Lorenzo Sonego brings the noise every time he’s on the court with his game and his grunt. The big serving, forehand bashing Italian made his top-25 debut last year.
Though he struggled with consistency and defending his points in 2022, he did win Moselle, returning to the top 50 (rank 45) after falling out earlier in the year.
Let’s do what we do here and take a look at the Italian’s racquet of choice.
- Endorsed Racquet: Wilson Blade 98 v8
- Actual Racquet: Wilson Blade 98 Pro Stock 18×20
- Strings: Luxilon ALU Power Soft 125 at 19/18 kg
Ok, Which Blade?
For about as long as we’ve seen him on tour, Lorenzo has been wielding a Wilson Blade. With most Wilson Blade endorsements on the tour, there’s a good chance it is actually something else underneath the paint; however, this is not the case with Sonego. He’s using a Blade, though not the current v8 he endorses.
In an interview on an Italian tennis website, the stringer who handled Lorenzo’s racquets at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in 2021 gave an interview about Sonego’s frame. It’s an 18×20 string pattern Wilson Blade 98. The pictures tell the tale as to which Blade is under the paint.
The straight beam relegates it to the v6 or earlier, and the lack of parallel drilling holes means it’s at least as far back as the 2013 v4 or BLX Amplifeel model.
The RA is 62 according to the article, which leads me to believe it is a K Factor under the paint, as it was one of the more flexible versions.
This is not for certain, though, as RA can vary from racquet to racquet and the Babolat RDC will sometimes vary a point or two on stiffness when flipping the racquet over.
- The beam does not widen as it approaches the handle like the v7 and v8 retail models
The article on Sonego’s racquet was quite thorough, even providing pictures of the actual weight and swingweight (shown below). His frame is about 328g strung with an overgrip and has a swingweight of 336.5. His strung balance is reported as 33 cm.
Effectively, Lorenzo is playing with a stock racquet. Yes, he might have a smidge of customization just to match specs, but this is very near average and target measurements for off-the-shelf blades (pre-v7) back when the stock target balance was 32.5 cm unstrung.
He joins other pros like David Goffin in dispelling the myth that pro players NEED lots of mass and huge swingweights to handle the pace and weight of shot on the pro tour.
Something like a Wilson Blade with plenty of mass in the head, a forgiving layup, and a modest but not unwieldy swingweight are more than enough for pros at the highest level of the sport.
- Strung mass and swingweight along with a stringing ticket showing Sonego’s ALU Power Soft tension from the Italian Open
Lorenzo uses ALU Power Soft 125 in a full stringbed with 19 kg tension on the mains and 18 kg on the crosses. ALU Power Soft supplies a great balance of control, spin, and feel in just about any racquet, and there’s a reason we see most Wilson sponsored players using it.
The lower tension helps Lorenzo with feel, and even though it’s noted as “ALU Power Soft,” this string is far from mushy. What’s most interesting about his stringing isn’t his low tension: Lorenzo only requests one or two racquets to be restrung per match.
It’s a bit odd, but maybe he only swaps when a set is over, unlike most players who will trade out the used strings for fresh ones every ball change and use five or more racquets a match.
Letting a fresh racquet sit for a day or two allows the tension to settle in as well, which might lead to less of a performance drop during his match.
Purely speculative, but it could also just be a habit from his the time he spent on the Challenger tour when he maybe couldn’t restring unless he broke strings. Either way, it’s a little odd but it’s his preference.
We’ve got another player who hits the ball huge and uses a lighter racquet. Sonego’s huge game and competitive results with wins over players like Dominic Thiem and Andrey Rublev is achieved with what is basically an off-the-shelf racquet.
It’s nothing special like a Wilson H22 or Head PT57A and anybody taking an old BLX or K Factor Blade 98 out to the court is basically taking the same thing as Lorenzo. Kind of cool when you think about it!
If you’re interested in other ATP players’ racquets, I listed all the top 100 players’ racquets in this post.