Tennis Industry magazine


OUTLOOK 2016: Racquets & Strings — New and Improved

Racquets for spring include updates of existing models and brand new lines, while new string offerings are available for all types of players.

By Bob Patterson

As we start a new year, manufacturers are gearing up with new models that include tweaks of successful designs as well as brand new racquets. They also continue to push the envelope with new string introductions to suit players of every type.

BABOLAT • 877-316-9435

Babolat continues to advance technology. Its Play racquets, introduced in 2013, were the first “connected” tennis racquets. Now, the company introduces POP, which is a wristband that can be worn during play using any racquet, allowing players of all ages and playing levels to discover their game performance through entertaining features and challenges. The device pairs with any IOS or Android device.

Babolat also introduces a new family of racquets for 2016, including a new recreational range and an evolution of its predecessor, the E-Sense line. The Flow series includes three frames — Flow Tour, Flow Lite and Flow 105 — to fit the needs of all player types.

DUNLOP • 800-768-4727

Dunlop is introducing five new tennis racquets for 2016: the Force 98, Force 98 Tour, Force 100, Force 100 Tour and Force 105. The new Force racquets feature Dunlop’s new SR-X handle system, giving them an entirely unique feel. Glass fiber rods slotted into precision channels inside the handle help dissipate vibration, says the company, resulting in a softer feel on the hands when striking the ball. To increase racquet control and stability, the size of the flare at the base of the handle has been increased by 30 percent.

GAMMA • 412-323-0335

Gamma launches a new string series for 2016 with the Ocho line. The octagon-profiled strings are offered in a variety of styles to fit most players’ needs. The 8-sided string profile is designed to bite the ball for ultimate spin and control, says the company. Gamma Ocho is a soft co-poly monofilament construction designed for baseliners. The nylon Ocho TNT features an octagonal coating with a solid center core and is suited for all-court players. The Ocho XP features an octagonal coating with a multifilament core providing more power and comfort. All three strings are available in 16 (1.30 mm) and 17 (1.25 mm) in both sets and reels.

HEAD • 800-289-7366

Head continues to expand the Graphene XT line with introduction of nine new tennis racquets. The GrapheneXT Radical Pro, GrapheneXT Radical S, GrapheneXT Radical Lite, and GrapheneXT Radical MP A, which features the Head Adaptive String Pattern (ASP), allowing the frame to be strung either as a 16x16 or 16x19 pattern by swapping out the side grommet strip. Other new frames are the GrapheneXT Prestige Pro, GrapheneXT Prestige Rev Pro, GrapheneXT Prestige MP, GrapheneXT Prestige S, and the GrapheneXT PWR Prestige. All the new racquets are compatible with the Sony Smart Tennis Sensor.

PACIFIC • 941-795-1789

Pacific introduces the next evolution of basalt fiber technology — BXT — with three new racquets for spring: BXT X Force Pro.1, BXT X Tour 97, and the BXT X Force LT. All three have Pacific’s new PGS (Precise Grip System), which features a handle made of high-tech injection molding, ensuring that every handle has the exact same weight and size and is 80 percent stronger than traditional foam handles.

Pacific also is adding new gauges to its two best-selling poly strings. Poly Force and XCite will now be available in a 1.20 mm/17 gauge.


Prince expands its Textreme technology with five new frames for spring: the Premier 120, Premier 105, Warrior 100, Warrior 100T and Warrior 100L. Textreme is an advanced super-thin material that allows for a tighter weave pattern, which packs more carbon fibers per square inch, delivering greater control, says the company.

A new string is also being introduced: the Warrior Response 16, available in both sets and reels.

VOLKL • 866-554-7872

Volkl rolls out two new frames this year. First is an updated version of the classic C10 Pro offering continuity for the longtime Volkl player. The racquet features a twin absorber handle developed specifically for tournament-level players. Also new is the Team Speed, which is a 102-square-inch head that offers a large, forgiving sweet spot, making this the perfect transition frame for juniors moving into the adult performance market, says the company.

WILSON • 800-272-6060

Wilson introduces a new racquet franchise with a familiar name — Ultra. The Ultra racquets feature octagon geometry inside the frame and a rounded geometry outside of the frame, which allows players to swing faster with less effort, according to Wilson. The Ultra frames consist of four models: 97, 100, 103S and 108.

Also new from Wilson are three Burn FST (Fast Speed Technology) models: 95, 99 and 99S. The Burn FST racquets are built for speed, says the company, designed for baseliners to increase racquet-head speed to play a more aggressive game. All the new Wilson frames are compatible with the Sony Smart Tennis Sensor.

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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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