Racquet: Yonex VCORE 98 ($269)

Paul was a Wilson Blade user, but for the past several years has trusted his heavy groudies to the VCORE 98. With its wider string pattern it gives his shots more pop and action. This latest version—the seventh generation—has a few new wrinkles to enhance the racquet’s already prodigious spin production. The tip of the frame has been thinned slightly to encourage faster swings. A widening of the head at the 2 and 10 o’clock positions of the face expands the sweet spot in the upper hoop and the spacing of the main strings. Along with the new silicone-infused grommets for faster string snapback, this results in greater string movement. Add it up and the frame accelerates easily and can find an extra gear when you want ramp up spin and power. Throw in some added flex and the racquet has a sweeter feel at contact, along with a deeper pocket. It’s an all-around great option in the more powerful 98 square-inch space.

Apparel: New Balance Tournament Top ($55) and Tournament Short ($60)

A single button, contrast placket gives this top a unique and stylish neckline. From a performance standpoint, NB fast-drying technology and lightweight construction makes sweat an afterthought. It also features side hem vents for added flair and freedom of movement.

The stretch woven shorts offer the same moisture-management properties for comfort under the toughest conditions. Elastic waistband and internal drawstring provide a relaxed and customized fit. The heritage-inspired sculpted ball pockets combine form with function.


Shoes: New Balance Fresh Foam X CT-Rally ($150)

The CT-Rally picks up the mantle for the brand’s Lav franchise. The new name reflects the shoe’s design inspiration—professional rally cars—but the guts of the shoe remain fairly similar to the outgoing Lav 2. The most notable alterations are to the upper, which give the shoe a more comfortable and adaptive fit without sacrificing support. The shoe’s midsole is an entire bed of Fresh Foam X, which provides a cushioned and comfortable ride, and is a real sponge when it comes to soaking up court contact. It remains NB’s high-performance stability model in the category of shoes for players who favor substance and sturdiness in their footwear.