Tennis Industry magazine


Outlook 2015: Racquets — It’s All about the Fit

With all the options available, it’s still up to the dealer to help customers select a racquet that is a perfect fit.

By Bob Patterson

If you sell tennis racquets, there is one question you probably get on a daily basis: “What is the best racquet?” Of course, that depends on many factors. It is really all about fitting the player with the right racquet for his or her game. Otherwise, you wouldn’t need that entire inventory!

Manufacturer’s have always known this and have offered a range of racquets to fit a variety of needs. It is up to the dealer and the player to decide which model best suits their needs. And while that is still true today, we now have so many more options.

In recent years we have seen manufacturers offer several versions of their most popular racquets. Variations of weight, length and string patterns of the same model have become commonplace. And the options continue to grow. Last fall, Dunlop launched its iDapt line that can be built to the player’s specs with interchangeable parts. This year Head introduces the Adaptive String Pattern (ASP), which can change the pattern from a 16x19 to 16x16, with a switch of the side grommet strip.

We have also seen technology enter in the mix — from racquet selection tools on manufacturers’ websites to racquets and devices that give players feedback on their performance. Babolat is expanding its Play line of racquets that provide technical information to players about their game. We have also seen several aftermarket devices introduced that provide similar information.

Although the options continue to grow, it still depends on fitting the player with the right racquet to enhance their game. That is dependent on the dealer staying abreast of the latest developments and being able to explain it to customers and help them make the decision of what is the best racquet for them. It is still about getting the perfect fit!

BABOLAT • 877-316-9435

The Pure Drive, one of the top-selling racquets of the last decade, gets an update with the addition of FSI (Frame String Interaction) technology. Although the string pattern is still 16x19 like previous generations, it is denser in the center of the racquet for a more responsive contact zone. There are several variations: Pure Drive, Pure Drive+, Pure Drive Lite, Pure Drive Team, and Pure Drive Tour are all 100-square-inch heads. There are also 107- and 110-square-inch head-size models. Babolat will also add the Play AeroPro Drive to the lineup next month.

DUNLOP • 800-768-4727

iDapt was launched a bit earlier (see Tennis Industry, September/October 2014) and has certainly upped the ante on customizable racquets. There are four iDapt models, and with interchangeable parts, they can create 432 different racquets.

HEAD • 800-289-7366

Head continues to expand the Graphene XT line with the introduction of the Speed and Instinct models. The Speed has four variations: Pro, Rev Pro, MP A and S. The Instinct has three models: MP, Rev Pro and S. The Speed and Instinct Rev Pro models as well as the Speed MP A feature the new Adaptive String Pattern (ASP) technology, allowing the string pattern to be changed from 16x19 to 16x16 by swapping out the side grommet strip.


Prince adds two new racquets to its Extreme String Pattern (ESP) lineup: The Tour Pro ESP featuring a 16x16 pattern and the Warrior Pro 100T ESP with a 14x16 pattern. Both offer players comfortable control and spin potential.

TECNIFIBRE • 888-504-7878
Tecnifibre recently introduced the T-Flash 285 ATP and three T-Rebound racquets: the 295 Pro, 275 Pro Lite and 265 Feel. Later this month the company will debut its new T-Fight racquets.

VOLKL • 866-554-7872

Volkl continues to expand its SuperG lineup with the introduction of four new racquets: Organix 1 SuperG, Organix 7 SuperG, and Organix V1 SuperG in MP and OS head sizes.

WILSON • 800-272-6060

The Blade racquets get a new technology boost with four new frames. The Blade 98 (16x19), the Blade 98 (18x20), the Blade S featuring a more open pattern, and the Blade 104. A new franchise debuts with the launch of the Burn, which is designed for baseliners and available in five models to suit a variety of player styles: 100, 100S, 100LS, 100 ULS, and Team. The Burn also features two premium junior models: Burn 26S and 25S.

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About the Author

Bob Patterson , the founder of the RacquetMAXX customization service, is a Master Racquet Technician with more than 20 years of experience. He was RSI's Stringer of the Year in 2005. He is Executive Director for the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association.



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