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Tennis Warehouse Reviews - Racquet Finder
Racquet Research: Quality Index PlayersChoice Spec Chart
Racquet ratings at Epinions
Racquet Reviews at Miningco.com RacquetZone
On-line RetailersRetailersManufacturers
HolabirdSports - Racquets
Tennis Warehouse
Stores in Central New Jersey
United States Certified Stringers (USCS)
Wilson, Prince, Head, Völkl, Yonex, Dunlop, Babolat, Pro Kennex

Advanced Intermediate Racquets (NTRP 3.5-5.0) Mid Plus (95-100 sq. in.) Some recommended models (see also Miningco list.)
[Ratings as of Oct. 2002]

Mfg. Model List $ Rank (1) Score (2) Pwr CtrlWghtSwing
Wght.
Balance
(3)
Stiff
(4)
NTRP
(5)
Wilson Hyper Pro Staff Surge 5.1 $169 55 3153075pts HL683.5-5.0
Wilson Hyper Pro Staff 6.1 $199 57 78 68 79 34732710pts HL68
Wilson Triad Hammer 5.0 * $219 167 2803028pts HH733.0-5.0
Prince Triple Threat Attitude $200 486969 66 284325even74
Prince More Precision * $170 3203257pts HL663.5-5.5
Volkl Quantum V1 * $190 67   2862974pts HL643.0-5.0
Head i.Tour $150 75 63 78 312 301 4pts HL673.5-4.5
Head i.Prestige MP $225 40 76 66 81 343 324 6pts HL63
Head i.S2 $200 59   289 290 1pt HL703.0-5.0
Head i.Extreme $140 99   295 310 2pt HL703.5-5.0
Head Ti.Fire Tour Edition $90 295 303 4pt HL654.0-5.5
Head Ti.Heat $100 266 4pt HL4.0-5.5
Head Ti.S2 $90 266 308 8pt HH68
Head i.Speed $180 101   272 306 4pt HH3.0-5.0
PowerAngle Power 102 $200   264 4pt HH
Median   $175   2923064pts HL68
Hi   $225   34732710pt HL63
Low   $90   2662908pts HH74
Advanced Player Racquets
Prince Graphite Classic Oversize $109 1 3493269pts HL665.0+
Head i.Prestige Mid 3 343 320 5pts HL605.0+
Wilson Hyper Pro Staff Zone 7.1 $159 13 326 314 7pts HL4.0-5.5
Beginner - Low Intermediate Racquets
Wilson Triad Hammer 2.0 Oversize $320 2813248pts HH752.5-3.5
Head i.S9 Oversize $240 41 275 331 2pts HH1.0-3.0
Head i.S16 CS Oversize * $325 266 291 even1.0-3.0
Prince More Dominant Oversize $290 106 260 320 3pts. HH751.0-3.5
* Tennis Magazine Editors Choice (2001 or 2002)
(1) Expert Rank (low=good) at RacquetResearch Quality Index
(2) Score=Overall Rating, Pwr & Ctrl are from Tennis Warehouse Reviews High=Good
Advanced Intermediate Racquet Weights
Strung Weight (Sampras 14 oz., Agassi 13.2)
oz. 9.5 10 10.5 11 11.5 12 12.513
gm. 269 283298 312 326 340 354369
Number of
Racquets
3 4 2 2 1 2
Strings add 0.5-0.8 oz. Swing Weight - The lower the number, the greater the maneuverability. Higher numbers give more power. It is the Second Moment or inertia. Swingweight is dependent on several factors, including racquet weight, length, balance, head size.
(3) Balance point distance from center of racquet: pt=1/8" HH-Head Heavy, HL-Head Light. (Sampras even weight, Agassi 5/8 HL)
(4) Stiffness numbers - High numbers ≥ 70 are stiff (more power) and low numbers are more flexible (more control).
Range is 52-80, Median 68
Stiffness is determined with the Babolat Racquet Diagnostic Center (RDC) machine, which measures deflection under a 25 kilogram load.
(5) Recommended ability - NTRP National Tennis Rating Program
  1.0-1.5 Beginner             5.0-5.5 Advanced
  2.0-2.5 Advanced Beginner    6.0 Club Pro
  3.0-3.5 Intermediate         7.0 Touring Pro
  4.0-4.5 Advanced Intermediate                      

* Midsize - 85 - 90 square inches
* Midplus - 92 - 103
* Oversize - 104 - 116 
* Super OS - 117 - 135 

Wilson Stiffness, Flexibility & Swing Index (si)
Extremely Firm Very Firm Firm Medium Flex High Flex
2.0 - 3.5 3.6 - 4.4 4.5 - 5.5 5.6 - 6.9 7.0 - 8.0
From: www.wilson-tennis.com/

PowerAngle Racquets are strung diagonally. The demos they had at the 2002 US Open felt good.

Stiffness - Power
Players with slow-to-moderate swing speeds and short, compact strokes (50% of players) need a stiffer, more powerful racquet to generate appropriate power (longer racquets and larger head sizes help).

Most top and professional players (15%) have very long and fast swings. Therefore, they typically use medium to higher flex racquets with smaller head sizes (mid - midplus), because their racquet speed generates additional power.

35% of players fall in the middle.
See:
Tips on Selecting a Racquet at TennisAndMore.com
The Design Aspects of Tennis Rackets

RacquetZone says: "High flex numbers mean stiff frames. A stiff frame would have the effect of flattening the ball more (if used with tight strings and a small head), thus making topspin easier to impart, and it would allow the strings to do their job better because the frame would not be deformed so much on impact. The downside of stiff frames is that they do a poor job of damping frame vibration, and therefore may be a risk factor for tennis elbow in racquets having high Shock."

In Introduction to Racquet Science at RacquetResearch, Wilmot H. McCutchen says:

"Proponents of stiff materials make the claim that their racquets are "powerful" because the stiff frame recovers in time to catapult the ball forward. Where is the experimental confirmation of this claim? I have seen none.
And, in any case, the strings are the major component in racquet bounce. Maybe the advantage of the stiff frame is that it does not flex as much initially, thus requiring the strings to stretch more on impact.

Don Hightower, Tennis Warehouse Technical Director says, "The ball remains on the strings for 3-5 milliseconds, much shorter than it takes a frame to recover. "

String Tension
Within the recommended tension range, lower tensions offer more power and less impact on the arm, and higher tensions offer more control and better spin. See String Tension Article

Weight and Balance

How Is Power & Stability Maintained in a Lightweight Racket?

With today's rackets getting lighter and lighter, it has become more important that the mass, or weight, is retained in the head. A super lightweight racket with mass in the head provides great maneuverability with the added benefits of superior stability and enhanced power return.

A lightweight racket with minimal mass in the head can provide great maneuverability, but could cause twisting upon impact, resulting in less stability and less power.

Tennis Warehouse Selecting the Right Racquet offers the following:

These two characteristics most influence how a racquet feels when you pick it up and when you swing it on the tennis court. Some basic concepts - a heavy racquet is more powerful, more stable and transmits less shock than a lighter racquet (all other things being equal). A lighter racquet is more maneuverable and thus, a player is able to swing it faster. If this is true, won’t a lighter racquet that is swung fast generate the same power as a heavier racquet that’s swung more slowly? This question has been hotly debated ever since Wilson introduced their Hammer racquets back in 1990. Until then, racquet weights averaged 12-13 ounces and were balanced head-light (or handle-heavy). Wilson’s Hammer “technology” reduced overall racquet weight ( 10-11 ounces) but distributed more mass in the head, resulting in a head-heavy balance. The idea was to improve maneuverability without sacrificing power by keeping weight in the racquet’s hitting zone. Since then, racquet weights have steadily dropped and now we have sub-8 ounce offerings from Gamma, Head and Prince. Is lighter better? Not necessarily. Well then, which racquet weight is best for you? What about racquet balance? Is head-light, head-heavy or even balance best? In order to answer this question, you need a point of reference. How heavy is your current racquet? Is it head-light or head-heavy? How much? If you don’t know, you can e-mail us at info@tennis-warehouse.com and we’ll send you the manufacturer’s specifications, if available.

Next, do you want a lighter, heavier or similarly weighted racquet? Head-light, head-heavy or evenly balanced? Chances are you don’t know what you want until you play with a racquet. If this isn’t feasible, here are some guidelines on the advantages and disadvantages of different weights and balances.

Heavier, head-light racquets- preferred by most professional players, these racquets are often referred to as being “traditionally weighted and balanced” racquets. They typically weigh 11-13 ounces and are balanced 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches head-light in order to retain maneuverability. In most cases, these racquets are also referred to as “player’s” racquets because they are generally more control-oriented and designed for players who provide their own power.

Lightweight, head-heavy racquets - several years ago, Wilson discovered it was possible to make a racquet more maneuverable without reducing weight in the head. By removing weight in the handle, the racquet was lighter overall, while still retaining mass in the upper hoop, where ball contact occurs. This was the concept behind their Hammer and Sledge Hammer designs. Several other racquet manufacturers have subsequently introduced lightweight, head-heavy (and evenly balanced) racqauets. The advantages of this racquet type are increased maneuverability without sacrificing power, especially on groundstrokes. The disadvantages are less clear - some “experts” argue that reducing weight increases the amount of shock transferred to the wrist, elbow and shoulder. Some players who have switched from traditionally weighted and balanced racquets to lightweight, head-heavy models claim the racquets don’t feel “solid”. Clearly, you can’t get something for nothing. Reducing racquet weight will alter its feel - for better or for worse. Keep in mind, you can always add weight to a racquet if it’s too light. Reducing racquet weight, however, is almost impossible.

Weight and balance can be changed by adding lead tape. However 4x4" strips only add 0.08 oz.

Grip Size
See: Tennis-Warehouse.com

See Also: Tips on Selecting a Racquet
Equipment Tips by Jamie Selman
Customizing your Tennis Racquet
Tennis Links at tennis4all.com

last updated 29 Oct 2002