Tennis rackets news, reviews and articles from Withers Sports the independent racket specialist retailer, based in Leicester.

If you have a racket question you want to ask the specialists at Withers please get in touch by phone 0116 262 2113 or social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Massive Spin, Controllable Power

No racket has made this much of a splash in the industry before the official launch! Whenever Wilson tease they have been working on a brand new range of rackets, everyone listens… Welcome the Shift.

Made in the brand’s W Labs, this brand new concept is engineered with a perfect mix of classic bending and insane lateral bending for big spin, dwell time, power and control. The Shift will sit in-between the Blade and Clash with huge spin potential and controllable power. However, the traditional stiffness of the Shift is in line with the Ultra, but the lateral stiffness is more akin to the Clash. Built around the insight of maximum lateral bending and best in class torsional stability, Shift allows players to hit the ball consistently deep in the court with increased confidence and spin on each shot.

“The goal is to allow for controllable power to hit heavy balls deep in the court,” Michael Schaeffer, Wilson global product director says. “We feel that we have all of these levers to pull to create a racket with different bending profiles,” Schaeffer says. “We can use these measurements as specs the industry hasn’t measured to better target players for their playing type. We feel at Wilson we have unlocked additional specs the industry has never really measured.”

Models in the SHIFT range

2 models are in the range at the moment;

Shift 99/300, a 99 sq.inch head size weighing 300g

Shift 99/315, with the same head size, but weighing 315g.

The 99/300 features a 16×20 string pattern for a balance of control, spin, and power and the Shift 99/315 has an 18×20.

Shift 99/300Shift 99/315
Head Size99 sq.inch99 sq.inch
String Pattern16×2018×20

Limited Stock

We are 1 of only a select few retailers who have been chosen to stock the Project Shift frames with extremely limited stock available. The next drop will be available later in March and we do have demo’s in both models for you to test if you are interested!

Loving the look

As with all tennis rackets (and most things in life) the appearance of the Shift is an opinion splitter. For some, it’s perfect and they love the look of it but for others it’s not their cup of tea and it won’t be getting anywhere near their racket bag! Amongst the Withers Team we have the full mix of views – but everyone agrees that it stands out

With over 80 years experience in the racket industry and now very much established as one of the UK’s leading racket specialists, we have good reason to believe that having a restring at Withers goes far beyond just having your strings changed.

Qualified Stringers

Rublev's rackets

Throughout our history we’ve moved with the times, updating our tools and knowledge to keep pace with leading stringing developments and processes.

The stringing team at Withers has received top quality training and restrung thousands of rackets – they provide our customers with the best experience and quality of work possible.

Stringing for Tennis, Badminton, Squash or Racketball

Whether it’s a racket for a top professional or an avid beginner, the care we give each frame; tennis, badminton, squash or racketball, is exactly the same.

As stated, having a restring at Withers goes beyond just the string bed. It’s all the questions that we ask, the recommendations that we suggest beforehand to give you the best options possible and the after sales service as well. It all depends on what you’re after…

  • Would you like power? Spin? Control? Comfort? All of the above?
  • Have you ever suffered from tennis elbow? Frozen shoulders? Arm or wrist pain?
  • Do you have an idea of what tension you would like?
  • Have you just changed racket and aren’t getting on with the factory string?
  • If there are different options of string gauge, offering advice on what would be best for you.
  • Do you need a new grip and grommet strip? We can check your racket and recommend a change if there’s significant wear and tear.
  • Is your racket cracked? We’ll always check your frame over for any potential cracks.

Stringing with care and attention

Once each frame has been taken in, checked over and is ready to be restrung, the techniques and methods that we use help us to give you the best restring possible. Whether it’s better that your racket be strung with 2 knots or 4, from cutting out the strings, cleaning the racket, mounting it in the machine, stringing and weaving techniques, keeping the strings as straight as possible throughout the restring, the tie off knots we use and right the way down to keeping the strings on the outside of the frame as short as possible to help with tension loss. No stone is left unturned.

  • Consistency
  • Accuracy
  • Speed

Electronic Stringing Equipment

Having your racket strung on an electronic stringing machine could make all the difference, compared to having it strung on drop weight machines etc. Electronic machines should (depending on how well you look after them) be pulling tension at exactly what it’s supposed to be. There’s always that scepticism on any other type of machine that it won’t pull up how it’s meant to. If your rackets aren’t being strung to how you want them, then this isn’t very cost effective.

All our machines are fully electronic and are used at ATP and WTA tournaments across the world.

Babolat Evolution Tour - stringing machine

Babolat Evolution Tour (Used at Wimbledon)

Withers Yonex Protech 8 stringing machine

Yonex ProTech 8 (Used at the Australian Open)

Head TE3300 stringing machine

Head TE-3300 (Used at the Laver Cup)

Changing your stringing?

We keep records of all restrings we perform. So, if you would like the same set-up as you’ve had before or alternatively, would like to try something different. We have a reference point that we can work from.

Speed and quality of service

Our turn around time is usually no more than 48 hours and if you need it done on the day, that’s sometimes possible too. It also helps that all of our members of staff, to varying standards, play at local clubs. We have a personal connection and a good working relationship with our customers, so they trust in our knowledge that what we advise is the best option for them.

We pride ourselves on the quality of service that we provide. So what better excuse than to come to the experts who treat your frames as their own.

Withers restring rackets at each of our locations. Our team are rotated where they are working, so if you want a specific stringer it might be worth giving the main shop in Carts Lane a call (Tel: 0116 262 2113) and explaining what (or who) you want.

Stringing @ Withers Leicester City Centre – 6 Carts Lane – Tel: 0116 262 2113

Stringing @ Leicestershire Tennis & Squash Club – 4 Westernhay Road – Tel: 0116 270 3500

Stringing @ Nottingham Stringing Centre – David Lloyd, West Bridgford – Tel: 0115 982 7111

The latest line in Wilson’s range will see a new style mixed with invigorating performance. This racket will play unlike any other Ultra before it.

This line of rackets is all about power. The distinctive rounded, chunky beam has been reduced in bulk to provide a more manoeuvrable frame. FORTYFIVE° technology that is currently also used in the Blade v8 and Clash v2 series, has been integrated into the Ultra v4 to lay-up for a softer, more comfortable feel along with enhanced stability, this frame upgrades the delivery of easy power.


Ranging in weight from 260g-300g, all these frames have a 100sq. inch head size and a 16 x 19 string pattern.

The Ultra 100 at 300g is the heaviest and is suited for someone who wants easy power and stability.

Wilson Ultra 100L v4

At 280g, the Ultra 100L is a lighter version of its big brother, providing more manoeuvrability and quicker swing speed.

Finally, the Ultra 100UL weighing only 260g, is the lightest frame within the range and is perfectly suited for juniors moving onto their first full size frame or an adult looking for a lightweight, powerful racket.

Ultra Technology

CRUSH ZONE: Innovative grommet system compresses at impact to provide a larger hotspot and increased ball dwell time on the strings, creating better feel and more potential energy that drives explosive power.

Parallel Drilling: Grommet construction provides a consistent, more forgiving string bed response while dramatically increasing the sweet spot.

Sweet Spot Channel: Cavity on side of frame extends cross strings and increases grommet movement for more power.

FORTYFIVE°: Patent-protected frame layup produces more connected-to-the-ball feel while better complementing the more modern, vertical swing path. Material increases both flexibility and stability without compromise through the swing.

Agiplast: Plant-based bumper, grommet and end cap components reduce overall environmental footprint.

The spin machine just got better.!

When a young Spanish phenomenon named Rafael Nadal burst onto the scene, Babolat created the ultimate spin racket to suit his playing style, the Aeropro Drive or as it’s now known, the Pure Aero.

Now, with the eighth generation of the Aero, the range of rackets has emerged with an approach that recognises that there are different spin profiles which need slightly differing rackets, so that everyone can “own their own spin”. Now, with the next gen firmly making their mark on tour, players such as Holger Rune, Felix Auger Aliassime, Leylah Fernandez and the current world number 1, Carlos Alcaraz are seen wielding the new Pure Aero.

Carlos Alcaraz’s first thoughts when seeing the racket.

The Pure Aero Range

In the Pure Aero range, the 4 main rackets (exc junior frames) are the Pure Aero 98, the Pure Aero, the Pure Aero Team and the Pure Aero Lite.


Weighing between 270g and 300g, all these frames have a 100sq. inch head size and a 16 x 19 string pattern. The Pure Aero at 300g is suited for someone who is naturally strong and hits the ball at the top of the bounce with powerful groundstrokes. Combined with a new, tighter 16 x 19 string pattern increases control compared to the previous generation, whilst maintaining power and spin.


At 285g, the Pure Aero Team is a lighter version of its big brother. With a more open 16 × 19 string pattern compared to the Pure Aero, provides spin and power in a more easily manoeuvrable frame.


Finally, the Pure Aero Lite weighing 270g, is the lightest frame within the range and is perfectly suited for juniors moving onto their first full size frame or an adult looking for a lightweight, powerful racket.


Based on the Pure Aero, the Pure Aero 98 is a more controlled version. This is effectively the successor of the Pure Aero VS. The heaviest model in the range at 305g features a slightly smaller headsize (98sq. inch head size), a tighter string pattern (16 x 20) and a thinner cross section. All aimed at a more control version, but keeping the spin characteristics of the Aero name.

Pure Aero Range of tennis rackets

Pure Aero Technology

Babolat have introduced natural flax fibres on the new Pure Aero racket to help reduce the vibrations that can cause injuries in the arm, because flax has very good absorption properties combined with mechanical resistance.

Small flax patches – known as Natural Flax Filtration Technologies, or NF²-Tech – have been placed at three o’clock and nine o’clock on the frame and on the handle of the Pure Aero. On the Pure Aero 98, the flax patches are only at three o’clock and nine o’clock on the frame because the type of player this racket is aimed at likes to keep some vibration in the hand in order to better feel the impact of the ball on the strings. As well as enhancing the feel, the flax patches also make the sound of the ball hitting the strings distinctly different.

The Pure Aero, Team and Lite models combine flax patches on the handle with a slightly different vibration filtration technology on the head.

FSI SPIN: An open string pattern for maximum spin generation. Includes the Woofer system, which lengthens the contact time between the ball and the string, increasing control and enhancing comfort.

SWX Pure Feel: An advanced vibration dampening material integrated into the graphite of the racket for pure feel and incredible sound.

AEROMODULAR³: An Aerodynamic frame that integrates the bumper and grommets into the racket head, letting you swing faster and generate more spin.


The right set up in any racket will compliment the player and frame. Now, whilst everyone is different in what they feel from the strings, certain strings can compliment a racket and enhance the characteristics further. The Pure Aero combined with Babolat RPM Rough brings unmatched spin and snapback. To create spin is down to the movement of the string during ball contact and more so after! The moment they slide back into place is what is important. This is what’s known as snap back. If you look closely on the string, you will see that the Babolat logo is actually embedded into the string. Through extensive research in France, it was found that it allows for maximum slide and minimum friction between the strings. 

There is a reason why they call the Pure Aero the spin machine.

And it’s just got bigger and better.

*Please note that professional players may use different specifications on their rackets.*

Tick, tick, tick… BOOM!

Fun just got more explosive

One of the most anticipated racket releases hit our shelves at the start of this year. A racket like no other, with a sensation like no other. You don’t have to think about anything, but enjoying the moment.

The HEAD Boom series.

“A sensation like no other”… Auxetic materials. This is what connects HEAD tennis rackets with nuclear reactors, as well as on the cutting edge of aerospace and biomedicine technology.

Situated in the throat of the racket, Auxetic technology actively responds and gives you the optimal feel on impact and super accurate feedback. Auxetic constructions show a unique deformation compared to non-Auxetic constructions. Due to their internal properties, Auxetic constructions widen when a “pull” force is applied and contract when squeezed. The bigger the applied force, the bigger the Auxetic reaction.

Within the range, there are 4 frames to choose from, all suiting varying styles and abilities. A new head shape, wider at 10 and 2 o’clock, widens the sweet spot and allows for a higher contact point.

Head Boom Series Rackets
Boom ProBoom MPBoom Team Boom Team L
Weight: 310gWeight: 295gWeight: 275gWeight: 260g
Headsize: 98sq.inchHeadsize: 100sq.inchHeadsize: 102sq.inchHeadsize: 107sq.inch
Balance: 310mmBalance: 315mmBalance: 330mmBalance: 340mm
String pattern: 16×19String pattern: 16×19String pattern: 16×19String pattern: 16×19

In the words of Stefan Mohr, who is part of the research and development team, HEAD put so much into creating the BOOM racket series, that the finished product feels like “a piece of art”, which touches on perfection.

“In the history of HEAD, we have never had more preparation, so many prototypes and so much testing. For me personally, this racket is a well-orchestrated piece of art in racket sport engineering,” Mohr says. “All the pieces are aligned perfectly in the BOOM racket – the frame, the string-bed, the geometry, the grommets, everything’s perfect. This is the best racket we’ve created so far.”

Babolat Pure Aero VS

Spin meets Precision.

The history of the Pure Aero VS

Have you ever heard of the Babolat Aero Storm? No?

Well, back in 2007, Babolat first introduced the Aero Storm into their range as a thinner, more controlled version of the Aero Pro Drive. This racket had a love/hate relationship with quite a few people, including some of us at the shop.

The New Pure Aero VS

Fast forward to now and the Aero Storm is now known as the Babolat Pure Aero VS. A more precise version of the Pure Aero. The spec does differ slightly to that of the Pure Aero:

Babolat Pure Aero VSBabolat Pure Aero
98 sq.inch head size100 sq.inch head size
16 x 20 string pattern16 x 19 string pattern
31.5mm balance32.0mm balance
21mm/23mm/22mm cross section23mm/26mm/23mm cross section
Link to Pure Aero VS product pageLink to Pure Aero product page

The history of Babolat

Since 1875, Babolat’s quest has been to challenge the status quo by providing the perfect answers to the most engaged and passionate players. Through expertise based on observation of the game, Babolat developed a signature with a distinguished DNA: the VS.

The Benefits of the Pure Aero VS

The benefits of the Pure Aero VS are simple: Spin and Precision. Created to optimise your spin, Babolat developed the Pure Aero to maximise your chances to push your opponent back far away from the baseline. With the new pure Aero VS, they wanted to maintain your spin advantage while fine tuning it to incorporate a level of precision never achieved before. They have also totally revamped the Pure Aero VS geometry to develop a racket with the pinpoint precision you demand. Smaller head size, thinner beam and a new string pattern.

When we managed to get out on court before lockdown, we were able to test it out and the frame was incredible from start to finish. Better playability, more feel and enhanced control, but still keeping the spin and power characteristics of the Aero that we love!