Spotlight On: Pro Staff v13
Learn how Pro Staff v13 maintains that classic "Pro Staff feel."
There’s nothing like that “Pro Staff feel!"
This sentence, spoken by countless tennis players for the last 4 decades, is the reason Pro Staff is our longest-running performance racket line. Developed by Wilson engineers in 1982-1983, the Pro Staff Original was one of our first all-carbon (called graphite in those days) tennis rackets, and while it has undergone several performance enhancements over the years, we’ve tried to keep it as close to the original as possible to preserve what players love so much about it. That classic Pro Staff feel.
With the launch of v13, let’s take a look at the latest updates to Pro Staff, as well as explain which types of players we had in mind when designing each model in the line.
Pro Staff rackets are all about precision. To achieve this, the most popular models in the line have always been designed with heavy weights and small head sizes. For example, the current Pro Staff RF97 Autograph model is our heaviest racket (12.0oz/340g unstrung) and features our smallest head size (97”) sold globally. Think of it like golf irons. The smaller/slimmer the club face, the smaller the sweet spot. It’s the same with tennis rackets. The smaller the sweet spot, the more control and precision they produce. Sure, 97” might seem big to players who grew up playing with the 85” or 90” Pro Staffs, but as the game has evolved, we’ve increased the head size to allow for more power and spin potential. Even Roger Federer, who came on tour with the 85” and played the 90” for most of his career switched to the 97” back in 2014. Get with the times, people!
For v13, we’ve made modern improvements without sacrificing the Pro Staff feel players know and love. Let’s break down each tech update here:
BRAID 45: This update to the classic Pro Staff carbon/aramid fiber (commonly known as graphite/Kevlar®) braid arranges the braid fibers at all-new 45 degree angles, allowing the braid to “breathe” more upon impact. The result is an enhanced pocketing feel without sacrificing the stability essential to create the “Pro Staff feel”. Note this update to the braid is not featured in the RF97 Autograph or junior models.
STRING MAPPING: We’ve tightened up the spacing between the strings in the center of the string bed, increasing precision and feel across the racket face. We recommend Luxilon ALU Power for these frames…125mm for Pro Staff RF97 and Pro Staff 97, and 115mm for the other Pro Staff models. If you prefer a hybrid string set up, go with DUO Power. If you’re in the multifilament camp, NXT 16 all the way.
ERGONOMIC END CAP: Just like our other Wilson racket franchises, Pro Staff now features our ergonomic end cap at the bottom of the handle for maximum comfort and playability. The RF97 Autograph model, however, will continue to feature the traditional end cap.
WHO SHOULD USE PRO STAFF?
While Pro Staff is largely intended to be played by experienced players, the v13 line features a variety of models to accommodate players of all levels and ages. Let’s take a look at each model to find the right Pro Staff racket for you:
PRO STAFF RF97 AUTOGRAPH
The Pro Staff RF97 Autograph is Roger Federer’s signature playing model, and certainly the most difficult racket to play with in the line. It is intended for two groups of players. The first includes extremely high-level players, i.e. college- or tour-level. These players will enjoy the precision, control, and plow through they find with the RF97’s small head size (97”), heavy weight (12.0oz unstrung), and head-light balance (12pts HL).
The second group we’ve designed this model for are the Pro Staff traditionalists. Like Roger Federer himself, these players have used Pro Staff for almost their entire playing careers and frankly don’t want to change a thing. This group will be happy to know that the RF97 features the same foam fill and double braid as the 1983 Pro Staff Original. In fact, it even weighs the same as the original (12.0oz unstrung). Finally, we’ve kept the traditional end cap on this frame’s handle, which you can order all the way up to grip size 5 (4 5/8”).
PRO STAFF 97
Think of the Pro Staff 97 as a much more modern, manageable player’s frame. It features the same mid-plus head size as the RF97 (97”) but is packaged in a slightly lighter weight (11.1oz/315g unstrung). Still on the heavy side to maintain that punch experienced players want to get the ball through the court, but light enough to avoid wearing out your arm if you like to play long rallies. It also features the 3 tech updates mentioned above to increase precision, control, and comfort versus the previous model. It should also be noted that Countervail® technology has been removed from the 97”.
PRO STAFF 97L
The Pro Staff 97L is designed for players looking for lighter, manageable access to the Pro Staff line. This includes those either new to the game or junior players (ages 14-16) whose muscles haven’t fully developed. The 97L features all the same, new technology as the 97, but its lighter weight (10.2oz/290g unstrung) will make it easier for these players to make contact in front of their body, and the racket’s slightly thicker frame (23mm vs 97’s 21.5mm) will provide additional power and stability as they develop their strokes.
PRO STAFF 97UL
Similar to the 97L, the Pro Staff 97UL is an even lighter version of the full-size Pro Staff racket line, again coming with all of the new technology updates. However, we would limit our player recommendation on this model to junior players ages 12-13. The 97UL’s weight (9.5oz/270g unstrung) makes this a great racket for those who grew up playing with the Pro Staff junior line to start with as they transition to a full-size racket.
PRO STAFF 26
The Pro Staff 26 is a junior-sized model. This racket is made with the same performance carbon fiber as our adult models, therefore making the transition that much easier when young players are ready for a full-sized racket. We’d recommend the 26” for junior players ages 10-12.
Looking for a racket for a child younger than 10? Check out our sizing recommendations here!
Questions on Pro Staff? Direct message @wilsontennis on Instagram and we’ll get back to you ASAP!
DID YOU KNOW?
The Wilson Pro Staff rackets inspired a line of popular tennis shoes back in the 80’s by the same name. We recently re-released these shoes with the vintage upper on our current Rush Pro 3.0 sole.