5 Best Modern Player’s Tennis Racquets (Andy’s Picks)

 

Roger Federer has switched to a more modern-style player's frame that's more forgiving and easier to use.

Roger Federer has switched to a more modern-style player’s frame that’s more forgiving and easier to use.

Roger Federer‘s new prototype racquet is a perfect example of how the MODERN PLAYER’S FRAME is becoming more and more popular in the game of tennis. He’s shed his traditional midsize Pro Staff for a more powerful and forgiving 98 square inch frame.

Modern player’s frames possess a slightly larger head size and a crisper, livelier response, similar to the more modern “‘tweener” frames like the Babolat AeroPro or Pure Drive.  At the same time, they retain the classic precision and feel of a more traditional-style racquet like the Wilson Six.One or Pro Staff. They are ideal for the intermediate to advanced player that appreciates the classic touch and feel but just wants something a little more forgiving in order to help keep up with the modern game.

Here are my 5 current favorites:

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How to Choose a Tennis Racquet: Racquet terms explained

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Picking out a new racquet for yourself or a loved one can be daunting. With 20 different brands and hundreds of different models, choosing the right racquet can make one’s head spin. Kind of like what happens to me when I walk into a perfume store or cereal aisle. At Tennis Warehouse, I think sometimes, we forget not everyone is as into tennis as we are. Our everyday tennis vernacular isn’t very everyday and common to most recreational players. So I want to break down racquet terminology in layman’s terms in hopes of clarifying what makes racquets play and perform the way they do so you can make a more informed decision before buying your next racquet. (From Tennis Warehouse I hope.)

Head size

Mid - Less than 95 square inches (example: Wilson Pro Staff 6.0 85)
Midplus - 95 to 104 square inches (example: Babolat Aero Pro Drive)
Oversize - 105+ square inches (example: Prince Premier 115L ESP)

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When we’re talking head size, we’re talking about the size of the racquet head (where the strings are). Obvious, I know. The larger the head size, the larger the sweetspot. Usually, a racquet’s headsize is in proportion to the level of player the racquet was designed for. Key word being “usually.” So racquets with an oversize head (105 sq in and bigger), tend to be meant for beginner players who need that bigger sweetspot and more power. They also tend to be more stable for those times the ball isn’t hit exactly in the sweetspot. And racquets that have mid size head’s are meant for the more advanced player.

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One Strings Spin Deeper racquet delivers on that promise

It seems like all the racquet brands are telling me that spin is in. It’s time to add our newest racquet brand to the list. One Strings has a couple of racquets called Spin Deeper, and they feature a 14×19 string pattern.

Because I tend to hit flatter, I haven’t quite found my spin racquet companion, but that hasn’t stopped me from trying all sorts. I’ve been testing the Spin Deeper 300, although it is offered in a heavier 315g version as well. As with most spiny racquets, this one took my flat strokes and I a bit of an adjustment period, but I’m glad I stuck out the hour or so of misfires.

I am certainly spinning the ball deeper as the racquet name suggests, and I’m really enjoying the easy response of this one. The 14×19 string pattern isn’t as wide open as Wilson Spin Effect racquets so the spin hasn’t been quite as extreme, but it’s more than enough for me. What I’m noticing more than spin from the string pattern, however, is its responsiveness. The ball just flies off the stringbed. That’s helped me to hit a deeper shot with more spin and pace when pushed back deep off the baseline.

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TW Playtester Andy’s Pick of the Week – Yonex EZONE Ai 98

YAI98-2A recent surprise for me, and one of my favorite playtests of the past year, has been the Yonex EZONE Ai 98. The update to the popular Xi 98 and Ana Ivanovic‘s new racquet of choice for 2014 features a re-designed Isometric head shape to help increase swing speed, as well as a new dampening system that helps make the racquet feel plush and comfortable.

This racquet offers an outstanding blend of every attribute you’d look for in a racquet. It has a crisp, lively feel that allows for easy access to power and spin, while still providing the precision needed to give you the confidence to go for your shots and aim them close to the lines. It’s fast through the air and easy to swing, but it’s also solid and stable. Most importantly (to me at least), the feel is crisp yet RESPONSIVE, and I felt completely connected to each shot. I felt like I could hit any shot in my repertoire and know exactly where it was going to go each and every time.

WATCH OUR VIDEO REVIEW HERE!

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Best of 2013: Tennis racquets

It’s about time to say goodbye to 2013, and this means it’s time for our Tennis Warehouse playtesters to weigh in with some of their favorites from the past year. First up, we asked some of our testers to pick their favorite racquets released this past year. Drum roll, please ….

It was the year of spin for our playtesters. Three playtesters chose Spin Effect racquets — those with wide open string patterns — from Wilson.

Wilson Six.One 95S

The Wilson Six.One 95S is the only racquet this year to get multiple votes. Both Jason and Chris love this one, and Chris has made the switch!

Jason:  “More control than my current Steam 99S but still offers tons of spin!”

Chris: “I love this racquet! I get great spin with it and more control than most other spin racquets thanks to the 18 main strings. It offers a nice crisp feel and I can go from defense to offense with it with one swing.”

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Tennis Warehouse Holiday Gift Guide for the Ladies!

It’s that time of year, the Holidays are just around the corner! Whether you have started your shopping already and just need one more special item for that lovely tennis lady in your life, or if you haven’t even begun — I’m here to help you out! So read on and click here to check out a few of our favorite things for the ladies this year in Tennis Warehouse’s Ladies Gift Guide!

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Mark Boone on his Babolat PLAY Experience

I just got done interrogating Mark Boone after his trip to Babolat last week for the launch of the Babolat PLAY racquet. He was kind enough to write some feedback on his experience for you guys to check out. Here it is — enjoy!20131108_134307

To All,

I was fortunate enough to get an invite to the launch of the new Babolat PLAY Technology, in Louisville, Colorado. I knew that tagging along with Chris Edwards was going to be an education in itself, and once I saw what the schedule was for the couple of days we were there, I was admittedly a little giddy.

20131108_134244-1The first evening was the presentation of what to expect the following day with the newest Pure Drive, and if the level of anticipation I developed that night was by design, the good people at Babolat were successful on all fronts. I went back to my room thinking that this was the longest build-up to playing tennis that I have ever had to deal with, so it was hard for me to wait until the next day to actually “Play and Connect” with the Pure Drive.

Technology wise, I am not exactly the equivalent of “Fred Flintstone in the rock quarry,” but I am not always on the cutting edge of digital technology either. As a result, the learning aspect of connecting the technology with the frame and how to use it was a little overshadowed by my desire to just go play tennis.

20131108_134213-1At the first couple of educational stations, the developers of the racquet and its technology were on hand to to guide/simplify the process. Within minutes, I was able to understand, navigate swiftly through the Babolat app and set it up for play. As soon as my personal profile was completed, which among many things differentiates the dominant hand, I was ready to skip lunch and get started!
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Sneak Peek: New Babolat Pure Control Racquets

So if you aren’t excited yet about the upcoming Pure Strikes coming early 2014 from Babolat, then listen up, because there’s more coming to you from Babolat in January!

Babolat Pure Control

 

While the new Pure Strike series is aimed to appeal to players that take the first strike in the point, the new Pure Controls should be attractive to players looking for that traditional, plush feel from their racquet. This racquet has an added response for players looking for the ultimate precision combined with control. The new Pure Control series offers an answer for players with longer, faster swings. This racquet will offer you longer contact time between the ball and racquet leading to the ultimate on court control.
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New tennis racquets from Dunlop

Check out the new offerings from Dunlop this month! Dunlop has paid attention to detail with this new lineup of racquets. It added identifiable design elements on the racquets with fun textures and bright colors. Adding a color update to a best seller and introducing two new updates, Dunlop has 3 new frames to close out 2013 with and will have even more to look forward to in 2014.

Dunlop S6.0 Lite Pink

Dominika Cibulkova’s racquet of choice gets a fun cosmetic update this year with a splash of bright pink! A best seller from Dunlop, the S 6.0 Lite Pink is a maneuverable racquet has just undergone a cosmetic update only, so the same characteristics (like the fact that it is packed full of comfort and power) that make this a favorite among players remains the same. And don’t worry, for those of you thwhot are happy with the original paint job, that is not going away and will still be available as well. At 105 square inches and 10.1 ounces strung, this racquet packs a solid, stable punch from all areas of the court. Players who like playing with the Pure Drive 107, Steam 105 or EXO3 Red will find this to be a similar racquet that they will enjoy. Continue reading