Buying a Tennis Racquet
Get ready to dominate every point, set and match by learning what features to consider when choosing a tennis racquet.
There are several essential pieces of equipment you need to begin a tennis match: a tennis racquet, a ball, the right shoes, a net.
But the one piece of equipment that most affects the performance of a tennis player is their racquet. No matter if you’re a beginner or a seasoned veteran, having the right racquet can impact every set you play.
There are a variety of aspects to consider when looking for a new tennis racquet. Pro Tips is here to help you find the tennis racquet that best fits you.
Finding the right head size can have a major impact on your swing. Knowing which head size is right for you comes down to both personal preference and skill level. Consider:
- A smaller head size allows for more control.
- A larger head size provides more power.
“If someone is new to the game, we definitely recommend a larger head size,” Michael Schaeffer, a global product lines manager for Wilson Tennis, says. “Someone who’s played a lot of tennis before and has more of [a] comfort level playing tennis, we’d recommend a smaller head size.”
Going with a heavier or lighter racquet can also have an impact on your performance. The weight of a tennis racquet can range from as low as 9 ounces to as high as 11 ounces or more. Generally, weight can affect both power and control.
- A heavier tennis racquet provides more power since there is more mass behind the ball.
- A lighter racquet can be easier to maneuver and control.
The weight you choose can come down to if you play more single or doubles.
“If you’re playing a lot of doubles, maybe you want a lighter racquet because you’re going to spend more time at the net,” Schaeffer says. “If you’re playing more singles, you want to hit the ball through the court. Generally, you would look for a slightly heavier racquet.”
Many adult racquets are 27 inches long. However, they can go up to 29 inches – the maximum length allowed in tournament play.
The benefit of a longer racquet is it allows for more reach on groundstrokes and additional leverage on serves. It also allows for more power. However, the additional length does lead to a higher swing weight and can offer less control. The shorter racquets can be easier to handle for smaller adult players.
When choosing the length of a junior tennis racquet, you need to consider the age of the player. Junior tennis racquets are shorter than a typical racquet. There are various sizes to choose from:
- Racquets that measure between 19 and 23 inches tend to be best for players age 8 and under.
- Racquets between 23 and 25 inches long are the best for players at the 9 and 10-year-old age level.
- The 26-inch racquet is best for players adjusting to the 78-foot court.
Since it is the only part of the tennis racquet you touch, grip size has a major influence on your performance. A proper grip will help improve your control over the tennis racquet.
Schaeffer suggests a simple rule of thumb to follow to find the right size:
- Hold the tennis racquet as a forehand.
- There should be about a finger to a pencil’s width between your fingers and your palm.
Need help with your forehand? Learn how to perfect your forehand technique with Pro Tips.
Tennis racquets are also available in different types of frames, so you'll want to choose a style that best suits your skill level and desired performance.
- Aluminum: Ideal for beginners and usually sold pre-strung, these durable frames offer a moderate amount of power and feel at an affordable price.
- Composite: These frames can be made of graphite as well as other materials such as titanium, Kevlar, fiberglass and tungsten. They tend to be more flexible and transmit fewer vibrations, making them a great choice for beginners and intermediate players who need more control on mis-hits.
- Graphite: Available in pre-strung or unstrung racquets, graphite frames offer more power and accuracy than aluminum options due to their lightweight construction. For intermediate to advanced players seeking a high-performing racquet, graphite frames are sold at a wide range of price points.
PRE-STRUNG VS. UNSTRUNG RACQUETS
When you buy a new tennis racquet, it will either come pre-strung or unstrung. Your choice can often come down to your experience level. Pre-strung racquets come with the strings already installed. This is a good choice for recreational players and offers a level of versatility.
Meanwhile, unstrung racquets allow you to tailor the string to your game. It allows advanced players to customize their strings and tension according to their playing style.
Strings can be an overlooked aspect of a tennis racquet. Learn why having the right strings on your racquet can make a big impact.
If you're looking to maximize the impact generated from your swing, a power racquet can help. These racquets are ideal for players across all ability levels, but particularly for those who are new to the game and who have a slower swing speed.
A power racquet can significantly improve your game with features including:
- A larger head size, which provides a larger sweet spot to hit the ball and less room for error
- Lighter weight to improve the ability to maneuver
- Intentional design for athletes with slower swing speed to generate power in their game
Maybe you've already got a powerful swing and are just looking to improve your accuracy. If so, consider using a control racquet. These racquets are designed for intermediate to advanced players who are all about enhancing their command of the ball.
Key features of a control racquet include:
- Smaller head size for better control of the racquet
- Heavier frame to generate greater ball speed
- Overall design for athletes who are aiming for accuracy with each swing
Finding a racquet designed for spin can help you swing like the pros and dominate the court. Spin racquets are designed for players who are more aggressive and competitive and looking to perfect their shots. The benefit of a spin racquet is that it enables you to control where your ball hits the court and the direction it bounces for an advantage over your opponent.
A spin racquet includes features such as:
- Medium head size that allows you to feel the contact of the ball and swing
- Designed for athletes with faster and more aggressive swings who want to increase their ball spin and feel
BUYING THE RIGHT YOUTH RACQUET
There are a few additional factors to consider if you are looking to buy a youth tennis racquet.
First, try to match the youth’s age to height and racquet size.
- Under five years old and 40" tall: Choose a racquet that measures 19" long
- Five to six years old and 40"-44" tall: Choose a racquet that measures 21" long
- Seven to eight years old and 45"-49" tall: Choose a racquet that measures 23" long
- Nine to 10 years old and 50"-55" tall: Choose a racquet that measures 25" long
Second, pick a tennis ball based on the length of the chosen racquet. The color of the ball can help make this decision:
- Red/yellow tennis ball: Best for racquets measuring 19"-21"
- Orange/yellow tennis ball: Best for racquets measuring up to 23"
- Green/yellow tennis ball: Best for racquets measuring up to 25"
Choosing a racquet can be a tough decision for a tennis player. But by finding the right tennis racquet, you can be ready to dominate every game, set and match on the court.