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Buying a tennis racket

Finding the right tennis racket can be difficult. Too many brands, too many models to choose from ....
I will try to give you a few basic rules on how you should choose:

  • Find out what type of player you are - ask your coach or playing partners if you are not sure. If you are a player with shorter hitting movements and less dynamic shots, choose a light racket with higher acceleration; if you have a big and dynamic swing and high ball speed, then you need a stiffer racket for more control. Most racket brands mark their rackets on a scale for stiffness.
  • Head size is less important than you think - although players which dynamic shots prefer smaller racket heads, often because of the higher density of the stringing profile. Especially when you play with a lot of spin, you will like to have less distance between the strings, it reduces the lateral movement of the strings.
  • Never buy before having tested the racket by playing it at least 1 or 2 hours. Every decent tennis shop should be able to let you test first.
  • There is no need for you to have the latest development in technology - all those fancy new inventions are red herrings most of the time anyway. Tennis rackets do not tire and break as easily as they did 20 years ago, so the racket industry has to come up with something new every year to make players buy a new racket. Do not fall for this strategy!
  • If you are on a budget, take a look at last years models. They should be sold at app. 50% of the price of this years equivalent model, and often it is only the color design that has changed. Anyway - more expensive absolutely does not mean better quality! Especially if you like heavier rackets, you will find them to be cheaper most of the time. As a matter of fact, it is the lightweight racket that is more expensive to build.
  • If you are a beginner, do not buy the Nadal or Federer or Williams racket. Those are not beginner's rackets!
  • There are even more strings to choose from than rackets. Make a decision whether you want something comfortable or rather something more durable, tell the vendor and listen to his advice. If in doubt, choose a simple 1.30 gauge nylon string.
  • Grip size is important. Depending on your hand size, choose between grip 1 (4 1/8) , 2 (4 1/4), 3 (4 3/8) or 4 (4 1/2). I do not recommend using grips bigger than 4. If you feel that you need a grip 5, have your technique checked. With modern techniques, you do not and should not hold your racket too tight - which works better with a smaller grip. Most players will do just fine with either a grip 2 or 3.