Racket technology is continually evolving and even experienced players can be a little confused at the techie jargon that brands like to use to hype their latest sticks. And as a coach I’ve seen strong players improve massively simply by swapping out their frame for one that suits their particular game.
That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to our favourite rackets for advanced players currently on the market. Of course there’s no one size fits all when it comes to racket choice. Your preference will depend on all sorts of factors. Your strength, age, style of play, proneness to injury…
And we’d always advise trying these rackets out before you make your final decision. So much of tennis is subjective and just comes down to pure ‘feel’. You need to find the racket that’s comfortable for you.
Saying that, if we did have to pick the all rounder that impressed us most it would be the Wilson Pro Staff 97. If you’re looking for a racket that delivers on all fronts – pace, spin, precision, control… we’re confident you’ll be impressed.
But have a look below for our other top picks.
Our Top Picks
Best Advanced Racket Overall – Wilson Pro Staff 97
Best for Pure Power – Babolat Pure Drive
Best for Raw Speed – Tecnifibre TF 40 315
Best for Control – Head Prestige Pro 2021
Best for Spin – Yonex V-CORE 98 2023
Best Wild Card – Volkl C10 Pro 2022
Before we get into the reviews a quick note on what factors we’ve based our recommendations on when testing and reviewing these rackets. It’s important to understand what we mean by an advanced tennis racket.
When recommending these frames we’ve assumed that you’re at least a 4.0 rating on the NTPR scale.
You can check this article out if you’re not sure but let’s assume you play at least once a week, you can take on all shots with confidence – groundstrokes, lobs, volleys, serve – and you can hit some form of topspin and slice.
Ideally you’re playing competitive matches whether at club level or beyond.
If this isn’t you we would sincerely recommend checking out our racket recommendations for beginners or intermediates. While it’s tempting to throw money at a racket that the pros use in the hope that your game will be magically transformed, doing so without the necessary skill level could actually hold your game back.
For advanced players we highly recommend you opt for a smaller head size. By now you should have enough precision to find the sweet spot consistently and a smaller head gives you much more control over your strokes.
All our recommendations are in the sub 100 sq in range.
As an advanced player we’ve made the assumption that your wrist and arm muscles have developed with your game. This means you should be able to handle a heavier racket.
The greater mass offers more power to your strokes without conceding any control (as can be the case with the higher power that comes with larger head sizes). You’ll also find you have greater stability, especially when defending against heavier hitters. The mass absorbs much of the shock meaning you can turn their pace against them.
That said, be careful! If you don’t have the strength to handle the heavier sticks your game will go out of the window and you’re unlikely to be able to last out on court for long.
While most of our picks are on the weightier side, they tend to be Head Light i.e. the weight is centred on the handle rather than the head. This means that despite the added mass they remain easy to manoeuvre, allowing for good racket control, quick reactions (especially at the net) and plenty of whip on your groundstrokes.
The more advanced you get you may find a benefit to modifying the swingweight by adding lead tape to the head or the handle. That’s obviously something we can’t account for as it’s very much down to personal preference and experimentation.
Finally a note on budget. None of these are cheap options. You very much get what you pay for when it comes to high end rackets. Saying that I would always recommend checking out the price as there are sometimes deals to be had, especially if you’re prepared to go for a slightly older model.
But the good news is that these are all durable, well-built picks that will last you for a number of years. So don’t be afraid of the extra cost.
And with that we present to you… our selection of the best tennis rackets for advanced players.
Head Size: 97 sq in | Unstrung Weight: 315g | Stiffness: 66
- Power without compromising precision
- Good dwell time
- A brilliant all-rounder
- Heavy (especially if going for the 97 RF)
This is the latest update of Wilson’s beloved Pro Staff – a stick used over the years by some of the most iconic names in tennis. Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, Steffi Graf, Chrissie Evert… and it’s pretty easy to see why it still sells so well.
Although slightly lighter than its predecessor the RF 97 it still weighs in at a punchy 315 grams unstrung. Which means it’s definitely not a stick for the newbie but if you’re strong enough to handle it it offers plenty of pop.
That weight is mainly concentrated in the grip making it easy to manoeuvre for serve and volleyers and allows for plenty of wrist snap on groundstrokes.
Despite the amount of power it offers the racket is incredibly forgiving and we were able to hit the lines with (relative!) ease without compromising on pace.
We don’t usually make recommendations based on looks (they’re pretty subjective after all) but in this reviewer’s humble opinion the Pro Staff’s bronze and black paint job makes it our most handsome pick.
All in all this is a brilliant all round racket offering precision, control, manoeuvrability and power.
Worth noting, we might have recommended the previous incarnation – the 97RF – which is of course Federer’s stick but that was unavailable at the time of writing and frankly may be a little heavy even for many advanced players. If you can find it check it out but do beware of that extra weight.
Head Size: 100 sq in | Unstrung Weight: 300g | Stiffness: 72
- Tons of power
- Forgiving head size
- Great accuracy & feel
- Tough on joints!
If the Pro Staff has been the most iconic racket of the last few decades, the Pure Drive has been pushing it close over the last few years.
Used most famously by Andy Roddick and more recently by Karolina Pliskova and Garbiñe Muguruza the Pure Drive is the lightest frame on our list but still packs that Babolat punch.
Sense an opening and you can put away chances with a fair amount of ease. That’s made it a favourite at club level.
It deals with topspin and slice well, handles easily and the slightly larger head size offers a real pop, especially on the serve.
The biggest criticism of Babolat’s range has always been their stiffness. That’s great if you like to feel every nuance of a shot but can lead to elbow and wrist issues down the line. This latest Pure Drive has what they call SWX Pure Feel, a rubber layer interwoven into the carbon frame to try to address that.
In truth it does feel a little kinder compared to earlier models but at 72 RA beware! This is still a stiff racket.
Head Size: 98 sq in | Unstrung Weight: 315g | Stiffness: 64
- Speed and mobility
- Great dwell time
- Super comfortable
- Lacks a bit of oomph
If your game relies on pace, movement and a quicker swing this Tecnifibre is worth a look.
Although not naturally powerful, its low swingweight allows you to really get some whip on your groundstrokes, even on the move and its 16×19 string pattern offers a ton of topspin.
Although impossible to quantify it feels like you get a lovely amount of dwell time on contact and the precision of my shots, especially at shorter angles closer to the net, was excellent.
If you play a purely power game then this probably isn’t the stick for you but if you value feel and control in a super mobile package it’s definitely worth checking out.
Head Size: 98 sq in | Unstrung Weight: 320g | Stiffness: 60
- Prestige Precision
- Extremely flexible
- Incredible feel
- Lacks huge power
Formerly known as the Graphene 360+ Prestige MP, the Pro 21 is Head’s latest update to the range.
Used on tour by Marin Cilic, the Prestige’s greatest asset is precision. In playtests we were able to hit the corners easily although that does come at cost. This is not a stick for anyone looking for massive power.
Like the Volkl below, despite its heavy frame the swingweight is fairly low meaning while it feels solid in your hand you can still give it some whip.
It features what Head calls Auxetic construction in the graphite which is a fancy way of saying it’s nice and flexible. That does translate into a nice comfortable swing.
The range has always been known for great control and feel, favoured by precision players rather than pace monsters. This update continues in that vein.
Head Size: 98 sq in | Unstrung Weight: 305g | Stiffness: 62
- Monster spin
- Large sweet spot
- Highly manouevrable
- Not much!
If your game relies on a lot of topspin you should really check this one out.
The VCORES are known as spin monsters and this 2023 update retains that but features a super low stiffness for a nice comfortable swing.
It’s speedy too making it great for reacting at the net or whipping wide shots on the run.
As with every Yonex it features their Isometric head shape which has been slightly tweaked this time around. Pleased to report it still offers a chunky old sweet spot which makes it incredibly forgiving while still feeling very precise.
Personally I find the paint job a bit garish. It looks like it’s been designed by Peter Parker – more webslinger than topspinner – but if you can stomach that this is just a really fun racket to play with.
Head Size: 98 sq in | Unstrung Weight: 330g | Stiffness: 62
- Buttery feel
- Quick at the net
- Top control
- Requires natural strength
If at this stage in your tennis journey you’re able to generate your own power and pace the C10 Pro is a bit of an ace in the hole
At 330g unstrung it is not for weaklings. In fact it’s our heaviest pick but if you can handle it you’re looking at possibly our finest choice when it comes to feel and responsiveness.
Most of its weight is centred in the handle so it’s still nice and manoeuvrable and reactions at the net were top notch.
It’s extremely flexible and shock absorbent which makes it very comfortable (the adjective that always comes up is ‘buttery’) and perfect for seeing off a pacey opponent with control and redirection.
Volkl may not be a brand that’s typically top of anyone’s Christmas list but that could well soon change. This is a really interesting outsider pick.
Personally this reviewer would classify the yellow chevrons on the uglier side of retro but your own mileage may vary!
What to look for when selecting an advanced tennis racket
As a player with a fair amount of experience I’m going to assume you know a thing or two about selecting the correct grip size, head size etc although if you need a refresher, feel free to take a look at our guide. Saying that, one aspect that may be worth revisiting is your choice of strings and string tension
If you’ve only ever bought beginners’ frames before you may never have had to select your strings at purchase as they mainly come pre-strung. But as you’ll know by now the types of string you choose and particularly the tension you string them at will have a big impact on the way the racket plays.
Most rackets will come with a manufacturer’s recommendation for the best string type and tension range so that’s probably a good place to start.
But if for example you try a frame that ticks a lot of your boxes in terms of feel and control but lacks a bit of oomph it’s always worth trying it with a slightly looser tension or a different set up.
Take a look at our guide for an in-depth look at string choices.
Our Overall Verdict
As we always say, there’s no substitute for trying these rackets out for yourself. While all of these picks come extremely well recommended and reviewed, the way a racket feels in your hand is a personal thing.
That said, we think you’d be hard pushed to find a better choice than the Wilson Pro Staff 97. If you’re an advanced player with good strength and looking to take your game up a level it’s a brilliant racket.