Me and my racket: Marion Bartoli
2007 Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli - who plays double-handed on both sides - tells tennishead all about her preferred tennis racket of choice
tennishead: How long have you been playing with your Prince 03 Red?
Marion Bartoli: Since 2006. The first time I played with it I won my tournament in Auckland. I made the right choice. Prince is the only mark that makes a racket especially for me at the length I want and they are the only brand that can bring the rackets I really want. They are really special.
th: What length is your racket?
MB: Oh, it’s a big secret!
th: Is your racket a special weight?
MB: There is no special weight, but there is a special balance. I had a finger injury because the balance of my racket was too head-heavy, so they came back with the balance closer to the middle of the racket.
th: And who does that?
MB: Roman Prokes in New York does my rackets for me. The frame is by Prince and he adjusts the balance, the weight and stuff. He has been working with some of the best players in the world, Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, and Maria Sharapova. He is really good.
th: When did you make that change in the frame's balance?
MB: When I had the injury in my finger I started to reduce the weight on my previous racket - which was a Babolat - and then I switched to Prince in 2006.
th: How many rackets do you take on court?
MB: Not much actually, four at least, sometimes six, it depends on the conditions. Here in Miami I take six with me because I need to change them to change the string more often but usually it is between four and six.
th: How often do you change a racket during a match?
MB: When it’s really windy and humid like here every 45 minutes, almost each set. I can go also half a set which is why here I bring six sometimes I can go 3-2, after five games. When it’s really windy like today you need to have the perfect tension otherwise the ball goes flying.
th: To what tension are your rackets strung?
MB: 24 and a half kilos.
th: Do you use a dampener?
th: What size grip do you use?
MB: Size zero - I have small hands!
th: Do you use an overgrip
MB: I use two over grips.
th: Do you start each match with a fresh racket?
MB: Yes, absolutely
th: Do you start each practise session with a fresh racket?
MB: I can start a practise session with a racket that was strung two weeks ago (laughs), practise really does not matter much, but match, yes, match fresh racket.
th: Can you recall the first racket that you ever had?
MB: Yes, Wilson , I think the colour was yellow and black and I still have it (laughs).
th: Do you keep it for sentimental reasons?
MB: Yes exactly, my first ever racket and I never ever broke a racket on court, never ever.
th: Where do you keep your rackets when you are travelling?
MB: I try to carry them with me, but sometimes, especially in Australia they do not allow you, so you have to put them inside the suitcase and usually they get pretty hard so I need to change them when I arrive, so I ask the brand to send me some new ones.
th: Have you ever lost rackets while you have been travelling?
MB: No, fingers crossed (laughs).