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Alex Bullock

Manufacturers do their best to maintain tight quality control standards, but many as with most mass-produced products "identical" racquets do have slight manufacturing tolerances. These tolerances can be +/- 3 to 5 grams of weight and +/- 0.5cm of balance. Players will vary dramatically in how tuned in to these tolerances they are, but it is not uncommon for an advanced player to require his or her racquets to match and possibly customized beyond that. Some players will have a favourite racquet, despite having four or five racquets that are supposed to be identical. This is not a good thing! A competitive player needs to be able to go to the bag at any point during a match and pull out a racquet they can play with confidently. Advanced players need to learn how to tune their own equipment (stay tuned to future articles) or find a racquet technician that can make all their equipment perform the same.
Advanced & Competitive Players
Here is my summary for advanced players looking for new equipment:
1) Pay attention to the power vs control ratio.
2) Demo intelligently. Look for racquets with attributes that meet your profile, narrow it down to two or three and spend lots of time with those. Consider purchasing one with your ideal grip size, string and tension for an extended demo before you invest in a whole batch.
3) Don't have favourite racquets. This will only damage you in the long run as racquets are always fatiguing and changing. The more you use your favourite, the less you use the others, the more different they will become. What happens when the favourite breaks?
There are more models of tennis racquets available now than ever before. Technology is constantly changing and bringing us newer products. The most important thing for any player of any level to remember is to find the racquet that feels most comfortable when you play. Hopefully my guidelines will help narrow the field for you to accomplish that.
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