The thing about tennis is, it’s a game filled with passion. And that’s why you see most people who thought they’d only play it recreationally become completely hooked. If you happen to fall in that category, and you now feel ready to take it up a notch, you’re in the right place.
We’re about to list some of the best tennis rackets for intermediate players, so pull up a seat and make yourself comfortable because this will take a minute.
But first, we have to answer this question…
What’s an Intermediate Tennis Racket?
An intermediate racket is mostly useful to an intermediate player and it gives him/her the opportunity to test out a high-end frame, without putting too much thought into the price.
A beginner racket isn’t technologically advanced because it’s not designed for high-level contests.
You should know a lot of things are very different in the 21st century. Some of the technologies that you see today did not exist during the time your mom and pops were playing. Today, we’ve got composite frames, Graphene, stiff rackets, Carbon Fibers, and the list goes on.
These are all technologies that make the best tennis rackets for intermediate players THE BEST in the industry. Okay, let’s get down to it, shall we?
Best Tennis Rackets for Intermediate Players
1. Babolat Pure Aero
Tennis isn’t the kind of game where you master all techniques right off the bat. It’s more like a learning curve, so it will take you a while. Mistakes will be made, and that’s okay. All that matters is you learned and now you’re not the player you were when you started.
Unfortunately, not all players learn from their first mistake. We’ve seen players use wrong equipment on several occasions, and it’s not like they don’t know what they’re doing is wrong. Some people are just not that receptive to change.
A good example is this… using rackets that are designed for ball control, when clearly you’re a power hitter. Or being a finesse player and using rackets designed for power hitters.
The point is, different rackets serve different players with different skills. And the Babolat Pure Aero is here to remind us that.
Pure Aero is mostly about the swing speed. Babolat invested so much time and money in this particular model to ensure it’s lighter in the hands of any player, and more aerodynamic. Hence, you’ll produce some of the best spin, and control your shots a lot better.
The string pattern and texture is yet another thing that you’ll love about this racket. That innovative and advanced design will help you generate extra power even though it’s grippy.
2. Babolat Pure Drive
This version has the sweet spot higher up and it’s one of the best rackets for intermediate baseliners. It’s design focuses on power, control, and spin. All the three things that make a racket perfect.
Maneuverability is also great. We’ve seen players use it around the net and so far no one has raised any complaint. That solid feel is there whether you’re making a volley, or doing a shoot.
This right here is a great investment as it’s durable, thanks to the Frame String Interaction technology that ensured the strings are sturdy.
3. Babolat 2021 Boost Drive - Best for Teenagers
The boost drive is not an adult racket. Even if you’re a beginner, as long as you fall under that adult category, you should probably look for another racket (luckily we’ve got 9 others for you!) It’s designed for intermediate players who are still in their teens.
We’ve in the past seen some grown adults use it only to struggle to transition to better rackets as they advance. So once more, do not use this racket even if you’re just playing for fun and are a fully grown adult. There are other better rackets out there.
What makes this particular racket ideal for intermediate players has to be the fact that it’s full-featured maneuverable and oversized. And since you’re an intermediate player, you already know that means you won’t have to worry more about hitting that sweet spot or mis-hitting your shots.
It’s also lightweight, and that doesn’t translate into anything negative. It was designed to weigh that much because teen players are the target audience. They’re still developing physically, so handling a heavyweight racket is kind of difficult.
4. Head Graphene 360+ Extreme MP
When this model got released, the first thing that a lot of people took a note of is the swanky new color scheme. They then gave it a trial run and loved what the new technology brought on board. In addition to comfort which has significantly improved, the feel is also great.
You might not know this. but the extreme line of rackets is famously known for being powerful and spin-friendly. These two factors are the primary reason why more aggressive tennis players prefer these rackets to any other.
Head Graphene 360+ Extreme MP was designed for intermediate players of all ages, but we’ve also seen pro athletes use it from time to time. And it’s not difficult to understand why seeing as it provides an extra spin and power that’s irresistible.
The only downside here is found in the control department. It’s not all that bad, but compared to other racket models, it’s poorly ranked. And this is something that we’ve seen in so many racket models that have been released. Manufacturers tend to focus more on improving weaker aspects that they forget about aspects that made the racket so popular.
Moving on, you’ll love the stability and maneuverability that comes with this racket. That frame has no problem moving quickly through the air, and its sweet spot contributes to the stability needed to create both spin and power.
5. Head Ti S6
To better understand what you’ll be working with here, we have to compare this Head model with the other versions. First off, the Head Ti S6 did make all of us evaluate the world of tennis. The racket’s beam is head heavy, and it guarantees more control in comparison to the Ti S7. Which is no longer in production, by the way.
Secondly, if you’ve had the chance to play with the Head Ti S5 model, you’ll immediately realize this version provides more power despite the fact that it only weighs 8.9oz and made of titanium.
Generally, it performs really well if you’re an excellent player. But you won’t like it if your skill level is basic at best.
Intermediate players who’ve got a compact stroke style of play will definitely love it. It has a larger head size that provides sufficient sweet spot to maintain a great balance of power, and a string tension, which falls in the 57-66 pound range.
6. Yonex EZONE 98 Plus
Now you’ll realize that any racket ever released has a defining feature. That one feature which makes it stand out. And for the Yonex EZONE 98 Plus, it’s the Nanometric carbon graphite composition. It’s actually a special feature in that it allows the racket’s frame to flex and snap while the player hits his/her shots.
And since we’re already talking about flexibility, we should also talk about the OPS (Oval Press Shaft) system that’s responsible for the narrow shaft.
Yonex EZONE 98 Plus has a lot to offer. We also can’t fail to point out the ridiculously large sweet spot, increased by its isometric square head shape. You’ll have to be intoxicated or something to mis-hit your shots with this racket.
It’s ultra-grippy string acts as a vibration dampener, and the open string pattern offers plenty of topspin. So you know you’ll be getting value for your money should you choose to go for this beauty.
7. Wilson Blade 104 V7
Okay, we’ll need the men to stand aside for a little while, as we talk about this racket. The Wilson Blade 104 V7 is one of the best rackets that the market has to offer, and it’s designed for women who are looking to go pro.
On top of the fact that it provides so much comfort on and around the court, it also offers great control and power. It’s also important to note the Blade 104 V7 has a muted feel as it has gone through the Amplifeel handle technology.
Playing with the Blade 104 V7 feels a lot natural and we’ll credit that to the 18/19 string pattern that improves accuracy, as well as its extended length that contributes to the surplus power produced.
This is without doubt, the racket for anyone looking to go pro. It even has vibration-dampening features and generates faster swings. Wes seriously can’t add anything more, if you aren’t sold.
8. Wilson Clash 100
The high-contrast frame is definitely something worth noting. Manufacturers know and understand why selling rackets is like selling candy at a kid’s store. If the kid doesn’t like how it looks, or sees something shinier, they’re not going to buy your candy.
The same logic applies in the world of tennis. If your racket doesn’t have a noble look, many players will go for the one that looks stylish. Wilson obviously had that in mind while designing the Clash 100.
In regards to technology, this racket has a few unusual features and we think that’s due to the technology applied. Wilson used StableSmart and FreeFlex to design this model.
The latter was used during carbon mapping, a technique used to increase the flexibility of the frame. They then used StableSmart to increase its stability.
All in all, the Wilson Clash 100 is not just a racket that serves intermediate tennis players. Experienced or regular tournament players can use it as well. As a matter of fact, we can bet you dollars to donuts that any player who’s not a beginner, and has a modern style of play will love this racket.
9. Wilson Ultra 100 V3
We all know power can be intoxicating. We’ve been taught that even as kids. But did you know there’s a way to tame it? You certainly can, if you use the Ultra 100 V3.
This version came with all sorts of technology. In its shaft, there’s the Power Rib construction for stability. It also has a perimeter weight system and Sweetspot channel that increases the length of your cross strings, hence giving the racket that catapulting effect.
So naturally, the next question is, “How does it perform on the court?”
The specs say it all. This model was designed for intermediate players. It generates power without breaking a sweat and guarantees a faster swing. At the back end of the court, it works wonders.
However, as you start to approach the next, things start getting a little bit wobbly. It’s a downside and it actually confirmed our worst fears.
You see even though the technology in it helps it gain more stability, the weight is definitely a concern. It has a swing weight of 311, and any tennis enthusiast will tell you that number is too low. It needs a couple more pounds so as to be effective.
Connecting with your shots might also feel like a chore seeing as this model is a lot stiffer than other models. But you’ll love trading groundstrokes with it.
10. Prince Phantom 100
Technology has really evolved in Tennis but we have a feeling that this is just the beginning. It’s just a lingering feeling telling us that there’s more to be done, since brands are still trying to find the right balance of feel, control, maneuverability, stability, and most importantly, power.
The game is constantly changing, and Prince knows that. They don’t want to be left behind, and that’s why they’ve been experimenting with stiffer rackets.
For quite some time now, Prince has been working around the clock, trying to increase the racket’s fiber module while adjusting its angle, as a way of responding to the increased pro demands.
The first rackets released had a less arm-friendly experience, so they took them back in the lab for more research. They found the problem causing that discomfort, fixed it and then unveiled to the world the Prince Phantom 100.
This racket has power, it’s spin-capable, and doesn’t sacrifice attributes such as feel, which many players consider nebulous.
The gear-maker went ahead and collaborated with a Swedish company known as Oxeon, to engineer TeXtreme, a carbon fiber meant to improve the racket’s stability. We actually rated this as one of the best Prince tennis rackets out there thanks to all the reasons states above.
How to Choose a Tennis Racket for Intermediate Players
Now that we’ve taken a look at some of the top options, let’s discuss how you can go about choosing the right racket for your playstyle.
We can’t say this enough. Modern technology has helped us make significant strides in tennis, and we’re all so very grateful for that. However, we can’t help but wonder why it seems to favor lighter devices over heavier ones. And this is just not something that we’ve witnessed in the tennis industry—It’s everywhere!
Before 1990, a typical racket would weigh something between 12-13oz. And we were all okay with that. But then Wilson came out of nowhere and decided to change the game.
They introduced a racket that weighed far less than 11oz and brands took that as a cue to go back to the drawing board.
Today, we do have rackets that weigh less than 10oz and you won’t believe when we
say this but, some players are still not satisfied.
Regardless, not everybody takes pleasure in playing with a lighter racket though. Some players believe the heavier the racket the better the performance. And that begs the question, “Why’s weight such an important factor when choosing a racket?”
To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best. And although players can win a match through finesse, most of the time it’s usually about who’s stronger not just mentally, but physically as well.
Power comes from different sources. You can generate your own power if you’re physically strong, or you can go for a heavier racket and leverage its power. And how eight factors into all this—Heavy equals power.
Let’s remind ourselves of what we learned in Physics 101:
If you multiply velocity and mass, you get force, right? And that force generated is the power you need. However, there’s a caveat; to propel that racquet, you’ll still have to be physically fit. And by ‘physically fit’ we mean have enough muscle to swing it.
With great power, comes great responsibility. Or in our case, control. Heavier rackets are known to be more stable than lighter ones. So the moment it comes into contact with the ball, the effect won’t be felt that much. Hence, makes it easier to control.
But don’t mistake control for maneuverability. They’re not the same at all. Lighter rackets are more maneuverable than heavier ones.
Do you know what tennis elbow is? Have you even ever heard of it? Well, there’s such a thing as tennis elbow, and it’s a painful medical condition that you’ll have to deal with should you overload those tendons in your arm.
It’s actually a common problem in tennis because we normally twist our wrists and arms a lot while playing.
Players are encouraged to use heavier rackets as their arms are likely to absorb lots of those vibrations. A lighter racket will make you think everything’s fine, but things will gradually change as you start feeling exhausted.
If you already have tennis elbow but you’re not ready to let go of your favorite racket, just add lead tape. It might not outperform a heavier racket but at least it’s something.
Between the racket’s head size and grip size, which one do you find to be more important? Could it be the head size?
Honestly, the grip size is also an important factor, but we understand players to find some factors much more important when choosing the best intermediate tennis racket. Besides, you can always use an overgrip to adjust your grip size if it doesn’t fit.
The head size of your racket will play a significant role in determining how well you play since the frame and strings are both responsible for the quantity of power generated.
A larger head size equates to a larger sweet spot. The sweet spot is the hitting area. And if that area is larger enough, your performance on the court will be impressive.
Hitting the ball the right way won’t feel like a hassle, and we all know tennis is all about hitting and controlling the ball.
Take a quick look at the tennis head size chart, and you’ll realize that most of the rackets fall between 85-135sq. in. In that range, you’ll find three categories: mid-size, mid-plus, and oversized.
Any racket that has a head size way above 105 is obviously an oversized racket. The ones that fall between 95-105 are mid-plus and the rest considered mid-size.
All these rackets are special in the sense that they all provide different power and control. A beginner will typically opt for an oversize because of the power it generates.
Nonetheless, they’ll have to learn control on their own seeing as that racket doesn’t have an impressive track record in the control department.
A mid-plus will be the perfect blend of control and power while a mid-size racket will often guarantee control.
If all this sounds like too much information to consume at the moment, just look for a racket that offers a fair balance of power and control.
Here’s a chart to help you get started:
To be categorically clear, tennis is not a one-size-fits-all kind of a sport. There’s no need of getting yourself injured out of ignorance. Educate yourself. Talk to whoever you have access to or research the internet. There’s a lot of good information out there.
These are the signs you’re playing with a small grip:
- It’s difficult to control the racket as it keeps rotating.
- Your doctor just told you you’ve developed tennis elbow.
- You have to hold the grip tightly, hence straining your forearm.
And if the grip is too big, this is what you’ll experience:
- You’ll end up developing tendinitis.
- Your wrist is always fatigued after playing.
- The racket is constantly slipping out of your hand.
- You feel like you’re straining while playing.
The circumference of your tennis racket is what we’re referring to as the grip size, and the measurement starts a couple of inches above the butt cap.
The grip size chart indicates that they’re normally measured in 1/8 inches increment, which seems small but if you’ve played tennis before, you know how big a difference that is.
Finding the right grip size
Okay hold the racket as if you’re trying to shake hands with it. Use your dominant hand. In between the base of your thumb and the ring finger, you should be able to see some space. Try fitting the other hand’s index finger into that space.
If it slides in without you forcing it, you’re good to go. If you have to force it in, that grip is too small. If the space is bigger than your index finger, the grip is too big.
Alternatively, you could use a ruler. It’s also an effective method used when choosing the best tennis racquet for intermediate players.
Just because the frame looks light doesn’t mean that the rack provides comfort around the court. In addition to the racket’s weight, you also have to think about how evenly that mass is distributed. And that right there, is the balance factor.
An evenly balanced racket is one which balances at the midpoint. The point of balance won’t be at the head or handle. It’ll be at the center of the racket.
If it sways to the handle, it’s a lighter racket. If it sways to the head, that’s enough to tell you all the weight is concentrated on that end of the racket.
Generally, baseline intermediate players prefer playing with head-heavy rackets. But if you like playing around the net, a head-light racket will favor your style of play.
By now you’ve obviously heard people talk about unstrung and pre-strung tennis rackets. You may or may not know the difference but we’re going to differentiate the two anyway.
An unstrung tennis racket is a racket that has been shipped to the store without strings. You’ll only find the frame but no strings. A pre-strung already has the strings strung. It’s as simple as that.
Now the reason behind this is, some players, especially professional players, prefer stringing their own rackets. Strings do contribute to power and spin. So if the player likes the frame but doesn’t like the strings, he/she might decide to go with a different string quality and pattern.
To save the player the trouble of going through all that process, manufacturers are now shipping some racket models unstrung.
But as an intermediate player, it’s okay to get yourself a pre-strung racket because you’re still in the process of learning. You can start working with unstrung rackets at an advanced stage.
We just want to go on record as having said that a costly racket is not necessarily a good racket. However, we also can’t dispute the fact that a lot of these cheap rackets are low-quality rackets designed mostly for recreational use or kids, and not meant for adults.
And that’s why it’s always good to work with brands that produce cheap but high quality rackets that have vibration dampeners, are well strung, flexible, etc. Don’t go for a generic racket. Remember, cheap can also be expensive.
To Summarize the Above…
At this level of play, we know you understand most of the rules and basic techniques of the game. You’re kind of still new but we bet you can serve or hold a rally of six comfortably. If you want to get to the big leagues faster, these are the best tennis rackets for intermediate players.
Pick one of them, keep learning, and in a couple of years, the world will be screaming your name.