Alfonso Faustino: Volkl C10 Pro to Wilson RF97A (Roger Federer)

Pardon me for not posting in a long time; I’ve been super busy with my acting career — an audition almost every single day with a one day deadline for major episodic series and major studio production feature films.

In fact, while drafting this BLOG, my agent just contacted me for an audition with a CBS television series; hence, after this BLOG, I will Zoom with my audition coach and break my scene down and shoot the audition clip to submit to CBS by tomorrow morning, 22-October-2021.

I’m truly blessed to be getting auditions almost every single day for the major television shows — as a no-name actor, this is very unique and a HUGE blessing, that I thank the Trinity every single day!

As I mentioned many times in my past, my acting career is Priority #1 above all my activities: USCG AUX, Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, and San Francisco Fire Department.

Alright, so let’s get to the strings and things of this BLOG, which I’m really excited about and using my free-time to post due to the rainy weather.

After 25+ years of using these three Volkl C10 Pro tennis racquets, I decided it was time to make a change and try something new —

rather, my coach and hitting partner, Greg, recommended I make the change; because, my tennis game changed dramatically from 25+ years ago.

After test driving several brands, I decided on the Wilson RF97A — the only racquet out in the market that is close to pro specifications, is Roger Federer’s tennis racquet.

It is heavy for most recreational players; but, for me, the RF97A is perfect; because, I’ve been playing with heavy racquets all my life as a tennis player.

Many playas purchased the RF97A thinking it would magically improve their tennis game.

They are making a very big mistake thinking this way; especially, if they decide to use the RF97A. If you are out of shape, have poor tennis strokes, and footwork, the RF97A will amplify your poor tennis strokes and footwork and make your tennis game worse — you will also injure your arm or shoulder. If you are not fit and out of shape, you will tire very fast.

Conversely, if your form and skills are sound and proper, the RF97A will amplify the soundness, effectiveness, efficiency, and beauty of your strokes, and you will get control and power without having to swing as hard to make your shots — I find the RF97A to be very efficient racquet for my level of play. Just make sure you are fit and in-shape, because the weight of this racquet can tire you out.

So, if you ain’t fit and don’t have good tennis form and technique, stick with a common retail racquet off the shelves. Invest time and money with a USPTA instructor to learn the proper way to hit a tennis ball; lay off the junk-food and get off the sofa and work-out to get fit. Do all these things before purchasing a pro-level racquet.

I like smaller racquet heads…I never used a 100 sq in nor bigger racquet heads — my Volkl C10 Pro is 98 sq in; and, I’m really happy that the Wilson RF97A is even smaller — 97 sq in.

I purchased three of them — I always purchase tennis racquets in threes — regardless of cost.

I wanna take the time to thank Sports Basement (Presidio, Stonestown, and Berkeley) for:

  • Letting me sift through their entire inventory so I can get three matching tennis racquets;
  • Letting me pop the trap-door to ensure the shaft was filled with 100% foam according to Wilson and Roger Federer’s specifications; and,
  • Letting me weight each racquet in their inventory to ensure that all my three racquets weighed the same according to Roger Federer’s specifications.

It took me five hours to get these three tennis racquets from three different Sports Basements. I got three RF97As that all match in grip size, static weight, swing weight, and they all have foam in the shaft.

The nice thing about the Wilson RF97A is that the specs are allegedly used by Roger Federer — for me, even if it isn’t like Roger Federer’s actual racquets, the RF97A fits my swing style.

Before you purchase the RF97A, consider if swinging a 360-gram tennis racquet is something you can do for over an hour. I can swing this racquet with no problem at high-intensity and my normal racquet-head-speed for three hours without a break; I can do this cuz I’m extremely fit; I don’t “arm” my strokes; I play everyday at high intensity; I’ve been playing since I was four years old; and, I’m constantly under coaching supervision with each daily hit.

The thing that I most like about the RF97A is that the weight is nicely balance throughout the racquet; hence, I really don’t think I need to make any adjustments.

The thing that I dislike the most about the RF97A is the lack of quality control, which will negatively affect players at my level and above.

During my research of the RF97A, I called Wilson, and they told me that not all the RF97As are made to stated specifications — the racquets can be 10 grams off from the stated racquet specifications on the light or heavy side; and, that + or – 10 grams is considered acceptable and within tolerance.

Are YOU FUCKING kidding me?!!! 10 grams is A LOT of weight difference — especially, on the plus side; because, you can’t adjust a racquet to be lighter when it is produced from the factory — if it is -10 grams, still not the best, but a player can add more weight to it using silicone and/or lead tape to make up for the -10 gram weight loss.

That’s the reason it took me five hours and driving to three different Sports Basements to make sure I got a batch of three RF97As that exactly matched Roger Federer’s racquet specifications.

After that, I had to bring all three racquets to my tennis acquaintance to make sure the swing weight was close to the same in all three racquets — for my level and players above me, SWING WEIGHT is key and it is one of the most important features in the racquet. The static weight of the racquet is important, as well, but the swing weight is more important, which is the reason that +/- 10 grams is NOT a good level of quality control from Wilson — ESPECIALLY AT $279 PER RACQUET!!!!

No wonder Tennis Warehouse charges $10-$20 dollars to match racquets for their customers that purchase more than one racquet of the same make. It’s a pain in the fucking ass to match racquets having recently gone through the experience myself!

The final thing I don’t like about the RF97A is that the handle is suppose to be filled with 100% foam…if you open the trap door and look into the handle, some RF97As are filled with half foam and half silicone.

Wilson told me that all RF97A racquet handles should be 100% filled with foam. I asked them for a reason as to some RF97A racquets had half foam and half silicone — they didn’t know the answer.

As long as my three racquets are made to Roger Federer’s stated specifications, I’m happy and that’s all I care about. I’m looking forward to striking the tennis ball with my new stick, and I will update this BLOG with my assessment — I know it will be a great fit for me.

Notwithstanding the variance in weight, benefits and features of the RF97A are outstanding.

The exposed Carbon Fibre is at the tip of the loop — very classy and sporty looking.

I really like the RF97A being entirely black — it looks classy and an intimidating weapon.

I really dig the RF97A’s swing-weight — so nicely balanced. I doubt I will need to add additional weight, but I will know for certain during my hit with it after the rain lets up.

I like that the RF97A’s WILSON logo is black and blends in with the black frame of the racquet — it doesn’t pop out; so, from a distance, you don’t see “WILSON” like you do with the Wilson Blades and other Wilson racquets.

Finally, the main reason I dig and chose the RF97A is because it is close to the SAME specs that Roger Federer uses. How cool is that?

The thought that I’m swinging a racquet that has close to the same specs as Roger Federer is pretty cool to me; and, surprisingly, Roger Federer’s racquet specifications are similar to my own racquet static and swing weights.

Like I mentioned, even though Roger Federer and Wilson market the RF97A to be Roger Federer’s specs, I really don’t believe it. Rather, I believe the the off-the-shelf RF97A is a baseline or minimum specifications Roger Federer uses prior to tuning his actual Wilson RF97A. As he mentioned himself, he modified the weight of his racquets with lead tape.

So, I gotta bounce out of here to memorize my lines for tomorrow’s audition and for my meeting with my audition coach tonight at midnight.

Check 6! and Break a leg!

Once I hit with the RF97As, I will update this BLOG; and, maybe, I will post a video clip of my hits.

/s/ Alfonso Faustino