Boasting a huge serve and heavy forehand, Karen Khachanov was right up there with his perennial top ten countrymen Andrey Rublev and Daniil Medvedev when they all burst onto the scene a few years ago in 2018.
Though he’s fallen off a bit following some inconsistent results in 2019 and 2020, he claimed a silver medal at the most recent Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021 and regained a top twenty ranking in 2022.
The big serving Russian had a strong showing at the ’22 US Open, losing to Casper Ruud in his first major semifinal. Karen obviously still has some great tennis in front of him at only twenty-six years old.
So, let’s do what we do here and dig into his racquet of choice.
- Endorsed Racquet: Wilson Blade Pro v8
- Actual Racquet: Wilson H22 Pro Stock
- Strings: Luxilon ALU Power at around 55 pounds
When we first saw him on tour, Karen wielded a Head Radical pro stock, the Innegra mold according to many. When he truly came onto the scene in 2018 he wielded a Wilson in Blade paintjob. He pounded huge serves and forehands on his way to world number eleven.Embed from Getty Images
- Karen with what appears to be the Innegra version of a Head Radical under his pro stock paint in 2015 and a blacked out Head frame, likely the same TGT 260.x pro stock, in 2019 after his huge results in 2018.
Though he started his career with Head and had a small fling with them in 2019 (with poor results and immediately having more success upon a switch back to his old frames), the majority of his good results have come while wielding a Wilson.
Karen uses the H22 pro stock frame under his Blade paint, denoted by the squared off beam shape and rounded bumper guard ending.
Wilson specifically mentions that he uses the Blade Pro in their marketing for the Pro Labs line of racquets, but it is unknown which layup he is using.
Wilson-sponsored players have access to multiple layups of the H22 frame: some are stiffer and crisper, some play soft and plush, and some sit in the middle.
We don’t know for certain which one he uses, and it may be the retail Blade Pro layup for all we know.
Strangely, during the grass court swing in 2021, Karen was spotted posing with a regular Blade 98 pro stock, not his usual H22.
This was obvious to the trained eye, as the Blade’s beam is rounded on the outside, unlike the H22, and the bumper guard of the blade angles to a point when it ends while the H22 rounds.
He had his Kimony dampener installed, so he may have been testing the frame, but it does not appear he ever used it in an official match.
- Karen posing pre-Wimbledon 2021 with a pro stock Blade 98, glossy paint and all.
Karen’s racquet customizer has a video on YouTube where he is customizing his racquets and notes the specs. Khachanov uses an unstrung weight of 310g and unstrung balance of 31.8 cm without an overgrip.
His swingweight has been reported to be between 335 and 340 strung, depending on the source. This puts his final strung specs somewhere around 335g, 33cm balance, and 340 swingweight strung up with overgrip and dampener.
This is on the lighter side for many professionals but considering his long arms, he doesn’t need a hugely heavy racquet to generate power and his western forehand grip doesn’t hold him back as much as it would with a heavier frame.
It’s basically got the specs of a stock Blade Pro with a bit of weight in the handle for a more headlight balance.
Karen uses ALU Power 125 in a full stringbed at around 25kg. ALU Power is the most popular tennis string on the ATP and provides a great balance of control, spin, and feel in just about any racquet, especially the H22.
Combine the two and the racquet oozes control and feels while still having some power on tap from the head-heavy balance and relatively high swingweight.
As we can see, Karen plays with a lighter H22 pro stock frame from Wilson. Though he’s experimented with going back to his old Head racquet and tried a Wilson Blade 98, he keeps coming back to his trusty H22 and always seems to have his best results with it.
His specs are oriented toward his long levers and western grip forehand with the lighter weight for maneuverability but a good amount of mass toward the head of the racquet for power and stability at the pro level.
Hopefully, he ceases his tweaking of equipment and can use 2023 to build on the respectable results he had in 2022!
If you’re interested in other ATP players’ racquets, I listed all the top 100 players’ racquets in this post.