Customized Tennis Racquets
If you take tennis seriously, you may wish to modify your racquet to enhance your performance.
Nowadays, almost all professional players on tour use customized racquets. By adjusting the weight, balance, and other features of their racquet, they can adapt it to match their playing style. In addition, many players love modifying the aesthetics of their racquet to convey their individuality, even when severe dress restrictions are enforced.
Even if you only play tennis sometimes, you can enhance your game by modifying your racquet. For example, you can easily customize any of the top tennis racquets with lead tape and cotton balls.
Who Should Customize Their Racquet?
If you are a beginner, racquet customization might be too difficult to tell the difference in performance. Before considering personalization, we recommend acquiring good technique and a feel for the game. Here are some inexpensive racquet options for your consideration.
If you are an intermediate to advanced player, you may find that you can improve your game by making a few small changes to your racquet. If you are thinking about customizing your racquet, you probably have a good idea of what you would like to change.
Why Customize Your Tennis Racquet?
There are two possible motives for desiring a customized tennis racquet:
As we already talked about, customized tennis racquets let you change the specs of the racquet to make you a better player. Some common changes players make are:
- Changing the overall racquet weight
- Moving their racquet’s balance point
- Adjusting the swing weight
- Increasing their racquet’s stability
Players might prefer different racquets because they feel better about them. However, these changes can directly impact their control, power, or ability to execute various shots.
After determining their optimal specifications, players will match or alter the weight and balance of their racquets to identical values. If you must exchange racquets during a match, you do not want to notice a change in balance or weight.
Even if two racquets are the same make and model, they may not be exactly the same. This is because there can be small differences in the specs of each racquet. As your level of play improves, even a small difference in weight can make the difference between making or missing a shot during a big match.
Professional players often customize their racquets to have the best chance of playing well. This means they choose different strings and adjust how the racquet is put together to make it more consistent. Some of the world’s best tennis players, such as Roger Federer, spend tens of thousands of dollars annually to have their racquets strung and customized to their specifications.
You might want to customize your racquet to show your personality. Some tennis clubs have rules that say everyone has to wear white clothes. But if you change the look of your racquet, then you can show your personality without breaking the rules.
Customizing for Performance
Some of the most common changes people make to their racquets are changing the weight, balance, and swing weight. Let’s look at how each of these things can affect your game.
All racquets of the same model can have different weights. If you want all your racquets to be the same, you can add weight to your lightest racquet to match the weight of your heaviest one.
Adding weight to your racquet can add power or stability to your swing. This can help you hit the ball better and reduce vibration. However, a heavier racquet will cause you to tire quickly and make it more difficult to maneuver. Generally, heavier racquets are preferable for experienced players with the necessary strength and technique.
When adjusting the weight of your racquet, attention must be used. You don’t want to change the balance of the racquet unintentionally. Any changes that you make should be deliberate. Remember, adding weight to your racquet will change the balance unless you add additional weight to counterbalance it.
Check out our guide to learn more about how racquet weight and balance affect your performance.
Racquet Balance Point
The balance point is the racquet’s center of mass. This is the point on the racquet where it would balance if you rested it on your finger. Many players prefer to have the balance point closer to the handle so that the racquet head is light and more maneuverable.
Racquets with a balance point higher on the head are usually lighter overall. If you want to change the weight of your racquet, you need to apply it evenly across it unless you want to change where the center of mass is.
Using lead tape, many players add weight to their racquets’ 10 and 2 o’clock positions. This helps keep the racquet from twisting when you hit the ball and raise the sweet spot so you’ll get a cleaner shot.
Adding weight to your racquet’s 3 and 9 o’clock locations can make it more stable and increase the size of the sweet spot.
Swingweight is the inertia that the racquet has. This means that if it is heavy near the head, it will have more momentum, and you will be able to hit the ball harder. However, it will be harder to move the racquet around.
You can change the swing weight of your racquet by changing the balance point and weight. By putting lead tape to the inner rim of your racquet, you are adding weight to the head and increasing the swing weight. Adding lead tape under your grasp has the opposite effect.
Customizing for Aesthetics
If you want to change your racquet’s feelings without altering its performance, you can customize its paint job or grip.
Custom Manufacturer Paint
Some racquet manufacturers, such as Wilson and Head, permit you to select the color of your new racquet.
You can choose the color of your Wilson Custom Racquet’s frame, top of the hoop, and decals from 23 different colors. Some of the world’s best tennis players, such as Roger Federer, spend tens of thousands of dollars annually to have their racquets strung and customized to their specifications.
Custom Paint On Your Own
Although we don’t recommend it, you can also spray paint your racquet. Nevertheless, there are several reasons why you should not do so:
- It is a laborious procedure.
- If you paint different racquets, you unintentionally alter their specifications, resulting in variable performance.
- If the racquet has a warranty, you will void it.
You can still personalize your tennis racquet by considering these factors. It can also be a fun art project to customize your tennis racquet for decoration.
Here are some high-level steps to get you started:
- Remove grommets, strings, and any labels, and hold the item.
- Using a paint remover, remove the racquet’s paint from the surface.
- The frame should be sanded to remove leftover paint and optimize primer application.
- Thoroughly clean and dry the frame after wiping it down.
- Apply two to three coats of primer.
- Use tape to mask off the desired painting area.
- Apply several layers of paint and allow to dry.
- If desired, add a protective sealant.
Changing Your Grip
The grip is another aspect of your racquet that can be customized. You can use a replacement grip to alter the balance of your racquet (more on this later) or select a different color.
Remember that changing your grip may change the balance of your racquet, so it’s a good idea to weigh it before and after you make the change.
How to Customize Your Own Tennis Racquet
Many companies can customize your racquet for you. But suppose you want to try it yourself. In that case, it’s easy to cheaply experiment with modifying your racquet at home using a few simple tools.
If you choose to replace your racquet, you will need a small scale measuring weights to the nearest tenth of a gram. You can accomplish this with a postal scale or food scale.
You will also need a balance board to monitor the changes in the balance of your racquet before and after modifications.
Some other things you may want to have handy include:
- Double-sided taping to reapply the adhesive backing to the grip
- Cotton balls
- Lead or tungsten tape
- Tungsten putty
A Note on Lead & Tungsten Tape
Lead or tungsten tape lets you add small amounts of weight to your racquet to be more balanced. Tape is available in either ½-inch or ¼-inch widths. Usually, 4 inches of ¼-inch width tape equals about a gram, but check the details of the tape you are using.
These days, many players use tungsten tape to change the specs on their racquets.
Customize Your Racquet’s Weight
If you want to customize the weight of your racquet without changing the balance, you will have to add weight on both sides of the racquet’s center.
You can add weight to the head of your racquet by adding lead tape to the inner edge of your racquet’s frame. You can also add lead tape under your grip to shift the balance away from the head of your racquet.
Additionally, the lead tape might be added at the bottom of the frame towards the throat. This will add weight to the racquet without significantly changing its balance point.
Making Your Racquet More Head-Light
If you want to adjust your racquet to be more head-light, you can add weight to the handle of your racquet. Most racquets have a removable butt cap on the end. Once you pop the cap off, you will see a space at the end of the handle where you can add cotton balls. You can add tungsten putty to the cotton before resealing the cap.
Not all racquets will let you access the inside of the handle. If that’s the case, one option is to buy a smaller grip and make it bigger using a heat shrink sleeve. These sleeves come in full or half sizes and add weight to the handle while keeping your grip size the same.
Suppose you have already purchased a tennis racquet or cannot afford to buy new ones. In that case, another way to add weight to the handle of your racquet is by replacing your synthetic grip with a leather one. Since leather is heavier, this can add some additional weight. Obviously, the amount varies depending on the type of leather.
Making Your Racquet More Head-Heavy
If you want to add more weight to your racquet’s head, you can add lead tape to the inner edge of your racquet head.
Remember that adding weight to your racquet is easier than taking it away. If you want to change the balance, ensure you account for the additional weight you will add when buying a racquet.
Where Can I Get My Racquet Customized?
Tennis brands are starting to offer more options for custom tennis racquets. The two most popular brands that offer this service are Wilson and Head. Here is a summary of the customization options available when ordering a personalized tennis racquet from respective websites.
You can choose a popular model of Wilson racquet on their website, like Federer’s Pro Staff RF97 Autograph. You can then change the color of the frame, finish, grip size, and add a custom inscription. As of today, they’re only focused on making your racquet look good, but if you want to change the specs of your racquet, you’ll have to do it yourself or find someone to help you.
Babolat & Yonex
If you want a custom Babolat or Yonex racquet, you can buy them from a third-party seller. They can change your balance and weight for you. You may be able to find a local somebody to assist you with this.
Master Racquet Technicians
It is best to find a Master Racquet Technician who is certified and trained to customize the specs of your tennis racquet. They can work with any model and make virtually any customization to meet your needs.
No matter who you are, you can likely appreciate the benefits of a custom tennis racquet. You allow yourself to play your best when you personalize your racquet to match your skill level and style. It can also be a fun process tinkering with your racquet.
You may have to try different specs until you find the ones that work best for you, but that is typical. As your game evolves, you may need to make more changes.
If you are a beginner, you will improve more by learning how to play well than by changing the specifications on your racquet.
There are plenty of good racquets to choose from that don’t require customization. If you’re looking for something you can start playing with right away, check out our articles on the best racquets for beginners.
Both Wilson and Head have custom racquet shops on their websites. You can change your racquet’s weight, balance, or swing weight before buying it. If you make additional modifications, you might experiment with adding lead tape to various components of your racquet.
Read more: Tennis and Fashion: It’s a Love Match
Frequently Asked Questions About Customized Tennis Racquets
If you want to increase the stability of your racket, you can add lead or tungsten tape. You can also change the stringing properties or the racket’s weight to make it more powerful. You can also change the balance of your racket. Swings at this level are the most controlled and the fastest.
The majority of racquets used by the pros are not much different than the ones used by us. The sole distinction is that most of the professional’s racquets have been modified to match their specialized requirements.
To get a good custom paint job on your racket, start by spraying it with your color of choice. If you are using two or more colors, make sure to put masking tape on the parts of the racket you want to protect. Repeat the spraying process you used when applying the primer.
Adding lead tape to your tennis racket is a great way to customize it to fit your individual needs. You can add weight, swing weight, and adjust the balance, stiffness, and stability of your racket by placing lead tape in different positions on your racket.
The higher swing weight on pro racquets helps them to hit the ball harder. The swing weight is the mass on the racquet. They can hit the ball so hard without swinging their racquet too fast.
Even though many top tennis players use vibration dampeners, Roger Federer and Serena Williams. Two of the most successful male and female players on tour do not use them in their tennis racquets.