Worst rackets of all time

PBODY99

Legend
Yeah who knows maybe it plays great. I just hate how it looks to the point where I cant give it a chance.

Racquets are beautiful to me and that thing is an abomination.
@Shaolin
I saw the Natural frame used & decided to get one. After a 1/2 hr lesson from Trent,I found it fairly easy to use.
No I do not play matches with it, but when players with double handed backhands have problems I get them to hit with it, to get their stroke back. I also use it to help people find the feel of hitting up & out on the serve.
I never cared for the Haandler, the H shaped two handled frame. I was told that the bottom handle was designed more as a counterweight. I saw that frame used effectively by a Senior player for several seasons.
Worst racket ever is in the eyes & hands of the hitter I guess.
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
@Shaolin
I saw the Natural frame used & decided to get one. After a 1/2 hr lesson from Trent,I found it fairly easy to use.
No I do not play matches with it, but when players with double handed backhands have problems I get them to hit with it, to get their stroke back. I also use it to help people find the feel of hitting up & out on the serve.
I never cared for the Haandler, the H shaped two handled frame. I was told that the bottom handle was designed more as a counterweight. I saw that frame used effectively by a Senior player for several seasons.
Worst racket ever is in the eyes & hands of the hitter I guess.
Interesting ..well you're a tolerant and patient man to give it a chance.

I love hitting with random things, old wood racquets, kids racquets, I even played some of my tennis students once using a wooden post from an old real estate sign by the court…but somehow that thing rubs me the wrong way. Who knows maybe it would freak out your opponent enough to win some feee points.
 

PBODY99

Legend
I have one. It was used by a a rather strong player who had sponsorship, when he taught one summer.
I have found no benefit from the offset head.
 

sarmpas

Hall of Fame
In the late 90s Wilson made this really thin 'spin' racket which was as I recall less then 10mm thick. I remember Lillywhites in London having racks and racks of them on sale at bargain prices. Should have bought one at the time for novelty value. There was a review of it on Tennis Warehouse, yes I'm sure I remember reading it.
 

Sanglier

Semi-Pro
In the late 90s Wilson made this really thin 'spin' racket which was as I recall less then 10mm thick.
The Hammer 5.5 "Spin" had a 15 mm constant beam, with a 12 mm bridge. There were some thinner-beamed composite frames before, namely the earliest BBC and Fox products, but none of those had a beam profile that was as thin (when viewed from the side) as it was narrow (when viewed from the front) from top to bottom. Indeed, the rounded beam cross section combined with the 95 SQ.IN head made the Spin look way thinner than it actually was, especially when displayed next to its "High Beam" stablemates, which were considered state-of-the-art at the time.

The only racquets with lower profile beams are those pre-composite-era 12-13 mm tubular steel designs.

I've never played with mine, so can't comment on whether or not it belongs on this list of shame. However, it feels surprisingly stiff when handled despite its minimalist beam profile.
 

Simon_the_furry

Hall of Fame
The Hammer 5.5 "Spin" had a 15 mm constant beam, with a 12 mm bridge. There were some thinner-beamed composite frames before, namely the earliest BBC and Fox products, but none of those had a beam profile that was as thin (when viewed from the side) as it was narrow (when viewed from the front) from top to bottom. Indeed, the rounded beam cross section combined with the 95 SQ.IN head made the Spin look way thinner than it actually was, especially when displayed next to its "High Beam" stablemates, which were considered state-of-the-art at the time.

The only racquets with lower profile beams are those pre-composite-era 12-13 mm tubular steel designs.

I've never played with mine, so can't comment on whether or not it belongs on this list of shame. However, it feels surprisingly stiff when handled despite its minimalist beam profile.
Yep. I've seen that Hammer.
It actually plays quite well.
 

Cam24

New User
As an ntrp 3.5 (rackets of choice Prince tour diablo mid, Rossignol f250 & Babolat pure control tour) the Federer & Nadal frames are very overrated imo. Fed frames feel nice, but very impractical. Nadal frames feel like playing with garbage can lids imo.

Worst presentable frame I've ever hit with- Head graphene Instinct MP. Man it was awful, demo felt nice in hand at the store, when hitting felt much cheaper than it actually was.
 

Guy Jones

Rookie
I think it is hard to comment on racquets pre 1990 as I wasn' playing competitive at that time, they could be much more in line with what they were up against compared to looking at them next to modern frames.

From that point onwards I have played with lots of different racquets from a fair few brands, the biggest let downs to me were the Prince graphite longbody Chang's, they had no feel or control and I wasn't able to generate anymore power than the usual graphite II. Awful racquet beyond the nice cosmetics. Some of the other princes around that era were equally attractively marketed and finished, but poor to play with like the CTS synergies and Vortex. I never really liked the fischer range either, and more recently the volkls and babolats.
 
The t-2000 and the rest of the t-series rackets really were not that bad. If it was, even Connors couldn't have won the number of tournaments he did using one. I used the t-3000 for a while and I hit well with it. Plus, I didn't have to worry about breaking it on a mis hit toward the top of the frame. Finding someone to string it back then was harder though.
 

coachrick

Hall of Fame
The t-2000 and the rest of the t-series rackets really were not that bad. If it was, even Connors couldn't have won the number of tournaments he did using one. I used the t-3000 for a while and I hit well with it. Plus, I didn't have to worry about breaking it on a mis hit toward the top of the frame. Finding someone to string it back then was harder though.
I've mentioned before, 4 of our top 6 players at South Carolina were using that T-series from Wilson at one point! Another was using the Seamco Ken Rosewall!!! I haven't strung either in three decades plus...kinda tough finding a machine that will accept the T-series nowadays, I reckon.
 

coachrick

Hall of Fame
The t-2000... Finding someone to string it back then was harder though.
When I moved to Atlanta in 1980 and started building a stringing rep for 25+ years, I did not string a SINGLE T-series frame in all that time. You might have thought SOMEbody would have wanted to stick with their old battle ax; but I reckon the ALTA folks left those in the closet or garage!
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
Impossible to get any sort of depth on shots. Not enough power or plow through. It plays exactly like the specs say it should play.
Gotcha. I’m not sure if that’s exactly how those specs predict based on the way racquets are made now but personally I’ve never liked Head racquets. They always make them near even balance whereas I like my racquets headlight and whippy.

I’ve also not hit with a Yonex frame that I liked since the mid 90s but for some reason I keep demoing them anyway. But in the end Prince and Wilson seem to make the kind of frames I like.
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
Gotcha. I’m not sure if that’s exactly how those specs predict based on the way racquets are made now but personally I’ve never liked Head racquets. They always make them near even balance whereas I like my racquets headlight and whippy.

I’ve also not hit with a Yonex frame that I liked since the mid 90s but for some reason I keep demoing them anyway. But in the end Prince and Wilson seem to make the kind of frames I like.
Well except for anything from the More or a triple threat series.
 

PBODY99

Legend
@WestboroChe
The MORE series suffered from the pressure of the strings cutting into the soft layup. They played like "dead" wood frames. 100 pound ladies who could play a season on a set of VS without breaking, had the Airsticks fail on the 3 to 9 axis twice..
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
@WestboroChe
The MORE series suffered from the pressure of the strings cutting into the soft layup. They played like "dead" wood frames. 100 pound ladies who could play a season on a set of VS without breaking, had the Airsticks fail on the 3 to 9 axis twice..
I can’t say that ever happened to me. But I remember the frame feeling very tinny and flexible on impact but not in a plush good way. It was more akin to hitting with a cheap aluminum frame from a big box store.

God I hated those frames. It took me about a year before I realized it didn’t matter what string I used they were just rubbishy.
 

PBODY99

Legend
@WestboroChe
The Triple threat layup was carried over into the O3 line,where
the O3 Tour,Black and the rest were used by players up to the APT / WTA .
The major problem was players finding a stringer who understood how to install the string. Promoting 2 piece 50/ 50 as the pattern to use made more sense than the "boomerang tool" unless you were going to produce the full range of tools and keep them available at a reasonable price.
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
@WestboroChe
The Triple threat layup was carried over into the O3 line,where
the O3 Tour,Black and the rest were used by players up to the APT / WTA .
The major problem was players finding a stringer who understood how to install the string. Promoting 2 piece 50/ 50 as the pattern to use made more sense than the "boomerang tool" unless you were going to produce the full range of tools and keep them available at a reasonable price.
Huh. Those O3 frames were very polarizing. Some people loved them but I think most (including me) didn’t get it and stayed away from them.
 

PBODY99

Legend
@WestboroChe
I feel the ports take getting use to on two levels.
  1. They swing quicker than regular frames due to a lower effective twist weight
  2. They have a softer string bed feel at a given tension.
No frame design is for everyone.
 
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WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
@WestboroChe
I feel the ports take getting use to on two levels.
  1. They swing quicker than regular frames due to a lower effective twist weight
  2. They have a softer string bed feel at a given tension.
No frame design is for everyone.
Absolutely.

Why would TW affect swing speed? And wouldn't a lower TW cause the player to swing slower to compensate for the reduced TW? I don't doubt that they have a softer string bed. I would guess that they are more powerful since the ports really let the strings move around a lot.

Jelena Jankovic used them for years with success. Makes sense for someone like her who plays a lot of long baseline points. Get more from the racquet so you don't tire out as quickly.
 

PBODY99

Legend
Absolutely.

Why would TW affect swing speed? And wouldn't a lower TW cause the player to swing slower to compensate for the reduced TW? I don't doubt that they have a softer string bed. I would guess that they are more powerful since the ports really let the strings move around a lot.

Jelena Jankovic used them for years with success. Makes sense for someone like her who plays a lot of long baseline points. Get more from the racquet so you don't tire out as quickly.
Well, the twist weight theory was put forth by the new TW play tester.
It decreases the more you angle the racket face on your swing.
I know it is quicker for me, strictly subjective I know.
Maria,Monfils the Bryan Brothers, Daveydenko,and others made it work before Prince became an"asset" in a larger company and couldn't pay anymore.
I agree that putting most of your efforts in such a radical reworking of a tennis racket was risky.
 
^Interesting, the science behind the o ports.^

The psychology is also interesting, why the product was not a huge success.
Most people I know did not like it because it was too different.
Some felt they would easily crack, which of course wasn't true.
Others, like me, did not enjoy the feel. This could be psychological, but I felt the head was not as dependable as a traditional frame, when dealing with a big hitter. For me, the ports felt decent only for the off center shots. But that is only 30 to forty percent of my game, lol!

Wonder if they're still patented? Wonder if another company will do their own version one day? Or if Prince will be a player again? Or get to sign some players besides Isner?
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
^Interesting, the science behind the o ports.^

The psychology is also interesting, why the product was not a huge success.
Most people I know did not like it because it was too different.
Some felt they would easily crack, which of course wasn't true.
Others, like me, did not enjoy the feel. This could be psychological, but I felt the head was not as dependable as a traditional frame, when dealing with a big hitter. For me, the ports felt decent only for the off center shots. But that is only 30 to forty percent of my game, lol!

Wonder if they're still patented? Wonder if another company will do their own version one day? Or if Prince will be a player again? Or get to sign some players besides Isner?
I’d say it was a moderate success. The ports aren’t for me but they give Prince a unique product that many people seem to like.

I don’t expect Prince to become a major player again until they start throwing some $$$ around which they don’t seem interested in doing.
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
Still use two racquets that, on this board, are despised. The Major Bullit and X-One. Bit heavy but sweet racquets. However still like the Premier Tour too
 

BDAZ

Professional
Still use two racquets that, on this board, are despised. The Major Bullit and X-One. Bit heavy but sweet racquets. However still like the Premier Tour too
I know the Premier Tour is rather reviled (although I like it, too), but why do you say the Majors are despised?
 

Ruark

Professional
I really liked this racket, a Jack Kramer Staff, made in the 80s, but it was both heavy AND soft. Strung it with every string in the book, all different tensions, but never could get any pace off of it. It was just dead.
.
 

Boronite

New User
The topic title is poor-quality because there are too many variables, especially the fact that no one posting here has tried every racquet. Even if that person had, all of the personal variables would have a massive effect on the evaluation.

So, it really should be "What Are The Worst Racquets You've Used?" That would nip in the bud people posting racquets with odd designs they admit they've never even tried as the "worst ever".

Here is my list:

Wilson ProStaff 6.0 110" dual-tapered beam — fiberglass handle snapped despite not much use and me not being a big hitter at all when I was learning; zero racquet abuse, too. I don't like oversize racquets and it was too light but the handle snapping puts it at the top of the list, as it was a fatal design defect.

Seamco Ken Rosewall — Very very low in power, at least with the "14 gauge" factory string but very very precise for forehands. Volleys were just awful. Big problem is that the rubber grommets break. I'd rather use this than the Rossignol or the RipStick but the rubber grommets were a design defect as the racquet is impossible to restring without them and they're proprietary.

Rossignol F100 — I couldn't control it when I was learning tennis, at all. My friend also couldn't. I could control a wood racquet with a slight warp better and a non-warped wood much better so it hasn't the size of the head or the power level. Extremely weird ball response. The Kevlar in the Prince DuraThin string may have been part of the problem. Kevlar is, in my opinion, pure garbage in a string or as a string.

Prince RipStick — Terribly unstable. Played even worse than the giant-headed Mach 1000 and was clearly inferior to the Mono. It was also an ugly racquet with a lousy name.

Dunlop MaxPly Fort — I had an old H weight of this one and it lived up to its reputation of being extremely fragile. Racquets like this one are apparently the reason a light hitter like Ashe said he was forced to design a composite to deal with the constant breakage and why there was a period article talking about how many racquets McEnroe (who had scrawny arms) would break (and not in tantrums).

Wilson Jack Kramer Staff 85 — This uses the PS 85 mold but has 20% fiberglass and a lighter weight. It has no power. I think Evert used it briefly when she first switched from wood and was clobbered by Martina when she did. Someone else mentioned the same racquet in this thread and said had no power. That is not an exaggeration. It's a bit like hitting with compressed cardboard.

Yonex R-27 — It made my joints feel like glass due to the stiffness and I couldn't figure out where the sweetspot was. As with the Rossignol, it was a matter of "Where is the ball going to go this time?" Part of that was that I was using a grip that was too small but the racquet's design didn't help. I hit better with the R-30, which was the same shape but more flexible. When compared with the PS 85, I'd never choose one of those isometric R series Yonex racquets. The lack of a buttcap and the grip shape also did not endear me to the 27.

Babolat Pure Drive — I tried the original Pure Drive strung with full poly and ended up with shoulder pain for the first and only time. It also hurt my elbow. I only used it for a set. Never again. Yes, my forehand was scorchingly fast but it wasn't worth it.

I'll break my own rule and post one that I didn't hit with, simply because it was so hideously ugly that it must be mentioned: The Gypsy Rose Wilson racquet that Serena endorsed but probably never used. If she did use it, however briefly, I think it was right before she switched to the "players'" frame after borrowing a male pro's racquet. That was, of course, when she suddenly looked amazing, especially when serving, despite being out of shape, at the Australian Open. Not only did that Gypsy Rose thing look bad it would have kept one of history's great players underperforming because it was an inferior design from a serious playing standpoint as well.
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
The topic title is poor-quality because there are too many variables, especially the fact that no one posting here has tried every racquet. Even if that person had, all of the personal variables would have a massive effect on the evaluation.

So, it really should be "What Are The Worst Racquets You've Used?" That would nip in the bud people posting racquets with odd designs they admit they've never even tried as the "worst ever".

Here is my list:

Wilson ProStaff 6.0 110" dual-tapered beam — fiberglass handle snapped despite not much use and me not being a big hitter at all when I was learning; zero racquet abuse, too. I don't like oversize racquets and it was too light but the handle snapping puts it at the top of the list, as it was a fatal design defect.

Seamco Ken Rosewall — Very very low in power, at least with the "14 gauge" factory string but very very precise for forehands. Volleys were just awful. Big problem is that the rubber grommets break. I'd rather use this than the Rossignol or the RipStick but the rubber grommets were a design defect as the racquet is impossible to restring without them and they're proprietary.

Rossignol F100 — I couldn't control it when I was learning tennis, at all. My friend also couldn't. I could control a wood racquet with a slight warp better and a non-warped wood much better so it hasn't the size of the head or the power level. Extremely weird ball response. The Kevlar in the Prince DuraThin string may have been part of the problem. Kevlar is, in my opinion, pure garbage in a string or as a string.

Prince RipStick — Terribly unstable. Played even worse than the giant-headed Mach 1000 and was clearly inferior to the Mono. It was also an ugly racquet with a lousy name.

Dunlop MaxPly Fort — I had an old H weight of this one and it lived up to its reputation of being extremely fragile. Racquets like this one are apparently the reason a light hitter like Ashe said he was forced to design a composite to deal with the constant breakage and why there was a period article talking about how many racquets McEnroe (who had scrawny arms) would break (and not in tantrums).

Wilson Jack Kramer Staff 85 — This uses the PS 85 mold but has 20% fiberglass and a lighter weight. It has no power. I think Evert used it briefly when she first switched from wood and was clobbered by Martina when she did. Someone else mentioned the same racquet in this thread and said had no power. That is not an exaggeration. It's a bit like hitting with compressed cardboard.

Yonex R-27 — It made my joints feel like glass due to the stiffness and I couldn't figure out where the sweetspot was. As with the Rossignol, it was a matter of "Where is the ball going to go this time?" Part of that was that I was using a grip that was too small but the racquet's design didn't help. I hit better with the R-30, which was the same shape but more flexible. When compared with the PS 85, I'd never choose one of those isometric R series Yonex racquets. The lack of a buttcap and the grip shape also did not endear me to the 27.

Babolat Pure Drive — I tried the original Pure Drive strung with full poly and ended up with shoulder pain for the first and only time. It also hurt my elbow. I only used it for a set. Never again. Yes, my forehand was scorchingly fast but it wasn't worth it.

I'll break my own rule and post one that I didn't hit with, simply because it was so hideously ugly that it must be mentioned: The Gypsy Rose Wilson racquet that Serena endorsed but probably never used. If she did use it, however briefly, I think it was right before she switched to the "players'" frame after borrowing a male pro's racquet. That was, of course, when she suddenly looked amazing, especially when serving, despite being out of shape, at the Australian Open. Not only did that Gypsy Rose thing look bad it would have kept one of history's great players underperforming because it was an inferior design from a serious playing standpoint as well.
When Chris Evert switched to graphite in 1984 it was to the Wilson Pro Staff. She never used the Jack Kramer Staff
 
D

Deleted member 768841

Guest
I’d say one of the worst racquets I’ve tried is the Countervail blades. Pretty much any, they all feel so stiff and yet mushy so there’s no feedback but it still is crisp, overall moved on very quickly.
 

Boronite

New User
When Chris Evert switched to graphite in 1984 it was to the Wilson Pro Staff. She never used the Jack Kramer Staff
Not even in testing? I guess the person who posted that she used it was in error. It seemed to make sense given how she had no pace when she faced Martina shortly after the switch to graphite. Perhaps her PS 85 didn't have enough weight or something. It just seems odd because she got a lot of pace out of a wood.
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
Not even in testing? I guess the person who posted that she used it was in error. It seemed to make sense given how she had no pace when she faced Martina shortly after the switch to graphite. Perhaps her PS 85 didn't have enough weight or something. It just seems odd because she got a lot of pace out of a wood.
Especially when the graphite had a much larger head. Wooden racquets could weigh over 15 oz with an even balance.
 

Boronite

New User
You don't like this racquet?
I tried the oversize, and with good string. I didn't like it. Then again, I don't like oversize racquets. The sweetspot always seems too vague. They can be really great at times but a major drawback if you're under pressure.
Especially when the graphite had a much larger head. Wooden racquets could weigh over 15 oz with an even balance.
I had an H weight MaxPly Fort. It was a plank.
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
Not even in testing? I guess the person who posted that she used it was in error. It seemed to make sense given how she had no pace when she faced Martina shortly after the switch to graphite. Perhaps her PS 85 didn't have enough weight or something. It just seems odd because she got a lot of pace out of a wood.
The Wilson Jack Kramer Staff was a 1987 model. She never used It in a tournament
 
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