Maria Sharapova uses the HEAD YouTek IG Instinct racket. This racket is suitable for a variety of playing styles, and is designed to react positively no matter what your style of play. It is part of HEAD’s YouTek range, and also includes Teflon grommets and the new d3o technology, which will be appreciated by those with an aggressive game.
The d3o is positioned and in the shaft of the racket and integrated in the lay-up, and reacts differently depending on the type of shots being used by the player. When striking the ball aggressively molecules lock together rapidly and drastically increase the stiffness of the frame, vastly increasing the power available to the player. When playing the more delicate shots in the game, such as a slice or a drop shot, they work to absorb more of the impact and increase feel for the ball. It basically means that no matter what style of tennis you play you should be comfortable with this racket.
The grommets in the racket are coated with the friction reducing polymer called Teflon, which allows the strings displayed through the grommets much more easily. This reduces any potential energy loss during impact and allows the racket to generate much more power than it normally would.
Her powerful groundstrokes are one of the strongest aspects of her game, and she’s able to create excellent angles from both the forehand and backhand side. She tends to win most of the points by overpowering her opponent and pushing them around the court, and often moves to the net to finish off points. Rather than the more traditional slice volley, she tends to favour the drive volley, and while it’s not the best part of her game it’s something she seems to be continually working on.
When she first appeared on the scene her serve was widely regarded as one of the strongest in the women’s tour, however from mid-2007 she has experienced ongoing issues with a shoulder which has made her serve less effective than it used to be. She had an operation to correct this in 2009, and although it has allowed her to return to the tour her serve isn’t what it used to be before the injury and she is prone to double faults.
By far the strongest aspect of the game is a mental strength and she has been described by several pundits as one of the toughest competitors the tour has ever seen. She never gives up during a match and has produced numerous late fight backs throughout her career, and she remains a player that most people don’t fancy having and their side of the draw.
String Pattern: 16/19