You may feel a vague pain at first and think nothing of it. But the more you play, the more it irritates you as it grows in intensity. Eventually, you resign yourself to a visit to the doctor who informs you that you have tennis elbow, the tendinitis muscular condition that impacts the outer elbow area.
So what options are available to you? And does this mean the end of your budding tennis playing career?!
What Makes a Racket Ideal for Tennis Elbow?
Fortunately, you’re in luck! Many tennis racket manufacturers have designs that focus specifically on reducing the stiffness of rackets, thus exerting less pressure on player’s arms. This is measured in a system known as an RA rating. All rackets we’ll discuss today have an RA rating below 63, classifying them as particularly flexible.
Rackets on this list will generally be rather heavy. This may sound surprising given that you’re looking to ease the amount of stress on your joints but actually, a more solid base racket structure will provide more protection for your elbow than a lighter racket. Keep this in mind when it comes time to make your decision.
Lastly, the strings. Strings are somewhat trickier as you get to decide the string tension for yourself! We usually recommend going for low string tension for that extra give and bounce when swinging through shots.
With all the rackets on our list, we’ll let you know the RDC rating. This is a rating of stiffness garnered using the Babolat Racquet Diagnostic Center to analyze a racket’s stiffness (again, anything below 63 is considered a flexible racket).
With this all in mind, let’s see if we can find the best tennis racket for tennis elbow!
1. Prince Phantom Pro 100P (RDC: 59)
With this racket, Prince has aimed to give a fresh overhaul to a classic overall design. Like many on this list, the thin whippy flexible frame sets out to provide an alternative amongst the modern thick powerhouse blueprints of more recent rackets.
On the scales, this racket weighs in at 310 grams unstrung and 326 when match ready. Add to that a swing weight of 329 and the Pro 100P provides enough mass behind its flexi-frame. Despite that, this racket still maintains the standard of manoeuvrability required in the quick paced environment of a modern tennis court.
This racket is balanced at 32cm and Prince has focused specifically on improving the stability with this new model. With the addition of an anti-torque system to make sure that players are always in control of their heavy swings, Prince has created a racket with an impressive amount of force behind its thin frame.
At 59 on the RA scale, the Phantom Pro comes with a typical amount of flexibility but separates itself from the competition by having a rather unique frame layout. The beam of the racket grows in width, going from 16mm around the throat to 20mm around the head in an attempt to offer controllable power. It’s a subtle different that demonstrates that Prince is all too happy to try new things in an attempt to draw in players willing to experiment with fresh racket designs.
The 100in² frame can slice through balls with ease, allowing for quick defensive and attacking plays. With a typical head size like this, this racket remains versatile enough to appeal to all-court players looking to make use of their speed to transition up to the net.
This is a surprisingly cheap racket. Being at the lower end of the price range, Prince obviously wanted to create a crisp, clean and affordable option for players on a budget.
In closing, this is a hybrid racket. By combining elements of many old designs of the past with Textreme carbon fibre tech of today, Prince has created a racket that successfully blurs the lines between power and control. The lower end price tag makes it an appealing option for you if you’re looking for a beefy racket to help protect your elbow joints.
2. Wilson Clash 100 (RDC: 55)
Wilson are pushing this hard as one of the best arm friendly rackets on the market currently. In fact, they claim that it’s 115% more flexible than other leading rackets in this category! But before we hand them the winner’s crown, let’s take a look at the specifics.
With an unstrung weight of 295 grams and a swing weight of 312, this frame is in the unique position to provide control behind its springiness. The racket comes packed with Freeflex and Tablesmart, two new material technologies that help absorb power without compromising the player’s touch and feel of the ball.
The Clash is head light, meaning most of the weight is based in the handle. This helps with manoeuvrability especially amongst heavier rackets. This is most beneficial when up at the net where a quick reaction volley can be handled with ease.
At 55 on the RA scale, this racket can distribute shot vibrations throughout the beam of its particularly flexible frame. This cushions the arm, resulting in far more comfort when reaching for those out-wide shots on the run.
The head size of the Clash is classified as mid-table. Coming in at a relatively average 100in², this should suit intermediate club level players looking for a fresh pain-free playing experience.
This racket isn’t cheap but you get what you pay in terms of innovative material tech.
In summary, control is not sacrificed in this rackets mission to deliver a flexible feel for players looking for less stiffness. It offers a versatility that should benefit you if you’re looking to move quickly up at the net.
3. HEAD Microgel Radical (RDC: 56)
With the Microgel line, HEAD provides rackets that focus far less on power in an attempt to offer up controllable, easy-to-use comfort. The Radical range has been around for years now but this racket utilises cushiony tech that absorbs pace quickly and off-sets vibrations around the beam of the frame.
Tipping the scales at 315 grams when strung up, the oversized Microgel offers an average swing weight of 318. This is really where HEAD begins to push this racket as a comfort-over-power option. With less swing weight, this racket requires the player to be able to create their own heavy shots from the baseline.
With the oversized frame design, the Microgel helps players attempting to find the necessary control to direct their shots in lengthy exchanges.
At 56 on the RA scale, the Microgel is all about bouncing back into shape when dealing with heavy shots. The new tech is padded around the frame. This means that there’s far more area of the racket ready to help spread out shot vibrations and lessen overall impact. According to HEAD, the Microgel tech compresses around the ball on contact, absorbing and offsetting any jarring shakes.
The enlarged 107in² head size was the weapon of choice for legendary professional, Andre Agassi. With a bigger overall sweet spot, the racket offers a higher percentage chance of pulling off that tricky well-placed shot. This is particularly beneficial for a racket like this that doesn’t focus on providing power placement.
You are getting a lot for your money with this racket! HEAD have created an accessible option for players hoping to find some comfort behind their swings.
This is a solid budget-friendly option for you if you’re looking for a racket to protect your elbows. If you have a bit of power on your swings already, you should consider this!
4. Yonex VCORE Pro 97 HD (RDC: 56)
With this racket, Yonex were keen to create something that experienced players could use to control powerful shots in defensive rallies.
Weighing in it at a hefty 320 grams unstrung and 340 when ready for play, this frame is not for the faint of hearted. Yonex have focused on a lower throat design, resulting in a thinner beam but a lengthier overall layout. Players will find the benefits of this primarily when hitting hard through the court and redirecting aggressive shots.
The handle is where the magic happens with this racket. Vibration dampening mesh is integrated throughout, helping to offset vibrations and produce an overall pleasurable hitting experience.
Due to much of the fancy tech being focused in the handle, this racket is balanced at 31.98cm. With a heavy overall design like this, the lighter head allows it to retain the manoeuvrability needed to control the player’s weighted groundstrokes.
The thinner frame of this racket means that it slots itself onto the RA scale at a very impressive 56. Much of the focus will be on the handle but the flexible frame offers a smooth angled swing weight of 326. Experienced players should have no issues generating easy controllable pace in longer rallies.
A typical 97in² head size isn’t anything out of the ordinary and shouldn’t prove particularly challenging for anyone looking to try this racket out for the first time.
This racket combines a weighty playing experience with a middle of the table price tag.
This racket tips the scales impressively in its attempt to provide a blend of comfortable defensive power. If you’re a more seasoned player looking for a racket to offset the blunt force of attacking shots, you’ll find this a good fit.
5. Yonex Ezone 98+ (RDC: 64)
Sticking with Yonex for now, this updated version of the regular 98 is a combination of the previous two models in the series. Yonex seems keen to push this as the ultimate option for players on the lookout for a bigger sweet spot on their racket.
At 302 grams unstrung, this isn’t the heaviest of rackets but the swing weight of 326 more than makes up for it. The 98+ aims to provide a perfect option for a player looking to dictate power from the baseline while also retaining the ability to impart topspin when required.
Like the VCORE, Yonex have made use of vibration dampening mesh to help sponge off any excess vibrations in the aftermath of powerful shots. The 98+ is clearly designed to appeal to all ages but is marketed far more towards those with extensive playing experience.
Another head light addition to this list, Yonex has balanced this racket at 32.5cm. This offers a far more consistently stable feeling when dealing with quick volleys up at the net. With the addition of a bigger sweet spot on the racket face, any off-centre miss-hits are easier to re-direct.
This racket isn’t as flexible as others on this list, coming in at 64 on the RA scale. This results in some stiffness but the relatively thin frame and the M40X carbon fibre graphite inlaid in the throat allows for more power behind the bendiness.
The classic Yonex isometric head shape is here and feels warmly familiar amongst the new tech. According to Yonex, the unique 98in² frame is designed specifically to help widen the sweet spot across the face of the racket by around 7% over more conventional options on the market.
To roundup, the 98+ is a fantastic final act in a trilogy of the 98 series. Yonex does a great job of providing a uniquely powerful option for long-time sufferers of tennis elbow. This racket doesn’t aim to provide a relaxed hitting experience and instead, targets players looking to dictate with their own power when on court.
If that sounds like you, this is your racket.
6. Wilson Blade 98 V7 (RDC: 63)
Alongside the Clash line of rackets, the Blade is one of Wilson’s most iconic designs. Having consistently updated it throughout the years, the VZ is a blended mix of a comfort, control and precision. All of these elements have been elements of past Blade variations but with the V7, Wilson has set out to strike a perfect balance.
This iconic green, grey and black frame weighs in at 323 grams with strings in place. Add to that a swing weight of 332 and we have a racket that offers a stable backboard on the return of serve.
Wilson say they’ve stretched the handle on the V7 to help those with double handed backhands. Previous models had much smaller grips, resulting in many players that favour the double hander needing to look elsewhere for their rackets. In stretching it out, Wilson have ensured that this racket that should suit any and all backhand preferences.
A 4pts head light racket, the V7 sets out to help players looking to really hit through on their shots. As with any head light designs, manoeuvrability up at the net is key. Tricky angled put-away volleys can be handled with pinpoint precision with the V7.
Coming in at a very respectable 64 on the RA scale, the V7 offers just about enough flexibility for players on the lookout for the best tennis racket for tennis elbow. While it has a firmer frame when compared with other rackets on this list, the V7 retains a comfortable adaptable sensation when returning serve.
Players already familiar with the Clash line of rackets will be happy to see that the usual FreeFlex tech makes a return here. Wilson says that this carbon-mapping is placed in at very specific intervals around the frame to help with both stability and flexibility while the racket is being swung. Benefits of this should be seen when swinging through shots in attacking positions on the baseline.
This is a perfect addition to the Wilson Blade family. Offering more conventional comfort in place of raw power, the V7 is a joint friendly option for players looking for the best racket for tennis elbow.
7. Head Graphene 360+ Prestige MP (RDC: 61)
This classy looking red racket comes with the history that the Prestige line has built for itself. Newly updated last year, the Midplus provides a much needed pop for a player looking to retain some of the classy simplicity of older rackets.
This is a heavy one, with a static weight of 337 grams! With a swing weight of 332, however, this racket is an easily manageable option for more advanced players looking to get a bit more easy power behind their shots.
With an RA rating of 61, this racket provides a strong structure that feels comfortingly smooth on a full swing through. A thinner, slightly wider beam than previous models gives players a more forgiving feel on those mishit rally balls.
A 7pts head light racket means that the players hold a vast majority of this weighted structure in the palm of their hands. This makes big cuts and redirecting shots on the baseline feel easier and more controllable.
Measuring in at 98in², the head of this racket does come with some HEAD experimental tech. A combination of Graphine 360 and Spiralfibers make up the inner workings of the frame. The sweet spot is larger and the result is a much cleaner, crisper feeling when struck well.
The Midplus is an attractive option for more experienced players looking for a stable power racket. Those with the ability to generate their own shot pace will find that the Midplus is particularly comforting on their arms.
While not overly complex in design, the heaviness of the Midplus won’t be welcoming for players just starting out on their tennis playing careers. For more advanced players, this racket offers a lot of nuanced control and an overall classical feel.
How to Choose a Tennis Racquet?
The weight of your racket is hugely important when considering what to go for.
While heavier rackets generally tend to lend themselves better towards helping to stop those tennis elbow aches and pains, you still need something that fits with your overall play-style.
Too light and you may be unable to generate the necessary power to hit those powerful forehands into the corner.
Too heavy and you may find yourself struggling to maneuver it properly up at the net.
You want a racket that suits you. You’re looking for something that’s going to be a comfortable long-term extension of your arm as you play.
It can often be a trial and error process to find what works for you. Don’t be scared to experiment with different weights.
It’s easy to get balance and weight mixed up but it’s important to distinguish them.
The balance is how the weight is distributed throughout the design of the racket. All of the rackets we’ve mentioned above are known as head light, meaning that the most of the weight is based in the handle.
Head light rackets are often recommended for players struggling with tennis elbow. Being able to move the entire racket easily with the weight situated primarily in your hand is a much more forgiving experience than a head heavy racket.
Keep this in mind when it comes time to select your racket!
|Sizes in Millimeters
4 ¼ Inches
4 3/8 Inches
4 ½ Inches
4 5/8 Inches
4 ¾ Inches
Regularly using a racket with a grip that’s too small for your hand is one of the leading causes of tennis elbow and actually cause more serious injuries if you persist with it. Hand cramps and long-term tendinitis are no laughing matters!
That’s why it’s so important to find something that fits snuggly in the palm of your hand no matter how much you’re sweating.
Most rackets have a selection of grip sizes available but don’t worry if you’ve purchased a racket doesn’t sit right immediately. Try a few over-grips to pad out the handle to your own personal requirements.
However, if you’d much prefer to get it right from the very beginning, don’t worry. There are a handful (pun intended!) of ways that you can check your own grip size before ordering.
Option 1 – Hold the racket loosely in your dominant hand using a typical chopper style grip.
Take your other hand and see if you can fit your index finger in the gap between the palm and ring finger of the hand holding the racket.
If you can’t, the handle is too small. You can choose to either test another racket or possibly commit to multiple over grips.
If you easily can to the extent that there’s a fair bit of excess room, the handle is too big and another racket is your only choice.
Option 2 – Lay your hand flat on a table and get a ruler or tape measurer.
Measure the distance between the tip of your ring finger to the crease that curves downwards across your palm.
That measurement should help you get the inches necessary to select your racket if you’re ordering online. If it doesn’t work exactly, you may need to compromise slightly and round up or down to the nearest 1/8 inches option.
We’ve covered this a lot in the individual reviews of each racket.
Stiffness is how much the racket bends and flexes under the weight of an incoming shot. The more the bend, the better it usually is for your elbow joint.
Make sure to check the RA rating for your racket to see much forgiveness the frame is going to give you as you swing through the ball in those lengthy baseline exchanges. Anything below a 63 is usually classified as a particularly flexible racket.
All of the rackets we’ve covered up above have been either midsized or oversized.
This is generally seen as favourable when it comes to selecting a racket that will cushion the weight of incoming shots.
A lower head size may well over more precision shot making but at the cost of the comfortable durability required to ease elbow pains.
You’ll need to find a racket that strikes the right balance for you personally.
A lower price point doesn’t necessarily mean a low quality racket.
A few of the models up above could definitely be viewed at budget options but that doesn’t make them bad rackets!
If you’re looking to commit to a higher cost, make absolutely certain that the racket you’re going for is the one for you. A racket is an investment. You don’t want to be left standing a few weeks from now hundreds of pounds out of pocket and with a racket that doesn’t fit your game!
All the rackets mentioned above have been designed with the aim of providing a comfortable and controllable hitting experience. Some offer slightly more power behind their frames. Some focus entirely on protecting the player and offering a pain-free hitting experience.
Take your time and don’t rush into selecting a racket because you’re keen to get back out on the court.
Your elbows may not thank you for that if you make the wrong decision…