Ultimate racquet for a 4.5 player

Pronate

Rookie
I prefer racquets that weight around 10.6-11.1 ounces unstrung and 18x20 string pattern. It would be ideal if the racquet beam is wide enough for customization (lead). If the beam is too narrow the lead dents based on past experience. Also would prefer the glossy paint used in the past 2008-2012 racquets over matte.
 

socallefty

Legend
Make a Pure Strike Tour that is about 4 points more flexible in RA and about 10 Hz less in vibration frequency than the Babolat model - make millions and cut me a small royalty check please. And make a string that plays like HyperG Soft, but in a different more muted color.

PS: Make a 18x20 version too and not just a 16x19 pattern.
 
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mhkeuns

Hall of Fame
As mentioned above by @socallefty, something like a Pure Strike Tour - in weight, 2 points more HL in balance, sub 60 RA with slightly thinner beam, and preferably the 18x20 pattern. I’d also prefer a string like the RPM Blast that lasts longer.

Or, something like a 360+ Prestige MP with more access to free power.
 

DJ-

Hall of Fame
We are interested in what 4.5isch players look for when it comes to purchasing a new tennis racquet (frame size, weight, string pattern, weight distribution, grip size, etc....).
Are you guys using feedback to make a new string or market your current lineup? (I'm a user b.t.w) or developing a new racquet?
 
Make a Pure Strike Tour that is about 4 points more flexible in RA and about 10 Hz less in vibration frequency than the Babolat model - make millions and cut me a small royalty check please. And make a string that plays like HyperG Soft, but in a different more muted color.

PS: Make a 18x20 version too and not just a 16x19 pattern.
As mentioned above by @socallefty, something like a Pure Strike Tour - in weight, 2 points more HL in balance, sub 60 RA with slightly thinner beam, and preferably the 18x20 pattern. I’d also prefer a string like the RPM Blast that lasts longer.

Or, something like a 360+ Prestige MP with more access to free power.
I'll third this. I like my current stick, but if I were designing my own, I'd wish for ~98 inches, low 60s RA, and a string pattern that isn't crazy dense or crazy open (I <3 16/20). Most of the current frames in that ballpark follow the Blade formula with a relatively head-heavy balance. If it's possible to keep reasonable swingweight/stability and a more head-light balance, that would be great. The Vcore Pro 310 or HD are theoretically in the strike zone, but they felt odd and anemic to me. The closest current racquet I've found is probably the Tec TF40 315, but it's a bit stiff and the string pattern is dense (nice racquet though). I also liked the Pure Strike Tour and would probably love it if it were flexier. I'm cool with a lighter frame (300-310) if it's stable and/or takes lead well.

I recognize the value of stiffer frames (played with the APD for years), but there are plenty of solid options in that genre. Likewise, for a low-static high-swingweight frame, the Blade/Pure Strike are there. This flexier-PST thing doesn't really exist at the moment...I'd like to think there's enough demand for it, but I have no idea if that's true.
 
310-315gr,
31cm balance,
300SW,
61-62RA,
vibration frequency below 140 (132-135 optimal)
unstrung specs.

97-98 sqin,
21mm straight beam,
18x20 and 16x19 (or 16x20) patterns not very open (look at the current blade for optimum string spacing).
Fill it with foam.
Make it flex a little more in the throat area rather than uniform flex.

If you make this I'll buy 12 of each string pattern.

A true all court frame...
 
310-315gr,
31cm balance,
300SW,
61-62RA,
vibration frequency below 140 (132-135 optimal)
unstrung specs.

97-98 sqin,
21mm straight beam,
18x20 and 16x19 (or 16x20) patterns not very open (look at the current blade for optimum string spacing).
Fill it with foam.
Make it flex a little more in the throat area rather than uniform flex.

If you make this I'll buy 12 of each string pattern.

A true all court frame...
Similar frames already in the market and what I don't like about them...
v5 Blade: a little too stiff, too head heavy, needs (extensive) customization to reach the specs I like. (But it is a sweet frame indeed)
v7 Blade: this comes really close except for the balance. This is what I play with at the moment but needed more weight to bring the balance down than I would prefer (mine are 318-319gr unstrung).
360+ prestige mp: a little too heavy, a little too dense string pattern, requires extra weight to gain some power.
Ultra tour/Ultra pro 18x20: too low SW (becomes too heavy after customization to reach preferred SW and balance and be stable and have some power), too dense string pattern, a little too stiff.
Vcore pro HD: a little too heavy, this hurt my arm a little (I don't know why), the head shape...
Pure strike: too stiff, too muted, a little HH balance.
Black ace pro: too flexy, too open string pattern
 

McLovin

Legend
I think you're going to find an extremely wide array of answers here. Me, I prefer 98 sq in frames, in the 21-22mm beam thickness, low-mid 60s RA, 16x19 (or 20) string pattern, 300-310g, 7-8pts HL (unstrung), and most importantly...offered in an extended length. Lighter frames don't bother me as I'll simply add lead to get them where I want to be. In fact, I'd prefer them being closer to 300g so I can tweak to make up for tolerances.

However, two of my usual doubles partners (one a 5.0, the other a 4.5/5.0) use Yonex DR100/Ezone 100 frames, which have a thicker beam and higher RA.

And my other doubles partner has been using the 2015 Pure Aero +, and is having a hard time finding something to replace them as there's not much in the extended length category.

Then there's the guys I play singles against: one uses the Pure Drive +, another uses the DR98, another uses the VCORE 98 (2021), and another uses Pro Stock Head frames that are 95 sq in, 21mm thick, 18x20, and almost 28" long.

All of the above mentioned players are strong 4.5s, 5.0s, or have done time as both. So...yeah...kinda runs the gamut.
 
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Gee

Hall of Fame
Similar frames already in the market and what I don't like about them...
v5 Blade: a little too stiff, too head heavy, needs (extensive) customization to reach the specs I like. (But it is a sweet frame indeed)
v7 Blade: this comes really close except for the balance. This is what I play with at the moment but needed more weight to bring the balance down than I would prefer (mine are 318-319gr unstrung).
360+ prestige mp: a little too heavy, a little too dense string pattern, requires extra weight to gain some power.
Ultra tour/Ultra pro 18x20: too low SW (becomes too heavy after customization to reach preferred SW and balance and be stable and have some power), too dense string pattern, a little too stiff.
Vcore pro HD: a little too heavy, this hurt my arm a little (I don't know why), the head shape...
Pure strike: too stiff, too muted, a little HH balance.
Black ace pro: too flexy, too open string pattern
Maybe the Diadem Elevate is a frame that meets your requirements:
  • 98 sq inch
  • 305 grams unstrung
  • 16x20 string pattern
  • 21.5 mm flat beam
  • foam filled
  • 64RA
 

Gee

Hall of Fame
We are interested in what 4.5isch players look for when it comes to purchasing a new tennis racquet (frame size, weight, string pattern, weight distribution, grip size, etc....).
My desired specs would be something like:
98 sq inch
320 grams 10pts HL
18x20 (or tight 16x19) string pattern
20 mm flat beam
63RA
Grip shape like Wilson
Leather grip
foam filled
 

Novichok

Semi-Pro
95 to 98 sq. inch
315-325 gm unstrung
16x19 (not too open)
Head light balance (31.5 to 32 cm strung) and strung swingweight of around 328 kg-cm^2 for a 98 and 333 kg-cm^2 for a 95.
Foam filled
20-21.5 mm straight beam
64-66 RA stiffness
Responsive feel
Comfortable
Grip shape - similar to Wilson, Yonex and Babolat with an ergonomic buttcap.
Handle slightly longer than normal for more convenience while hitting a double handed backhand.
An extended length option would be great.
 
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Funny. I expected answers here to be all over the map, but most posters so far want something similar. Either there's a real unmet demand, or TW posters are a self-selecting breed...or both. Either way, hope @TierOneSportsOfficial can answer our prayers.
 
Maybe the Diadem Elevate is a frame that meets your requirements:
  • 98 sq inch
  • 305 grams unstrung
  • 16x20 string pattern
  • 21.5 mm flat beam
  • foam filled
  • 64RA
Sweet frame. Very comfy.
Too open 16x20 string pattern and I couldn't flatten my strokes. The mains spacing is larger than the pure aero... Lost control too often. I had 3, sold one, selling another one and keeping one just because it fixed the tennis elbow I got from using a pure strike (previous model).
 
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Ryebread

Professional
I think you're going to find an extremely wide array of answers here.
THIS

tennis at any level, you will find ANY type of racquet.
I could see the following at my club:
2.5 player at a clinic using with a pure strike b/c she saw one person on instagram using it and she loves the colors
5.0 player using a pure drive

just like in any sport.
hockey sticks, cars on the track, golf clubs, baseball bats, running sneakers.

--
edit, I didn't realize it was a "company/sponsor" asking. need more coffee here.
so, I guess it's more of a fair question than I originally thought, my bad!
 
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CosmosMpower

Hall of Fame
95-98 sq inch, thin beam, low 60's flex rating, tight string pattern (18x20 or 4 mains in throat 16x19). Weight around 315-320 unstrung, swing weight around 325-330 strung, balance 7-10 HL strung.

Basically a G360+ Prestige MP, G360+ Radical Pro, Vcore 95 etc.
 

DustinW

Professional
My preferred specs:
98 sq in
295-310g unstrung
315-325 strung swingweight
21-23mm beam
63-66 RA
16x19

As others have mentioned, everybody prefers something different. This was from a few years back, but this is the list of frames that my 4.5 team played with at regionals.
Radical MP
Pure Drive (2)
Pure Aero
Blade
Pure Strike
Pro Staff 97
Textreme Tour 95
Six One 95

That gives you a range of unstrung weights from 295g to 332g, head sizes from 95 to 100, and stiffness from 60 to 70.
 

JOSHL

Hall of Fame
I’d like to see thinner beams again like below 20mm and maybe increase stiffness a tad for some power around 64/65ish. The box 18mm beam of the pro staff 95S is my all time fav. Also agree on a 16x20 string pattern.
 
Make a Pure Strike Tour that is about 4 points more flexible in RA and about 10 Hz less in vibration frequency than the Babolat model - make millions and cut me a small royalty check please. And make a string that plays like HyperG Soft, but in a different more muted color.

PS: Make a 18x20 version too and not just a 16x19 pattern.
Thanks for the feedback. With the racquet we cannot help you (yet) but on the string side you might want to try our Black Knight.
 
I consider myself a reasonably strong 4.5 aggressive baseliner. My own personal frames that I primarily use are: PA19, Gravity Tour, and G360(+) Speed Pro. I don’t do any customization beyond overgrip, damper, and different strings and tensions.

Thinking about the guys I primarily play against they use PA Tour, Ezone 98, DR 98, Original Pure Strike, Blade 16x19, Prince TT 100, Radical Pro, Diadem Nova, Pro Staff. The very best players at my club use Extreme MP, Prestige, PA, PD15, Prince TT 95 (I think), RF97A, and 6.1 95, and one older National Champion uses a Juice. There are also a few guys using Yonex VCore HD/Dual G.

I haven’t looked too hard, but I don’t notice a lot of customization and honestly I feel a fair bit more racquet tech savvy than pretty much everyone I talk to including the pros and club champion. They are all just outstanding players who played college and some satellite (or higher) type events. I am often surprised how little time they put into gear and they seem amused by how much I enjoy it. They find something they like and roll with it, sometimes getting the newest update of whatever they use.

Overall that is a fairly wide variety. I think if designing a single racquet for a 4.5-5.0 (not a 5.5 or 6.0) I would have the following specs:

98sqin
27in
305G (could argue 310 but I feel the weight of my Speed Pros every now and again)
315mm balance (this may need 310G)
325 strung SW
16x19 (my understanding is this far outsells 18x20)
RA: 64-68
Some kind of frame damping tech
High quality paint job that is neither boring nor super flashy. Ezone, PA VS, and black Speed come to mind.

That wouldn’t be perfect for me specifically, but it would be right down the center for a player that can generate their own power to at least a moderate degree, spin capable without launching flatter drives, moderate stiffness, and maneuverable without being easily pushed around against the power and spin you face at that level. I also think the stiffness and weight combo should perform fairly well on serve since there are definitely free points to be won at that level with a good serve. The lighter weight and somewhat HL balance would be manageable for a 30-60yo man who is using tennis as his primary exercise, and it would leave room for the group of people who do enjoy customizing. Just my $0.02.
 
I consider myself a reasonably strong 4.5 aggressive baseliner. My own personal frames that I primarily use are: PA19, Gravity Tour, and G360(+) Speed Pro. I don’t do any customization beyond overgrip, damper, and different strings and tensions.

Thinking about the guys I primarily play against they use PA Tour, Ezone 98, DR 98, Original Pure Strike, Blade 16x19, Prince TT 100, Radical Pro, Diadem Nova, Pro Staff. The very best players at my club use Extreme MP, Prestige, PA, PD15, Prince TT 95 (I think), RF97A, and 6.1 95, and one older National Champion uses a Juice. There are also a few guys using Yonex VCore HD/Dual G.

I haven’t looked too hard, but I don’t notice a lot of customization and honestly I feel a fair bit more racquet tech savvy than pretty much everyone I talk to including the pros and club champion. They are all just outstanding players who played college and some satellite (or higher) type events. I am often surprised how little time they put into gear and they seem amused by how much I enjoy it. They find something they like and roll with it, sometimes getting the newest update of whatever they use.

Overall that is a fairly wide variety. I think if designing a single racquet for a 4.5-5.0 (not a 5.5 or 6.0) I would have the following specs:

98sqin
27in
305G (could argue 310 but I feel the weight of my Speed Pros every now and again)
315mm balance (this may need 310G)
325 strung SW
16x19 (my understanding is this far outsells 18x20)
RA: 64-68
Some kind of frame damping tech
High quality paint job that is neither boring nor super flashy. Ezone, PA VS, and black Speed come to mind.

That wouldn’t be perfect for me specifically, but it would be right down the center for a player that can generate their own power to at least a moderate degree, spin capable without launching flatter drives, moderate stiffness, and maneuverable without being easily pushed around against the power and spin you face at that level. I also think the stiffness and weight combo should perform fairly well on serve since there are definitely free points to be won at that level with a good serve. The lighter weight and somewhat HL balance would be manageable for a 30-60yo man who is using tennis as his primary exercise, and it would leave room for the group of people who do enjoy customizing. Just my $0.02.
Great! Thanks for adding your $0.02.
 

SinneGOAT

Hall of Fame
I believe the pro staff and prestige lines are the perfect racquets for 4.5+. Smaller head sizes, medium stiffness, choice between 16/19 and 18/20. The prestige pro and pro staff 97 are what I consider the perfect advanced level racquet. Slightly dense 16/19, 21.5-22mm beam, 95 or 97 headsize, 65-67 stiffness. Next would be the v7 blade with a low stiffness, higher swingweight, good stability in a lower weight package and choice between 16/19 and 18/20.
 
This whole topic is quite interesting and somewhat revealing. Clearly the discussion is being driven primarily by middle aged men (myself included) and why wouldn’t it be considering we tend to like spending money on gadgets and hobbies? But the bigger question as a manufacturer is who are the primary customers at each level? Is the advanced player market dominated by men or do women play a large part in that pool? I can’t honestly say that I pay much attention to the racquets the women at my club are wielding. I do think their racquet bags look slimmer than the men (I have 10 frames in mine). But I am guessing if you factor them in equally you really have to start looking at that Pure Drive/Aero/Extreme/Clash model. That really pushes you towards 100 sqin over 98 IMO as 98 is just a compromise between 95 and 100, but I am guessing very few women play 95. At the end of the day if you really want to sell racquets I think you have to think 16x19 and nominally 300g first and then work on comfort while maintaining power and a unique and appealing cosmetic. It seems to me that the current Ezone lineup is really checking all these boxes and enjoying good growth because of it.
 

DJ-

Hall of Fame
We are looking into the possibility of developing a racquet.....
Sounds interesting, if your strings are anything to go by, then call me interested.
Here are some unstrung suggestions :)

Racquet 1

Black Knight MP 98 310gr (inspired by the black knight strings)
BK98 MP 18x20 also BK98 MP 16x19
Glossy black paint
Leather grip
98sq.in
27.in
310gr
298sw
31.9cm balance
21mm beam
High modulus graphite / foam / kevlar / twaron type materials
63ra
Low powered
For the high performance player, advanced / strong intermediate supplies own power.

Racquet 2

Tour Status 100 (inspired by the tour status string)
TS100 16x20
100 sq.in
27in.
300gr
290sw
32cm balance
21.5mm beam
67ra
Medium power
High modulus graphite / foam / kevlar / twaron type materials
Blue / white scheme
For the all court player, the balance of power, spin, control and comfort, good platform frame...


Racquet 3

FireWire Boost X 100
FB 100 x
100sq in
16x19 (with spin type grommets)
290gr
27.25in
32.9cm
22mm beam
69ra
Medium / High powered
High modulus graphite / foam / kevlar / twaron type materials
Red/ white color theme
The modern player looking for extreme pocketing and comfort, baseliners, power players, attacking styles, NTRP 3.5 to advanced..
 
Sounds interesting, if your strings are anything to go by, then call me interested.
Here are some unstrung suggestions :)

Racquet 1

Black Knight MP 98 310gr (inspired by the black knight strings)
BK98 MP 18x20 also BK98 MP 16x19
Glossy black paint
Leather grip
98sq.in
27.in
310gr
298sw
31.9cm balance
21mm beam
High modulus graphite / foam / kevlar / twaron type materials
63ra
Low powered
For the high performance player, advanced / strong intermediate supplies own power.

Racquet 2

Tour Status 100 (inspired by the tour status string)
TS100 16x20
100 sq.in
27in.
300gr
290sw
32cm balance
21.5mm beam
67ra
Medium power
High modulus graphite / foam / kevlar / twaron type materials
Blue / white scheme
For the all court player, the balance of power, spin, control and comfort, good platform frame...


Racquet 3

FireWire Boost X 100
FB 100 x
100sq in
16x19 (with spin type grommets)
290gr
27.25in
32.9cm
22mm beam
69ra
Medium / High powered
High modulus graphite / foam / kevlar / twaron type materials
Red/ white color theme
The modern player looking for extreme pocketing and comfort, baseliners, power players, attacking styles, NTRP 3.5 to advanced..
That's awesome! We will certainly look at all the specs. Love that you know our strings inside out!
 

Automatix

Hall of Fame
We are interested in what 4.5isch players look for when it comes to purchasing a new tennis racquet (frame size, weight, string pattern, weight distribution, grip size, etc....).
I think you should establish what you're really aiming for...
A lot of what has been written is more or less present on the market and has an established label - we can see specs similar to Blades, Strikes and so on. Not to burst your bubble but when most people will see e.g. a Wilson Blade and Black Knight MP 98 (trademark, reserved, copyright etc. @DJ- ;) ) they will choose the Blade.
So if the goal is to roll out something similar just to make a presence on the racquet market then you'd just need to choose what type of players you're after e.g.:
- baseline topspin bashers - APD clone, and I mean APD not Pure Aero. Foam filled. Maybe a smidgen thinner beam.
- allrounders - Blade Pro aka retail H22 with more headlight spec and lower swingweight.
- etc.

Why the above? Due to their scarce availability, Blade Pros are only available through Wilson.com with terrible QC which makes the purchase a gamble. The APD isn't produced and while the Pure Aero is a decent substitute it isn't for everyone's liking.

Now, if you want to release something unique you need to find something appealing to the target players while being different then the lot on the market - not so easy.
What we don't have or have in limited number on the market:
Mids - really niche option, needs big names to market and sale. So that's a no.
OS players frames (understood as 104-107 square inch with <21mm beam) - see above. Not what you're looking for IMHO.
Ultra dense string patterns e.g. 20x21 like on Agassi's frames - hard to tell if this would sell, you could pair it up with your Ghostwire 1.10mm or even release polys in 1.05mm gauge? Still very hard to tell if this would catch on. Also string spacing would be crucial, you'd really have to nail it.
Thick->Thin constant tapper beam - that is a beam starting out thicker in the throat and gradually slimming down up to the tip. Such a beam gives you the feeling of a very maneuverable racquet head but needs extra support at the tip (like extra graphite layer or double aramid braid) so the racquet isn't dead in the upper hoop. This was done on a Yonex Pro RD 70s - 19mm at the throat going down to 16mm in the tip.

As i was writing the above I recalled the fabled japanese edition of the Pro Staff 6.0 in 95 square inches. You could do a survey if players were likely to buy a 95-98 square inch, box constant 17mm beam racquet?

Disclaimer: I am by no means a 4.5ish player, I did offer some feedback to some companies on occasion but this wasn't my day job, more like friendly talks with people who worked in the industry back in the day.
 
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What is the consensus on Wilson Clash frames?
I’m hijacking your thread, instead of reinventing a racquet that already nominally exists, what would the offspring of a Hammer 6.2 (95 sq in, 16x18, 15 pts HH, 280g strung) with a Clash be like?

Light weight, but with plow, and oh so comfy. Yeah baby yeah, Skunk + Clash = Clunk...or maybe Slash would be better :-D

I’m just saying there’s all these heavier HL frames floating around and everybody’s so concerned with plow but plow is only accessible to those able to maneuver 12 oz frames when 8 pts HL is all that’s being made.
 

SinneGOAT

Hall of Fame
I’m hijacking your thread, instead of reinventing a racquet that already nominally exists, what would the offspring of a Hammer 6.2 (95 sq in, 16x18, 15 pts HH, 280g strung) with a Clash be like?

Light weight, but with plow, and oh so comfy. Yeah baby yeah, Skunk + Clash = Clunk...or maybe Slash would be better :-D

I’m just saying there’s all these heavier HL frames floating around and everybody’s so concerned with plow but plow is only accessible to those able to maneuver 12 oz frames when 8 pts HL is all that’s being made.
I don’t think anybody at an advanced level would use that.
 

Tmano

Hall of Fame
My racquet would be
head size 98-100 sq.in.
string pattern 16x19
305-310g
flex of 64-66 but that depends on the racquet but definitely something in between the DR 98 and the Vcore 98 2018
balance 3-4 phl
SW 325-328
beam 22-23 mm
I think it should work for me. Now i'm playing with the DR98 and still testing the Vcore 98.
 
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Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
Yeah I'd have to agree that there is no ultimate frame for a 4.5 since there are so many styles of play. So you probably want to match a frame to your strings and in that case, I would say an APD with a tighter pattern and the flex/feel of the original version would get some interest.
 

ZanderGoga

Semi-Pro
A real 4.5 should be looking for a player's frame. An Internet 4.5 should be looking for a game improvement bunter's stick.
 

Tmano

Hall of Fame
I think it depends of in what stage of your life are in, and by that i mean age. I stopped playing with the Microgel Prestige MP at 40 after an injury and made me realize that certain racquets as the prestige line MP or Pro or other similar are physical demanding racquets. With the experience i have gained so far, if back then there was a DR98 or Vcore 98 or a Speed MP or pro i would have opted for one of those for sure.
 

tennis347

Hall of Fame
There are so many good racquets out there these days making it difficult to stick with the same frame for a while. For me comfort is the number one priority and control. I need to maintain good arm health at 54 and don't use poly any longer. I am on the 4.0-4.5 level and would recommend the Prince Phantom line or the Wilson Blade line. A good player who supplies there own power needs a control oriented racquet. At the 4.5 level and above, a thin beam frame 97-100 sq inches is the way to go with some room for customization.
 

DJ-

Hall of Fame
I think you should establish what you're really aiming for...
A lot of what has been written is more or less present on the market and has an established label - we can see specs similar to Blades, Strikes and so on. Not to burst your bubble but when most people will see e.g. a Wilson Blade and Black Knight MP 98 (trademark, reserved, copyright etc. @DJ- ;) ) they will choose the Blade.
So if the goal is to roll out something similar just to make a presence on the racquet market then you'd just need to choose what type of players you're after e.g.:
- baseline topspin bashers - APD clone, and I mean APD not Pure Aero. Foam filled. Maybe a smidgen thinner beam.
- allrounders - Blade Pro aka retail H22 with more headlight spec and lower swingweight.
- etc.

Why the above? Due to their scarce availability, Blade Pros are only available through Wilson.com with terrible QC which makes the purchase a gamble. The APD isn't produced and while the Pure Aero is a decent substitute it isn't for everyone's liking.

Now, if you want to release something unique you need to find something appealing to the target players while being different then the lot on the market - not so easy.
What we don't have or have in limited number on the market:
Mids - really niche option, needs big names to market and sale. So that's a no.
OS players frames (understood as 104-107 square inch with <21mm beam) - see above. Not what you're looking for IMHO.
Ultra dense string patterns e.g. 20x21 like on Agassi's frames - hard to tell if this would sell, you could pair it up with your Ghostwire 1.10mm or even release polys in 1.05mm gauge? Still very hard to tell if this would catch on. Also string spacing would be crucial, you'd really have to nail it.
Thick->Thin constant tapper beam - that is a beam starting out thicker in the throat and gradually slimming down up to the tip. Such a beam gives you the feeling of a very maneuverable racquet head but needs extra support at the tip (like extra graphite layer or double aramid braid) so the racquet isn't dead in the upper hoop. This was done on a Yonex Pro RD 70s - 19mm at the throat going down to 16mm in the tip.

As i was writing the above I recalled the fabled japanese edition of the Pro Staff 6.0 in 95 square inches. You could do a survey if players were likely to buy a 95-98 square inch, box constant 17mm beam racquet?

Disclaimer: I am by no means a 4.5ish player, I did offer some feedback to some companies on occasion but this wasn't my day job, more like friendly talks with people who worked in the industry back in the day.
I agree with this, pick the target group and focus on that. Most people will choose household names over new ones.. but if your moto is being the underdog then go for something different, backed up with clever marketing. Diadem did well with their offerings in the elevate and nova lines. 4.5 levels can vary these days, and people have a variety of tastes anything from 95sq in to 100sq in open and closed patterns. The blade / pure strike users seem to be popular at the 4.5 level though.
Clash type racquet with thinner beam, less clunky then current offerings with a dense 16x19 or even 18x20 could be great...
 

McLovin

Legend
A real 4.5 should be looking for a player's frame. An Internet 4.5 should be looking for a game improvement bunter's stick.
Quite a broad statement. Please to define a “player’s frame”. Because a good friend of mine, who was a 4.5, but is now a 5.0 due to winning 4.5 Nationals in 2019, just switched to the Ezone 100.

100 sq in, 300g, 23.5-26-22mm beam…not what comes to mind traditionally when people say “players frame”…
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
1 handed BH---- Yonex vcore 95
2 handers---
Vcore Pro 98 330
Ezone 98
Blade, Blade, Blade, Blade, and.....more Blade
Pro Staffs
Pure Strikes
Prestige
Speed Pro 360
Sprinkle of Aero Babs, but not as common as.....Blade Blade Blade
 
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