Professional players' racquets may appear visually the same as the retail models you see, but more often than not, the similarity ends there. Pro racquets usually weigh more than their retail counterparts, and often the weight, balance, swingweight, and flex are matched to the needs of the specific pro in question.
For the racquet technician, a strung racquet includes three separate customizable components, each of which can be altered to suit the individual player.
- The string bed — which includes strings, stringing, and attached objects such as tubing, power pads, string savers, and vibration absorbers.
- The frame — which includes the grommet strips and bumperguard.
- The handle — which includes the butt cap, grip, overgrip, pallet, and any space inside the “hairpin” (the bare carbon-graphite frame).
Customization of the string bed is the most obvious of these, and the one most players take advantage of, e.g. the type of string used and the tension that it’s strung at.
Racquet alterations can be divided into two categories: Customizing and Matching. Each requires precision measurement of frame characteristics, which is why I use the Prince Precision Tuning Center.
This is where the manufacturer’s basic racquet specifications are altered to enhance certain playing characteristics. You can have me change the mass, balance, swing weight, polar moment, twist weight, hitting weight, and recoil weight of the racquet. Fine-tuning is best accomplished when there is close cooperation between you as the player and me as the racquet technician. Customization is also important when a player changes to a different make or model of frame, so that the new frame will play as closely as possible to the old frame.
The size of the handle can (and should) be matched to the size of your hand. This minimizes the potential for “tennis elbow,” and can give you more control and power.
Racquet matching is probably the most frequent service requested. After play testing and deciding on an “ideal” racquet, the player’s other racquets need to be altered to match to those specifications. (Even brand new racquets can have tremendous variations from frame to frame.)
If your grip is too small, I can built it up for you for a minimal fee. If you use a Volkl racquet with the Sensor Tour handle, you can buy bigger OR smaller grip size pallets from Tennis Warehouse (you'll have to order by phone — these are not listed on the website), and I can install them. If you need a smaller handle, or one with a different shape (such as a Dunlop shape on a Head racquet), let me know. I'll have to send your racquet out, but oftentimes it can be done. Alternatively, I may be able to find you that same racquet in a smaller grip size.