There’s always a lot of thinking over what tennis racquets the professionals really use? All of us are known that a lot of the time the rackets that the pro’s are advertised to use aren’t really what you see them playing with. In this post, I hope to shed just a little light onto the current world number one’s choice of racket.
Head would like us to believe that Novak Djokovic uses their Graphene Speed Pro but unfortunately that isn’t the case. I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on one of his actual frames and have a hit with it.
So the first question I suppose is; what is it? Well, to be honest, I’m not sure even Novak himself knows. All he knows is that it’s his racket. There have been many discussions on various tennis forums on what it is and various people believe different things. If I personally had to put a name to it I would say it’s a Head Liquidmetal Radical Tour from 2004 but don’t take my word for it. However, whatever it is it’s good, really good.
Novak strings Babolat VS Team Gut in the mains and Luxilon Alu Power in the crosses at 27 and 26 kilos respectively. (Tensions varies +/- a kilo depending on conditions.) The frame weighs 372grams with his whole set up. There are visibly two 15cm strips of lead on either side of the lower half of the frame but also two smaller 4cm strips under the bumper on either side of the top of the frame. The frame has a nice even balance of 32.8cm. I, unfortunately, wasn’t able to measure the swing weight but if I would have to guess I would estimate around the 340gram mark. Novak uses a grip size 3 (4’3/8) with a calfskin leather base grip and one Wilson Pro Overgrip on top.
So on to the fun bit; what does it play like? The clearest way to describe it, in my opinion, is solid. Simply solid. People often confuse the words solid and stiff, a racket can be stiff but not solid. For me, a solid frame is one that when you hit the ball you can feel the frame just doesn’t move, no twisting, turning, bending or anything else. All your energy that you put into a shot is reflected into the string bed and poured right back into the ball as it leaves the strings giving you a clean crisp sensation. The frame is certainly powerful. It’s also worth taking into account his string set up in that the crisp feeling of the ball trampolining off the string bed is partially due to the high-quality hybrid he strings with. Anyone who’s played with a gut hybrid knows what I mean and anyone who hasn’t should treat themselves.
My question is often this; why don’t the racket companies just mass-produce the pro’s actual frame? I know that the top pro’s specific frames’ are often hand made, which is understandable but there’s nothing to deter Head form mass-producing this racket once again. It is most definitely a whole lot better than the racket he’s supposed to be using. And if people really knew they could get novak djokovic tennis racquet, no lie, it would sell like crazy. And anyone who thinks that his racket would be ‘too good’ or ‘too difficult’ for us mere mortals to use, are most definitely mistaken.
Obviously, my headline is merely a flippant line to catch your attention. I’m confident you could give novak djokovic any tennis racquet and he would still do well. And his personal strengths long outweigh the significance of his choice of racket. However, it doesn’t hide the fact that the racket he uses is a lot better than the one they sell in the stores.