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.)
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)
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.
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.
A 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.
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