Tennis Players have been customizing their racquet since the birth of tennis. To them it’s more than just a racquet, its an extension of their arm, meaning everything has to be on point to even 1/10th of a gram. They generally use one of three different string combinations , Polyester, gut hybrid with poly or natural gut. Each different combination has its own feel. Players use the different combinations based on their playing styles. For example Novak Djokovic uses a gut poly hybrid strung at 59 + or – 2 depending on court and weather conditions, and Rafael Nadal uses full polyester at 55 pounds.
There are a lot of different racquet brands, but the big three are Wilson, Babolat and Head. Players like Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic use Head, Roger Federer Wilson and Rafael Nadal Babolat. This is where things get interesting…
Players are endorsed by companies to sell their products. When you go to buy racquet’s, you see all the players faces on the racquet’s they are sponsored by and you immediately think that this is the racket the player is using. The truth is they are completely different. Players use custom molds to their specifications. They are completely different than the retail version that you buy. Players are very particular about the feel and weight of their racquet’s. They use racquet molds that they are most comfortable with. The big companies will generally send pro players batches of 6-10 rackets 3-4 times a year to ensure they get the best feel from the racquet.
Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray both use older model head molds. Andy Murray actually uses a Head prestige mold while he endorses a Head Radical. Novak Djokovic uses an older Head Radical mold , but he endorses a Head Speed Pro. So on and so forth. You can see in the pictures below their actual racquets and the racquets that they endorse.
On Novak Djokovic’s actual racquet notice the shape on the bottom of the throat, Novak’s actual racquet doesn’t have the Speed Pro’s curve to it. Also notice the string pattern, Novak’s racquet doesn’t use shared holes like the Speed Pro’s does.
On Andy Murray’s actual racquet’s notice the square frame head guard, reminiscent of the Prestige Pro. On the right is the Radical Pro with the standard rounded frame and shorter head guard.
Rafael Nadal uses the same racquet mold as he did when he was a teenager! His racquet is a first generation Aero ProDrive without Cortex.
Roger Federer’s racket is probably the most similar to the production model. On his new Autograph frame the specs and swing weight are almost identical to the one he actually uses. But you still can’t purchase his actual racquet, it’s a special mold made for his specifications.
The point is not to use frames based on what your favorite player uses, rather, you should use what frame best suites your game!