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Which Tennis Rackets Win The Most Grand Slams?

Which Tennis Rackets Win The Most Grand Slams?

Every now and again I like to offer you guys something different and this time around I’ve decided to put a post together with something I thought of a while back – which racket brands have performed best at Grand Slams since the start of Open Era tennis (French Open 1968).

Researching the last 20 or so years, as you can well imagine, was very very easy as Wilson have dominated the standings as they are the racket of choice for both Federer and Sampras. Going back further and further to 1968 though took quite a bit of research, zooming in on old black and white pictures trying to work out the manufacturer and a lot of Googling.

In fact there’s still a few slams that I can’t figure out what racket was in use! So if anyone knows what racket Andrés Gimeno used to win the 1972 French Open or which racket Brian Teacher used to win the 1980 Australian Open please let me know. Also – if anyone spots any mistakes, then let me know, some players switched rackets and there’s plenty of debate to which brands were used by some pros, I only began watching in the 90′s so if any fans know better than what I’ve found from researching then let me know! Thanks to Jean-Claude Marty for all corrections!

Before we look at the numbers I’d just like to say looking back was pretty interesting and it’s quite amazing how racket technology has developed from Wooden/Natural Gut to the Graphite/Synthetic Moonball strings we see today. I’ve played a couple of times with a wooden racket and it’s a completely different experience and it’d definitely be interesting to see how Federer, Nadal and Djokovic would get on if they played each other all using a Dunlop Maxply.

Despite all the changes, the manufacturers who were winning slams at the start of the Open Era with the wooden sticks are still performing at the top of their game today. There’s only a couple that have disappeared by either stopping production, moving away from the sport or getting taken over by a bigger company.

Wilson, Dunlop and Head were around at the start and continue to dominate today and I’d estimate that probably 75% of players on the tour are using one of those branded rackets.

Which Racket manufacturers have the most Grand Slam wins?

In the simple bar chart below you can see the raw numbers of slams won by each manufacturer. As you can see Wilson is way out in front with 60 slam victories, which is more than double it’s closest rival, Head on 27 slams.

If you check the pie chart above, you’ll see that 4 brands – Wilson, Head, Dunlop, Donnay, Slazenger and Babolat account for almost 80% of all slams since the French Open in 1968, in that time there’s been 175 grand slams played in Open era tennis and 135 have been won by players using those rackets.

Amazingly Wilson account for nearly 45% of those 135. But why? Are they the best rackets? Are young players handed those by clubs as their first racket?

Maybe Wilson are quick to find young potential and hand them nice looking sponsorship packages so they’ll reap the rewards later. If that’s the case then I hope whoever was working for Wilson and spotted Federer got a hefty bonus!

Trends Since 1968

*To qualify manufacturer must have won 5 or more slams.

Up until about 1990 the rivalry between Wilson and Dunlop was very close but then came the eras of Sampras and Federer where Wilson stormed clear. Head only came onto the scene when Agassi arrived but with his ranking dropping off in the middle of his career there really was no catching them the Wilson train.

In the late 90′s/early 00′s a few brands came on the scene and started to win slams such as Yonex (used by Hewitt, Kraijeck), Prince (Rafter, Ferrero) and Babolat (Roddick, Moya, Nadal). This further helped Wilson stretch their lead as they likely took sponsorships away from both Head and Dunlop.

Interesting facts I learnt from doing the research

  • Many people think Ilie Nastase used an Adidas racket but it was actually a Dunlop Maxply with an Adidas paint job.
  • Guillermo Vilas moved to Slazenger rackets, then to Puma, but he only won Grand Slams with Head rackets.
  • Becker moved to Estusa in 1990 after his Puma contract broke down, he won 1 slam with the racket before playing with his own Boris Becker branded racket.
  • Courier switched from Wilson to Donnay later in his career, he didn’t win any slams playing under Donnay.
  • Djokovic won the 2008 Australian Open with a Wilson, won the rest with Head. To date he’s the most successful player who has changed rackets mid career.

What can we draw from this information?

  • If you’re starting out in tennis, or you’re a parent wanting to produce a Grand Slam champion, make sure you use Wilson rackets, you have a much higher chance of winning a Grand Slam.
  • If you’re Spanish and want to win a Grand Slam, you are bound by law to use Babolat rackets.
  • On the other hand, if you’re American and use Babolat, you can only win one Grand Slam, you will lose in every final thereafter.
  • If you switch brand of racket mid career (when you’ve won multiple slams) it’s unlikely you’ll win another.
  • Wilson are in eternal debt to Roger Federer as their nearest competitor (Head) needs to sponsor a player who wins the Calendar Slam for the next 8 years to exceed their 60 slam total
  • Donnay need to find a new Bjorn Borg and stop sponsoring clowns like Greg Rusedski
  • Dunlop would have 6 more slams if the Open Era came 6 years sooner courtesy of Rod Laver

If you want to see the racket choice of each slam winner since the Open Era I’ve broken it down per slam below:

Australian Open Winners Racket Choice

Australian Open Winners Racket Choice

1969 Rod LAVER DUNLOP
1970 Arthur ASHE HEAD
1971 Ken ROSEWALL SLAZENGER
1972 Ken ROSEWALL SLAZENGER
1973 John NEWCOMBE SLAZENGER
1974 Jimmy CONNORS WILSON
1975 John NEWCOMBE SLAZENGER
1976 Mark EDMONDSON DUNLOP
1977 Roscoe TANNER PDP
1977 Vitas GERULAITIS WILSON
1978 Guillermo VILAS HEAD
1979 Guillermo VILAS HEAD
1980 Brian TEACHER PRO KENNEX
1981 Johan KRIEK ROSSIGNOL
1982 Johan KRIEK ROSSIGNOL
1983 Mats WILANDER ROSSIGNOL
1984 Mats WILANDER ROSSIGNOL
1985 Stefan EDBERG WILSON
1987 Stefan EDBERG WILSON
1988 Mats WILANDER ROSSIGNOL
1989 Ivan LENDL ADDIDAS
1990 Ivan LENDL ADDIDAS
1991 Boris BECKER ESTUSA
1992 Jim COURIER WILSON
1993 Jim COURIER WILSON
1994 Pete SAMPRAS WILSON
1995 Andre AGASSI HEAD
1996 Boris BECKER BORIS BECKER
1997 Pete SAMPRAS WILSON
1998 Petr KORDA VOLKL
1999 Yevgeny KAFELNIKOV FISCHER
2000 Andre AGASSI HEAD
2001 Andre AGASSI HEAD
2002 Thomas JOHANSSON DUNLOP
2003 Andre AGASSI HEAD
2004 Roger FEDERER WILSON
2005 Marat SAFIN HEAD
2006 Roger FEDERER WILSON
2007 Roger FEDERER WILSON
2008 Novak DJOKOVIC WILSON
2009 Rafael NADAL BABOLAT
2010 Roger FEDERER WILSON
2011 Novak DJOKOVIC HEAD
2012 Novak DJOKOVIC HEAD
2013 Novak DJOKOVIC HEAD
2014 Stan WAWRINKA YONEX

French Open Winners Racket Choice

French Open Winners Racket Choice

1968 Ken ROSEWALL SLAZENGER
1969 Rod LAVER DUNLOP
1970 Jan KODES SPALDING
1971 Jan KODES WILSON
1972 Andres GIMENO DUNLOP
1973 Ilie NASTASE DUNLOP
1974 Bjorn BORG SLAZENGER
1975 Bjorn BORG DONNAY
1976 Adriano PANATTA WIP
1977 Guillermo VILAS HEAD
1978 Bjorn BORG DONNAY
1979 Bjorn BORG DONNAY
1980 Bjorn BORG DONNAY
1981 Bjorn BORG DONNAY
1982 Mats WILANDER ROSSIGNOL
1983 Yannick NOAH LE COQ SPORTIF
1984 Ivan LENDL ADDIDAS
1985 Mats WILANDER ROSSIGNOL
1986 Ivan LENDL ADDIAS
1987 Ivan LENDL ADDIDAS
1988 Mats WILANDER ROSSIGNOL
1989 Michael CHANG PRINCE
1990 Andres GOMEZ YONEX
1991 Jim COURIER WILSON
1992 Jim COURIER WILSON
1993 Sergi BRUGUERA KNEISSL
1994 Sergi BRUGUERA YONEX
1995 Thomas MUSTER HEAD
1996 Yevgeny KAFELNIKOV FISCHER
1997 Gustavo KUERTEN HEAD
1998 Carlos MOYA BABOLAT
1999 Andre AGASSI HEAD
2000 Gustavo KUERTEN HEAD
2001 Gustavo KUERTEN HEAD
2002 Albert COSTA PRINCE
2003 Juan Carlos FERRERO PRINCE
2004 Gaston GAUDIO WILSON
2005 Rafael NADAL BABOLAT
2006 Rafael NADAL BABOLAT
2007 Rafael NADAL BABOLAT
2008 Rafael NADAL BABOLAT
2009 Roger FEDERER WILSON
2010 Rafael NADAL BABOLAT
2011 Rafael NADAL BABOLAT
2012 Rafael NADAL BABOLAT
2013 Rafael NADAL BABOLAT

Wimbledon Winners Racket Choice

Wimbledon Winners Racket Choice

1968 Rod LAVER DUNLOP
1969 Rod LAVER DUNLOP
1970 John NEWCOMBE SLAZENGER
1971 John NEWCOMBE SLAZENGER
1972 Stan SMITH WILSON
1973 Jan KODES WILSON
1974 Jimmy CONNORS WILSON
1975 Arthur ASHE HEAD
1976 Bjorn BORG DONNAY
1977 Bjorn BORG DONNAY
1978 Bjorn BORG DONNAY
1979 Bjorn BORG DONNAY
1980 Bjorn BORG DONNAY
1981 John McENROE DUNLOP
1982 Jimmy CONNORS WILSON
1983 John McENROE DUNLOP
1984 John McENROE DUNLOP
1985 Boris BECKER PUMA
1986 Boris BECKER PUMA
1987 Pat CASH PRINCE
1988 Stefan EDBERG WILSON
1989 Boris BECKER PUMA
1990 Stefan EDBERG WILSON
1991 Michael STICH FISCHER
1992 Andre AGASSI DONNAY
1993 Pete SAMPRAS WILSON
1994 Pete SAMPRAS WILSON
1995 Pete SAMPRAS WILSON
1996 Richard KRAJICEK YONEX
1997 Pete SAMPRAS WILSON
1998 Pete SAMPRAS WILSON
1999 Pete SAMPRAS WILSON
2000 Pete SAMPRAS WILSON
2001 Goran IVANISEVIC HEAD
2002 Lleyton HEWITT YONEX
2003 Roger FEDERER WILSON
2004 Roger FEDERER WILSON
2005 Roger FEDERER WILSON
2006 Roger FEDERER WILSON
2007 Roger FEDERER WILSON
2008 Rafael NADAL BABOLAT
2009 Roger FEDERER WILSON
2010 Rafael NADAL BABOLAT
2011 Novak DJOKOVIC HEAD
2012 Roger FEDERER WILSON
2013 Andy MURRAY HEAD

US Open Winners Racket Choice

US Open Winners Racket Choice

1968 Arthur ASHE WILSON
1969 Rod LAVER DUNLOP
1970 Ken ROSEWALL SLAZENGER
1971 Stan SMITH WILSON
1972 Ilie NASTASE DUNLOP
1973 John NEWCOMBE SLAZENGER
1974 Jimmy CONNORS WILSON
1975 Manuel ORANTES SLAZENGER
1976 Jimmy CONNORS WILSON
1977 Guillermo VILAS HEAD
1978 Jimmy CONNORS WILSON
1979 John McENROE WILSON
1980 John McENROE WILSON
1981 John McENROE DUNLOP
1982 Jimmy CONNORS WILSON
1983 Jimmy CONNORS WILSON
1984 John McENROE DUNLOP
1985 Ivan LENDL ADIDAS
1986 Ivan LENDL ADIDAS
1987 Ivan LENDL ADIDAS
1988 Mats WILANDER ROSSIGNOL
1989 Boris BECKER PUMA
1990 Pete SAMPRAS WILSON
1991 Stefan EDBERG WILSON
1992 Stefan EDBERG WILSON
1993 Pete SAMPRAS WILSON
1994 Andre AGASSI HEAD
1995 Pete SAMPRAS WILSON
1996 Pete SAMPRAS WILSON
1997 Patrick RAFTER PRINCE
1998 Patrick RAFTER PRINCE
1999 Andre AGASSI HEAD
2000 Marat SAFIN HEAD
2001 Lleyton HEWITT YONEX
2002 Pete SAMPRAS WILSON
2003 Andy RODDICK BABOLAT
2004 Roger FEDERER WILSON
2005 Roger FEDERER WILSON
2006 Roger FEDERER WILSON
2007 Roger FEDERER WILSON
2008 Roger FEDERER WILSON
2009 Juan Martin DEL POTRO WILSON
2010 Rafael NADAL BABOLAT
2011 Novak DJOKOVIC HEAD
2012 Andy MURRAY HEAD
2013 Rafael NADAL BABOLAT

Which rackets do you guys use? Did anyone who reads here begin playing with a wooden racket and then make the change to the carbon/graphite models we see today? Let me know in the comments.

And for anyone interested, recently a book was published all about the rackets that have been used in Grand Slam Finals, it goes into far more depth than this post, includes pictures of each racket and also details about the specific models. It’s entitled LES RAQUETTES DE LÉGENDE.

Les Raquettes De Legende

About Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer - I'll pretty much try and watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Fed and tennis in general.

29 comments

  1. Interesting article. I just wonder if the number are skewed by the fact that 30 of Wilson’s Slams came from Federer and Sampras. If you were to just Slam winners (that is Federer would be counted as just 1) I’d be interested to see the numbers then. If a player changed rackets and then won a Slam they can be counted as 2. 1 for each brand.

    • Hey man,

      Yeah I like that idea, I didn’t think of that. I’ll add that in tomorrow if I get chance. Not looking so good for Babolat girl rackets ;)

    • That would be really unfair to the racquet manufacturers. So, in short, what Roddick did for whoever the heck is his racquet manufacturer is the same as what Roger did for Wilson?!? :)
      It’s not in the racquet…it’s in the playa! It’s not the man in the fight, it’s the fight in the man!

  2. Great piece Jonathan; brilliant!
    I am never going to use another racquet company but Wilson. Had a Yonex for a long time before I got Fed’s 2010 BLX and I shall never look back.

  3. Folks, I’ve been using Wilson racquets for 4 years now and…I haven’t won a single Grand Slam, leave alone an ATP 250. Not good :)

    A great article!

    Babolat owes Nadal big time for almost all their grand slams.

  4. “On the other hand, if you’re American and use Babolat, you can only win one Grand Slam, you will lose in every final thereafter.”
    Haha made me laugh so hard :)
    By the way, I use a BLX Pro Open manufactured by Wilson. I have always loved Wilson because of Federer, Sampras. Then, I’m planning to move over to Pro Staff 6.1 90, Federer’s racquet of choice. :)

  5. Like the article. Very interesting. I have also heard that a lot of pros use different frames under the paint jobs that we all see. It would be interesting to see the real rackets that they use. I used Head Prestige until they stopped making them like they used to…up to the Prestige Tour 600 (vibration system handle). Then I moved to Fischer Vacuum Pro 90, which was like butter, a truly great racket. Now I use a Dunlop Aerogel 4D 100 customized to the same specs as the fischer and that is a great racket too. I have used wilson and babolat, and to be honest, I wouldn’t touch them again. They never had a good buttery feel.
    Keep up the good blogging. Definitely a fan.

    • Hey Paul,

      Yeah I think that’s definitely true about different rackets under the paint jobs. Would be very interesting to see what rackets the pros actually use. I heard Fed uses a pro staff that’s pretty different to the one that’s marketed as his by Wilson.

      I’ve only ever used Wilson so can’t really give a fair assessment on the others. I’ve messed around with a friends Babolat and I didn’t really like it, too light and felt like you could just swing aimlessly and the ball would land in.

      Never really see Fischer rackets in the UK but I’d give any of them a try. Hopefully all the manufacturers see this post and send me some to demo ;) haha.

  6. Hi Jonathan,
    Andres Gimeno used a Dunlop Maxply to win the French Open 1972 and Brian Teacher used a Pro Kennex Black Ace (1st version) to win the Australian Open 1980.
    My name is Jean Claude Marty. Fascinated by tennis, I’m a French tennis coach and I collect vintage rackets. Actually, I ended a book about legendary rackets which has to appear at the end of October on the occasion of the tournament of Bercy.
    I identified, dated and acquired all the models of rackets which won a tournament of the Grand Slam (Australia, France, England and USA), in draws Men and women since the beginning of the era Open (1968 ), until our days.
    Besides the history of the tournaments of the Grand slam, the statistics on the brands and the models of rackets which won most tournaments, on the used materials, the work account 173 index cards relative to a racket and a player.
    Every index card contains a photo of the racket as well as a photo of the champion in action with its recognizable racket.
    Most of the photos are extracted of french magazines: “Tennis Magazine ” (123) and “Tennis de France ” (45) . Four photos result from the American museum “International Hall of Fame” and one from my personal collection.
    The title of the book is ” Les raquettes de légende”. This book can be ordered on the French site of the Fnac .Its price is 27,50-euros. Regards. JCM

  7. My understanding is that Djokovic has used a repainted version of the pro-stock Head Radical MP 18×20 for all of his pro career. So he doesn’t use the Speed he endorses. Paradoxically the official endorser of the Radical – Murray – actually uses a Prestige.

  8. i further elaborated the above statistics into the following
    1. in Australian Open
    a WILSON 13
    b HEAD 11
    c ROSSIGNOL 5
    d SLAZENGER 4
    e DUNLOP 3
    f ADDIDAS 2
    g PDP 1
    h KENNEX 1
    i ESTUSA 1
    j BECKER 1
    k VOLKL 1
    l FISCHER 1
    m BABOLAT 1
    so wimbledon is leading but head is not far behind if Djoker will play like he is playing now and also Murray who is uplifting his game, both can help head to overcome wilson in 3 years

    2. in French Open
    a BABOLAT 7
    b HEAD 6
    c WILSON 5
    d DONNAY 5
    e DUNLOP 3
    f ROSSIGNOL 3
    g PRINCE 3
    h SLAZENGER 2
    i ADDIDAS 2
    j YONEX 2
    k SPALDING 1
    l WIP 1
    m SPORTIF 1
    n ADDIAS 1
    o KNEISSL 1
    p FISCHER 1
    the most wide open contest in all 4 slams but as recent result shows (King of Clay has won Internazionali BNL d’Italia finals comprehensively), head need to wait until Nadal retires.

    3. in Wimbledon
    a WILSON 20
    b DONNAY 6
    c DUNLOP 5
    d HEAD 3
    e PUMA 3
    f SLAZENGER 2
    g YONEX 2
    h BABOLAT 2
    i PRINCE 1
    j FISCHER 1
    dominance by wilson in general and by Federer and Samprass in particular as they both accounted for 14 titles

    4. In US Open
    a WILSON 22
    b HEAD 6
    c DUNLOP 4
    d SLAZENGER 3
    e ADIDAS 3
    f PRINCE 2
    g BABOLAT 2
    h ROSSIGNOL 1
    i PUMA 1
    j YONEX 1
    first (before calculating the statistics) i thought wilson would dominate in wimbledon than other 3 but surprise is that it has dominated US Open also and that by better margin. 15 out of 22 titles by 3 legends Roger Federer, Pete Samprass and Jimmy Connors. wilson owe something to Federer and Samprass

  9. Early Wilson Rackets (specifically Pro Staff midsizes) legend / myth??? say they were actually made by Donnay in Belgium prior to being fabbed in River Grove Illinois (Chicago) then St Vincent.
    Rumor or fact???
    Earliest Belgium Pro Staff midsizes were bumperless with a white grip cap code of XX B.
    Chicago Pro Staff midsizes were bumperless with a white grip cap code of XX I.
    St Vincent Pro Staff midsizes were bumperless then bumpered with a white grip cap code of XXQ, later Q XX.
    Please let me know what you think?
    Thanks

  10. Most high level players get big dollars to play with those racquets. The winner is the one with biggest budget. Maria used to play with Prince until Head bought her. Players do it all the time, they have long term contracts with the manufacturer to use and advertise their product. You should not look at the manufacturers and paint jobs but find the one that fits your playing style. Every manufacturer offers a variety of choices and only you can make your racquet win. Brands and corp. ads just cloud your minds and take your freedom away, be yourself! Pick the one YOU like unless you get paid to play with a certain brand :)

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      Agreed. We are too enamored with our favorite players racquet. I know. I’m an example

      But Roger choosing Wilson may have more to do with the fact that they are a successful brand and also that he was given a Wilson racquet to play with at a very young age and built his game around it?

  11. nice piece.

    interested what the stats are like for the women. venus, serena and evert up the count for wilson, but Navratilova and seles (Yonex) have to make Wilson less dominant than in the mens.

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