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The Top 5 Tennis Rackets for Spin

First, we looked at the Top 5 Rackets for Control; now, we make our way to spin!
The Top 5 Tennis Rackets for Spin Featured Image

Earlier this year we ranked our Top 5 Control Rackets and now we take a spin on Spin Rackets.

Spin rackets are particularly interesting because ever since Babolat released the first Aero back in the early 2000s, they've developed a tremendous following and always adapted to the ever-changing game. In 2023 there is a huge variety of what could be considered a true "spin racket," but most accomplish that in different ways.

The first thing we must do is make our criteria as clear as possible.

Of course, you can hit spin with any racket — in fact, you can hit more spin with a racket that isn't on this if you feel more comfortable hitting hard with it — but we only want to cover true spin rackets.

To be considered a true spin racket, a racket must feature some sort of spin technology, and that tech must go beyond having a standard 16x19 string pattern. Spin grommets, spin technology within the layup, and even a more spin-oriented string bed density and overall shape are all "spin technologies" and therefore fulfill that eligibility requirement.

We must also make it abundantly clear that this list isn't a ranking of rackets that produce the most spin but rather a ranking of the overall performance of rackets that are made for spin, with a particular emphasis on their spin characteristics. That means a racket on this list could technically be less spin-friendly, but it can be ranked higher if it performs better overall.

This is important because, several years ago, companies became obsessed with the idea that more spin meant better performance. Rackets came out with these wild spin patterns and technologies, and while they did help generate crazy amounts of spin, they didn't perform well anywhere else. Recently, the pendulum has swung back from that extreme, and brands are much less gung ho with their spin racket releases, and that, at least to us, has helped lift this category's overall quality to another level.



Without further ado, let's get into number 5!

5. 2023 Yonex Vcore 100

I went back and forth between the VCORE 100 and VCORE 98 for a while and almost chose the latter because of my "better overall racket" criteria, but I don't think that applies here. The 98 may have better control and precision, but the 100 has undeniably more spin and is more user-friendly, so they are actually very close in terms of overall performance. In a tie-break, the more spin-friendly one wins, of course.

The VCORE 100 has always been Yonex's token "spin racket," but up until the most recent release, they weren't competitive with the rest of the industry. For one, they weren't all that spin-friendly, which is extremely important to be considered a "spin racket." It's a good thing then that so much changed with the 2023.

Yonex drastically changed the shape opting for a much more squared-off top portion of the head. This moves the sweet spot farther up the frame and, more importantly for spin, means the string bed density inside the sweet spot is very open. That extra space between the strings makes for more spin potential, but they didn't stop there.

"Silicone Oil Infused Grommets" — they sound gimmicky but actually do an excellent job at amplifying string snapback, which ultimately leads to more spin. With a name like that, I wish I could roast the technology, but the fact is, Yonex has developed a truly special bit of tech here that is better than what we've had in the past. Snapback amplifying technology like "spin grommets" has always helped amplify spin, but it's also been notorious for making a racket's launch too inconsistent. Silicone Oil Infused Grommets still help boost string snapback, but they don't sacrifice solidity in doing so; impressive work, Yonex.

With the new design, Yonex also re-shaped the throat, adding an element of stability that wasn't there before. It still has a bit of that VCORE wild side, especially with the high and open sweet spot, but it's significantly more solid than previous VCORES, another major improvement and the biggest reason why it cracks the top 5.

4. Wilson Shift 99

The reason it took us so long to release our top 5 spin rackets is because we were waiting for the Shift's full release. It's finally here, and the final product is phenomenal.

It hasn't exactly been marketed as a "spin racket," but considering the technology inside the graphite, it most certainly is. Wilson has laid up the Shift's graphite so that it flexes more on the vertical axis than any other racket. This means that when the ball goes into the stringbed during a modern, spin-friendly groundstroke with the racket face parallel to the ground, the graphite pockets it more and snaps it out with more spin than might seem natural.

It's a unique sensation that is difficult to describe, but the most important thing is that it works. You can feel the graphite shifting (no pun intended) in and out of position when you're hitting with spin, and it's a sensation that quickly becomes addictive the more you play with it.

The only slight issue with the Shift is that its performance is slightly lacking when you're not hitting with spin. It doesn't respond well to flat shots; it has a fairly muted and jarring feel and does require a decent amount of customization to be stable enough against bigger hitters.

While I can't say it has great "traditional control" (flatter directional control), I also have a tough time saying it isn't great for control. It has a very small sweet spot and ultra-precise feel when you hit those modern groundstrokes; so much more control, in that sense than some of the 100s on this list. Also, it being as low as number four is certainly not a knock on its performance but rather a reflection of just how good the next three spin rackets are.

3. Babolat Pure Aero 98

It was only a question of time before Babolat made it onto the list, but will this be their only racket? More on that later…

The Pure Aero 98 Is a phenomenal racket, but what cements it into its number three spot is just how unique it is in its performance. You can't get playability like this out of anything else, and the three men's pros playing with it prove its quality.

Alcaraz, Rune, and Felix: are there any other three next-gens you would rather have endorsing your racket? Probably not. Watch those three play, and you'll understand exactly what makes the Aero 98 so special; they reflect its playability to a tee.

It's a modern spin racket in the truest sense. That means that yes, it excels at spin but is also excellent at so much more than that, and a lot of that great playability comes from its smaller head size. Having only a 98-square-inch head means it has more control and precision than any other racket on this list. You can punch through your shots more without fearing the ball will fly, allowing you to play with more variety.

If I had to pick one of those three players to represent this racket, that would obviously be Alcaraz. He plays with tons of spin but also goes for huge shots that require confidence-inducing control and has probably the best variety of shots of any player in history (which is off-the-charts crazy at his age). Of course, his talent elevates his play to those levels, but the Aero 98 complements him perfectly.

Side note: Babolat's marketing team needs to be studied. Just as Nadal is reaching the twilight of his career, they land another future GOAT who is also the perfect ambassador for the racket he uses.

2. Head Auxetic Extreme MP

It's funny because in our Top 5 Control Rackets article, number two technically had a bit more control than number one, and it's the same story here with spin. At this point, it's probably pretty obvious what number one will be, but to keep the suspense, I'll say this. The newest version of the #1 racket went on a pretty big spin diet this time, leaving the Extreme MP as the most spin-friendly racket on the market, so if that's what you're after, look no further.

It has a very open 16x19 string pattern with massive spin grommets at the 12, 6, and even 3 and 9 positions. Spin grommets like this are easily the most effective way to amplify string snapback, which is the main driver for spin potential. It's also a racket that is very well aerodynamically optimized in the throat, so when you swing it parallel to the ground, it accelerates quicker than most others.

The Auxetic version of the Extreme MP is also proof that this line has drastically improved over the last several years. Like most other Head rackets, the Graphene 360+ was already very good, but introducing Auxetic marked another big step in the right direction. It has much better feel, which makes for decent connection to the ball despite the tweener design and stiff flex. Also, despite those spin grommets and open string bed, it still has a good amount of solidity and consistency, which is not always the case with this profile of racket.

Still, the Extreme MP is the racket in Head's line and the one on this list that is the most spin-centric. While it still performs decently well for various shot selections, I would probably pass on it if your game style isn't based on grinding spin from the baseline. That is where it excels.

1. Babolat Pure Aero 2023

It wasn't all that hard in the end; the best spin racket on the market right now is the Babolat Pure Aero 2023. Earlier, I mentioned that the industry had gone a bit crazy with spin over the last decade; well, the 2016 and 2019 Pure Aeros represented that to a tee. That's what the market demanded, so Babolat delivered, but when it was clear the pendulum was starting to swing back, like any company looking to stay ahead of the curve, they drastically changed the design for 2023.

The string bed is significantly tighter on the Pure Aero 2023 than on either the 2016 or 2019. It's undeniable even at first glance, and they actually reverted to the one main skip of older Aero Pro Drives rather than the two main skips on the last two Aeros. They also softened it up and gave it much better feel with the introduction of NF2 Tech Flax inserts in the layup, and finally got rid of the gargantuan spin grommets that they had been using for many years.

It was daring to change it up so much, which may have made it slightly less spin-friendly (and certainly less so than the Extreme), but what the racket has gained in literally all other metrics is invaluable to its much better performance. Stability, control, solidity, feel, and consistency are all light years ahead of what they were on the last Aero and most other 100-square-inch spin rackets, and that's why it's an easy number one on this list.

For those of you who may be worried that it has lost too much spin, don't be. It still has a very spin-friendly string bed and will always have that classic Aero beam design that we've all come to love with this racket when hitting with spin. You just won't need nearly artificial amounts of spin to control it; it's incredibly well-rounded.

Final Thoughts

Tennis is an ever-evolving (or revolving because of revolutions per minute, aka spin, get it?) industry, so when the list is no longer accurate, we will most certainly update it. For now, these are the best, and there is such great variety which means every player interested in spin should find something that works.

Remember that you can come into the store to demo any of these rackets or check them out online.

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