Racquet Basics

Author: Aiden Liebenberg   Date Posted:7 June 2023 


So you’re in the market to purchase a new racquet. With a seemingly endless range of options, in a highly saturated market one all too common question arises.

What racquet will suit me best?

Most manufacturers have a diverse range of racquets, including those for seasoned match players, intermediate challengers, and even for absolute tennis newbies. This Blog post will unpack what you should be looking for when considering your next purchase.

Head Size

Racquet head size is a crucial factor in diagnosing what may suit your needs. The general rule of thumb is; the bigger the head size, the more power and forgiveness. When starting out in tennis, racquets with a large head size can be highly beneficial, presenting a wider string bead that minimises the negative effect of off-centre strikes. It should be noted however, that these racquets have also served some of the greatest tennis players in the world rather well over their careers. The Williams sisters both used the Wilson Blade 104 throughout their careers, a 104 square inch racquet, which is much larger than the commonplace <100 sq inch standard used by most high-level players. 


Smaller head size racquets are in contrast, marketed towards the player who seeks outstanding control and feel. These racquets are generally not the best match for beginners, as they are not as forgiving, and in most cases do not grant as much free power as those with a larger head size. The smaller sweet spot on these frames are more challenging to access, however provide great feedback to players who can strike the ball well consistently. Currently, frames ranging from 95-98 sq inches are considered to be on the smaller side.  


Weights on full-sized adult racquets vary anywhere from 250-340 grams unstrung. With such a wide variance, it can be challenging to know what weight will suit you best. 


Both ends of the spectrum have their benefits: lighter racquets allow for greater racquet head speed, and easier access to power as well as topspin. This is generally most beneficial for those starting off, as well as retirees who want easier speed and power on court. 


In contrast, heavier racquets are widely popular amongst high-level players, who already have good racquet head speed, but want to hit a heavier ball, with good plough through. In addition, heavier frames are often associated with outstanding control and feel.  


The most commonly used frames vary from 270-310 grams unstrung. I personally use a 305 gram racquet, which is a very popular weight for most guys my age (21-year old)... a conclusion I can make after almost 10-years of tournament experience. 

String Pattern

In simple terms, string patterns can be classified as “open” or “closed”, referring to the size of squares on the string bead. The most common open string patterns are 16x18 and 16x19, while 18x20 is the most common closed pattern. Open and Closed patterns both come with their benefits and drawbacks. 


Open Pattern (16x18 & 16x19)

Closed Pattern (18x20)

  • Easier access to spin
  • More free power
  • Promotes high margin over net
  • Forgiving on off-centre strikes
  • Baseline dominant

Target Player Group

  • Aggressive baseliners that play with heavy spin
  • Counter Punchers
  • Generally low powered
  • Great for touch, feel and control
  • Promotes a flatter ball trajectory on groundstrokes
  • Ideal for net-play

Target Player Group

  • Players who like to hit a flatter ball
  • Those who enjoy mixing up spins e.g. slice and topspin
  • Players that dominate at net

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