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The Best Racket for Each Type of Tennis Player

Every day, we get questions like, "I'm an all-court player; what racket should I get?" Well, you're in luck; today we're going to talk about the best rackets for various types of players.

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Tennis may not be "the beautiful game," but it's a beautiful game because you can express your own style and still see positive results on the scoreboard.

Of course, the game has adapted with time, but we still see many different player types all over the pro tour. Serve and volleyers, aggressive baseliners, counterpunchers, and all court players — each style is legitimate and there are certainly some rackets that complement one better than the other.

These players are generally advanced because they've had time to develop their game style and decide which is best. Beginners and intermediates won't (and shouldn't) be set on a specific style like this, but that doesn't mean there aren't some rackets that work better than others.

We're going to cover everything today — from total beginners to advanced, all-court players —no stone will be left unturned, and by the end of the article, you should have a better idea of which two or three rackets could be best for you.




When discussing beginner tennis players, it's important to differentiate between a beginner hoping to go out and hit with friends and one who wants to improve and eventually become a competitive player. At Rackets & Runners, we mainly sell top-end, full graphite rackets, and while lower-end aluminum rackets will be great to hit with a couple of times, if you do want to improve and get the optimal feel for the ball, graphite is a must.

Three beginner rackets stick out as a cut above the rest, but before discussing them, we need to explain what exactly makes a great beginner racket.

As a beginner, you should be looking for easy access to power, a large and forgiving sweet spot, and also a racket that won't limit you as you develop proper technique. Those are characteristics that the Wilson Ultra 100L, Babolat Pure Drive Team, and Yonex Ezone 100L all have in common. Weighing 280-285 grams with a 100 square inch head size and 16x19 string pattern, they are all very user-friendly. They are also fairly stiff with thick beam profiles, which helps stabilize them at lower swing speeds because they have large sweet spots and plenty of power.

There's a key difference between these rackets and something like the Babolat Pure Drive 107, though. While that racket is also forgiving, powerful, and user-friendly, the oversized head means that it lacks control. A racket like that will limit your development, whereas the Ultra, Pure Drive 100, and Ezone will not. Remember, the goal of these rackets is to help you get the ball over the net but also to nudge you in the right direction to eventually become an intermediate.



Finding a beginner racket is easy enough; you won't have developed preferences, so you can pick any of those up and get used to it almost immediately. As you progress into the intermediate category, your game may develop tendencies, or you may have a preference for certain play styles. Perhaps you're adding spin to your game, or power, or you want something with a little more precision and control. This is when you can look for more specific playability from your racket; let's start with power.

The three rackets we mentioned in the beginner section are all part of the "power rackets" family because power rackets usually provide all those user-friendly benefits you want as a beginner. They also complement a more intermediate style of power-focused play, and if you've been playing with one of them from the start of your tennis journey, it may be easiest to switch to a more "intermediate" version of the same stick.

What does that mean? Generally, in tennis, you want to swing the heaviest racket possible. That may sound counterintuitive, but more weight adds stability, power, spin — more of everything — as long as you can swing it, and by this time, you can swing a heavier racket because you'll have developed proper technique and the tennis muscles to go along with it. It's time to move into the 300-gram category, and if you enjoyed your lighter Ezone, Pure Drive, and Ultra, that's great because each stick has a 295-300-gram counterpart. Moving up in weight from the same racket you started with will make for the most seamless transition, but, as I mentioned, you may have added something to your game at this point, and in modern tennis, that's most likely going to be spin.


Spin rackets became ultra popular in the 2000s because the game got faster and more spinny, and the options we have now are great because they perfectly complement proper spin technique. The Babolat Pure Aero 100 and Yonex Vcore 100 are great spin rackets for intermediate players because, like the three power rackets we mentioned earlier, they have those forgiving specs: a 100 square inch head, a 16x19 string pattern, and they weigh 300 grams. They are basically power rackets but with more spin.

All-court rackets is the last category you should look into as an intermediate, but be careful, you can quickly fall into the advanced world here with much more difficult rackets that are also very "all-courtey" but it's not time for those yet. Intermediates still need user-friendly rackets, and the Head Speed MP is a fantastic, user-friendly, all-court option. It's similar to the power and spin rackets we mentioned earlier in that it has a 100 square-inch head, weighs 300 grams, and has a 16x19 string pattern. What makes this frame so much better for all court play is its soft and thin beam. This beam profile makes its control significantly better than the rackets above, and that's important if you want something to excel around the court.

Do remember that intermediate means you're still developing. Other great all-court rackets like the Wilson Blade and Pure Aero 98 may seem very enticing, but leave them for when you become a true advanced player.


Serve and Volley Rackets

We've moved into the advanced category, and there are no "advanced specific" rackets because there's no "one size fits all." At this point, you'll have developed your own style, and adapting your racket to that style is crucial in getting the most out of your game.

We're going to start with serve and volley rackets because, while this may be a bit of a dying breed, there are still plenty of players looking for this style, and the key characteristics here are a small head size, headlight balance, and heavy static weight. The high weight makes them stable for volleying, and the headlight balance and small head size counter that heavier static weight to make them more maneuverable.

The Yonex Vcore 95 is one of the first rackets you should look at, of course, because it has a very small 95 square-inch head. The Vcore's feel is a bit muted, which isn't ideal for net play, but the racket is so stable and so precise that it's still up there with the best despite that feel. Just touching on that 95 square inch head size, it's becoming less and less common because it makes the racket more difficult to use, but there's no denying the fantastic speed you get from a racket like this, especially the Vcore because of its aerodynamic profile.


Then you have the Pro Staff 97, which is a little heavier than the Vcore and also two square inches bigger, so it's certainly slower, but what it lacks in speed, it makes up for in feel. It has a traditional, thin box beam with a fairly stiff flex, so if you're looking for the classic point-and-shoot control of the historically great serve and volley sticks, you'll get most of that, just in a more user-friendly package.

Finally, we have my personal favourite serve and volley racket: the Percept 97H. There is a 315-gram version, but the H (330 grams) is better because it's much more stable and has a very head-light balance, which means it's still quite maneuverable despite the high static weight. Part of the reason I consider it better than the Vcore 95 is due to that higher weight, but also because Yonex did away with Vibration Dampening Mesh in the Percept, and that's the main culprit for the overly muted feel on the Vcore. Instead of VDM, they're using Servofilter for dampening, which doesn't eliminate nearly as much positive feedback, making for a more well-defined and precise sweet spot.



A counterpuncher is a defensive-minded player who plays high-percentage shots, waiting for an opponent's mistake. Counterpunching can often mean playing long points from the baseline, so the key here is to find a consistent and controlled racket before anything else, and the easiest way to engineer consistency and control is with a tight string bed and thin, constant beam.

You don't need an 18x20, but it certainly helps. I will stick to 18x20s in these recommendations, but most of these frames have 16x19 counterparts. We'll start with the Prestige because many of the best counterpunches in history have used some Prestige or at least a close variation of it. The current Prestige Pro really is the ultimate control racket thanks to its small head size, super tight string bed, and soft flex, but there's no denying that it has very little else going for it, and in the modern game, that may not be enough for most players. The Wilson Blade 98 18x20 is a much more "modern" control racket. It has a more powerful and forgiving feel, but you still get 90% of the Prestige's consistency that you need for counterpunching.


98 square inch frames are great here, no doubt, but the smaller head size makes them a little more punishing and difficult to use than 100s. Historically, the 100 square inch head size has been reserved for power and spin, but nowadays, there are some great options that colour between the lines of true control sticks and that more forgiving feel, and the Gravity Pro and Speed Pro are two of the best.

These are some of the most controlled 100s I've ever tested, and that's in large part due to their 18x20 string pattern. The Gravity Pro, in particular, is up there with the best control rackets on the market right now — you sacrifice barely any feel and precision going up in head size on this frame, with only a slight loss in maneuverability.

The Speed Pro is a little more "wild" than the Gravity but still very much a control racket. As long as you're not looking for the absolute consistency of something like a Prestige, you will appreciate the significantly more powerful and spin-friendly response it provides.



Aggressive Baseliner

Moving on to aggressive baseliners and, these players like to stay around the baseline, but they hit powerful, spin-friendly groundstrokes hoping to shorten points and hit big winners. They'll also hit the occasional drop-shot and approach shot, and they're not nearly as afraid of the net as counterpunchers. Recent Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner is a prime example of an aggressive baseliner.

The powerful groundstroke is this player's bread and butter, and for that, you'll want a racket that's precise and confidence-inducing, inherently powerful, and spin-friendly because that's how we control powerful groundstrokes nowadays. There are three rackets that do a great job of combining control, power, and spin — something we thought impossible less than ten years ago — and that's why I like to call these "modern players' rackets."

Starting with the Extreme Tour and Ezone 98, these rackets have a 98 square inch head, so their sweet spots are relatively small and precise, but they also have an aerodynamic throat, which helps to accelerate them through contact for more spin. The Ezone, in particular, has a thick hoop, which helps give it significantly more power than you would expect from a 98, especially one with such a thin, flexible throat. While the Ezone is unique (in a good way), one frame sticks out as a cut above the rest for aggressive baseliners.

It should come as no surprise that the Aero 98 is an aggressive baseliner's dream. Rune, Fils, and Auger-Alliassime all fall under the aggressive baseliner category, and use this racket. Alcaraz does, too, although he's a little more "all-courtey" with a healthy mix of aggressive baseliner sprinkled in. We all know just how good an Aero is for spin; combine the aerodynamic throat with an even smaller head size, and you have one of the fastest rackets in the world. Its power is also top-tier, but it's the Aero 98's control that puts it firmly in the conversation for one of the best rackets on the market right now. It may not have a traditional control profile, but when you make proper contact, it provides some of the best feedback because of how precise and crisp the sweet spot feels. That's what makes it the best modern player's racket and most young, professional, aggressive baseliner's weapon of choice.


All-Court Rackets

We've made our way full circle, back to all-court rackets. All-court players are extremely versatile, so their ceiling is probably the highest of any player. Roger Federer is an example of an elite all-court player; he has a huge serve, punching groundstrokes, great defensive play, and volleys and touch shots amongst the best of all time. I'm not talking about him in the past tense because I refuse to accept that he's retired.

Even Novak Djokovic, who may have started his career as a counterpuncher, slowly developed into a devastating all-courter, which pushed his game to the next level over the last decade.

As you would expect, the best all-court rackets have very few flaws, and they should all excel in power, touch, control, precision, and spin… Easier said than done.

The Speed MP we mentioned earlier is still an excellent all-court racket, even for advanced players. We briefly discussed its good control, but it's more specifically the 23-millimetre constant beam and the Auxetic layup that gives it the feel and a control profile to be competitive with those rackets we mentioned in the counterpuncher section.


The Tecnifibre T-Fight 305 is another fantastic option because, with its 18 main strings, it provides great control but also has much more spin and power than other 18-mainers, thanks to its high swing weight. Also (and this applies to all Tecnifibre rackets), but the T-Fight is foam-filled, and foam-filled rackets are the cream of the crop in feel.

These two rackets are great for all-court players, but they're lacking in one important category: quickness (quite ironic for the Speed). Racket quickness is an underrated characteristic, but it can be essential for all-court players who are running all around the court; enter the Wilson Blade 98 16x19.



The Blade has been the best all-court racket for years; they struck gold with this design in the early 2000s, and they've never strayed too far from what made the first Blade so popular. As I mentioned earlier, the Blade (yes, even the 16x19) has fantastic control, so you can grind from the baseline with no problem. That control, combined with the more powerful shape and the spin-friendly string pattern, makes it so confidence-inducing when you're going for big shots. All Blades are great all-court frames, but the recent ones (V8 & V9) are especially good because of the impressive layup technologies Wilson has developed. They're more spin-friendly than previous Blades, and these unique layups maintain stability at lower swing weights, which helps make them much quicker around the court.


Final Thoughts

Hopefully, if you were only looking to learn more about your racket style, you jumped to that section instead of going on a 30-minute journey learning the ins and outs of every tennis player style. If you didn't do that, I hope you enjoyed!

We are fortunate to play in an era where every player has a racket perfectly adapted for their style, and despite everything I just said, the best way to learn which racket works best for your game is by going out and testing it on the court. Of course, we have a demo program to help you along the way, and we're more than happy to help either in-store or online.

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