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Advanced tennis rackets: Tester's guide

Advanced tennis rackets: Tester's guide

Time for an upgrade in the weapons department? Check out what we've made of the best advanced category tennis rackets on the market...

Babolat Aero Pro Drive
RRP £179.99
Head size 645cm²
Weight 300g
Length 68.5cm
String Pattern 16 x 19
Balance 32cm
Beam 22-26mm

You would expect a man who has won six Grand Slams to play with a decent racket and this, the chosen weapon of Rafael Nadal, is an absolute beauty. The relatively big racket face (at least for a racket that’s used by a top pro) gives you plenty of help on groundstrokes, and the thickness of the beam means there’s more than enough power, but STACKS of feel. Nice and light too so it’s quick through the air – feels like every ball is coming out of the middle.


Dunlop

Dunlop Aerogel 4D 5Hundred
RRP £150
Head size 645cm²
Weight 275g
Length 69cm
String Pattern 16 x 18
Balance 34cm
Beam 23-25mm

One of the best rackets we tried. Nice and light so it was easy through the air and quick getting into position but loads of power from the relatively open string pattern, thick-ish beam and 645cm². This would be a great first racket for a talented junior because it’s so light and manoeuvrable, but we defy anyone not to enjoy hitting a tennis ball with this beauty. Wonderful feel. Loved it.


HEAD Youtek Prestige MP
RRP £179.99
Head size 630cm²
Weight 320g
Length 68.5cm
String Pattern 18 x 20
Balance 31cm
Beam 21mm

Those of you that have been playing for a while are likely to be familiar with the classic HEAD Prestige. It’s always been a frame associated with quality and this is one of its latest incarnations. This version offers massive power, which is made easy thanks to its 320g frame that swings through the ball effortlessly, but with 20 cross strings there’s plenty of control too.


Karakal Q4-645 Tattoo Tour Limited Edition
RRP £90
Head size 645cm²
Weight 295g
Length 68.5cm
String Pattern 16 x 19
Balance 30cm
Beam 23.5mm

A funky looking racket for the crafty competitor, this one. Although one of the lightest rackets in the category we found it extremely solid on groundies, the large sweetspot giving you the freedom to lay into your approach shots. Nano gel nodes around the frame help dampen vibrations, while playing with spin hitting angles and drop shots were all that little bit easier too thanks to the manoeuverable frame.


Pacific X-Force Pro
RRP £179.95
Head size 630cm²
Weight 320g
Length 68.5cm
String Pattern 16 x 20
Balance 31cm
Beam 20-25mm

Another of the brand new Pacific range of rackets new to the market in 2010. The German manufacturer, for a long time known for its strings, has launched its own range of bats this year after acquiring the Austrian outfit Fischer last year and tapping into their long-established racket technology. The results are impressive. It has the same kind of feel we used to associate with Fischer equipment, a sweetspot that is easy to find, ample power and enough control.


Pro Kennex Ionic KI5
RRP £129.99
Head size 645cm²
Weight 305g
Length 69cm
String Pattern 16 x 20
Balance 32cm
Beam 22mm

The most profound racket technology on the planet? Pro Kennex's kinetic technology, apparently. Tiny elements of kinetic mass stored in chambers around the frame increase the stringbed's area of efficiency and improve your chances of hitting a decent shot, and help reduce vibrations on contact with the ball. A well-balanced versatile and trendy racket that can adapt to any style of play.


Prince EXO3 Black
RRP £170
Head size 645cm²
Weight 305g
Length 68.6cm
String Pattern 16 x 19
Balance 32cm
Beam 22-24mm

The chosen racket of Maria Sharapova and, as you’d imagine, it doesn’t come up short in the looks department with its cool, matt black finish. As soon as you hit the first ball with this weapon you immediately feel its power – which, believe us, is BIG! The easy power is largely due to its beam width, head size of 645cm² and a relatively open string pattern. Great if your game needs some oomph, but beware of this beast!

Posted by: tennishead magazine

Babolat Aero Pro Drive

Babolat Aero Pro Drive

Dunlop Aerogel 4D 5Hundred

Dunlop Aerogel 4D 5Hundred

HEAD Youtek Prestige MP

HEAD Youtek Prestige MP

Karakal Q4-645 Tattoo Tour Limited Edition

Karakal Q4-645 Tattoo Tour Limited Edition

Pacific X-Force Pro

Pacific X-Force Pro

Pro Kennex Ionic KI5

Pro Kennex Ionic KI5

Prince EXO3 Black

Prince EXO3 Black

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