Serve and Volley Rackets

stethemint

New User
Is there such a thing? I usually thought a racket with a lot of control and stability would be ideal rackets for Serve volleyers but if you look at some of the best guys in the world at it like Feli Lopez ( Wilson ultra 100, well Wilson npro open painted) Maxime Cressy ( babolat pure aero ) Dustin brown ( babolat pure drive ) the Bryan brothers ( babolat pure drive ) these rackets are the opposite of what I would have considered serve and volley rackets. Is it just personal preference at this stage? Currently using the tecnifibre tf40 myself but considering a switch to a more open string pattern as I chip and charge a lot I play very similar to feli Lopez so was considering giving the ultra 100 a bash or the new pure drive! Thought?
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
Cant go wrong with a pro staff for s&v.

Heavy 12oz+ for stability and handle heavy for quick volleys.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
I'm now 54, grew up learning to S&V on grass courts with wood racquets, and eventually trended toward more of an all-court game as I got older and started playing mostly on hard courts. Although my game has changed a little bit, I've never been able to get away from the old-school layout of a relatively heavy and head-light racquet.

That issue of whatever sort of frame we play with through our formative years is an interesting sort of intangible. A kid who builds a game while playing with let's say a Pure Drive might have a particular tennis DNA that's based on that sort of racquet. It becomes that player's "normal". Although I've seen different players exhibit levels substantially higher than mine, I know that many of their racquets would be horrible for me and my game - I've tried several of them and it usually ended badly.

Although we can make recommendations for what's typical with a S&V racquet, trust your own senses as you sample different gear. Only you can sort out just what's that best fit for you. Those racquets that the pros appear to be using don't really tell much of the story for us. Many have paint jobs to look like something that we can buy from a store, but many of them have an actual layout - weight, balance, stiffness - that's tailored to fit that player.

That being said, what's been my personal normal for a decent S&V frame has been a relatively heavy racquet by today's standards - 12.4-12.8 oz. - with enough head-light balance to make the racquet easy enough to maneuver. My frames balance at around 10 pts. HL. Not so many currently available racquets are really in my wheelhouse for S&V work, but it's not too hard to do a little tuning at home with lead tape to get a racquet dialed in toward a more natural layout for me.

In my experience, string patterns have never seemed to be a make-or-break aspect for any racquet. Be careful not to rule out an interesting looking option from your demo list just because of its string layout. Head size may affect just how much zip you get with your volleys, serves, etc. While an old-school mid with plenty of heft and stability may have been a S&V'er's dream back in the era of Pete Sampras, those don't seem to give me the inherent "pop" that I get with my 98" heads if I compare them now.

I have a pair of Volkl C10's in my bag, but mine have some lead added to their handles for a little more familiar feeling HL balance. They're stable enough through the ball for me in their stock layout, but seemed slightly sluggish with their stock balance. Other 10-series Volkls of the 325g range that I've played have been too light and unstable for me, but lead tuning brought my older pair of Organix 10 325g's up to around 12.7 oz. with about 10 pts. HL balance and they are profoundly better for me like that.

The heavier models from Yonex might have a lot of S&V authority, but I haven't tried any newer models. Their RDS 002 Tour and RD Ti-80 were two 98" models from a few years ago that were great for S&V right out of the box.

Other current models that might be okay at least for me could be the Head Prestige mp, Wilson RF 97A, Prince Phantom 97P, and Dunlop CX 200 Tour, but each of these aside from the Wilson would probably work better for me with just a little lead here and there.

Grip sizes seem to have trended a bit smaller in more modern times. That might make it easier to swing away from the baseline for some, but I've never been comfortable with attacking the net using any racquet having a small grip. That forces me to use too much grip pressure to maneuver the frame - never a good thing. If you catch yourself "white knuckling" a racquet when you go to the net, sample something with a larger grip size if you can.

If you can get good feel and touch with anything, even a stock Pure Drive, they you're probably onto that good fit that you want for playing S&V with authority.
 

stethemint

New User
I'm now 54, grew up learning to S&V on grass courts with wood racquets, and eventually trended toward more of an all-court game as I got older and started playing mostly on hard courts. Although my game has changed a little bit, I've never been able to get away from the old-school layout of a relatively heavy and head-light racquet.

That issue of whatever sort of frame we play with through our formative years is an interesting sort of intangible. A kid who builds a game while playing with let's say a Pure Drive might have a particular tennis DNA that's based on that sort of racquet. It becomes that player's "normal". Although I've seen different players exhibit levels substantially higher than mine, I know that many of their racquets would be horrible for me and my game - I've tried several of them and it usually ended badly.

Although we can make recommendations for what's typical with a S&V racquet, trust your own senses as you sample different gear. Only you can sort out just what's that best fit for you. Those racquets that the pros appear to be using don't really tell much of the story for us. Many have paint jobs to look like something that we can buy from a store, but many of them have an actual layout - weight, balance, stiffness - that's tailored to fit that player.

That being said, what's been my personal normal for a decent S&V frame has been a relatively heavy racquet by today's standards - 12.4-12.8 oz. - with enough head-light balance to make the racquet easy enough to maneuver. My frames balance at around 10 pts. HL. Not so many currently available racquets are really in my wheelhouse for S&V work, but it's not too hard to do a little tuning at home with lead tape to get a racquet dialed in toward a more natural layout for me.

In my experience, string patterns have never seemed to be a make-or-break aspect for any racquet. Be careful not to rule out an interesting looking option from your demo list just because of its string layout. Head size may affect just how much zip you get with your volleys, serves, etc. While an old-school mid with plenty of heft and stability may have been a S&V'er's dream back in the era of Pete Sampras, those don't seem to give me the inherent "pop" that I get with my 98" heads if I compare them now.

I have a pair of Volkl C10's in my bag, but mine have some lead added to their handles for a little more familiar feeling HL balance. They're stable enough through the ball for me in their stock layout, but seemed slightly sluggish with their stock balance. Other 10-series Volkls of the 325g range that I've played have been too light and unstable for me, but lead tuning brought my older pair of Organix 10 325g's up to around 12.7 oz. with about 10 pts. HL balance and they are profoundly better for me like that.

The heavier models from Yonex might have a lot of S&V authority, but I haven't tried any newer models. Their RDS 002 Tour and RD Ti-80 were two 98" models from a few years ago that were great for S&V right out of the box.

Other current models that might be okay at least for me could be the Head Prestige mp, Wilson RF 97A, Prince Phantom 97P, and Dunlop CX 200 Tour, but each of these aside from the Wilson would probably work better for me with just a little lead here and there.

Grip sizes seem to have trended a bit smaller in more modern times. That might make it easier to swing away from the baseline for some, but I've never been comfortable with attacking the net using any racquet having a small grip. That forces me to use too much grip pressure to maneuver the frame - never a good thing. If you catch yourself "white knuckling" a racquet when you go to the net, sample something with a larger grip size if you can.

If you can get good feel and touch with anything, even a stock Pure Drive, they you're probably onto that good fit that you want for playing S&V with authority.
Interesting that you should say that my current set up is my tecnifibre tf40 315 and I just added a leather grip to the stock form and it plays great. Not sure if exact specs but it’s around 345 strung and probably close to 10 PT HL which has been working very well. I’ll probably keep it to be honest but i just found it interesting as I would have thought my racket was perfect set up for Serve and volley aggressive tennis but a lot of the pros use thicker beams with wider string patterns. I suppose it’s all personal preference as you say!

Shame though as I won’t get to practise for quite some time as it stands!
 

golden chicken

Professional
Pro Staff Tour 90. Actually, the racket I've hit the best serves with was a Pro Staff 6.0 85 with a ton of lead in the hoop, but it was extremely demanding. As I am playing less and less, I'm finding the Tour 90 to be pretty demanding as well, so I've been tinkering with a 6.1 95.
 

heftylefty

Hall of Fame
When I was younger, by twenty years, I played a chip and charge came with an oversize Prince Graduate. Because of the fiberglass, the racquet was not too stiff.

I think it depends on your setup when using a racquet that's more than 95 square inches.
 

sanister

Semi-Pro
That’s because the Response 97 was not a very good feeling racquet.
Well if you are referring to the 2013 reissue Response 97, then yes you are correct. That was a 68 RA, crisp playing racquet. Felt boardy.

The original Precision Response 660 was low sixties RA unstrung if I remember correctly and a decent feeling racquet overall. Even in that version there was the made in China and made in Thailand versions (former being more head light than latter). The QC even in those days was terrible, saw many guys complaining about their sets of racquets being so off spec from one another.
 

chatt_town

Hall of Fame
Is there such a thing? I usually thought a racket with a lot of control and stability would be ideal rackets for Serve volleyers but if you look at some of the best guys in the world at it like Feli Lopez ( Wilson ultra 100, well Wilson npro open painted) Maxime Cressy ( babolat pure aero ) Dustin brown ( babolat pure drive ) the Bryan brothers ( babolat pure drive ) these rackets are the opposite of what I would have considered serve and volley rackets. Is it just personal preference at this stage? Currently using the tecnifibre tf40 myself but considering a switch to a more open string pattern as I chip and charge a lot I play very similar to feli Lopez so was considering giving the ultra 100 a bash or the new pure drive! Thought?
I think it's about the personal feel for each person. I don't think the raquet matters as much as people think it does. I think Lopez or any of those other people you mentioned could take yours or my raquets and volley pretty much the same way they do with their raquets. I think it comes down to your technique at the end of the day.
 
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