The Pro Shop

Question of the Day: Asics Racquets

Thursday, February 14, 2013 /by
The Asics 116 racquet.
The Asics 116 racquet.

TENNIS.com gear editor Justin diFeliciantonio and his technical advisers answer your equipment questions each day. Click here to send in a question of your own.

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Hi Justin, I wanted to know if you have any more updates on the Asics 116 racquet. Is it still coming out? I think this is interesting racquet, and I want to buy it. I’m a teaching pro, 57 years old, and I hit the ball flat.—Brad Steinemann

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It’s been a long time coming, Brad, but the wait for the Asics racquets is finally over: The three game-improvement sticks—the Asics 109, 116, and 125—are now being sold at select specialty stores and pro shops around the country, and will be available from online retailers by the end of next week. That’s according to Max Brownlee, the President of SP Tennis, which is primarily responsible for the distribution of Asics racquets, bags, string, and accessories.

“Due to lengthy negotiations over international licensing between SP Tennis and ASICS,” said Brownlee, “the launch was delayed until this year. But now that the agreement has been signed, we’ve already distributed racquets to a number of stores around the country.”

Continued Brownlee, “In January, we launched the racquets in Florida, Arizona, and California first. We’re having good success in Florida. In fact, we’ve already had some dealers in Naples place re-orders. Granted, in the Northeast, it might take some time for our racquets to catch on, due to the weather and people not playing tennis as much right now. But as the spring approaches, we’ll continue to work to expand our distribution throughout the U.S.”

If you’d like to find an Asics Tennis dealer nearest you, call SP Tennis’ toll-free number: (855) 244-2979. While the racquets aren’t currently featured on Asics.com, a website should materialize by the middle of March ’13.

For more information about Asics racquets—which the company claims increase power by dint of atypically long main strings—check out the below reviews, which first appeared in the May ’12 issue of Tennis Magazine.


Asics 109, 116

MSRP: $189
Head Size: 109 sq. in.; 116 sq. in.
Length: 27.25 in.
Weight: 10.4 oz. (109); 9.6 oz. (116)
Balance: 3 pts. HL (109); Even (116)
Swingweight: 310 (109); 295 (116)
Flexibility: Very Stiff
Beam Width: 25mm
String Pattern: 14 x 21 (109); 16 x 22 (116)
Ideal Swing: Short to Medium
NTRP: 3.5+ (109); 3.0 to 4.5 (116)

*Note: Values represent strung frames.

The Pitch: Asics, a brand synonymous with high-performance running and tennis shoes, has added to their product line a set of innovative game-improvement racquets for senior players. The Asics 109 (shown at right) and 116 (shown at top), while respectively no wider than conventional 100 and 105 square-inch frames, feature atypically long main strings—elongated by more than an inch—which Asics claims expands the sweetspot for more forgiveness and power.

How It Tested: Playtesters were more than impressed with the security the Asics’ snowshoe-shaped design provided them on-court. One 4.0 tester claimed the Asics 109 offered a surprising mobile feel and “bulldozer power, though not uncontrollable power” plowing through volleys and groundstrokes. Other playtesters who were at first skeptical of the 109’s look fell in love with it after experiencing how easy the longer strings made putting balls back deep when jammed or out of position; the 116’s extra six square inches of head size, playtesters reported, made keeping the ball out of the net that much easier. Clearly, the Asics 109 and 116 not for players with western grips who hit with lots of pop and topspin. But they should feel great in the hands of players with traditional, flat strokes and slice backhands.

Bottom Line: A very powerful and forgiving stick for early adopters and players who lack mobility on the court.


Asics 125

MSRP: $189
Head Size: 125 sq. in.
Length: 27.5 in.
Weight: 9.6 oz.
Balance: Even
Swingweight: 296
Flexibility: Very Stiff
Beam Width: 28mm
String Pattern: 16 x 22
Ideal Swing: Short
NTRP: 2.5 to 4.0

*Note: Values represent strung frames.

The Pitch: Asics has designed three innovative game-improvement racquets specifically with senior players in mind. Like the Asics 109 and Asics 116, the Asics 125 is no wider than a conventional 118 square-inch frame; but its main strings are much longer—15.5 inches, to be exact, the maximum allowed by the International Tennis Federation. These elongated main strings, Asics claims, enlarge the sweetspot for supreme power and forgiveness.

How It Tested: Naturally, the Asics 125’s behemoth, racquetball-like shape drew quizzical looks from its first-time playtesters. But those looks soon turned from confusion into delight. Beginner playtesters found that their groundstrokes and returns had lots of extra oomph—the most some of them had ever experienced—particularly when blocking balls struck right at them. As one 3.5 playtester remarked, the Asics 125 "had very good ball velocity with a light feel.” What's more, playtesters were amazed with the 125’s exceptional reach—at the baseline but especially at the net. While it won’t be courting any players who hit topspin with near-modern strokes, the 125 should be a hit with traditional swingers who are looking to add the most power and depth possible to their games.

Bottom Line: Paramount power for beginners with slow, compact strokes.

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