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Tennis

How many rackets do professional tennis players use in a single match?

All the reasons why tennis players use multiple rackets, and how many professional tennis players use in one match.

Update:
All the reasons why tennis players can use multiple rackets in one match
THOMAS SAMSONAFP

If you’ve ever closely observed a professional tennis match, you might have taken note of tennis players toting multiple rackets in their bags. And while these rackets might appear the same at a glance, most of the time they are not.

Typically, players bring more than five or six rackets of the same make and model, each often equipped with distinct attributes. Professional players could even carry up to 10 racquets in a match.

These players might prefer varying string tensions, grips, or weight distributions in their rackets to suit different game scenarios. Sometimes, the rationale behind carrying numerous rackets is linked to tennis strings snapping after prolonged play.

How many rackets do tennis pros carry?

Tennis pros generally carry six to ten rackets as mentioned above. But there can be some exceptions like the ones below:

Roger Federer: 10 rackets

Rafael Nadal: 6 rackets

Novak Djokovic: 6 rackets

Dominic Thiem: 5 to 6 rackets

Nick Kyrgios: 3 rackets

Iga Swiatek: 6 to 8 rackets

Let’s delve into all the different reasons professional tennis players carry multiple rackets in just one match.

Different racket weight

Even when professional players use the same racket model with similar features, some players carry rackets that are a bit different in terms of weight, balance, and how they swing.

This happens on days when a player doesn’t feel very confident and wants to play it safe in their match, so he/she might go for a lighter racket to make it easier on their arms.

On the other hand, a player might opt for a racket that’s heavier in the head to get more power and speed, especially when they need a boost in a certain part of the match. So, changing racket weight and balance during a match could work as a strategic move.

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Different string tension

Even a small change, like just 1 pound of tension, can make a big difference in professional tennis. That’s why many players carry rackets with different string tensions so they can switch them out smoothly during a match.

A racket with higher tension offers more control, but it can be tough on the arms. On the other hand, a racket with lower tension is usually used to hit the ball harder, but it takes skill to keep the shots under control.

A good example of this is how Greek player Stefano Tsitsipas changes his racket during his matches. He switches between rackets and starts hitting powerful shots when he’s on the attack. When he needs to play more carefully, he’ll go for a racket that offers more control to avoid mistakes.

Sometimes, players also change to a new racket after a long set because the strings don’t feel the same due to all the hard hits. Swiss legend Roger Federer has done this a lot, especially when he was serving or returning new balls.

Amateur players usually carry at least 2 rackets, preferably 3 or 4, all strung up. This way, they don’t have to restring their rackets for a month or two.

Fresh Grip

A few players like to change their rackets’ overgrip during a set break, but most of them don’t do it in the middle of a match.

The simpler solution is just to grab a different racket that has a new overgrip. This provides better absorption of sweat and makes the grip more stable. Plus, using a racket with fresh strings and grip helps the player perform at their best.

Mental Aspect

Sometimes, simply switching to different rackets allows for better playing and more points. And it’s usually a mental thing.

A player can switch his racket after not playing well, fully knowing he or she will play better with the second for instance.

Additionally, a player can get emotional and end up breaking their rackets. So, having extra racquets is a smart move unless a player wants to be disqualified for not having enough gear.

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