American tennis star Serena Williams has pulled out of the 2021 US Open with a hamstring injury.
This casts doubt on the 39-year-old’s future in the game and it now appears unlikely that she’ll win a 24th Grand Slam title to equal Margaret Court’s all-time singles record.
Whatever transpires, Serena has had a stellar career and will go down as one of the all-time greats.
With Serena now sidelined, Tennis Opinion Worldwide takes a closer look at her racquet of choice.
Serena plays with a Wilson Blade SW 102 Autograph.
Along with Roger Federer, she is one of the few players who endorses her own Autograph racquet.
Serena has long since been an ambassador for the Wilson Blade line of racquets, but only started playing with the Wilson Blade SW 102 in 2020.
This racquet is 102 square inches, slightly smaller than the 104 square inch frame she used to play with.
Wilson LABS, the innovation hub at Wilson, spent nearly a year working with Serena to create a racquet which better supported her signature power while enhancing control.
“I love my previous Blade tennis racquet, and it’s been a huge part of my game, but I knew I needed to make adjustments,” Serena said in August 2020.
“A tennis racquet is such a sensitive thing. I talked with Wilson about wanting more control and what that could look like, and importantly, feel like. So, we got to work. I am really into technology and trying new things out. And while the process was long, we ultimately designed exactly what I need for my game. I’ve had this new racquet in my hands for most of this year, and it just feels right.”
Ron Rocchi, Advanced Innovation and Player Insight Manager for Wilson Racquet Sports, added: “The new Blade SW102 Autograph racquet is two inches smaller in its head size than her previous frame.
“Although a minor change, the decreased head size allowed us to modify the racquet’s flex points along its string bed and frame to add the level of control Serena Williams was looking for without impacting the power of her play. We took the same stiffness and feel she loved in her previous racquet and re-engineered it into a smaller geometry. With a smaller frame, you naturally add control.”
Rocchi has designed Serena’s Wilson racquets since she turned professional in 1995.
Serena’s Wilson Blade SW102 is a 28-inch racquet, one inch longer than the standard 27-inch frames most players use. It provides a slightly extended reach but also allows the generation of more power.
The unstrung weight is 306 grams (over 320 grams when strung) and has an 18×19 string pattern.
The swing weight is 304 and it has a 22m flat beam.
Serena’s grip size is 4 5/8 and differs from the retail model.
The racquet’s unique design includes a gloss gold trim at the tip and a host of inspirational words on the inside of the throat that describe Serena’s journey to the top of the women’s game.
Picture: Serena Williams – Roland Garros/Twitter