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Charlie Garfinkel’s Racket Sports: Plenty of choices for holiday gifts

Phil Primerano and Lisa Noworyta are co-managers of JB’s Tennis Shop. JB’s array of tennis merchandise and overall tennis equipment is second to none in Western New York.

“Each holiday season Lisa and I are always pleased with the outstanding tennis merchandise that we see,” said Primerano. “I really feel that the different tennis products that are on the market this year will be especially welcomed by the tennis playing public.”

Some of the outstanding tennis products that are available follow.

Tennis Rackets

• Head Graphite XT Speed: One of the most innovative on the market, the racket has grommets that allow a player to adjust string patterns to create more control and spin. All three of the rackets in this series have a great feel and provide control and power. They sell for $200 apiece.

• Wilson Rackets: The new Federer rackets, especially the Pro Staff line, are extremely popular, with great playability and available in three styles ranging in price from $200-220.

• Babolat Pure Drive Play: The rise of the popularity of Babolat rackets has bordered on the miraculous. Presently, it’s the best selling racket in the country.

The next time you play tennis or watch matches on television you should notice how many players are using a Babolat racket. Babolat has developed a “smart” racket that has parameters that measure different types of ground strokes using head speed and spin. Information is fed into your mobile device and recorded.

The racket is especially popular with teaching pros because of its ability to help with technical lessons. This racket is also a must for the real aficionados of the game. The racket sells for $400.

Junior Rackets

There are many rackets available for youngsters, ranging from 21 inches for peewees, 23 inches for ages 5-6, 25 inches for ages 7-8 and 26 inches for those 9-10. There are also higher-end rackets similar to adult rackets, but they have shorter lengths and smaller grips.

Tennis tip: Be sure to take your child with you when you go to buy them a racket.


Adidas Barricade 5: Adidas is making a big comeback in the tennis shoe industry. This shoe appears to have the best durability and court feel for the really serious player. Cost is $99 for both men and women.

Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5 Tour: Although the shoe is a bit pricey at $130, an ultra-soft midsole and upper allow for incredible comfort and feel.

Prince T-22: Has an ultra-soft midsole that provides great comfort. The price is $90.

Other ideas

Squash: Due to impressive coaching, junior programs and great support from local clubs and schools, squash has seen a steady increase in the number of players of all ages. Dunlop and Head rackets, in addition to shoes and accessories, are all available at JB’s in the price range of $90-170.

Platform Tennis: Another racket sport that is gaining popularity in the WNY area. The game is played outside during the winter and can be played by players at different levels. Wilson and Viking paddles sell for $100-170.

Racquetball: LA Fitness has put 3 beautiful racquetball courts in its new facility on Sheridan Drive. There is great interest in league and recreational play. Hopefully, they will add some more courts to their other facilities in the area. Head and E Force are two of the leading brands in WNY. Both companies have a great new line of rackets and shoes. Rackets sell for $70-220, and shoes sell for $80-100.

Badminton: It’s one of the leading sports in Olympic competition and is easy on your body. Paddles range from $65 to 105.

Tennis Strings: The holiday season is an excellent time to get your racket strung. You could also do your friend or relative a big favor by also getting their rackets strung. Prices range from $19.99-$64.99 (for gut).