Tweener is a funny word, at least I thought it was funny when I first heard about it. Then I got to some searching on the thing called Google and found out a little about them. The thing is, I owned tweener racquets but didn’t know they were called that. Some tennis player I am, right? But that’s beside the point. I didn’t know a whole lot about tennis back then; I was still learning the game. You can never stop learning tennis–there is always something new to learn–but I was in those formative first two or three years.
As a 15-year-old that has just learned about this cool new term, I wanted to know what’s the best of the rest when it comes to tweener racquets or in-betweeners as a lot of other people say.
This post is predominantly focused on what type of racquet to buy when it comes to tweeners. The tweener market is the most confusing because a lot of people do learn the game somewhat, and you can class them as intermediates. As an intermediate, you definitely want to try something new. Either you have a game-improvement beginner racquet or a counterfeit knockoff that you bought just because you thought that you would never really play the game anymore but after a few months, are completely hooked on it and want to upgrade.
First I will go over what is a tweener racquet and how can you distinguish from a game-improvement/beginner and then I will give the list and good points of the racquets I found to be the best in this category. Keep in mind racquet choices are subjective, and what I might like a lot may not be that good for your game.
Saying that I will highlight each racquets’ good points and that should help you make the right decision. Some of these racquets I own myself, and some of them I got from fellow club players just to test them out.
Not to Be Misunderstood With The Tweener Shot
A tweener shot is completely different from a tweener racquet but can be understood pretty easily. You tweener is taken from the word in between and the tweener shot is pretty much a shot that is hit from in between the legs. Roger Federer is known for this special shot, but Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios have hit it on multiple occasions too. You can check it out yourself from this video
What Is A Tweener Racquet?
A tweener frame/racquet is basically a frame that is between the game improvement/beginner racquets or the modern player’s racquets. The following points distinguish them from the rest of the pack:
- They weigh around 10-12 oz, while 12 might be considered a little too much. A lot of companies are coming out with them to get you a feel for the player’s frames.
- The head size range from 98 to 105 sq.inches. I will include 98 since there are a few racquets in that range that are just that weight and power level.
- They are designed for a moderate amount of power in the strokes. If you are using a professional swing to hit your balls, then I will say please don’t get a tweener racquet. Lower powered racquets are designed for that.
- More headlight compared to beginner’s frames because of the weight distribution. The swing weight will be comparable to them to handle good return power hitting.
- The stiffness on the frames in on the medium side and same with power.
- A lot of popular racquets fit into this category
Who Should Buy a Tweener Racquet?
Intermediates to advanced level players should consider these racquets. Beginners should stay away from them as beginners don’t use the best strokes and they need something more powerful for their compact stroke patterns.
A beginner in my club made the mistake of buying 12.5 Oz Wilson Pro Staff 95, and can’t handle the frame at all. He has trouble on the backhands and forehands because the racquet is just too heavy for his compact strokes. I, on the other hand, loved the racquet. Now, he might say that the racquet isn’t the best, but his game doesn’t fit well with the racquet.
If he had bought something like the Wilson Blade 98l, he would actually be loving tennis rather than considering it a chore. By the way, if you are a beginner and are looking for a great racquet, I would recommend you check out my beginner racquet guide.
Advanced players going to college to just getting into the pro scene can get these racquets, especially if they are juniors. These racquets are designed to be the jack of all trades and they perform great in pretty much any situation without really suffering in others.
The racquets in this category generally have thicker beams to generate the power that the user might be lacking. But I will say this, there are some racquets, particularly the Babolat ones, that have beams that are on the thin side of the spectrum.
If you are just an intermediate player then don’t make the same mistake as I did when I was picking something for myself and accidentally picked the Head IG Youtek Radical MP. The racquet itself was an 18×20 stick, literally, it was like playing with a stick. The beam on it was very thin as compared to something like the Babolat Pure Drive that has a nice thick beam to absorb the power of the ball and really punch it hard.
Can You Modify Your Beginner Racquet To Become a Tweener Racquet?
If you are the modifying kind then I will say you can, but you have to keep two things in mind. Beginner racquets generally have very thick beams to counteract the short swing path that they make. The second is those beginner racquets are either even balanced or not very headlight (they might be on or two points headlight rather than the 4-5 of the tweener frames). That means that you will have to tinker with the weight on both sides of the racquet rather on only one side i.e. the 12 o’clock position.
If you feel adventurous, then I will say go for it. I have a full post dedicated to why you should do it and it gives guidelines on the different dynamics of it. The post is called Should You Customize Your Tennis Racquet and I am sure you will learn something new from it. Learning something new about the game you love is always an awesome feeling.
All the links directly go to Amazon, and I get a small commision if you buy from there. The racquets I am recommending, I have played with them countless times and I wouldn’t recommend something that I don’t own or play with.
My Ultimate Forehand Guide has a section dedicated to drills and a video guide to get you a little taste of topspin. It can be a little hard to learn, but if you follow the guide, you will be surprised by how easily you can pick it up. Keep in mind that a good grip is essential, so preferably learn the semi-western grip, and get the cheat unlocked.
List of The Best Tweener Racquets
Babolat Pure Drive
Wilson Blade 98
Head Microgel MP
Babolat Pure Aero
Babolat Pure Drive
One of the best feeling racquets I have ever come across, the weight distribution, the power, and the color this thing has it all. Coming in with just over 11 oz strung, this racquet is great intermediates to people who are moving up to the advanced levels of the game.
When Babolat came up with the 2015 version, I thought they could never outdo this frame. The power to control ratio was perfect and it was something that every player desired and wished for. Trying that frame was a dream but it still felt like Babolat could make this frame even more powerful.
They really came out swinging with this racquet. The racquet is a little high on the stiffness scale, so if you suffer from arm problems then I would advise you to stay away from it or get a softer playing string. A hard poly like the Babolat RPM blast is going to be very hard on your shoulders and arms.
The frame is powerful, a tad bit too powerful sometimes and you might need some time to adjust to this racquets trajectory and power. The spin potential is great with this racquet owing to the 16×19 open string bed.
This guide goes great with my intermediate racquet finding guide. If you are not interested in Babolat and want to try something else then that post should help you out in picking something that you might like and enjoy.
Pros of The Babolat Pure Drive
- Pretty good weight, I would say it is as being ideal for intermediate to advanced college players.
- 4 point Head light balance or 32.99 cm, makes the racquet very good for inside-out forehands and overall very maneuverable. I would have preferred something even more but it works very well in pretty much all situations.
- The racquet looks pretty fresh and cool, but some people say that it feels like a kids toy/racquet. I am not one of those and I thought it looked very cool and it does certainly pop on the court.
- The frame itself is very stiff (71 RA) so to combat that, Babolat used the GT and FSI technology to dampen the frame a little. This created a mute response which I like for racquets sometimes, and this did not overdo it.
- The 16×19 string pattern combined with a pretty average-good swing weight provides a lot of power with some awesome spin potential.
Cons of The Babolat Pure Drive
- Can be a little stiff for people that are looking for pro play, and it is certainly not a players racquet. For a players racquet, go with something like the Pure Strike from Babolat.
- Some people say that it feels like a cheap toy, of course, I didn’t feel that way but if it does for you then pick from the Babolat Pure Aero series.
- Transitioning from a control racquet to this one is going to hit you hard. It is very powerful and you will have to do some adjustment with your game.
The Babolat Pure Drive is a great legendary frame, with players like Andy Roddick and Carlos Moya endorsing it for many years. This is a great frame for intermediate players who are looking to catch the advanced player’s feel, while still maintaining their short swings. The power is addictive but needs to be tamed for any optimal performance or match play.
A polyester string is pretty much necessary with this one to get the most out of this racquet, otherwise, you are just going to keep hitting the ball long. I recommend something like the Volkl Cyclone because of the tension maintenance and livelier feel as compared to the Babolat RPM Blast. Plus it only costs half the price of the famous Babolat.
If you are considering buying it, you can check it on Amazon by clicking the Link:
Babolat Pure Drive (Amazon)
If you or someone you know is having trouble learning the game or can’t decide on which racquet to get. I can provide a consultation clinic for a nominal fee of $20. simply shoot me an email on my personal email.
I am sure we can work something out pretty easily.
Wilson Blade 98 Countervail 16×19
The old (2015 version) blade was very popular among advanced – intermediate players and Wilson really outdid themselves again with this model. Wilson came out with something that has Countervail, basically, it is a material that has dampening technology and it stops vibrations getting to your elbows and shoulders. Personally, I enjoyed this racquet a lot and it is something that is great for intermediate players who lack some power in their swings, cuz this definitely has a lot of it.
Pros of the Wilson Blade 98 CV
- Very comfortable because of the CV technology. Anyone suffering from shoulder or arm problems, get this frame and you will have a great time.
- The string pattern and the swing weight that is pretty similar to the Pure Drive gives access to moderate to great spin depending on the type of player you are.
- The groundstrokes on this racquet were awesome, the feel was definitely an issue but the ball left the racquet with a great launch angle and had great depth on the other side of the court
- The stealth colorway of this racquet is definitely something I liked. Black with green looks very stylish and stealthy. This is a racquet that people generally like very much for the color aspect. It gets some great looks out on the court.
Cons of the Wilson Blade 98 CV
- The Countervail tech is a double-edged sword sometimes as you loose feel for the ball, and you are a player who likes to take huge cuts at the ball, you will feel that you are not hitting with too much and the ball is still sailing long. Modern racquets have this problem, they are more focused on comfort than on feel.
Wilson Blade 98 CV (Amazon Link)
Head Microgel MP
Andre Agassi made the radical brand popular and then Andy Murray continued the legacy. The Microgel technology has a vibration dampening effect and is great for anyone that suffers from shoulder problems. According to Head, the result of the Microgel tech is a rock-solid feel with improved comfort at impact.
This racquet just pays for itself, simple as that. I have quite a bit of history with this racquet as this is something I have played with quite a bit. The racquet has a great weight, great swing weight and the volleys on it are extremely fun.
I was so impressed by this racquet growing up, I eventually caved into buying a Head IG Youtek Radical MP because of it. This racquet survived more than 5 years with me until I had to move onto college and get a new more player-centric frame.
I am so thankful to Head that they keep on making it, mainly because it sells a lot even though it’s more than 10 years old at this point. At this price point, no other racquet comes even close.
It is a much more control-oriented racquet, thus having a closed string pattern so I won’t recommend it to a beginner high schooler. But if you or your kid has been playing for some time, and budget is an issue, this racquet is going to right up your alley.
The racquet has a heavy emphasis on control and comfort off the ground. The control-oriented feeling is something that is slowly being phased out, but this racquet is the reason I initially fell in love with control-oriented 18×20 racquets.
If you over hit the ball a lot, this is your racquet, simple as that. I could miss-hit the ball and still get the ball in. At both ends of the court, then I could a good look at the ball and really smack it. The relatively higher swingweight got the ball quite deep into the court without a whole lot of effort. I enjoyed the racquet quite a bit and you will too.
Head Microgel Radical MP (Amazon)
Babolat Pure Aero
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.