Join Date: Nov 2012
Which is the best-looking Tennis racquet?
Ok, my fellow racquet enthusiasts, I wonder which racquet designs do you like? In terms of paint job, cosmetics, overall appearance? I donít mean the racquetís performance on the court, I leave that for other threads.
So, which are the best-looking Tennis racquets? Letís get started. I created several racquet categories, so that different types of frames can find their way on the list. My current favourites are:
A. Black racquets:
1. Wilson 2013 Blades
2. Donnay Pro Ones
3. Pro Kennex 2013 Black Aces
4. Pro Kennex QTour
I tend to favour black as the main/basic colour in Tennis racquet design, which is why I would like to dedicate one category especially to cool-looking black racquets.
I think the new 2013 Wilson Blades are really beautiful with their clean, glossy black paint job and their elegant, thin beam. The Donnay Pro Ones come close behind, they look terrific as well, very classy. Only matter is the quality of the paint, which many Donnay users report to chip off easily. The Pro Kennex 2013 Black Aces and the QTour look fantastic as well, yet in my opinion the yellow elements somehow damage the otherwise beautiful look of the frames.
B. Classic Racquets
1. Wilson BLX Pro Staff Series
2. Head Prestige Series
3. Dunlop Biometric Max 200G
I love the traditional look of these racquets.
On the Wilson BLX Pro Staff, IMO the black and golden stripes match very well with the red/white colour scheme of the racquet. The unique paint job clearly sets the frame apart from other offerings of the product line.
As far as the Head Prestige is concerned, it is rather the elegant and timeless form of the frame with the thin beam and the classic oval head shape that attracts me, rather than the dark red colour.
I think Dunlop deserves some credits for their effort to translate the legacy of the 1980s Dunlop 200G into modern times. It is nice to see a frame with modern specs which takes up the cosmetics of an old racquet. I recently saw John McEnroe swing that Dunlop racquet, it was reminiscent of his trade mark classic frame. Imagine McEnroe swinging an APD like Agassi did recently, I guess a good part of his magic would be lost.
C. Tweener Racquets
1. 2012 Babolat Pure Drives
2. 2013 ProKennex Kinetic Ki Q15*
3. Prince EXO3 Tour 100
4. 2013 Babolat Aero Pro Drive (my nominee for the best update)
*(the European version)
A category called tweener racquets may be somewhat controversial on a list searching for the best-looking frames around. However, given the massive success of these racquets today, I think itís fair to include them on the list.
At first I didnít now what to think of the 2012 Babolat Pure Drives. My initial thoughts were that the paint job was a bit over the top. But I must admit the design somehow grew on me to the level that now I like it a lot. The glossy black contrasts very well with the shiny blue/white/red elements, and I think the flamboyant paint job fits very well with the aggressive caracter of the stick. Thanks to the design the frame looks like what it is: fast.
In that respect the ProKennex Kinetic Ki Q15 (with the new 2013 paint job as shown on the TW Europe webpage) comes very close. The black looks magnificent paired with the subtle blue and white stripes. Just like the PD, the racquet looks really fast and powerful. However, in contrast to the Babolat, the Pro Kennex features a more elegant thin profile (I mean not the beam, this is very thick indeed) compared to the more round frame shape of the PD.
Usually I donít like orange elements on tennis racquets, but I think on the Prince EXO3 Tour it works very well. Also, I think the big port holes look cool. I always like it when David Ferrer swings this racquet.
The notorious Babolat Aero Pro Drive has always been too yellow/white for my likings, but I must admit I do like the new 2013 APD version. So I give credits to the designers in Lyon for what I consider to be one of the best racquet updates in terms of cosmetics.
D. Vintage Racquets
1. Rossignol F200 Carbon (the grey one)
2. Puma Boris Becker Super
The Rossignol F200 Carbon is the old Mats Wilander frame. The inverted brige may seem odd to many people, but I like the clean traditional cosmetics of the frame, and the Rossignol bridge sets this stick apart from all other models. Everytime I see the F200, it conjures up nice images of the young Mats Wilander out-maneuvering his opponents, especially in that classic 1988 US Open final against Ivan Lendl. Just great.
Equally, the unique shape of the Puma Boris Becker Super combined with its eye-catching red/blue cosmetics brings back nice memories of Beckerís glorious times in Wimbledon. Like the Rossignol, it can claim that it looks like no other racquet, whereas today many modern frames look very similar, at least with respect to their oval head shape.
5. Best-looking overall product line
IMO, Pacific raquets have a superb high-quality finish. On photos, they may appear like many other racquets, but in reality they really look very classy and distinct. I also like the dark colours they use, mainly black and dark blue. I struggle a bit with the white elements on the frames, though, but the new 2013 product line pleasantly reduces the white parts on the throat and adds some refined details on the head instead.
I think Gamma deserves the crown for the coolest and best-looking overall product line as far as the paint job/colour scheme is concerned. No matter which colours they combine, black/white/grey/red/blue/green, these sticks just look great. I am always tempted to order a Gamma racquet right away just by the cool looks. However, the consistently poor ratings they receive in many reviews have so far detered me from acquiring a Gamma stick. Maybe other brands should offer Gamma designers a decent job in their design department? Talking about Gamma design: The new 2013 ATP racquet line from Tecnifibre seems to pick up some of that look.
One interesting observation I recently made is that although generally I donít like the looks of Yonex racquets (not for their isometric head shape, but because of the frequent use of red and white colours), I tend to like Yonex sticks if strung with black strings like the Vcore Tour 97 that Stanislas Wawrinka uses. It takes away the otherwise dominant ďgirlienessĒ of Yonex frames (yes, I know, the colours are meant to reflect the design of the Japanese National Flag, but likewise not all Head racquets are red and white just because they are Austrian.).
All in all, my current favourits in terms of looks are the Wilson 2013 Blades.
If I had a wish to make I would opt for (A) more black racquets, and (B) for more frames with a Pacific-style finish and a Gamma-esque paint jobs. And yes, please bring back some more classics.
I almost forgot to mention that I also have a major dislike among todays racquets, which would be the cosmetics of the 2012 Wilson BLX Juice 100 and Wilson BLX Steam 100. I guess these sticks were meant to take on the battle against the ubiquitous Babolat tweeners, but IMO the weird pj distracted quite a few customers from choosing one of these racquets - at least male customers. Glad to see Wilson turn to a more coherent design with the 2013 Steam 96-105s line.
So what do you think? What are your favourite Tennis racquets when it comes to pj, cosmetics, etc.? Do you concur with some of my picks or do you disagree? Would you add other racquets/categories? How important is design when you choose a new frame? Have you ever bought a racquet because you simply fell in love with the looks? And do you have any dislikes/things you canít stand when it comes to racquet design? I am very much looking forward to your comments!
(P.S.: Sorry for possible mistakes, I am not a native speaker)