Anatomy of a Tennis Racquet
Tennis racquet qualifications: The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has specific rules defining what a legal racquet is. The overall length from the bottom of the handle to the top of the head must not exceed 73.7 cm or 29 inches. The frame may not exceed 31.7 cm or 12.5 inches wide. The hitting surface may not exceed 39.4 cm/15.5 inches in length, nor may it exceed 29.2 cm/11.5 inches in width.
No device that changes the shape or weight distribution may be attached to the racquet such that these alterations could be performed during the playing of a point. Additional prohibitions include energy sources that affect the playing characteristics of a racquet and devices that allow communication to a player during a match.
A Short History
Originally racquets were made of wood and came with a press that bolted on to the head to keep its shape intact when not in use. These racquets were highly susceptible to warping when exposed to moisture and extreme temperatures. Steel and aluminum frames replaced the delicate wooden frames but were problematic for advanced players. The soft metal and flexing of the head made it difficult to direct shots with precision. This led to the development of graphite racquets, which are lightweight, stronger and provide better control. Today's racquets use graphite, carbon fiber or composite materials.
How to Choose the Right Tennis Racquet
Tennis racquets, not unlike a pair of tennis shoes, have a personal ‘fit’, brand and style preference. Since there are so many tennis racquets in the marketplace today, we have created the Racquet Pro tool to help you search for the right racquet model to fit your preferences and style of play. Instead of reading hundreds of racquet product summaries, by entering a few criteria that define the characteristics of the tennis racquet you are searching for, you can narrow your search down to just a few racquet choices. Adjusting the criteria can make the search results more general or more specific, allowing for a thorough yet efficient evaluation process.
Do It Tennis offers a wide selection of tennis racquets to choose from including industry leaders such as Wilson, Dunlop, Babolat, Head, Prince, Volkl, Borris Becker, Donnay, Gamma, ProKennex, Technifibre, Weed, and Yonex. Our experienced staff will be able to help you find the best tennis racquet to fit your style of play.
What to Look for
Racquet Head Size
Head size is the single most important attribute to consider when selecting a new tennis racquet. This basic guideline will assist you:
Midsize: 90-98 sq. in. — Favored by advanced players as this head size is more control oriented yet doesn’t provide as much power. These racquets are recommended for experienced players.
Mid Plus: 99-106 sq. in. — Intermediate players find that this head size suits a balanced game and offers a nice blend of power and control.
Oversize: 107-125 sq. in. — Beginners tend to see better results with oversize frames because they give a lot of power, and allow a player to concentrate on perfecting their swing.
Choosing the right string is another important step in the process of buying a racquet. Style of play and susceptibility to arm and shoulder injuries will influence the type of string used more than anything else.
Flexible strings like natural and synthetic gut provide more power and tend to be easier on the arm and shoulder. This comes at the expense of being able to have control on the direction of a shot. Rigid strings like polypropylene and Kevlar provide more control on shots, but tend to be harder on the arms and shoulders. Many elite players opt for a hybrid of rigid and flexible strings, allowing them to have the benefits of both types of string material.
In addition to choosing the right string material, the proper tension is also important. Lower tension will provide more power but less control and will be less stressful on the arm and shoulder. More tension will provide more control but also more stress on the arm and shoulder.
One of the most expensive investments tennis players make is their tennis racquets. Taking a little extra time up front to find the right model, string and tension will save more time and expense in the long run.