Federer is a generational talent who would be a great player no matter what racquet he used. However, he worked closely with Wilson to create the Pro Staff RF97 Autograph in 2013. When you’re matched up against the best including Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, you need every edge you can get.
Let’s take a look at the specifics of the racquet the eight-time Wimbledon Champion uses.
Roger Federer’s Racquet Specs
Pro Staff RF97 Autograph
27in / 68.58cm
97 in² / 625.81 cm²
12.6oz / 357g
9 pts head light
16 Main / 19 Cross
Braided Graphite and Kevlar
Federer’s Pro Staff RF97 autograph racquet debuted in 2014 at the Roger’s Cup. Even though the 97-inch head is much larger than the racquets Federer started his career with, it’s still smaller than the racquets of some of his competitors. Both Djokovic and Nadal use 100-inch racquets.
Federer’s current racquet is perfectly designed to maximize his strengths and minimize his weaknesses. It’s unlikely that we’ll see the Swiss star ever move up to 100 inches now that he’s in the backend of his career.
Roger Federer’s Strings
Federer has used roughly the same type of strings throughout his career. He uses a hybrid string setup with Luxilon Alu Power Rough 16L in the crosses and Wilson Natural Gut in the mains. You can purchase Wilson’s Champion’s Choice Duo to get both of these as a set.
Some of the world’s top players opt to travel with one stringer throughout the entire season. By having one person string each of their racquets, they make sure that they have the utmost consistency.
Federer is among the players on the ATP tour who travels with his own stringer. He’s been working with Ron Yu of Priority 1 for the past 15 years. According to an article published in the New Yorker, each player pays $40,000 a year for the stringing and customization service.
What String Tension Does Federer Play With?
An image of Roger Federer’s Red Pro Staff RF97 racquet from the Laver Cup in 2018 revealed that Federer’s string tension is around 27kgs (59.4lbs) for the mains and 25.5kg (56.1lb) for the crosses.
Federer’s tension may change slightly between tournaments, but according to Yu, Federer likes the tension to stay relatively consistent. He generally keeps his tension within a kilogram (2.2lbs) the whole season.
Federer keeps the tension of the crosses slightly lower than his mains. This string setup is mostly personal preference, but is thought to create a more powerful sweet spot in the middle of the racquet.
Does Federer Use String Savers?
If you look closely at one of Federer’s racquets, you’ll notice that he uses string savers.
Yu says that he clips ten plastic string savers into the stringbed of each of Federer’s racquets.
Players generally use string savers to reduce wear and tear on their strings. However, Federer likely uses them more out of tradition because he’s always used them. Yu prepares eight racquets for Federer before every match, so preserving his strings isn’t a concern.
Does Federer Use Power Pads?
Power pads aren’t commonly used by players on the ATP or WTA circuits these days. However, you’ll find them on all of Federer’s racquets.
If you’re not familiar with power pads, they’re essentially pieces of leather that keep the strings separated from the outer frame of the racquet near the throat. Some other players that have used power pads include Grigor Dimitrov and Juan Martin Del Potro.
What Size Grip Does Federer Use?
Roger Federer uses a 4 3/8-inch grip size. This may seem small. However, the smaller grip size gives Federer the ability to get more wrist snap on his serves. Many other top players also like to downsize on the grip including Nadal who uses a 4 ¼ grip. You can take some measurements to figure out the best grip size for your racquet, but it mostly boils down to personal preference.
There are more than 15 brands of racquets available, but Federer has stuck with Wilson since his junior days. As his game has evolved, he’s undergone several major racquet changes.
Federer’s Junior tennis Racquet
The Pro Staff 85 6.0 was Federer’s first Wilson racquet when he burst onto the scene in 1998. It was the racquet he used to defeat his long-time hero Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001 on his way to superstardom.
By today’s standards, an 85-inch head seems almost unfathomable. However, the maneuverability of this racquet made up for the lack of power.
Hyper Pro Staff 6.1 Silver W
Federer used this racquet briefly in 2002. It was essentially the same as his previous racquet with a modernized paint job.
Hyper Pro Staff 6.0 Yellow W
In 2002, Federer made the first major change to his racquet. He gave up the 85-inch head for the 90-inch Hyper Pro Staff 6.0 Yellow W. He’s never gone back to an 85-inch racquet and has stuck with 90 inches for most of his career.
Pro Staff Tour 90
Roger Federer’s next transition came in 2003 when he switched to using the Pro Staff Tour 90 en route to winning his first Wimbledon that year and his first Australian Open the next year.
nSix-One Tour 90
From 2004 to 2006, Federer switched to a Wilson nSix-One Tour 90. He used it to rack up an amazing 30 ATP championships and 7 Grand Slams in the peak of his career. The racquet was essentially a smaller version of his modern Wilson Pro Staff RF97.
Wilson K Factor Six One Tour, Wilson Six One Tour BLX, Wilson BLX Pro Staff Six One 90
Federer changed to the Wilson K Factor Six One Tour in 2008 until 2010 when he made a minor change to the Wilson Six One Tour BLX and then the Wilson BLX Pro Staff Six One 90 in 2012. These racquets were almost identical except for a few minor updates.
Federer’s biggest change would come at the end of the 2013 season.
Pro Staff RF97 Autograph
In the first half of 2014, Federer used a Wilson Prototype racquet to win a couple of tournaments before making the biggest change of his career from a 90-inch head to a 97-inch with his current Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph.
Federer’s new racquet helped him re-establish himself as one of the best players in the world.
Since he has switched to the Pro Staff RF97 Autograph, he’s only made cosmetic changes. At the Laver Cup in 2018, he used a limited-edition red version of the racquet.
At the 2019 Laver Cup in Geneva, Federer once again made a color change to his racquet, this time going with an all blue frame.
Federer’s Pro Staff Autograph RF97 Pros and Cons
The Pro Staff RF97 Autograph is the perfect racquet for Roger Federer, but that doesn’t mean it’s the perfect racquet for anybody. If you don’t know how to select the proper racquet head size and length for your game, check out our guide.
Federer’s racquet is 27 inches long, which is the standard for men. For reference, the maximum allowable length is 29 inches. The 97-inch head puts it at the upper end of the standard range for men’s racquets.
How does it stack up to other racquets weight-wise?
For men, most racquets are in the 300-315g range. Federer’s racquet weighs well above average at 340g. This weight makes it more suitable for an advanced player.
If you’re just starting to play tennis and are in the market for a new racquet but don’t think you’re ready for this one yet, try one of these racquets that are all solid choices for beginners.
Pros of the Pro Staff RF97 Autograph
The heavier your racquet, the more power potential you have. It’s like hitting a nail with a hammer. Would you be able to hit a nail into a piece of wood faster with a toy hammer the size of your pinky or with a hammer the width of your arm?
Of course, the heavier hammer lets you put more force into the nail.
If you have the strength to control this racquet, you’ll notice the ball leap from the strings when you make contact. You’ll probably also notice that it helps add some pop to your serve compared to a lighter racquet as long as you have the mechanics needed to hit the sweet spot.
By far, the biggest upside of this racquet is the level of control it gives you. The perimeter weight system reduces torque when you make contact so that you can pinpoint your shots to any part of the court.
To summarize, here are some of the advantages of using the Pro Staff RF97 Autograph:
Amazing control and feel
Excellent all court racquet
Cons of the Pro Staff RF97 Autograph
The primary challenge of this racquet is the added weight makes it tougher to maneuver compared to a lighter racquet. This lack of maneuverability might be particularly noticeable when you go to return your opponents serve that’s coming at you more than 100 mph (163.2 mph if you’re facing Sam Groth who holds the record for the world’s fastest serve).
You might also notice that this racquet feels good at first, but that as a match progresses, the extra weight leads to you getting tired quicker than you would with a lighter racquet.
Imagine how your arms might feel in the fifth set of a match after carrying a heavy racquet around for hours.
Here’s a summary of the cons:
Heavier than most racquets
Harder to maneuver than lighter racquets
Might cause serving problems if you’re not used to the weight
Who Should Use Federer’s Racquet?
If you’re a big Federer fan and you want to use his racquet for fun because he’s your favorite player, go for it. However, if you’re trying to improve your game, you might want to take this racquet for a test drive before investing in it.
Typically, it’s not a great racquet to learn on, but if you’re an established player who can handle the weight, you might find that the extra power takes your game to the next level.
Roger Federer’s Racquet Cost
As you can probably guess, Federer doesn’t cheap out when it comes to equipment (if you’re willing to spend $40,000 on a private stringer, what’s a few hundred dollars for a racquet?).
The Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph is one of our picks for the best racquets you can buy in 2022. It’s definitely the type of racquet best used by intermediate or experienced tennis players because of its large head size and heavy frame weight.
Generally, larger heads are more suitable for beginners. Federer’s racquet has a middle-of-the-road head size but offers phenomenal control.
When you buy Federer’s Pro Staff RF97, you’re not just getting a racquet with Federer’s signature on it or a racquet that’s only endorsed by Federer. You’re getting the exact model of racquet that Federer uses during games.
The only difference is that Federer uses lead tape to add weight to certain locations on the racquet to change the balance. This has been confirmed by multiple sources including by Federer himself in the New York Times.
The price of Federer’s racquet is more than you’ll pay for intro models, but it’s still relatively affordable.
Pro Staff RF97 Autograph Price
Right now, the Pro Staff RF97 is selling for about the same amount as other premium racquets. This version of the racquet is Federer’s black frame that he currently plays with. Depending where you buy the racquet, it may come strung or unstrung.
If it’s pre-strung for you, it might not include the Wilson logo. You can add the Wilson logo on your racquet yourself by grabbing the Wilson stencil from Amazon for less than ten dollars and put it on yourself with some stencil ink.
Pro Staff RF97 Autograph Tuxedo Price
If you’re a huge Federer fan, you may have noticed that he was using a black and white ‘tuxedo’ frame a couple of years back. Federer’s Tuxedo Racquet is the same as his current Pro Staff RF97 Autograph except in a different color. You can buy this version for a similar amount as the all black frame
As we already mentioned, this racquet is designed for intermediate or experienced players. However, if you’re just starting out and have your heart set on using Federer’s racquet, there are a few inexpensive alternatives in the next section.
If you’re a beginner tennis player who wants a racquet endorsed by Federer but you don’t have the strength or skill to handle the weight of the Pro Staff RF97 Autograph, there are other options. Wilson also designed two similar racquets called the Pro Staff 97 and the Pro Staff LS.
Whereas the Pro Staff RF97 Autograph weighs 340g before it’s strung, these racquets weigh significantly less. The Pro Staff 97 weighs about 315g and the Pro Staff LS is only 290g.
Another great option for budding Roger Federer fans is the Wilson Federer Adult Tennis Racquet. This racquet is selling for about 10 percent of the price of the Pro Staff RF97 Autograph, but it’s a great pick-up and go racquet that anybody can use no matter their experience level.
If you’re a collector of Roger Federer memorabilia, you may enjoy the Pro Staff RF97 mini racquet collection. This 10-inch collector’s item is an exact replica of the full-size Pro Staff RF97.
Roger Federer’s last major tweak to his racquet was in 2014 when he changed to the Pro Staff RF97 Autograph’s 97-inch frame. Switching to this racquet was an important decision for Federer because it helped him regain an edge even as he aged.
At the elite level, players need racquets that match their specific strengths and weaknesses. The Pro Staff RF97 Autograph is the perfect racquet for Federer and one of the best racquets available on the market.
This type of racquet is best suited for intermediate to experienced players who have the strength, technique, and endurance to play with its extra weight through an entire match.
If you’re a big Roger Federer fan, you’ll be happy to know that you can buy the same racquet that he’s currently using. However, if you’re just starting, you may want to start with a lighter racquet that will give you a little more maneuverability.
The Wilson Federer Adult Tennis Racquet is a great introductory model for anybody who wants to use a racquet endorsed by Federer but doesn’t yet have the experience to use it.
What are your thoughts on Federer’s Pro Staff RF97 Autograph? Leave us a comment and let us know!