Tennis Industry magazine

 

Racquet Selection Map 2004

Our at-a-glance reference will instantly compare and differentiate all racquets.

By Crawford Lindsey

What is the optimum combination of racquet weight, weight distribution, stiffness, length, and headsize for a particular player? This can be a complicated problem, with hundreds of possible solutions. But your task is to help make it easier for your customer to find the right racquet for his or her game. That’s where our Racquet Selection Map comes into play. It’s designed to lessen the burden of the thinking and indecision.

The typical player thinks in terms of power, maneuverability, and comfort. The racquet parameters that are responsible for these performance criteria are headsize, weight, balance, swingweight, flex, and length. All these parameters interact to affect each performance, and often in opposite directions. Consequently, the maximization of power, maneuverability, or comfort separately will not maximize their sum. Instead, you have to optimize the tradeoffs, given a player’s style, ability, and goals. How do you do that?

The Racquet Selection Map is a tremendous help. It maps every current performance racquet (over $100 retail) on a power and maneuverability grid. This 2D look gives every racquet a geographic location and statistical identity. At a glance, you can see exactly how your racquet relates to every other racquet on the market. You know the approximate number and percentage of racquets in any performance direction on the map and how far away they are. By deciphering the racquet code in each grid (see Racquet Selector Map Key) and referring to the accompanying racquet locator list, you can also see all the commonly measured performance parameters of every racquet.

All Sweetspots Are Created Equal (almost)

Before you delve into the map, there are several interesting observations to consider about racquets that may help you understand how and why they behave as they do.

At the sweetspot, all racquets are basically created equal with respect to power. That’s an odd, unconventional statement. What does it mean? To answer that we have to look at the role of flex, headsize, length, and swingweight on a ball impact at the sweetspot.

Stiffness (flex)

Stiffness doesn’t matter unless you hit the ball off-center. That is because the racquet does not bend if you hit the ball at the sweetspot (more specifically the vibration node). If it does not bend, no energy is lost. The further off-center you hit, the more the racquet will bend. But stiffer racquets will bend less and lose less energy.

Headsize

Headsize doesn’t contribute to power either, unless you hit off-center, other things being equal. Two racquets of the same stringbed stiffness (not tension, but stiffness), sweetspot location, racquet stiffness, swingweight, and length will hit the ball the same speed (if they are swung at the same speed). However, on an off-center hit, the larger head will generate more ball velocity. That is because the wider racquet face puts more weight further from the racquet’s center axis. This makes it more difficult for the ball to twist the racquet in your hand. Twisting uses up energy that could otherwise be directed to increasing ball velocity.

Also, unless the racquet is strung using proportional tensioning (various techniques for lowering tension on shorter mains), the stringbed response deteriorates more quickly on smaller racquets as you radiate out from the sweetspot. That’s because the main strings get shorter and stiffer compared to a larger headsize. Stiffer strings cause more ball deformation and energy loss (50 percent of energy that goes into ball deformation is lost). Hence, the larger headsize has a larger sweet area. The great advantage of a larger headsize is not the performance at the sweetspot, but the performance everywhere else.

Length

Length only matters to power if the sweetspot is actually located farther from your hand and you hit it there. If you hit the same distance from your hand as with a shorter racquet, you will not hit the ball faster with a longer racquet. The reason longer racquets hit harder is because the sweetspot location is farther from your hand and is thus traveling faster than the sweetspot of a shorter racquet.

Longer racquets have generally been manufactured to have the same swingweight as their shorter siblings, so longer racquets are not necessarily less maneuverable than shorter ones.

Swingweight

Swingweight “only” matters when you are swinging in a circle about some axis — which is basically most of the time. Swingweight determines how fast you can accelerate the racquet. The swingweight of a racquet is an indication of how much torque you must apply to the racquet handle to get the racquet to swing. The value of the swingweight is determined by the amount and distribution of weight in the racquet. A low swingweight is very maneuverable. A high swingweight is less maneuverable but more powerful for a given swing speed. Swingweight is also a good indicator of how much weight is “behind” the ball at impact.

Of all the parameters discussed above, only the swingweight is not created equal in the sweetspot. The racquet with the highest swingweight will most likely be more powerful in the sweetspot during a normal swing about an axis like your wrist, elbow, or shoulder (stringbed stiffness being equal). That is because the ball will behave as if it collided with a heavier object and, hence, moves and rotates that object less.

The amount the racquet is accellerated when it is hit is related to how heavy the racquet behaves (not how heavy it actually is) at that point. This amount is known as the “effective weight,” or “hitting weight,” at the impact location. The faster the impact point accelerates backwards, the lighter must be the effective weight. The effective weight is indirectly related to the swingweight, and most of the time, swingweight can be used as a stand-in to predict results.*

Swingweight is therefore the only parameter that is intrinsically related to power at all impact locations. It is also the only variable that is related to maneuverability in almost all swings. And it is the only variable that can, under the right circumstance, cause an increase in power by being smaller (faster swing) or larger (more oomph behind the swing).

Reading the Map

Given the discussion above, some interesting statements can be made about the Racquet Selector Map. Within a given row (all racquets with about the same swingweight), the power will be the same in the sweetspot, but outside the sweetspot, the power will behave more as plotted on the map.

For all racquets in a given column (i.e., the same power rating), the racquet with the highest swingweight will be a little more powerful in the sweetspot, but off-center the map coordinates apply.

Much of racquet selection is about how much of the racquet you use (intentionally or not). Sweet areas differ a lot once you leave the less than ball-sized bulls-eye of the sweetspot. Racquets are like people — they are more or less alike at the core, but it’s all the rest of the stuff that differentiates them.

2004 Racquet Selector Map

Racquet Selection Map Key

  1. Power/Control (columns). Formula = (length index × headsize × flex × swingweight) ÷ 1000. Length index calculation: 27” = 1.0, 27.5” = 1.05; 28” = 1.1, etc.
  2. Maneuverability (rows). RDC (Babolat Racquet Diagnostic Center) swingweight units.
  3. Racquet ID. The number in the grid correlates to the accompanying racquet list.
  4. Headsize. Midsize and midplus (<104 sq. in.) have no indicator. Oversize (105-117 sq. in.) = •. Superoversize (≥ 118 sq. in.) = :.
  5. Length. x = extended length. Standard length (27”) racquets have no indicator.
  6. Flex (RDC). a = < 60; b = 60-64; c = 65-69; d = 70-74; e = > 74. The higher the number, the stiffer the racquet.
  7. Company. Coded by number and color. See accompanying racquet list on the following pages.
  8. Racquet Quadrants and the Center of the Racquet Universe. The center of the racquet universe is located at the intersection of the two red lines. Approximately half the racquets lie to the right and left, and half above and below these lines. The lines divide the racquet universe into four color-coded quadrants — clockwise from top left: (1) quick power, (2) quick control, (3) stable control, (4) stable power. These characterizations provide a general vocabulary for comparing racquets.
  9. Racquet Finder List. The racquet list accompanying the map identifies each racquet and gives additional information. The map provides specific (very narrow ranges, anyway) swingweight, flex and power statistics, and general size and length characteristics. The racquet list specifies the length and size and further specifies weight, balance, and price.

How To Use It

  1. Ask questions. What are you looking for that your current racquet does not provide? What do you like most and least about your current racquet? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your game?
  2. Locate current racquet on map. If the racquet is not in the list, take measurements.
  3. Locating potential racquets. Depending on the answers to the above questions, draw an imaginary arrow (a wide or skinny one) from your present racquet in the desired direction for power and maneuverability.
  4. Narrowing the field. Shrink the choices using the length, headsize, and flex codes to match customer preferences.
  5. Selecting racquet demos. Once the choices are narrowed, locate the racquets by number in the racquet list.
No. Racquet Head size Len. Wt. Bal. cm Bal. in. Flex RDC Swgwt Power SRP
Babolat
1 Aerotour 97 27.00 322 32.75 12.89 73 300 2124 $189
2 Aerotour + 97 27.50 332 33.00 12.99 72 328 2405 $189
3 Aerotour O.S. 107 27.20 313 32.50 12.80 72 308 2420 $189
4 Aerotour Pro Ltd. 97 27.00 347 33.25 13.09 75 331 2408 $189
5 Aerotour Pro Ltd. + 97 27.50 350 33.00 12.99 75 344 2628 $189
6 Pure Control MP + Team 100 27.60 330 33.00 12.99 64 325 2205 $179
7 Pure Control MP Team 100 27.00 327 32.50 12.80 63 325 2048 $179
8 Pure Control + Team 98 27.50 345 32.25 12.70 69 335 2379 $190
9 Pure Control Team 98 27.00 346 31.75 12.50 69 334 2259 $190
10 Pure Control Zylon 360 97 27.00 310 33.50 13.19 65 304 1917 $189
11 Pure Control Zylon 360 + 97 27.60 307 34.00 13.39 66 323 2192 $189
12 Pure Drive OS Team 110 27.50 289 35.00 13.78 72 320 2661 $179
13 Pure Drive Team 100 27.00 317 33.00 12.99 71 313 2222 $190
14 Pure Drive Team + 100 27.50 313 33.50 13.19 73 322 2468 $179
15 Pure Drive Zylon 360 100 27.00 261 35.50 13.98 66 281 1855 $189
16 Pure Drive Zylon 360 + 100 27.50 269 36.50 14.37 69 313 2268 $189
17 Pure Power Zylon 360 102 27.00 293 33.75 13.29 69 300 2111 $189
18 Soft Drive 104 27.00 284 34.50 13.58 69 299 2146 $160
19 Soft Power 107 27.00 284 34.50 13.58 71 299 2272 $160
20 VS NCT Control 103 27.25 275 36.00 14.17 70 297 2195 $199
21 VS NCT Drive 110 27.50 271 36.25 14.27 72 303 2520 $209
Bancroft
22 Classic 280 107 27.00 276 34.50 13.58 68 288 2095 $189
23 Classic 315 98 27.00 310 33.50 13.19 73 307 2196 $179
24 Classic 335 98 27.00 330 33.25 13.09 74 318 2306 $179
25 Vapor 260 107 27.50 270 38.25 15.06 66 290 2150 $189
26 Vapor 270 115 28.00 277 38.50 15.16 82 329 3413 $189
27 Vapor 280 107 27.00 278 34.50 13.58 80 345 2953 $189
Blackburne
28 DS-107 107 27.00 292 36.75 14.47 68 341 2481 $199
29 Excalibur Ti 107 107 27.00 280 37.00 14.57 71 327 2484 $299
30 Excalibur Ti 97 97 27.00 280 36.25 14.27 71 320 2204 $299
Cayman
31 Airlite 95 27.00 267 36.85 14.51 56 299 1591 $120
32 Catalyst II 100 27.00 348 31.25 12.30 67 321 2151 $110
33 Catalyst II Pro 100 27.00 346 31.00 12.20 68 304 2067 $110
34 Energizer II 100 28.50 348 34.60 13.62 60 395 2726 $145
35 Energizer II Pro 100 27.50 335 33.25 13.09 64 334 2244 $110
36 Energizer Ti 100 28.37 259 39.50 15.55 58 338 2229 $160
37 Excel Comp II 110 27.00 345 33.25 13.09 67 353 2602 $120
38 Pro Heat II 95 27.00 333 31.00 12.20 53 300 1511 $120
39 Pro Smash II 95 27.00 340 32.00 12.60 59 324 1816 $135
40 Pro Talis II 110 27.00 341 31.50 12.40 57 307 1925 $110
41 Pro Talis II Long 110 28.50 349 33.50 13.19 52 375 2467 $125
42 Sidewinder Ti 110 28.25 260 38.75 15.26 64 328 2598 $125
43 Strike X 95 27.00 278 36.50 14.37 74 317 2229 $120
Dunlop
44 200G 95 (Tour Specification) 95 27.00 335 32.75 12.89 60 314 1790 $169
45 300G 98 98 27.00 304 33.25 13.09 64 307 1926 $179
46 400G 100 100 27.38 302 32.00 12.60 63 282 1844 $189
47 500G 102 27.00 290 32.75 12.89 63 278 1786 $189
48 600G I.C.E. 102 27.00 285 36.00 14.17 73 297 2211 $220
49 700G 110 27.50 294 33.00 12.99 69 297 2367 $199
50 800G I.C.E. 110 27.50 281 36.75 14.47 68 314 2466 $190
51 900G 114 114 27.50 265 35.25 13.88 73 285 2490 $219
52 Lady G 108 27.50 280 35.00 13.78 75 295 2509 $160
53 Quadro 102 102 27.25 286 34.25 13.48 66 292 2015 $120
54 Quadro 110 110 27.50 286 34.25 13.48 61 285 2008 $120
55 Super Revelation 108 108 27.00 298 36.50 14.37 67 335 2424 $170
56 Super Revelation 95 95 27.00 291 36.00 14.17 68 317 2048 $170
Fischer
57 GDS Rally FT Titanium 102 27.38 297 33.50 13.19 67 296 2100 $155
58 GDS Spice FT 102 27.25 276 35.00 13.78 67 284 1989 $180
59 GDS Spirit FT 107 27.00 296 35.50 13.98 66 311 2196 $140
60 GDS Take Off 1250 120 28.25 259 36.25 14.27 73 295 2907 $240
61 Pro Exreme FT 95 27.25 340 32.00 12.60 62 301 1817 $210
62 Pro Impact FT 102 27.25 310 33.25 13.09 67 294 2059 $210
63 Pro No. 1 98 27.00 334 32.00 12.60 64 308 1932 $180
64 Pro No. 1 FT 98 27.40 309 33.25 13.09 63 297 1907 $180
65 Smash Ti 102 27.00 297 33.25 13.09 64 282 1841 $100
66 Twin Tec 750 FTi 105 27.63 291 36.25 14.27 70 326 2546 $180
67 Twin Tec 950 FTi 112 27.75 281 36.00 14.17 70 316 2663 $210
Head
68 i.extreme MP 102 27.00 282 34.00 13.39 69 280 1971 $140
69 i.prestige MP 98 27.00 335 32.00 12.60 64 311 1951 $225
70 i.prestige MP XL 98 27.50 325 34.00 13.39 65 335 2241 $225
71 i.S1 MP 102 27.25 290 34.00 13.39 70 294 2152 $120
72 i.S1 OS 107 27.25 274 34.50 13.58 73 283 2266 $120
73 i.tour MP 100 27.00 306 32.75 12.89 66 295 1947 $150
74 i.X1 OS 107 27.75 279 34.50 13.58 76 292 2553 $120
75 i.X11 OS 115 27.75 236 39.00 15.35 73 297 2680 $275
76 i.X16 Chip System 118 28.00 262 35.25 13.88 71 288 2654 $325
77 i.X3 MP 98 27.00 298 34.00 13.39 73 295 2110 $180
78 i.X3 OS 107 27.50 272 35.75 14.07 73 308 2526 $180
79 i.X5 MP 102 27.25 283 35.50 13.98 70 303 2218 $200
80 i.X5 OS 107 27.50 267 37.00 14.57 67 319 2401 $200
81 i.X6 MP 102 27.50 257 36.50 14.37 75 288 2313 $250
82 i.X6 OS 112 27.75 240 37.25 14.67 67 284 2291 $250
83 i.XSpeed MP 102 27.00 277 36.00 14.17 72 297 2181 $160
84 Liquidmetal 2 OS 105 27.38 266 36.00 14.17 63 290 1990 $180
85 Liquidmetal 4 102 27.50 289 36.00 14.17 71 330 2509 $225
86 Liquidmetal 8 112 27.33 282 35.50 13.98 66 312 2382 $250
87 Liquidmetal Instinct 100 27.00 307 33.70 13.27 64 319 2042 $170
88 Liquidmetal Prestige Mid 93 27.00 348 32.00 12.60 63 341 1995 $225
89 Liquidmetal Prestige MP 98 27.00 329 32.30 12.72 63 317 1957 $225
90 Liquidmetal Radical MP 98 27.00 310 33.25 13.09 66 318 2057 $200
91 Liquidmetal Radical OS 107 27.00 314 33.00 12.99 60 321 2061 $200
Power Angle
92 Power 102 102 27.38 274 36.50 14.37 72 314 2392 $219
93 Power 115 115 27.38 268 37.25 14.67 74 318 2808 $229
94 Power 98 98 27.00 322 30.50 12.01 63 289 1784 $199
Prince
95 More Performance Approach 105 27.50 286 35.00 13.78 70 320 2470 $180
96 More Performance Attack 1050 S OS 110 27.50 303 33.75 13.29 67 320 2476 $210
97 More Performance Attack 920 S MP 100 27.25 314 32.50 12.80 68 314 2189 $210
98 More Performance Balance 950 S MP 100 27.25 289 35.00 13.78 80 311 2550 $220
99 More Performance Control DB 800 MP 97 27.00 327 32.75 12.89 74 317 2275 $200
100 More Performance Control DB 850 OS 107 27.25 310 33.00 12.99 73 303 2426 $200
101 Thunder RIP OS 115 28.00 274 37.00 14.57 78 340 3355 $210
102 Tour Diablo Mid 93 27.00 340 32.00 12.60 67 310 1932 $170
103 Tour Diablo MP 100 27.25 314 32.00 12.60 63 298 1924 $170
104 Tour NXGraphite Mid 92 27.00 359 31.00 12.20 64 329 1937 $200
105 Tour NXGraphite MP 100 27.25 336 32.00 12.60 66 310 2097 $200
106 Tour NXGraphite OS 107 27.50 336 31.50 12.40 64 325 2337 $200
107 Triple Threat Scream MP 100 27.00 292 35.75 14.07 74 314 2324 $120
108 Triple Threat Scream OS 110 27.50 284 35.25 13.88 69 311 2479 $120
109 Turbo Outlaw MP 100 27.00 291 35.75 14.07 71 311 2208 $150
110 Turbo Outlaw OS 110 27.50 285 35.00 13.78 71 314 2575 $150
Pro Kennex
111 Core 1 No 06 95 27.13 339 31.75 12.50 61 317 1860 $190
112 Core 1 No 10 102 27.25 310 33.75 13.29 68 311 2211 $200
113 Core 1 No 22 115 27.50 259 37.25 14.67 76 306 2808 $250
114 Kinetic Pro 15g Reach 105 28.00 309 32.75 12.89 65 345 2590 $189
115 Type C/93 93 27.00 346 32.00 12.60 60 328 1830 $169
Volkl
116 Catapult 1 w/FIRE 120 27.75 261 36.50 14.37 72 311 2889 $270
117 Catapult 10 98 27.00 319 34.00 13.39 58 306 1739 $200
118 Catapult 2 115 27.80 272 35.50 13.98 75 301 2804 $270
119 Catapult 3 110 27.75 274 34.50 13.58 72 293 2495 $220
120 Catapult 3 w/FIRE 110 27.75 273 34.00 13.39 68 296 2380 $220
121 Catapult 4 105 27.50 284 34.00 13.39 67 296 2186 $200
122 Catapult 6 100 27.25 294 33.75 13.29 66 299 2023 $180
123 Catapult 7 100 27.50 303 34.00 13.39 63 308 2037 $200
124 Catapult V1 MP 102 27.00 297 33.00 12.99 64 288 1880 $250
125 Catapult V1 OS 110 27.50 306 34.00 13.39 59 321 2187 $250
126 Tour 10 Mid 93 27.00 331 33.00 12.99 60 319 1780 $190
127 Tour 10 MP 98 27.00 329 32.75 12.89 64 322 2020 $190
128 Tour 10 V-Engine 93 27.13 336 32.00 12.60 60 308 1740 $200
129 Tour 6 105 27.00 274 34.50 13.58 63 288 1905 $130
130 Tour 7 107 27.00 311 33.25 13.09 66 302 2133 $180
131 Tour 8 100 27.60 315 33.50 13.19 71 313 2356 $150
132 Tour 8 SE 100 27.00 288 33.50 13.19 64 282 1805 $150
133 Tour 9 98 27.00 321 32.50 12.80 67 298 1957 $170
134 Tour 9 V-Engine 98 27.13 322 33.00 12.99 64 303 1924 $180
135 V1 Classic 102 27.00 313 33.50 13.19 68 320 2220 $200
136 V1 Classic 10 Year Anniversary 102 27.00 298 34.50 13.58 72 310 2277 $200
Weed
137 Z-ONE35 135 27.00 273 36.25 14.27 67 314 2840 $250
Wilson
138 H Blaze 95 27.13 276 37.00 14.57 59 320 1816 $130
139 H Cosmo 115 27.75 246 39.50 15.55 77 315 2999 $200
140 H Tour (Hammer Tour) 95 27.25 301 35.50 13.98 65 336 2127 $150
141 H Tour MP 105 27.44 297 35.75 14.07 69 332 2511 $170
142 H Wave 100 27.50 282 36.50 14.37 78 328 2686 $190
143 H1 Outer Edge 135 28.50 253 39.25 15.45 75 329 3825 $220
144 H2 (Hammer 2) 115 27.80 258 37.50 14.76 74 309 2840 $190
145 H4 (Hammer 4) 113 27.50 269 37.25 14.67 73 318 2754 $180
146 H5 MP (Hammer 5 MP) 102 27.50 281 37.00 14.57 70 326 2444 $160
147 H5 OS (Hammer 5 OS) 113 27.50 255 38.25 15.06 71 310 2611 $160
148 H6 MP (Hammer 6 MP) 95 27.25 271 36.25 14.27 67 314 2049 $140
149 H6 OS (Hammer 6 OS) 110 27.50 276 36.75 14.47 65 326 2447 $140
150 Hyper Pro Staff 5.0 Stretch MP 95 27.50 344 31.00 12.20 71 319 2259 $190
151 Hyper Pro Staff 6.1 MP 95 27.00 342 32.30 12.72 69 325 2130 $190
152 Pro Staff 6.0 Original 85 85 27.00 354 31.75 12.50 67 323 1839 $190
153 PRO STAFF ROK 93 27.00 336 32.75 12.89 62 329 1897 $160
154 Pro Staff Surge 5.1 100 27.00 307 33.25 13.09 67 305 2044 $150
155 PRO STAFF SURGE X 100 27.50 312 32.50 12.80 69 314 2275 $150
156 Pro Staff Tour 90 90 27.00 351 31.75 12.50 67 325 1960 $160
157 Pro Staff Tour 95 95 27.00 326 32.00 12.60 62 311 1832 $160
158 Pro Staff Trance MP 95 27.00 277 34.50 13.58 70 290 1929 $120
159 Pro Staff Trance OS 110 27.00 281 35.00 13.78 74 302 2458 $120
160 T3 MID (TRIAD 3 MID) 100 27.50 269 37.90 14.92 73 310 2376 $250
161 T3 OS (TRIAD 3 OS) 115 27.50 266 37.00 14.57 71 294 2521 $230
162 T4 OS (TRIAD 4 OS) 110 27.50 266 37.00 14.57 72 296 2462 $220
163 T5 MP (TRIAD 5 MP) 98 27.38 277 37.25 14.67 73 314 2332 $200
164 T5 OS (TRIAD 5 OS) 110 27.38 271 36.00 14.17 70 287 2294 $200
165 Triad 2 118 28.00 237 37.75 14.86 77 326 3258 $250
Yonex
166 MP Tour 5 98 27.50 323 32.00 12.60 60 304 1877 $169
167 MP Tour-1 XF 98 27.38 309 33.75 13.29 65 316 2089 $189
168 Ultimum RQ Ti-200M 102 27.00 258 36.00 14.17 73 281 2092 $119
169 Ultimum RQ Ti-250M 98 27.00 264 37.00 14.57 76 298 2220 $139
170 V-Con 15 100 27.50 287 35.00 13.78 71 305 2274 $189

* To be exact, effective weight depends on “recoilweight,” which is the resistance to rotation around the balance point. Swingweight is the resistance to rotation about an axis 3.94 inches (10 centimeters) from the butt end of the racquet. This is all explained in The Physics and Technology of Tennis available from the USRSA (760-536-1177) or online at usrsa.com. Recoilweight and hittingweight of any racquet can also be calculated in the member’s area of usrsa.com.

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About the Author

Crawford Lindsey  is co-author of The Physics and Technology of Tennis and Technical Tennis

 

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