Roger Federer's Racquet: What's Swiss Maestro's Choice?

Roger Federer's Racquet: What's Swiss Maestro's Choice?

by Michael Flanigan

Last updated

Out in the tennis world, professional players use custom-made rackets tuned specifically for them.

One of the most commonly replicated is that of Roger Federer – but what’s it like to play with? And more to the point, is it worth recreating? The reason Federer’s personal racket setup is emulated so often by enthusiasts browsing tennis forums, is because it’s one of the easier specs to recreate, primarily because Federer actually uses something very close to a stock Wilson RF97 ProStaff.

The reason for this is simply that Federer honed his game on the original 1984 ProStaff, which bore the same weight and balance as the RF97 (or rather, the RF97 was created to match the mass and balance of the original ProStaff).

Federer's racket mass (strung weight including the leather grip & overgrip) is approximately 364 grams, which is more or less a standard strung Prostaff with the same grips (approximately 360 grams), albeit a little heavier due to his string setup, which includes few old-fashioned amenities such as several string savers, as well as three leather powerpads under the six central mains – amenities Roger admits are things he has simply gotten used to, and serves as being little bit nostalgic for a bygone era of tennis and the players he grew up watching, such as Pete Sampras. At the end of the day, the swingweight of Roger's rackets will be somewhere around the hefty mark of 340-345 kg/cm2.

A huge factor in Federer’s setup is the strings: A hybrid of natural gut in the mains (the vertical strings lengthways with the frame), Luxilon ALU Power Rough in the crosses (perpendicular to the racket’s length), strung around the 58lb mark at its tightest (in the RF97 anyway). This is a very plush setup that offers an all-around, premium feel (i.e. it is not cheap!). Interestingly, fellow tennis legend Novak Djokovic uses the same strings.

If there's one term to take away from Rogers personal setup, it is "old fashioned." The RF97 is based heavily on a stock racket from the 1980s, and the string savers & power pads are other add-ons that died out more than 20 years ago. Granted, the RF97 is much more powerful than its predecessors, but the high weight and low balance is... Dated to say the least.

Carlos Alcaraz's personal choice of racket is an interesting comparison to make, as he also uses a stock racket, albeit a far more modern frame that weighs around 320 grams strung. It goes to show how much of a leap forward modern rackets are, such that they remain very stable despite similar materials and much lighter weights than 20 years ago.

Federer's racket is a great experience to hit with, particularly if you hit the ball aggressively. It's such a solid, smooth-feeling racket. Unsurprisingly, everything about it feels premium. However, Roger himself is getting a different experience compared to us mere mortals. He hits the ball with such an incredibly high level of "attack,” nailing perfect technique and timing that's better than most pros, let alone us amateur players.

Recreating these pro rackets shouldn’t be about finding something directly that works for our own game, instead it serves as a way to gain a bit more insight into how Federer's game works. It can be beneficial to take away a specific aspect that works really well, but it's best to find a racket that works for your own game, rather than fixating on copying someone else's.


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