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Best Tennis Racquets by NTRP Rating

The NTRP is a great way to gauge a players skill level and is a tool used extensively by professional coaches to help their students progress efficiently and effectively. If you have received your NTRP rating and are now looking for what is the best tennis racquet for you, we have created this tool to help.

Simply select your NTRP rating from the options below and you will be taken to a detailed breakdown of the (in our opinion and found through our in depth research) best racquet for you. We have also included the equivalent ITN rating for international players and your convenience.

I am/buying for someone with an NTRP rating of:

1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
3.0
3.5
4.0
4.5
5.0
5.5
6.0+

Best tennis racquet for 1.0 players

The best tennis racquet for 1.0 players (10.1 – 10.3 ITN) is one which will allow them to perfect their foundational strokes and match strategy. A racquet like the one below will offer an over-sized head which is more forgiving when it comes to off-centre shots. As a beginner, precision and accuracy will understandably need to be developed as will power, the heavier options will help carry the strength and precision achieved through the stroke all the way to the follow through.

*Details last updated on 2020-11-27

As a 1.0 player, you or the person you are buying for is just starting to play tennis. They will need equipment which allows them to perfect their foundational strokes and strategies. They have a lot to learn including proper form for the forehand, backhand, volley, smash and serve to list just a few.

For 1.0 youth players

Any beginner, whether adult or junior, will want to keep the above in mind when shopping for the best racquet for them. You have to take into account that arm fatigue could be more of an issue for younger players and you don’t want to limit their practise time with a racquet which is too heavy. That is why you might consider getting a racquet specifically for junior players like the one below.

*Details last updated on 2020-11-27

With the right racquet (and training of course), a 1.0 player can quickly advance up the rankings and be ready to compete in beginners tournaments where the healthy competition will no doubt spur on further progression.

Best tennis racquet for 1.5 players

A 1.5 player (10 ITN) has limited playing experience and will likely be trying to keep their rallies going. A racquet which helps increase precision, accuracy and promotes good form will be key to advancing to the next level in the rankings. A racquet like the HEAD Ti. one below will be on the heavier side which can help add consistency to your key strokes.

*Details last updated on 2020-11-27

You should keep in mind however that heavier racquets can lead to muscle and arm fatigue which could limit your practise. You should take into account your strength and experience in other racquet sports before selecting any one racquet. If you know your arm muscles need to grow stronger initially, go for a lighter weight racquet.

For 1.5 junior players

As a 1.5 player, maybe you have had a go hitting the ball around briefly before or even had an introductory lesson. You will likely struggle to keep an extended rally going and your shots may lack power and consistency. For these reasons, you will want a racquet which has some weight to it. Make sure not to go too heavy for a junior player though as they will still need to develop their grip and arm strength through regular tennis practise.

*Details last updated on 2020-11-27

The early days of play are some of the most fun but can also be the most tedious when it comes to practising groundstrokes and serving. Players better be ready to experience consistent mishits and out of court shots but carefully selected gear can make minimise this. If the above doesn’t seem right for you, consult a licensed coach for further advise and a stronger recommendation.

Best tennis racquet for 2.0 players

At the 2.0 (9 ITN) level of play, you should be becoming more familiar with singles and doubles positions, perhaps still struggling a little placing the ball where you aim but starting to get gradually better at returning serves. For this reason, the Babolat Drive 110 is a great option. The strategic design offers more control than most other racquets and is suitable for intermediate players also.

*Details last updated on 2020-11-27

Babolat makes some of the best tennis equipment on the market and are the favoured brand of many of the top international players. You will see the Babolat logo consistently at the worlds largest tournaments. Of course this also means that their products does come at a slightly more expensive price. This racquet is a great option for those looking to play for years to come but if you are unsure you will stick with the sport, it might not be the one for you.

For 2.0 junior players

It makes sense to buy a slightly cheaper racquet for juniors looking to try their hand at tennis. There is no guarantee that they will stick with the sport and you don’t want to pressure them into it. The best players tend to be those who enjoy and even love the game so over-committing early doesn’t do anyone any favours. You will want to select a racquet which is beginner friendly at an affordable price.

*Details last updated on 2020-11-27

Get them started with the right gear and you will set them up for efficient progress and skill development. It might mean spending a bit more up front but this should mean any more money invested in coaching sessions and membership fees is put to use that much more effectively.

Best tennis racquet for 2.5 players

2.5 players (8 ITN) will be starting to develop some decent speed and power but they may be limited in their choice of shots (preferring to stick to the forehand) and strategy (avoiding close to net play). A racquet which aids the development of a broad range of strokes including backhands a volleys will be best at this stage. An adults racquet such as the Wilson Tour Slam Adult Strung one is well positioned for players of this level.

*Details last updated on 2020-11-27

A generous racquet head (like the 112 square inches offered by the above product) allows beginner and intermediate players to hit more shots which can help develop directional intent and power. You don’t want a smaller head better suited for speed and power if you struggle hitting the ball to begin with after all!

For 2.5 junior players

A 2.5 is by no means a low rating for a junior. In fact, it likely means they are well on their way to climbing the rankings and even enjoying their first competition. With the right coach and equipment, they might be looking forward to years of active play to come. For this player, a junior Wilson Burn racquet could be the best idea.

*Details last updated on 2020-11-27

The Junior Burn is a lighter weight racquet, perfect for beginners who are unlikely to be certain on the exact weight which would best compliment their playing style and strength. As with any racquet, you can quite easily add weight but it is much more difficult to remove it if you buy too heavy.

Best tennis racquet for 3.0 players

The 3.0 player (7 ITN) has greater accuracy and consistency. Whilst they might not yet have perfected their depth control and still land a fair few shots outside the court, they are very close to becoming a force to be reckoned with. At this level, the serve and return of serve likely needs a lot of work. For this reason, the Babolat Pure Drive 2015 racquet is a strong choice.

*Details last updated on 2020-11-27

Perhaps you are familiar with this racquet and the Pure Drive range because of Andy Roddick’s choice to use his Babolat Pure Drive since the 2006 Australian Open. A notoriously strong server, if it is good enough for Roddick it is good enough for any 3.0 player looking to be the next tennis champion.

For 3.0 junior players

Around the 3.0 level is where you will seriously have to start considering investing in the highest quality equipment and racquet(s). Failure to do so now could limit progress and take the focus away from developing their winning strategy. With this in mind, it could be a great idea to stick with the Pure Drive range and opt for the junior option, the Babolat Pure Aero Junior 25 Racquet.

*Details last updated on 2020-11-27

The Aero Junior features a 100 square inch. headsize, 25 inch length and 8.5 Oz weight (strung). You don’t have to look far to find glowing reviews of this racquet who have purchased it for their little boy or girl. The one size grip size makes the purchasing process that much simpler also (and of course you can always regrip the racquet if required).

Best tennis racquet for 3.5 players

A 3.5 player (6 ITN) has a lot more in their repertoire than lower ranking players. They will now be experimenting with spin and directional control and need a racquet which can help them develop these skills further. You will want a more advanced racquet like the Prince Textreme Warrior 107 which offers a fantastic balance between power and control.

*Details last updated on 2020-11-27

Many players find the racquet that they will enjoy playing with for years to come around the 3.5 ranking. This is why you should consider going for a higher end racquet. Doing so will help you continue to develop your tennis skills well into the higher rankings and allow you to master the more challenging strokes and styles of play (providing you pair your higher end equipment with the right practise and coach).

For 3.5 junior players

The 3.5 junior is likely to be a good team player and should be finding some moderate success in doubles games as well as singles. Drop shots, half volleys and the smash should all be executed confidently and competently.

*Details last updated on 2020-11-27

Junior players ranking at the 3.5 level will most likely have a healthy competitive spirit. More over, they will have discipline and self motivation having worked hard to progress to this ranking. If you are a parent shopping for your little boy or girl, invest in the best and help your kid become a champion!

Best tennis racquet for 4.0 players

Based on the USTA scale, a 4.0 player (5 ITN) will have a firm grasp on a wide range of shots including close-to-net play, lobs and serves. They will posses both power and consistency and be able to play well as part of a team in doubles games. They should invest in a racquet such as the Babolat Pure Strike 16/19 Tennis Racquet.

*Details last updated on 2020-11-27

The Babolat Strike racquet offers superb levels of control but is also designed with power in mind (as all of the Babolat equipment is). Placing the ball strategically and intentionally can become probable instead of possible when using the above option. As a more advanced player, you should make sure that the racquet is strung to your requirements and style of play.

For 4.0 junior players

A junior player who has reached the 4.0 level is progressing superbly on their tennis journey. They will have a wide range of competency and consistency when it comes to all shots and likely be performing strongly in tournament play. A light and manoeuvrable racquet such as the Wilson Blade 98 UL 16×19 will allow them to continue their progression and stroke development.

*Details last updated on 2020-11-27

This racquet is the lightest option of the Blade series and comes with a 98 square inch head size offering ample space to land a powerful hit. A fantastic option for those looking to transition from the junior level of play to adult play. Also a great option for competitive players given the strategic design. It is important to remember that the higher end racquets do come at increased cost but if looking to develop into a serious player, they are well worth the investment.

Best tennis racquet for 4.5 players

Speed, spin, depth and directional control, aggressive and well placed serves and varied styles of play are just some of the things 4.5 players (4 ITN) will be confident executing. They are getting ever closer to the ranking where NTRP ratings become less important and tournament rankings become more so. Players at this level will likely have a good idea on what they want out of a racquet so if buying for someone else, it is well worth asking their requirements. One option likely to provide them with just what they need is the Wilson Clash 100 Tennis Racquet.

*Details last updated on 2020-11-27

The foundational strokes and skills will have been almost perfected at this level leaving more room for players to focus on a varied style of play, defensive and offensive strategies and dealing with tough, high pressure shots in the best way possible. The racquets used at these levels need to allow for great ball control and be able to handle higher levels of power. Once you receive your racquet you will want to have it strung to your requirements so it can best serve your particular style of play.

For 4.5 junior players

Given the varied and more complex strategies used by advanced 4.5 players, the racquet selected needs to be just as versatile as the style of game being used. At this level, players can make do with a smaller sweet spot as their levels of control and accuracy should be greater. A smaller racquet head should be less of an issue meaning greater power can often be generated.

*Details last updated on 2020-11-27

At this level of play, you have to accept that to get the best performance you will need to invest in the best gear and equipment. You will notice that Babolat has been featured a number of times here and there is a reason for that. They craft fantastic tennis tools and are loved by some of the top players around.

Best tennis racquet for 5.0 players

The 5.0 player (3 ITN) has developed strong shots across every stroke (including the backhand). They can set up offensive opportunities to play and their serves are consistently placed strongly and accurately. They will be able to use depth and spin control to secure aces and weak returns from the opposition. Drop shots, lobs and volleys will also be regularly used to win points. The best tennis racquet for 5.0 players would be a light weight, strategically designed one such as the Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Tennis Frame which comes unstrung so you can string it to your requirements.

*Details last updated on 2020-11-27

At the level there is really no reason not to have the stick custom strung. You will be hitting the ball with such force and power that any racquet that comes pre-strung will quickly break under the force of your hits.

For 5.0 junior players

If you are a youth player and you have worked your way up to the 5.0 level, well done! What an achievement and you are no doubt on your way to the professional ranks (if not nearly there already!). You should probably opt for a full size racquet as it is highly unlikely a smaller option would be suitable. The Donnay Pro One 97 Hexacore is a good option for 5.0 players and juniors.

*Details last updated on 2020-11-27

As such an advanced player, those ranked 5.0 will be regularly hitting outstanding, powerful shots. They will have a fantastic skill set and selecting the right equipment and gear at this level could really help them advance to the next level and stage in their tennis career.

Best tennis racquet for 5.5 players

5.5 players (2 ITN) will be confidently able to handle stressful situations and will correctly anticipate the hits coming their way. They will have a keen intuition and be capable of reading their opponents cues to work out where the next shot is heading. Their strategy will revolve around not only playing to their own strengths but also capitalising on the opponents weaknesses. At this level, you will likely be confident playing with any racquet as long as it is strung correctly. One we personally like for players at this level though is the HEAD Graphene Touch Prestige strung to your requirements!

*Details last updated on 2020-11-27

At this level of play it is very unlikely that you need much direction in finding the right racquet for you. Even if you do you will almost definitely have a coach who can point you in the right direction. Having said that through our chats with high level players we have found the above option recommended time and time again so it is well worth giving it a go if you are looking for a change.

For 5.5 junior players

Much like the above (racquet for 5.0 players), it is remarkable that you have reached such a high ranking as a junior. This takes discipline, hard work and self motivation and is no small achievement. You should certainly consult your coaching team with any racquet choices before purchasing. If however you are looking for inspiration, why not check out the adult size Wilson Pro Staff RF97 racquet.

*Details last updated on 2020-11-27

The right racquet at this level lets players pick and choose the right strategy based on who they are playing against. To beat those they will find themselves playing against at 5.5 level competitions, they will need the best equipment. A player of this level will likely have preferences when it comes to the brand of their gear but if you are a 5.5 ranking and have yet to try the Wilson Pro, you should definitely give it a go!

Best tennis racquet for 6.0 – 7.0 players

Players at the 6.0 – 7.0 level (1 ITN) will no longer need NTRP ratings. They should have substantial tournament play experience and will have most likely received a sectional or national ranking. Players between this level will be likely to find success on satellite circuits and even on the international stage. The 7.0 player earns their income through playing tennis at a professional level and will have world class coaches on their side. For this reason, we didn’t feel it would be relevant to offer a recommendation as the 6.0 – 7.0 player will be consulting with their training team on what is the best racquet for them.

Sources

USTA, National Tennis Rating Program, Revised 2005.

Wilson, How to Choose a Tennis Racket, Accessed on 7th October 2019.

Head, Racquet Finder, Accessed on 6th October 2019.

Tennis, Choosing a Tennis Racquet, Accessed on 7th October 2019.

Jake Dennon

Jake Dennon

I am an avid sports enthusiast who has been fortunate enough to train with some of the best athletes and coaches in the world.

As a child, I had a keen interest in football (soccer) and regularly played with my friends and for my school. We had an ex England ace coaching us at one point and he really motivated me to make sports a big part of my life.

Moving into my teenage years I tried everything from basketball to weight lifting and everything in between. I was lucky enough to train weekly at a local tennis club who's head coach was a at one point the 9th best player in India and within the top 100 ranked players in the world.

The combat sport coaches I have been trained by have also trained some of the top fighters in the industry. All of these brilliant trainers (and all the ones in between) have shown me just how rewarding keeping fit and healthy can be.

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