Some consider him the best player ever, the GOAT. No matter what your opinion is, Novak Djokovic will go down in history as one of the best tennis players ever. At his best, he dominates the ATP tour, at one point winning 41 straight matches.
He owns 21 grand slam titles, one behind Rafael Nadal for the all-time record, has the most (373) weeks as World Number 1, and has held all 4 major titles at once. His achievements are simply incredible, and he shows no signs of slowing down.
Of course, with his status as a god of the game, fans want to know everything about Novak: his diet, shoes, apparel, and of course his racquet are the objects of often excessive scrutiny. For now, let’s focus solely on his racquet.
- Endorsed Racquet: Head Graphene Auxetic Speed Pro (check price here)
- Actual Racquet: Head PT 346.1 pro stock
- Strings: Babolat Natural Gut Mains at 59 pounds and Luxilon ALU Power Crosses at 56 pounds
What’s Under the Paint?
Like most of the rest of the tour, Djokovic uses a pro stock racquet. The closest thing to his current frame would be an old Liquidmetal Radical Pro.
According to knowledgeable sources with ties to the Austrian brand, the PT 346.1 and PT113B he used in the past are effectively the old Liquidmetal mold with a different graphite layup (close to the FXP Radical) and without the ridges.
This makes a bit of sense, as when he first came onto the tour Novak used the Liquidmetal Radical Pro, ridges and all.
However, Novak was soon sponsored by Wilson, sporting a Blade paintjob when he won his first slam until the 2009 season when he moved back to Head.
Pro stock afficionados will quickly recognize his Wilson frame to be an H22 which was simply Wilson’s clone of the Head Radical MP mold.
In 2009, Novak switched back to Head and has not looked back. He originally began playing with the PT 113B, a 95 square inch frame geared toward control and feel – as expected from what is basically a Radical.
He kept that frame until around 2018 when he switched to the PT 346.1 which is basically the same as the PT 113B.
Still a twin tube Radical mold with the same layup as before and a slight difference in where the grommet channel ends. Novak has been playing with this mold since.
Around the time of his switch to the PT 346.1, Novak was tinkering with his specs. His new frames sported an 18×19 string pattern instead of his old 18×20, 27.1 inch length, and a reduced static weight and swingweight.
This was on the tail end of an injury and during a brief coaching and/or consulting relationship with Andre Agassi who introduced him to well-known racquet customizer Roman Prokes.
Novak’s Old Specs:
- Head PT 113B
- 18×20 string pattern
- 27 inch length
- 32.8cm balance
- 370 sw
Novak’s New and Current Specs:
- Head PT 346.1
- 18×19 string pattern
- 27.1 inch length
- 32.4 cm balance
- 360 sw
*Worth noting is Novak’s preference for two layered overgrips over his leather grip
As we can see, Novak reduced his weight and swingweight while lowering his balance. The reports all said he was seeking something a little more arm-friendly after his elbow problems, and these specs seem to support that. Lower but still hefty swingweight, more maneuverable balance, and small weight decrease.
For somebody competing at Novak’s level this was probably a sizeable change, though, he continued his winning ways in 2018 as the year end Number 1 and hoisting the trophy at Wimbledon and the US Open.
Why this Racquet?
Novak’s racquet is set up for ultimate command over the ball. Its small head size and dense string pattern amplify his ability to control the depth and direction of the ball.
The high mass and swingweight make it easier to hit himself out of trouble on defense and power through his opponents when he plays offense.
It’s certainly not an easy stick to use, but in the hands of Novak Djokovic, it’s perfection. The man plays chess out there, and his racquet gives him exactly what he needs in order to do that.
Though it’s just a small contributor to his dominance and greatness, we can see how Novak’s racquet is set up perfectly for him. All of its qualities point to control, allowing the Serb to create difficult situations for his opponents from all corners of the court.
If you’re interested in other ATP players’ racquets, I listed all the top 100 players’ racquets in this post.