Just starting this year? Two local racquetologists, Woody Schneider of Grand Central Racquets (341 Madison Ave., nr. 44th St.; 212-292-8851) and Mark Mason of Mason’s Tennis (56 E. 53rd St., nr. Park Ave.; 212-755-5805), recommend racquets (pictured above, and on sale at both stores) based on age and gender.
20s and 30s
MEN: “For the six-foot-two guy who can break the ball in half, I’d give him a control racquet—thinner with a midsize head,” says Schneider. The same type of racquet works for non-hulks as well. Men tend to whack the ball as hard as possible, so they need the control.
The Pick: Head MicroGel Radical, $180, or Wilson K Blade, $190.
WOMEN: “For female beginners, I like a lighter racquet,” says Mason. “A big problem there is footwork; they need one that’s light enough to get out in front, so they don’t hit the ball late.” Demo a slightly heavier frame if you have strong forearms.
The Pick: Babolat Z Light, $179.
40s and 50s
WOMEN: “If a woman isn’t an athlete, she’s going to need a wider frame that’s going to give her a little more help,” says Schneider. “I’d go for a nice recreational racquet that someone can improve with for five years before switching.”
The Pick: Head’s Airflow 5, $175.
MEN:“If he’s 50, he’ll probably be playing more doubles. A bigger head will help his volley,” says Mason. The racquet should also be a little lighter, to help compensate for less nimble footwork. “This racquet will help him maneuver better on the court,” he says.
The Pick: Prince’s 03 Speedport Red, $199.