Find the best tennis racquet for you
Tennis is once again about to invade both Paris and Wimbledon, pitting the world's top hitters against each other. Watching tennis on TV always makes us want to pick up a racquet, hit the court and spend all afternoon attempting to mimic Roger Federer's superb one-handed backhand.
But, before you step out you'll have to pick up the best kit. We've tested out some of the finest racquets available today, from the biggest names, and all the best ones are listed on the following pages. Whether you're a baseline hitter, hard server or pacy net player, we've got something for you.
Best for choice: Prince Textreme range
Can a tennis racquet make you a better player? Well, probably not. But it can definitely make a difference. Prince is hoping the addition of some clever tech to its latest range will improve your game, so we dusted off our court shoes, filled a bottle with Robinson's squash and hit the courts to test them out.
What sets these new racquets out from crowd is the addition of Textreme in the shaft - it's supposed to keep the weight down, yet add strength. The carbon-fibre material has been used in F1 cars, racing bikes and so on, but this is the first time it's been utilised in a tennis racquet. It seems to work too, the racquets are perfectly weighted and feel great in the hand. We didn't suddenly begin hitting backhands like Federer and serving as fast as Roddick though, sadly. Looks like we'll be watching Wimbledon from the sofa again.
There are four racquets in the new line - the light Tour 100, the large headed Tour 95, the Warrior 107 and our personal favourite, the Warrior 107T. Depending on your style of play, whether you are a heavy baseline hitter or a speedy net-player, it seems like Prince has you covered. We found the 107T to have the perfect mix of everything - it was light enough, but we could still put plenty of power into our shots. Each version also has a revamped 'butt' - or the bottom bit of the racquet, which can be removed letting you slip in one of Sony's clever shot tracking Smart Tennis Sensors.
From £150 | Prince
Best for self-improvement: Babolat Play
If you fancy your own coach but just can't afford one, Babolat have gone and put one in their latest racquet. Motion sensors detect how hard you hit, how close to the sweet spot you are and what shots you should work on. Charged by micro USB ad storing up to 150 hours of data, it syncs via Bluetooth to an Android or iOS app to compare stats with local aces and pros like Nadal.
£350 | Babolat
Best for spin: Wilson Pro Staff 97LS
Spin is one of the hardest aspects of tennis to master, but this racquet from Wilson should make things a lot easier. With Spin Effect Technology, the ball gets spin even if you've not yet mastered the technique, and the 18x16 string pattern is ideal for a strong thwack every time. What's more, the frame is also super light (10.2oz) and made from a combination of braided graphite and kevlar. With this in your bag, you'll be the envy of the clubhouse.
Best for speed: Head Graphene Speed Pro 18/20
Djokovic's racquet of choice is up next, and it boasts a frame integrating Graphene, a metal with a breaking strength 200 times greater than steel. It's pretty much indesctructable, and super light too, meaning you'll be running around those balls quicker than you can say "ace". The majority of the frame's weight is also in the grip, so you're always in control. Forget taming your sporty aggression - unleash it with this beast.
£184.99 | Head
Best for comfort: Prince Premier 105
Prince have gone all-out on their latest model to make your life that little bit easier when dominating the court. With a sweet spot more than 1.5 times the size of Prince's last effort, the Premier is also equipped with Double Bridge technology, the only one in the world that reduces vibration in both your strings and frame. Those epic matches suddenly don't seem so daunting.
£137 | Prince
Best for all-rounders: Dunlop Force 98 Tour
Offering a tasty mix of power and control, the Force 98 Tour is a great all-round choice. Boasting a large, parallel strung sweet spot, Aero Boost grommets for less drag and more speed, SPX shock reduction and Pentagonal Geometry for enhanced power and stability, with this racquet in your kit bag, you'll be able to hit hard and play with precision.
Best for fast learners: Yonex VCore Tour G
Yonex have broken the rules of tennis with the VCore, by making the frame distinctly oval in comparison to the traditionally rounder shape. They've also injected their racquet with high density foam, absorbing more vibrations than ever before, resulting in an effortless swing. On top of all that, its spin and power capacity is second to none, so you'll be Murry-level in no time. Probably.