FEATURE: How to pick the perfect tennis racket
Tennis365.com caught up with Martin Aldridge, Founder and Managing Director at MANTIS Sport International Limited, who gave us an exclusive insight into what is required to pick the perfect tennis racket.
With the French Open in full swing and Wimbledon just around the corner, you may well get the tennis bug in the next few weeks, but what do you need to look for when you are buying the most important piece of kit in your tennis bag?
Tennis365: What is the first step in identifying the perfect racket?
Martin Aldridge: “Ultimately the perfect racket will mean different things to different people and will depend on the physical attributes, standard and playing style of an individual. The first step for us would be to ensure we use premium materials for all components of the racket. This would include sourcing the highest-grade Japanese carbon and making sure that we use the highest quality accessories available – strings, grips. We also use one of the best factories in the World to manufacture our rackets and this means that we have the highest standards for QA/QC.”
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Tennis365: How important is string tension for a club player?
Martin Aldridge: “I think that strings and string tension are extremely important. Again, there is no prescriptive answer for the perfect string tension as this a matter of individual choice and preference, based on a player’s age, playing style. The tighter you string a racket, the more control you will have whereas lower tensions will give you more power. Ultimately it is a trade-off between power and control and the best way to find out what works best for you is to experiment with different tensions.”
Tennis365: What type of string brings best results?
Martin Aldridge: “There are hundreds of different types of string on the market these days. Professionals will tend to use what is called a hybrid. This normally means that their main strings are made of polyester while their cross strings are either nylon or more often than not, natural gut. Gut is very expensive so isn’t such a good option for regular club players.”
Tennis365: How often should you look to get a racket restrung?
Martin Aldridge: “If you are not breaking strings and don’t play every day then two or three times a year would probably be okay. All strings lose tension over a period of time so if you start to feel that your strings are ‘dead’/unresponsive then it might well be time to look at getting a restring.”
— MANTIS Sport (@MANTISsport) May 21, 2018
Tennis365: Are more expensive rackets always likely to offer better results?
Martin Aldridge: “Not necessarily. The biggest brands will look to charge a higher price for their rackets to cover their expenditure on paying professional players, event sponsorship, marketing etc. If you are serious about your tennis the best bet is to try and demo a few rackets to decide what works best for you as an individual. The main factor is ensuring that the racket is definitely 100% graphite (and doesn’t have glassfibre or aluminium in it). This normally means that it will cost you £100 plus, but it will then last for years if well looked after.”
Tennis365: What does a MANTIS racket offer that we might not get from the other brands?
Martin Aldridge: “MANTIS offers a level of customisation for more advanced players. We use a pallet handle system, which means you can remove the handle and change the grip size and even the grip shape in future. We have fairly low powered rackets so players can also customise their own rackets to get exactly the right weight, balance and power/control mix that works for their particular game style.”
Tennis365: Are you hoping to see top players using MANTIS rackets on the ATP/WTA Tour?
Martin Aldridge: “Yes, we would love this to happen. We do have a couple of young players with ATP/WTA rankings but the very top players are actually paid to use other brands’ rackets and it is way out of our price range at this stage. We are focussing much more on a grass roots level at the moment and trying to support coaches, juniors and county/club players to offer them a high-quality product at an excellent price.”
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