You’re looking at what is directly to my right, as I sit at my desk writing this article. The smorgasbord of tennis equipment you see is most of the gear that I am fortunate enough to playtest on a daily basis. Racquets, strings, shoes, and even grips! I want to give you a “behind the scenes” look at what I’ve been trying and what some of my recent favorites are…
Let’s start with racquets! The three models that are pictured above are two of my own and one TW racquet. You can see two of my Prince TT Warrior MP racquets, the old classic popularized by the serve and volleying Aussie Patrick Rafter back in the early 2000s. In my opinion, there is no better feeling racquet around the net…EVER! Along with those you’ll see my other racquet of choice, the Yonex RDiS 100 Mid, which unfortunately just stopped being produced. I played with these during my brief stint on the pro tour. Along with my collection of racquets there’s a Wilson BLX Pro Staff Six.One 95. Just trying to bring out my inner Dolgopolov.
In all these racquets there’s different strings. In my Warriors, I’m trying the MSV Focus Hex 17 and Gosen Sidewinder. I’m finding the MSV to be a nice, fairly standard polyester which is turning out to be quite comfortable to hit. The Sidewinder is great, as it’s shaped AND twisted, along with being super soft. It’s really comfortable to hit and offers tons of spin off the stringed.
I have a different string in each of my four Yonex frames. One of them has a set of Luxilon Original in it that just refuses to break, proving to be the most durable string I’ve tested so far. Next up is Prince Beast XP 17g (this is also in the Wilson PS), which is turning out to be fairly stiff with great tension maintenance. The third one has the Solinco Tour Bite 16L in it, which is the racquet I have been using in our Gotta Want It initial episodes. I love hitting the Tour Bite, as it gives me great control with tons of pop and spin.
My fourth racquet has a concoction that our resident string expert and my desk neighbor at work cooked up (“The Wolfman” as we affectionately call him). He put 18 gauge Ashaway Kevlar in the mains, and 18 gauge Pacific natural gut (which is unfortunately not available for sale) in the crosses, and it feels AMAZING! This is Wolfman’s string setup of choice in his racquets, along with Andre Agassi’s set up early in his career. It’s stiff, offers great control, but the natural gut softens up the stringbed and makes it super comfortable.
My current shoe test has me in the Lacoste Repel 2‘s, which I’m finding to be very lightweight and nice fitting. I’ve been playing in them for less than a week now.
Well, that’s it for the behind the scenes look! Stay tuned for all our video and written reviews on all these products! Thanks for reading!