Article at Tennis Magazine site with Roman Prokes

Discussion in 'Pros' Racquets and Gear' started by Ash Doyle, Sep 22, 2006.

  1. Ash Doyle

    Ash Doyle Professional

    Feb 19, 2004
    There is a great article online at Tennis Magazine's site ( that is an interview with Roman Prokes. Here are a few of the more interesting bits:

    How heavy is Sharapova’s racquet?
    The unstrung weight for Sharapova is 320 grams [or about 11.3 ounces]. Everybody measures in grams because ounces aren’t exact enough. She used to use around 300 grams [or about 10.6 ounces] before. For the most part women like to use lighter racquets because they play with longer racquets.

    I noticed Lindsay Davenport has a cubby hole along the wall. What are the specs on her racquet like?
    In a way she’s similar to Maria. Longer racquet, 27.5 inches actually, a little bit lighter at 301.5 grams, and noticeably more head heavy. So when you swing the racquet around it doesn’t seem so light anymore. Having a head-heavy racquet could make you late on the ball if you play on a really quick court. If you’re looking for stability you have to balance the weight out. If you add weight to the head, then you have to add to the handle is well. Otherwise it disrupts the balance.

    Which pro you work with uses the longest racquet?
    Marion Bartoli’s racquet is 29 inches. Incredibly unusual. If you watch her play it makes a little sense she uses two hands on both sides.

    Should players use the heaviest racquet they can comfortably handle?
    One hundred percent. You just can’t overdo it because it will slow you down. But as heavy as you can handle. I would say we add weight to 9 out of 10 racquets here.

    Which pros use particularly heavy racquets?
    Most of the older generation of players like the racquets pretty heavy. Tommy Haas and all those guys. Heavy, more evenly balanced racquets. Haas’ racquet is 352 grams [or about 12.4 ounces] unstrung. Same with John McEnroe.

    Who has the heaviest racquet?
    The heaviest frame I use to do was for Gabriela Sabatini. It was over 400 grams [or about 14.1 ounces]. Mark Woodforde was incredibly heavy, and Thomas Muster was incredibly heavy. They played a little bit over 400.

    What about changes in grip sizes?
    In general, players are using smaller grips than they used to. The way they hit the ball, you can come over it much, much more.

    Any player that you work with who is pretty big in size, but uses an unusually small grip?
    The smallest one was Guga Kuerten. He played with one that was like 4 1/8 inches. He actually wouldn’t use a grip—he would just use three overgrips. He would have a bare handle and wrap three super tight overgrips on it. Spanish players in general, because of the way they play on clay courts behind the baseline, a lot of them play with small grip sizes.

    Anybody use a 4 and 5/8?
    Mike Bryan, but not many else.

    What about Agassi?
    Andre uses 4 and 7/16.

    What about the weight of his racquet?
    340 grams [or about 12 ounces].

    And the strings?
    He uses all Luxilon. It was in Rome, about five years ago between the first and second round, and I had talked to him about Luxilon for some time, that he told me he now wanted to try it. I told him it probably wasn’t the best time.
  2. newnuse

    newnuse Professional

    Apr 3, 2005
    Great link... thanks

    I was shocked at how light the rackets the pro used were... than I noticed it was unstrung weight.

    If I recall correctly, strings makeup about 0.5 oz right?
  3. Keifers

    Keifers Legend

    Jun 20, 2005
    That's really interesting. Thanks for the link.
  4. The Pusher Terminator

    The Pusher Terminator Banned

    Sep 18, 2004
    When I lived in Manhattan Roman used to string my racquets. I really didnt know who I was talking to! He worked for Jay at the time and I just thought he was just a regular employee.

    Roman is really a cool guy. I used toto be able to just call him and ask him anything. Here are some of his opinions:

    on spin and string diameter:

    I called Roman up and said that a recent Tennis magazine article said that the conventional wisdom that thinner strings gave more spin was wrong. The article said that now some experts feel that thicker strings give more spin.

    Roman feels that this is complete B.S. He feels that thinner strings give more "bite". He said dont believe everythiing you read. They used to say the tighter the strings the more power and they were very wrong

    on Woodfordes racquet

    No one but Woodforde could play with that racquet. Roman could not get a ball over the net with that contraption.

    on a Russian player ...i think it was Kafelnikov...but I could be wrong

    He used to be a hockey player. So he would have his grips rounded at the end so it would feel like a hockey stick.

    On Wilson Ncode 90

    A work of art. A samurai sword. That racquet must only be strung with gut and you must play serve and volley with it!

    over grips

    Roman created his own! He had requests for something that was dry and had cushioning . So he combined many different grips to come up with one grip that does everything. He has them for sale...just call him up and order some.

    Best club in NYC

  5. Robbie_1988

    Robbie_1988 Semi-Pro

    Oct 6, 2005
    Sydney, Australia
    It's interesting he thinks the N90 is "a work of art. A samurai sword".

    If by "art" he means that the racquet plays well, I find it interesting because I was hitting with my PS 85 again recently when the strings in all my N90s were snapped and I immediately felt that compared to the PS 85, the N90 was just so flimsy and unstable at net and everywhere else on the court.

    But if by "art" he meant the racquet looks good, I have to agree there. I love the N90 paintjob. I hate how they made the K90 look like a mutated/deformed b*st*rd child.
  6. HoVa

    HoVa Rookie

    Mar 2, 2008
    How do the racquets you customize for the pros different from what the regular player buys off the rack?
    People see things in magazines that the pros use completely different frames. It’s not really the case. There could be slight, slight differences. But mostly it’s in the customizing. So the inside of the frame is made the same or in a very similar way. The company may add a little weight because the player needs it to be heavier, but otherwise it’s very similar to what you buy.
  7. bluescreen

    bluescreen Hall of Fame

    May 18, 2006
    great article. very insightful.
  8. jasonbourne

    jasonbourne Professional

    Aug 2, 2005
    debajo del sol
    I would agree S&V is the style to play with the n90. I play my best S&V with that racket. Power, placement and touch is awesome with 17g strings.
    I found multis best in that racket, not gut. Perhaps I should have tried VS gut.

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