It is official. In a press release sent from Wilson to FedererFan07.com, Roger Federer’s matte black racquet, first a prototype, then a mainstay, is real, and coming soon. Final graphics (paint job) of the frame will be revealed close to the projected release date: October 1, 2014 (pre-orders to select retailers August 15). After it was leaked earlier this month, Wilson released their first Betterer episode, featuring the 17-time grand slam champion (and counting) with Wilson racquet scientists in a humor filled preview of the next generation of Pro Staff racquets.
The Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph is the result of three years of collaboration between Roger Federer and racquet company, which features a 26% wider beam, providing significant boost in power. It also delivers on feel. “I love the feel a smaller head provides, and larger rackets couldn’t deliver the feedback I needed to be successful. This new Wilson Pro Staff racket has been a long time coming, but I finally have the feel I need in a 97-inch head,” said Federer. Composition is noted to be braided graphite and Kevlar.
Read the full press release below.
Unprecedented Collaboration Between Wilson and 17-Time Grand Slam Champion Roger Federer Results in New Wilson Pro Staff Line
CHICAGO, June 30 2014 – For months Roger Federer’s stealthy, matte black racket has been the source of conjecture and debate amongst tennis fans. Wins in Dubai and Halle, along with several finals appearances amplified the buzz surrounding his new secret weapon. After three years of development and dozens of prototypes, Roger Federer and Wilson officially announced the new Wilson Pro Staff line of rackets, which they collaborated in developing.
The new Wilson Pro Staff RF 97 Autograph* delivers the precise feel Federer demands with a larger sweet spot and more power in comparison to the Wilson rackets he has used throughout his storied career. The Wilson Pro Staff line will feature rackets suited for a variety of attack-style players: from avid players to youth striving to improve their game. The Wilson Pro Staff rackets provide more power without compromising the classic feel long associated with the Pro Staff line. The final graphics package will be unveiled closer to the projected October 1, 2014 in-store date.
“I grew up idolizing the legends of the game, so it was natural for me to play with Wilson Pro Staff 85-inch rackets,” said Federer. “I love the feel a smaller head provides, and larger rackets couldn’t deliver the feedback I needed to be successful. This new Wilson Pro Staff racket has been a long time coming, but I finally have the feel I need in a 97-inch head.”
The iconic Pro Staff line has spanned 31 years and is steeped in history, tradition, and Grand Slam victories. The Wilson Pro Staff line has delivered uncompromising feel for players of all skill levels and the latest products preserve the consistent feel while introducing a 97-inch head in three of the four models. The re-engineered Pro Staff models feature a 26 percent wider racket beam providing for a significant boost in power. Compared to Federer’s previous racket, the Wilson Pro Staff RF 97 Autograph is seven percent larger, resulting in a 10 percent larger sweet spot that consistently produces more power for Federer and for tennis enthusiasts. Wilson’s use of braided graphite and Kevlar maintain the consistent feel that players have come to know in the Pro Staff line.
“When it comes to his tennis career, Roger is a chess master, always thinking several moves ahead,” said Mike Dowse, Wilson Sporting Goods Co. President. “So when we broached the subject of developing a more powerful racket that would still fit his needs for responsive ‘feel’ and attacking style, we jumped at the chance to collaborate with him. This racket represents the most extensive collaboration between an elite player of Roger’s caliber and Wilson. The result is a groundbreaking racket that will benefit tennis players worldwide.”
Wilson has produced an episodic series of videos that highlight the unique relationship they share with the tennis legend. They can be viewed along with additional information on the racket at www.wilson.com/betterer.
Federer’s collaboration with Wilson actually goes back decades. He won the Wimbledon Juniors crown in 1998 playing with a Wilson Pro Staff 85 racket. He turned pro shortly after that victory and began working with Wilson to find the 90-inch racket that, with updates, has been his weapon of choice throughout his incredible career.
The RF 97 is the first Autograph racket from Wilson in 40 years. Autograph rackets are reserved for Tennis legends, the most notable being the Jack Kramer Autograph, which is the best-selling racket in Tennis history.
Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods Co., a division of Amer Sports, is the world’s leading manufacturer of sports equipment, apparel and accessories. Through its dedication to creating products that enable athletes at every level to perform at their best, Wilson has earned its place as a leader in sporting goods for over a century.
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Update: Roger Federer teases new Wilson Pro Staff RF97 in short video below.