Tennis rackets have been made with different materials through the years since they started being manufactured. They started out with wooden frames, then metal alloys were used, and eventually carbon-fibre composites. Typically modern rackets are lighter than those of years past and have a bigger head size. These days it is common for beginner and recreational tennis players to use lighter rackets with a bigger head size compared to advanced or professional players who tend to use relatively heavier rackets with a smaller head size. A bigger head size gives more power but less control compared to a smaller head size. So for players who hit through the ball and can generate their own power and want more control a smaller head size is better.
According to ITF rules, the racket can have a maximum overall length of 29.0 inches(73.7 cm) and overall width of 12.5 inches(31.7 cm). The hitting surface can be 15.5 inches(39.4 cm) in overall length and 11.5 inches(29.2 cm) in overall width at most.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a tennis racket:
- Head Size - A bigger head size will reduce the load on the arm and hand and you will get more power however you will get less control. It might be a good idea for beginners to use a bigger head size since they have a bigger sweet spot and balls hit away from the center of the racket still tend to go in the direction that they were intended for.
- Weight - Lighter rackets are generally easier to swing however a heavier racket will provide more stability and reduce the amount of shock transmitted to the arm and hand so you should go with as heavy a racket as you will be comfortable with.
- Balance - A head light racket will be easier to maneuver than a head heavy racket although you may get more ball speed off the racket in case of head heavy rackets.
- Length - A longer tennis racket can provide more reach but ideally the racket should be proportional to the player's height. In general, shorter players should use a shorter racket.
- Stiffness - It would be a good idea to get a racket with a stiff racket head for more power and a flexible shaft to absorb some of the shock and spread it over a longer period.
- Grip Size - You should use the largest grip size that you are comfortable with as this will control racket torque the best.