Last updated: October 29, 2019
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.
The Pure Aero Team 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. The updated Cortex Pure Feel technology that Babolat has put into its racquets weed out the bad vibrations, while the SMACWRAP at the 3 and 9 0’clock positions give it added comfort. Carbon Ply Stabilizer is also added into the frame for improved stability and precision. This leaves you with a good feel for the ball and maximum comfort for your elbow and shoulder.
If you’re looking for a great all-around option, the Wilson Clash 100 is the way to go. It’s a sublimely flexible racquet that maintains a powerful and controllable feel. It introduces FreeFlex and StableSmart technologies, to give you ultimate comfort as well as best-in-class stability so you can swing big while staying confident. The racquet is very maneuverable at under 11 ounces strung, features a 100 square inch head, and a fairly open 16 x 19 string pattern. Players will find easy access to power and spin so they can hit deep in the court.
One of the most popular tennis racquets has been the Babolat Pure Drive. Similar to the Pure Aero, Babolat updated this line with Cortex Pure Feel and SMAC for enhanced comfort and vibration dampening. The Pure Drive has added stability thanks to its slightly heavier weight, but keeps the easy power. Our playtesters 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.
Next up on our list is the Head Gravity S. The Gravity series from Head was introduced during the summer of 2019, building off the tremendous success of Graphene 360 technology. This family is unique incorporating SpiralFibers at the 5 and 7 o’clock positions to soften the flex and a more “tear-drop” head shape for a larger sweetspot. The 104 square inch head size on the Gravity S along with a 16 x 20 string pattern, gives you plenty of room to hit with power, spin and control! At 10.7 ounces strung, and with a head light balance, this frame offers plenty of stability and mobility to match its control and comfort.
We’re slowly starting to see a big push from Tecnifibre this year thanks to pro Daniil Medvedev and their new T-Fight racquet line. The French brand incorporates Xtreme Touch Construction into the frames to increase the overall strength and flexibility. The T-Fight 295 XTC will be slightly different from the other T-Fight models as it features a 100 square inch head, 23.5 mm beam and a slightly stiffer feel. It offers solid stability at just under 10.9 oz strung along with increased control and a fast swing speed. Unlike the other racquets on this list, it comes with a premium 16g multifilament string that enhances the overall feel.
Pros like Angelique Kerber, Denis Shapovalov, and Eugenie Bouchard are big fans of the Yonex VCore Racquet line. The VCore 100 Lite is a slightly lighter spec from the one’s the pros use on tour, but feature very similar technologies. Yonex’s signature Isometric head shape allows for a larger, more forgiving sweet spot. Additionally, this frame is updated with Aero Fin technology for a more aerodynamic response and Namd graphite for improved flex as well as snapback. The lighter overall weight (10.4 ounces strung) along with an open 16 x 19 string pattern, gives you plenty access to spin and power.
The Volkl V-Feel 8 (285 gram) Racquet is great for players that like to exert power and spin all over the court. The lighter maneuverable swing weight is enough to handle volleys at the net with ease. An old school 16 x 18 string pattern allows you to hit with heavy topspin from the baseline. Revolutionary EVA technology is added to give this frame 35% more resilience, 15% more lateral stiffness, 35% more torsional strength and 25% more shock absorption. There’s a lot to love about this racquet!
There’s a couple of racquets that earn an “Honorable Mention” for intermediate players: the Dunlop CX 400 is a frame that can move with you to the advanced level. It’s stable enough to handle anything hit your way, has enhanced feel and improved energy return thanks to Sonic Core technology with Infinergy. The Pro Kennex 2019 Ki Q+15 is an oversize favorite that’s slightly longer in length, has an enormous sweet spot and lighter overall weight. Lastly there is the Head Graphene 360 Speed S which seems to be a cult favorite today. There’s greater stability and optimized energy transfer thanks to the Graphene 360 technology, while the lighter weight and lower flex make it easy to swing through the strike zone.
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 Head tennis sensor is great because it allows you to compare yourself to friends and strangers worldwide, while fitting just into the butt of your racquet. It measures your spin, speed, style, court time, and number of shots all through downloadable app. Just note though that it’s only compatible with Head Graphene tennis racquets or newer Head models.
Remember, even pro players continue to get advice and perfect their strokes over time. If you’re willing to commit time and energy, you’ll continue to move up your local ladder, dominate league play and win tournaments!