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.

So, the new Babolat Pure Drive has been out for a month or so now. We have found the 2015 version to be one of the most popular racket launches. It appeals to a range of players, from good competent beginners to tour professionals due to great precision, power and handling attributes.

The new Pure Drive has been updated with Frame String Integration or FSI for short, this feature not only lifts the sweetspot but also tightens the spaces between the upper cross strings to give players a more responsive contact zone. The location of FSI implements information gathered from “Pure Drive PLAY”, the first connected racket by Babolat. Historically, the Pure Drive has always been know to be very powerful, sometimes to powerful, so by making the sweetspot tighter it allows for more control. As with previous versions of the Pure Drive, technologies such as Elliptic Geometry, Woofer, GT and Cortex are still engineered into this latest version.

As much as the racket appeals to a wide variety of playing styles, it is still the choice for aggressive baseline players who want great power and pace potential. At net the Pure Drive’s  speed and put-away power make it a true weapon for aggressive doubles players.

Finally, the cosmetics, how does it look? Here at Withers we believe this is the best looking Pure Drive of all time, really striking in appearance and sticks out on our racket shelves from a distance. A mixture of black, blue and white all finished off in mat look.

Verdict? All in all this racket is going to have a big 2015/16, with the added FSI technology we really feel this racket appeals to an even larger audience then it did before. We look forward to selling them!

For further information on the Babolat Pure Drive, please click here.

Babolat Pure Drive 2015 as used by Fabio Fognini (ITA), Julien Benneteau (FRA) and Sara Errani (ITA).

Coming soon to Withers is the brand new HEAD Graphene XT Speed MP ASP. With this new racket, Head launches its revolutionary Adaptive String Pattern or ASP technology. The ASP technology features changeable grommets at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions, thus allowing the player to choose from a conventional 16 x 19 or 16 x 16 stringing pattern. The benefits of a changeable string pattern is that you choose between a variety of players styles, 16 x 19 for more traditional playability with control or 16 x 16 which offers more spin and power potential.

As with the previous version of this racket, it is aimed towards the more intermediate and advanced players who want a lighter weight more controlled frame.

With the added Graphene XT technology to the shaft, Head have been able to shift even more weight to the grip and tip of the racket. Head have been able to make the world’s strongest and lightest material 30% stronger to offer you enhanced weight distribution, perfect maneuverability and a fast performance that will just blow your opponents away.

The Speed range has been further revolutionized by ASP technology and Graphene XT, making this the perfect go-to weapon. The Speed range consists of the following models Pro, Rev Pro, MP, MP ASP and S. Please note, ASP technology is available on MP ASP and Rev Pro only.

We here at Withers Sports think this is an extremely impressive update to the previous model and cosmetically HEAD have struck gold with this one! The Speed MP, MP ASP and Rev Pro are due into us week commencing 17/11/14. All other models will be released in early 2015.

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The sport of tennis is evolving, so is the Pro Staff. Developed with the help of Roger Federer and engineered for the next generation of tennis, the new Pro Staff delivers more power, a larger headsize, and a bigger sweetspot, but keeps the pure, classic feel that players love.

A new look has been incorporated in this RF 97 Autograph racket, strong reds and blacks in keeping with traditional Wilson colours and finished off with the soft leather grip. This racket looks very striking in appearance and different from what Federer has used in the past. Here at Withers we think this is strongest looking racket Wilson has ever launched for Federer.

This is the personal choice for Roger himself. Weighing in at 340 grams, 97 headsize, open stringing pattern of 16×19 and a balance of 30.5 cm the updated Pro Staff packs heaps of power and control. An absolute beast of a racket for those that can handle the weight, this is one of the heaviest rackets on the market and has a select crowd.

Being as heavy has the RF 97 Auto is, it is very light in the head so therefore making the racket more maneuverable and around the net providing excellent stability. Service returns are also a high point, in part because this racket’s weight allows it to absorb power and transfer this energy for players own benefit with ease.

In terms of the stringing, we strung our demo in Wilson NXT 1.30 gauge at 56lbs. We found this comfort wise to be fantastic, a multifilament string that absorbs lots of vibrations. The cushioned sensation this gave to our playtesters was unmatched. The only downside with NXT is that is does not provide huge amounts of spin, this is were we would recommend a hybrid combination, a slightly more textured string in the mains (i.e. a Luxilon Big Banger Rough / Babolat RPM Blast) and NXT in the crosses.

The RF 97 is available is lighter models, the RF 97 (315g), RF 97 LS (290g), 95s (313g).

The RF 97 Auto is supposed to be a little challenging for us mortals, but the payoff for playing with Grand Slam legend Federer’s racket correctly, is simply as good as it gets!

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Launching soon, Withers presents the brand new YONEX VCORE Si tennis racket range due for release later this year. With updated technology and design, the VCORE Si bites back stronger than ever with further enhancements.

Firstly cosmetically, the racket looks very appealing to the eye, not too dissimilar to the Yonex VCORE Tour G as used by Stanislas Wawrinka. The new VCORE Si 98 is finished in flash orange so your opponents will definitely not miss it.

The attributes of the racket remain the same, the VCORE Si 98 comes weighing in at 305 grams with a tour headsize of 98 Balance point at 315mm and an open stringing pattern of 16 x 20, providing good spin possibility. High modulus graphite combined with black micro core and nanometric technology to provide great comfort and playability.

New grommet hole design produces extra bite to generate more powerful spin shots.

The new YONEX VCORE Si bites back. With the enhanced grommet technology and string hole design (Bt Hybrid Stringing System), the VCORE Si allows for more main and cross string movement resulting in longer dwell time and more spin. We found with the current VCORE range, in particular the Xi 98, that spin was more apparent when strung with Yonex Poly Tour Spin 1.25mm, as this is a pentagonal shaped string it grabs the ball more precisely to produce stronger spin. So hopefully with the updated grommet technology the new VCORE Si range will provide unmatched spin potential for players.

Lastly the racket is made in Japan. We tend to find the rackets made in Japan have a better weight tolerance, i.e. if you have two of the same Yonex rackets made in Japan they should be within 5 to 7 grams of each other. Rackets made elsewhere the weight tolerance increases to 10 to 15 grams.

Here at Withers Sports we are eagerly awaiting the release of the new VCORE Si 98 and to see what the new technology has to offer. The VCORE Si range should arrive with us pre Christmas 2014.