Another player who seems like he came out of nowhere is Aslan Karatsev. The Russian made his first major semifinal in 2021 after he qualified for the Australian Open. This was also his Grand Slam debut. Though he lost to Djokovic in the semis, his run was historic, as he became the first player in the Open Era to reach a major semifinal upon his debut.
He continued to claim the silver medal at the Olympics in mixed doubles and notched a win over Djokovic on his way to being ranked number fifteen in the world.
Though he has struggled a bit as of late, Karatsev still has plenty of time to find similar form to that which got him to the Australian open semis.
Let’s take a look at his racquet, shall we?
- Endorsed Racquet: Head Prestige Auxetic Line
- Actual Racquet: Head PT57A2 Pro Stock in 16×19 pattern
- Strings: Head Hawk 1.25
A Prestige Under the Paint?
Aslan does not use a Head Prestige but the PT57A2 which is the Head Pro Tour 630/280. He uses a 16×19 string pattern like Andy Murray and others.
The main advantage of the more open string pattern as opposed to the 18×20 that’s also available is increased power and a slightly higher launch angle.
Seeing as Karatsev likes to use spin to manipulate the ball around the court, this fits him well.
- Some of the telltale signs of a PT57A are the extension of the grommet channel past the ends of the CAP grommet. The squared-off ends of the grommets also distinguish this mold from newer Prestige molds – the true 98-inch frames have a rounder end to the CAP grommets.
The PT57A and all other Prestige MP style racquets up until the retail Graphene 360+ models were listed as 98 square inch head sizes but are truly closer to 95. Head used to measure around the outside of the frame for the headsize rather than inside.
They have since switched to measuring all of their racquets on the inside. As such, the PT57A provides loads of control when combining its relatively tight string pattern and thin, flexible beam with a 95-square-inch head.
From a reputable source on Head racquets, Aslan’s racquets are set up with the following specs:
- Strung mass: 340g
- Strung balance: 32 cm
- Strung swingweight: 340
- All specs are after stringing and overgrip
His specs are somewhat light for the pro tour, but they’re obviously serviceable. He extends his arms very far from his body during his strokes too which increases his leverage and effectively makes the racquet hit heavier because his levers are longer.
Because of the headlight balance, the racquet is maneuverable on defense and easy to swing despite the 340 swingweight.
This seems to be a fairly polarized setup with much of the weight existing in the tip and tail of the racquet without much in the middle. There’s power and maneuverability here.
Reportedly, Aslan is using Head Hawk White 1.25 gauge in his racquet.
This is a stiffer, round polyester string that provides control, precision, and spin similar to ALU Power and Babolat RPM Blast. It’s made for manipulating the ball around the court which is what Karatsev does best.
Karatsev uses a racquet that, for a pro, is quite light. However, his stroke mechanics allow for this, and the relative lightness of the racquet serve him well when playing defense or whipping a dipping topspin ball.
The frame oozes classic control but has a bit of a modern twist with the lighter weight and low balance coupled with substantial swingweight. Is this something I would say is easy for a recreational player to use? No. But it suits Karatsev quite well!
If you’re interested in other ATP players’ racquets, I listed all the top 100 players’ racquets in this post.