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20+ Best tennis Racquets 2023 | Playtested & Reviewed

20+ Best Tennis Racquets for 2023

Playtested & Reviewed

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By Jon Crim
TennisCompanion

Selecting the right tennis racquet can dramatically influence your success and progression as a tennis player. Get it right, and you’ll learn faster and have more fun, so it pays to do your research.

To help, I’ve narrowed down my picks of the best tennis racquets for 2023, all of which I’ve playtested and reviewed to provide detailed performance insight for better decision-making.

Along with essential tips, background info on my rating process, and related resources, I’ll equip you with everything you need to choose a racquet confidently, regardless of age or experience.

Rank Racquet Rating
#1 Babolat Pure Strike 8.88
#2 Head Speed MP 8.75
#3 Babolat Pure Aero 8.73
#4 Wilson Pro Staff 97 8.68
#5 Head Gravity Pro 8.55
#6 Yonex EZONE 98 8.54
#7 Babolat Pure Drive 8.54
#8 Wilson Pro Staff RF97 8.54
#9 Wilson Clash 100 8.53
#10 Yonex VCORE Pro 8.51

Article Contents

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Is this Guide for You?

Is this Guide for You?

I created this guide for a broad range of player ages and levels. However, I’ve focused my energy on full-size tennis racquets that are at least 27-inches in length, which is standard for adults.

Recognizing this, if you’re a parent looking for a kids’ racquet (typically geared toward children ages ten and under), then I’d encourage you to jump over to my guide for kids’ tennis racquets as a starting point.

Furthermore, if you’re brand new to the sport, you may want to check out my racquet guide for beginners. There’s still plenty for you to learn in this guide as well, but that will likely be an ideal starting point for you.

Why I Created this Guide

Why I Created this Guide

I’ve written a lot about tennis racquets to help players better understand the nuances of racquet specifications and performance, and the positive feedback about those resources humbles me.

However, many players still ask for my opinion and recommendations on racquets worth considering, so I decided to make it official and keep a running list of my favorite tennis racquets each year.

This guide will give you an overview of my picks for the best racquets on the market, but more importantly, I’ll do my best to provide you with a summary of the “why” behind each racquet’s selection and ranking.

In other words, I go beyond a simple list and dive deep into the attributes that make each racquet unique to bring you a practical guide that you can use as a jumping-off point for selecting a new tennis racquet.

With the help of this guide, I’d encourage you to narrow down 3-5 that appeal to you and then research them further. To that end, I’ve created dedicated reviews for many of the racquets already, and I’m diligently working on releasing new articles all the time.

Tips for Using This Guide

Tips for Using this Guide

To help you get the most out of this resource, I’ve developed the following tips to consider while researching tennis racquets.

For extra advice, check out my guide on how to choose a tennis racquet, which covers all of the factors worthy of your consideration.

Know the Types of Racquets

Tennis racquets typically fall into four categories or types of racquets:

  • Power
  • Control (players)
  • Tweener
  • Modern players

Each type of racquet has its pros and cons but seeks to provide specific players with unique qualities to maximize their success on the court.

A variety of factors might influence the type of racquet that’s best suited for your needs, including age, experience level, technique, and strength.

Here’s a table highlighting some of the differences.

Type of Racquet Experience Level
Power Beginner
Control (aka Players) Advanced
Tweener Intermediate
Modern Players Intermediate / Advanced

Keep in mind the above table serves as a general guide to point players in the right direction, but that there’s often quite a bit of overlap in terms of which racquet may be ideally suited for you.

Consider Your Style of Play

A player’s style (or the style they’d like to develop) can influence the type of racquet a player purchases. Consider the following two players:

  • Player A: Scrappy baseliner who hits with a ton of topspin and runs down every single ball
  • Player B: Serve-and-volleyer who hits a big serve and follows their shots into the net to close out the point quickly

As you might imagine, the tennis racquet that will work well for these players will likely differ, with each looking for specific characteristics that align with their game and help them perform their best.

Once you identify the style of play you prefer, you can look for racquets that perform well in the areas that matter most. For example, player B might look for a racquet that offers a smaller head size for optimal control and precision and a bit of extra weight for stability.

Luckily, we can evaluate each racquet across a consistent set of attributes, making comparison and narrowing down options easier. We’ll touch on those characteristics shortly in an upcoming section.

Helpful Tip
If you haven’t developed a specific style or preference, that’s not a problem. It’s not a requirement to select a racquet, but it can be a practical consideration when sifting through the options.

Keep You Current Racquet in Mind

If you’re in the market for a new racquet, I always recommend you first take some time to consider what you like and dislike about your current racquet, as it will likely be your main point of comparison.

Start by jotting down what’s working and what’s not working with your current racquet so you can use that information to help scout your next frame. For example, if you like the topspin for your current racquet but you’re looking for a bit of extra control and improved feel, you can use those data points to help guide your decision-making.

Furthermore, you can compare the specs of your existing racquet to the new racquet you’re considering. Here are a few examples of specs:

  • Head Size
  • String Pattern
  • Weight
  • Balance
  • Swingweight
  • Stiffness

I’d encourage you to avoid getting too hung up on specs because what matters most is the feel, but they can serve as a valuable point of context to narrow your options.

It’s okay you don’t have a racquet for comparison. Keep reading for tips that will help guide you regardless.

Develop Your Own Opinion

I’ve done my best to keep my selection of tennis racquets as objective as possible, which should help point you in the right direction and narrow down a few options for further research and consideration.

However, there’s no substitute for developing your own opinion by hitting with a racquet of interest and experiencing it first hand. I recommend demoing a minimum of two racquets before deciding on a racquet to buy, so you have multiple points of reference.

Many brands, online retailers, tennis clubs, and racquet shops offer demo programs, and it pays to take advantage of them. Often what you spend to demo is applied to your purchase if you end up buying with them, so it’s a win-win situation.

On a related note, I’d encourage you to avoid the temptation of buying the racquet that your favorite player endorses. Although it may be a great fit, you’ll do much better if you take a step back, learn about the racquet they endorse and compare it to available options before purchasing.

Of course, it’s okay if the racquet you end up with is the same as the one your favorite player endorses after doing your homework. However, skipping those steps is a recipe for disappointment.

Don’t Forget About the Strings

Strings significantly influence the performance of your racquet, and their importance grows as your skills improve. As an intermediate to an advanced player, you should pay close attention to the type of string you choose, the tension you string your racquet, and your stringing frequency.

Here are a few resources I’ve created to help you find the perfect set of tennis strings to go along with your new racquet.

Like finding a new racquet, experimentation is crucial to finding the right strings that will help you perform your best. However, the above guides should help make selecting a set you’ll love more straightforward.

Helpful Tip
When learning how to play tennis as a beginner, your strings won’t matter much. Your emphasis in learning will be on the fundamentals and technique, and you won’t yet have developed a fine-tuned sense for the differences between various strings and tensions. That’s not to say your strings don’t matter as a beginner, but you shouldn’t worry too much about them either.

Your Grip Size Matters

Every time you purchase or upgrade your tennis racquet, it’s important to ensure you’re selecting the appropriate grip size. Doing so will provide you with comfort while also helping reduce the risk of injury.

To help make it easy, I have a handy article that will walk you through exactly how to choose the perfect grip size. Check it out to learn more.

As a side note, keep in mind that not all grips by every manufacturer are created equal. Although there are general guidelines for grip sizes, factors like the shape or feel of a racquet’s butt cap will vary to some degree.

Once again, it pays to demo multiple frames to gain a first-hand experience of a given racquet’s feel.

Intermediate vs. Advanced Racquets

Intermediate vs. Advanced Racquets

Players frequently ask me about the difference between intermediate and advanced racquets. The truth is, there is a crossover, and many racquets work well for both levels of play.

With that said, when comparing the two, advanced racquets will typically have the following attributes:

  • Heavier weight
  • Smaller head size
  • Tighter string pattern
  • Thinner beam

The good news is that every racquet on my list is an excellent option for intermediate and advanced players.

Furthermore, most of the racquets I recommend in this guide come in multiple versions with adjustments to some of these variables, optimizing performance for one of the two groups. Here’s an example:

  • Yonex EZONE 98
  • Yonex EZONE 98 Tour

Each racquet offers similar specs, but the Tour model has 12 grams of extra weight, is slightly more flexible with an RA rating of 62 vs. 64, and offers a slightly more head light balance.

Both racquets can work well for intermediate and advanced players. However, the EZONE Tour’s specs will generally skew toward an advanced player’s preferences.

When applicable, I list the various models for each racquet, so I’d encourage you to explore those if the racquet on this list doesn’t seem to align perfectly with your specific needs.

How I Compare Racquets

How I Compare Racquets in 2022

In my attempt to objectively select the top 25 tennis racquets on the market, I’ve evaluated each racquet across a consistent set of six attributes and strokes, which are helpful for comparison.

I played with each racquet and then rated its performance on a scale of 1-10 for each attribute and stroke. To calculate the overall score for a racquet, I took the average of the 12 scores.

Attributes

The following are the six attributes I used to evaluate each tennis racquets’ performance, which I have used for this list, along with descriptions, so you know what I mean by them.

As you read through these, keep in mind that your string selection will influence some of these attributes.

Power

Experienced players can hit hard and generate power through proper technique regardless of the racquet you put in their hands. However, some racquets make generating pace significantly easier.

Powerful racquets tend to have larger head sizes and stiffer frames. In some cases, they’ll be longer by a half or three-quarters of an inch, referred to as extended length.

Control

Typically, the more experienced a player becomes, the more control they’ll seek from their racquet because precise placement or directing the ball exactly where they want it to go becomes increasingly important.

Furthermore, a more experienced player will have developed the technique and skill required to generate their own pace, so they don’t need to rely as heavily on the racquet to generate power.

With that in mind, control-oriented racquets often have thinner beams, less stiff frames, smaller head sizes, and tighter string patterns.

Comfort

Players often associate comfort with the shock sent to their arm when striking the ball or the vibration they feel after hitting the ball.

Comfort-oriented racquets tend to be a bit heavier, more flexible, and focus additional weight toward the handle to help absorb shock.

However, it’s worth noting that a player might also associate comfort with the racquet’s weight relative to their strength, i.e., a racquet that’s too heavy will be uncomfortable.

Touch/Feel

Touch, or feel, is a bit nuanced and frequently tied to a sense of control and connectedness, especially when hitting volleys and finesse shots like drop shots. Racquets that provide enhanced touch tend to be heavier, with smaller head sizes, and use more flexible frames.

Keep in mind that some players prefer a stiffer, more responsive racquet, while others prefer a softer, more forgiving feel. One feel isn’t better than the other; it’s completely subjective.

Maneuverability

Easy-to-maneuver racquets tend to feel light in your hand and make it easy to change the racquet head’s direction.

Aside from a racquet’s static weight, i.e., its weight when placed on a scale, the feeling of maneuverability often results from its overall weight combined with the frame’s distribution of weight or balance.

Head light racquets, denoted as HL, apply more of the racquet’s weight toward its handle, helping make it feel easier to maneuver.

Stability

Stable tennis racquets remain steady when striking a ball and help instill a positive sense of consistency and accuracy. Often, stable racquets are heavier, have smaller heads, and have more flexible frames.

Tennis Shots

The following are the tennis shots I used to evaluate each tennis racquet. I won’t go into great detail here on each of these, but you can check out my article on the different types of tennis shots to learn more.

  • Serves
  • Volleys
  • Returns
  • Groundstrokes
  • Topspin
  • Slice

Hopefully, you now have a good sense of how I’ve evaluated my selection of the top 25 tennis racquets.

Racquet Specifications

Racquet Specifications

As you research and evaluate tennis racquets, you’ll likely encounter specifications or attributes that retailers showcase to help players compare racquets and decide on a good fit.

Although I’d encourage you to avoid getting too hung up on specs, they can serve as a valuable point of context to narrow your options, so here’s a brief overview of what each of them means.

  • Head Size: The surface area of the racquet’s head where you’ll find the strings expressed in square inches or centimeters.
  • Length: A measure of a racquet from the bottom of the handle to the top of the head. Most racquets are 27 inches (69 cm), but you’ll sometimes find extended-length options that add anywhere between a half inch to an inch in length.
  • String Pattern: Refers to the number of main (vertical) and cross (horizontal) strings. An open string pattern, e.g., 16×19, has fewer mains and crosses to enhance spin, while a closed string pattern, e.g., 18×20, has more mains and crosses to improve control.
  • Weight: How heavy a racquet is, expressed as strung or unstrung.
  • Balance: The distribution of weight throughout a frame expressed as a measurement from the racquet’s balance point to the end of the handle. A head heavy racquet has more weight distributed toward the head, while a head light racquet has more weight distributed toward the handle.
  • Swingweight: How heavy a racquet feels when swinging as measured by a racquet diagnostic machine. Higher numbers refer to a heavier swingweight, while lower numbers suggest a lighter swingweight.
  • Stiffness: The amount a racquet flexes or bends when hitting a ball. The higher the rating, the stiffer the racquet, while the lower the rating, the more flexible the racquet.
  • Beam Width: A measure of a racquet’s thickness at the throat, side of the head, and top of the head.

To explore these topics further, check out the following guides.

Ultimately, specs don’t tell the whole story, which is one of the reasons I’m adamant about encouraging players to demo racquets before buying, to gain first-hand insight and feel.

What’s the Best Tennis Racquet for 2023?

In 2023, and for the seventh year in a row, I’m naming the Babolat Pure Strike 16×19 the best overall tennis racquet despite some notable new frame releases and more than 300 total on the market today.

Babolat Pure Strike 16×19

Babolat Pure Strike 16x19 3rd Gen

In 2017, there were a few key reasons that the Pure Strike won me over to earn my badge as the best tennis racquet, and that logic remains consistent in 2023 with Babolat’s 3rd generation of this racquet.

As we’ve stated in the past, the Pure Strike’s defining feature and what sets it apart from many other racquets is its broad appeal to a wide range of styles and levels of play. Its 11.4 oz strung weight and 98 in² head size make it a very approachable tennis racquet.

In other words, most players would pick up this racquet and enjoy the frame’s performance, as it scores well across the board. You could flip that statement and say that this racquet is unlikely to offend anyone.

Players who will likely enjoy Babolat’s Pure Strike are all-court players who like to attack the net and are looking for a well-balanced tennis racquet that performs consistently across a wide range of attributes and strokes.

Technologies

Babolat’s Pure Strike makes use of a few key technologies.

Woofer
The frame’s design allows the strings to move freely so that they can work together for a more generous sweet spot, additional power, and less shock.

Hybrid Frame Construction
The frame uses square and elliptical shapes in strategic locations to offer a unique blend of control and power that is highly responsive with excellent feel and precision.

FSI Power
Babolat Pure Strike also uses the company’s FSI Power technology, increasing the cross strings’ spacing. The result is more power, spin, and comfort when striking the ball.

C2 Pure Feel
New to the 3rd generation of this racquet is a thin rubber material applied to the frame at three and nine o’clock to give the racquet a softer, more dampened feel.

Why I Love It

Here’s a look at the Pure Strike’s top three attributes based on how the racquet scored in my evaluation.

Maneuverability
At 11.4 ounces and clocking in a swingweight of 327, the Pure Strike is delightfully easy to maneuver, which makes bringing the racquet back for groundstrokes effortless and transitioning to the net to hit a setup volley loads of fun.

Groundstrokes
Off the ground, the Pure Strike is a delight. The frame delivered plenty of power along with its 98 in² head, while its 16×19 string pattern helped produce fantastic spin. Simultaneously, everything felt under control, supported by a slightly more flexible frame than some of the other racquets in the Babolat family.

Returns
With a strong rating on groundstrokes, it should come as no surprise that this highly maneuverable racquet delivered fantastic performance when hitting returns where you need to react quickly and pull back your racquet fast. However, the Pure Stike is unique because it maintains its high marks up at the net with volleys.

Of course, what makes the Pure Stike unique is that it maintains its high marks up at the net with volleys.

Tradeoffs

Overall, the Babolat Pure Strike left me feeling pleased across the board. However, it may leave some players longing for a bit more in specific performance areas. In particular, baseline players who hit with heavy topspin may prefer more pop.

However, the slightly lower power delivered by the Pure Strike is offset by the precision, control, and touch that it offers to ensure it performs consistently, no matter where you’re playing on the court.

Specs

Head Size 98 in² / 632.26 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 4 points HL
Weight (strung) 11.4 oz / 323 g
Swingweight 327
Stiffness 66
Beam Width 21mm / 23mm / 21mm
String Pattern 16 Main / 19 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.6
Volleys 8.8
Groundstrokes 9.2
Returns 9.2
Topspin 8.8
Slice 9.0
Power 8.6
Control 8.7
Comfort 9.0
Touch 8.8
Maneuverability 9.1
Stability 8.7
Overall 8.88

Variations

If you like what you see with the Pure Strike, you should check out some of the different racquets in the Pure Strike series. Here’s a list for quick reference:

  • 98 16×19
  • 98 18×20
  • 100
  • Tour
  • Team
  • EVO

Players Using or Endorsing

  • Dominic Thiem
  • Anett Kontaveit
  • Timea Bacsinszky
  • Alize Cornet
  • Elena Vesnina
  • Mirjana Lucic-Baroni
  • Thanasi Kokkinakis

Head Speed MP 2022

Head Speed MP 2022

The Head Speed MP 2022 is the latest evolution of a popular racquet from Head, endorsed by players on the ATP and WTA tour, including Jannik Sinner, Bianca Andreescu, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, and many more.

As you might expect, this frame continues to deliver excellent performance from the baseline allowing for big groundstrokes with heavy topspin and exceptional maneuverability on returns.

One of this racquet’s key features is Graphene 360, a lightweight and robust nanomaterial. You can think of it as traditional graphite on steroids. In the past, this was used only on the racquet’s throat and handle. However, with the latest release of this frame, Head uses the material throughout the racquet’s head at 3, 9, and 12 o’clock. The result is a little extra power with the same fantastic control.

However, for 2022, Head updated this technology to Graphene 360+, which builds upon the technology by incorporating SpiralFibers in the lower portion of the racquet’s head for optimal flex, contributing to the frame’s lower stiffness rating of 62.

Graphene also reduces the racquet’s weight through the frame’s midsection, allowing Head to redistribute that weight to produce a fast-swinging racquet that’s light and maneuverable.

The Head Speed MP has a 100 in² head and 16×19 string pattern consistent with past models. The larger head size helps provide a more prominent sweet spot and increases power, while the open string pattern allows players to remain in control with plenty of topspin.

The racquet feels light at the net and provides a stable, crisp response that allows for accurate placement, which makes the frame an excellent choice for players with an all-court style of play.

All in all, the Head Speed MP 2022 is a fast-swinging and easy-to-maneuver frame that allows for aggressive play with plenty of topspin from the back of the court.

Why I Love It

Here are my top three reasons why the Head Speed MP 2022 makes my list of the best racquets for 2023.

Groundstrokes
One of the first things you’ll notice is that the Head Speed MP feels great in your hand. At 11.1 ounces, it feels solid, but with its 4-point head light balance, it swings effortlessly.

This weight and balance blend nicely for a tennis racquet that allows you to accelerate quickly through contact and take significant cuts at the ball from the baseline while maintaining control through topspin.

Returns
Everything I loved about the Speed MP hitting groundstrokes translated perfectly to my returns, and the easy maneuverability came in handy. I felt I could be aggressive and step into my shots even when my opponent turned up the heat.

Control
While there is more than enough pop to this frame, you’ll still rely on your technique and racquet acceleration to generate maximum power. Ultimately, this keeps you in the driver’s seat and allows you to swing confidently and hit your spots precisely.

Tradeoffs

Two areas where racquets in this class often suffer are stability and comfort. The Head Speed MP could improve in both, but in many ways, it’s nitpicky for a frame that offers such balance all-around performance.

Specs

Head Size 100 in² / 645.16 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 4 points HL
Weight (strung) 11.1 oz / 315 g
Swingweight 323
Stiffness 62
Beam Width 23mm / 23mm / 23mm
String Pattern 16 Main / 19 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.5
Volleys 8.6
Groundstrokes 9.2
Returns 9.1
Topspin 8.9
Slice 8.8
Power 8.8
Control 8.6
Comfort 8.7
Touch 8.4
Maneuverability 8.8
Stability 8.6
Overall 8.75

Variations

  • Speed Pro
  • Speed MP
  • Speed MP Lite
  • Speed S
  • Speed Lite
  • Speed PWR

Players Using or Endorsing

  • Novak Djokovic
  • Fernando Verdasco
  • Jannik Sinner
  • Mischa Zverev
  • Nikoloz Basilashvili
  • Bianca Andreescu
  • Cori (Coco) Gauff
  • Elise Mertens
  • Samantha Stosur
  • Monic Puig
  • Ashleigh Barty

Babolat Pure Aero 2023

Babolat Pure Aero 2023

Next on the list is the Babolat Pure Aero, made popular by clay court king Rafael Nadal. Undoubtedly, the racquet’s defining features center around its ability to generate topspin.

For the latest 2023 update, the Babolat Pure Aero received a few minor tweaks, including a slight reduction in stiffness for improved comfort and a small tweak to the frame’s string spacing.

To reduce the racquet’s stiffness from 67 to 65 compared to the prior 2019 model, Babolat added its NF² technology, which incorporates flax (yes, like the plant) into the racquet’s handle and the upper portion of the racquet’s head to absorb shock for a more comfortable response.

I enjoy hitting with this updated frame that feels less harsh than the last model. Of course, an update to a tennis racquet wouldn’t be complete without a fresh paint job, and for 2023 Babolat has moved away from the muted all-yellow cosmetic to a black frame with neon yellow highlights.

As it had in the past, the Pure Aero features an open 16×19 string pattern and FSI Spin technology. However, Babolat also modified the formula by opting for tighter string spacing to improve control while maintaining the freedom of movement within the grommets for optimal spin.

Combine those features with Babolat’s Woofer Technology, a 100 in² head size, and lower flex, and you get power on top of topspin – an excellent combination for the modern baseline game.

True to its name, the Babolat Pure Aero also features Babolat’s Aeromodular 3 frame design, which varies the frame’s shape and form factor at key parts of the racquet for an aerodynamic profile that allows the racquet to swing quickly through the air.

As you can imagine, players who love to hit with topspin and grind out points from the baseline are an excellent fit for the racquet.

Why I Love It

Here’s a look at the Babolat Pure Aero’s top three attributes based on how the racquet scored in my evaluation.

Topspin
Without a doubt, the Pure Aero’s defining characteristic is topspin. The aerodynamic frame, mid-range weight, and head light balance make it easy to swing, helping me generate increased racquet speed and leaving me feeling like I didn’t have to work as hard to produce spin. Players looking to get the most out of this frame in this category should consider a polyester string if comfort isn’t an issue.

Power
Next up, this racquet performed very well when it came to power. Overall, the Pure Aero packs a punch and delivers easy access to pace when you need it, which pairs well with the frame’s heavy topspin.

Groundstrokes
I found fantastic performance with the Babolat Pure Aero at the baseline through the combination of power and topspin. Again, it felt comfortable and easy to swing, and the heavier ball I could hit helped to keep my opponents on their toes.

Tradeoffs

While the Pure Aero excels off the ground, it did leave a bit to desire as I transitioned to the net. The racquet’s stiffer frame and higher power required extra care and focus at the net. While it certainly gets the job done, it might not be the first pick for players who like to move forward and close out points quickly.

In the past, I’ve mentioned that while the racquet felt reasonably comfortable to hit with, players suffering from arm injuries or tennis elbow will likely find it a bit harsh on the arm. Despite receiving a few tweaks to lower the racquet’s stiffness this year, I continue to recommend players look elsewhere if comfort is a top priority.

Specs

Head Size 100 in² / 645.16 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 4 points HL
Weight (strung) 11.2 oz / 318 g
Swingweight 322
Stiffness 65
Beam Width 23mm / 26mm / 23mm
String Pattern 16 Main / 19 Cross

Ratings

Serves 9.0
Volleys 8.2
Groundstrokes 9.2
Returns 8.8
Topspin 9.5
Slice 8.8
Power 9.1
Control 8.5
Comfort 8.1
Touch 8.2
Maneuverability 8.9
Stability 8.4
Overall 8.73

Variations

If the Babolat Pure Aero looks like the racquet for you, then be sure to check out the other variations on this tennis racquet. Here’s a list:

  • VS
  • 2019
  • Tour 2019
  • Plus 2019
  • Lite 2019
  • Team 2019
  • Play
  • Roland Garros

Players Using or Endorsing

  • Rafael Nadal
  • Catherine (Cici) Bellis
  • Jennifer Brady
  • Danielle Collins
  • Benoit Paire
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
  • Sam Querrey
  • Felix Auger-Aliassime
  • Caroline Wozniacki
  • Bethanie Mattek-Sands
  • Jack Sock
  • Johanna Konta
  • Marco Cecchinato

Wilson Pro Staff 97 v13

Wilson Pro Staff 97 v13

Long-awaited Pro Staff fans welcomed the introduction of the Wilson Pro Staff 97 v13 in 2020, which eliminated the use of Countervail and turned out to be well worth the wait.

As the name suggests, this racquet has a 97 in² head and an open 16×19 string pattern. Its weight is a hefty 11.7 ounces, but with a 7 pt head light balance, it retains its maneuverability and a reasonable swingweight of 321. The beam is 21.5 mm all the way around.

As mentioned, Wilson did away with Countervail, which improved comfort and reduced vibration and fatigue, but it reduced feedback and changed the feel, so I’m happy to see this update occur.

For one of the frame’s most distinct changes, the Pro Staff 97 now features an update to their time-tested braided graphite and Kevlar construction, which runs throughout the frame. It’s still braided, but Wilson has changed the weave’s angle to 45 degrees as part of their Braid 45 enhancement for improved feel and ball pocketing, and it’s a marked improvement over the prior generation.

The racquet also uses Wilson’s String Mapping Tech for a bit of added control, which tightens up the center mains for a more dense string bed and sweet spot to improve control and feel. However, since the racquet retains its 16×19 string pattern, it still offers ample spin.

Finally, as you’d expect from a Pro Staff, the racquet features Wilson’s Perimeter Weighting System at three and nine o’clock to improve stability by reducing the twisting at impact.

Why I Love It

Here are the top three reasons I enjoy playing with the Pro Staff 97.

Control
Over the years, precision and control have remained a defining characteristic of the Pro Staff family of racquets, and the Pro Staff 97 v13 is no exception. Add a dose of exceptional stability, and the Pro Staff 97 is a top-notch frame for all-court play.

Touch & Feel
At the net, the racquet performs exceptionally well. Along with its great control, I also love the racquet’s connected feel, excellent feedback, and response. The combined result is added confidence and precision regardless of the shot you’re hitting.

Maneuverability
Pro Staff models have always maintained a terrific sense of maneuverability even with their heavier weight, which comes through their head light balance. For the Pro Staff 97 v13, this is particularly useful for generating the racquet head speed necessary for topspin and quickly getting the racquet into position on returns.

Tradeoffs

The Wilson Pro Staff 97 v13’s design and characteristics set out to deliver maximum control and precision, so it’s no surprise it doesn’t offer much free power, which means the player is responsible for generating pace when needed. Of course, this is the formula many intermediates to advanced players seek.

Despite the frame delivering plenty of topspin, it lacks in this department but will work well for players that prefer to flatten the ball out.

Specs

Head Size 97 in² / 625.81 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 7 points HL
Weight (strung) 11.7 oz / 332 g
Swingweight 321
Stiffness 66
Beam Width 21.5mm / 21.5mm / 21.5mm
String Pattern 16 Main / 19 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.5
Volleys 91
Groundstrokes 8.7
Returns 8.4
Topspin 8.5
Slice 8.9
Power 82
Control 9.3
Comfort 8.6
Touch 9.0
Maneuverability 8.1
Stability 8.8
Overall 8.68

Variations

  • RF97  v13Autograph
  • 97 v13
  • 97L v13
  • 97UL v13
  • 97L
  • 97 Countervail Black/White
  • 26 Junior

Players Using or Endorsing

  • Roger Federer
  • Roberto Bautista Agut
  • Juan Martin del Potro
  • Grigor Dimitrov
  • Kyle Edmund
  • Philipp Kohlschreiber
  • Reilly Opelka

Head Gravity Pro 2021

Head Gravity Pro 2021

The Head Gravity Pro 2021 is one of the latest additions to the Head family of tennis racquets that delivers control, stability, and comfort.

A handful of specs coalesce to provide players with maximum control, including its thin 20 mm beam, tighter 18×20 string pattern, heavier 11.7-ounce strung weight, and low 62 stiffness rating. Ultimately, it’s ideal for experienced players looking to generate their own pace.

Unique to Gravity Pro is Graphene 360+, which combines Head’s specialized formula of graphite with unique SpiralFibers in the racquet’s construction at the bottom of the head to increase the frame’s flex and return energy to the ball for a responsive feel.

All in all, the Gravity Pro is a fantastic racquet that will please a specific crowd of players with the strength and confidence to wield it.

Why I Love It

Here are the top three reasons I enjoyed hitting with the Head Gravity Pro 2021.

Control
Everything about this racquet caters to precision, and it shows everywhere on the court. Whether I was hitting groundstrokes, returns, or volleys, I felt like I could hit my spots with confidence.

Stability
Weighing in at 11.7 ounces strung, the Gravity Pro isn’t easy to push around. I felt like I could easily absorb and deal with pace from the back of the court, and the same was true when hitting returns and volleys.

Comfort
The racquet’s weight, head light balance, and super low 62 stiffness rating combine to give players tons of feel and make for an incredibly comfortable hitting experience with the frame absorbing shock.

Tradeoffs

With a control-oriented players racquet like the Head Gravity Pro 2021, it’s no surprise that you’re giving up power and maneuverability. It’s merely the tradeoff you make when you invest in this type of racquet.

Specs

Head Size 100 in² / 645.16 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 6 points HL
Weight (strung) 11.7 oz / 332 g
Swingweight 332
Stiffness 62
Beam Width 20mm / 20mm / 20mm
String Pattern 18 Main / 20 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.3
Volleys 8.7
Groundstrokes 8.6
Returns 8.6
Topspin 8.4
Slice 8.9
Power 8.0
Control 9.1
Comfort 8.8
Touch 8.7
Maneuverability 7.7
Stability 8.8
Overall 8.55

Variations

  • Tour
  • Pro
  • Lite
  • S
  • MP
  • MP Lite

Players Using or Endorsing

  • Alexander Zverev
  • Andrey Rublev

Yonex EZONE 98 2022

Yonex EZONE 98 2022

In 2022, Yonex released an exceptional update to their popular EZONE 98. Although minor, I’m enjoying the changes they made, and it continues to win me over with its versatility, broad appeal, and exceptional performance from all areas of the court.

Of course, no tennis racquet is perfect, but the Yonex EZONE 98 delivers an incredibly balanced performance that will work well for a wide range of tennis players, and its downsides are minimal.

It’s well-suited for all-court play and performs well across the board, making it an incredibly versatile racquet that instills confidence.

The Isometric or square-shaped design of Yonex racquets increases the sweet spot’s size by 7% compared to the traditional oval shape, which is an excellent feature for a smaller 98 in² head.

Most racquets have their grommets drilled at an angle that matches the arc of the racquet’s head. However, with the latest EZONE 98, Yonex maintains its Linear Tech Grommet System with several grommet holes drilled straight through to improve the racquet’s power and comfort.

Another change for the racquet’s head is the updated aero shape design at the top of the hoop that’s thinner than the prior generation, which helps improve feel for a more forgiving response.

The materials integrated into a racquet’s throat can dramatically impact its performance, so Yonex has introduced an updated carbon fiber called 2G-Namd Speed for optimal feel and flex for controllable power. They’ve also adjusted the shaft design just above the handle for better stability and a slight improvement in power.

Like the previous generation, the EZONE 98 maintains its Oval Pressed Shaft. By rounding the corners of this section of the frame, Yonex seeks to deliver ideal flex while enhancing dwell time for better control and spin.

You’ll also find the 2022 version of the EZONE 98 features Yonex’s Vibration Dampening Mesh in the handle to reduce vibration and subsequently improve comfort and feel.

Another reason the EZONE line of racquets stands out is the depth of the offering from Yonex, with over 15 models available. As a result, players who are intrigued by this racquet have plenty of options to consider.

Why I Love It

Based on how the Yonex EZONE 98 scored in my evaluation, here’s a recap of its top attributes.

Control
With a smaller 98 in² and a moderate stiffness rating of 65, the EZONE 98 delivers great control without completely giving up on the power front, especially when combined with a stiffer poly.

Groundstrokes
The Yonex EZONE 98 is a fun and effortless racquet to hit with from the back of the court. It swings easily to help deliver added topspin and helps maintain precision while also offering excellent response and added pace when you’re in a position to attack.

Touch
Whether hitting groundstrokes, volleying up at the net, serving, or returning serve, the EZONE 98’s moderate 11.4oz weight and 6pt HL balance when strung make it easy to maneuver and quickly get the racquet into position.

Tradeoffs

At times, I felt the racquet could use a bit of added stability. However, this is likely only something advanced players would notice facing players who hit with extra pace. Plus, it’s easy enough to adjust the racquet with a small bit of customization for those players needing it.

For the most part, the Yonex EZONE 98’s balanced performance left me satisfied. As a result, the most significant tradeoff you make with this racquet is that it won’t deliver maximum performance in any specific area, such as spin or control. For many, that’s perfectly suitable.

Specs

Head Size 98 in² / 632.26 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 6 points HL
Weight (strung) 11.4 oz / 323 g
Swingweight 318
Stiffness 65
Beam Width 23.5mm / 24.5mm / 19.5mm
String Pattern 16 Main / 19 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.6
Volleys 8.5
Groundstrokes 8.8
Returns 8.5
Topspin 8.6
Slice 8.3
Power 8.2
Control 8.9
Comfort 8.6
Touch 8.7
Maneuverability 8.5
Stability 8.3
Overall 8.54

Variations

If you’re interested in the Yonex EZONE 98 but are not quite sure if it’s an ideal fit, check out a few of the various EZONE models available. Here’s a quick snapshot of what’s available.

  • 97 Tour
  • 98L
  • 98+
  • 100
  • 100L
  • 100+
  • 100SL
  • 105
  • 108
  • Game
  • Ace
  • Feel

Players Using or Endorsing

  • Nick Kyrgios
  • Naomi Osaka
  • Steve Johnson
  • Anastasija Sevastova
  • Coco Vandeweghe
  • Laura Siegemund

Babolat Pure Drive 2021

Babolat Pure Drive 2021

Over the years, the Babolat Pure Drive has become an iconic tennis racquet backed by some of the game’s top players, including Andy Roddick before retiring and, more recently, Garbine Muguruza.

Relaunched in September 2020, the Babolat Pure Drive 2021 doesn’t veer too far from the prior generation with a handful of iterative tweaks that remain true to this ever-popular frame.

A high power level and easy access to topspin define the Pure Drive, making it a fantastic choice for baseline tennis players and big servers. It’s also a very approachable racquet for beginners, combined with its 100 in² head and 11.2-ounce strung weight.

If you’re just getting started with tennis and you like what you see, but the price feels a little steep, be sure to check out my list of the best racquets for beginners. My top pick is the younger sibling to this racquet, the Babolat Boost Drive.

Of course, the Babolat Pure Drive comes loaded with various features to help you perform your best on the court. Babolat’s FSI technology combines its time-tested woofer system that increases power and the sweet spot’s size by allowing the strings to work together, while a tighter string pattern within the sweet spot aids in control.

The racquet’s elliptical geometric design reduces flex and increases the frame’s overall rigidity, further aiding in power. For added strength, Babolat also made use of its carbon-fiber GT technology in the head.

For 2021, Babolat introduces their HTR System, enhancing the hoop’s graphite to strengthen and improve the frame’s rigidity, which results in improved energy transfer and enhanced power.

Finally, the Pure Drive takes its Pure Feel technology, a thin layer of rubber within the graphite, a step further by increasing its coverage within the shaft to improve its feel.

Why I Love It

There’s a lot to love about the Babolat Pure Drive, as it’s been one of my favorites for years, but here are my top three reasons.

Power
First and foremost, I love the Pure Drive’s ability to help generate power without breaking a sweat. The 100 in² head provides a generous sweet spot, and the lighter 11.2-ounce strung weight makes it easy to swing. There’s no need to muscle this racquet to generate pace. It delivers pace easily and makes for a fun racquet off the baseline.

Spin
With all that power, the good news is that the Babolat Pure Drive also provides excellent access to topspin to help control your shots and keep the ball in the court. Again, the frame’s 100 in² head and 16×19 string pattern help deliver that topspin, which I found came easily and helped me keep my opponent on their toes.

Serves
I continue to love serving with the Babolat Pure Drive – it’s one of the best in this arena. I could easily generate the pace I desired on my first serve and found that my kick serves received some added pop that helped keep it well out of my opponent’s strike zone.

Tradeoffs

Players who enjoy a heavier, control-oriented tennis racquet will likely find the lower weight and higher power associated with the Pure Drive to be overbearing. Of course, it’s those same characteristics that make it perfect for other players.

One thing to keep in mind is that Pure Drive is one of the stiffer frames on the market, so players with tennis elbow should carefully consider that before purchasing this racquet.

Specs

Head Size 100 in² / 645.16 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 4 points HL
Weight (strung) 11.2 oz / 317.51 g
Swingweight 320
Stiffness 71
Beam Width 23mm / 26mm / 23mm
String Pattern 16 Main / 19 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.9
Volleys 8.3
Groundstrokes 8.6
Returns 8.4
Topspin 8.8
Slice 8.3
Power 9.1
Control 8.4
Comfort 8.2
Touch 8.3
Maneuverability 8.7
Stability 8.5
Overall 8.54

Variations

  • Plus
  • Tour
  • Tour Plus
  • Team
  • Lite
  • 107
  • 110
  • Wimbledon
  • Play

Players Using or Endorsing

  • Fabio Fognini
  • Lucas Pouille
  • Karolina Pliskova
  • Amanda Anisimova
  • Julia Goerges
  • Sofia Kenin
  • Garbine Muguruza
  • Dominika Cibulkova

Wilson Pro Staff RF97 v13 Autograph

Wilson Pro Staff RF97 v13 Autograph

A modern twist on a classic, the Wilson Pro Staff RF97 v13 Autograph, is Roger Federer’s signature version of the Wilson Pro Staff 97 v13.

With that in mind, the latest generation of the RF97 maintains the same specs as the prior generations because Federer hasn’t changed them.

However, it did receive an updated cosmetic. It reverts to the all-black paint job, has grey and silver racing stripes, and showcases the frame’s braided graphite construction under a polished resin finish.

Without a doubt, this racquet’s central and enduring feature is control, resulting from a time-tested formula with unique attributes common to Pro Staff models.

The racquet uses a braided graphite construction, thin beam, and head light balance, then tops it off with Wilson’s classic torsion control or Perimeter Weighting System that places extra weight on the sides of the racquet head at 3 and 9 o’clock.

Add to that a smaller 97 in² head and one of the industry’s heaviest strung weights of 12.6 ounces, and you end up with a control-oriented tennis racquet that rewards intermediate to advanced players who can confidently swing it.

Why I Love It

While the Wilson Pro Staff RF97 v13 Autograph was a strong performer across the board, here are the top three reasons why I loved it.

Control
Many tennis racquets offer control – however, the Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph delivers it with a genuinely unique and weighty feel. Whether I was serving, hitting groundstrokes, approaching the net, or hitting volleys, the racquet felt incredibly stable and lent itself to consistent shot-making with a high level of accuracy.

Volleys
One of my favorite places to hit with Roger’s Pro Staff was up at the net. It felt solid in my hands and allowed me to hit crisp and controlled volleys with little effort. Combined with a heightened sense of touch, it gave me the feeling that I was in control when I approached the net.

Slice
Another area in which the RF97 stood out to me was hitting with slice. Whether it was a forehand, backhand, or approach shot, it felt controlled, and the racquet’s weight and stability offered a level of plow-through that allowed me to take the air out of the ball and neutralize the point even off of an aggressive topspin shot.

Tradeoffs

While I love the Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph, its heavier weight can make it feel challenging to maneuver at times, especially if you’re coming from a lighter racquet. Sound technique and excellent preparation will help cut down on this for many players, but it’s worth noting for beginners or early-intermediate players with an eye on this racquet.

Similarly, players may debate its power level. On the surface, it doesn’t provide the easy-to-access pace that other racquets provide because its power derives from its weight combined with sound technique. True to its style, the Wilson Pro Staff RF97 v13 Autograph is a timeless player’s racquet that delivers for players who can handle it.

Specs

Head Size 97 in² / 625.81 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 9 points HL
Weight (strung) 12.6 oz / 357 g
Swingweight 335
Stiffness 68
Beam Width 21.5mm / 21.5mm / 21.5mm
String Pattern 16 Main / 19 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.3
Volleys 9.1
Groundstrokes 8.7
Returns 8.2
Topspin 8.4
Slice 8.7
Power 8.0
Control 9.3
Comfort 8.4
Touch 9.0
Maneuverability 76
Stability 8.8
Overall 8.54

Variations

  • RF97  v13Autograph
  • 97 v13
  • 97L v13
  • 97UL v13
  • 97L
  • 97 Countervail Black/White
  • 26 Junior

Players Using or Endorsing

  • Roger Federer
  • Roberto Bautista Agut
  • Juan Martin del Potro
  • Grigor Dimitrov
  • Kyle Edmund
  • Philipp Kohlschreiber
  • Reilly Opelka

Wilson Clash 100 v2

Wilson Clash 100 v2

The Wilson Clash 100 v2 is an arm-friendly tennis racquet that delivers a well-rounded performance across the board and some practical improvements over the prior generation.

The Clash features a forgiving 100 in² head size, an open 16×19 string pattern, and a 24.5 mm flat beam for moderate power and plenty of access to topspin. New for 2022, Wilson reconstructs the tip of the racquet’s hoop to aid consistency and enhance the sweet spot.

For comfort, the racquet integrates FortyFive and StableSmart. FortyFive is a specialized graphite layup that enables above-average horizontal and vertical flex. At the same time, StableSmart takes the form of a unique geometry applied to the frame’s throat, ensuring stability on contact and helping the racquet retain power.

The Clash 100 features a manageable 10.9-ounce weight and has a 7 pt HL balance. As a result, it’s a fast swinging racquet, a crucial attribute for players looking to enhance topspin.

Overall, this racquet is an excellent option, especially for intermediate players who have struggled with arm discomfort. Advanced players will likely find the Wilson Clash 98 v2 or Clash 100 Pro v2 appealing. However, higher-level players that enjoy customizing their racquet’s specs might opt for this model, which provides more room for adding weight.

Why I Love It

Here are the three reasons I love the latest addition to Wilson’s line of performance tennis racquets.

Comfort
With its incredibly low stiffness rating of 55, the Wilson Clash is one of the most arm-friendly racquets on the market. At first, the unique feel takes a little time to adjust, but you quickly start to appreciate the difference, especially if you’re coming from a stiffer frame.

Maneuverability
The Clash 100 weighs in at only 10.9 ounces strung, with a 7 point head light balance. The result is an easy to swing and highly maneuverable racquet, which I enjoyed on returns and up at the net.

Spin
With its 100 in² head, open 16×19 string pattern, and head light balance, the Clash swings fast and allows you to generate tons of topspin. As a result, it’s a strong performer from the baseline.

Tradeoffs

While the racquet’s construction goes a long way to help it maintain stability on contact, I still found a desire for a bit more control. I could compensate with extra topspin to a degree, but it’s worth noting if considering this racquet.

Specs

Head Size 100 in² / 645.16 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 7 points HL
Weight (strung) 10.9 oz / 309 g
Swingweight 312
Stiffness 55
Beam Width 24.5mm / 24.5mm / 24.5mm
String Pattern 16 Main / 19 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.3
Volleys 8.4
Groundstrokes 8.6
Returns 8.5
Topspin 8.4
Slice 8.6
Power 8.5
Control 8.4
Comfort 9.1
Touch 8.6
Maneuverability 8.8
Stability 8.2
Overall 8.53

Variations

  • 98
  • 100
  • 100 Tour
  • 100L
  • 100UL
  • 108

Players Using or Endorsing

  • Nicole Gibbs

Yonex VCORE Pro 97 310

Yonex VCORE Pro 97 310 2021

As we move into 2022, the Yonex VCORE Pro 97 310 remains a top racquet, and it’s received a few modifications since the last model to help with spin potential and increase comfort.

The Yonex VCORE Pro 97 is a well-balanced tennis racquet that delivers across the board as an excellent option for all-court players who love to hang out on the baseline, enjoy moving around the court, and coming to the net.

Overall, the VCORE Pro will suit a broad range of players looking for control without the extreme weight that often comes with control-oriented tennis racquets. Its specs – a weight of 11.5 ounces, a 97 in² head, and a 7 point head light balance – remain identical to its predecessor for an easy to maneuver package, tour-level control, and plenty of power.

Of course, coming from Yonex, this racquet doesn’t skimp on unique technologies to deliver an excellent hitting experience. With this update for 2021, Yonex has revised the racquet’s throat geometry with the addition of 2G-NAMD graphite to improve flex and, subsequently, ball-pocketing and the potential for topspin. In addition, Yonex adds a shock-absorbing polymer called Flex Fuse for comfort.

The head features the company’s signature Isometric square head shape, which increases the sweet spot’s size. Simultaneously, the 3D vector shaft (from the handle through the racquet’s throat) uses deep grooves to reduce the frame’s twisting and increase stability.

The Yonex VCORE Pro 97 also features a unique blend of carbon graphite and an elastic material dubbed Black Micro Core at 10 and 2 o’clock to improve stability when the ball contacts the upper portion of the racquet’s head.

Vibration dampening mesh remains present in the handle to help reduce vibration by 30% and, in turn, increase comfort.

Finally, the VCORE Pro 97 features a lock booster system that tightens the grommet spacing toward the upper part of the racquet’s head and grooves within the grommets’ channel to help secure the string and increase control.

Why I Love It

My top three reasons for loving the Yonex VCORE Pro 97 include control, groundstrokes, and touch/feel.

Control
The Yonex VCORE Pro 97 is yet another fantastic control-oriented tennis racquet, which is unique in that it offers a high level of control without giving up too much power or weighing too much. At 7 points headlight, that translates into a maneuverable racquet that’s easy to swing and generate racquet head speed for reliable and well-placed groundstrokes.

Groundstrokes
Overall, I had the most fun with this racquet at the baseline, where I found terrific placement and the confidence to go for my shots while hitting my targets. I also enjoyed my backhand slice, which felt solid. The frame felt stable enough and allowed me to move the racquet head through the ball for a crisp shot.

Touch/Feel
Even with its lower 11.5-ounce weight, the VCORE Pro 97 delivered excellent feel off the ground and played well up at the net, where volleys felt crisp and under control.

Tradeoffs

Not surprisingly, the most significant tradeoff with the Yonex VCORE Pro 97 is easy-to-access power. As with most control-oriented racquets, the VCORE Pro consists of features that first and foremost support accuracy and precision. However, the good news is that it doesn’t give up power like other control-oriented tennis racquets.

One item I’d like to address is the stability of the racquet. Compared with the previous model, I would say Yonex has improved this weakness, and it wasn’t much of a thought in my playtest. Kudos!

Specs

Head Size 97 in² / 625.81 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 7 points HL
Weight (strung) 11.5 oz / 326 g
Swingweight 318
Stiffness 60
Beam Width 21mm / 21mm / 21mm
String Pattern 16 Main / 19 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.3
Volleys 8.3
Groundstrokes 8.7
Returns 8.4
Topspin 8.6
Slice 8.6
Power 8.3
Control 8.9
Comfort 8.5
Touch 8.7
Maneuverability 8.5
Stability 8.3
Overall 8.51

Variations

  • 97
  • 97L
  • 97D
  • 97H
  • 100L
  • 100
  • Game

Players Using or Endorsing

  • Stanislas Wawrinka
  • Hyeon Chung
  • Pierre-Hugues Herbert
  • Frances Tiafoe

Wilson Blade 98 18×20 v8

Wilson Blade 98 18x20 v8

Over the years, the Wilson Blade has undergone more than a handful of transformations. However, at its core, the Wilson Blade remains a control-oriented player’s racquet that weighs it at a reasonable 11.4 ounces – the same weight as the prior generation.

Technologies include a braided graphite and basalt construction, which increases the racquet’s flex, improves feel, and ultimately delivers more control. Basalt is a volcanic rock that manufacturers can use to produce fibers with characteristics similar to fiberglass.

In addition to the racquet’s unique composition, the racquet now uses Wilson’s new FortyFive technology, a rebrand of what was previously called FeelFlex in the prior generation. FortyFive enhances the frame’s vertical and horizontal flex to complement the modern swing path without giving up stability. As a result, you’ll find the frame’s RA or flex rating drops to 61, which is one point less than the previous model.

The Wilson Blade 98 18×20 v8 also takes advantage of parallel drilling, which is simply the process of drilling specific grommet holes parallel independent of the frame’s arc. Wilson claims up to a 27% increase in the sweet spot by taking this approach, which is a welcome addition to the frame, considering its smaller head size.

In 2021, Wilson adds their new DirectConnect handle, which fuses that racquet’s butt cap with the handle’s carbon fiber to improve stability. However, despite the change, the racquet retains its top grip taper handle design for improved feel when hitting a two-handed backhand and their red ergonomic butt cap for comfort.

Finally, Wilson strays from their standard color scheme used across many of their racquet lines and uses a chameleon style paint job that’s dynamic and shifts colors depending on the light.

Why I Love It

Here are my top three reasons for loving this frame.

Control
The Wilson Blade’s slightly smaller 98 square inch head size, tighter 18×20 string pattern, stable 11.4-ounce weight, and low 60 stiffness rating combine to deliver solid control from all areas of the court.

Stability
Wilson’s strategic use of materials produces a stable frame and helps ensure consistent and reliable contact with the tennis ball for an authentic feel of a classic player’s racquet.

Comfort
The Wilson Blade 18×20 also delivers comfort with its unique balance of material construction, weight, and flex rating. Overall, the racquet has a dampened, low-vibration feel, making for a pleasant and comfortable hitting experience.

Tradeoffs

While the Wilson Blade offers a respectable level of power, some players may find it a bit more challenging to access higher levels of topspin with its tighter 18×20 string pattern. Of course, the topspin potential is there, but you might need to work a little harder for it.

Specs

Head Size 98 in² / 632.26 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 4 points HL
Weight (strung) 11.4 oz / 323 g
Swingweight 327
Stiffness 60
Beam Width 21mm / 21mm / 21mm
String Pattern 18 Main / 20 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.4
Volleys 8.6
Groundstrokes 8.6
Returns 8.3
Topspin 8.0
Slice 8.6
Power 8.2
Control 8.8
Comfort 9.0
Touch 8.6
Maneuverability 8.3
Stability 8.6
Overall 8.5

Variations

  • 98 16×19 v8
  • 98 18×20 v8
  • 100L v8
  • 100 v8
  • 104 v8
  • SW102 Autograph

Players Using or Endorsing

  • Stefanos Tsitsipas
  • David Goffin
  • Milos Raonic
  • Alex de Minaur
  • Damir Dzumhur
  • Karen Khachanov
  • Pablo Carreno Busta
  • Serena Willams
  • Simona Halep
  • Kiki Bertens
  • Elina Svitolina
  • Lauren Davis
  • Jelena Ostapenko
  • Barbora Strycova

Prince Phantom 100X 305

Prince Phantom 100X 305

The third generation of the Prince Phantom 100 received some welcome upgrades in 2020 while maintaining the core characteristics that made it popular. Overall, it’s an excellent improvement on a frame that continues to get better with each new release.

With its 100 in² head, the Phantom provides ample surface area to make a clean connection with the ball and avoid mishits while also featuring an open 16×18 string pattern that provides access to generating topspin without working too hard.

One significant change to the frame vs. the prior model is its thicker, more powerful beam, increasing the stiffness rating from 54 to 58. Despite the change, the racquet weight remains the same at 11.4-ounces strung and will continue to suit players looking for a control-oriented racquet that’s arm-friendly.

One unique aspect of the Phantom 100X 305 is that it maintains stability without a dramatic increase to its stiffness rating through the use of Textreme, Prince’s ultra-thin carbon that’s baked directly into the frame. However, this model enhances things further with their Anti-Torque System, which combines Texteme with the aramid Twaron to deliver added power without sacrificing stability.

Like the previous version, the Phantom 100X 305 takes full advantage of the Constant Taper System (CTS) that transitions from a thinner 18 mm shaft for flexibility and feel to a thicker 22 mm head to maintain a bit more power for a responsive racquet that delivers pace when you need it.

All in all, with a slant toward intermediate to advanced players, I feel Prince has done a great job continuing to evolve the Phantom, which maintains its spot on my list of the best racquets.

Why I Love It

Here are the three key reasons I enjoyed the Phantom 100X 305.

Control
From the baseline, the Phantom 100X 305 provided respectable control with the ability to generate plenty of topspin that allowed me to dictate points with accuracy. I was even more delighted when I approached the net, as the racquet’s flexible frame helped maintain control and direct the ball where I needed. I felt the Phantom 100X 305 improves quite a bit from its predecessor at the net.

Maneuverability
Keeping most of the weight in the handle at 6 points head light, the Phantom 100X 305 also maintains plenty of maneuverability despite its mid-range 11.4-ounce weight. The head light balance was particularly beneficial up at the net, where I never felt like I was forcing the racquet into position. It just came along for the ride.

Comfort
The Phantom 100X 305 is one of the most comfortable racquets that we’ve played with, making it an excellent option for players in need of an arm-friendly companion.

Tradeoffs

Overall, the Prince Phantom 100X 305 is a well-rounded tennis racquet that will likely suit various styles of play. Some players may find the racquet lacks in the power department, but it’s a tradeoff you’ll be making for the added control the frame delivers.

Specs

Head Size 100 in² / 645.16 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 6 points HL
Weight (strung) 11.4 oz / 323 g
Swingweight 321
Stiffness 58
Beam Width 22mm / 120.5mm / 18mm
String Pattern 16 Main / 18 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.1
Volleys 8.7
Groundstrokes 8.6
Returns 8.4
Topspin 8.7
Slice 8.5
Power 7.8
Control 8.3
Comfort 9.0
Touch 8.8
Maneuverability 8.6
Stability 8.2
Overall 8.48

Variations

  • 97P
  • 100P
  • 100x 305
  • 100X 290
  • 100X 18×20

Yonex VCORE 98 2023

Yonex VCORE 98 2023

For 2023, the VCORE 98 makes my list, and I’m super excited about what the updated racquet brings to the table while still delivering the same speed and spin I loved in the prior model.

As with all Yonex models, it features an Isometric head shape to increase the sweet spot by 7% compared with typical rounded frames. However, Yonex also refines its drilling of the holes for the outer main strings with its Linear Tech to widen the sweet spot and enhance string movement.

New for 2023, Yonex has enlarged the frame’s top at 2 and 10 o’clock to expand the surface area when hitting while raising the ball’s launch angle, resulting in added depth of shot for players.

The racquet also comes built for speed. Its relatively thin beam, 6 point head light balance, and integrated Aero Fin technology at the top of the frame’s head and just above the racquet’s throat reduce air resistance and subsequently helps players improve racquet head speed.

Of course, Yonex didn’t stop there. The racquet incorporates their Aero Trench grommet system for the main strings at the top of the racquet’s head, hiding the grommets and decreasing air resistance, resulting in even faster swings to generate more topspin.

For materials, the VCORE 98 (305) features 2G-NAMD Flex Force graphite, giving the racquet a unique flex and snapback to increase spin and power further. The result is a lower 62 stiffness rating, which offers excellent comfort, especially compared to the prior model.

Another update for the latest generation includes refined adjustments to the frame’s 3D Vector Shaft, which incorporates grooves and specialized geometry through the racquet’s throat to reduce frame twisting and improve stability.

Overall, like the VCORE that came before it, this model packs loads of spin and delivers a strong performance worthy of consideration with noteworthy improvements to the frame’s flex and comfort.

Why I Love It

The following are the top three reasons for adding the VCORE to my list of the best tennis racquets.

Groundstrokes
At the baseline, this frame delivered, allowing me to swing through the ball and hit my spots confidently. On contact, the racquet felt more stable than its predecessor and helped me generate plenty of power and topspin for a heavy ball that stayed deep in the court.

Topspin
Yonex engineered everything about this racquet to generate spin on the court, and it shows. I was able to create tons of racquet head speed effortlessly, and together with the more open string pattern and more generous sweet spot, it helped me produce a considerable amount of topspin that would leap off the ground, making for a super fun playtest.

Volleys
I enjoyed transitioning to the net with the VCORE 98. As I mentioned, it felt more stable than the prior model and had a reliable and noticeably improved feel that helped me direct the ball while having enough pop to put away shots.

Tradeoffs

Overall, the VCORE 98 is a well-rounded tennis racquet, so it was a little more challenging to find something I felt I was giving up. However, its power is underwhelming, so that’s worth keeping in mind, as the racquet will appeal more strongly to experienced players.

Specs

Head Size 98 in² / 632.26 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 6 points HL
Weight (strung) 11.4 oz / 323 g
Swingweight 318
Stiffness 62
Beam Width 23mm / 23mm / 21mm
String Pattern 16 Main / 19 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.4
Volleys 8.6
Groundstrokes 8.6
Returns 8.6
Topspin 8.9
Slice 8.3
Power 8.6
Control 8.5
Comfort 8.1
Touch 8.3
Maneuverability 8.3
Stability 8.4
Overall 8.47

Variations

  • 95
  • 98
  • 98L
  • 98+
  • 100
  • 100L
  • 100+
  • Game
  • 25 & 26

Players Using or Endorsing

  • Denis Shapovalov
  • Denis Kudla
  • Radu Albot
  • Kamil Majchrzak
  • Angelique Kerber
  • Eugenie Bouchard
  • Donna Vekic
  • Caroline Garcia
  • Sabine Lisicki

Prince Textreme Tour 100P

Prince Textreme Tour 100P

Players who have previously considered the Prince Textreme Tour 100P and are back on the hunt in 2022 will be delighted to find this racquet has received a few tweaks while remaining true to the original design.

Like its predecessor, if you could sum up the revised Prince Textreme Tour 100P in one word, it would be “balance.” Across the board, the racquet delivers excellent performance for players seeking a well-rounded racquet that will be reliable from all areas of the court.

Prince’s Textreme line of tennis racquets features its unique Textreme material. This super-thin carbon fiber fabric integrates directly into the tennis racquet’s shaft (handle and throat) to enhance stability and control.

However, this is where one of the tweaks to this model comes into play, as Prince has doubled down on the Textreme formula, introducing Textreme X that incorporates Twaron woven into the frame for extra vibration dampening and comfort.

The latest model matches the prior model’s weight at 11.5 ounces and has a near-identical swingweight of 324. Combined with a 100 in² head size, 18×20 string pattern, and stiffness rating of 66, it’s clear this racquet’s design caters to a wide range of players.

Last but not least, even though the racquet weighs in at 11.5 ounces, its 7 point head light balance allows players to generate plenty of racquet head speed necessary to produce topspin on their shots.

All in all, the Prince Textreme Tour 100P remains an approachable tennis racquet that’s perfect for players seeking all court performance.

Why I Love It

Here are the top three attributes that I enjoyed while hitting with the Prince Textreme Tour 100P.

Control
Out on the court, all of Prince’s ingredients come together nicely and deliver great control. The racquet is solid off the ground and gave me the confidence to swing through the ball and hit my spots.

Comfort
With its 11.5-ounce weight, mid-range stiffness rating of 66, and head light balance that keeps the weight in the handle, the Textreme Tour 100P did a great job at absorbing the shock and vibrations that come with each shot and provided great comfort.

Touch and Feel
The same combination of specs and materials that help deliver solid control also provides a terrific feel. I felt connected trading groundstrokes, and up at the net, I was delighted with my ability to direct the ball with a high level of accuracy.

Tradeoffs

With the Prince Textreme Tour 100P, you’ll get balanced performance, but you also won’t be wowed in any particular area.

For example, there were times when I would have preferred a bit of extra on-demand power or topspin. Depending on your preference, that may be a drawback that may drive you to look elsewhere.

Specs

Head Size 100 in² / 645.16 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 7 points HL
Weight (strung) 11.5 oz / 326 g
Swingweight 325
Stiffness 66
Beam Width 22mm / 23mm / 20mm
String Pattern 18 Main / 20 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.2
Volleys 9.0
Groundstrokes 8.5
Returns 8.3
Topspin 8.5
Slice 8.8
Power 7.3
Control 9.1
Comfort 8.6
Touch 8.7
Maneuverability 8.3
Stability 8.4
Overall 8.47

Variations

  • 95
  • 95 (2015)
  • 100P
  • 100L (260)
  • 100 (290)
  • 100 (310)
  • 100P (2015)
  • 100L (2015)
  • 100T (2015)

Wilson Burn 100 v4

Wilson Burn 100 v4

The Wilson Burn 100 v4 is a revised version of the original Wilson Burn, geared toward a wide range of intermediate to advanced tennis players.

Overall, the Burn 100 v4 is a well-balanced tennis racquet that produces excellent topspin and fantastic performance off the baseline and with returns.

This version of the Burn features Wilson’s rigid Carbon Fiber Graphite and a thicker variable-width beam for a crisp and responsive feel with plenty of power. At 11.2-ounces strung, it swings fast for generating higher levels of racquet head speed.

The Burn 100 v4 racquet also takes advantage of Wilson’s parallel drilling, in which all grommet holes are drilled parallel to the frame to increase the size of the sweet spot while delivering a more forgiving feel.

One of the things I love about the latest update to the Burn is its minimalist approach to racquet design. Wilson has removed countervail, and there aren’t many bells and whistles, but what you get is a terrific racquet that’s particularly well-suited for intermediate players.

Why I Love It

These are the main reasons I loved playing with the Wilson Burn 100 v4.

Groundstrokes
Off the baseline, the Wilson Burn 100 v4 excelled. Compared with the original Wilson Burn, the swingweight is relatively balanced, coming in at 3 point head light strung vs. the original at 5 points head light. Add to that a strung weight of 11.2 ounces, and it made for an easy-to-swing racquet that consistently delivered on power and topspin.

Returns
With improved maneuverability over the original Wilson Burn, I found that this upgraded version performed well on returns and had respectable stability. This security gave me the confidence to swing through the ball while allowing me to block or slice back some of the bigger serves I returned.

Topspin
On both my groundstrokes and returns, I enjoyed the topspin that the Burn 100 v4 provided. Its 100 in² head combined with the open 16×18 string pattern allowed for plenty of grip, with the topspin coming very naturally, especially when paired with a polyester string.

Tradeoffs

The Wilson Burn 100 v4 higher power level may leave some players wanting to tone things down a bit, but that is offset to a degree by its excellent topspin – so your style of play is a factor here.

Another thing to keep in mind is that this racquet is on the higher end of the spectrum when it comes to stiffness. Players may find a little less comfort, but it’s an improvement over the first generation of Wilson Burn.

Specs

Head Size 100 in² / 645.16 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 3 points HL
Weight (strung) 11.2 oz / 318 g
Swingweight 328
Stiffness 71
Beam Width 23.5mm / 25mm / 23.5mm
String Pattern 16 Main / 19 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.4
Volleys 8.6
Groundstrokes 8.7
Returns 8.4
Topspin 8.5
Slice 8.5
Power 8.6
Control 8.4
Comfort 8.0
Touch 8.5
Maneuverability 8.5
Stability 8.4
Overall 8.46

Variations

  • 100 v4
  • 100S v4
  • 100LS v4
  • 100ULS v4

Volkl V-Feel 8 Pro

Volkl V-Feel 8 Pro

This year, I’m swapping out the Volkl V-Feel 8 with the V-Feel 8 Pro, a fun tennis racquet that offers a surprising blend of power, spin, maneuverability, and comfort.

Weighing in at a reasonable 11.2-ounces strung, with a 100 in² head, 16×18 string pattern, and a moderate flex rating of 67, I found the Volkl V-Feel 8 Pro to be a versatile tennis racquet.

At the racquet’s core, you’ll find a trifecta of Volkl’s V-Feel Technologies. First up, VCELL is a unique cellulose carbon fiber that helps cut down on weight while also delivering strength to the frame for added response and feel while simultaneously reducing unwanted vibration.

Next up, the racquet features Volkl’s VSENSOR handle, which contains REVA, a dense rubber-like material that’s EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) combined with a compound and resin that significantly reduces vibrations and improves feel. Top it off with VTEX, a silicone polymer applied to the butt cap, for even greater dampening and a solid feel.

The Volkl V-Feel 8 Pro continues to use Volkl’s super grommet system, which allows its cross-strings to move freely to help generate power.

Finally, the racquet uses a mid-sized beam construction to find that sweet spot for precision and power.

Why I Love It

Here are the top three reasons I loved this frame.

Maneuverability
One of the first things you notice when you pick up the Volkl V-Feel 8 Pro is how easy the racquet is to maneuver, resulting from its 6-point head light balance that keeps the weight toward your hand for speedy reaction times when returning and quick reflexes up at the net.

Topspin
With a 100 in² head and tighter 16×18 string pattern, you’d expect topspin to be a highlight, and it’s solid. Its strong maneuverability allows you to generate plenty of racquet head speed, a key ingredient for topspin, while the super grommet system allows the strings to move freely. Considering the frame’s power level, its higher levels of topspin helped maintain control.

Power
The V-Feel 8 Pro isn’t a high-powered tennis racquet. However, its power level is respectable, considering its specs, and allowed me to generate plenty of pace when needed.

Tradeoffs

As with other racquets, you might expect a little bit of give and take along the way, and the Volkl V-Feel 8 Pro is no exception.

I did find that control suffered a bit with the ball getting away from me here and there. If I were to miss, it was typically long, but luckily the topspin I could generate helped me strike a balance where this wasn’t a significant issue as I played more with the racquet.

Also, its comfort wasn’t up to par with some of my past V-Feel favorites, but overall, it’s a well-rounded tennis racquet.

Specs

Head Size 100 in² / 645.16 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 4 points HL
Weight (strung) 11.5 oz / 318 g
Swingweight 316
Stiffness 67
Beam Width 22mm / 24mm / 22mm
String Pattern 18 Main / 20 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.5
Volleys 8.2
Groundstrokes 8.7
Returns 8.5
Topspin 9.1
Slice 7.8
Power 8.7
Control 7.6
Comfort 8.6
Touch 8.3
Maneuverability 9.1
Stability 8.3
Overall 8.45

Variations

  • 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9
  • 1 Pro
  • 1 MP
  • 1 OS
  • 8 Pro
  • 10 (300)
  • 10 (320)

Prince Warrior Textreme 100

Prince Warrior Textreme 100

The two attributes that best describe the Prince Warrior Textreme are power and spin. The 100 in² head, open 16×18 string pattern, and a slightly higher flex rating of 66 combine to produce plenty of pop and more than enough grip to enhance your topspin.

This updated version of Prince’s Warrior 100 integrates Textreme, a specialized ultra-thin carbon fiber fabric that increases strength and rigidity without adding considerable weight. The result helps enhance the racquet’s power, control, and feel.

With a strung weight of only 11.4 ounces, less weight in the racquet head at 6 points head light, and a lower 320 swingweight, it’s a user-friendly tennis racquet that most players should find easy to maneuver.

Overall, the Prince Warrior Textreme 100 is a great tennis racquet that errs on the side of power while providing balance in other areas such as control and feel to appeal to a wide range of tennis players.

Why I Love It

The following are the top three reasons I loved hitting with this tennis racquet.

Power
When it came to playing with the Warrior Textreme, power came easily through a combination of attributes blended by Prince. I enjoyed the power from the back of the court, where the racquet felt perfectly suited for trading big groundstrokes with my opponent.

Spin
The 100 in² head, combined with the open 16×18 string pattern, gave me plenty of bite and allowed me to generate more topspin on my shots without having to work too hard.

Groundstrokes
Without a doubt, my favorite area of the court to play with the Prince Warrior Textreme 100 was from the baseline, where the racquet delivered power and spin. Similarly, I found the Warrior Textreme to work well hitting returns, where the 6 point head light balance allowed me to quickly and easily maneuver the racquet.

Tradeoffs

While the Warrior Textreme certainly isn’t overbearing when it comes to power, it may leave some players longing for a bit more control. In particular, that control could come in handy up at the net, where I had to maintain some extra focus.

Specs

Head Size 100 in² / 645.16 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 6 points HL
Weight (strung) 11.14 oz / 315.81 g
Swingweight 320
Stiffness 66
Beam Width 24mm / 25.5mm / 22.5mm
String Pattern 16 Main / 18 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.5
Volleys 8.2
Groundstrokes 8.6
Returns 8.5
Topspin 8.6
Slice 8.4
Power 8.7
Control 8.1
Comfort 8.2
Touch 8.3
Maneuverability 8.6
Stability 8.4
Overall 8.43

Variations

  • 100
  • 100T
  • 100L
  • 107
  • 107T
  • 107L Pink

Players Using or Endorsing

  • John Isner

Tecnifibre TF-X1 300

Tecnifibre TF-X1 300

Released in 2021, the TF-X1 is part of one of two competition-level tennis racquet lines that Tecnifibre offers, which delivers exceptional power and features designed to help minimize shock and vibration.

For power, the racquet uses a 100 in² head size and a unique frame geometry with a rounder head, grooves within the bumper, and specially reinforced sections called Isoflex. Tecnifibre pairs these features with an open 16×19 string pattern for easier access to spin.

At 11.1 ounces and with a 4 pt HL balance, the TF-X1 300 is an easy-to-man maneuver frame for quick reactions up at the net and generating maximum racquet head speed for topspin.

The frame is on the stiffer end of the spectrum with an RA or stiffness rating of 71 and a thicker 24 mm beam. However, to aid comfort, Tecniifibre introduces their X-Damp system visible at the bottom of the racquet’s handle to reduce shock and vibration by 36%.

If it sounds familiar, the vibration dampening system is an updated version of one that Rene Lacoste previously developed.

Overall, the Tecnifibre TF-X1 300 is a relatively well-balanced and frame that offers explosive power and spin designed for a wide range of players, especially those who love to trade big groundstrokes.

Why I Love It

These are the three reasons I loved the Technifibre TF-X1 300.

Power
With the TF-X1 300’s 100 in² head and high stiffness rating of 71, the racquet delivered plenty of power that came rather effortlessly but, at the same time, didn’t feel entirely overbearing.

Groundstrokes
I enjoyed the power of this frame most at the baseline. I settled in quickly with the racquet and found I could trade big shots and play great offense with plenty of topspin, taking advantage of the open 16×19 string pattern.

Maneuverability
At 11.1 ounces and with a 4 points head light balance, this lightweight frame is easy-to-maneuver, afforded me excellent preparation on my groundstrokes, and delivered easy handling up at the net.

Tradeoffs

As a frame with a mid-range weight and head light balance that’s very easy to maneuver, I did find the Tecnifibre TF-X1 300 to provide a bit less stability, particularly when returning bigger serves.

At the same time, I felt that the stiffer frame, which helps provide the racquet’s power, was lacking in the comfort department and required me to work harder to find that effortless touch up at the net.

Specs

Head Size 100 in² / 645.16 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 4 points HL
Weight (strung) 11.1 oz / 315 g
Swingweight 323
Stiffness 71
Beam Width 24mm / 24mm / 24mm
String Pattern 16 Main / 19 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.2
Volleys 8.4
Groundstrokes 8.4
Returns 8.2
Topspin 8.6
Slice 8.3
Power 8.6
Control 8.2
Comfort 8.1
Touch 8.1
Maneuverability 8.7
Stability 8.2
Overall 8.33

Variations

  • TF-X1 300
  • TF-X1 285
  • TF-X1 275

Head Extreme MP 2022

Head Extreme MP 2022

In 2021 this frame showed up on my list of the best tennis racquets for the first time, and it remains a contender this year.

The Head Extreme MP is a mid-weight racquet geared toward intermediate to advanced players who like to hit with topspin and authority, which is fitting as Frenchman Richard Gasquet and Italian tennis player Matteo Berrettini both use it.

This racquet offers a reasonable and approachable weight at 11.2 ounces strung, and its swingweight is 325. It also has a middle-of-the-road stiffness rating of 66, which won’t deliver the highest comfort level but shouldn’t cause most players any issues in this department.

The Extreme Pro’s 100 in² head combines its 16×19 string pattern and Spin Grommet technology in the mains and Sound Grommets in the crosses to enhance string movement and increase snapback. The net result is a racquet that can deliver substantial topspin and considerable pace.

Last but not least, this racquet features Graphene to reduce weight in the racquet’s midsection while reinforcing the head of the racquet at 3, 9, and 12 o’clock on the racquet’s head to aid stability and power.

New for 2023, Head introduces an Auxetic construction at the top of the racquet’s throat, referred to as the yoke or bridge, which dynamically responds to the force for optimal performance.

Overall, if you’re looking for a spin-friendly tennis racquet that doesn’t skimp on power while being user-friendly, then the Head Extreme MP 2022 is worth checking out.

Why I Love it

Here’s why I dig with the Head Extreme MP.

Groundstrokes
Based on the description, it shouldn’t be surprising that this tennis racquet is well-suited for the baseline. The racquet swings fast, delivering excellent spin and loads of power, and it’s adequately stable for its weight, which is ideal for the modern game.

Power
While the Extreme MP isn’t the most powerful racquet on the market, it holds its own and rivals some of the best in this category. You won’t have to try too hard to turn things up a notch, but I didn’t find it overbearing, which is ideal for experienced players. On serve, the power is perfect.

Topspin
I loved the topspin I could produce with this racquet. Not only did it feel solid at impact, but it gripped the ball and gave me the confidence to swing big with a high margin for error, knowing the ball would drop back into the court.

Tradeoffs

Although I didn’t have any major issue with this frame, some players will find this racquet’s power a bit overbearing, and if you like to flatten out the ball, it won’t be the racquet for you. However, players who prefer to hit with lots of spin will likely be right at home with it.

Specs

Head Size 100 in² / 645.16 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 3 points HL
Weight (strung) 11.2 oz / 318 g
Swingweight 322
Stiffness 66
Beam Width 23mm / 26mm / 21mm
String Pattern 16 Main / 19 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.2
Volleys 8.3
Groundstrokes 8.6
Returns 8.1
Topspin 9.0
Slice 8.3
Power 9.1
Control 7.9
Comfort 7.5
Touch 8.0
Maneuverability 8.4
Stability 8.2
Overall 8.30

Variations

  • Extreme Pro
  • Extreme MP
  • Extreme Lite
  • Extreme PW
  • Extreme S

Players Using or Endorsing

  • Richard Gasquet
  • Matteo Berrettini
  • Jan-Lennard Struff
  • Svetlana Kuznetsova

Tecnifibre TFight 300 RS

For the second year in a row, Tecnifibre’s TFight series makes an appearance on my list of the best tennis racquets.

This year the TFight 300 RS makes the cut as a slick-looking and approachable mid-weight racquet that performs from all areas of the court while providing plenty of access to topspin and power.

For starters, the 300 RS comes with a 98 in² head and a manageable 11.2-ounce weight. It also offers an open 16×19 string pattern, which, when combined, ensures a fast swinging racquet that grips the ball for generating loads of topspin.

New for this model, Tecnifibre introduces a unique frame design or RS Section, which has five sides at strategic angles for added stability and improved response and comfort.

The frame’s power derives from a combination of its stiffness rated at 66 and beam, which help return substantial energy to the ball. However, Tecnifibre complements these with Dynacore HD for a softer feel while maintaining a powerful response, and its Xtreme Touch Construction (XTC) helps improve feel and stability.

The 300 RS also features ArmorCap+, Tecnifibre’s second-generation bumper system, a unique grommet system that absorbs shock and helps increase power, and their EZ Lock knot tie-off feature for easier string installation and protecting the racquet’s grommets.

Overall, Tecnifibre’s TFight 300 RS is a super well-rounded tennis racquet whose lighter weight and all-court performance are sure to please a wide range of tennis players.

Why I Love It

Here’s why I love the Tecnifibre TFight 300 RS.

Groundstrokes
The Tecnifibre TFight 300 RS had plenty of pop from the baseline, which I was able to control with quick racquet head speed and topspin. Simultaneously, the 98 in² head and a slightly thinner beam gave me the control I desired to direct the ball and hit my spots.

Volleys
Not only is the racquet easy to maneuver, but it packs a punch up at the net, which helped me to put away my shots as I moved forward.

Returns
Despite its lighter weight, I found the 300 RS to perform well on returns. Its low weight and 4 point head light construction made it quick to bring the racquet back and take a strong cut at softer serves while staying reasonably solid through contact to handle bigger serves.

Tradeoffs

While I felt the frame was a tad stiff at times, the biggest drawback I think players will find with this racquet is that it doesn’t wow in any one area – which at the same time is the racquet’s strength.

Players looking for a highly controlled, heavier racquet or a more powerful frame will want to look elsewhere, while players looking for a balanced, well-rounded racquet will be right at home with the 300 RS.

Specs

Head Size 98 in² / 632.26 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 4 points HL
Weight (strung) 11.2 oz / 318 g
Swingweight 320
Stiffness 69
Beam Width 23mm / 23mm / 22.5mm
String Pattern 16 Main / 19 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.1
Volleys 8.4
Groundstrokes 8.5
Returns 8.1
Topspin 8.4
Slice 8.1
Power 8.1
Control 8.3
Comfort 8.1
Touch 8.4
Maneuverability 8.8
Stability 8.3
Overall 8.3

Variations

  • 295 RS
  • 300 RS
  • 305 RS
  • 315 RS

Players Using or Endorsing

  • Daniil Medvedev
  • John Millman
  • Jeremy Chardy
  • Aljaz Bedene
  • Denis Istomin

HEAD Instinct MP 2022

Head Instinct MP 2022

For the fourth straight year, the Head Graphene 360 Instinct MP, previously endorsed by Maria Sharapova and Tomas Berdych, remains a solid option for intermediate to advanced players.

With a moderate weight of 11.2 ounces, this racquet comes with a 100 in² head and a 16×19 string pattern, allowing for excellent access to topspin. With a 4 point HL balance, the racquet swings relatively quickly and easily, further influencing a player’s ability to generate spin.

Like many other Head tennis racquets, the Instinct MP integrates Graphene 360 technology, which helps reduce weight within the racquet’s shaft while boosting its power and stability through the materials used in the racquet’s head at 3, 6, and 12 o’clock. The addition of SpiralFibers in the bottom portion of the frame’s head aims to improve the racquet’s feel while providing a better overall response.

Although it might not be the first attribute that comes to mind, the Head Instinct MP 2022 is an arm-friendly tennis racquet featuring a low-end stiffness or RA rating of 64.

All in all, it’s a well-rounded tennis racquet that stands to be an excellent fit for intermediate players looking to make a move to a frame that offers speed, control, and playability without completely sacrificing power.

Why I Love It

Here’s why I loved playing with the Head Graphene 360+ Instinct MP.

Groundstrokes
My favorite place to hit with the HEAD Graphene 360+ Instinct MP was off the ground. As expected, it swings fast with its 4 points head light balance, which helped generate topspin, and it packed plenty of power to match while also offering up plenty of comfort.

Topspin
As a fast-swinging frame with a 16×19 string pattern, this tennis racquet allowed me to produce loads of topspin with plenty of power. This combination gave me confidence when hitting and helped me dictate points and keep my opponents on their heels.

Maneuverability
At 11.2 ounces and featuring a 4 point head light balance, the Head Graphene 360+ Instinct MP moves with ease. Whether I’m bringing my racquet back for a return, serving, or approaching the net for a volley, it’s easy to maneuver and get into position.

Tradeoff

As a racquet with a mid-range weight that will appeal to many players, I felt that the most significant tradeoff was the overall feel and stability. At times I wanted the extra mass on my returns and slice to help the racquet move more easily through the ball. However, if that’s a concern, you can address it by adding lead tape.

Specs

Head Size 100 in² / 645.16 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 4 points HL
Weight (strung) 11.2 oz / 318 g
Swingweight 314
Stiffness 64
Beam Width 23mm / 26mm / 23mm
String Pattern 16 Main / 19 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.1
Volleys 8.5
Groundstrokes 8.5
Returns 7.9
Topspin 8.6
Slice 8.0
Power 8.6
Control 8.2
Comfort 8.1
Touch 8.0
Maneuverability 8.7
Stability 8.3
Overall 8.29

Variations

  • Instinct MP
  • Instinct Team L
  • Instinct PWR 110
  • Instinct PWR 115

Wilson Ultra 100 v4

Wilson Ultra 100 v4

The Wilson Ultra 100 v4 is the fourth generation of this series, which stays true to its roots delivering excellent power and spin.

New to the racquet in 2023, the Ultra 100 v4 now takes advantage of FORTYFIVE, Wilson’s proprietary graphite layup that improves flex without sacrificing stability and maintaining power. It’s the same technology they’ve slowly introduced to other lines, including the Wilson Blade, after its initial introduction to the Wilson Clash.

Wilson also has revised the racquet’s beam, reducing it by .5 mm in the shaft for added flex and comfort while increasing it slightly throughout the head to maintain power and stability.

Other noteworthy features include Wilson’s Parallel Drilling technology, which opens up the sweet spot and provides a more forgiving stringbed. You’ll also find a Sweet Spot Channel on the racquet’s head at three and nine o’clock, which increases the length of the cross strings in the mid-section to enhance string movement for added power.

The racquet also uses Wilson’s Crush Zone grommet system, which compresses and rebounds when striking the ball for extra power and dwell time for control. And the grommets, bumper guard, and end cap are plant-based plastics to reduce the company’s environmental impact.

The net result is an approachable tennis racquet that should appeal to a broad range of players looking for an easy-to-manage frame that provides excellent power and topspin.

Why I Love It

Here are the top three reasons I love the Wilson Ultra 100 v4.

Power
As you may have noticed, much of this racquet’s design and feature-set gears toward providing players with the ability to generate power with minimal effort. On the court, that power is apparent, and it’s by far the racquet’s most distinct feature, which was unmistakable from my first stroke – especially when paired with the frame’s sizeable sweet spot.

Topspin
I also enjoyed the Wilson Ultra 100 v4’s ability to generate topspin. The racquet’s lower 11.2-ounce weight and 312 swingweight make it easy to swing and generate racquet head speed, which is the primary source of topspin. Meanwhile, the frame’s 100 in² head and open 16×19 string pattern allow the strings to move freely and enhance spin.

Groundstrokes
The combination of power and topspin made groundstrokes my favorite stroke with the Ultra 100 v4. The frame felt easy to maneuver, and I didn’t have to work too hard to generate pace. You can expect the frame to deliver a consistent response while benefiting from a prominent sweet spot, making it more forgiving when hitting off-center shots.

Tradeoffs

While the increased power potential may be desirable for some players, it may leave other players longing for control. I found this more apparent during my playtest when I looked to be aggressive with my shots. Ultimately, it forced me to be a bit more conservative, hit with lots of topspin, and aim for larger targets to keep the ball in play.

Another point to bear in mind is the frame’s higher stiffness rating of 70. Although it’s three points lower than its predecessor, it’s still high and may pose a challenge for players suffering from arm discomfort.

Specs

Head Size 100 in² / 645.16 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 4 points HL
Weight (strung) 11.2 oz / 318 g
Swingweight 317
Stiffness 70
Beam Width 24mm / 26.5mm / 25mm
String Pattern 16 Main / 19 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.4
Volleys 8.2
Groundstrokes 8.5
Returns 8.3
Topspin 8.5
Slice 8.0
Power 8.6
Control 7.8
Comfort 8.0
Touch 7.9
Maneuverability 8.5
Stability 8.2
Overall 8.24

Variation

  • 100 v3
  • 100L v3
  • 100UL v3
  • 108 v3
  • 95 Countervail
  • 25 v3 Junior
  • 26 v3 Junior

Players Using or Endorsing

  • Kei Nishikori
  • Borna Coric
  • Feliciano Lopez
  • Madison Keys
  • Kristina Mladenovic
  • Victoria Azarenka
  • Maria Sakkari

Head Radical MP 2021

Head Radical MP 2021

The Head Radical MP 2021 is a solid option for intermediate to advanced players.

The racquet weighs in at an 11.2-ounces strung and offers a 4pt HL balance. When combined, they result in a 326 swingweight that’s easy to swing. Further complemented by its 98 in² head and 16×19 string pattern, the racquet offers great topspin and control.

This model’s latest generation from the Radical lineup uses Head’s Graphene 360 technology in the shaft and at 3, 9, and 12’oclock in the frame’s head for optimal stability and power.

Head tops it off with their Dynamic String Pattern, which decreases the spacing between the eight mains at the racquet’s center for improved control without giving up the benefits of its 16×19 string pattern.

Why I Love It

Here are a few of the top reasons the Head Radical MP 2021 made my list this year.

Groundstrokes
If I was to pick a single area where this racquet excels, it would be hitting groundstrokes. The frame swings easily and offers moderate power that relies on the player’s skill and technique, an ideal setup for an intermediate to advanced player.

Topspin
Although it’s not the most spin-friendly racquet on the market, it does surprisingly well. Again, it swings fast, a key ingredient for generating topspin, and the 16×19 string pattern delivers plenty of grip.

Maneuverability
No matter where you are on the court, the Head Radical MP 2021 moves easily to ensure your racquet is in position. From serves to volleys, the racquet is quick and something I appreciated on returns.

Tradeoffs

Although the Head Radical MP 2021 isn’t a lightweight racquet, at 11.5 ounces and featuring a 6pt HL balance, it feels light in hand, and I found it to lack stability. Combined with its mid to upper-end stiffness of 68, it’s not the most comfortable.

Specs

Head Size 100 in² / 645.16 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 4 points HL
Weight (strung) 11.2 oz / 318 g
Swingweight 326
Stiffness 65
Beam Width 20mm / 23mm / 21mm
String Pattern 16 Main / 19 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.3
Volleys 8.2
Groundstrokes 8.4
Returns 8.2
Topspin 8.5
Slice 8.0
Power 8.9
Control 8.3
Comfort 7.8
Touch 7.8
Maneuverability 7.9
Stability 8.6
Overall 8.19

Variations

  • Radical Pro 2021
  • Radical MP 2021
  • Radical S 2021
  • 360 Radical Pro
  • 360 Radical MP
  • XT Radical MP
  • XT Radical S
  • MicroGEL Radical MP
  • MicroGEL Radical OS

Players Using or Endorsing

  • Andy Murray
  • Taylor Fritz
  • Diego Schwartzman
  • Sloane Stephens

Dunlop FX 500

Dunlop FX 500

The latest generation of the Dunlop FX 500 pairs up a 100 in² head with an open 16×19 string pattern and weighs in at 11.2 ounces strung with a 4 pt head light balance that results in a highly manageable swingweight of 314.

You’ll also find a higher-end stiffness rating of 71 and a thicker variable with beam that’s 23 mm at the throat, 26 mm at the sides of the head, and 23 mm at the top of the frame.

The frame’s construction is a mix between graphite and Sonic Core Infinergy, an expanded thermoplastic polyurethane placed at ten and 2 o’clock on the racquet’s head to improve the racquet’s response while decreasing unwanted vibrations.

Dunlop adds their Power Grid Stringbed, which increases the cross strings’ density toward the middle of the stringbed and decreases the spacing between the crosses for the upper half. The modification aims to improve spin, power, and comfort for the section at the top while improving control at the middle.

Additional tech includes FlexTouch Resin found in the shaft for comfort and Power Boost Groove, enhancing string movement for added power and a bit of extra cushion.

Why I Love It

Here’s what stands out with the Dunlop FX 500.

Power
From the head size and stiffness to the frame’s thicker beam, I expected the Dunlop FX 500 to generate high power levels, and it doesn’t disappoint. My favorite shots to hit with this frame were on groundstrokes and serves where you could turn up the pace.

Topspin
I also found the racquet delivered great topspin, and there are a few factors at work to that end. The racquet’s reasonable weight makes it so you can swing fast, and the larger head and open string bed combine with their unique stringbed layout for added grip that’s apparent.

Maneuverability
As you might expect, the Dunlop FX 500 is also highly maneuverable. On returns, you can get the racquet back quickly, and at the net, the head is responsive to your movement, and on serve, it swings fast.

Tradeoffs

Although Dunlop has added some tech to reduce the shock and vibration associated with this high-powered frame, its stiffness and lower weight result in a less comfortable hitting experience.

The frame also lacks a bit in the stability department, so if you’re dealing with a heavy-hitting opponent, particularly on serve and at the net, you’ll want to keep that in mind.

Specs

Head Size 100 in² / 645.16 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 4 points HL
Weight (strung) 11.2 oz / 318 g
Swingweight 314
Stiffness 71
Beam Width 23mm / 26mm / 23mm
String Pattern 16 Main / 19 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.4
Volleys 8.2
Groundstrokes 8.3
Returns 8.2
Topspin 8.5
Slice 7.8
Power 8.7
Control 7.8
Comfort 7.7
Touch 7.9
Maneuverability 8.6
Stability 8.0
Overall 8.18

Variations

  • FX 500
  • FX 500 Tour

Players Using or Endorsing

  • Qiang Wang

Head Prestige Tour 2021

Head Prestige Tour 2021

The Prestige line of tennis racquets offers a classic feel with smaller head sizes and heavier weights intended to provide players with maximum control and precision from all areas of the court.

The Head Prestige Tour 2021 is my favorite within the Prestige line because it balances the classic feel I love with small refinements to suit the modern game better while appealing to a broader audience.

For starters, the racquet offers a 95 in², 11.8 oz strung weight, and 22 mm beam, giving it many of the ingredients for delivering the performance that strong intermediate to advanced players demand.

However, for optimal spin, the racquet uses a 16×19 string pattern, and its RA rating of 65 helps provide a bit of extra pop. Head also integrates Graphene 360+ for stability, power, and feel.

Overall, you won’t find too much fancy tech within the Prestige family, but that’s part of the magic for players who appreciate it.

Why I Love It

Here are a few reasons I dig this particular racquet.

Control
Hands down, my favorite quality delivered by the Head Prestige Tour 2021 is the control it offers. On groundstrokes, it puts the player in the driver’s seat by demanding sound technique and clean ball-striking to achieve a higher level of precision. Add to that sufficient topspin for a bit of extra margin for error, and it works well in this area.

Stability
Stability is a mainstay of the Prestige line, and the Prestige Tour delivers as expected. Its heavier 11.8 oz weight and 6 pt HL balance result in a meaty swingweight of 327 to stand up to whatever your opponent throws at you. However, despite its extra weight, it remains reasonably easy to maneuver relative to other racquets in its class.

Feel
All of the Prestige Pro’s attributes combine for a racquet that delivers excellent feel from all areas of the court, especially at the net. I felt connected with the ball and confident in my approach, enabling me to hit with finesse and accurately direct the ball.

Tradeoffs

Despite the Head Graphene 360+ Prestige Pro’s well-balanced performance, there is some give-and-take.

In particular, the racquet’s heavier weight can make it tricky for some players to manage, and it doesn’t offer easy access to power. However, one surprising area where I see an opportunity for improvement is comfort, which fell below my expectations for its class.

Specs

Head Size 95 in² / 612.9 cm²
Length 27 in / 68.58 cm
Balance 5 points HL
Weight (strung) 11.8 oz / 335 g
Swingweight 338
Stiffness 65
Beam Width 22mm / 22mm / 22mm
String Pattern 16 Main / 19 Cross

Ratings

Serves 8.1
Volleys 8.2
Groundstrokes 8.1
Returns 8.0
Topspin 8.0
Slice 8.2
Power 8.1
Control 8.5
Comfort 7.9
Touch 8.4
Maneuverability 8.0
Stability 8.4
Overall 8.16

Variations

  • Head Graphene 360+ Prestige Mid
  • Head Graphene 360+ Prestige Midplus
  • Head Graphene 360+ Prestige Tour

Players Using or Endorsing

  • Marin Cilic
  • Gilles Simon

Wrapping Up

There you have it! My list of the 24 best tennis racquets for 2023 – updated from my reviews in 2022. If you’ve enjoyed this article, I encourage you to bookmark it and share it with your friends, family, and teammates who might find it useful.

Every year, I’ll update and refresh this content to consider the latest and greatest tennis racquets top racquet brands are releasing.

Have a question about the tennis racquets on this list, or want to recommend another frame for the community to check out? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Home > Gear > Racquets > Best Tennis Racquets 2023

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