Tennis is a really old sport. It’s been around for centuries and was once dubbed “the sport of kings.” Such a title means that this activity demands some respect and we intend to give it that respect by helping you be the best you can at the sport.
A wise man once said, “A carpenter is nothing without his tools.” Those words still ring true and especially in the case of tennis. The right racket can make a world of difference.
That is why we think it is vital to answer the question: What is the best tennis racket?
The Evolution of Tennis Rackets
As with most things in life, an easy way to learn more about tennis rackets is through learning about its history and the way it has changed over the years.
Era 1: Wooden Rackets
As we already mentioned in the introduction, tennis has been around for ages so it only makes sense that it has the humblest of beginnings, and it doesn’t get much humbler than wood.
The first tennis racket in recorded history was made with wood by Major Walter C. Wingfield in 1874. Funnily, tennis predates tennis rackets as people used to use other rackets to play tennis before the Major’s innovation.
This racket added flexibility that could be matched by any other type of racket in the market and made it perfect for the rapidly growing “lawn tennis” or as we know it today, tennis.
Era 2: Metal Rackets
Despite their flexibility and specialized build, wooden rackets had one very big flaw. It was extremely heavy. The large frame and dense material made it quite a burden to carry around mid-match. It could literally kill someone.
Along with that, wooden rackets were not the most durable. As with most wooden items, with enough pressure, it will certainly crack and leave splinters everywhere. We are not even going to talk about termites or rotting.
Metal rackets fixed all these issues and added more flexibility when they entered the scene in 1957 but they didn’t really gain the deserved attention up until the 70s.
Since then, they were the undisputed GOATs in terms of racket material.
Era 3: Graphite Rackets
Enter graphite rackets. The material we use to this day combats every issue wood raises and diminishes the new issues brought from the use of metal.
The lightest metal rackets in the form of aluminum rackets can’t compete with the lightness of graphite as it is almost like holding nothing when put up against other materials.
In terms of durability, they are far ahead. As a modern innovation, graphite rackets can sustain quite a bit. Furthermore, it doesn’t rust like a lot of metals.
This perfectly walks the line between flexibility and stability. These rackets don’t bend too much but at the same time, they aren’t completely stiff.
No other material has come close to its caliber as of yet but that’s not to say we won’t find better alternatives soon.
Factors Affecting The Quality Of A Racket
Now that we got a brief history lesson on tennis rackets, let’s take a look at the factors that determine how good or how bad your racket is.
As we learned from reviewing the history of tennis rackets, graphite is the way-to-go for now. Whether it be lightness, durability, flexibility or strength from shots no material can compete with graphite.
Thanks to modern technological advancements, graphite can be mixed with other metal to make even stronger combinations or more flexible systems. Wood is pretty much dead but metal-graphite combinations are what’s in now.
What is the best tennis racket? We don’t know yet but we can almost be sure it is made of graphite.
2. Type of player
Now that you know exactly how materials matter and what type of material determines how good a racket is, it’s also very important to know what the person holding the material should be like.
This is by far the most important factor in our books as rackets depend heavily on your comfort zone and how you play.
You can divide this factor into 3 more factors (sub-factors, if you will.)
Like most sports, you get better with experience and at the least get more comfortable with the sport.
For example; a beginner won’t be able to play with rackets where the balance is off in any way whereas advanced players sometimes prefer such rackets.
Unfortunately, if you don’t have it, you don’t. Talent can’t be learned in a lot of cases so even if you have been playing tennis for years, you could still be at the same level as a beginner.
There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Just be honest with yourself in terms of capability and purchase a racket according to that.
Lastly, this is a pretty important sub-factor as well. Some players like to rush to the net while others like sitting back and waiting for the ball. Some players play on pure instincts while others calculate at lightning speeds mid-game.
There are many types of playing styles and each racket caters to a different style. For example, those who sit back and wait for the ball need strong rackets that can shoot quick and hard on the counter, and so on.
Now that you’ve analyzed yourself as a player, you can move on to the more technical side of things. What should be the size of your racket? What should be the size of the head? How long should it be?
You need a larger face if you are a beginner as it means that you can make shots more easily. Beginners are suggested to use up to 115 inches squared, intermediates 110 and advanced players 100.
The same goes for racket length. Beginners usually need at least 27.5 inches whereas advanced players are not recommended to use anything beyond 27.5.
The weight of the racket also plays a big part in determining whether or not it is the right racket for you. It isn’t too hard to understand; a heavier racket needs more force to be moved.
This is similar to the size of the racket in the sense that heavier rackets are usually recommended for more skilled or experienced players as the added weight needs some time to get used to.
If heavy rackets are used without practice and proper form, injuries are all but certain. You are almost definitely going to get injured if you put too much strain on your wrist.
Experienced players are told to use a racket that weighs over 11 ounces whereas new players are instructed to do just the opposite,
5. String pattern
String patterns are huge when deciding the utility of a racket. This is often overlooked and considered a stylistic choice. In reality, you could not be more wrong.
The string pattern can single-handedly change your racket quality and therefore, overall performance. What is the best tennis racket in terms of string pattern? It depends on your play style.
A looser string pattern means the racket is a loosely knit one which encourages flexibility and adds more spin to your shots.
The opposite is true for tighter string patterns as the close knitting offers a more rigid face that emphasizes power over spin and delivers that kill smash.
The brand is another factor that is often overlooked when deciding on the right racket but we believe that it is definitely one of the most telltale signs of whether or not your racket will be up to mark.
Companies like HEAD and Wilson offer unrivalled quality assurance and their rackets are almost sure to be better balanced and more durable than any other product on the market.
On the other hand, it is always a risk when buying from companies that aren’t as renowned. They may offer you cheaper prices but the quality often takes a massive hit.
Last but not the least, you want your racket to look good. You want it to be trendy, hitting the right color palette and most important, represent your style.
Other than the great feeling of being stylish and looking sleek and classy when playing, it acts as a great motivator. You play better with things that you love and better-looking rackets are just easier to love.
To conclude, we would like to say something we’ve been inferring to throughout the entire article; the best racket depends entirely on your taste and preference.
We may say that specific types of rackets are the best for a specific type of player and even after you meet that criteria to the tea, you could still dislike our choice because at the end of the day, we can’t predict your comfort.
So what is the best tennis racket? There is no definite answer to this. We suggest you to keep trying out different rackets till you find the one that suits you best.