Choosing a tennis racquet
With tennis racquets coming in an array of weights, sizes, styles and prices, you’re guaranteed to find one that suits your standard and physical capabilities.
Depending on your gender and age, the ideal weight of racquets for beginners will differ. Women and older players should aim to select a lighter racquet between 150 and 180 grams, while men should look at racquets weighing between 170 and 200 grams.
Regardless of weight, all beginners should seek racquets with relatively large head-sizes with a big sweet spot – this will provide a greater margin for error.
All racquet brands offer similarly weighted and sized racquets with comparable features and price points. Work out how much you want to spend – based on how often you are playing – and go from there. An approach is to start off with a cheaper racquet and look at upgrading as your standard improves.
Racquets in the $50 to $150 price bracket may not be comprised fully of graphite or contain dampening features, but are suitable for players who play every couple of weeks. More serious, frequent players should look at racquets priced above $150 depending on your budget.
Beginners can start with the strings that come with the racquet at purchase. If these strings break and need replacing, softer synthetic strings like Synthetic Gut, Wilson Sensation and Wilson NXT) are good options because they’re easy on the arm and great for power and feel around the court. The only drawback is that they break easily due to being soft, especially if you hit with lots of topspin.
More serious players could look at firmer, polyester strings such as Babolat RPM Blast, Luxilon Big Banger, Luxilon 4G and Volkl Cyclone. They’re suitable for players who have a fast swing and can generate their own pace. Being firmer, however, makes them harder on the arm, so players with elbow or shoulder problems should be wary of using them.
For those in the middle – those that break strings often, but find polyester too firm – then a blended stringing pattern is a good approach. This involves using polyester for the vertical strings (mains) and softer synthetic strings for the horizontal ones (crosses).
A good rule of thumb: the number of times you play in one week is the number of times you should re-string your racquet in a year.
This relates to the thickness of the tennis racquet handle.
- 4 1/8 inches/grip size 1 – this is very small, and suitable for small children
- 4 1/4 inches/grip size 2 – this is small, and suitable for children or women with small hands
- 4 3/8 inches/grip size 3 – this is medium, and suitable for both women and men depending on their hand size
- 4 ½ inches/grip size 4 – this is large, and suitable for men with large hands
When selecting a racquet and testing a grip size, take a few air swings – if it feels comfortable and your fingers and palm are not touching, then you’ve found the right one.