TENNIS.com gear editor Bill Gray and his technical advisers will answer your equipment questions every Friday. Click here to send one of your own.
I am a recreational player with a solid all-around game, currently using a Yonex V-Con 17 Midplus strung at around 50 pounds. I love the control the racquet provides but feel it lacks power, which forces me to swing mighty hard in order to punish the ball. I’m thinking of trying Zheng Jie's racquet, the Yonex RDiS 300 Midplus. Does it offer more power compared to the V-Con?—Michel
We’re not sure the RDiS 300 is going to give you much of a power boost over the V-Con, Michel. It’s a flexible control-oriented stick, and it’s also almost an ounce heavier than the V-Con, which would probably slow down your swing to give you even less punch.
We suggest you hold out until the end of the month and playtest Yonex’s new Ezone racquet when it hits stores. Yonex gave us a preview of the new frame this week at the U.S. Open, and at first blush it’s an apparent return to the powerful Yonex widebodies of the Monica Seles era.
The Ezone also has a new Quad Power System located on the four corners of the frame to expand the sweetspot, according to the company. It will come in a 10.3-ounce version, the same weight as your V-Con, and an 11.1-ounce model. The heavier version seems to be working for Ana Ivanovic, who switched to the Ezone just before the Open. She reached the fourth round. “It really helped my game a lot,” she said, “especially in the end range [getting the ball deeper into the court].”
I’m an all-court player who hits mostly flat and one-handed off both wings, and I’m looking for the right strings. I play USTA boys’ 14s tournaments every once in a while. My serve has been clocked at more than 100 m.p.h. I use a Dunlop 4D 200 Tour. For my strings, durability isn’t an issue, and I’m looking for something under $13. Thanks a lot.—Sam
Polyester usually isn’t for flat hitters like you since its biggest benefit is producing spin. You probably want to try a good multifilament synthetic, such as Head’s FXP Power in a 17-gauge (which we just happened to see yesterday on sale yesterday at Midwestsports.com for $10, plus shipping). The combination of the synthetic and thin gauge should help improve your touch at net and increase your control a little. FXP Power also has a special coating that protects it from fraying prematurely, a common flaw in multifilament strings.
I am a 4.0–4.5 player and I use a Babolat Pure Drive GT Plus. I took off a few years, but I’m back to the point where I'm serving quite well, but my shoulder gets sore when I crank it up. I use Babolat Pro Hurricane polyester in the mains and Alpha gut on the crosses, but it doesn’t help much. Should I change to a more flexible frame?—Simha
Before you abandon the Pure Drive GT Plus, first try reversing the string configuration and put the more forgiving gut in the mains and the harsh poly in the crosses, or go to all gut. If that doesn’t work, playtest the lighter version of the Pure Drive, the Lite GT. It’s lighter weight combined with its 1/2-inch shorter length could reduce the stress on your serving shoulder.