In the last few years I’ve tried a bunch of different racquets, mainly Babolats, but for my senior year of college I played with a Head Prestige. I had it seriously weighted up and it felt great. Paul Reed at Tennis Warehouse is a genius when it comes to racquet customization, and he did a great job with my Prestiges. The only thing that bothered me about the Head Racquets was the shape of the grip. Having grown up playing with Prince, I’m more accustomed to playing with a “octagon-shaped” grip as opposed to the Head racquets which have more of an “oval-shaped” grip.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I am currently using the Babolat Pure Drive Plus. When I began my comeback and I started looking for a new racquet I tried to keep it as simple as possible. From what I’ve learnt in recent years, being successful in tennis is all about maximizing your strengths, and if you want to be successful on the professional circuit you have to have at least one big weapon. My weapons, or rather my strengths are my serve and my forehand. These are the two strokes on which my entire game is based. Therefore, I was looking for a racquet that would help me to maximize the power and the efficiency of these strokes. The rest I told myself I could make work. Too many people focus on their weaknesses in tennis. For many years I did that myself, but now I’ve learnt that once you get to a certain level you have be more aware of your strengths and do everything you can to make them as devastating as possible. I can tell you that I found what I was looking for in the Babolat Pure Drive Plus. It has unbelievable power and maneuverability, and surprisingly, a great amount of control too. It has undoubtedly added MPH to my first serve, greater kick and spin to my second serve, and more power and control to my baseline game. Even up at the net I’ve had no problem controlling half volleys and delicate touch shots. It is a great all court racquet.
With regards to strings I have used Luxilon Big Banger Original (16 gauge) for many years. As of right now I am in the process of testing out a handful of the best that Tennis Warehouse has to offer. My favorites so far and the ones that I am leaning towards playing with full time are the Luxilon Alu Power Rough, the Big Banger Original, or Babolat RPM Blast 16. I’ve always felt as if the Luxilon strings give me a great balance of power and control, while the Babolat RPM Blast string, which I tried for the first time a few weeks ago, gives me a tremendous amount of power and spin. However, as of late, in an effort to make my shots more penetrating, I’ve been trying to flatten out my strokes more regularly. Therefore I don’t know if I need the added spin of the RPM, as it may be better to have the superior control from the Luxilon strings. Another important factor to always consider is comfort level. The Luxilon strings put a little more pressure on my arm while the RPM feels quite soft. So it’s a matter of trade offs. I’m going to continue to try them out and hopefully make my decision in the next couple of weeks. I’ll keep you posted.
Concerning clothing, shoes and apparel, I am currently wearing a mixture of Adidas and Nike clothing and Nike Ballistec 4.3 shoes. I have heard a lot of good things and read some great reviews about the Asics Gel Resolution 5‘s, so I am hoping to try those out in the coming weeks. So far the Nike’s have felt soft, light weight and very comfortable, so it will be interesting to see how the Asics shoes compare. Footwear is so important in today’s demanding, physical game, and even more so to me with my history of knee and ankle problems. Therefore I want to make sure I have the very best on my feet at all times.
That’s all for now. I’ll keep you posted as my collection of equipment evolves. Let me know any of your thoughts on the gear I currently have, or comment and let me know what has worked for you in the past. Hope you all have a great week! Thanks for reading!