Once a player makes the leap from intermediate to advanced, they should analyze whether their racquet meets the needs of their improved game. At advanced levels, playing the proper racquet for your style can make the difference between winning and losing.
Intermediates players need a more forgiving racquet. Advanced players who hit less off-center shots should focus on racquets that enhance their game's strengths. A player with heavy topspin groundstrokes should seek a racquet allowing her to swing freely while generating extra spin. A player who generates consistent power should seek a racquet that adds precision to their game.
Who Is An Advanced Player?
Advanced players typically rate 4.0 or higher on the USTA League rating scale, although high-end 3.5s may also qualify as advanced. These players typically play two or more times per week.
Advanced players can control the spin, power, and placement of their shots. They engage in extended rallies. Their serves typically feature good spin and placement, keeping an opponent on the baseline.
What Is The Best Tennis Racquet For Advanced Players?
The best racquet for advanced players depends greatly on their style of play. The reason why the ATP top ten features nine different frames (other than the money players receive for endorsing a racquet) is the different style of play among the top players. Each wants every possible advantage and seeks the racquet that gives them the best chance of winning.
The five racquets in our survey cater to different styles. One of these will surely enhance your game.
Wilson Clash 100 Limited Edition Roland Garros Tennis Racquet
Wilson designed the flex 100 for the modern game. It introduced FreeFlex technology, giving the feel of a flexible racquet with a stiff racquet's power. FreeFlex allows players to swing harder without sacrificing accuracy. It also provides a significant boost in power. The 16 x 19 swing pattern remains dense enough to add spin to your shots while providing a softer feel.
Players should find that they do not have to swing as hard to produce the same power. Players may have to adjust how they swing on kill shots as the Clash may provide more power and spin than their current racquet. The adjustment should come quickly and naturally.
The light weight makes the racquet maneuverable at the net. Even on balls close to your body, you should have no trouble keeping the racquet in position to return the shot. The flexible frame can cause problems controlling touch volleys.
Despite designing the frame to add power, Wilson’s design kept the feel of the racquet soft. Players with arm issues will find that the Clash provides the benefits of a stiff framed racquet without the wear and stress to the arm.
This version of the Clash features a Roland Garros inspired design. It is also available in red, gray, and black.
The Clash works well for intermediates and advanced players with good control and spin who seek a more maneuverable and powerful racquet.
Babolat Pure Strike 16 x 19 Racquet
Babolat designed the Pure Strike for control oriented players. Sporting a slightly thinner frame than the Pure Drive, it rewards all-court players looking to make aggressive swings. The 16 X 19 string pattern adds control and spin to your shots. Dominic Theim plays the Pure Strike racquet.
The Pure Strike incorporates C2 Pure Feel technology to reduce vibrations. Designed by SMAC, a French company more well known for aerospace than tennis, C2 Pure Feel turns the entire racquet head into a dampener.
Players find it easier to add spin with the Pure Strike. In the latest model, Babolat introduced FSI Power, which features more space between strings at the top of the racquet head. The extra spacing enhances the spin and power of the shots.
The Pure Strike features a softer feel than its Pure Drive cousins. The flexible frame makes the Pure Strike better than the Pure Drive for players with arm issues. It also makes it easier to execute touch shots.
Babolat increased the stability of the Pure Strike from previous generations. You can hit winners on the run with ease. The racquet remains steady when fielding powerful shots from big hitters.
The Pure Strike comes in a bright white, red, and blue color sure to impress on the court.
The Pure Strike will augment the game of aggressive all-court players looking to add control without sacrificing power.
Head Graphene 360+ Speed PRO Tennis Racquet
Endorsed by Novak Djokovic, the Head Graphene 360+ Speed PRO Tennis Racquet is the heaviest of the racquets we reviewed. At 11.5 oz strung, it edges out the Wilson Blade for top honors. The heavier weight adds stability to the racquet, making it easier to control off-center shots and return hard-hit balls.
The 360+ employs a very dense 18 x 20 string pattern. While typically dense string patterns favor control over spin, the 360+ allows for more than adequate topspin production. The weight complements the string pattern, making control the 360+’s top attribute.
Despite the extra weight, the racquet still performs well in quick exchanges at the net. Frequent doubles players may question the need for a less maneuverable racquet. However, anyone who plays singles or otherwise spends significant time at the baseline will appreciate the extra stability and control.
The 360+ Speed PRO features a sleek black and white design.
The 360+ works best for strong baseliners looking for a more stable racquet and additional precision.
Wilson Blade 98 (18x20) v7.0
The racquet of choice of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Simona Halep, the Blade makes use of FeelFlex technology, an upgrade over the FreeFlex technology in the Clash. FeelFlex provides superior vibration dampening while allowing the player to receive excellent feedback from the racquet on each shot.
The Blade also features a tapered top end of the grip. This makes it more comfortable for two-handers.
The 18 X 20 string pattern adds control to the already powerful frame. The Blade targets aggressive, all-court players who like to paint the lines. The higher swingweight, 5 ounces higher than the Clash we reviewed, also adds control to shots.
Wilson reduced the head weight on the racquet, making it more maneuverable. While the higher frame weight may cause problems with rapid volley rallies, the four points head light balance should provide more than adequate ability to produce strong reaction volleys.
The racquet provides excellent control on off-center shots. It absorbs pace well, allowing you to return big shots with confidence.
The Blade features a stylish black, gray, and lime green design.
Players looking for extra pop in their shots without sacrificing control or spin should consider adding the blade to their arsenal.
Yonex VCORE 98 LITE
The racquet played by Steve Johnson and Olympic Gold Medalist Monica Puig, Yonex designed the VCORE 98 LITE to provide extra spin. The slightly more open 16 x 19 string pattern provides more spin and power than the 18 x 20 pattern.
The VCORE 98 LITE also offers a flexible frame. This grants additional access to spin as well as a more comfortable feel at contact. The Aero Fin grooves and Aero Trench grommets allow you to bring the racquet through the swing quicker by reducing wind drag.
Yonex crafted a very maneuverable racquet, allowing you to stay in position at the net even on close-quarter volleying. It absorbs powerful shots well and allows for crisp, precise winners.
The frame will not add power. The frame encourages spin and control but will require a harder swing to generate pace. Players looking for a power racket may prefer the Blade. Players with a precision game, especially singles players, will love the control it provides.
The soft feel also makes the racquet a good choice for players looking to take pressure off of their arms. The flexible frame absorbs impacts better than a stiffer frame. Despite the flexibility, the frame remains stable on off-center shots and absorbs your opponent’s pace well.
The VCORE 98 Lite comes in Yonex’s iconic red and black design, making the racquet easy to pick out of the crowd.
Players seeking to maximize their precision and add a little spin to their games should try the VCORE 98 LITE.
Which Racquet is Best for My Game?
Choose which racquet plays to your strength and needs. A player with adequate power needing more control and consistency may reach for the control and spin provided by the VCORE 98 LITE. A player with better control but lacking pop may benefit more from the Blade. A true baseliner who rarely approaches the net may improve the most with the 360+.
Once you decide what you need out of a frame, take the time to demo several models. Play with them long enough to obtain a good feel for the racquet and see how it impacts your game. Notice which parts of your game improve compared to your current stick. Then you can make an informed decision about which racquet to buy.