How much do rackets matter?

Roland G

Hall of Fame
on the forums, I see people compare rackets like they compare their cats and dogs. In theory, when 2 rackets have similar specs (eg. head size, length, mass, balance, string pattern, swingweight, etc.) shouldn't they perform just as similarly? sure, there maybe small details here and there that might distinguish one from another, but in terms of overall performance, why would they be any different, even to an experienced/elite player?

realized this might be the wrong place to write this. can move it if necessary.
Thinking about racquet specs and spending money on new frames is a complete and utter waste of time. Most of the really accomplished players I know have no interest whatsoever in gear. They just buy a few sticks, string them whenever and get on with playing tennis. I've bought countless racquets over the years and while it can be fun if that's what you are after it really is a total waste of time and in no way does it help your game. Your consistancy also will suffer. Think of this way, is the 2015 Pure Drive any different than the 2021 version? Of course not, and if you had the 2015 version you would be completely wasting your time and money on the newer one.
 

socallefty

G.O.A.T.
Most good players might not think a lot about their racquets - but, they also are the most likely to keep playing with the same racquet model and strings for many years. They know enough to not mess with what works well for them as even the smallest changes can change the outcome of a match at the higher levels even in rec play.

On the other hand, if a 4.5+ player has to play a match against an opponent below his level, they are probably the most likely to be able to adapt to any new racquet/string vey quickly and seem like they haven’t missed a beat from playing with their usual equipment. However, I think they will struggle to seem so effortless in dealing with the racquet change if they are playing an equal-level or higher-level player.
 

big bang

Hall of Fame
Some people Can play with almost anything, while others are highly sensitive.
The best player I know is very defensive, dont care much about his frame og strings.
im very sensitive myself, but I prefer to take the Ball early and take a full swing. That doesnt go very Well if the weight and balance is off.Im perfectionist when it comes to equipment in general, so I always string my own racquets and do customization myself. it has become an hobby, I enjoy spending time with my collection in the garage. I love tennis and I love tennis racquets, just like a race driver love cars. Some people (including the wife) finds it funny that a grown man collect racquets, and that’s ok with me as long as I can keep them.
 
Also one veteran player 67 years old in my club plays with this one, apparently its at least decade y
old racquet with a year old 1.40 syn gut on it.

We had a match and i lost to him on a tie breaker, not needing to say with my pro stock collection of racquets in my bag worth 1k at least. 2x 293.2 and one H22 from an atp player tragic really
I had a similar experience with one guy just a few weeks ago. He is a 4.0+ player and a sectional doubles champ.

He kicks everyone's butt with Head T1.S6.
 

Rosstour

G.O.A.T.
I can drive fast in just about anything and "I'm not picky"

But ask me to race for points or money and all of a sudden I will require a 2001 DC2R with Michelin Pilot Sport+ in 195/55/15 on Spoon SW388s, Carbotech Panther Plus pads, ATE Super Blue brake fluid, and a 4pt harness
 
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esm

Legend
I can drive fast in just about anything and "I'm not picky"

But ask me to race for points or money and all of a sudden I will require a 2001 DC2R with Michelin Pilot Sport+ in 195/55/15 on Spoon SW388s, Carbotech Panther Plus pads, ATE Super Blue brake fluid, and a 4pt harness
The NOS and ecu tune is next in line… lol
 

TheBoom

Hall of Fame
While true, in my experience, strings matter just as much.
I agree with this, but I’d say strings matter more. I’d prefer to play with a racket with my favorite strings than my favorite racket with my least favorite strings.

In general, I‘m of the opinion a racket will enhance the characteristics of your game, but it won’t usually be the reason you rank up or down. A good player will (generally) play about as well with an Ezone 100 or a Pro Staff. But, in a tight match with someone of a similar caliber, the comfort one has with a particular frame can have an impact and help you play marginally better.

Gear is fun and I do enjoy trying out new rackets and switching from time to time. It’s a fun hobby and it keeps things entertaining. Let’s just not kid ourselves and think a racket will take you from a 3.5 to a 4.0 or from a 4.5 to an open player. Fitness and technique are going to help you make those big gains in your game much more than a racket will.
 
Some rackets make playing easier, others make playing harder. This is something you can notice immediately if you try both.

Some rackets feel better than others.

If you can't feel a difference, it doesn't matter, but lots of people can feel differences like the ones I mentioned.
 

federrero

Rookie
What a player wants to achieve have in impact on the racket choice. For example, a player who wants to learn how to play effortlessly with loopy strokes will have less chance to get to his goal with a powerful (hence lighter) racket.
 
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