Some grips are very thin and make the handle firmer when you are holding it, while others are soft and provide sweat absorption. No matter which grip you choose, make sure it is comfortable and fitted correctly to avoid injury.
You can read more about Best Tennis Grips.
Things to Know Before Purchasing
As you can see, choosing a tennis racquet not only involves research, but it also involves a certain degree of trial and error. Here is a list of things you need to take into consideration before purchasing a racquet.
- If you are ordering a tennis racquet online, it is recommended that you visit an actual sports store to try out a few racquets. This will help give you an idea of the racquet characteristics you like or dislike. It will also allow you to determine the proper size of a racquet.
- If you are ordering online, order more than one racquet so you can try them out. Be sure to determine the return policy. Some online racquet stores allow you to demo racquets and return the ones you aren’t keeping. All retailers have different policies, so check them out. You don’t want to be stuck with more racquets than you need.
- Make sure the racquet is one that you can use for a length of time. While we all like to be budget-conscious, this is a suitable time to spend a bit extra to get a high-quality racquet, especially if you intend to play frequently. It will be more costly to replace a racquet after a very short time of playing.
When you prepare to purchase a racquet, be sure to research the proper racquet for you, based on the needs you will have. Do you plan to play recreationally and infrequently? Are you planning to become a fixture on the tennis court? The answer you have for each of these questions will determine the route you go.
If you are stuck when trying to choose a racquet, find a local tennis club, and a pro will likely be more than happy to help you out. They may be able to fit you for a racquet and offer guidance for the brand and style you are looking for. Most importantly, have fun finding a racquet and enjoy your time on the court.
Ten Racquets that Changed the Game by Tim Newcomb of tennis.com