Silliness, but whatever, I need entertainment until I get to Indian Wells. Watch for an appearance by Novak Djokovic.
Silliness, but whatever, I need entertainment until I get to Indian Wells. Watch for an appearance by Novak Djokovic.
Key elements are, long main strings, a fan-shaped stringing pattern, and a teardrop-shaped frame that is wider than most OS racquets on the market (esp. the 116 and 125). The result is a larger center radius that is forgiving of off-center hits and offers power and spin assist for those who do not use full, fast swing technique. Left is the 109 which is the smallest head size (109 sq. in.).
"We continue to increase our brand beyond running and demonstrate our passion for all sports," says Kevin Wulff, CEO of ASICS Americas. "... Our new racquets will give the adult players the competitive edge they desire."
The racquets will be sold unstrung and are recommended for use with new ASICS Resolution 16 or 17 gauge or ASICS Challenger 16 or 17 gauge string.
ASICS racquets will be available in specialty tennis and pro shops as well as online retailers soon, $189.
Tennis coaches often refer to building a "toolbox," meaning your repertoire of shots and tactics on court. Clearly, Djokovic's toolbox is complete, a veritable workstation packed with the best in speed, footwork, fitness, recovery, shot making and mental strength.
Amazing stuff watching it all come together match after match. His stick, a key part of said box of course, the just-out HEAD YouTek Graphene Speed Pro.
NOTE on apparel: Love the jacket here. Unfortunately, it's not available, neither is the shirt, nor the shorts...not at the moment anyway. Bummer. We got excited last year when UNIQLO offered up some of Novak's US Open apparel at two stores in NYC. Hoping that they work through the kinks and get the stuff out there.
Rafa "un unico" Nadal takes on Jo "hitman" Tsonga in this latest Babolat AeroPro Drive promo vid that takes the 2013 stick out of the shadows and into battle.
Tennis in the dark. Would be cool to set up somehow. Love those spin trails.
Above is one of three 2013 Babolat Aeropro Drive range tennis racquets coming out December 12. It is a cosmetic update of the 2012 version with the addition of new Cortex Active Technology which gives players extra help with feel that can, in turn, maximize your topspin potential (you do have to stroke the ball correctly of course). The new range includes:
AEROPRO DRIVE/AEROPRO DRIVE +
For baseline players looking for power and spin
$199 USD unstrung
Head size: 645 cm2 /100 sq. in.
Weight (unstrung): 300 g / 10.6 oz
For baseline players who appreciate power, while looking for more maneuverability.
Head size: 645 cm2 / 100 sq. in.
Weight (unstrung): 280 g / 9.9 oz
For women and high-level juniors looking for a lightweight racquet with spin.
Head size: 645 cm2 / 100 sq. in.
Weight (unstrung): 260 g / 9.2 oz
The tennis techie's dream Play and Connect racquet is still on hold for retail release.
Joining the new Aeropro racquet are updates for the Babolat Propulse tennis shoe, one of my favorites. The Propulse 4 All Court is available in black/yellow (as here, left) and white with blue for men, $120.
The Propulse keeps you low to the ground and stable during rapid side to side movement. The footbelt locks your foot in giving a custom fit. The Kompressor system offers good cushioning and Michelin outsole, durability.
The shoes will be in stores in February 2013.
Learn more at Babolat.com or test drive/buy at Tennis-Warehouse and Babolat retailers worldwide.
Heads-up on the new Babolat racquet line coming out 12.12.12. I wrote about the new "intelligent" sensor loaded racquet back in June. Psyched to try it myself. Not sure if that's what's coming out yet though. I'll keep you posted.
Quick teaser here featuring Rafa (miss him!) and Jo-Wilfried from Babolat:
HEAD tennis has released this promo of its 2013 Speed tennis racquet powered by G.
What "G" is or involves we won't know until January 11 (my guess is G-spot). Apparently Novak Djokovic is a user. You can be too by entering the company's newest contest over at facebook.com/headtennis.
Wilson has introduced the 2013 evolution of the Blade racket series. Engineered for hard hitting players wanting to maximize control, spin and feel, the new sticks feature Wilson's Amplifeel handle technology for optimal feel and enhanced modulus graphite construction for added control. A sleek, black and silver cosmetic completes the changes for this series.
Included in the group are the Blade 93™, Blade 98 (pictured left and also available in 16x19) and Blade 104™. Used by 75 percent of Wilson’s Next Gen team, the rackets will be available at retail December 1.
Players using these racquets include: Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils (NEW to Wilson), Laura Robson, David Goffin and Elina Svitolina (the latter three being part of Wilson's NextGen team).
“We have seen very strong results from our Next Gen players this year with the Blade,” said Renaud Vallon, global tour director for Wilson. “Laura Robson reached a career high and won Olympic silver; Elina Svitolina won her first WTA Tour title; and Filip Peliwo and Genie Bouchard dominated the ITF Juniors. These players are the future of our sport and we look forward to following their successes in 2013 with the new Blade series of rackets.”
Find more at Wilson.com. Test drive and buy at Tennis-Warehouse and Wilson retailers worldwide.
Dunlop has announced the addition of six new tennis racquets for the 2013 season. Highlights include four entirely new frames with new molds and specs and three new Biomimetic technologies including BioFibre to reduce shock, AeroSkin to reduce aerodynamic drag and MoS2 grommets that help to reduce string friction.
The racquets are organized according to swing style (see color tagged racquets above at the TIA Tennis Show- dups make 8 for those counting):
The F Series (with blue label) is for those who play with an aggressive full/fast swing and are looking primarily for speed and precision. (One racquet, the F 3.0 Tour with 98 sq. in. head, 10.86 oz unstrung)
M.Series (green label) sticks are for those with a medium or more moderate swing, those players looking for a little extra assistance with spin, power and manueverability. (M 3.0 98 sq. in. head, 10.51 oz; M 6.0 102 sq. in. head, 9.98 oz.)
S. Series (red label) sticks are for players with a short and slower swing, wanting help with power, enhanced comfort and forgiveness. (S 3.0 Lite, 98 sq. in head size, 9.35 oz; S 6.0 Lite, 105 sq. in head, 9.7 oz; S 8.0 Lite, 115 sq. in, 8.95 oz).
All new racquets are 16 x 19 string pattern except the F 3.0 Tour which is 18 x 20.
The new group will be out and available beginning in October 2012. More info at DunlopSport.com. Buy or test drive at Tennis-Warehouse or tennis racquet retailers worldwide.
Dunlop sponsored ATP and WTA players include: Jurgen Melzer, Tim Smyzcek, Philip Marx, Mick Lescure, Daniel Masur, Tiago Fernandes, Fernando Verdasco, Heather Watson, Mate Pavic, Tommy Robredo, Dominika Cibulkova and Petra Rampre.
Babolat has introduced a sensor loaded tennis racquet, the "Play and Connect," designed to monitor and evaluate tennis performance outside of your match results. The prototype was debuted at Roland Garros.
Both Rafael Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga participated in demos at the tournament. The official racquet launch will be 2013. Until then only 100 Play and Connect racquets will be distributed and beta tested worldwide.
"This is a connected and communicating racquet that will give players information they can use to improve performance or just have fun sharing with other passionate tennis players,” explains Eric Babolat, Chairman and CEO.
The new racquet will be able to gather information on strokes, ball spin, position of ball on string bed, service speed, duration of play, intensity of play and more, AND then transmit it to your computer or smart phone via a USB port.
“In 2004, Babolat developed the Aeropro Drive racquet specifically for the type of game I play," said Nadal. "... Having this new technology to capture information from my matches will mean a new way of analyzing my game”
More info to come as the racquet rolls out.
Just in from HEAD tennis. Andy Murray considers a career change. LOVE the haircut:
Tourna's newest tennis string is the Big Hitter Black 7, a co-poly (meaning a blend of poly with other elements) that is shaped with 7 sharp angles which bite into the ball for what Tourna calls "massive spin production." I'm hearing it recommended for higher level players with a strong baseline game.
"This new Big Hitter Black 7 is pretty cool," said playtester, Jonathan. "It's very elastic for a poly - which gives it comfort and pop and dwell-time, but it also has the spin, control, and durability of a poly. It bridges the gap between poly and multi in a very interesting way, IMHO. I really like it. I knew I'd like it from the second I did the elongation test on it."
MAP is $8.95 for a set (enough for one racquet). Take note, In the world of tennis string, that's a great price; worth a try for sure if it's got what you are looking for.
Tip: If you've got any elbow issues, best to avoid or string more loosely.
With bow and bracelets befitting her 15 years, Taylor Townsend, out of Stockbridge, Ga., won the junior singles girls final at the Australian Open.
There are kids grinding their young lives out on tennis courts worldwide and this girl made it big. Not many do. Imagine the smile under those hands.
Andy Roddick and Donald Young once won this tournament. Lindsay Davenport was a finalist. That's the short list.
And if winning singles were not enough, Townsend also won the girls doubles tournament with partner Gabrielle Andrews.
Townsend, one of Prince's team "Who's Next," uses the Prince EXO3 racquet and has for two years. “This technology allows me to do a lot more on shots that I am pulled out of position for –which is most of the time at our level" said Townsend. "[It] has allowed me to win the four to five more points per set that many times are the difference between winning and losing. Since switching, my game has gone to a whole new level."
You can see the trademark grommets on the racquet above. According to Prince, these allow all players, including those at the most elite level of the game, to do more on balls they hit off center because the strings have more freedom to respond.
Townsend's tennis apparel is Nike, separates (love them) from the '12 Spring Rally Statement line that Serena Williams wore in Australia, right (and at Fed Cup in Worcester this past weekend).
Congratulations Taylor, and all the best to you for a successful career.
P.S - Blue becomes you.
Novak Djokovic kicked off the 2012 season with new tennis fashion from Sergio Tacchini. No change in stick however; his HEAD Youtek IG Speed MP racket has certainly served him well.
The polo's colors (on white base for day, black base for night) are inspired by the Serbian flag which also appears in a heart at the lower left shirt hem. The shirt also comes in navy and as a crew. ST designers tell me that the digital prints (that look to me like art created by a fast paint soaked jump rope) are an artistic interpretation of the dynamic nature of tennis, the force of a ball strike and the Serb's explosive energy. Explosive. Perfect word for Novak's game.
If anyone can prove that a line moves and breathes with you without any hindrence it's Djokovic. No question in the claim that the line here is ergonomic. No ST distribution in the US at this time. As of 2/3/2012 new Aussie Open SergioTacchini now available in US.
Notice anything different in this shot of our WTA world #3? Yes, a new tennis racquet. Victoria Azarenka, has switched, from long-time sponsor Head, to Wilson. She will use the new Juice 100 BLX to kick off 2012 and has signed a long-term partnership agreement with the company (not including apparel).
“I’m extremely excited to be changing to Wilson’s new Juice racket. The power and spin that I feel with this racket is insane and I look forward to seeing what I can do with it,” said Azarenka.
Azarenka will also carry a matching new blue Wilson Tour tennis bag and use the company's Emotisorb shock absorber.
“Vika’s talent is undeniable, and she has been one of the tour’s most consistent performers,"said Renaud Vallon, global tour director for Wilson."...“She is a very powerful player, with a dynamic personality and we are ...thrilled to have her join the Wilson family.”
Let's go! More Vika. Sounds good.
Are they legal? the campaign asks. Wilson tennis has just introduced its new Juice and Steam racquets and is using social media to launch them. Check out one of the Steam videos featuring Kei Nishikori and Petra Kvitova below::
The tongue-in-cheek campaign appears to be the focus of this launch (always fun watching pros goof around) but I'm most interested in what these new sticks are going to do for my game.
The Steam series includes the Steam Pro BLX, weighted and balanced for power and spin for use by more experienced players (used by Kei Nishikori), and the Steam 100 BLX, a lighter-weight, version of the same (used by Ernests Gulbis and Petra Kvitova).
The Juice series is available in Juice Pro BLX, offering what Wilson says is a modern feel for big hitting power and spin. The Juice 100 BLX has Wilson’s Amplifeel grip system and is designed for a wide range of players of all levels and ages; the Juice 108 BLX, with a larger head size and lighter weight design, also features Amplifeel. This racquet is for someone who prefers a larger sweetspot. You can read more about each racquet here.
Are you thinking what I am? It does appear that Wilson may have made some tweaks to the BLX with weight, head size and cosmetics, but not too much else appears to be going on in terms of real new technology. BLX users, take a test drive and let us know what YOU think.
The Wilson Juice and Steam will be available at retail January 15.
Yonex recently announced its newest line of tennis racquets, the EZONE Xi, which will officially launch in January 2012. Take a look at some of the new technology (as shown by Ana Ivanovic).
The new racquet features a quad power system (in combo with its unique ISOMETRIC head design) for a powerful and enlarged sweetspot, an oval pressed shaft for increased stiffness and comfort, and NEOFADE vibration absorbing technology which is said to reduce vibration by 15%.
Ivanovic will play with the 98 pictured above. Use this link for more EZONE Xi racquet details.
Yonex's male players plan to use the VCORE series for the time being. Caroline Wozniacki currently plays with the VCORE 100S.
A few YONEX players are testing the 98" EZONE so you may see some switching as the year progresses.
The Dunlop Biomimetic 700 hit stores today. The new stick is being billed as a "game improver" racquet for the 2.5 - 4.0 tennis player looking for a little more power in their game (read depth and pace).
“Overall, this is the most advanced frame we’ve ever created," said Hunter Hines, Tennis Product Manager for Dunlop Sports Group Americas. "It’s absolutely loaded with technology aimed directly at providing players a very powerful, yet comfortable and maneuverable frame.”
Here's the scoop on the tech:
A 3Dom grommet system is designed with softer than usual grommet material which provide padding for the strings while allowing them to move a little more freely. This means less string vibration (so easier on your arm) and more string recoil during shot making. Additionally tiny ridges in each grommet keep the string from lying flush against the grommet bed. When string/grommet contact is reduced, the result is more string movement and greater power and spin for the player.
So why the nature scene? The biomimetic concept brings technology and nature together and here touches on the design of the sandfish skink, an animal that can swim through sand because of miniature scales on its surface. The tiny ridges on the new grommets are said to mimic that animal's scales. Dunlop designers have also studied human bone structure (how it supports weight) and wing shape on a birds of prey for a beam that is more aerodynamic. Nature has things pretty well figured out so why not imitate?
Notes: The oval 110 sq. in head shape (16 x 19 string pattern) offers a larger sweet spot than smaller heads so those who don't move as fast as they wish they could might like the forgiveness for off-center hits. Players with more advanced strokes may find this stick to be a little too powerful. MSRP $210 unstrung.
Today Dunlop announced the signing of British tennis player Heather Watson. The 19 year old hails from Guernsey, an island in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy, and now trains at the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida. Already recognized as an up-and-comer Watson is one of the WTA's 6 featured 2011 Xperia Hot Shots.
Watson is currently 85th in the 2011 WTA Singles Race. She uses the Dunlop Biomimetic 300 Tour (MSRP $210) for her penetrating groundstrokes and strong baseline game. Her chief weapon is the two handed backhand.
Watson's apparel sponsor is K-Swiss. Pictured here she wears the Spring pleated dress (which is actually on sale at the moment).
Look for Watson on tour and at the US Open. Follow her on Twitter @HeatherWatson92. Tell her @TennisIdentity said hello.
It is well known that tennis racquet retailers tend to primarily use paint job changes for the "new model" of an older version. There are certainly technological innovations from time to time but not all that often.
Bothwell says BOLT racquets offer innovation you can feel right away. The "zip-strip," located at 3, 9 and 12 o'clock on the racquet head, is a suspension system that carries racquet strings, holding them off the bed of the frame. The result, says Bothwell, is an explosive, almost vibration-free impact with hit.
BOLT currently offers two models, the B98, 98 sq. in. (blue and black) and B100, 100 sq. in. (orange and black) that both list for $215 USD unstrung. These are intermediate to advanced racquets (stringing variables and head size can help in either direction). The company will make string recommendations based on your level and style of play.
Hungarian and Swedish Davis Cup players are currently play-testing the racquets.
Available to test drive and buy only at BOLT beginning August 1, 2011.
Kvitova has been wearing the two piece Smash Classic tank and pleated skort by Nike. Both are $55 USD. Classic white and deep obsidian navy. This set is part of the beautiful group that includes Serena William's dress for Wimbledon.
Check out Kvitova's manicure that matches the navy in the outfit. Pretty total-picture pull-together.
The top does not include a bra and finding one that will stay hidden with this beautifully open neckline is a challenge. If you find one, please leave a comment below.
I'm hoping for a good battle between the statuesque 6 footers. If you are watching on tv, you might want to turn down the volume. This should be a loud one either way.
Kvitova's racquet? It's the Wilson Tour BLX
Roger Federer has a brand new tennis bag for Wimbledon, the Wilson BLX Tour Federer Super Six Pack LTD. It's designed specifically for Fed. Wilson players and big RF fans carrying multiple racquets (or a lot of gear) will love this limited edition memento of Roger’s 16 Grand Slam titles.
About the bag: Thermoguard and Moistureguard compartments protect up to 12 racquets from cold or heat. The bag also contains a large pocket to hold shoes and apparel as well as an accessory pocket for cell phone and keys. There are backpack straps and a fully padded back for comfort. Roger's "signature" of course adorns the bag. No PVC's for a healthier world.
Look for the special promo going on with this bag, a chance to win more of Roger's gear.
Chris Gaudreau* (front row, third from left) was an integral part of team Babolat charged with stringing tennis racquets at the 2011 Paris Open at Roland Garros. Over the course of 14 days and 3,000+ racquets, Gaudreau kept a running diary. Here's a sneak peek at just a very few of Gaudreau's many behind-the-stringing-scenes reveals:
"Nadal had a 5 setter today. Babolat and the Spanish stringers were freaking out...I was the only American so I kept my mouth shut. Nadal had 3 rackets run in and the press followed. Xavie strung 2 rackets in 15 minutes...the fastest I have ever seen..."
"3 rackets were given to me for Kirilenko. It was 11:25 and they were due by 12..."
"When a player is on court and needs a racket strung a special phone rings and giant light goes off...kind of like the "bat phone" but brighter. Gasquet ran a racket in during the match but it didn't help..."
Fun, eye-opening reading. HERE"S THE FULL TRANSCRIPT. A slice of tennis life I knew very little about.
*Chris Gaudreau is a Master Racquet Technician (MRT), USRSA certified racquet stringer and USPTA certified teaching pro. He owns and operates Racket Koop in New Haven, CT (close to the Yale Bowl). He has worked with and strung for some of the the world's top-level tennis players at many world class tennis events. Roland Garros was his first Grand Slam event.
Maria Sharapova has revealed her newest on-court weapon. Now officially painted, Sharapova premiered the new HEAD YouTek IG INSTINCT tennis racquet first round at the Mutua Madrid Open and came up with a win. The racquet has been a work in progress since early 2011.
“The game became a lot more powerful, a lot more physical,” Sharapova said. “I was really looking for a powerful racquet, and am thankful that HEAD provided me with exactly that."
The new stick is said to provide "Effortless Power" actually. The YouTek Instinct IG series will be available in August in two versions, the MP and the S model. Both will allow players to create power in their strokes much more easily, due to better maneuverability of the racquet during the swinging motion and less energy loss at ball impact; built in Innegra™ technology reduces vibration on ball impact and allows for more control.
More specs are forthcoming.
HEAD CEO Johan Eliasch noted, "Maria gave a lot of input to help develop this new series of racquets. We are proud that she joined our team and trusts our products." Proud? Yes of course but much more likely... very, very thrilled ;)
Maria's apparel here? All Nike Maria Sharapova Group. The Statement Tank in lemon frost/lightbulb $60 and Skort, in gridiron $60. Very pretty two piece set.
Dunlop tennis has signed Tim Smycek, a hot-on-court Milwaukee native, to a racquet deal. His win last week against Donald Young in the 2011 USTA French Open Wild Card Playoffs earned him the coveted ticket to Roland Garros.
Smyczek is hitting with a Dunlop Biomimetic 300 Tour.
"Tim is a great signing for Dunlop," said Kai Nitche, Vice President and General Manager of Dunlop Racket Sports. "He possesses the key characteristics we look for in our Tour Team members; he works extremely hard both on and off-court, he's dedicated, and he pulls through in clutch situations. It's been a pleasure to work with him thus far, and we wish him well as he continues his climb up the ATP World Tour rankings."
The 23 year old trains at the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa and now makes his second appearance in a Grand Slam main draw; he won the USTA playoff last August to get into the US Open. This year he's continued his upward momentum by reaching the quarters in San Jose in February and the second round in Indian Wells after qualifying for the main draw.
Smycek currently wears adidas apparel and footwear. Yeah, you're right, he's hot off court too ;)
Two historic French brands have teamed up to offer a new Roland Garros range created by Babolat. The line-up includes tennis racquets, tennis bags, balls, over grips and more all themed with the color of the French Open's clay courts. Mais oui, yes they are sharp looking.
The Aeropro Drive French Open is the showpiece and comes in three Roland Garros versions to suit your ability: Aeropro Drive French Open, $199 unstrung (Nadal and Tsonga use this stick), E Sense Comp French Open, $99 strung (lighter of the two adult racquets), Aeropro Drive Junior French Open $140 strung. Head sizes are the same on all three. Differences are in weight and construction. All are cosmetic updates to existing Babolat frames.
The Roland-Garros tennis bag comes as a six $60 or twelve pack $80, both have the isotherm racquet compartment which protects your string job from big temperature changes. There is also a back pack for $40 and club bag. New themed tennis balls, over grips and dampeners are also part of the collection.
Babolat has announced the launch of a new collaboration between Babolat and Roland Garros beginning this year and running through 2015. Babolat will supply the official tournament ball at the French Open and will provide stringing services for all tournament players.
Sure we'll see the ads but the alliance is being billed as the Ultimate Tennis Experience and true to Babolat's mission to reach "all tennis aficionados" -- see the artwork above -- we tennis mortals will have access to a brand new line of Babolat-Roland Garros products, both adult and junior racquets, balls, racquet bags, strings, grips and dampeners. A little love from France for our game too.
I'm looking forward to checking it out. The new gear will be available in May 2011. Roland Garros begins May 17.
Last week Yonex announced that Caroline Wozniacki, the world's number one ranked female tennis player, had switched to a Yonex racquet. It's hard to imagine turning in your racquet at the very top of your game. Remember Novak Djokovic's bumpy brand switch a couple of years back? Money can be compelling however as we all know.
The switch was officially announced at the start of the Australian Open although Wozniacki has been playing with the new stick since January 1. No problems whatsoever. The new racquet in hand is the new for 2011 Yonex VCORE 100S.
"After Doha, which was my last tournament of last year, I had trained back at the practice court and the whole Yonex team was there. I thought that everything about the racquet was perfect at the end, and I thought that it was great for me. Yonex really helped me to find solutions to improve my game and also spin with the ball."
We all know about player racquet customization but the VCore 100S has a 100 sq. in. head size 16x19 string pattern and is designed for players who really like to spin the ball. The #D vector shaft is said to aid frame stability.
Novak Djokovic hits Australia with a new HEAD racquet in hand, the YouTek IG Speed MP 18/20, one of six in the new HEAD Speed IG series.This second generation YouTek blends the best of the d3o technology introduced in '09 with HEAD's newest Innegra fiber technology.
Tough and light, Innegra (also used in F1 cars) is said to improve stability and shock absorption and provide consistent performance over the entire life of the frame.
The Speed series racquet group includes a 300 gram MP version of Djokovic's for easier playability (for those not at the higher echelons of the game).
Below are more details on the different versions of the series. All have just about the same cosmetic:
- YouTek IG Speed Pro: This racquet offers a heavier frame with a very thin beam, providing great touch and feel. It comes with a synthetic leather grip and cap.
- YouTek IG Speed MP 16/19: Offers a combination of power and feel in a slightly longer version to accommodate a wide range of players.100 sq. in. head.
- YouTek IG Speed MP 18/20: Djokovic's racquet. This stick will appeal to a wide range of players with its combination of power and feel. 100 sq. in. head.
- YouTek IG Speed 300: A more powerful MP version which makes shots faster with less effort. This racquet offers good power and control. 100 sq in. head, 16/19.
- YouTek™ IG Speed Lite: This is the lightest racquet in the Speed series. A great tweener providing a combination of power, maneuverability, control and feel. It’s a good choice for players with a moderate swing style. 102 sq in head, 16/19.
The YouTek IG Speed MP 16/19, YouTek IG Speed MP 18/20 and YouTek IG Speed Lite will all hit retail 1/17. The YouTek IG Speed 300 and YouTek IG Speed Elite will not be available until March.
Djokovic's apparel, nice ehh? I'll leave it for another day :)
Prince tennis has announced its new performance racquets for 2011. The updated racquet line includes: Three EXO3 Tour models (EXO3 Tour 100 (16x18 string pattern), EXO3 Tour 100 (18x20 string pattern) and EXO3 Tour Lite 100) designed for more advanced players with faster swing speeds; and newly upgraded versions of the EXO3 Silver 115, EXO3 Blue 110, and EXO3 Red 105 models for beginner to intermediate players.
All six new EXO3 racquets will feature the distinct ThermoCarbon String Suspension Inserts (the larger holes) and will join the popular EXO3 Black, EXO3 White and EXO3 Rebel to complete the full 2011 performance racquet collection.
According to Prince, EXO3 is a patented racquet design utilizing large holes and string suspension inserts that absorb vibration and deliver a larger hitting area compared with other frames of the same head size on the market. Strings are liberated from traditional, smaller grommets, allowing the strings to respond more freely, even at the outer edges of the string plane for balls hit off-center.
"High-speed video shows that beginner and intermediate players are not the only ones who hit balls off center," said tennis guru Nick Bollettieri. Pro athletes today compete at such an incredibly high pace,along the tightest of margins with very little reaction time - so nearly every ball they strike makes contact outside of the direct center string bed. ...[E]liminating grommets that limit string response...even out to the edge of the frame on balls players hit at full stretch or have less time to react to...allows players, at every level, to hit better shots, more consistently."
So who who's playing with what now at Prince?
EXO3 Tour: David Ferrer, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Sam Querrey, Albert Montanes, and Viktor Troicki.
EXO3 Black: Vera Zvonareva, John Isner, Shahar Peer and Marion Bartoli.
EXO3 Rebel: Gael Monfils, Mike and Bob Bryan.
Origine is a new-to-market Canadian brand. Their first tennis product is a racquet that combines performance and comfort in a stick that utilizes flax fiber in its structure. The company plans to roll out additional models in late 2011.
The Origine racquet has a long reach (27.25 in.) for higher power. Flax fibers are blended with carbon fibers for enhanced frame flexibility and vibration absorption. Unstrung the racquet weighs 10.2 oz. Head size is 100.
Although flax represents only 15% of the frame fibers, use of the renewable material represents a positive step in a "green" direction. The company points out that a fully flax composed frame would be far too brittle for play. The current ratio insures performance and comfort.
The Origine is currently being used by a number of pros around the US. Bill Patton, USPTA/PTR Tennis Pro with Chabot Swim and Tennis Club in Castro Valley California is one convert. "[It's an] arm friendly flexible racket, " said Patton. It offers some 'pop' on the ball, with a nice even balance... It is also great to know that an effort is being made to reduce the carbon footprint of making tennis rackets."
Designed with the intermediate to advanced player's needs in mind, this is not a racquet for beginners.
The Origine retails for $134.99 USD plus tax. Buy at Origine.
Leaving behind what was once called a lifetime deal with Prince, Maria Sharapova has joined the HEAD team -- tennis racquets only. She remains cozy and content with her Nike apparel deal. This is a big win for HEAD as Sharapova is a marquee super player who has huge marketing power despite her recent downs and ups in the game.
“We are proud to have Maria on board with so many other great tennis athletes like Novak [Djokovic], Andy [Murray] and Robin [Söderling]. She definitely helps us build a much stronger women’s team together with Victoria Azarenka and Svetlana Kuznetsova” said CEO of HEAD N.V., Johan Eliasch.
Sharapova can be seen playing with her prototype HEAD racquet with black and white cosmetic down in New Zealand at the ASB Classic. At this time, her new stick is only for her as she works with HEAD to develop a racquet that suits her performance needs. Look for the Sharapova-friendly HEAD racquet later in the year.
The partnership includes a high-performance tour racquet line, a range of junior and kid’s racquets, accessories, and tennis bags. Sharapova is expected to be closely involved in the development and design of these products, which will be launched in retail in fall of 2011.
Junior sized tennis equipment has been around for a while but the USTA and ITF are beginning to incorporate it into official tournaments. Going forward, 10 and under level 7 tournaments will be officially listed as playing on full (78'), 60' or 36' courts. Each size court will have a different ball; none will use the yellow ball adults play with.
If playing on a full 78' court kids in this age group will use special low-bounce (regular size) "green-dot" balls; On a 60' court they will use an "orange" ball; On a 36' court they will use a larger "red" felt ball. The court size used depends on the facility holding the tournament. Some clubs are building in the smaller courts, others will adjust with blended lines.
The new balls are designed to have a different bounce, each is slower and lower than the yellow ball adults and teens use, helping smaller players learn the techniques and movement at their speed. "Instead of simply being a teaching methodology, as it has been, using age appropriate equipment and court size allows children under 10 to compete in an age appropriate setting just like any other sport," says Anne Davis, the USTA's National Manager of Recreational Coaches and Programs .
This official change indicates that junior equipment and low bounce balls are making a difference. Kids are finding success on court faster. Davis says that the USTA is starting to see kids who began tennis on shorter courts with low bounce balls moving up into the 12s with great success.
But what if your kid doesn't play tournaments? Take a page and look for one of these programs at your local club or buy a right-sized racquet and balls and head down to your public park. That hit with your impatient-to-be-good 6 year old will be a whole lot more fun.
A few equipment suggestions for beginners:
Ages 4-6: Start with a 21 inch Wilson Venus and Serena 21" or Wilson Federer 21" junior racquet (both under $20 USD) with Penn Quick Start Tennis 36' Felt Balls, $4.95
Ages 7-8: Try a 23 inch racquet. HEAD makes the Radical Junior 23" Tennis Racquet ($20), same balls as above or below depending on ability and height.
Ages 9-10: Start with a 25 inch racquet. Babolat makes the Pure Drive Junior 25" ($70) and Head makes the Junior speed for under $20 if you want to keep costs down while you check to see if junior's interest kicks in. Penn Quick Start 60' balls, $4.95 are what you want for this age group.
Height can make a difference, so if you have a tall 8 year old you might want to bump them up a length and into the 60' balls. Don't worry about grip size. They are all the same at the starter levels.
Find Junior tennis racquets at sports and tennis retailers worldwide and online at Tennis-Warehouse and others.
Biomimetics is the study of the structure of nature as model for the design and engineering of products. It is the newest concept over at Dunlop Sport. The company has incorporated some of nature's most highly optimised and efficient characteristics and incorporated them in performance tennis racquets. The result? 3 brand new biomimetric racquet technologies – Aeroskin, Gecko-Tap and HM6 Carbon.
Aeroskin technology is inspired by sharkskin. A shark’s skin is covered in microscopic riblets which create localised turbulence reducing drag. The Aeroskin technology is applied to the surface of the racket, reducing aerodynamic drag by up to 25% (according to Dunlop). The reduction in drag enhances both racket speak and power.
Gecko-Tac technology is inspired by the feet of a Gecko. The Gecko-Tac grip provides up to 50% more grip and tack than previous Dunlop grips, giving players greater feel and precision with their racket.
HM6 Carbon technology is inspired by a bee's honeycomb. The honeycomb design structure provides extreme strength and incredible lightness, as well as reduces racket vibration. With what they say is a 10% reduction in vibration, this results is energy control and feel.
Biomimetic 200 Plus (Nikolay Davydenko will use); Biomimetic 300 (Fernando Verdasco); Biomimetic 300Tour (Jurgen Melzer, pictured above); Biomimetic 600 (Tommy Robredo); and Biomimetic 600 Lite (Dominika Cibulkova, pictured below). The 600 Lite has a 105 sq in head; it is surprising to me that a pro would play with such a big head. US price ranges on the line, $159.00 - $179.00. Here are the specs.
“We are incredibly proud of the new technologies used in the Biomimetic range," said Ben Fell, Head of Marketing & Communications for Dunlop. "We believe that the new range goes beyond anything done before in the industry. We’ve had fantastic feedback from our sponsored players, and are looking forward to seeing the results of the improved rackets out on the court.”
Learn more at Dunlop or test drive and buy at Tennis-Warehouse and tennis retailers worldwide.Pre-orders are being taken now. Delivery is expected mid November.
Illustrations are two of Dunlop's most recent advertisements. I like. Different.
Wilson tennis' BLX brand proved to be hot. The company has announced 14 new BLX models developed for players of all levels and playing styles. BLX racquets were first introduced in 2010 and the newest additions to the line are engineered with the same basalt fibers, touch-ability and feel.
The cornerstone of the new-for-2011 BLX line is the Blade Family of racquets. The Blade Series features five new racquets including the Blade Tour BLX, Blade 98 BLX (pictured above left), Blade Team BLX and Blade Lite BLX. The Blade 98 BLX is also available in an agressive pink cosmetic (see right). New to the Blade Family is the Blade Lite BLX, a 100” headsize, a 10.2 ounce racquet geared toward a wide range of players.
Wilson athletes will make the switch to a new Blade BLX racquet in January. Twenty-five of the players will be sporting the new Blade 98 BLX Pink. How hot have I told you that pink is on-court? Here is proof.
Leading the Blade Team of players are Serena and Venus Williams. They will debut their new Blade Team BLX racquets at the start of the 2011 season. “I know Wilson will always provide me with the best racquet with the latest technology,” Serena said recently after trying her new BLX racquet. “This upgrade will help enhance the feel of my game going into 2011.” I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she plays. I really do miss her on court.
Rounding out the player frame offerings for 2011 is the Pro Lite BLX, part of the Pro Family of racquets lead by Juan Martin Del Potro. This new frame, the Pro Lite BLX, is geared toward younger players and those seeking a light weight competitive model.
In the All Around and Game Improvement categories, Wilson will also introduce 8 new models including Justin Henin’s new Tour Limited BLX (pictured above right). Designed in cooperation with Henin, this frame is an extra half inch in length (27.5”), providing powerful shots from deep in the court. The Coral Reef BLX, Tidal Force BLX and Bold BLX finish out the All Around category.
The return of the legendary sledge hammer frame is the Cierzo Two BLX. Completing the the Game Improvement category are the Stratus Three BLX and Tempest Four BLX providing maximum power in a comfortable, high value, lightweight frame.
For a guide to which racquet might be best for your game, look here. Available in January 2011. Retails run $190-300.
Test and buy soon at Tennis-Warehouse and at tennis specialty retailers worldwide.
Vera Zvonareva has taken the world #2 spot in the WTA rankings and is crediting her new tennis racquet as a key element in her success. Since picking up the Prince EXO3 Black racquet earlier this year, Zvonareva has jumped twelve spots on the WTA Tour with two Grand Slam finals (Wimbledon and US Open) and a trip to the WTA finals in Doha.
"This year has been very special for me. I feel I have played some of my best tennis in 2010 and a big part of the reason for this was my switching to the Prince EXO3 Black ...at the beginning of the year" said Zvonareva. I am more confident on every ball because this racquet gives me more power without sacrificing control - even on balls I might not hit perfectly in the center when I am on the run or stretched out...”
According to Prince, EXO3 racquets completely liberate the string from tight grommet holes – facilitating more string freedom and response – even at the edges of the frame. This provides a larger, more functional hitting area, at any head size, giving players edge-to-edge playability.
Most recently, Zvonareva finished a perfect 3-0 in Round Robin play after her 6-4, 7-5 victory against Kim Clijsters at the WTA Tour Championships in Doha, Qatar. This is a career high for Zvonareva.
SOLINCO is relatively new to the tennis market. Never heard of them? Neither had I. They clearly have a market however. According to the company, over 1/3 of top tennis colleges in the US are using their string.
Four of the last 6 NCAA championship winning teams use SOLINCO: UCLA, Baylor and Pepperdine are among them. Virginia Tech is another example of a team that has left brands individual players grew up with for newer-to-market Solinco (launched early '09).
The company's co-polyester strings have a reputation for providing excellent bite, control, pop, comfort, power and tension maintenance because of the company's proprietary composite formula and way they build it. Read more HERE. RSI did a full review on their popular Heaven Strings series Tour Bite, $11.50 per package.
SOLINCO racquets were just launched publicly in August. They don't have a big presence yet but are expected to grow as sponsored junior players pick them up and spread the word. "The fact that we are getting a lot of traction with a relatively limited marketing budget says a lot about the quality of our products," says KT Kim, Director of SOLINCO. "We focus and spend our resources on R & D and providing our customers with the highest quality and performance products on the market, and it's working."
There are currently four racquet models in the SOLINCO Pro Series, all midplus in size but differing in weight. The Pro7 is the lightest at 10.1 oz. unstrung, Pro8 is 10.6 oz. The Pro10 and 10x weigh in at 11.5 oz. The sticks run $180.00 unstrung.
These racquets are built around a nickel-mesh material that extends over 32 cms of the frame and is said to enhance the strength, as well as the stability at impact of the racquet by neutralizing the torque and side-to-side twisting of the frame, allowing for a unique solid and crisp feel, with improved control and power. Tennis-Warehouse has a review up that will give you more detail.
If you are a competitive player, NTRP 4.5 and up, you might want to give these new racquets a test drive.
Andre Agassi proves he's as accurate as ever in this video put out by HEAD to promote the HEAD YouTek Six Star tennis racquet. They say it's 100% real. Because it's Agassi, I believe it.
For more on this racquet series read here.
Kei Nishikori, Japan's #1 male tennis player has signed a multi year agreement to continue his long-time sponsorship by Wilson Racquet Sports. Nishikori has been playing with the brand since he was 10 years old. He is now 20.
“Kei is a dynamic player with an aggressive style...,” said Massimo Calvelli, Global Tour Director of Wilson Racquet Sports. “This partnership represents a significant piece of our overall marketing strategy. Kei has a strong following in Japan and the local region and his influence on our overall sales is key and integral to the brand.”
Nishikori is currently playing with the Wilson Tour BLX racket*.
*This is a 4.0 + player's racquet.
HEAD tennis has put together a short video congratulating their player, US Open finalist Novak Djokovic. Take a look:
HEAD tennis has introduced a new video series, Tour TV, profiling HEAD players and their racquets.
First up, Robin Söderling and his YOUTEK radical mp:
Both the shirt and racquet are not new for Andy Murray but they helped him to a second con- secutive win Sunday in Toronto. On his way he defeated both world #1 Rafael Nadal and #3 Roger Federer. It was his first finals victory against Federer. 4th time's a charm in this case.
His weapon of choice is the HEAD Youtek Radical Pro,$210*
*that list price has come down - you can find it for $189 now
If you want to try and win a hit with the guy click on over to adidas and enter your name to win a day's training with Andy Murray in Miami. Contest ends 8/19/10.
Murray's shirt is the adidas Mens Competition Traditional Polo $58 USD. It also comes in white with accents of signal blue. I prefer this one though, signal blue with acid buzz - love that name.
Here's what he had to say about his win and the upcoming US Open:
Remember Bjorn Borg's stick or Andre Agassi's in the 80s? Well the iconic Donnay is back but the racquet has undergone a major overhaul for today's player. Change was of course imperative as the game is a heck of a lot different since we last saw the triangular D.
Donnay has announced the introduction of the X-Series, a line made especially for the US. Based on patented technology called "XeneCore" 9 models will be offered: X-Black 94, X-Black 99, X-Blue 94, X-Dark Red 94, X-Red 94, X-Red 99, X-Orange 99, X-Yellow 99 and X-White 99.
The new product line has been paired with a custom fitting program to match racquet to player. Roman Prokes, owner of RPNY tennis and technical advisor to Donnay USA, is involved which is a good vote of confidence for these sticks. The guy knows his stuff. "These racquets are geared towards established players that are looking for the maximum combination of power, control and technology," said Prokes.
The techie details: XeneCore create a solid frame achieving the highest strength to weight ratio in the industry resulting in power, control, and feel. At 1.5 gigapascals, Donnay says that the XeneCore racquets possess 50% more tensile strength than current graphite racquets, allowing for the thinnest beam width on the market at 15mm. The torsional rigidity and stability advance the playing characteristics above providing the established player a lighter racquet for control and feel, possessing the power of a heavier model, while reducing shock and vibration.
Customizing options: Two interchangeable butt caps (5 and 10 grams) and weight slides (2 grams for the top and 1 gram for each side) that slip into the guards offer customizing options for each new racquet. The racquet also comes with an overgrip, set of strings and a vibration dampener.
If you want even more customization or to insure that each stick in your arsenal is exactly alike you can use Prokes' service for an added fee.
Where/how to learn more/test drive: Check out the Donnay website for self-customizing options or use the Net-Fit Racquet Selector there. You can test the racquets through the site or through a listed dealer. Demos start at $30 shipping and handling plus a $200 refundable deposit.
More at Donnay USA.
HEAD has recently introduced its new YOUTEK Star Series, a range of racquets designed to meet the more recreational player's needs, primarily, power, control and comfort. Both Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf have been active in the creation of the new line and are offering up some doubles action with them in Vegas baby should you win. Click HERE for the contest info.
“After playing with HEAD racquets for over 16 years...it was great to be able to work with [them] to develop a racquet series that will help players improve their games, said Agassi. There are three racquets in the new line up:
The YOUTEK™ Three Star – (black) The base ultra lightweight model that features d3o™ which adapts to your individual shots and Inner QuadFace for more power. The Youtek Three Star is great for players who don't use a full swing to hit the ball. The oversized head (115 sq. in.) is forgiving of off center hits, $180 USD
The YOUTEK™ Five Star – (white) Also for players with shorter more compact swing styles, the Youtek Five Star includes d3o,™ Inner QuadFace and Outer QuadFace for maximum power, 2 part Control Ring at 10 & 2 o’clock for more control, and MultiZone Grip™ for maximum comfort. Headsize 107 sq. in, $225.
The YOUTEK™ Six Star – (blue) The flagship of the line which includes d3o,™ Inner QuadFace and Outer QuadFace for maximum power, 4 Part Control Ring for maximum control, and MultiZone Grip™ for maximum comfort. The Youtek Six Star is perfect for intermediate players with shorter more compact swing styles. Headsize 107 sq. in., $250.
Another feature of all three racquets is the MultiZone Grip™ which is a one piece slide on grip that offers greater comfort and control during play. It has special sweat channels and different non-slip surfaces for maximum feel.
It's tough to pick a racquet and manufacturer -speak is not always so helpful. As with any raquet purchase try them out before you buy, but do try. Any intermediate who has been playing with the same racquet for "I don't know how many years" -- I know you're out there, try something new. You might find the new technology confidence boosting/game changing for you.
If you are super curious, here are all the techie deets on the Star Series technology:
d3o™ is able to sense the needs of the player during different shots, providing more power on aggressive shots and more precision on touch shots. QuadFace extends the stringbed at key points of the frame providing longer strings and an enlarged sweetspot resulting in maximum power. QuadFace can include Inner QuadFace, allowing the strings to be more flexible before reaching the grommets for a more forgiving sweetspot, and Outer QuadFace which extends the outside of the frame to allow the strings to be longer for a larger sweetspot. Another YOUTEK™ feature is the Control Ring which helps reduce string deformation for added control. It is available in a 2 piece Control Ring at the ten and two o’clock locations for excellent control and is available in a 4 piece Control Ring adding the four and eight o’clock positions for maximum control.
If you're thinking about a new racquet (or a second for your bag), now's a good time with a couple of great new money saving promos going on:
From Prince: Now through May 15, 2010, get $25 back on any new EXO3 racquet (above $150 pretax) OR $50 back if you buy a new EXO3 and a pair of Prince tennis shoes priced above $70 pretax. If you don't want the money, you can swap out the $25 for 3 sets of the highly-rated Prince Premier LT 16g string or the $50 for 6 sets of the same.
Learn more at PrinceTennis.com/SpringintoAction.
Learn more at HEAD promo.
Tennis-Warehouse is one online retailer offering both promos.
“I trust Prince and the quality of the racquets they produce and know that the company is continually thinking about ways to take my game to a higher level. When I first picked up the EXO3Black, I knew something was different, special about it, and the more time I spent with the racquet, the better it felt to me. I have already won my first title with it and am looking to make deeper runs at the bigger events this year, especially the Grand Slams.” Zvonareva joins Gael Monfils, Maria Sharapova, the Bryan Brothers and Shahar Peer, already playing with an EXO3.
There are currently fifteen different racquet models in the EXO3line of performance racquets, allowing players with different playing styles, preferences and skill levels the opportunity to take advantage of the technology. There are eight models in the EXO3Tour Series (Zvonareva's racquet is one) designed for ultra-competitive players looking for control-oriented frames with more traditional weights and cross-sections. The seven models in the Thunder Series are designed for players looking for ultimate comfort with exceptional playability (that's speak for the rec player).
The dot on Zvonareva's strings? The mark of Gamma. She plays with Gamma Zo Sweet 17, $11.25 per package. This is a hybrid set with power monofilament for the mains and TNT2 for the crosses. Her outfit is K-Swiss.
Tennis Magazine's April issue contains the publication's 2010 Racquet Guide, a great overview of all of the new racquets and technology on the market. You can also find an online guide on the Tennis.com site.
The issue also features racquet customizer Nate Ferguson of Priority One, based in Tampa Florida. He is the go-to guy for players such as Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and many more who spend big bucks on customizing. Cool stuff.
The customizing article, however, prompts me to point out a fact that MANY tennis experts have relayed to me but is not obvious to the tennis playing public; high-level professional tennis players don't play with the racquets consumers can buy, they play with versions of them, every one customized.
The golf industry is similar. Robert Sauerhaft, Managing Editor/Equipment at GOLF Magazine says that "Recreational golfers know that, for the most part, they're playing similar technology with different specs." You cannot buy the equipment Tiger Woods uses.
Recreational tennis players should know the same. Jean-Christophe Verborg, Global Sports Marketing Manager for Babolat comments that "Pro players are key ambassadors for our products and our brand so it's essential they use our products...Players under the Babolat international contract use a 'normal' Babolat racket, same as the rackets sold all over the world, produced in the same factories, under the same process. Yet, because our Pro players are more expert and more sensitive than 'club players' we offer an exclusive and qualitative 'customization' service to them. This service enables [players] to customize their racket with the precise weight, balance and inertia they want."
Laura Lualhati, Communications Manager at Wilson confirms that Wilson sponsored pros play with versions of the models they endorse but also make modifications/customizations based upon their needs at this very high level of the game. "While we do cater to our athletes to a certain extent, they are more often a part of the process of creating the rackets from the very beginning" says Lualhati. Modifications that the pros make are often built into next generation racquets at Wilson.
I suspect most other racquet manufacturers do the same. Some did not respond.
That said, this site will continue to discuss racquets in relation to the pros using them but the prospective buyer should pay attention to specs and buy into new racquet technology at their level. If a racquet is rated for a 5.0 player as example, a 3.5 player might look for the version (similar cosmetic) rated closer to their level of play. It IS possible to get the Fed, Nadal or Williams vibe and cutting edge tech at a level that will grow game.
Hey you can also customize a bit yourself too. Customizers do serve the general playing public as well as the pros. But, if you insist on using the EXACT version a pro is using try asking Ferguson (or Roman Prokes). Not sure they'll do it for you but you can ask.
Related article: New year, new racquet. Tips on choosing a new racquet.
HEAD has given its legendary Prestige tennis racquet a modern day boost with its newest technology, YOUTEK (the technology was actually introduced last year in the HEAD Speed and Radical series). Stanislas Wawrinka and Tommy Haas have been using the new Prestige racquets during the Australian Open. Gilles Simon is also a convert.
"YOUTEK can actually sense the needs of the tennis player during different shots to perfectly match your game," said Roger Petersman, senior business manager of tennis racquets for HEAD Penn Racquet Sports. The technology incorporates d3o in the racquet shaft.
d3o is a smart material which dynamically changes its behavior under loading or impact. The upgrade is said to provide a softer touch and better feel on slow speed impacts like slices and drop shots and stiffness necessary to create power on high speed impacts such as serves and passing shots. Sounds interesting ehh?
The Prestige series includes the Prestige Pro, Prestige Mid and Prestige Mid Plus (pictured here). All are MSRP $225 USD. The Prestige Mid Plus (or MP) is the choice of Wawrinka, Simon and Haas.
As usual take some time to look over the specs including weight, head size, string pattern and more to find the racquet that best suits your game and style of play.
The dawning of a new year brings fresh resolve to improve. One thing I'm considering adding to my tennis list is a new racquet. I've had mine a couple of years now and have played with it and its mirror companion a lot.
If your stick is old or has been played with hard and frequently, chances are it's "dead" and not helping your game. RPNY recently deemed a couple of sticks in this household as not even close to being worthy of restringing (or even charitable donation).
If you are jumping into the market, consider a variety of brands as well as the updated version of your old one, especially if your game is in a rut. There is some great new game-improving technology out there.
TENNIS Magazine's racquet advisor, Bruce Levine, who recently did a presentation at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, says that "selecting the correct racquet for a player's personal ability is the first step toward a successful match." But picking a new racquet is tough you say? The number of brands and racquet variables can be confusing. Head size, swing weight and beam width are just a few things to consider. It's really not a quick one-and-done decision for most. Like most things that take time, however, it's worth it.
Pay attention to the level or kind of player that the manufacturer says each racquet is designed for. This will help you to narrow the selection. A beginner should not even bother using Roger Federer's exact Wilson racquet for example. Look for a beginner version of it instead. Same goes for Andy Roddick's Babolat.
Racquets are designed to provide more or less power, more feel, or a little of both. Larger head sizes offer a big sweetspot and are forgiving of off-center hits. Beam width is important too. "The wider the beam, the more inherent the power," says Levine. "If you are looking for more control, a thinner beam is best." Stick stiffness and softness are related to touch and feel. Beginner racquets tend to be lighter than advanced racquets. Experiment a little with different swing weights and see what you like best.
Take some time to review manufacturer sites and user forums. Your pro may have some good suggestions but keep in mind that many tennis directors are tied to and supplied by a brand in exchange for promoting that line. Consider their ideas of course but supplement your tests with your own finds.
Levine suggests that you "try each racquet and then try them again under practice, drill and game situations." You might also want to consider restringing demos with a string you enjoy. If you like gut for example, you will likely need to put it into a demo yourself (or request it) as it will not be supplied to you automatically.
2010 racquets have begun to roll out. Prince and Wilson have already announced theirs. Stay tuned, there's bound to be something new to take your own game to the next level and into the new tennis season. Most clubs and racquet retailers offer demo programs. Online retailers appear to be less brand restrictive offering a full stable to test drive.
Happy New Year. Wishing good things for the world and for your game.
In January 2010 Prince is expected to release two of its newest performance racquets, the EXO3 White and EXO3 Black. These are enhanced versions of two of the most popular racquets of the past five years, the O3 White and O3 Speedport Black. Both new EXO3 frames maintain all of the qualities that made the O3 racquets popular and now feature new VISIBLE EXO3 technology. According to Prince, the new frames enable faster racquet speed and deliver more power with a larger sweetspot.
Also being introduced is the EXO3 Black Team for players looking for a slightly lighter, more manuverable version of the EXO3 Black.
Before they hit the shelves, Tennisidentity.com and Prince are giving you a chance to be among the first to own one of these upcoming EXO3 racquets plus a new Prince racquet bag and hat! Entry is FREE and couldn’t be easier! Here’s how:
Leave a comment under the Tennisidentity posting on Tennisidentity's Facebook page and/or retweet (RT) the contest announcement on Twitter/Tennisidentity. We will give away one EXO3 White on Facebook and one EXO3 Black on Twitter. U.S. addresses only please.
IMPORTANT: You MUST be a follower/fan of BOTH Tennisidentity AND Prince on Twitter OR Facebook to win through that vehicle. Winners will be chosen at random on January 15, 2010 5 PM EST. Here are the Prince links: Facebook, Twitter