Perhaps no piece of equipment is more important to a tennis player than the racquet itself. With all the different types of racquets to choose from, getting the right one to fit a specific style of play can make a huge difference. Before making a purchase, some might wonder what the modern tennis racquet is made of to perform so well.
What are tennis racquets made of? The modern tennis racquet has a frame made of materials such as graphite, carbon fiber, kevlar, basalt fibers, and more. Manufacturers are pretty open about the materials used in every racquet, changing the way they play. Racquets also rely on a variety of materials for the right grip and strings to play various styles.
Breaking Down The Tennis Frame
The tennis frame is the most expensive investment for any tennis player. While things like the grip and strings are often changed, a racquet is built to last for hundreds of hours of play.
In order for them to last that long, the right type of durable materials make a big difference. These four materials make up a lot of the modern frames tennis professionals, and amateurs, use on the court.
So many racquet manufacturers love what carbon fiber brings to the table. It is very strong, while also keeping things as lightweight as possible. Carbon fibers are pieces of threaded carbon that are braided together to form a mat that can be shaped into any type of mold.
Many people confuse graphite with carbon fiber, but carbon fiber is a polymer that can be modified to create a different structure.
This keeps carbon fiber as a stronger and stiffer option when compared directly to steel, but also lightweight. Performance racquet manufacturers use carbon fiber to provide as much of an edge as possible.
Graphite is known for being very soft, while also being resistant to heat. This makes it one of the most flexible materials out there for people looking for a high-quality racquet. A lot of manufacturers use graphite as the main material, and they might use others to bring it all together.
To simplify things, it will be listed as a composition with graphite, but that does not necessarily mean it is 100% graphite. For more details, people need to read up on the racquet and see what is provided.
Kevlar might be more recognizable as a material for string, but it is also used for racquets. The synthetic polymer that is strong and stiff is usually added to a carbon fiber mat to increase racquet resistance properties. It provides a slightly better feel for players.
Known mostly for their thermal and acoustic properties, some tennis manufacturers use basalt fibers to absorb unwanted vibrations and improve the overall feel of a racquet.
Not every company believes in using basalt fibers, but they do an excellent job of providing a unique type of feel.
What Is The Composition of The Top-Rated Racquets Today?
Curious about what the top manufacturers use for their racquets? This is a basic look at the racquet composition of top-rated racquets from leading companies. Remember, this might not tell the entire story, but it gives shoppers a basic idea of composition.
- Babolat Pure Aero – Graphite
- Babolat Pure Drive – Graphite
- Babolat Pure Strike – Graphite
- Wilson Blade – Braided Graphite/Basalt
- Wilson Clash – Graphite
- Wilson Pro Staff – Braided Graphite
- Head Gravity – Graphene 360+/Graphite
- Head Speed – Graphene 360+/Graphite
- Yonex EZONE – M40X/HM Graphite
What Are The Other Major Parts of The Racquet Made of?
Now that the frame itself is detailed, what other materials go into making a complete racquet? This is a look at the grip people hold onto at the racquet’s end and the stringing material used to hit the ball the way a person wants.
Tennis players have many different preferences when it comes to grip material. Some like a rubber grip that is pretty durable and flexible for just about any style of play. A synthetic blend of materials such as neoprene is usually comfortable and textured for a perfect grip.
Finally, the classic feel of leather is something that a lot of people have never gone away from. The leather seems to show wear and tear a bit more, but it is worth it for people who refuse to play with any other grip style.
Since grips can get pretty slippery, using an overgrip is a way to add a tacky feel and comfort on a more frequent basis. Most overgrips are soft, provide a little bit of padding, and feel like cloth despite being tape.
Some will go with a tacky overgrip that provides a better grip and less slippage. Others want something that absorbs as much sweat as possible so that it is not a huge problem.
Tennis grips come in many different sizes so that players with different-sized hands can get a proper feel. It is essential to get the right fit to reduce the chance of arm injuries.
I listed my up-to-date overgrip recommendations in this post.
Strings are replaced pretty frequently in a racquet, but they become part of how a player performs. Since there are so many different types of strings, and players can change the tension to alter play as well, many people like that it is relatively inexpensive to mess around with.
Natural gut is one of the most expensive types of string material out there, but it is extremely playable. It is made of animal intestines and does not have the durability that a lot of modern players are looking for. Using a multifilament or nylon string is a good starting position for people who want to save money and still have some playability.
However, modern players are really flocking to polyester strings because they are extremely durable and can add some power and spin in the right hands.
Here are my up-to-date tennis strings recommendations.
The Evolution of Tennis Racquets
In the beginning, wood racquets dominated the look of tennis. As recently as a few decades ago, players were relying on wood frames to play the game. These racquets also had much smaller head sizes, and it made for a very tough game to play compared to the modern style.
Eventually, tennis embraced technology and allowed players to use racquets made of metal materials. It proved to be a major game-changer, and wood racquets slowly were phased out of the game. It was simply impossible for players to compete with those using more advanced racquets, and technology has evolved since then to make racquets lighter and stronger performers overall.
Along with the composition, change was a change in head size. Instead of having a long neck and a small head size, the modern racquet usually has a head size that falls between 95 in.² and 100 in.²
Players love taking a full swing at the ball and still have a large sweet spot. These racquets also help for a considerable spin on the ball compared to what was available with wood racquets.
Looking at a racquet now compared to one 50 years ago is like a totally different game. Virtually everything has changed somewhat, allowing players to take full cuts at the ball and generate a ton of spin.
What Does The Future Tennis Racquet Look Like?
After seeing considerable changes over the last few decades, tennis racquet technology slowed down a bit. Frames are becoming much more consistent across the board, and players are looking at advancements in other areas.
One pretty recent advancement has been the switch to a full bed of polyester strings. While some players have been using polyester for quite a while, others are just starting to realize the full benefits of playing with stronger strings. They can also be textured in a way that adds additional spin to the ball.
Eventually, there will be a new way to create a tennis racquet to give players an advantage. Until then, companies are refining every single aspect of their frames to come up with something different.
A focus on feel from companies like Wilson seems to be the trend right now, but there is no telling what racquets will look like a few decades from now.
Also Read: What Are Tennis Balls Made of?