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By Jonas Eriksson | Monday, July 29, 2019

 
Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem—and his Babolat stick—are both big winners in 2019. Tennisnerd's Jonas Eriksson reveals the game-changers: Top 5 Favorite Racquets of 2019.

Photo credit: Dominic Thiem Facebook

As the pros re-tool and re-string for the North American hard-court swing, we reveal 2019's best of the best.

If you have read my reviews on Tennisnerd or watched my YouTube channel before, you know I review lots and lots of racquets and strings every year.

Watch: Kyrgios Taunts Djokovic

We are a little more than halfway through the year and I wanted to list my Top 5 Favorite Racquets of 2019 (so far). There are so many frames being released every year that it is almost impossible to keep track of them, but I hope this post (and the individual racquet reviews at Tennisnerd.net) will give you some guidance.

These Top 5 Racquets of 2019 are not listed in order of preference.

Wilson Clash Tour

The new Wilson Clash is one of the most highly-hyped racquets of the year.

Wilson crafted a brilliant marketing campaign where they released a prototype paint job in something called Car Dazzle paint (what car manufacturers use to obscure the true lines of a car when they test drive it) and talked about racquet revolution.

Clash

Like with most clever marketing campaigns, you wonder: can it live up to the hype? After all, revolutionizing racquets is not a small feat, especially when many pros still use old technology under so-called paint jobs.

Admittedly, I had my doubts about it before the release, but from my first hit with the prototype, I was smitten.

I would not call it a revolution, but the Clash racquets are quite different. They are thick-beamed racquets that play softer and still offer good pace and spin.

Many tennis players suffer from elbow and wrist issues due to using stiff racquets and strings that vibrate fast and send shock down to the arm. This is not the case with the the Clash. It is a remarkably soft racquet and still offer good power due to technologies called Free Flex and Stable Smart.

The feel of the Clash series is quite unique and might not be for everyone. But it is a very nice racquet series that many players, from beginners to advanced, will enjoy a lot. It will be interesting to follow how Wilson will keep innovating the Clash line.



The Clash Tour is my favorite of the series, because of the increased stability and weight, but all Clash racquets I have tested have offered a nice experience. The Wilson Clash 98 is for those of you who seek more control and the Wilson Clash 100 is the option that should hold the broadest appeal.

Head Gravity Pro

Head, along with Wilson and Babolat, remains an iconic racquet brand with so many classic sticks to their name.

Head merges tradition and progressive elements in its new Gravity Series.

Most tennis nerds get highly nostalgic about old Head racquets where the feel when you contact the ball is second to none. But, in an effort to adapt to the faster pace of today’s tennis, Head has made their racquets crisper and more powerful in recent years.

This has not pleased the die-hard, old-school Head enthusiasts. However, the company has not wavered from the path they set out on some seven to eight years ago, continously improving on their Graphene technology, starting with Graphene, then Graphene XT, Graphene Touch, Graphene 360 and now, with the HEAD Gravity series, Graphene 360+.

Gravity

The Head Gravity line comes with Graphene technology, but the + in the name stands for something called spiralfibers, which seems to reduce the stiffness and the hollow feel of the Graphene technology. This make the new Gravity racquets somewhat of a return to the old-school feel of Head frames before they introduced Graphene.

The Gravity racquets are all softer (lower stiffness ratings) and boast of a larger sweet spot due to a new, more rounded head shape. The feel is excellent on these racquets and will please even the most nostalgic Head tennis racquet nerds.

The Head Gravity racquets don’t offer loads of free power (for that you’d be better of with the Head Extreme), but they do pretty much everything else well.



The Pro, which Alexander Zverev endorses, is my personal favorite of the Gravity line so far, but all the ones I’ve tested have been very good racquets.

The Head Gravity Tour is an excellent choice for intermediate to advanced players

Prince Textreme Tour 100 310

Prince was a household name in the tennis industry in the 1980s and 1990s, but are now slightly outside the limelight due some previous financial issues. Those issues have hindered Prince's ability to match their main competitors in signing star player sponsorships.

But here's a fact: Prince still creates excellent racquets.

One of the brand's bestsellers of recent years has been the Prince Textreme Tour 100P, which is what French ATP pro Lucas Pouille uses.

Lucas Pouille

The racquet is just a great all-rounder, forgiving head size, nice feel, good power and spin and not uncomfortable. Prince has now updated this Textreme Tour series with Twaron to be able to increase the stiffness (which provides more power), but still dampen shock and improve the feel.

If you are not a racquet nerd, you might not have heard of the material Twaron before, but this was one of the ingredients of one of the most iconic racquets of all time—the Head Pro Tour 630 (280 in the U.S.) which was released in the 90s, but is still used today by quite a few professional tennis players!

When tennis nerds hear "Twaron", they perk their ears up and listen.

I have tested the Prince Textreme Tour 100 310 and it is just an excellent racquet that does pretty much everything well. You get spin, decent power, good feel and comfort. Despite having an open pattern of 16x18, it still knifes the slice. The swing weight is also highly manageable in the low 320s, which helps the racquet swing fast and will still give you room to add some lead tape if you want even more power or stability.

Read my Prince Textreme Tour 100 310 racquet review here.

Other racquets in the Prince Textreme Tour series include the Prince Textreme Tour 100P, which is a bit crisper than the predecessor but with better feel.

The Prince Textreme Tour 100 290 is a lighter version of the 310 and the Prince Textreme Tour 95 is the smaller head size version built for “control freaks.”

Angell K7 Lime

Angell Tennis is a small manufacturer that focus on creating custom racquets for players who want to be able to choose their own weight, balance, grip shape and length.

But besides their Custom series, they have also released two racquet series with a fixed set of specs: the ASL and the K7.

The ASL 3 is a more powerful, easy-to-use racquet, while the Angell K7 Lime is a real “players’ frame” for people who like a muted and flexible response from the string bed.

The Angell K7 Lime wowed me from the first hit.

You can really feel how the ball sinks into the strings and shoots it out towards the other side of the court. It is very different from most racquets created today. The tight pattern of the K7 Lime is excellent for control, while its brother K7 Red has a more open, spin-friendly string pattern.

Lime

The K7 Lime is great for attacking players who like great feel at the net, while it might not impress you so much if you want to play with spin from the back of the court. It worked well for my flat, aggressive game and if you are a player that value precision and feel I can really recommend giving this one a try.

Read my Angell K7 Lime review here.

Babolat Pure Strike 100

Like many tennis players out there, I am curious about the new Babolat Pure Strike that Dominic Thiem endorses and I have heard good things, but for some reason my demo racquet has gotten lost in the post.

Strike

My good friend and racquet reviewer, Henrik Wallensten, who writes for the Swedish Tennis Magazine and Tennisnerd from time to time, gave the Pure Strike 100 a glowing review, so I really look forward to testing it and the 98 square-inch version that will be released later this year.

I hope this post gives you an idea of a few of my favorite racquets right now.

These are the most interesting releases of the year so far, but there are more to come so watch this space.

Happy tennis!

Jonas Eriksson is founder, writer and play-tester for www.tennisnerd.net and their YouTube channel. Please check out his gear reviews and articles on Tennisnerd and follow him on social media.


 

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