Best Tennis Racquets for Intermediate Players
So, you’ve been taking lessons for a while, and your pro says you’re ready for the Intermediate Group…It may be time to upgrade your equipment to match your skill level. As a beginner, it’s great to have a racquet that generates a lot of power on its own. That changes as you become an intermediate player. You’ll feel the need for more control on your best shots and more spin on hard shots to keep them inside the lines. You may also start to notice your racquet shifting in your hands when someone hits a harder, faster ball at you. That’s just another reason to move to a slightly heavier intermediate racquet that’s more evenly balanced than a beginner racquet. You may also hear pros and experts talk about “tweener racquets.” Don’t be too concerned with terminology. A Tweener Racquet is the same as an intermediate racquet, because it’s a frame that falls between the Power (Beginner) and Control (Advanced) categories. Also consider participating in a Demo Program to try out these racquets before committing to a purchase.
Babolat is the most popular racquet company right now, and they have 2 frames that rank high in our list of best tennis racquets for intermediates. The Babolat Pure Drive is a natural move for anyone that started with the Pure Drive Lite as a beginner. The Pure Drive has added stability thanks to its slightly heavier weight, but keeps the easy power of the Lite version. Our play testers definitely felt more control over the location and depth of their shots when using this model. What I’ve personally noticed about this racquet is that it helps me absorb the power of my opponent’s shots more. I can take the pace off of an opponent’s power shot with my own volley, drop shot or lob because it doesn’t shift as easily in my hands.
The Pure Aero from Babolat is perfect for intermediate players that want to own the baseline game. This racquet offers maximum ball speed and spin with added stability. A slightly heavier swing weight is great for players that like to plow through groundstrokes with a full swing. With the Cortex system that Babolat has put into its racquets, the bad vibrations are weeded out. That leaves you with a good feel for the ball and maximum comfort for your elbow and shoulder. This is an easy racquet to own…I’ve often seen pros wink and say, “The Pure Aero practically plays for you!”
If you’ve become a serve and volley player, consider The Wilson Ultra 100. This racquet can give you power and depth from the baseline, but can also give you good feel at the net for volleys. Absorbing the power of other players is no problem, thanks to its slightly heavier weight. The 11.1 ounce racquet is very stable in your hands and still has an ample sweet spot to help you control the placement of your shots. If you started as a beginner with a Wilson racquet , then this is a natural upgrade for your game!
Next up on our list is The Prince Warrior 100. With a 100 square inch head size, there’s plenty of sweet spot for you to hit with the forgiveness you crave on the tennis court! The TeXtreme technology from Prince gives this racquet flexibility so that you can feel the ball, but also reduces vibrations through the throat of the racquet keeping your arm comfortable. The 16×18 string pattern gives you plenty of opportunity for spin production from any area of the court. This racquet is a natural move from the Prince Warrior 107.
The Head Graphene XT Radical MP A has the smallest head size of any racquet on this list, which means it offers the most control. At 10.4 oz, it’s also one of the lightest. You’ll have the green light to swing fast and hard, producing your own power and depth. This maneuverable frame is great for players that like to play the entire court, not just the baseline. You’ll be able to whip through your groundstrokes, but have the ultimate feel and touch on your volleys. Worried about spin? This racquet can hold its own in the spin department. Head gives you 2 stringing options for this racquet: the 16×19 string pattern is for players looking for maximum control and good spin production, but the 16×16 string pattern is the right choice for players that like to rip maximum topspin from the baseline and have added pop on volleys.
Pros like Nick Kyrios and Martina Hingis are big fans of the Yonex DR 100 Racquet. It features larger, more forgiving sweet spot thanks to its Isometric string pattern. The sweet spot occurs when the longest main and longest cross strings meet in the stringbed. Yonex gives this racquet a sweet spot with 10 main and 13 cross strings meet, making it 10% larger than the usual 8 main and 11 cross stringbed. This racquet also has a comfortable frame that absorbs shock before it hits your arm, making it a solid choice for intermediate players.
The Volkl V Sense 8 (300 grams) Racquet is great for players that like to exert control and produce spin on baseline shots, but it’s maneuverable enough to handle volleys at the net, too. This frame is easy on the arm thanks to the patented V-Sponse material developed by Volkl to maximize the comfort of its racquets. Big power and arm friendliness makes this a favorite for adult intermediate players.
There’s a couple of racquets that earn an “Honorable Mention” for intermediate players: the Head Graphene XT Extreme MP ASP Tennis Racquet is a frame that can move with you to the advanced level. It’s stable enough to handle anything and comes with 2 sets of grommets for you to choose a string pattern to customize your sweet spot. The Volkl V1 has been a cult favorite of intermediate players for years, thanks to its arm friendliness and forgiving sweet spot. The 102 square inch head offers plenty of space for you to hit an off center shot, but the frame still has enough mass to provide control.
If you’re moving up to an intermediate level, you’re probably fairly committed to improving your tennis game. It may be time to consider investing in a sensor to give you feedback from each match, drill, or hitting session. The Babolat Pop sensor is great because it works with any racquet. Because it allows you to compare yourself to friends and strangers worldwide, I often say it’s the “Fitbit” of the tennis world. It measures your spin, speed, style, court time, and number of shots to give you a PIQ score and rank you among all users. Most of the racquets on this list are compatible with the Sony Smart Sensor, which fits into the butt of your racquet handle. You can download the app and check out your shot type, impact locator, number of shots, ball spin, swing speed and ball speed. It even has a live video feature that records actual play footage that can be replayed by shot type and also includes all the real-time data listed above.
Remember, even pro players continue to take lessons and perfect strokes. If you’re willing to commit time and energy, you’ll continue to move up your local ladder, dominate league play and win tournaments!
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