Tennis Rackets Lead 2

Tennis has come a long way since the

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Jo Wilfried Tsonga Tennis Racket

No. 10 - Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Brand: Babolat
Model: Pure Strike 100
Head size: 100 sq in
String pattern: 16x19

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is one of many top men's singles players on Tour currently using a Babolat stick. After beginning his pro career with the AeroPro Drive—the same racket used by Rafael Nadal—the 28-year-old Frenchman switched over to the Pure Strike series. Following over a year of development aided by player insight, the Pure Strike was used by Tsonga throughout Fall 2013, including in last year's U.S. Open. The Pure Strike is the ideal racket for a player like Tsonga, who likes to control the tempo from the baseline. A slimmer frame construction and the 16x19 string pattern allow from greater power and spin, as evident by Tsonga's solid play throughout the early part of 2014. Moving forward, perhaps the Pure Strike could provide Tsonga the edge he needs to finally win a major.

Jo Wilfried Tsonga Babolat Pure Strike 100

Richard Gasquet Tennis Racket

No. 9 - Richard Gasquet

Brand: Head
Racket: YOUTEK IG Extreme Pro 2.0
Head size: 100 sq in
String pattern: 16x19

Veteran Richard Gasquet is one of those players who always flies under the radar yet somehow always manages to put up solid results. His racket of choice—the Head YOUTEK IG Extreme Pro 2.0—is kind of the same. The racket's ample 11.8-ounce weight allows players of Gasquet's caliber to hit some heavy balls, while its S-Tech Grommets expand the racket's sweet spot for improved control and just a more fluid stroke overall—no wonder how the Frenchman makes that world class one-handed backhand of his look so easy.

Richard Gasquet Head YOUTEK IG Extreme Pro 2.0

Stanislas Wawrinka Tennis Racket

No. 8 - Stanislas Wawrinka

Brand: Yonex
Model: VCORE Tour 97
Head size: 97 sq in
String pattern: 16x20

Stanislas Wawrinka is the best men's tennis player not named Roger Federer that the Swiss have to offer. Though, while his countryman plays with a Wilson, Wawrinka's weapon of choice is a Yonex—the VCORE Tour 97 to be exact. With his favorite surface being clay, Wawrinka uses the VCORE Tour 97 for its exceptional touch and spin capability. The 97-square-inch racket has a head light balance for increased swing speed, thus allowing players to put more spin on the ball. The expanded sweet spot is fairly forgiving on miss-hits, and the isometric head design provides the same exceptional stability as you'd expect from pretty much any top-tier Yonex stick.

Stanislas Wawrinka Yonex VCORE Tour 97

Tomas Berdych Tennis Racket

No. 7 - Tomas Berdych

Brand: Head
Model: YOUTEK Graphene Instinct MP
Head size: 100 sq in
String pattern: 16x19

Heavy hitter Tomas Berdych not only has some of the best sneakers in the Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5 Tour, but he also has one of the best tennis rackets—the Head YOUTEK Graphene Instinct MP—in his arsenal. It's no wonder he's been tearing up the competition so far in the early rounds of the 2014 Australian Open. Up until 2010, Berdych was known for playing with a Dunlop racket, before making the switch to the Head Youtek Instinct MP series. Today, the 28-year-old Czech plays with the Graphene version of the racket, which is stronger and more stable.

Roger Federer Tennis Racket

No. 6 - Roger Federer

Brand: Wilson
Model: Unidentified
Head size: 98 sq in
String pattern: 16x19

One of the main headlines surrounding Roger Federer's quest for his fifth career Australian Open title and 17th major overall is the switch from his beloved Wilson Pro Staff racket to a brand new Wilson frame designed exclusively for him. After tearing up the competition with the Pro Staff for much of his career, R-Fed's decision to make the move to the larger stick is an effort by the former World No. 1 ranked player to keep pace with the likes of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and And Murray. While Federer wanted for many years to switch up his racket, he was hesitant to do so as to not throw off his game. After experimenting with the new frame last summer, Federer switched back to the Pro Staff for the 2013 U.S. Open.

This year, Roger seems to have gained more confidence with the new frame, thus prompting him to stick with it down under. Where his previous racket of choice had a 90 square inch head size, the new frame features a larger 98 square inch head to get Federer in line with what the rest of the pros use. Because the racket head size is bigger, Federer is able to put more pop on the ball. His comfort level with the racket seems to have increased over the past few months, as evident by his dominance so far in the 2014 Australian Open.

When asked by Brad Gilbert in a recent post-match interview about the new frame, here’s what Federer had to say about making the switch to the larger racket:

“It’s been an interesting change for me because last time I change racket head size was back in 2002 before the French Open and I ended up winning Hamburg [Open] and I got into the Top 10 for the first time. I’d been with that racket for some time with minor chances along the way, and I’ve always kept testing new materials from Wilson and I always wanted to make sure I know what’s on the market. I think it’s important to have a wide vision to not be locked into just one string, one grip or one technology, so this is a very exciting time for me. I feel like it’s given me more power on the serve—easier power. The slice is managing ok, the second serve is solid, so now it’s just a matter of putting hours on the racket really.”

Juan Martin Del Potro 1

No. 5 - Juan Martin Del Potro

Brand: Wilson
Model: K Factor KSix-One 95
Head size: 95 sq in
String pattern: 18x20

Juan Martin Del Potro is like Roger Federer in that he's also looking to gain an edge on the court by switching to a new racket. However in Delpo's case, Wilson has yet to give the young Argentine a new stick.

“Hopefully me and Wilson, we want to change, [we are] really close and really soon, Del Potro recently told Tennis.com. "I need to change racquets because I use [the same racquet] a lot...We are working really hard to find a good racquet for me. I mean, if I change the racquet during the off-season, then I came here to play a Grand Slam and I don't feel 100 percent. Your mind start to working in the negative position. It's not easy for the players change the racquet. But I'm proud to have Wilson behind me, because I know they are working really hard.”

While the No. 5 ranked men's singles player certainly deserves to upgrade his weapon of choice, his current K Factor KSix-One 95 is no slouch either. It's similar to the frame Del Potro used during his 2009 U.S. Open title run. The 95 square inch racket is ideal for players who have plenty of power but need an advantage in the control department. It's an excellent choice for guys like Del Potro—guys who like to control the point from the baseline, but can attack the net with confidence if need be.

Juan Martin Del Potro Wilson Factor KSix-One 95

Andy Murray Tennis Racket

No. 4 - Andy Murray

Brand: Head
Model: YOUTEK Graphene Radical Pro
Head size: 98 sq in
String pattern: 16x19

Andy Murray's Head Youtek Radical series got a major boost in performance with the addition of Graphene technology in Fall 2013. Though it's lightweight, the breaking strength on the Graphene frame is 200 times greater than steel. It's a good thing too because we all know Murray likes to smash his racket in disgust from time to time. Control, spin, power—you get it all with the Graphene Radical Pro. While it's a solid choice for players of all levels, in the hands of a top pro like Murray, the racket is certainly a force to be reckoned with.

Andy Murray Head YOUTEK Graphene Radical Pro

David Ferrer Tennis Racket

No. 3 - David Ferrer

Brand: Prince
Model: Tour 100
Head size: 100 sq in
String pattern: 16x18

Not sure which is more surprising: the fact that David Ferrer is ranked No. 3 in the world—ahead of both Andy Murray and Roger Federer—or the fact he's the only player inside the Top 10 to use a Prince racket. Either way, the 31-year-old Spaniard has proven in recent years that he can hang with the best of 'em, and some of the credit can be attributed to his Prince Tour 100. The racket is designed primarily for all-court players like Ferrer. It features a flexible frame construction that results in fluid ground strokes, as well as the ability to close out tough points in the heat of the battle. What the stick lacks in power, it makes up for with its precision control and impressive slice action.

David Ferrer Prince Tour 100

Novak Djokovic Tennis Racket

No. 2 - Novak Djokovic

Brand: Head
Model: YOUTEK Graphene Speed Pro
Head size: 100 sq in
String pattern: 18x20

Four of the current Top 10 men's singles players use a variation of the Head Youtek racket, including none other than second-ranked Novak Djokovic. While each racket in the series is exceptional in its own regard, Djokovic's Youtek Graphene Speed Pro is a great option for players looking to take their game to the next level. It's designed for players with flatter strokes, yet is versatile enough to handle some spin action when needed. Novak likes to control the tempo with both his pace and placement, and the Speed Pro, with its 18x20 string pattern and and larger 100 square inch head size, allows him to do just that. Simply put, the Head Speed Pro is a world-class tennis racket for world-class tennis players.

Novak Djokovic Head YOUTEK Graphene Speed Pro

Rafael Nadal Tennis Racket

No. 1 - Rafael Nadal

Brand: Babolat
Model: AeroPro Drive
Head size: 100 sq in
String pattern: 16x19

There are a lot more amateur players picking up a Babolat tennis racket these days, and a lot of that has to do with the profound success of Rafael Nadal. Rafa's style of play calls for whipping strokes with ample pace and topspin. The Babolat AeroPro Drive, with its signature aerodynamic frame design, is just the racket to compliment his game. While Nadal has played with numerous generations of the AeroPro Drive over the years, his latest version features Babolat's Active Cortex technology for an even smoother swing. All-in-all, the AeroPro Drive is extremely maneuverable and explosive. The fact that the No. 1 ranked men's player in the world has adopted it as his own should come as no surprise.

Rafael Nadal Babolat AeroPro Drive

RELATED: The Evolution of the Tennis Racket
RELATED: What Your Favorite Tennis Shoe Says About You