How club players pick the right racket to improve their game – we get the inside track from Wilson

Simona Halep

Wilson’s sparkling new Blade v8 is being used by Stefanos Tsitsipas and Simona Halep at the US Open, with Tennis365 being given a unique insight into the development of the frame by Michael Schaeffer, Wilson’s senior product manager for racket sports.

Now in the second part of our interview, Michael looks at the factors club players need to consider when they pick their next racket:

How important is it to develop a frame that works for club players and professionals or will they always have slightly different equipment?

We work to develop rackets for players of all levels. Our mission is to develop products that help players enjoy the game of tennis as much as possible. In many cases, pro players and club players can have a positive tennis experience with the same equipment. On the other hand, pro players and club players put vastly different stresses on their products which can lead to different needs. We always recommend that a player chooses a product based on what’s right for their game as opposed to choosing a racket based on what their favourite player uses.

What would your advice to club players be when they look to buy a racket? What should they be looking for?

I think it is critical that club players spend time testing different rackets to understand what works best for them. The demo process allows players to experience and feel the qualities of each racket and pick a feel that is right for them. “Feel” is the quality that players list is most important to them when choosing a new racket and it is really something best discovered testing rackets on court. Club players should be looking for a racket with a weight and balance that they can handle, it should have a level of comfort that is right for their body and should also have the right balance of power and control for their game and swing speed. All of these qualities together represent how a racket “feels” to a player.

What advice would you give club players on string tension and what type of string they should use?

Picking a string is a critical element to the equipment selection process. String allows a player to further customize how the racket feels and performs to their tailored needs. Similar to my advice with rackets, the best way to choose a string is by trying different string and tension combinations. Once you have a baseline of how a racket feels, you can tailor the string choice to what your needs are.

What can we expect from rackets moving forward… what is the next big development that could change the sport or are we already touching the peak of technology?

Although it may seem like we are at the peak of racket technology, there are is always more room for innovation. Wilson proved that in 2019 with the launch of Clash which revolutionized how a carbon fibre racket can bend. Clash was really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of understanding the bending of tennis rackets. Our team has gained a lot of understanding from this project that will help us further advance racket technology.