What are pro racquets like?

[BETA POST to get the content out there, will build out if there's interest]

Now that we have somewhat of an overview of mainstream racquets, it's probably interesting to compare that to what the pros are playing with.

Most top level pros use frames built upon proven basis, so called "pro stock" frames. Those are then build up to the pro's liking. As a final step, they receive the paint job of a current mainstream racquet that needs endorsement.

That established conduct is quite misleading (unethical?), and *maybe* apart from the RF97, you cannot really buy a racquet similar to what your favorite pro is using. (There's also the underlying question if that racquet would be best for your game...)

So what are pro racquets like, roughly? In summary, they tend to be a lot heavier and a bit more headlight, resulting in a hefty swingweight premium over mainstream racquets. The frames are also significantly softer, i.e. bend much more on impact.

Here are the averages of key properties, based on information I have gathered across the web and from conversations over the years - probably directionally correct:

Male pro racquets / ATP

Weight: ~370 grams, +/-15 (vs. 309 grams across all mainstream)
Balance: ~315 mm, +/- 10 (vs. 334 mm)
Swingweight: ~360 kg cm²  (vs. 317 kg cm²)
Flex: ~60 RDC, +/- 10 (vs. 66) (guestimate, few data points)
Beam width: ~20 mm, +/- 2 (vs. 23.7)

Female pro racquets / WTA

Weight: ~327 grams, +/- ~30 (see averages above)
Balance: ~344 mm, +/- ~25
Swingweight: ~342 kg cm², +/- ~50
Flex: ~60 (guestimate, few data points - might be a bit higher than the men's)

So if you want to get a mainstream frame close to a pro frame without plastering it with tungsten or lead tape, there are not a lot of racquets to choose from. The closest mainstream frames are probably the RF97 (although that one is pretty stiff), or the 330g Yonex VCORE Duel G 97.

You may be able to somewhat emulate the pro racquet feel by building up something like the Prince Tour 95, a heavier Head Prestige (e.g. the Pro), or some of the other thin Yonex beams (e.g. the VCORE Duel G 97 (310g). Prince's old Rebel 95 might have actually been quite close, as it was quite hefty, headlight, and noticeably bent back on impact.

Handles are sometimes customized too, accommodating the pro's hand. Leather grips are still popular. Some pros then add the overgrip in unique fashion - Richard Gasquet for example only wraps it halfway up the handle. The overgrip that seems most noticeably on tour is still the original, light blue Tourna Grip.

Pros also tend to opt for tighter string beds to better control the ball at high speed. The most popular string jobs are hybrids of natural gut and a poly (often a Babolat VS in the mains, and some Luxilon string in the crosses), or a full bed of a firm poly such as the Luxilon Alu Power or the brand's 4G. The Solinco Hyper G is worth a mention too, as Sam Querrey for example chooses to play with the string without getting paid for it.

The softer and heavier frames make these relatively stiff poly strings easier on the arm than a firm and light mainstream racquet would. Due to strings having become stiffer, I would triangulate that the average tension has probably dropped a couple of kg's from 25 to 23 kgs (roughly 51 lbs).

Finally, if you'd like to have a frame built to your preferred (pro's) specs, take a look at Head's and Vantage's offerings.

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