World-famous tennis racquet manufacturers Wilson recently upgraded their most prominent racquet series - the Pro Staff RF97 v13. As the initials suggest, this is the racquet used by none other than Roger Federer himself. However, the upgrade is largely cosmetic in nature.
While the general public will be able to purchase and use the RF97 v13, Roger Federer will continue playing with his custom-made RF97 Autograph.
The new design has been envisioned and curated by Roger Federer himself. During a recent conversation with Tennis Warehouse, the Swiss elaborated on his designing choices and also spoke about his reasons for sticking with Wilson all these years.
Roger Federer decides to go back to the classic Wilson design
Roger Federer is generally perceived as a traditionalist who prefers sticking to old-school values. In fact, the legendary Swiss is often seen arriving at Wimbledon Centre Court dressed in formal attire. As such, it is no surprise that Federer has added a touch of tradition to his weapon of choice as well.
During the interview, Roger Federer revealed that racquets sporting ‘pop colors’ and ‘neons’ prompted him to go back to the basics. For Wilson that means color palettes of red, yellow or black, and Federer went with black.
“The yellow, the red and the black have been the classic and iconic (colors),” Federer said. “In the last decade or so I look at tennis and I look at all the pop colors and neons and all the crazy stuff that has come. And I thought how about we really go back to the basics.”
“And it had to be a full-on black racquet, you know, with nothing to it,” he added.
Here is the full video of the interaction:
Roger Federer talks about his journey with Wilson and explains why it has been successful for him
Tennis is a constantly evolving sport, and so it makes sense for technology to change with time as well. Roger Federer’s choice of racquets too has witnessed similar changes over the past couple of decades.
Federer began with an 85-inch head size on his racquets, and has gradually moved on to the 97-inch version. But his preference for the Wilson Pro-Staff series has remained constant, even amid all the other changes.
“It is a journey that I have really enjoyed,” Federer continued. “Starting from Pete Sampras and Stefan Edberg racquet - the 85. The iconic one that everyone knows about. Fast court tennis if you like. I started with that one too when I was 14 years old and I am still playing with the pro staff today.”
Federer continued to explain the reasons for changing the head size over the years. He attributed it to the slowing down of surfaces, improved defensive abilities of players and increased length of rallies.
“I have had some changes as you probably know,” Federer added. “The 85 to the 90 and then 97. I think that shows perfectly how tennis has evolved. How maybe surfaces have slowed down, how players defend better, rallies get longer.”
It was also important for Swiss maestro to find the right balance between power and precision. And the RF97 Autograph gives him just that.
"As I moved to the RF97 Autograph I think then I also went for more of a power racquet but yet didn't compromise on the quality of shots and feel for the balls," Federer concluded.