Whether you’re new to tennis, or your old-faithful tennis racquet has seen better days, purchasing a new tennis racquet with all the different styles, grips, weights, frames and prices available can be a huge decision. Our comprehensive buying guide to selecting a tennis racquet will help you find the perfect match for your playing level.
There are two big mistakes new tennis players make when purchasing racquets:
1. Selecting a tennis racquet just because that’s what their favourite pro players uses.
2. Opting for the cheapest option on the shelves.
Using the above criteria will affect your gameplay and may result in an unwanted tennis injury.
If you are new to the game or haven’t played in years, opt for a lightweight racquet with an oversized head. A larger head provides you with more power to return the ball and is a little more forgiving; allowing you a margin for mistakes, if the ball doesn’t connect directly with the centre of the racquet (often referred to as the sweet spot).
As your tennis skills improve, you may want to upgrade to a heavier racquet. A medium racquet gives your swing more power without rapid muscle fatigue.
Aspects to consider when purchasing a tennis racquet are:
How heavy your racquet is determines how quickly your arm fatigues. A lightweight tennis racquet (approx. 250-300g) might be easy to swing, but it won’t be capable of delivering the fast, hard power shots like the pro players. There’s no quick and fast answer to choosing the correct weight, it really depends on your physical capabilities and conditioning.
Balance is the weight distribution of a tennis racquet. A light-headed racquet, or evenly balanced racquet, enables a beginner player to have more control of their swing without the risk of muscle fatigue or tennis elbow.
The number of strings on your racquet control ball spin. A racquet with 16 horizontal strings and 19 vertical strings (usually denoted as 16×19 or an open string pattern) provide more give and more spin, but are more prone to snapping than a denser string pattern (18 x19 or closed string pattern). The 18 x 19 string pattern is designed for the player who already has great ball control and knows how to hit hard.
The grip size will depend on how big or small your hand is. Using the wrong grip size will result in poor racquet control and injure your wrist, elbow or shoulder. The quickest and easiest way to determine grip size is to hold a couple of different racquets and see what feels most comfortable.
Frame stiffness affects your game style. The more flexible the frame, the less power the racquet will generate. A stiffer frame will result in more arm strain, so it can be down to a matter of preferences. Tennis racquets are usually rated for stiffness with a number between 0- 100. Flexible racquets are generally any racquet with a rating under 60. Stiffer frames are rated over 69.
Specialised features you may want to ask about:
Designed for the more advanced player who wants to switch up their gameplay.
Frame material which makes the racquet lighter without sacrificing stiffness or power.