Me and my racket: Sam Stosur
The popular Aussie and 2010 French Open finalist Sam Stosur has shot up the rankings to a career high of No.5. She talks to tennishead about her tennis racket...
This interview first appeared in the September 2009 edition of tennishead magazine. Since then, the Aussie has gone one better at Roland Garros by reaching the 2010 final, and has switched her strings to Babolat's RPM Blast. To learn more about tennishead magazine and subscribe, click here.
tennishead: What was the first racket you played with?
Sam Stosur: It was a mini white Slazenger with multi-coloured strings! Then I got a Wilson Hammer Junior – that was my first real racket.
th: What do you play with now and why?
SS: A Babolat Pure Storm. I changed to it just this year. It’s one of the best rackets I’ve ever used. I get lots of power with it but also lots of control. It’s the type of racket where if you put something into it, you’re gonna get it back. To me it’s a real racket. If you need a bit of touch, you can play that kind of tennis as well as the powerful stuff.
th: Do you think frames can match the type of game style that a player takes on court?
SS: Absolutely. In the past when I was a bit younger I wasn’t using the right racket for the way I was trying to play but as I’ve got a bit older I’ve realised how much equipment can help. I’m happy to have found a racket that really suits me.
th: How often do you get new frames?
SS: About every three months, so I’ve still got the ones that got me to the semis of the French Open.
th: How many do you travel with?
SS: This week seven, but normally six.
th: How many do you take on court?
SS: All of them, but on grass like this week I don’t change rackets during a match that much.
th: How many are freshly strung before a match?
SS: Not all of them – between two and four on grass.
th: What tension are they strung at?
SS: Between 52 and 55 pounds. I always use the same string whatever the event, but I’ll change tensions from surface to surface. At Roland Garros I was stringing them at 53 and 54 pounds, some at 55 pounds, and here in Eastbourne 52 pounds.
th: What strings do you use?
SS: Half Luxilon Big Banger and half Babolat VS gut.
th: Have you ever experimented wildly with tensions? Ever dipped into the 40s?
SS: Ha! No, I’ve never gone that low. I know some of the guys string their rackets in the 40s so I reckon one day I’ll string one up really loose and see how it goes! Could be interesting on the volleys! With my old rackets I used to string them in the 60s, so it’s much nicer on my arm and shoulder now.
th: Vibration dampener?
SS: Yes, I’ve pretty much used them all my career – I hate the sound of the ball pinging off the strings without one so they take that noise away!
th: Do you have your frames balanced with lead tape?
SS: Yes. When I was testing the Pure Storm it had nothing on it, it was just off the shelf. I hit for five minutes and then I put a bit of lead tape on the top of the frame and bit on each side. I hit a bit more and I could immediately see that I was getting a lot more depth on my shots. Then I tried putting some in the handle, then I was hitting the ball too far, so you just keep playing around with it. It was very interesting and Babolat now do it for me. It’s tricky because you have to make sure it’s balanced right for your whole game – groundstrokes, obviously, and for me my serve is important too so the balance has to be just right.
th: What about grips?
SS: I use white Babolat grips on all my rackets and I always have a new one for every match.
th: Do you have any equipment-based superstitions?
SS: No, not really. I went through a superstitious phase during the French Open this year but after a few days was like, ‘No! I can’t do this, this is too stressful!’”
Babolat Pure Storm GT
Head size: 98sq.in
Strung weight: 312g
Material: Graphite Tungsten
Balance: 1pt head light
Beam width: 21mm
String pattern: 16x20
Recommended tension: 55-65lbs