Tennis Racquet Head Size & Length
Guide + Charts
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If you’re in the market for a new tennis racquet, then it can be helpful to learn how to select the correct head size and length, including how each of these variables impacts overall performance.
In this guide, we’ll review how each attribute is measured and provide easy-to-follow charts to help you decide which is best for you. We’ll also explain how variations in head size and length influence performance, the types of players who might benefit from different sizes, and discuss rules that players should consider.
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Tennis Racquet Head Sizes
The head size of a tennis racquet refers to the area of the racquet’s head where the strings create the face or stringbed, measured in square inches or centimeters.
These days, the vast majority of tennis racquets will have head sizes that range somewhere between 85 – 110 in² (548 – 710 cm²). The most popular head sizes used today are 97, 98, and 100 in².
There are three different categories for racquet head sizes, which roughly speaking coincide with the different types of tennis racquets.
|Head Size||Measurement||Type of Racquet|
|Mid||85 – 97 in²||Control|
|Mid-plus||98 – 104 in²||Tweener|
For reference, here are a few examples of racquets that fit into each category.
|Head Graphene 360+ Prestige||Standard (93 in² / 600 cm²)|
|Head Graphene 360+ Prestige Pro||Standard (95 in² / 612.9 cm²)|
|Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph||Standard (97 in² / 625.8 cm²)|
|Babolat Pure Strike 16×19 3rd Gen||Mid-plus (98 in² / 632.3 cm²)|
|Wilson Blade 98 16×19 v8||Mid-plus (98 in² / 632.26 cm²)|
|Babolat Pure Aero 2019||Mid-plus (100 in² / 645.2 cm²)|
|Babolat Boost Drive||Oversized (105 in². / 677.4 cm²)|
|Head Graphene 360+ Instinct Lite||Oversized (107 in² / 690.3 cm²)|
|Wilson Hyper Hammer||Oversized (110 in² / 709 cm²)|
A racquet’s head size is one of a handful of different attributes worth considering when buying a racquet, which impacts performance.
Let’s review how a racquet’s head size impacts performance.
When it comes to racquet head sizes, there are three primary considerations regarding performance:
- Hitting surface area
We’ll take a look at each of these individually.
Generally, the larger the head size, the more power a racquet will offer. Conversely, a smaller head size will deliver less power, which translates to greater control.
An easy way to understand why this happens is to think of your racquet like a trampoline. The larger the trampoline, the more spring, and energy return you get, allowing you to bounce higher when jumping.
In other words, a larger racquet head will allow the ball to sink deeper into the tennis strings, resulting in a more significant rebound effect and, all other things being equal, more power.
As a racquet’s head size shrinks, the power potential shrinks along with it. Consequently, players will perceive a greater sense of control with a small racquet head because the racquet doesn’t generate as much power.
Even a small bump in a racquet’s head size from 98 to 100 in² (632 – 645 cm²) can provide a noticeable impact on a racquet’s power.
For example, in 2014, Roger Federer made a substantial shift in his tennis racquet’s head size, moving from 90 to 97 in² to help increase his power and margin for error. The change allowed him to remain competitive as the game of tennis evolved over the years.
Topspin is another area that a racquet’s head size can influence.
As the size of a racquet’s head increases, the strings typically end up spaced further apart, which allows them to enhance spin by embedding more deeply into the ball.
However, it’s worth noting that different racquets use varying string patterns, i.e., the number of vertical main and horizontal cross strings, so a larger head size doesn’t automatically guarantee enhanced spin.
For example, a 105 in² racquet’s 16×19 string pattern will be more open or have more space between the strings than a 95 in² racquet using the same pattern. Here are some of the most common string patterns.
The 16×19 pattern is by far the most prevalent, which you’ll find used across a wide variety of head sizes – larger and small.
Beyond power and spin, a racquet’s head size also directly impacts the hitting surface area of a racquet.
Larger racquet head sizes increase the surface area, which provides players with a higher margin for error when swinging to make contact with the ball. As a result, larger head sizes are ideal for beginners.
On the other hand, a smaller head size will provide players with less surface area, and ultimately, a lower margin for error when hitting and therefore require greater precision.
Furthermore, larger tennis racquet head sizes provide a more prominent sweet spot, a small area toward the center of the strings. When struck, it sends less shock to a player’s arm and hitting feels relatively effortless.
It’s common for athletes to describe a similar feeling in other sports, such as when swinging a golf club or baseball bat.
All other things being equal, the larger a racquet’s head size, the more difficult it becomes to maneuver due to the extra mass at the top of the racquet and the minor addition of drag or wind resistance.
It’s common for manufacturers to combat this phenomenon by using lightweight materials and adding more weight to the handle for what we refer to as a head light balance.
When players are first learning, a highly maneuverable racquet can be beneficial because it makes it easier to learn proper technique. As a result, you’ll often find many racquets with larger head sizes that offer excellent maneuverability to cater to this audience.
Racquet Head Size Chart
When selecting a head size for your racquet, it’s a personal preference, so there’s no right or wrong answer. However, the size you choose will influence how your racquet performs.
With that in mind, the chart below illustrates how performance changes with the different head sizes that you might consider.
|Inches²||85 – 97||98 – 104||105+|
|Centimeters²||548.4 – 625.8||632.3 – 671.0||677.4+|
Keep in mind these generalizations tend to be true when comparing racquets where all else is equal.
When shopping for tennis racquets, you may find a reference to the racquet’s head size in its name. For example, if you come across the abbreviation MP in the name of a racquet, it’s referring to its mid-plus head size. Likewise, OS refers to oversized.
Head Size & String Tension
Tension impacts all head sizes the same way. That is, the lower the string tension, the higher a racquet’s power. Conversely, the higher the tension, the lower the power.
As a result, there aren’t specific rules for selecting a tension that applies to different size racquets. Instead, players should select a tension based on their racquet of choice, desired performance characteristics, and the type of string they’re using.
For more information on the topic, be sure to check out our in-depth guide on string tension.
Head Size Rules
The official rules of tennis state that a racquet should not exceed 12.5 inches (31.75 centimeters) in width overall. Moreover, the hitting surface cannot exceed 15.5 inches (39.37 centimeters) in length and 11.5 inches (29.21 centimeters) in width.
These measurements are generous, so you’ll find the vast majority of tennis racquets available for purchase fall into these acceptable ranges. As a result, there’s no need to worry about violating these rules. Of course, even if you find a racquet that falls outside these ranges, it only matters if you plan to play competitively.
Finding the Right Head Size
There’s no right or wrong answer to which head size you should be using as a tennis player. However, some recommendations will tend to suit specific levels of play.
Ideal Head Size for Beginners
Understanding which head size to buy is a common question newcomers have when selecting a new tennis racquet.
Ultimately, it boils down to personal preference. However, most beginners will benefit from larger head sizes that increase the surface area of the strings, improve margin for error, and enhance power.
More specifically, we generally recommend players opt for a racquet that is at least 100 in² (645 cm²). Typically, we find players have more fun learning how to play tennis with these head sizes.
If you’re just getting started and looking for a new racquet, be sure to check out our list of the best tennis racquets for beginners. All of the racquets on our list have head sizes that align with our recommendation.
Intermediate & Advanced Head Sizes
Often, experienced players who have developed solid form and technique will benefit from the increased control associated with smaller head sizes.
However, as tennis has evolved, more of the game’s top players have opted for mid-plus size racquets that enhance power and spin while still providing adequate control.
Roger Federer’s use of different head sizes throughout his career paints an excellent picture of how his racquet has evolved to keep up with the changing game. In 2002, he moved away from his smaller 85 in² head size to 90 in². Then in 2014, he made another significant leap switching to 97 in².
Our recommended head sizes for intermediate to advanced players range from 97 in² ( 625.805 cm²) to 100 in² (645.16 cm²).
At these levels, players will benefit from considering their style of play as they identify the best tennis racquet and head size for their needs.
Tennis Racquet Length
The length of a tennis racquet is another characteristic that varies between frames. Most tennis racquets range from 27 (68.58 centimeters) to 29 inches (73.66 centimeters) in length.
The standard length for an adult tennis racquet is 27 inches or 68.58 centimeters. We refer to anything longer as extended length.
When evaluating racquets, four topics usually come up:
Let’s dig into each.
The first and likely most obvious factor is that a longer racquet will provide a player with more reach – that is, the ability to hit a ball that is farther away from their body.
A small change in length can be the difference between a player getting to a tennis ball or not.
Closely related to reach is maneuverability. Typically, the longer the racquet, the more difficult it can be to maneuver.
In particular, shots close to a player’s body can be more challenging to hit with an extended frame, and players may not be as quick to adjust their racquet when hitting balls requiring fast reflexes such as volleys or returns.
However, it’s worth noting that extended-length racquets aren’t automatically drastically more challenging to maneuver.
Racquet manufacturers recognize how length impacts maneuverability, so they’ll adjust other specs such as weight and the balance of a racquet’s weight to accommodate.
A longer racquet will also provide players with more leverage or the ability to achieve greater force when striking a tennis ball, which helps increase the power of the tennis racquet.
Many players will find the extra length advantageous when serving, as it allows them to hit a bigger, faster serve. Similarly, racquet head speed will increase on other strokes as well.
Similar to power, the potential for spin will increase as the length of a racquet does. That’s because length influences racquet head speed, which has a direct and significant influence on spin.
Racquet Length Chart
Up until roughly their teens, a child’s height will directly influence the appropriate racquet length.
For adults, it’s all about personal preference, but it’s rare for adults to use racquets that are smaller than 27 inches in length.
Here’s a chart to help illustrate how age and height influence the ideal length racquet for children and adults.
|4 years or younger||40 inches or shorter||19 inches|
|4-5 years||40-44 inches||21 inches|
|6-8 years||45-49 inches||23 inches|
|9-10 years||50-55 inches||25 inches|
|10 or older||55 inches or taller||26 inches|
|Adults||Any height||27-29 inches|
It’s worth noting that the quality of tennis racquet also comes into play with regard to length. Typically, manufacturers make smaller kids tennis racquets from inexpensive materials such as aluminum and feature low-end construction methods.
Racquet Length Rules
Currently, 29 inches (73.66 cm) is the maximum length allowed for competitive play under the official rules of tennis.
As mentioned earlier, the standard length for a tennis racquet is 27 inches or 68.58 centimeters. As such, you’ll find the vast majority of adult tennis racquets with this length. Extended length racquets are most commonly a half-inch longer at 27.5 inches or 69.85 centimeters.
Racquets that are shorter than 27 inches are ideal for children whose development hasn’t progress to the point where they can comfortably use the standard length.
Finding the Right Length
For most adults, we recommend starting with a 27 inch (68.58 centimeters) frame, as it’s usually a sufficient starting point, and you’ll likely never need to adjust from that length.
Furthermore, the majority of tennis racquets on the market are 27 inches (68.58 centimeters), so you’ll have the most options, and if you switch racquets, it will be one fewer criteria to consider.
However, don’t let that deter you from trying a racquet with extended length, which can help enhance your game.
Extended-length tennis racquets also make great options for shorter players looking for extra reach, power, and spin.
Head Sizes & Lengths the Pros Use
Curious what head sizes some of the top pros on the ATP and WTA tour are using? The following chart explores some of the players that frequently come up in conversation.
|Player||Head Size||Racquet Length|
|Roger Federer||97 in² (626 cm²)||27 in (69 cm)|
|Rafael Nadal||100 in² (645 cm²)||27 in (69 cm)|
|Novak Djokovic||95 in² (613 cm²)||27 in (69 cm)|
|Andy Murray||98 in² (632 cm²)||27 in (69 cm)|
|Daniil Medvedev||95 in² (613 cm²)||27 in (69 cm)|
|Dominic Thiem||98 in² (632 cm²)||27 in (69 cm)|
|Stefanos Tsitsipas||98 in² (632 cm²)||27 in (69 cm)|
|Alexander Zverev||100 in² (645 cm²)||27 in (69 cm)|
|Andrey Rublev||100 in² (645 cm²)||27 in (69 cm)|
|Grigor Dimitrov||97 in² (626 cm²)||27 in (69 cm)|
|Player||Head Size||Racquet Length|
|Serena Williams||104 in² (671 cm²)||27 in (69 cm)|
|Venus Williams||104 in² (671 cm²)||27 in (69 cm)|
|Simona Halep||99 in² (639 cm²)||27 in (69 cm)|
|Ashleigh Barty||100 in² (645 cm²)||27 in (69 cm)|
|Naomi Osaka||99 in² (639 cm²)||27 in (69 cm)|
|Iga Swiatek||100 in² (645 cm²)||27 in (69 cm)|
|Bianca Andreescu||95 in² (613 cm²)||27 in (69 cm)|
|Karolina Pliskova||100 in² (645 cm²)||27 in (69 cm)|
|Coco Gauff||100 in² (645 cm²)||27 in (69 cm)|
|Garbine Muguruza||100 in² (645 cm²)||27 in (69 cm)|
Please note that we’ve rounded the centimeter measurements in the tables above to make it easier to read.
If you’re looking to determine the best head size and length for yourself, first start by evaluating the pros and cons in this guide.
Most players will do great with a head size in the range of 98 (632.26 centimeters) to 105 in² (677.42 cm²) and a length of 27 inches (68.58 centimeters).
As with most decisions for tennis gear, nothing beats getting on the court with a racquet you’re interested in and testing it out for yourself.
Many racquet shops, clubs, and online retailers offer demo programs where you can spend some time with a racquet before purchasing it, which we’d highly recommend.
Do you still have questions about what racquet head size or length might be best for you? Feel free to ask a question or comment below, and we’ll be happy to help!
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