Wilson Pro Staff 90 vs RF97

As I discussed in my article on the Roger Federer Racket, Federer used the Wilson Pro Staff 90 from 2003 until he switched to the Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph in early 2014.

Federer had great success with the Pro Staff 90, winning 17 of his 20 grand slam singles titles using this tennis racket but in 2014 Federer decided that he needed a tennis racket with a bigger head size if he was to continue to compete at the highest level.

In this article, I will look at the main differences between the Wilson Pro Staff 90 and the Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph

Wilson Pro Staff 90 vs RF97

Comparison of the Wilson Pro Staff 90 vs RF97

Racket Specs

Although the two tennis rackets share many similarities e.g. 27in racket length, head light balance, and a 16 x 19 string pattern, there are still some major differences between the two rackets that cause them to play very differently.

The most obvious difference between the Wilson Pro Staff 90 and the Wilson Pro Staff RF97 is their head sizes, which is one of the main reasons Federer made the switch as the bigger head size he has with his new RF97 allows him to stay in points for longer as it is more forgiving than his old Pro Staff 90.

Another big difference is the beam width of the two tennis rackets, with the Pro Staff 90 being 4 inches thinner than the RF97.

The thinner beam on the Pro Staff 90 means it will be much harder to generate power on your shots and you will need good technique to have any chance of hitting winners with this tennis racket.

In terms of weight, this isn’t a huge difference with the Pro Staff 90 having a slightly lower strung and swing weight when compared with the RF97.

The two tennis rackets also have similar stiffness ratings at 66 for the Pro Staff 90 and 68 for the RF97.

Wilson Pro Staff 90vsWilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph
2003-2013Years used by Fed:2014-Date
Wilson Pro Staff 90Racket:Wilson RF97
90inHead Size:97in
354g (12.49oz)Strung Weight:357g (12.59oz)
8 pts HLBalance:9 pts HL
66 RAStiffness:68 RA
17.5mmBeam Width:21.5mm
Graphite/Kevlar/BLXComposition:Braided Graphite
White / RedRacket Colours:Black
16 Mains / 19 CrossesString Pattern:16 Mains / 19 Crosses
21.5- 26.5kg / 48-58 poundsString Tension Range:22-27kg / 50-60 pounds
Check Price on Pro Stock TennisPrice:Check Price on Amazon

Why did Roger Federer switch to the RF97?

There were a number of different reasons why Roger Federer switched to using the RF97 including:

1. He wanted a more forgiving tennis racket

With his older rackets (Pro Staff 90 and Pro Staff 85), Federer used to hit a lot of shanked balls as the sweet spot on these rackets is very small.

The RF97 with its bigger head size and sweet spot helped Federer to reduce the number of shanked balls he hit in a match.

2. To help improve his consistency on his backhand side

Before he made the switch to the RF97, many opponents e.g Nadal would attack his backhand side as they knew this was Federer’s weaker side and he was more likely to make an error off his backhand side.

Once he made the switch to the RF97, Federer’s backhand was much less of a weakness as he was better able to deal with high balls hit to his backhand.

This was illustrated beautifully when he beat his long time rival Rafael Nadal at the 2017 Australian Open.

3. To help him get more power on his serves

Although Federer’s serve was always a strength throughout his career, the bigger head size and the thicker beam of the RF 97 have helped him get more power on his serves.

Wilson Pro Staff 90 vs RF97 FAQ

When did Roger Federer first use the RF97?

Roger Federer used a matte black prototype of the RF97 at the Brisbane International Tournament in January 2014.

When did Roger Federer use the Pro Staff 90?

Roger Federer played with the Pro Staff 90 from 2003 until the end of the 2013 ATP Season.

Can you still buy the Wilson Pro Staff 90?

The Wilson Pro Staff 90 is no longer produced by Wilson but you can find PS90 rackets for sale on sites like eBay.

Which tennis racket is better for recreational players?

Neither of these tennis rackets is suitable for recreational players as they are way too heavy for the average player.

But if you really wanted to give one a go, then the RF97 is definitely the more appropriate racket to try as it has a much bigger sweet spot and a good bit more power than the PS90.

Will Federer Switch Rackets again?

It is doubtful that Federer will switch rackets again before he decides to retire. The only changes to his racket are likely to be purely cosmetic.