After a two-month break from the tour, Roger Federer takes to the courts of Stuttgart, Germany this coming week in search of his third title of the year. The brief respite allowed him to skip the clay season and better prepare for his beloved grass courts. It has also afforded Federer the opportunity to make an important equipment change:
He’s using a new racquet.
Well, sort of. The specifications of Federer’s signature Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph remain completely intact. The weight, swingweight, balance, stiffness, string pattern are all identical to the model introduced in 2015, and relaunched in 2016 in all black. So, from a playability standpoint, it’s a clone. But the appearance of the now iconic frame has been updated, mostly notably with classic white accents. As Federer puts it: “The tuxedo finally got its shirt.”
Besides the classic white at 3 and 9 o’clock—which mirrors the minimalist bold base and accent combination of the other Wilson racquet franchises—Federer’s signature takes a more prominent role in the new design, wrapped around the frame from inside the throat. While it makes its debut this week, Federer and Pro Staff fans will have to wait until July 1 to add this model to their collections.