If Wimbledon has inspired your youngster to give tennis a go – or take it more seriously than before – a good racket is a must if they want to be the best that they can be. Junior rackets for aspiring Wimbledon champions come in a range of sizes which relate to the length of the racket in inches. Generally, a ten- to 12-year-old will want a 26-inch variety, with a 25-inch for eight to tens, a 23-inch for six to eights, and for under sixes, you should choose a 17-, 19- or 21-inch model. Of course, the size you need will also depend on how tall your child is for their age. A premium graphite racket, made from the same material as good adult rackets, will usually give the best performance, although there are graphite composite and aluminium choices if your youngster is just starting out or cost is a consideration.
One of the best children’s rackets around is the Wilson Juice 25 BLX (Graphite) Junior Tennis Racket, £54.99 from Tennis Nuts, which offers Spin Effect Technology to deliver 69 per cent spin. This is a good choice for high-performing youngsters who will benefit from its increased spin and lightweight graphite and basalt frame. The Babolat AeroPro Drive 26 Junior, £59.96 from Amazon, is a good choice for children looking for power, spin and fast strokes. It’s a junior version of a Rafael Nadal racket and boasts Woofer system technology to allow the strings and frame to interact when the player takes a shot. It offers 25 per cent more contact between the ball and the string to provide heightened sensation and increased precision. It also features Cortex Active Technology, which creates vibrations to give youngsters the best possible feel of the ball.
The Head YouTek Graphene Radical Junior, £64.90 from Tennis Point, is consistently making top ten lists of the best tennis rackets for kids. Its adult version has been famously used by Andy Murray, and the junior racket boasts similar power and manoeuvrability. It is a similar choice to the Head Speed but boasts a thicker beam and is made from Graphene, which is super-light but actually beats the strength of steel by 20 times. The Head Graphene XT Speed Junior Tennis Racket (26 inch), £44.99 from Direct Sports Tennis, is made from Graphene XT, which is 30 per cent stronger than normal Graphene. This enhances weight distribution by adding strength to the centre of the racket. This technologically advanced racket is a good choice for advanced players who have a professional career in their sights. For more novice players, there is the Head Speed 21 Junior Graphite Composite Tennis Racket, which is a more affordable option at £23.99 from Tennis Nuts.
Another popular racket choice for children is the Prince Tour 23 ESP Junior Tennis Racket, £49.49 from Millet Sports, which offers a simplified version of an adult design to help young players to develop. Boasting an Extreme String Pattern which is said to deliver around 30 per cent more spin, this is the choice for youngsters who want to become more consistent in their game thanks to greater net clearance and more penetrating and heavier shots. Once you’ve bought your youngster the best possible racket, stock up on good-quality balls such as the 41cm Slazenger Midi Tennis Ball, £8.49 from Sports Direct, and pack their tennis bag – a Head Kids’ Backpack, £20.90 from Tennis Point, is a really versatile choice – and get them out on the court. Who knows, you could be sitting nervously in Centre Court in just a few years’ time!