Thanks to a flurry of tech refinements, the new crop of tennis racquets have an edge. To pick the best ones, we recruited tennis consultant Rick Leach, who is a former number-one-ranked doubles player, winner of nine Grand Slams, and a current champ on the 40-plus ITF Senior circuit. He coaches in Newport Beach, California, and instructs current pros Leander Paes and Scott Lipsky. Advising on new racquets is part of his job: "It's a disadvantage for any player if they're not up on the new tech. You can't avoid the fact that our game changes because of it." Launch Gallery >>
Yonex E Zone Xi 98
THE TECH Though its head is on the smaller side – 98 square inches – this racquet's shape, Yonex claims, gives it a bigger sweet spot for fewer mis-hits. A grid in between the handle and shaft is said to kill shock.
ON THE COURT Leach was surprised by the racquet's flexibility. "It almost plays like a wooden racquet and feels fantastic on slices. But I wouldn't recommend it to high-level players. There's just too much give."
BEST FOR Players prone to arm problems. [$250; yonexusa.com]
Credit: Michael Pirrocco