Definitely demo several racquets when you narrow it down to some you think you may be interested in. There's no substitute for playing with a racquet to decide if it works for your game. I'm no expert at it, but the things I look for are swing weight (the 'feel' of the racquet going through the air) and overall STRUNG racquet weight. I had the same shoulder surgery Sharapova had and one of the hardest things I did afterward was find the right racquet for me. I had played with Head racquets for years but when I went to start playing again, the racquet felt heavy and sluggish through the air, and I had considerable pain while playing. I tried one of the Prince speedport whites and it was like magic. I couldn't believe how maneuverable it was through the air. Now I couldn't imagine playing with anything else. I bought a second frame just to have in case they stop making them.
Bear in mind, lighter racquets don't generate as much power. Smaller heads are better for control but larger ones are better for power. Open string patterns will generate more power and less control. Some racquets are stiffer than others--this gives a different "feel" when hitting groundies/serves/volleys. The bottom line is that you need to find the racquet that best works for your playing style and swing style. You might want to go to a pro shop and work with someone there in trying to narrow down your choices.
OK I'm starting to narrow it down now. I definetly think I would prefer the smaller head, because with my Prince racket now, although I sometimes get some nice shots my error count is just too high, and it doesn't compliment my serve (I am not a big server, and sometimes serve double faults I think more often than I should) so I would definetly prefer the racquet with more control. I wonder if trying to explain my style would help you and others recommend because I'm sure you have lots of experience.
I think the best way is to say it how my brother has described me playing. He says my backhand is like Venus (I do often prepare in a similar way she does) and my forehand is like Sharapova
although I do sometimes loop it around like she does (sometimes I can't halp it
) I would definetly now describe my forehand as pretty similar to the motion of Zheng Jie.
One player I often face adores my backhand, I would like to but can't hit it straight up the line all the time, so I normally go for a crosscourt which has become a favourite shot which apparently creates "lovely angles"
and I'm pretty sure the motion is a more fluid, longer swing than the Venus one I use in quicker rallies
I hope you aren't too confused..also definetly I sometimes go for the forehand like Zvonareva like a smooth, full rotation with the arm.
Part of my asking about the racquets is because I am happy with the aspects of my game, I just need a decent one to help me serve consistently and more importantly, rally consistently and not creating errors (I know this may sound stupid) which are more to do with the racquet than me.
I needed to consider this because the other day I played my first competitive match (albeit in the handicap draw to see how I could do). We had to wait for ages because of rain delay and we only got on court cos my opponent was a member, and the spare court we used was acutally booked but there was nobody in sight. I was a bit concerned about being distracted by the person who booked it half way through, but my opponent who was alot bigger and about 7 years older assured me "Don't worry, if he comes I will do him in" which I found funny cos he is originally from France and it sounded odd at the time becuase it was mixed French/my local accent
Anyway we get on court (nearly 2 hours after we were supposed to) and I am not phased at all by the surroundings or anything (which I surprised myself) and I was very comfortable in the warm up (surprising myself again with some lovely shots) and I was using my really cheap Dunlop racquet with loose soft strings (I actually play better with it) and it took me a while to get used to his huge serve (although I did hit some great returns) then we started and the format was every 2 games (everytime I served as it turned out) I would have the 15 point head start as a result of the handicap. He serves 1st and I struggle with the timing, and when I did get a hit it bounced off the court or right infront of me (cos of the strings possibly). Then its my turn to serve and I get broken but don't panic or anything. I get gradually better and hit some nice shots but end up losing the 1st set 6-0. At this point I thought right I should try my Prince racquet which has better strings, see if I can get some returns in. I managed to hit some nice winners to save break points, and a good serve and was ahead in a few games but couldn't get much on the serve and ended up losing 6-0 again
so at the end, I wasn't really that disappointed because I know I didn't play badly (I wasn't expecting much for my 1st time) and only hit 2 double faults (which is low for me
I give full credit to him because he played well and is a really nice guy. I was just so disappointed for not winning 1 game despite the handicap, and felt a bit
when telling my family. I could point out that he warmed up for at least 1 hour beforehand whilst I was enjoying other matches and exploring the club which was all new to me. My grandad said I must have been nervous but I really wasn't too bad! I also didn't lose my temper at all. I think what is mainly to blame is my inconsistency, which isn't helped by the racquets I used.
I didn't pay attention at the time but realised afterwards I had subconsciously panicked during the 2nd set. At one net point I almost had him but he got it back to my forehand and I fell and grazed my knee. He asked if I was okay and I said so because I was. I didn't realise the damage till after the match (today I can't bend my knee properly, and there is blood stains etc on my bedsheets
but what really triggered the panic was I noticed during a rally, even with my newer Prince racquet, he was getting deeper shots (mine were embarrassingly short sometimes) even though I was hitting quite cleanly, and it sounded like he was getting better connection. But as I said I didn't think much about it at the time.
Having said all that I hope you haven't fallen asleep and that you all find my experience interesting and I would welcome any advice or observations. As I said to my opponent after "I actually enjoyed it y'know" because it was new and I loved being on the court competing and liked watching other experienced players of all ages playing around in the club atmosphere. I could ofcourse do with a coach (but I am comfortable with my style to be honest) for improvement, but I think for the moment I need to secure a decent racquet which will surely help me on the road to a consistent game.
Did Ana Ivanovic lose her 1st match 6-0 6-0 as a kid or something?
Thanks for reading and I hope you can relate to some of things I experienced. I didn't know I was going to mention my match at the start of the reply, sorry!