How to Choose a Tennis Racquet

by Catherine Amo

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Tennis racquets are available in a variety of materials, designs, and sizes. There are several factors to consider when selecting a tennis racquet and each factor is important enough to affect the quality of your game. For best performance, choose a tennis racquet with components that you're comfortable with for your level of ability.

Selecting a Tennis Racquet:

  1. Level of play: There are racquets for beginner, intermediate, and advanced players. Light racquets are best for beginners. Advanced players will perform better with heavy racquets that have light heads. Such a racquet is designed for those who provide their own power.

  2. Price: Lower-priced racquets perform well for casual players, although high-priced racquets include more features that are designed to allow a player to execute difficult or expert shots.

  3. Materials: Graphite is considered the best material for tennis racquets and is often mixed with other materials such as Kevlar, titanium, and fiberglass. Other materials for racquets include aluminum and titanium.

  4. Strung or unstrung: Manufacturers sell unstrung tennis racquets for those players who choose to select their own string. You can string the racquet yourself with a stringer or have it professionally done.

  5. Strings for unstrung racquets: Natural gut strings tend to be the most expensive, but many players consider them to be the best. Synthetic options include nylon, polyester, and Kevlar. Strings are sold in gauges ranging from 15 to 19; the higher the number, the thinner the string. Thicker strings are more durable, while thinner strings are generally easier to play with.

  6. Size: Racquets are available in three head sizes: mid-size, mid-plus, and oversize. Mid-size racquets are smaller but less cumbersome, while larger racquets have more head space and a larger "sweet spot," making it easier to hit a ball solidly.

  7. Weight and balance: The weight of a tennis racquet ranges from 8 ounces to 12.5 ounces unstrung and could weigh more than 14 ounces when strung. The weight is not usually balanced evenly and could be concentrated in the handle (which tends to be better for advanced players) or at the head (which is better for beginners).

  8. Length of the racquet: The standard length for an adult racquet is 27 inches, but there are longer racquets. Advanced players may choose longer racquets for increased serving power and beginners usually avoid them because of their reduced maneuverability.

  9. Grip size: An incorrect grip size can affect your game, so be sure to carefully measure your hand and select a grip size that will feel comfortable while you play.

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