The often asked question by young players is about the best tennis racket to choose from. Thus it is also important to know how certain players end up preferring one brand of racket over the other.
There are a lot of dynamics involved whereby a tennis player ends up playing with one certain brand of racket.
THE LOWER LEVEL :
There are two parts to the story. One is at a lower level when a kid starts playing tennis or a young player playing tennis. The other one pertains to a higher level when a player becomes a matured or a professional player.
1. Coaches Influence – For any kid who go to a tennis academy, the first influence is the coach. Parents choose a racket for a kid after consulting the coach of the tennis academy.
2. Brand Promotion – It also depends on the kind of brand promotion that a racket company does with a tennis academy. All across the country, racket brands tie up with certain tennis academies and sponsor it. A racket brand gives certain number of rackets to the tennis academy for a year. According to the performance and ability of players, the rackets are then given to its players.
Zeeshan Ali Tennis Academy in Bangalore is sponsored by Yonex.
3. Role Models – As a young tennis player everyone has his own role models. Thus they also associate with the racket they play with. Thus a Roger Federer fan will go for Wilson. No wonder the Roger Federer autographed Wilson Pro Staff RF 97 Autograph is a hit among many.
Wilson Pro Staff RF 97 Autograph
Likeswise a hardcore Rafael Nadal fan will have Babolat in his home. Head will find a place in homes who are loyal to Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
THE HIGHER LEVEL:
1. The Top Guys – The top tennis players in India are sponsored by different brands. Ideally the top 4 to 5 in India including players like Yuki Bhambri, Ramkumar Ramanathan and Sumit Nagal in Men`s and Ankita Raina in Women`s are sponsored internationally by the racket companies. Thus we have Yuki Bhambri, Ramkumar Ramanathan and Prajnesh Gunneswaran sponsored by Babolat. Ankita Raina and Sumit Nagal are sponsored by Yonex. Typically a player like Yuki Bhambri gets about 40 rackets a year. Also these rackets are specially customized according to their needs.
The players who are below these top guys but yet have ATP rankings or are doing well at AITA tournaments are sponsored by these racket companies but at a lower level. These players would either get less number of rackets in a year or will get discount on them.
2. Specific Requirements – Players use rackets according to their playing style
- A guy having natural power will look for more control in his racket
- A guy looking for more spin
- Different String Patterns like 16 x 19 or 16 x 20. The internationally common string pattern is 16 x 19
- Different racket head size like 97, 98, 100 Sq.In.
THE TOP BRANDS: Following are the top brands. Kindly note the below brands are not listed according to any specific order.
1. Wilson – Wilson has been in the market for quite sometime. It has been popularized by Pete Sampras earlier and now by Roger Federer. Both have used Wilson Pro Staff.
Wilson Pro Staff is made famous by Roger Federer. Milos Raonic uses Wilson Blade 98.
2. Head – Head was made famous when Andre Agassi won 7 of his 8 Grand Slams with his Head Radical racket. During that time, Head was the Numero Uno in the racket sale.
Among the current players, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are two of the top players who uses Head. While Novak Djokovic uses Head Speed, Andy Murray uses Head Radical.
3. Babolat – Babolat has been making its mark a big way thanks to the exploits of Rafael Nadal. Also it has an Indian interest as the top two Men`s singles players in the country, Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar Ramanathan uses Babolat.
Rafael Nadal and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga uses Babolat Pure Aero.
4. Yonex – Yonex for long has been perceived as a Badminton racket company. But there has been a paradigm shift in the thinking of late. For those who might know that Billie Jing King and Martina Navratilova used Yonex in the 1970s. Also in India, its top Women`s player Ankita Raina and Indian upcoming Men`s tennis player Sumit Nadal uses Yonex.
Vcore and Ezone are two top brands of Yonex. Yonex Vcore is used by Stan Wawrinka while Yonex Ezone is used by Victoria Azarenka.
Also according to Rahul Saraf, Product Manager of Yonex for Tennis in India, the Isometric technology of the rackets is its unique selling point.
5. Technifibre – Technifibre is not as big a name as the others already mentioned. Slowly they are trying to make inroads into the Tennis racket industry.
Players like Daniil Medvedev, Janko Tipsarevic, Denis Istomin etc uses Tecnifibre.
6. Prince – After Michael Chang gave Prince its prominence, it could not sustain the momentum.
Currently, Prince is heavily dependent on John Isner`s exploits.
7. Dunlop – The first thing that comes to mind when you talk of Dunlop racket is that of Steffi Graf`s scorching forehand. Before that the image of John McEnroe making those delicate stop volleys at the net comes to the forefront.
Unfortunately, Dunlop no more has the legacy it used to have. Currently, Kevin Anderson is its biggest player using the racket.
Indian Players Quotes – Here are a few direct quotes that I took from India`s top professional players.
- ” I am using Yonex Ezone 98. The best thing I like about Yonex is the comfort factor. Also it has wider sweet spots. I use about 6-8 rackets a year”, Ankita Raina, India`s No.1 Women`s Tennis Player
- ” I am using Head Prestige Pro. This racket goes well with my game style which is aggressive with serve and volley”, Sriram Balaji, one of India`s Top Men`s Player.
- ” I am using Yonex Ezone 100. It has good power and feel to it, Pranjala Yadlapalli, India`s No.3 Women`s Singles Player.
Author`s Take – When it comes to the top players all their rackets are customized to their style of play and requirements. Thus it depends on an individual`s comfort level with a particular racket. Thus it is not possible to give any verdict regarding the same.
.In next version of article kindly explain how to choose the right SPECS in different categories including STRINGS . Expecting Eagerly. Tennis Fan — Coimbatore
Dear Dr. Manikandan, Thanks for the valuable feedback..