Tennis Buying Guide
Here are some of the key considerations when selecting the right tennis racket:
- Grip size
- Racket head size
- Racket weight distribution
1. The correct grip size
- When we're talking about the correct tenns racket grip size, we mean the outline or thickness of the handle.
- The outline of the handle of a tennis racket can be expressed in inches or millimetres, which then corresponds with a certain grip size.
- Sometimes, there is a little confusion of tongues concerning the correct tennis racket grip size. That is because they use a different measurement indication in Europe compared to the USA. In Europe the grip sizes 0 through 5 are used, while in the USA the grip sizes go from 4 inches to 4 5/8 inches.
In the table below you will find the corresponding grip sizes:
|Outline in mm||Outline in inches (USA)||Grip size in Europe|
|100 – 102 mm||4||0|
|103 – 105 mm||4 1/8||1|
|106 – 108 mm||4 2/8 = 4 1/4||2|
|109 – 111 mm||4 3/8||3|
|112 – 114 mm||4 4/8 = 4 1/2||4|
|115 – 117 mm||4 5/8||5|
In general you will find the grip size at the bottom of the tennis racket, in the racket butt. If for example you see the America grip size 4 1/4, convert the fraction to denominator 8, so to 4 2/8, and then you know your tennis racket has a grip size 2.
If there is an overgrip over the standard grip of a tennis racket, the grip size becomes thicker and the original grip size is no longer correct.
- There are two possibilities to determine the correct grip size for a tennis racket. The most simple, but not completely accurate way, is explained here : you wrap your hand around the grip and then you should be able to place the index finger of your other hand between the tips of your fingers and the palm of your hand on the grip.
- The most accurate method to determine the correct grip size of a tennis racket is by measuring the distance between the top of the ring finger of your playing hand and the second handline. This length in millimetres then corresponds with the outline of the tennis racket and determines your ideal grip size.
- If there is doubt about the correct tennis racket grip size to choose for a tennis racket, you are better to pick one grip size too small instead of one too big, since you can always increase a grip size which is too small by one grip size via a so called Grip Enlarger or 'heat-shrink tube'. Decreasing a grip size which is too big is impossible.
- The heat-shrink tube or Grip Enlarger is a thin cover made from synthetic material which can be slid over the 'naked' grip (i.e. the tennis racket without the standard grip) of a tennis racket. It is then 'melted' around the naked grip of the tennis racket by using the hot air off a hairdryer.
2. Racket Head Size
The tennis racket head size refers to the size of the actual hitting area within the tennis racket frame. Tennis racket head sizes are usually defined as follows:
- Midsize 80-94 square inches
- Midplus 95-105 square inches
- Oversize 110-115 square inches
- Super oversize 116-135 square inches
A larger (oversize or super oversize) head size lets you generate more power and will have a larger sweet spot ie the area on the strings where you get the maximum response from the racket. These more forgiving tennis rackets are generally more suited to beginners.
More experienced players and professional tennis players with greater power, precision and skill will usually opt for rackets with a smaller head size i.e. mid-plus or midsize.
3. Racket Weight Distribution
If you are a less experienced player you should probably go for a power tennis racket or head heavy racket as it is likely that you have a shorter swing and less strength. Your swing alone may not generate enough power so a power racket can help to improve your game.
More experienced players will tend to choose control rackets which are head light or have the weight more evenly distributed through the racket. As these rackets have more weight in the handle they can absorb more shock than a lighter racket and therefore appeal to players who already generate a lot of power by themselves.
Head light rackets are also be great for generating spin, manoeuvrability and net play, again something a more experienced player will be looking for from their tennis racket.