Finding good tennis racquets can be hard work as a lot goes into what you might like or not like. Sometimes you just don’t want to do the dirty work of going to a sports store, picking out something you might like and then buying it. A lot of sports stores just have racquets scattered around and staff doesn’t know about them 90% of the time. You are at your own discretion and responsibility to pick something that you might like.
Why Get Spin Friendly Racquets
Modern tennis is all about topspin, players are opting to stay behind the baseline and hit the ball as hard as they can and with as much topspin as they can. This allows them to stay safe and make their opponents force the errors. Tennis has gone from a serve and volley playstyle to a more laid-back playstyle, and if you try and serve and volley to today’s players they will pass you left right and center.
Naturally, more players are sacrificing stiffer frames that used to provide control on volleys and returns. They are going with higher RA ratings just to give the ball the extra pop so blow their opponents off the court.
Sad to see the serve and volley players become a dying a breed, but it is an ever-evolving world and you need to be on top of things to get the most out of it. Most intermediate to advanced players take inspiration from the likes of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic and want frames that can provide them with the most spin.
To answer the question, I have compiled a list of the racquets that I think are the best for spin and should make you hit the ball the way you want.
All the links provided in the post are Amazon links, and you can check the current pricing there before you think about investing in your new super weapon.
If you are a little old and are thinking about starting tennis but don’t really know that tennis is for you or not? This post is for all the old people out there Learning Tennis At Late Stage in Life
I go over pretty much everything you need to start tennis and start enjoying it no matter how old you are. I had a fun time writing this one and hopefully, you’ll have a fun time reading it as well.
String of Choice
The best string for spin is probably the Babolat RPM Blast as it has been proven by Rafael Nadal over and over again. It is a little pricey compared to other polyester strings, but the value for money is pretty phenomenal as it is pretty tough and can survive for almost a month unless you really whip the ball with heavy topspin.
List of The Best Racquets for Spin
The racquets on their own will not give you spin, it is recommended that you match the racquet with a good polyester string to get the control back into your game. The power of control plus spin in unimaginable to say the least. This is my personal list that goes from my favorite to my least favorite, it doesn’t mean that any racquet in the list is not worth buying. Any of these racquets if you decide to buy them should serve you the purpose.
As with players, I too like a particular frame more than the others and my favorite is different from the bunch and it is the Babolat Pure Strike 16×19. I like it for the simple reason that is the jack of all trades and compliments my point making game. It can hit the ball with power if I want, I can hit it with control if I want, and the colorway is very cool. If you want to know why I love this racquet so much then head on over to my Babolat Pure Strike 16×19 vs 18×20 post. It is a big meaty post going over the pros and cons of why I think this racquet should be in everybody’s bag and they should give it a shot.
If you are just a fan of the Babolat Series and want to get a Babolat racquet but don’t know which racquet suits your needs. I have a fully detailed guide on how to find your own Babolat Racquet.
Babolat Pure Aero Series
Babolat likes to tease me when it comes to not adding a tour version to one of my favorite line of racquets. But the new Babolat Tour model really satisfied my need for a racquet that was more powerful than its non-tour versions. The heaviest out of the bunch in the Pure Aero line of racquets, it offers some great plow through and stability.
From the very first ball that I hit with this one, I was all praise. The level of power and depth this racquet provides while still being very maneuverable and heavy spin made me fall in love with the Babolat racquets that I had grown up with.
This is the ultimate defender’s racquet, which I generally am. The ability to bring back lost points is something I love, there is something exciting when I win a point while running for my life.
This racquet could be your next tournament racquet because it is a solid choice.
The most awesome thing that I found about this racquet was that it has a very awesome swing weight and even then, the balance was very, very headlight. This gave the racquet the ability to hit at nearly every angle without forcing me to fight against the racquet.
The racquet has a very fast and whippy feel, making it perfect for people who want the benefits of a heavier racquet without losing the easy power that is pretty much important for spin and pace.
The enhanced twist weight caused the racquet to be very stable, unlike the older Pro Drive GT model. This also made the racquet extremely pleasant to do some heavy hitting. I am not a very power hitter, but this racquet’s power and spin made me hit bazookas all around the court, whether it was down the line or cross court didn’t really matter.
The older models would flutter a lot if you missed the middle and this one fixed that issue for me. Even if the ball didn’t hit the sweet spot, I would get into play without any hassle.
Of all the racquets I tested out, the groundstrokes on this racquet were by far the best feeling. I strung it up with the RPM Blast, and you can say I had a total “Blast” playing with this one.
The net clearance and depth provided by the racquet were great, and I was way more consistent from the baseline because of it. If you are someone who likes to hit topspin but lacks some power, this racquet should be the perfect fit for you.
It is a very arm-friendly racquet, maybe not as friendly as the countervail models in the list but that is a minor trade-off when you think about all the other awesome things this racquet can pull off.
Comparing this to the normal Pure Aero, I can safely say that the added weight of this racquet makes for a joyful volley experience. It provided a very solid and stable feel, and it never felt too troublesome.
The volleys on this racquet were better than the Pure Drive as I could hit them with as much depth as I wanted. The feeling was very soft and plush (way better than the older versions).
This racquet is very responsive on the volleys and you can really feel the ball hitting the string bed, and you can control wherever the ball goes. The drop volleys and the volleys that are at acute angles are very fun and easy to hit.
If you are someone who struggles with volleys, then this racquet should really help you. It will help you learn the art of volley and you will really enjoy going to the net more.
This racquet is awesome for serves and I had a great time with my aggressive serves. The serving experience was awesome but I as a player sometimes struggle with missing the service box and I had to be a little cautious with this racquet.
If you are a good server then you will really enjoy this one, and you can literally take control of your service games.
The spin potential of this racquet provides a great platform for kick serves and even slice serves. Kick serving is a part of the game that I have struggled with in the past and I have always been on the lookout for something that could help me in this regard, and this racquet really hits a home run in that department. From getting broken at pretty much every service game, I was able to hold games at a higher percentage. I could get the ball jumping off the court or into the body, which put me in a good position off a second serve.
While this racquet was great for me, I know people like racquets that are a little lighter so they don’t feel like they are using a hammer every time they go out to play. The good thing about Babolat is that they make a lot of cool variants that are lighter, and I would recommend you try them if you want a lighter base racquet so you can customize it.
Speaking of customizing, I put out a post on should you customize your tennis racquet that goes over the pros and cons of customizing your racquet and you will really enjoy it.
The other racquets that are pretty close to the Tour Spec are:
Babolat Pure Drive Series
The age-old Babolat Pure Drive, this racquet has been carrying the flag of Babolat high for generations. Players like Carlos Moya and Andy Roddick started their careers with this racquet and now younger generations are playing with this. It mostly remains unchanged with some minor comfort modifications that get introduced into newer models, but the 2015 Babolat Pure Drive remains the best and most sought-after of the bunch.
I love that racquet, and from the brief (7 days) test period that I had,it left me wanting more. I like heavier racquets so I personally picked the Tour option over the normal one but you can have the same fun with the normal frame. I strung it with a Signum Pro Poly Plasma at 55 lbs. and headed onto the court as if a kid with a new toy. This racquet has always eluded me as I always thought that the Pure Aero Series of racquets were better.
On the groundstrokes, this racquet has some awesome spin. The racquet has a great blend of all the things that I like in a racquet: spin, power, and spin. The sweet spot was a little closer to the top of the hoop and which I found to be a little different than all the other racquets.
The topspin from this racquet is very controlled and you can really feel the string bed caressing the ball when you hit. The responsiveness of the frame is exquisite and fun, and this racquet feels like an extension of your arm.
Finding my game was quite easy with this racquet, as there was a nice level of power that I could control without it ever being a burden on my game. This racquet is a groundstroke powerhouse like the rest of Babolat racquets, it is their main selling point after all.
The racquet is very maneuverable, which makes it easy to generate a lot of racquet head speed which gives you that power and topspin.
This is a racquet that has some of the least adjustment time required, as you can get on the court and start hitting with great power within minutes.
As for many racquets that are made for spin, they don’t fare that well in the volleys department. There are some outliers in this that I will point out but as far as this racquet is concerned it will need some getting used to. Whenever I play doubles I tend to switch to an 18×20 racquet or a racquet which has a lower twist weight.
This racquet has a higher twist weight than a lot of other racquets and is pretty stable because of it, so if you are a very good volleyer and can control the ball easily, this frame is going to give you a great platform to practice your craft.
The racquet provides a crisp, solid feel and simple volleys are a simple point and shoot kind of a deal. If the oncoming shot comes with some power then this racquet provides a very solid punch back. It struggles a little on the slow-paced balls, but that’s pretty much a given when it comes to these type of racquets.
While this may not be the same racquet that Andy Roddick used to play with, it is a model based on that one, and serves are a specialty of this racquet. Serves are a favorite shot to hit with the past Pure Drives, and serves with this model were no exception. The power and effectiveness on the serves provided by this racquet made me second think about my Babolat Pure Strike.
I felt very connected to the ball when hitting first serves, and I noticed that I was hitting the ball much more solidly as compared to my other racquets. The second serve which I usually hit the kick on was way more powerful too. Babolat really put out a solid racquet and I loved every moment of it.
I even tried the slice serve on it and I could get the ball in extreme directions that I would struggle with before. The club players started asking me how I was hitting the ball so cleanly. It must have been a little placebo, but this frame definitely helped a little.
I personally loved the tour version but if you don’t want a racquet that heavy, you can find other ones on Amazon and they perform pretty much the same according to your skill level.
Babolat is cream of the crop when it comes to spin, especially when it comes to retail racquets. Player racquets are a little different, but those are also very expensive and you can’t buy them at a store.
But if you don’t like Babolat for some reason, Wilson and Yonex might have something that you may enjoy. If you are looking for comfort and arm friendliness, the Countervail racquets are the way to go. These racquets sacrifice a little bit of feel for comfort and some people really enjoy that.
Wilson Burn 100S Countervail
Wilson was slowly becoming one of those boring brands that never come out with the new best thing, and all their racquets used to be the same old thing just rebranded. I was super glad when Wilson decided to bring the Countervail tech to market, promising comfort and “superior” feel compared to other racquets.
I got to try quite a few of the new Wilsons and let me tell you that if you want comfort, then this racquet is for you. The spin potential is great, but it is nowhere near that great compared to the Pure Aero.
Countervail according to Wilson softens the effects of ball impact and counters the muscles fatigue. In my testing, whether they actually added something new or not, it did seem to work. I took off my dampener just to feel what was going on and I have to say the vibration dampening does work. The issue with this is that it causes the ball to have a very muted feel when it strikes the racquet.
The difference was apparent compared to the previous models; this update provides a softer, more comfortable ride but it is still on the stiffer side of things. The groundstrokes were relatively deep and powerful but not as good as the Pure Aero.
The spin was adequate, but I knew I could get a little more if the swingweight/plow through was a little higher. It is definitely an improvement over the older version of the racquet though, and anyone who was a fan of the older version is surely going to enjoy this one too.
If you want something that’s lighter on your arms and can still hit the ball relatively deep, then this racquet will be right up your alley. I would recommend this one to players who are not in their prime years but love to hit with power or intermediates who like lighter frames.
For this one, I had a Signum Pro Poly Plasma at hand and I enjoy that string quite a bit because of its softness. The combination is a match made in heaven for anyone who has shoulder problems.
I noticed that when my shots missed they were going long, which I believe was due to the launch angle when I tried to flatten out my stroke.
As far as performance is concerned this racquet is all about power and spin. The launch angle is higher than any traditional racquets, so there was some adjustment period for me.
In the control department, I felt some problems as I could be as free as I want but the racquet didn’t help me control the ball. I was making some unforced errors that I normally don’t make. But that’s just some adjustment that I will adapt to if I ever played with this racquet long enough.
This racquet is fun at the net but comes nowhere near the awesome feel of the Pure Aero or my Head racquet. Saying that, I quite enjoyed the light racquet for a change. The lower strung weight allowed for some cheeky drop volleys that I rarely get to hit these days.
The big sweet spot allowed for some easy to execute volleys, and there was good put-away power. If I could get the racquet on the ball, it would be almost the perfect volley every time. This is a great doubles racquet if anyone wants to get it for that reason.
The higher twist weight doesn’t make it the best for reflex volleys but if you can get past that, you will enjoy this one.
This light frame is great for intermediates who struggle with serves. The racquet does a lot of the dirty work for you if you are willing to let it do that. The spin and power from the stringbed are great for some powerful serves.
I was easily able to swing the racquet through the contact and hit with lots of power and spin. I liked it for kick serves as well, but my favorite was the Pure Drive in this category.
Overall this racquet gets an Ok rating from me, while I don’t love it because it is a little lighter for my taste. But if you are like my father, who is around 54 now and likes things a little lighter then this is for you. The swingweight with the light frame makes it a great buy.
Yonex VCORE SV 100
Yonex is a brand that is rarely seen in my club, apart from a Yonex Widebody racquet that I learned tennis with, I don’t really have a lot of experience with. So, when this thing showed up, I was very excited to see how far from the Widebody cheapo racquet the company has come, and I have to say it is pretty good.
The racquet is not the best thing ever, but I enjoyed the look, feel and power of the racquet. The SV stands for spin vortex and it sounds pretty cool, but does it help with the spin of the racquet as much as they say? I will say it’s good but not too good. Another case of technology not really adding to the racquet other than fancy brand marketing (I’m looking at you Beats).
The racquet is very maneuverable, and I would say that it is the most maneuverable out of the bunch. But that sacrifices some plow through, and I love me some plow through.
Players looking for an easy to use racquet with an excellent combination of power and spin should definitely check out the VCORE SV 100!. All I am gonna say really, as this is another racquet for intermediate players that are transitioning from the beginner to intermediate level.
The racquet is very spin friendly and powerful from the baseline. It has a very firm and solid feel and the spin potential is great, while still maintaining a very low weight profile (according to my like anyways). The control department is where it lags behind a little because if you don’t add the spin to it, the ball can go long.
It is a great racquet if you want to force someone to learn topspin because it punishes you if you don’t do that. Cross court flat hits were a little hard but down the line, this racquet was great. I enjoyed hitting down the line a lot when I was trying it out.
The wristy player in me that I had long forgotten was trying to get out, as the racquet could handle it really well. To all the players who love to use their wrists, this is great for your extreme shots. I stopped playing from the wrist because it used to hurt me, and it took some time before I could break the habit.
I personally love 98 sq. inch racquets, but I did quite enjoy the extra punch this bigger size gave. The power is free and you feel it, which is something I enjoy.
The racquet is quite stable and the feel on the volleys was great. It felt quite awesome, just bumping the ball back in play and getting the point from my opponents. The racquet gave me a lot of confidence at the net, and I would go as far to say that this racquet was the best for volleys by far.
The racquet was stable enough to tame very hard-hit balls. The low weight and this stability surprised me a lot. I gave the racquet to another player in my club who is very good at volleys and goes by the name of the volley “specialist”. The specialist told me that he liked it so much that he actually wants to buy it now.
Any serve-and-volleyers or doubles players who like the danger of hard-hit balls, this racquet is right up your alley.
To make it feel even better, I would add a little weight to the head to make a great smash/overhead racquet. I as a player generally don’t have a good time trying to hit overheads with light frames, that’s one of the reasons I use a heavier racquet.
As I was mentioning above, when it comes to this racquet, it is pretty much all about spin and pace. This carries over quite well in the service department too as I had quite a bit of fun with this one.
While it didn’t feel like it’s anything groundbreaking, which is how I felt with the Pure Aero and Pure Drive, it can hold its own. The first serves were very powerful, and I could get any kind of pace or spin that I wanted. The power and acceleration could have done better with some tuning but other than that the racquet was very consistent.
The second serve department was helped out a lot because of this racquet’s spin potential. If you struggle with kick, this racquet will help a little. I enjoyed the consistency and you will too.
To buy your own Yonex VCORE SV 100, head on over to Amazon for the current pricing. This racquet is in the affordable category and I was glad to know the price after hitting with it.
Wilson Blade 98S Countervail
I really like the color pallet that Wilson chose for their new racquets, and the subtle green and black stealth look is probably my favorite, alongside the new Pure Drive blue color.
Countervail is the name of the game with this racquet too, and the 18×16 string pattern is something I don’t have a lot of experience with either. This open string bed gives this frame some great power while maintaining a very light and maneuverable body.
The benefit of Countervail has already been discussed above, but if you missed it the short introduction of it is that it absorbs shocks so that they won’t hamper your shoulder. Any older people or people who have shoulder or elbow pain can play with either this racquet or the Wilson Burn 100S.
As I said above, this was the first time I experienced something like an 18×16 and I had to adjust to it. Most of the time I would hit the ball with too much spin and it would not even pass the net. The adjustment period required was a little over a day but after that, I enjoyed the racquet. I love the normal Blade 98 Countervail as it has a higher swingweight and static than this one.
After I was well-adjusted, the spin potential and comfort were second to none. However, the excellent spin didn’t always result in great shot making.
All in all, the Wilson Blade 98S offers some great comfort, a spin-friendly package for intermediate to advanced players to help their game reach that level that they desire.
The racquet is a great baseliner, and like a lot of blades, it is very spin friendly. The open string bed (18×16) gave something to my tennis game and I did enjoy it a lot. The Countervail gives a very comfortable feel and it is softer than the older models. This racquet is second to the Pure Aero when it comes to spin, and it beats out all the others in that category. Pushers can enjoy this racquet because it doesn’t necessarily have a lot of power with that spin.
I had fun with the spin but every time I struck the ball, the ball would tend to get a lot of spin but the ball was very easy to pick up on the other end. The net clearance for this racquet is higher than the Countervail 98, so if your forehands tend to hit the net a lot you could try some of the tips I have written about and get this racquet to get an easy mode practice routine.
Backhands and sliced backhands felt great too, especially with the slice I could really knife the ball into the court with extreme backspin and power. I hit with a two hand backhand, and I was really excited to see what this racquet had in store for me. I liked the feel as it was pretty much the same as the Blade 98, maybe a little worse compared to it but I was able to control my backhands without sacrificing power.
I like volleying with the new Wilson and racquets and the case remains the same with this one. I enjoyed it, but the Yonex still felt better. On volleys, a racquet can only do so much and if you don’t have the correct technique, then you do suffer.
Saying that, this frame did not disappoint. The swingweight helped a lot at the net with point finishes. It shared the same maneuverability and effectiveness that it did on the baseline. It is another great one at the net, and I can go as far as to say pretty much all racquets made these days are OK to Great at the net and you can’t really say one is clearly better than the other.
The swingweight, while still being light, helps somewhat in the serves department. I had a very mixed feeling with this racquet, and maybe it was because of the string bed. I was getting unusually large amounts of spin on the ball. While this was helpful in some cases, most of the times the ball was going in weird directions.
I had to get a good 50-60 serve practice before I was able to hit the ball with confidence wherever I wanted. In the power department, it was not as powerful as the Pure Aero Tour or the Pure Drive Tour but it’s pretty hard to beat those racquets anyways.
The second serves were pretty fun to hit with this one as I could get huge amounts of kick to my serves without really any efforts. Great racquet to learn kick serves on; other than that, not my personal favorite