If you’re looking for the best tennis racquets out there for the advanced players, you are spoilt for choice as there are quite a lot of options to pick from. Here are the best 7 racquets that we have found that would help you select the right one for you.
Before we go deeper into the analysis, let’s see which the top-ranked racquets are:
- Babolat Pure Aero
- Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph
- Head Graphene 360 Speed Pro
- Babolat Pure Drive
- Wilson Blade 98 Countervail
- Babolat Pure Strike
- Yonex EZONE 98
And if you would like to know our top recommendation upfront, it is Babolat Pure Aero
Are you ready for an Advanced Tennis Racquet?
A good guide to estimate your skill levels in the game is asking yourself the following questions
- Do you have a variety of dependable strokes (lob, overhead, approach, volley) with good control over the speed and direction?
- Are you adept at playing those strokes with forehand and backhand in a reasonably paced game?
- Do you possess power and spin and the ability to alter your game plan according to the match situation?
- Is your anticipation and footwork quick and can you use them to consistently produce winners or force errors of your opponent?
If you answered in the affirmative to all of the above, you’re an advanced player and ready to go for the advanced racquet. For a more thorough self-assessment, please refer to the USTA’s National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) that has classified the tennis-playing ability with ratings for skill and experience and a rating of 4 and above on this chart would qualify you to be one
Specifications of an Advanced Tennis Racquet
The essential specifications and qualities of an advanced tennis racquet can be summed up as follows.
Head Size: With all other factors being equal, this decides the power of the strokes, and the optimum range for the racquet head for this class is 95-100 Sq. inches
Length: This isn’t much of a factor as the legal range is between 27-29 inches and is more down to personal choice; a longer one will give you better reach at the cost of being slightly heavier
Weight & Balance: The weight of the racquet combined with how that is spread across the racquet is an important consideration and the advanced racquets will weigh 11-12 ounces with the weight being balanced without being head-heavy or handle-heavy
Frame Stiffness: A flexible frame will offer more power due to the trampoline effect it will have on impact and also puts less pressure on the hand which could prevent common injuries like Tennis elbow which explains why the advanced racquets tend to be more flexible than stiff
String Pattern: Two options here as well with the dense strings giving more control and stability over the open strings which have more power and spin; the popular spec for open strings, which mostly comes with advanced racquets, are 18 x 16 and 18 x 17.
Do you Have an Advanced Game Style?
The specifications described above give you general guidelines about an advanced tennis racquet. The key thing to note is that a racquet by itself will only enhance your game style and ultimately it is your style and the approach you have built your game around that will decide how best you’re maximizing the qualities of the racquet. That being said, let’s look at some of these factors and how the different specifications lend to these styles which in turn influence the choice of the racquet to buy.
Control over Power
The advanced player will already have a certain degree of power and so they look for more control for their strokes in their racquets, but mind you it is a personal choice and there are top pros who might prefer to add that little bit more power to their arsenal
What’s Your Swing Style?
If you have a longer and faster swing, you will have the pace and power for the strokes and so you could opt for a smaller frame that will give you more control and accuracy. If your swing is low to high (a la Rafael Nadal) and quite heavy to impart a lot of spin, you would need a bigger racquet head. And if your swing is slower and steadier you would need a bit more bite to your strokes and so could opt for more power
Are You a Volleyer or a Baseliner?
If you are predominantly a baseliner, you would want a bigger sweet spot that would give more power and accuracy in your strokes. And if you come to the net often or is a doubles player spending a lot of time at the net, you would need a react to react quicker and with precision and so a smaller racquet head will suit you more
What’s Your Strength? Spin or Pace?
If spin is your strength and would impart a lot of that in your strokes, you could opt for a more open string pattern (meaning the strings will be more spread apart) as it will grip the ball more to give it the spin you need. On the other hand, if you rely more on flat and fast groundstrokes, a more dense string pattern with a smaller racquet head will suit you better.
If you’ve noticed the bright colors and the sleek modern design of Rafa Nadal’s racquet, that Babolat Pure Aero in action. Though on the heavier and stiffer side, it feels a lot more comfortable in your hand due to its shock and vibration-reducing rubber. The open 16 x 19 string pattern makes it ideally suited for spin. By the way, this is a good choice for confident beginners as well.
|Good Spin||On the Heavier Side|
|Great Comfort||Stability not the Best|
|Good Power||Balance can be Better|
SmartBit: Babolat Pure Aero is the favourite racquet of Rafa Nadal and by his own admission has been using this brand since he was as young as 11 and he swears by the spin and control that the racquet gives him. You don’t need a bigger endorsement than that, do you?
This is highly suited for experienced and attacking players who have a power game and strong limbs to sustain it. The higher stiffness means it has better balance and control which is a trade-off of being heavy. The 16 x 9 open string pattern lends additional rebound and can execute a whole range of shots quite effectively especially spin. The Ideal Head-Size for Pros and is fit for the all-round game.
|Solid and Stable||Relatively Heavy|
|Great Control||Cover not Included|
|Good Balance||Relatively Pricey|
SmartBit: Wilson teamed up with RF and gave him the creative freedom to create his preferred design and the result is the awesome Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph. Plays right to the strengths of Roger Federer – strength coupled with grace.
Highly suited for experienced players with a power game and precision technique and also for those who love a decent dose of spin. The 18 x 20 string pattern means you will have a good amount of control for your shots. The head size is quite big which will add power to your strokes. The Graphene 360 technology certainly gives it the cutting edge in terms of frame strength and rebound factor
|Good Balance||On the Heavier Side|
|Great Comfort||Stiffer than Normal|
|Good Spin||Not the Quickest|
SmartBit: This has been endorsed by none other the current world no.1 himself, Novak Djokovic as it suits his game to the hilt; the power and control Head Graphene 360 Pro gives Djoko the ammo to outmaneuver his opponents throughout the court.
Its string spacing is more open which gives it an increased Power and Spin potential. Those characteristics let you be quite aggressive from the baseline as well. It has impressive dampening but is on the heavier side. The racquet head is quite big offering a bigger sweet spot. Its design which makes it suitable for varied skill levels makes it a very popular racquet.
|Great Spin||On the Heavier Side|
|Great Power||Control can be Better|
|Big Sweet Spot||Some Pros find it Dull|
SmartBit: This racquet probably has a reasonable claim to be the most successful one coming from Babolat, with former greats like Andy Roddick, Kim Clijsters, and a host of other top notch players using it. This was Rafael Nadal choice too before he switched to Pure Aero
The Wilson Blade 98 Countervail is made for aggressive players with great control, spin, precision, and stability being its forte. The Countervail technology gives it increased flexibility, reduced vibration, and is easy on the hand. The 18 x 20 string pattern offers better control and at 98 sq inches, it has the optimum head size. To top it all comes at a really good price point.
|Great Control||Power can be Better|
|Good Comfort||Not the best for Spin|
|Attractive Pricing||Relatively Heavy|
SmartBit: This is the 6th generation among Wilson’s Blade family of racquets. It has recently received a facelift and now has a more simplified cosmetic. Wilson Blade series has been quite popular especially on the WTA with the Williams sisters endorsing it as their racquet of choice. Its design which makes it suitable for varied skill levels makes it a very popular racquet.
The 3rd generation of Pure Strike comes technology improvements which makes it easy on the arms and less injury inducing. Pure Strike has thicker frame, accelerates rapidly and is really spin friendly. High precision and stability are also noteworthy features of Pure Strike. It really lends itself for precision hitting with those blessed with a quick arm.
|Great Control||Power can be Better|
|Easy on the Arms||Not the best for Spin|
|Good Spin||Relatively Heavy|
SmartBit: World No.3 Dominic Theim is the new poster boy of the Babolat Pure Strike; the pain the brand takes to test and refine the racquet with top players gives it a competitive advantage. Pure Strike is a softer easier to control version of Pure Drive. The specification combination makes this a spin generating machine.
If you’re a power hitter or a spin enthusiast, Yonex EZONE 98 offers a very attractive option to consider. With a fairly good head size at 98 inches and 16 v 19 string pattern, it is quite conducive for an accurate spin. Add to that, the technology (dual shut system) and material (Quake Shut Gel) of the frame reduces vibration and shock.
|Good Speed||Power can be Better|
|Precision with Spin||A bit Stiff|
|Good Comfort||A bit too Light|
SmartBit: This racquet is a built to order for Naomi Osaka, first Asian player to hold the top ranking in singles. In fact, to celebrate Naomi’s double grand slam win and the rise to the top of the WTA running, Yonex has introduced a limited edition of this racquet. It is also used by Nick Kyrgios, the gentleman who makes the news quite often, but not always for the right reasons.
The racquets that we have featured in this review are among the topmost of a plethora of high-quality racquets available in the market. While each has its own strengths, the final choice of racquet boils down to personal choice based on experience. Based on multiple weighted factors, our top3 recommended racquets for advanced players are Babolat Pure Aero, Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph and Head Graphene 360 Speed Pro which unsurprisingly are endorsed by the top3 ranked tennis players, not just at present or in this generation, but arguably of all time. And if pressed to rank the highest, we would recommend Babolat Pure Aero as currently the best all-round racquet for advanced players.
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