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For the last few years, Kei Nishikori has been one of the most consistent players on the ATP Tour. Although, Nishikori only have made one Grand Slam Final in his career, he have consistently for years been in the top 10 in the ATP rankings
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As one of the smaller players on tour, he is at a bit of a disadvantage when playing against bigger and stronger players. In order to keep up, he needs a racquet that fits his playing style and size. Since he has a similar size to a lot of recreational players, it is always a common question for people to ask about what his exact racquet set up is. Thats what we will go through here.
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What Racquet does Kei Nishikori play with?
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Kei Nishikori currently plays with the Wilson nTour 95 that is painted to look like the Wilson Ultra 95 Countervail. His racquet have a number of customizations, giving him one of the most unique racquets on tour.
Is Nishikori’s Racquet Actually What It Looks Like?
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The current racquet that Nishikori uses is painted to look exactly like the Wilson Ultra 95 Countervail. However, when it was first released, the Wilson nTour 95 did not look like that racquet at all. It is pretty easy for people who know a lot about tennis racquets to see the difference up close.
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The Wilson nTour 95 had a very similar set up as the Wilson Ultra 95 Countervail. When comparing the two stock options, the new model is heavier, has a higher swingweight and is more head light. Overall, people seem to hit slightly harder with the new model, and some of that comes down to tech as well as specs.
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The updated design of the racquet is considered an upgrade by many. It fits in the overall theme of Wilson tennis reacquets right now on the market.
Kei Nishikori’s Racquet Specs
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The Wilson Ultra 95 Countervail, which is the racquet that Nishikori endorses, comes in with the following specifications.
- Head size: 95 square inches
- Length: 27.5 inches
- Weight: 11.5
- Balance: 4 points head-light
- Swingweight: 339
- Stiffness: 69
- String Pattern: 16 x 20
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So, what is different with this racquet compared to what he actually uses?
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For starters, the technology is not brand new in the Wilson nTour 95, as mentioned before. It is something that Nishikori is just used to, and he probably does not feel confident in changing right now.
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The racquet that Nishikori uses is about .7 ounces heavier, and part of that is due to a longer racquet. Instead of 27.25 inches, he uses one of the longer racquets on tour right now at 27.75 inches.
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Other changes that he makes to his racquet include messing with the swingweight and stiffness a little. There are no exact numbers out there on what he does to the racquet in those areas, but it is altered a bit.
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Nishikori is like a lot of players on tour in that he uses a hybrid string set up. Currently, he uses Wilson Natural Gut 16 string and Luxilon Element string. His tension ranges quite a bit, but he will go as low as the high 30s for tension. This gives him a lot of power, but he must be precise with his shots to control them.
How Does Nishikori’s Racquet Play?
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Since the Wilson Ultra 95 Countervail is the racquet that he endorses, this is what the review will be on. It is a very popular racquet from Wilson, so even though he is not technically using one, it is a great option for any recreational player at a certain skill level.
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This is a great racquet for anyone who wants to get a little more on their serve each and every time. Those who love to go big on the first serve will enjoy just how easy it is to create power. Not only does it have a powerful sweet spot, but the added length makes more of a difference than people realize.
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Another thing that really helps out is the high swingweight that the racquet comes with. At just 339, it is easy to snap serves and really get a lot behind them.
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For spin, there are a lot of opportunities to see a difference. Even though it may not be the easiest racquet head to maneuver on groundstrokes, there are no issues when serving.
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The racquet performs mostly well on groundstrokes, although maneuverability is a little difficult at times. It’s a pretty stiff racquet, so people are not going to have the best feeling in the world when they are making contact. This is an issue for some people, but others like the feedback stiff racquets provide.
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Like on the serve, the groundstrokes can be very powerful if a person is constantly hitting the sweet spot. It also provides a pretty low launch angle off the strings, which keeps the ball low in rallies. If a person enjoys hitting a heavy ball in a rally, this is the perfect option to go with.
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Overall, this is a very stable racquet at the net. The stiffness issues, as well as maneuverability, is something that will frustrate some players who might not be as advanced with a small racquet.
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Speaking of the smaller racquet, the head size is an issue for some people who are very reactionary with their volleys. Not having those extra square inches of real estate to hit balls back can be a difference-maker for sure.
Who Should Use Nishikori’s Racquet?
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The Wilson Ultra 95 Countervail is a very popular racquet for players who are fairly competitive. The smaller head size is not recommended for true beginners, but it is perfectly fine for people who are in the 4.0 to 4.5 range, or higher.
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If a person is able to handle the racquet, they will have something that is very powerful and stable on both wings. It might not be the most comfortable racquet, so people do need to be confident in their strokes. It’s also something that is tough to maneuver, so those who have maneuverability problems anyway might need to look elsewhere.
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Even though this has new technology in it, Wilson has been making a variation of this racquet for quite a few years now. Those people who have used any of their competitive 95 square inch racquets should be just fine with this one as well.
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If a player needs a racquet that has a lot of power and spin opportunity, this is a great option to go with. Not only does it really help out the server, but the groundstrokes are noticeably different as well.
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Since a lot of modern racquets are 98 to 104 square inches in head size, people moving back down to 95 might feel like it is way too small. It is a bit of an adjustment, but most people can really get a good feel for it during a demo.
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This is probably a better racquet for singles players compared to doubles players, although both can have success if they can handle the lack of maneuverability. It’s a pretty unique racquet, so people are encouraged to try it out before making a purchase.
Can You Buy Nishikori’s Racquet?
Finding Nishikori’s actual racquet is next to impossible these days, unless it is purchased used. The Wilson nTour 95 has been out of production for quite a while, and even the stock options do not have the same length as Nishikori’s actual racquet.
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The good news is that the Wilson Ultra 95 Countervail plays a lot like the older model. Most people are going to be more than fine using this option. It is available now at all major tennis stores and websites, and it’s a pretty affordable racquet overall. With a pretty dense string pattern, people are also very happy that they don’t really break strings all that often.
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Tennis players shouldn’t feel too disappointed that Nishikori actually does not use the racquet he endorses. He has been a very consistent player on tour in the last few years, so he probably does not want to make too many tweaks to what works for him.
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The Wilson Ultra 95 Countervail is pretty similar to what he plays with, and is a very good option for players. Some people like the smaller head size because it reminds them of older racquets. It’s a huge jump from anything above 100 square inches, but those who use a 98 or 100 racquet might look into what this one offers. There is not as much forgiveness on bad contact points, but players will notice a difference when they hit the sweet spot.
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For smaller players (like Nishikori), the added power can be a difference-maker for sure. It’s a great weapon for those people trying to keep up with big hitters.