Updated August 5, 2021
As we approach the US Open, our major racquet brands are hard at work to get new and improved racquets to the market. Check this blog for the latest racquet releases throughout 2021!
Yonex’ most precise racquet line gets a colorful new look and feel for Fall 2021. The VCORE PRO series offers gobs of control for players who swing their racquets at a high rate of speed. The VCORE PROS get a new tapered and elongated box-frame shaft is composed of Flex Force and Flex Fuse graphite for precise control of the ball. The aforementioned Flex Fuse technology places a shock absorbing polymer within the graphite layers to create a softer flex with a more plush feel. Yonex included their Vibration Dampening Mesh inside the handle to ensure the VCORE PRO racquets play comfortably. Included in the series are the VCORE PRO 97, 97H, 97D, and 100. The three 97 models feature a slightly thicker 21 mm cross section, while the 100 gets bumped from 21 mm to 23 mm. The thicker beams offer improved stability and a bit more punching power. The VCORE PROS are endorsed on tour by Stan Wawrinka, Frances Tiafoe, and recent Wimbledon semifinalist Hubert Hurkacz. Of the four models, the 100 is only 10.6 ounces unstrung and a little bit more forgiving than the 97s. The 97D features a dense 18×20 string pattern and a sturdier weight of 11.3 ounces unstrung. The 97H is the heaviest model and is over 12 ounces unstrung!
HEAD doubles down on all things Extreme with the new Extreme Nite racquet collection. The Extreme MP and Tour versions get the blacked out look, along with a nice matching bag. The MP, endorsed by Matteo Berrettini, is probably HEAD’s most spin friendly racquet with an open 16×19 string pattern and forgiving 100 square inch head. The Extreme Tour, used on tour by Italian star Lorenzo Musetti, has a thinner beam, and smaller head size to focus more on control. Expect Matteo Berrettini to be using the Extreme Nite in the summer hard court events.
Though the T-Flash racquets are no more, Tecnifibre has launched the new TF-X1 racquets to give power a new feel. The line includes the TF-X1 300, and TF-X1 285. These two frames feature a more round 100 square inch head than Tecnifibre typically has, and a new cross section design to improve string performance when you miss the sweet spot. The idea is to make the entire racquet surface more usable, instead of just the exact center. What separates the TF-X1s from most other tweener frames, is the X-Damp technology. X-Damp is built into the racquet handle and it combines silicone elastomer and stainless steel to filter out harmful low frequency vibrations. There is a third TF-X1, the 275, and it has a larger hitting area of 105 square inches.
Dunlop’s racquet revamp continues with their new LX series frames. The line includes the LX 800, and the LX 1000. The LX series puts the focus squarely on power. Both models feature oversize heads, and an extra half inch in length so they will provide more power, particular for players with a shorter swing style. Dunlop’s CX line from earlier this year introduced us to Flex Touch Resin, a thermoplastic elastomer compound which give the racquets greater vibration absorbing qualities. It has been included in the powerful LX frames, and the LX 800 specifically gets Hybrar grommets to further reduce racquet vibration. The LX 1000 features an eye grabbing Dual Bridge System to create more power and comfort from the 115 square inch head. The 1000 also features Sprung Rubber between the frame and grommets to reduce impact vibration and improve feel.
2020 French Open Champ Iga Świątek suprised many when shortly after winning her first major title, she made the decision to partner up with the French brand for a new racquet. Just over a year later, TF brought the T-Rebound 298 Iga to the market. While the previous T-Rebound models have all featured a slightly reduced length, the 298 Iga is a standard 27 inches, to make sure it has the stability to hold up on tour. The frame represents a nice middle ground between the precise and controlled T-Fight racquets, and the maneuverable yet powerful T-Rebound models. To enhance racquet’s feel, the entire frame is foam filled. The 98 square inch head and 16×19 string pattern make the 298 Iga a very user friendly racquet to play, and it can work for competitive players, as well as recreational weekenders.
The new year brings resolutions, fitness goals, and for tennis players a plethora of new gear to get ready for the Spring seasons. January is feast time for racquet brands as they launch most of their 2021 catalogs to line up with the sport’s first grand slam in Australia. So, let’s go through what new tennis racquets our big brands have, for those of you shopping for a game-changing upgrade.
Lacoste goes back to their roots, not to mention some of Rene Lacoste’s original patents, with their L20 racquets. These are not just coffee table pieces, the racquets offer impressive performance and easy access to power with very strong mobility. The heavier version (10.7 strung) features a unique 7 points head light balance, which vastly ups the mobility when compared to racquets of a similar weight. The L20L in only 10.2 ounces strung, and is the easier racquet to swing of the two. Anything with the Lacoste name has to look stylish, and these racquets certainly fit the brand identity nicely. What is surprising is how comfortable, user friendly, and solid the L20 racquets are.
After a refresh of the Pro Staff 97 last year, Wilson expands the lineage of the Six.One classic, with the Wilson Pro Staff Six.One 100 Tennis Racquet. The racquet geometry looks so similar to the classic Six.One 95, but it features a more manageable 10.8 ounce unstrung weight and a larger 100 square inch head size. Wilson’s Braid 45 construction creates optimum feel and stability, while the 16×19 string pattern makes creating heavy spin shots a breeze. If you were a fan of the Six.One 95, but find these days you need a racquet that helps supply a little more power and forgiveness, give the Six.One 100 some serious consideration.
The Blade v7 racquets have been extremely popular since they arrived, now Wilson has a Blade 100 that offers a little more punching power than the 98 square inch versions. The 100 keeps the nice soft flex, but it has a slightly thicker beam and lighter 10.6 ounce unstrung weight make it easier to play. The Blade 100 is also more spin-friendly than the popular 98 versions.
While not a new mold, Babolat unveiled Rafa’s personal cosmetic of the Pure Aero, dubbed the Pure Aero Rafa. The racquet features tons of color, and purple accents to celebrate the king of clay. This version features the same playing specification as the Pure Aero, but in a really fun colorway.
Starting with the “brand with two stripes” Babolat is building on the success of the late 2020 release of the Pure Drive. For January, Babolat adds the Pure Drive Plus, Pure Drive Tour, Team, Lite, 107, and 110. The new mirror cosmetic presents the “Drive” text in a unique way that maintains the iconic blue and black color scheme. With the 2021 Pure Drives, Babolat renewed the focus on the power aspect of the frames.
Without altering any of the specifications, the brand refined each racquet with SWX Pure Feel, and an extended section of SMAC material is embedded in the shafts to increase comfort. All of the new models have an addictive clean and improved sound at contact. Also, the new HTR (High Torsional Rigidity) composition of the hoop means greater stability and energy return across the whole string bed, again reinforcing the Pure Drive as the pre-eminent frame for tweener power.
The time has come for the Radical refresh. As the racquet line of choice for Andy Murray, Diego Schwartzman, and Sloane Stephens, The radical is touted as “the people’s racquet”. With the tagline, “No shot you can’t play.” The racquets have a high bar to clear. New models include the Radical MP, Radical S, and Radical Pro. The most noticeable change from previous versions is the more rounded head shape instead of the oval. HEAD increased the weight of the Radical Pro to 11.1 ounces and bumped the MP to 10.6 ounces.
The changes make the new tennis racquets a little bit more stable and thus more powerful. While the MP features the same variable beam design as its predecessor, the Pro gets a brand new mold with a slimmed-down beam for better ball feedback and precision. As far as the Radical S, it remains the most user-friendly racquet in the Radical catalog with a larger 102 head size. All of the Radical racquets feature Graphene 360+ and new Sound Grommets which enable greater string movement for more power. All three models feature HEAD’s Control pattern, which makes the 16×19 string patterns denser in the sweet spot for greater control.
Not to be forgotten, the Gravity series has been updated with another riff on the flip cosmetic.
The racquets now feature a yellow-green fade on one side and blue-violet fade on the other. The combination of the ellpitical beam design and the Flex Groove make the Gravity racquets uniquely flexible.
All the frames in the Gravity series feature a very rounded head with the widest portion slightly higher in the hoop for a larger and more accessible sweet spot. The frames are endorsed on tour by Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev and Ashleigh Barty.
The Japanese brand has brand new VCORE models for 2021. The new tennis racquets are popularized on tour by fiery shot maker Denis Shapovalov. Though there are several frames receiving updates in the VCORE series, the three most popular are the VCORE 95, VCORE 98, and VCORE 100. Yonex built Vibration Dampening Mesh into the racquet handles to make the VCORES more comfortable.
They also raised the sweet spot of the VCORE with a slightly wider racquet head at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions. The brand carries over Aero fin and Aero trench technology from the previous version to make sure VCORE continues to be Yonex’s most spin-friendly racquet line. The best blend of power and control belongs to the VCORE 98, While the 95 offers scalpel-like control, and the 100 is the most powerful. The VCORES again are featured in a bright red cosmetic, but this time with some subtle blue accents which give the series a one-of-a-kind look.
Though he struggled in 2020 with injuries, Kevin Anderson is undoubtedly Dunlop’s, most high-profile star. It will be up to him, and players like Taylor Townshend to represent the 2021 CX 200 series racquets on tour. The CX is a racquet line based on ball control, and Sonic Core with Infinergy is embedded into the racquet hoops for greater comfort and improved energy return. Additionally, new technology from Dunlop, called Flex Booster consists of a highly-elastic vibration dampening layer embedded in the shaft. This allows for the racquet to be powerful and stable across the string bed, but more comfortable thanks to greater flex on the shaft area.
The CX 200 Tour is the most precise racquet in the line, it comes with the thinnest of beams and a dense 18×20 string pattern. The most popular model in the group is the CX 200 and it features a 98 square inch head and a more palatable 10.8 oz unstrung weight. Two molded frames to keep your eye on are the CX 200 OS and CX 400 Tour. The OS brings the incredible comfort Dunlop is known for to a larger hitting area that is more forgiving, yet still a capable frame for advanced players. The 400 Tour packs more punch than the thinner and smaller-headed CX 200 series.
You can expect the CX 400 Tour to be a little crisper than the more plush 200 frames. If you have your eye on a lighter model, the CX series offers the LS(Lite Spec) and it is only 10.2 ounces unstrung. The look on the CX racquets is very nice. The deep red cosmetic helps highlight Dunlop’s “Flying D” logo.
For the first of the year, Wilson has three of their most popular racquets available in sleek reverse cosmetics. The Blade v7 16×19 gets a bright green makeover, the Ultra 100 v3 looks great in Ultra Blue, and the Clash 100 gets an infusion of Infrared.
These new tennis racquets are fun change-ups to the cosmetics, but they keep the same specifications as the in-line models.
Wilson also brings back some favorites from the past with the return of the Blade 98 v6 and Ultra 100 v2. These frames don’t feature Countervail (like they did previously) but they represent a nice value in a performance racquet.
Bookmark this page and check back throughout the year for the latest racquet releases from all the biggest brands.