The Right Racquet! Many Right Answers
You’ve seen the professionals playing with specific racquet lines from Head, Prince, Völkl, Wilson, Donnay, blah blah blah. Maria Sharapova, for example, plays with a Head IG Instinct. David Ferrer plays with a Prince Tour 100. Each player is sponsored by a brand, and each player chooses which racquet from that brand with which to compete. Thus, it appears that each pro is playing with a racquet that you, the regular fellow, could buy down at the local Sports Authority. But, here’s the thing. Head, just to pick one, is in business to sell racquets (and other stuff). Maria Sharapova doesn’t care about selling racquets, she wants to win matches and make gobs of money. She needs to play with a racquet that is designed specifically for Maria Sharapova, just her – nobody else.
Agassi says in his autobiography that he could tell if the slightest change was made to any of his racquets or bags or whatever. Any change, no matter how small, like a pair of socks being taken away or added to his bag without his input, could completely throw him off his game (and cause him to compulsively throw out his equipment and start from scratch). Professional tennis players are neurotic. They have to have everything in their arsenal so perfect that you and I would think they suffer from a debilitating mental disorder. The question, then, is this: How does a professional player and a worldwide brand like Head reconcile their competing agendas? Simple! Head makes a custom racquet for Maria and paints it to look like any ol’ racquet you could buy off the rack. That way, when you march in to a tennis shop and buy a racquet, you think you’re getting the same thing that Maria plays with. Maria still gets to play with the racquet that suits her preferences, you get a quality racquet and a big name endorsement, and both she and Head make their money without conflict. Everybody wins.
So Which Racquet is Right for You?
You won’t know until you try a bunch of them. Thankfully, we here at the Gonzo Tennis Academy have you covered! If you’re completely new to tennis, there’s no need to overly think your decision. Simply come to a class and try some of our racquets. We have a variety of demo racquets for a variety of different playing styles and abilities. It isn’t like old people get one kind of racquet and young people get another, or topspin players get one racquet and flat ball hitters get something else. There are certainly racquets which are better at generating spin (and string, too, but we’ll get to that in another article) or power, but your playing style is not all one way or another; you can’t know which racquet you’ll like the best until you play with several. The nice thing about being a recreational player (or even an aspiring professional who is still finding his/her game) is that you have room to tinker and tweak as you grow. Maria Sharapova knows so precisely what feels right or wrong, because she has spent years fine tuning herself, that there is no racquet off the rack that would suit her. As you play and improve you, too, will change out racquets and perhaps make custom alterations of your own. The racquet you start with is nothing more than a general approximation to fit your body and style. Thus, like choosing a pair of Jeans, you will eventually find the perfect one, and it might be something you least expected.