Why do some pros play with sub 98 sq inch racquets?

zill

Hall of Fame
Many pros play with a 95 sq inch racquet. Why is that? Wouldn’t they get more margin for error with a 98 sq inch racquet? And also more power with a larger head racquet?
 

John

Rookie
Many pros play with a 95 sq inch racquet. Why is that? Wouldn’t they get more margin for error with a 98 sq inch racquet? And also more power with a larger head racquet?
It’s old versus new. Those who still use smaller frames are elder. They are actually hitting larger frames at era they came from( 90” and sub).
 

blablavla

Legend
Many pros play with a 95 sq inch racquet. Why is that? Wouldn’t they get more margin for error with a 98 sq inch racquet? And also more power with a larger head racquet?
Because smaller head-size in general gives you more control.
So, if you can generate your own spin + speed, the small head-size helps you to be more precise, of course all other things being equal.
 

Karma Tennis

Hall of Fame
Many pros play with a 95 sq inch racquet. Why is that? Wouldn’t they get more margin for error with a 98 sq inch racquet? And also more power with a larger head racquet?
Most of the Pros that use 95s grew up and developed their game with smaller hoop sizes.

I think going forward, we will see more and more Players using larger hoop sizes, 98s and 100s for the same reason. The younger players will be just as precise with the larger hoops and will be able to generate more spin and speed more consistently with the larger hoops.

Compare Shapovalov with Alexander Zverev. Both hit the ball pretty hard with a lot of spin. But Zverev is having a lot more success, I think because his racquet gives him a much greater margin of error.
 

snr

Semi-Pro
There's a reason why not everyone plays with a Babolat, and not everyone plays 16x19 or 18x20. They play with what they like and what feels good for them.

The pro's are all good, and given time, can play with frying pans.

What they want is to feel good when they're under pressure. For some, it might be the extra head size. For some, that extra head size may actually "hinder" because they need to "reel it in". Depends on the player.
 

Karma Tennis

Hall of Fame
There's a reason why not everyone plays with a Babolat, and not everyone plays 16x19 or 18x20. They play with what they like and what feels good for them.
Most tennis players who start playing at a young age typically select their first racquet for one of two reasons.

Either they get the racquet that looks like their favourite Pro player's racquet.
Or they get the racquet recommended to them by their Coach.

This racquet usually becomes the one they stick with through the critical years of their development. So it's only natural that they will tune their game to their chosen racquet.

Some of the decent junior players will get Brand Sponsorships early on. That may also influence their choice of racquet.

A few junior players will be supported by people who understand the pros and cons of various equipment configurations and will end up with racquets that best support their game.
 

Kalethan

Rookie
Zverev uses an extremely tight 18x20 pattern in a ‘small’ 95in^2 Head, generates less spin than Shapo with more open 16x20 in ‘big’ 95in^2 Yonex. 18x20 at that head size is a more consistent pattern for blocking the ball at high speed and hitting flat kill shots from 6’6”. Shapo is a way riskier player at 6’2”, needs the extra shape on his shots to pull the ball up and down


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Kalethan

Rookie
I just searched a bunch, and couldn’t find anything besides this, so i’m happy to be wrong about this: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1gEsFJifxr3yOa0PlLBOxBirFxKH67jY-2ukMVRQa7DA/edit?usp=sharing

But! I remember watching him play on clay at 17y/o, and an announcer talking about how he was using the exact Djokovic mold, and multiple people saying for ages on here that he was the first junior Head had allowed to use Djokovic’s exact prostock, which was always given as 95^2. I would also buy that this was old Head heads claiming that the ‘98’ inch head was actually measuerd at 95 interior hitting area. But! Look at that racquet face, he’s hitting it against Fognini right now, and it’s super subjective because he’s so girraffey, but the head looks small. Smaller than Murray’s 98.


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jmacdaununder2

Hall of Fame
I just searched a bunch, and couldn’t find anything besides this, so i’m happy to be wrong about this: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1gEsFJifxr3yOa0PlLBOxBirFxKH67jY-2ukMVRQa7DA/edit?usp=sharing

But! I remember watching him play on clay at 17y/o, and an announcer talking about how he was using the exact Djokovic mold, and multiple people saying for ages on here that he was the first junior Head had allowed to use Djokovic’s exact prostock, which was always given as 95^2. I would also buy that this was old Head heads claiming that the ‘98’ inch head was actually measuerd at 95 interior hitting area. But! Look at that racquet face, he’s hitting it against Fognini right now, and it’s super subjective because he’s so girraffey, but the head looks small. Smaller than Murray’s 98.


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Nice anecdote! :) BTW I thought Murray was using 95" PT57A, and I think someone here mathematically disproved the interior measurement theory - I liked that elegant little theory too. Better summon the 'Head' oracle on this one...
 

Karma Tennis

Hall of Fame
If bigger was better, everyone would use big racquets.
Not at all.

It can be argued that certain types of racquets offer certain "potential" benefits. IMO, larger hoops offer much greater "potential" benefits to the modern player than smaller hooped ones.

It is like an exotic Sports Car (Ferrari, Porsche, Lambo, McLaren, Bugatti, etc.). Most people can drive those cars. But only a rare few can get the most out of them.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
Many pros play with a 95 sq inch racquet. Why is that? Wouldn’t they get more margin for error with a 98 sq inch racquet? And also more power with a larger head racquet?
It depends what they want out of a racquet. Most pros don't have any problem generating power, so that's not a massive selling point for them.

A bigger sweet spot is definitely attractive, but the trade-off is less control. Some pros lean towards the former, others the latter. It can change over time - see Federer's move to a bigger racquet size in recent years.

Some of it is personal preference, some of it is playing style. For example you will usually see that the pros that hit with the most topspin have the biggest racquets, because they are already getting so much control from their strings/shots that they don't really need it from head size.
 

GBplayer

Hall of Fame
Not at all.

It can be argued that certain types of racquets offer certain "potential" benefits. IMO, larger hoops offer much greater "potential" benefits to the modern player than smaller hooped ones.

It is like an exotic Sports Car (Ferrari, Porsche, Lambo, McLaren, Bugatti, etc.). Most people can drive those cars. But only a rare few can get the most out of them.
You are wrong, every parameter is a tradeoff. You don't get something for nothing. For every plus, there is a minus. So you must try and get the most amount of pluses for your playing style. Or are you suggesting that professionals are unable to cope with a 110 inch racquet? They just need better technique to get the most from their Ferrari?
 
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J B

Semi-Pro
Zverev uses an extremely tight 18x20 pattern in a ‘small’ 95in^2 Head, generates less spin than Shapo with more open 16x20 in ‘big’ 95in^2 Yonex. 18x20 at that head size is a more consistent pattern for blocking the ball at high speed and hitting flat kill shots from 6’6”. Shapo is a way riskier player at 6’2”, needs the extra shape on his shots to pull the ball up and down


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correct, plus he is of the basher era, or should i say error, that wants to hit as hard as he can with every shot. That's why the top three are so far in front of the rest of the pack. The "up and comers" want to come in and blast every ball, the second they start losing they grab a knee and need a medical retirement. The kids want to hit winners or nothing so that is why they will never be consistent until the top three retire then it will be " everyone gets a chance at #1"
 

J B

Semi-Pro
Not at all.

It can be argued that certain types of racquets offer certain "potential" benefits. IMO, larger hoops offer much greater "potential" benefits to the modern player than smaller hooped ones.

It is like an exotic Sports Car (Ferrari, Porsche, Lambo, McLaren, Bugatti, etc.). Most people can drive those cars. But only a rare few can get the most out of them.
except someone in a GT3 will destroy the cool little scion or WRX or whatever the kids love that go really fast straight. I can make way more mistakes in my 911 turbo, but my buddys GTR can make even more mistakes and still win. The kid with his go fast straight or go kart type car has to be on his game 100% of the time.
 

Karma Tennis

Hall of Fame
You are wrong, every parameter is a tradeoff. You don't get something for nothing. For every plus, there is a minus. So you must try and get the most amount of pluses for your playing style. Or are you suggesting that professionals are unable to cope with a 110 inch racquet? They just need better technique to get the most from their Ferrari?
You are Generalising.

I am suggesting that some players are unable to cope with larger racquet hoop sizes. There could be several reasons for that.

Imho, you Generalise by inferring that a Professional Tennis Player can cope with all circumstances and play their best tennis with any equipment ... which is certainly not the case.

I'm saying that an individual player fine tunes their game over a long period of time to get the most benefit out of what they choose to use. And it makes sense that a player that does it using a larger hoop size will be rewarded with access to a larger number of potential benefits than one with a smaller hoop size.

If you don't agree, I suggest that you take it up with the Laws of Physics. Alternatively, give Roger Federer a call and ask him why he moved up to a 97?

I can make way more mistakes in my 911 turbo, but my buddys GTR can make even more mistakes and still win.
Yes, the 911 Turbo is like a 90 or 95. The GTR is like a 100. Exactly my point. The guy who masters the 911 will do even better in the GTR.
 

dr325i

G.O.A.T.
Zverev uses an extremely tight 18x20 pattern in a ‘small’ 95in^2 Head, generates less spin than Shapo with more open 16x20 in ‘big’ 95in^2 Yonex. 18x20 at that head size is a more consistent pattern for blocking the ball at high speed and hitting flat kill shots from 6’6”. Shapo is a way riskier player at 6’2”, needs the extra shape on his shots to pull the ball up and down


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1) Zverev is not using a 95 si racket
2) Zverev is not using an "extremely" tight pattern
 

J B

Semi-Pro
The gtr has more nanny modes. I wouldnt say its better. Like a Pure Aero with a massive sweet spot and less control
 

Benben245

Professional
It is important to note the inconsequential variation of 95 to 98 given sweet spot differences and how different racquets makers measure. Until Recently Heads 98 inch racquets were in fact 95 inches finally changing their measuring standard to that of Wilson two years ago... I believe.
 

Kalethan

Rookie
It is important to note the inconsequential variation of 95 to 98 given sweet spot differences and how different racquets makers measure. Until Recently Heads 98 inch racquets were in fact 95 inches finally changing their measuring standard to that of Wilson two years ago... I believe.
Maybe this [emoji3595] is what was going on; the head-pro-stock specs sheet above has him at 98in^2, and as I definitely remember water-cooler talk about him playing a 95 and don’t remember any scuttlebutt about him changing, maybe this is/was the deal. I Did go look at a few pictures, and think that the headsize is of course not as small from some angles as it appears from others, plus he is tall and thin, yadda yadda. The string pattern is not as dense in the middle as I remembered, either, which could certainly be a)* because I am a flawed observer/rememberer and or b) he tinkered to a more open pattern at some point, which would not surprise me as his game and/or frame must evolve over time.

*this one



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Karma Tennis

Hall of Fame
It is important to note the inconsequential variation of 95 to 98 given sweet spot differences and how different racquets makers measure. Until Recently Heads 98 inch racquets were in fact 95 inches finally changing their measuring standard to that of Wilson two years ago... I believe.
Imo, the way racquet manufacturers measure racquets is not relevant if it is obvious that two racquets have different hoop sizes when physically viewed.

I would also argue that the difference between a 95 and a 98 is not inconsequential ... otherwise I would imagine that Federer would have moved to a 95 rather than a 97. Some suggest that he did use a 95 for a little while but the 97 offered him even more benefits. That is significant when you remember that Roger started with an 85 and played much of his tennis with a 90.
 

jmk2888

Semi-Pro
I think Mid Plus is the perfect size. Back in the days Players were playing with OS or 85 sq rackets nothing in the middle.
 

Zoolander

Hall of Fame
I love 95 racquets. After using 100s for ages i have been using the a prince tt95 occasionally and remember why..... they feel better through the air and much more maneuverable. Sadly there isnt many 95s anymore even.....

Nice anecdote! :) BTW I thought Murray was using 95" PT57A, and I think someone here mathematically disproved the interior measurement theory - I liked that elegant little theory too. Better summon the 'Head' oracle on this one...
Yeah its BS. I measured with CAD and the diff between outside and inside hoop is far more than 3 inches.
 
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