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.
I recently received the Racquet Guide in the March/April issue of Tennis Magazine. I’m a 3.0 doubles player who hits a lot of flat and slice strokes. My teacher says that I have a shorter-length swing. Out of all the racquets you reviewed, which do you think would give me the most power and reduce my chances of mishitting the ball? I want a racquet that will keep the ball out of the net.—Barbara B.
If your swing is shorter and more abrupt, Barbara, I’d recommend you demo all three of the game-improvement racquets featured in the Racquet Guide: the Wilson Three BLX, Völkl Organix 1, and/or Pacific Nexus.
For a player of your style and ability level, each of these racquets should supply plenty of power and depth, which should decrease your chances of leaving the ball short or in the net. Additionally, with their oversized head sizes—all are 115 square inches or larger—this trio give offer you plenty of margin on off-center hits, lest your strokes need a bit more breathing room.
But without knowing much more about your game, it’s hard for me to recommend one of the racquets over the others. What I would recommend, however, is that you visit your local specialty pro shop. Most tennis shops maintain an inventory of demo racquets available to potential customers, allowing you to take a stick for a trial spin before purchasing. (If there’s not such a shop in your area, most major Internet retailers also offer demos for a nominal fee.) So check out the Wilson, Völkl, and/or Pacific (as well as others, per your pro shop’s recommendations.). Play with each racquet one day at a time, paying close attention to how comfortable it feels and how it affects your shots. After some time, you should be able to decide whether or not to purchase one.
One cautionary note: Typically, light, game-improvement frames feature stiff constructions, and so can present hazards to the arm if not strung correctly. If you play with an oversized stick, make sure to string with a high-grade multifilament—like Wilson NXT or Babolat Xcel—or, ideally, natural gut. Also make sure your tension falls within the manufacturer’s recommended tension range. (This information usually appears inside the racquet’s throat.) Doing these things should reduce the forces acting on your arm during impact, and thus reduce your likelihood of injury.