New racquet for Federer?
In the picture, you can see that Roger is playing with a blacked out Wilson frame, perhaps a new racquet for Federer? Roger Federer posted this practice picture on his FaceBook page, I’m not sure if it was intentional to show the blacked out tennis racquet, but it could be one of the greatest marketing ideas in the history of tennis.
In tennis, when a player is either switching or testing a new line of tennis racquet, or even a bigger frame, it’s usually painted black. The black paint job is essentially to cover up anything from leaking to the public about what the new frames will look like.
Would a bigger tennis frame help Roger?
If you’ve watched any of his matches in the last few years, you’ve noticed he tends to shank (mishit) a lot of balls, partially due to Federer’s tennis racquet. Roger Federer has always played with a small headed Wilson box-beamed tennis racquet, most recently, the BLX ProStaff SixOne 90.
Would a bigger head size help Federer get more balls in play this late in his career? If he were to switch to a racquet that was 95 square inches, it certainly would help reduce the errors he’s accumulated over the last several tournaments he’s played, especially on the backhand side. Federer seems to hit the outside of the stringbed and near the frame more often these days. Increasing the amount of string area would definitely help him out quite a bit.
Wilson does make a BLX ProStaff SixOne with a 95 square inch head; Grigor Dimitriov (“Baby Fed”) plays with it already. It looks the same and has the same technologies as the 90, so the transition would be minimal.
If Roger Federer were in fact testing bigger head sized frames, he would have a bigger sweetspot and would likely have a bit more power and depth. In order to combat this, he would probably have to increase his string tension to add control to the setup (current string tension is roughly 48lbs on the mains and 46lbs on the crosses), probably around 52lbs on the mains and 49lbs or 50lbs on his crosses.
Brad Gilbert seems to think that making the switch would help him, as he said after the shock loss in Federer’s second round exit at Wimbledon:
Is Roger Federer actually switching tennis racquets?
It’s really unlikely that Roger Federer is going to make a racquet switch right now, he’s been playing with the same (or close to it) frame for the entirety of his professional career. Switching right now is like throwing a hail-mary, it won’t end well.
Then there’s the possibility that a new racquet for Federer could help the guy compete at a different level for the remainder of his career. But ultimately, that is up to Roger.
We’ll see what new racquet for Federer will be made come January 2014, that’s usually when the release of new frames from Wilson come around; every two years.