How would you compare buying a new tennis racket to buying a new bathing suit?

I’ve been playing tennis now for over 20 years. In that time I think I’ve owned 5 different rackets. That is different styles of rackets; I usually own two of any 1 style. (I own two and string them at the same time and use them alternatingly so the wear is essentially the same for both—just in case I would break a string.) 5 in 20 years is a new one every 4 years or so. I find something that I like or that works and find it too frustrating to change. Is the grip right? Are the strings good? Is it too heavy or too light?

For whatever reason when I first got a racket I got a Head racket. Now I cannot bring myself to change to any other brand. (I may or may not have issues.) It’s so hard to let go of that bird in the hand racket I’ve used for so long to try something different. And where do I start? Head size, grip, string type, tension, and string pattern—so many variables! It’s exhausting!

Why oh why isn’t there someone out there to pick the best racket for me, for me? Ah, well there kinda is but it could be tricky to find them.

This past weekend I was in Houston, TX for a team tournament. One of the fun things we do as a team besides play tennis and go out to dinner is to take a trip to Tennis Express. We go there because we are never disappointed with their inventory, both regular priced and on sale items! They sell everything tennis and have almost any racket you can imagine. So while we were there I spoke with one of the stringers about a new racket. He suggested starting with the latest version of what I already play with. Most places use the cheapest string possible for their demo rackets. I get that but this guy had this racket strung with two different types of string for a better feel and more control. How could I not like the racket?!

head racket

Next thing I know I am using a demo racket for the first time in a tournament match! Know what? I played well and loved the racket! I went back to TE bought the racket and played the rest of the tournament with it!

Now I know that everyone cannot visit Houston and Tennis Express in person. If you have a chance to visit any of the major tournaments you will find Tennis Express and or Tennis Warehouse on site. Both of these online stores frequent the majors and both have knowledgeable stringers on hand who are willing to answer questions about rackets and help you find one that works for your game. If you can’t find your way to a major and you don't live near any of their stores in Texas, California, or Georgia, you can email or call either of these online stores for help. Honestly they really don’t mind your call and they really do know their stuff! And both of these places have programs that allow you to demo rackets even if you live 2,000 miles away! UPS is awesome!

Props to Tennis Express for making my racket shopping so much easier and less painful than swim suit shopping has ever been! 

Funny that better strings makes for a better racket and better strokes especially with a demo racket! Who knew? Apparently Tennis Express!

tennis express

tennis warehouse


Our thanks to guest blogger Katie Tucker. Wristpect Sport is always open to the views, opinions, and expressions of its loyal followers!

10 Top Reasons To Restring Your Racket

10) You left your racket in you car trunk or garage all winter (or all night) and your strings went stale

9) You haven’t had your racket restrung since November 2014

8) You can’t remember when you last had your racket restrung

7) You can’t hit your favorite shot

6) You saw someone else’s strings and they look cooler than yours

5) Your stringer needs a new car

4) There are more filaments on your strings than string

3) It’s the start of a new season

2) Your elbow is starting to hurt—tennis elbow

1) You broke a string 

I just had my rackets restrung. It’s like buying a brand new racket. I used to use a bunch of over grip and never change my grips but now I have new grips put on every time my rackets are strung. I love how they feel, look, and grip. I don’t go for gut so I spend a little more on my grips.

All string is not created equal. My best friend and tennis partner wants the feel and control of gut. She strings her racket with a mix, ½ gut with the cross strings being a synthetic string which prolongs the life of her gut strings without hindering their feel. I need some help with topspin so like a synthetic string that’s shaped to bite the ball more and give me more topspin. Those are just two scenarios, there are many other strings and the tension of the stringing is a whole other topic!

Sharapova CheekyChick blog

All stringers are not created equal. I know a guy who knows a guy who—well you know how this goes right? Randy Stephenson from Rackets N String is my stringer. He does a great job. Both he and his wife Nicki run a full service stringing operation. He’s been stringing my rackets for over 15 years and he knows how to get my strings to help my game. But not everyone lives in or near Plano, TX, so check in your pro shop or tennis store and speak to the stringer. It can be very advantageous to talk with the person who strings your racket.

I’ll leave you with one last thought. Have your racket strung based on the number of times a week you play. If you play 3 times a week then 3 times a year. Even if you chose gut it is still cheaper than golf!