Friday August 1st, 2014

Say goodbye to the mysterious blacked-out racket that Roger Federer has used all season.

Federer will debut the Pro Staff RF97 Autograph next week at the Rogers Cup in Toronto. The 32-year-old Swiss had been playing with a matte black prototype for the 2014 season, winning two titles and making the Wimbledon final. The racket itself will be the same, just with a new look.

The man responsible for the classic red-and-black design of the racket was discovered in a forum. Peter Figasinski, a longtime tennis fan and freelance graphic designer, posted a design concept for the racket and Wilson liked it so much that the company tracked him down and hired him to a one-year contract. Figasinski sought to modernize the look of the Pro Staff frame while still paying homage to its history.

“When I saw the designs from Wilson, I knew right away that this was the look that I wanted to represent my legacy with the brand,” Federer said in a statement. “The design is young and modern, with a classic feel. It is a fitting look for the next generation of the Pro Staff rackets.”

Federer debuted a 97-square-inch racket head to start 2014 after favoring a 90-inch one for most of his career. According to Wilson, the RF97 has a 10 percent larger sweet spot than Federer's old model and includes a 26 percent wider beam, with both features helping him generate more power.

Here's a closer look at the new racket -- the first from Wilson's Autograph line since Chris Evert's in 1976 -- which is expected to be available in stores on Oct. 1:

Photo courtesy Wilson Sporting Goods Co.



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