Racquet recommendation for a USTA 3.0?

dilshan

New User
Dear members,
First let me give you a background about myself. I am from Sri Lanka and I am 37 years old, 5'6", weighing 180 pounds. I went for tennis coaching for around 6 months in my junior days, played around 2-3 competitive matches in school. After an injury I stopped playing and started going for coaching for 3 months, 2 years ago and from last week starting playing recreational doubles with some of my friends, which is going to be a regular once a week. Furthermore, I am planning to go to a coach once a week as well. I believe I am a USTA 3.0 looking at the chart but based on the below details, would appreciate honest feedback from this community on my actual level. These are my skills at present from a scale of (good, average, bad):

Serve: average
Forehand: average
Backhand (slice): average
Backhand (both hands): bad
Volly: bad
Smash: bad
performance at the net: bad
performance at the baseline: average
Returning a serve: average

I currently have a Wilson nCode N6 and I have no idea on the tension. I feel that I have the power to plow through balls but what I require most is control, as I am hesitant in hitting the ball hard in fear that it would go out. I also feel that the racquet I have now does not serve me well in my game as on most occasions it turns in my hand when returning a power shot. I would be grateful to gain experience advice from this community on a good racquet recommendation (unfortunately they don't allow of us to demo racquets before buying):

- From Wilson, Babolat, Head and Price (Only brands available here)?
- Weight (Would be comfortable with a 320G Racquet)?
- Stringing tension (would depend on racquet i believe?)?
- Should I go for a hybrid setup?
- Some good strings for control?

Thank you all in advance! :)
 

Djinn

New User
If you have the possibility to demo, try some of the following: Wilson Clash 100, Babolat Pure Drive, Yonex EZone 100, and Head Instinct.

I would suggest, along with going to a coach, pull up some youtube instructional videos and work on your weaknesses. It will be very helpful to your game if you want to improve. Good luck.

EDIT: For strings, either use synthetic gut or multis for right now until your strokes develop more, then you can try out polys/copolys.
 

dilshan

New User
If you have the possibility to demo, try some of the following: Wilson Clash 100, Babolat Pure Drive, Yonex EZone 100, and Head Instinct.

I would suggest, along with going to a coach, pull up some youtube instructional videos and work on your weaknesses. It will be very helpful to your game if you want to improve. Good luck.

EDIT: For strings, either use synthetic gut or multis for right now until your strokes develop more, then you can try out polys/copolys.
Thank you Djinn. Do you have any recommendations on some good youtube channels?
 

Djinn

New User
Thank you Djinn. Do you have any recommendations on some good youtube channels?
There's a few I follow myself. Not sure if I'm allowed to post them here. Please delete if I am not allowed to post. Intuitive Tennis, Essential Tennis, Top Tennis Training, Tennisnerd, Brian Dabul are all good.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
3.0 needs stability and forgiveness as sweet spots are harder to hit reliably. So 100-104 sq in frame, 11-12 oz strung, 16x19. Clash 100, Extreme MP, Prince 107G, Babolat Pure Aero.

That would pretty much encompass the rackets in my Saturdays 3.5 men’s group.
 

dilshan

New User
3.0 needs stability and forgiveness as sweet spots are harder to hit reliably. So 100-104 sq in frame, 11-12 oz strung, 16x19. Clash 100, Extreme MP, Prince 107G, Babolat Pure Aero.

That would pretty much encompass the rackets in my Saturdays 3.5 men’s group.
Thank you Dartagnan64
 

Lorenn

Professional
Babolat pure aero and head extreme as well in my opinion.
Since you are taking it serious enough to be coached my suggestions are...

Speed MP, Wait for Radical 360+, Extreme MP, Extreme Tour.

Prince Textreme Tour, 107G

options to look out for...
Techifibre Tflight

Another option would be to restring your racquet with something like Velocity MLT from head. Maybe up the string tension. Most of the racquets recommended are topspin friendly. This helps you keep in hard hit balls. My guess is it might be time to change your strings.
 
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dilshan

New User
Since you are taking it serious enough to be coached my suggestions are...

Speed MP, Wait for Radical 360+, Extreme MP, Extreme Tour.

Prince Textreme Tour, 107G

options to look out for...
Techifibre Tflight

Another option would be to restring your racquet with something like Velocity MLT from head. Maybe even up the string tension a bit. Most of the racquets recommended are topspin friendly. This helps you keep in hard hit balls. My guess is it might be time to change your strings.
Thank you Lorenn
 

yonexRx32

Semi-Pro
You're right, it may have undiagnosed osteoporosis, or an overactive immune system. Better be safe. Get a $250 racket that comes with a trophy warranty.
 

happyandbob

Hall of Fame
All of the racquets mentioned here are good options, but definitely demo them before you buy. All racquets swing a little differently and you will hit better with some than others even though the specs look to be identical.
 

Lorenn

Professional
All of the racquets mentioned here are good options, but definitely demo them before you buy. All racquets swing a little differently and you will hit better with some than others even though the specs look to be identical.
I think at this level almost any reasonable racquet would do well. Not sure they know how their game will develop. Currently we do know it is focused on doubles. SO good maneuverability is a plus. Any of the racquets listed would be exceptional. Not against them demoing ,if it is an option, but almost all of the racquets should do well for the next two years. I might suggest a more neutral racquet...designed for all court at this time. SO more the Speed MP(360+), Prince Textreme tour, Prince 107g. Any of those should suit most players. After that racquet and coaching I think they will know how they prefer to play the game and can pick a racquet which is more akin to their advanced game.

Not against demoing just pondering if it a feasible in this case.
 

golden chicken

Hall of Fame
I would consider restringing your current racket before you go down the new racket route. I would string it somewhere in the low 60s with a synthetic gut so that the cost is low and see if you get more control that you desire. Even if you hated the result, it would give you a better picture of what you might need out of your racket and strings and you can adjust without having to spend on a new racket plus strings.

The racket twisting in your grip may be a result of a few issues, but not hitting cleanly is the main part of the problem. Going to a smaller head size won't help you hit more cleanly by itself, although a heavier, more stable racket might reduce the twisting on slightly imperfect strikes.

Perhaps as you play more regularly with certain people, they would let you try their rackets. That would be a way to "demo" without having a demo program available to you exactly.
 

Keizer

Hall of Fame
If Prince is available where he is, the Iga (Textreme Tour 290) might be a good option. Light stock weight, decent swing weight (324 as measured by TW), and you won't have to upgrade as you progress. Also a nice 100 sqin head size.
 

dilshan

New User
All of the racquets mentioned here are good options, but definitely demo them before you buy. All racquets swing a little differently and you will hit better with some than others even though the specs look to be identical.
Thank you happyandbob. The local shops don't usually allow to demo but will see if i can convince them
 

dilshan

New User
Are you buying online or from a local dealer? If online, see what TW has, like the Prince Textreme Warrior 100 that's on sale for $129. If a local dealer, see if he has any "last year's" models that he is closing out. Make sure to get the right grip size.
Thank you Steve Huff. Looking at the options available, online is tempting as the local dealer has limited options. I saw that TW also has the Phantom pro 100P on sale. Is it similar in play to the Textreme Warrior 100?
 

dilshan

New User
I would consider restringing your current racket before you go down the new racket route. I would string it somewhere in the low 60s with a synthetic gut so that the cost is low and see if you get more control that you desire. Even if you hated the result, it would give you a better picture of what you might need out of your racket and strings and you can adjust without having to spend on a new racket plus strings.

The racket twisting in your grip may be a result of a few issues, but not hitting cleanly is the main part of the problem. Going to a smaller head size won't help you hit more cleanly by itself, although a heavier, more stable racket might reduce the twisting on slightly imperfect strikes.

Perhaps as you play more regularly with certain people, they would let you try their rackets. That would be a way to "demo" without having a demo program available to you exactly.
Thank you golden chicken. I believe you are the second person to recommend restring so this is definitely a path I think I should explore. With regard to demoing my partner player racquets, funnily enough they borrow racquets from the club as they are not happy with the one they have LOL.
 
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dilshan

New User
If Prince is available where he is, the Iga (Textreme Tour 290) might be a good option. Light stock weight, decent swing weight (324 as measured by TW), and you won't have to upgrade as you progress. Also a nice 100 sqin head size.
Thank you Keizer. Wow I am amazed how such a low weight racquet has such high swing weight. Will add this to my shortlist too.
 

esm

Hall of Fame
Thank you golden chicken. I believe you are the second person to recommend restring so this is definitely a path I think I should explore. With regard to demoing my partner player racquets, funnily enough they borrow racquets from the club as they are not happy with the one they have LOL.
Are you able to borrow racquets from the club too? At least you can try a few and work out which type/spec you like?
 

dilshan

New User
Are you able to borrow racquets from the club too? At least you can try a few and work out which type/spec you like?
I hope so esm. I will try and ask them. Since I am a new member there is some doubt but nevertheless I will try and see
 
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dilshan

New User
Dear members,
So i paid a visit to the local tennis shops and these are the racquets they have:

Head
- Head Graphene 360+ Speed MP
- Head Graphene 360+ Extreme MP
- Head Graphene 360+ Gravity Tour
- Head Graphene 360 Radical Pro

Head Strings
- Hawk rough
- Lynx
- Sonic pro edge
- Sonic pro

Babolat
- Pure Drive
- Pure Aero
- Pure Strike

Babolat Strings
- RPM blast

Based on TW reviews, it seems like the Head gravity line has good feel, comfort and power. What would be a good stringing combination from above? Should I go hybrid?
 

happyandbob

Hall of Fame
Dear members,
So i paid a visit to the local tennis shops and these are the racquets they have:

Head
- Head Graphene 360+ Speed MP
- Head Graphene 360+ Extreme MP
- Head Graphene 360+ Gravity Tour
- Head Graphene 360 Radical Pro

Head Strings
- Hawk rough
- Lynx
- Sonic pro edge
- Sonic pro

Babolat
- Pure Drive
- Pure Aero
- Pure Strike

Babolat Strings
- RPM blast

Based on TW reviews, it seems like the Head gravity line has good feel, comfort and power. What would be a good stringing combination from above? Should I go hybrid?
I would recommend avoiding any racquets that are called Pro or Tour. Those will be heavier and intended for intermediate to advanced players.

Looking at the list available to you, the Speed, Extreme, Pure Aero, and Pure Drive will all work fine for you. I would start by testing out the Drive and Extreme if are able to demo.

If you can’t demo, you will be ok buying any of those four.
 

dilshan

New User
I would recommend avoiding any racquets that are called Pro or Tour. Those will be heavier and intended for intermediate to advanced players.

Looking at the list available to you, the Speed, Extreme, Pure Aero, and Pure Drive will all work fine for you. I would start by testing out the Drive and Extreme if are able to demo.

If you can’t demo, you will be ok buying any of those four.
Thank you happyandbob. Will stay away from the pro/tour lines since they are more for advance players. MY search now narrows down to the ones you mentioned :)
 

dilshan

New User
Dear members,
Just to let you know that I finally decided to get the Yonex Ezone 100 :) Finale was between the Head Graphene 360+ Speed MP and this but Yonex quality control pushed me towards the ezone. Going to order it on TW and get it shipped to my country. Thank you for all your help!
 
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happyandbob

Hall of Fame
Dear members,
Just to let you know that I finally decided to get the Yonex Ezone 100 :) Finale was between the Head Graphene 360+ Speed MP and this but Yonex quality control pushed me towards the ezone. Going to order it on TW and get it shipped to my country. Thank you for all your help!
That is a great racquet. I just switched to the Ezone 100+ and am loving it.
 

golden chicken

Hall of Fame
I wouldn't bother with hybrids yet. As an inconsistent 3.0, you are likely not yet able to utilize basic strings to their fullest potential.

Focus on improving yourself first. Work on striking the ball cleanly and consistently before you start looking for answers in strings.

Congrats on choosing a new racket.
 

stapletonj

Hall of Fame
The ezone 100 is a good stick. very plush. I would recc. you try out gut in the mains and a slick round poly in the crosses.
also, dont be afraid to swing out with it. the string pattern helps with control.
(I am a vcore 100 man myself, and a little Wilson Clash 100, but I have played with the ezone line many times)
 

happyandbob

Hall of Fame
I wouldn't bother with hybrids yet. As an inconsistent 3.0, you are likely not yet able to utilize basic strings to their fullest potential.
I am with golden chicken, as a beginner you will not get enough benefit out of hybrid of different kinds of strings until you are generating your own power and consistent spin. If I were you, I'd start with a full bed of a nice cheap synthetic gut strung @ 48-50 lbs.

Head PPS
Babolat Synthetic Gut
Prince Synthetic Gut
Tourna Synthetic Gut Armor

All of these are cheap and will work well for you.
 

dilshan

New User
I wouldn't bother with hybrids yet. As an inconsistent 3.0, you are likely not yet able to utilize basic strings to their fullest potential.

Focus on improving yourself first. Work on striking the ball cleanly and consistently before you start looking for answers in strings.

Congrats on choosing a new racket.
Thank you @golden chicken. Yes planning to improve my skills by going to a coach
 
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dilshan

New User
I am with golden chicken, as a beginner you will not get enough benefit out of hybrid of different kinds of strings until you are generating your own power and consistent spin. If I were you, I'd start with a full bed of a nice cheap synthetic gut strung @ 48-50 lbs.

Head PPS
Babolat Synthetic Gut
Prince Synthetic Gut
Tourna Synthetic Gut Armor

All of these are cheap and will work well for you.
Thank you @happyandbob. I saw on the Youtube vid of the ezone 100 review that TW recommends the following. Hyper-G, Volkl Cyclone, Ice Code, and Poly Tour Pro. Are these not appropriate given my skill level?
 

happyandbob

Hall of Fame
Thank you happyandbob. I saw on the Youtube vid of the ezone 100 review that TW recommends the following. Hyper-G, Volkl Cyclone, Ice Code, and Poly Tour Pro. Are these not appropriate given my skill level?
Those are all great strings, but they are poly so designed for players who swing very fast and generate a lot of power and spin. In general, poly strings are stiff and designed to reduce the power of a racquet so players can swing harder to generate more spin. At your level (unless you are already taking long hard swings at the ball), poly strings will hamper your development, not help it.

Poly strings at your level will cause you to hit the ball shorter and won't give you any additional spin unless your technique creates enough spin to utilize the poly.

Plus they are way more expensive. Each of the synthetic guts I listed earlier can be had for $3 per set. Poly Tour Pro is like $15 or $16 I think. Cyclone is one of the cheapest polys and it's still $9 per set.

Add to that poly strings don't maintain tension as well, so the hitting feel and characteristics will change more quickly over time causing you to replace them more often (unless you swing hard enough to start breaking the synthetic gut strings).

Once you start breaking strings often or can consistently hit the ball deep with spin, then you can start thinking about poly.
 
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Dragy

Legend
Keep in mind also that poly strings tend to not break for quite long time (or literally never in some cases) - meanwhile, they loose elasticity rather fast which makes them harsh and causing tendon injury (TE/GE). So playing with poly, including poly hybrids, you are supposed to cut them every 10-15 hours of play. Which is unnecessary expenses and trouble as long as you can get decent performance and longevity from syngut.
 

dilshan

New User
Those are all great strings, but they are poly so designed for players who swing very fast and generate a lot of power and spin. In general, poly strings are stiff and designed to reduce the power of a racquet so players can swing harder to generate more spin. At your level (unless you are already taking long hard swings at the ball), poly strings will hamper your development, not help it.

Poly strings at your level will cause you to hit the ball shorter and won't give you any additional spin unless your technique creates enough spin to utilize the poly.
Thank you @happyandbob. You bring up some valid points. I will look into the options you mentioned
 

dilshan

New User
Keep in mind also that poly strings tend to not break for quite long time (or literally never in some cases) - meanwhile, they loose elasticity rather fast which makes them harsh and causing tendon injury (TE/GE). So playing with poly, including poly hybrids, you are supposed to cut them every 10-15 hours of play. Which is unnecessary expenses and trouble as long as you can get decent performance and longevity from syngut.
Thank you @Dragy. I think poly is high maintenance as you mentioned. Will look into the syngut options
 

happyandbob

Hall of Fame
btw @happyandbob could you let me know why you went with 100+ instead of the 100? I would on most occasions play doubles, so the 100 would be better suited for me?
I demo'd it and I hit really well with it. I wasn't looking for a plus racquet specifically -- I actually have hated every other plus racquet I've tried over the years. I Just feel very connected to the ball with it and I serve incredibly well with it.

I would absolutely recommend NOT looking at any plus racquets, especially if you are planning to play a lot of doubles. The biggest drawback of any plus racquets is their relative lack of maneuverability, which makes them harder to volley with.
 

dilshan

New User
I demo'd it and I hit really well with it. I wasn't looking for a plus racquet specifically -- I actually have hated every other plus racquet I've tried over the years. I Just feel very connected to the ball with it and I serve incredibly well with it.

I would absolutely recommend NOT looking at any plus racquets, especially if you are planning to play a lot of doubles. The biggest drawback of any plus racquets is their relative lack of maneuverability, which makes them harder to volley with.
Thank you @happyandbob. Will stick with the 100 then :)
 

Lorenn

Professional
Head
- Head Graphene 360+ Speed MP
- Head Graphene 360+ Extreme MP
- Head Graphene 360+ Gravity Tour
- Head Graphene 360 Radical Pro
My suggestion is skip anything 360 for the most part as 360+ models are normally far superior. So changing it to the 360+ radical pro which is out in a month or so.

Power ranking.
Gravity Tour/Radical Pro 360+< Speed MP< Extreme MP < your current racquet.

Gravity tour 360+ and Radical 360+ are about 3 steps down from your current racquet. You could string them to get it closer. It will take you working with a coach and forum to get good with the racquets. If you are atheltic and or stronger then average it would not be impossible, but it is a large jump. I prefer the Radical 360+ series...Currently use a Gravity Pro myself.

Speed MP is just a well balanced racquet. Feel is a little more neutral, plays well in all areas.

Extreme Tour is a reasonable ultra spin friendly racquet. It mainly makes me miss the radical line.

String, I wish they had more options...concerned about suggesting poly because I am not sure you are ready to switch strings regularly.

Your existing racquet ...the goal is to reign it in two steps or so. Any synthetic gut at 58-60 should work. My originally suggestion was to keep the tension the same and reign it in with a control oriented multi string(head velocity MLT) and up tension one step or so. Don't get me wrong I think you would be better off with a heavier racquet...

Babolats would work reasonably just be careful with string choices and if you do use poly replace string regularly.

I would like to see more string options...maybe mail ordering your own string or another nearby shop? You mainly want to ask what synthetic guts they carry and which multi strings.
 
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