Federer's partnership with American sporting goods giant Wilson began in 1998 - the very same year that the Swiss turned professional. Over the years, the major noticeable difference seen in Roger Federer's racquet has been the gradual upgrade to a larger head size.
Roger Federer's first racquet as a professional
Roger Federer's first racquet was the now defunct Wilson Pro Staff 85 6.0 Mid-Production. This racquet had a very small head size of 85 sq. inches.
Incidentally, the racquet was also the weapon of choice for American legend Pete Sampras. The racquet was used both by Sampras and a pony-tailed Roger Federer in their epic 2001 Wimbledon 4th round encounter - a match where Federer beat his idol to usher in a generational change in men's tennis.
The Pro Staff 85 6.0 Mid-Production was a part of Federer's arsenal for four years.
Roger Federer's subsequent racquets
It was during the second half of the 2002 season that Federer made the first big change to his racquet, switching to one with a bigger head size of 90 sq. inches. The Wilson Hyper Pro Staff 6.0 Yellow W was now the weapon of choice for the Swiss maestro.
The racquet also finds a special place in history as being the one that was wielded by Roger Federer when he won his first Grand Slam title, at Wimbledon 2003.
The next switch in the wand of the Swiss came in the middle of 2004, with the introduction of Wilson's nCode technology. Roger Federer used the Wilson nSix-One Tour 90 racquet until the end of the 2006 tennis season.
During this period Federer was the World No. 1 throughout, marking an era of nearly unchallenged domination over men's tennis.
The year 2007 saw Roger Federer upgrade to another iconic racquet - the Wilson K Factor Six One Tour 90. There wasn't just a cosmetic change but a material change too in the transition from nCode series to the KFactor series.
This was Federer's wand of choice until the end of the 2009 season. Here's a review of the popular Wilson K Factor Six One Tour 90:
In 2010, Roger Federer began using the Wilson Six One Tour BLX. He stuck with this racquet for a couple of years before switching to the upgraded version of the same series - Wilson BLX Pro Staff Six One 90.
Roger Federer's Wilson Pro Staff RF97 series
By far the biggest change that the Swiss has made with regard to his racquet selection came in 2014. Roger Federer was enduring a lean patch in Grand Slams at that time, and with his rivals using bigger and lighter racquets, the maestro took a bold step to upgrade to a 97 sq. inch head size racquet.
This led to the birth of the Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph Roger Federer signature line. The racquet, in his own words, helped the Swiss improve his one-handed backhand.
A slightly revamped edition of the racquet was used by Roger Federer during his comeback from a lengthy layoff in 2017. This edition was called Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph 2017.
In 2018, Roger Federer started using the Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph 2018 – Tuxedo Frame. The racquet was labelled "Tuxedo" by Federer himself and it featured a black matte frame with white glossy finish at 3 and 9 o'clock.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion switched to an all black paint job in 2019 and continues to use the same variant as of today.
Here's a video where Federer speaks about the new "Tuxedo" racquet label:
Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph – Tuxedo Frame: Roger Federer's latest racquet
The Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph edition was specially engineered for the great Swiss and it boasts a 97 square inch head size with a 27 inch long frame. The strung weight is 12.6 oz and the string pattern is the 16 crosses/19 mains.
Roger Federer uses a custom grip that is close to a standard 4 3/8 size. While the choice of racquet frame is important, Federer's string choice also plays a significant role in his success. He uses Wilson Natural Gut 16 in the mains of his racquet and Luxilon Alu Power Rough 16L in the crosses. Federer likes to tinker with this a bit depending on the surface.
A majority of ATP players use on-site stringers provided by the tournament, unlike Roger Federer who employs the services of a personal stringer. Ron Yu has been the personal stringer of the Swiss for 16 years now.
The legendary Roger Federer has made numerous upgrades over the course of two decades - from switching to larger head size racquets and hiring new coaches to even remodeling his own game. Faced with the prospect of a lengthy layoff due to another knee surgery, the great man would be hoping to pull another rabbit out of the hat in 2021 - just like he did in 2017.