For the past 15 years, Solinco Sports has focused on tennis strings. The global success in space has seen the Solinco strings in the rackets of several great masters – often incognito – and now Solinco will build around that string success. The next step: rackets.
“We had this mission statement early on to give players at all levels high-performance, high-quality products, everything you need to get out there and play tennis on the equipment side,” said KT Kim, director of Solinco Sports. “The strings are where we focused and had expertise, and where we built our brand. Rackets were always on the dock.”
The 2022 launch of the Whiteout and Blackout frameworks serves as the first real entrance for rackets, an approximately four years in the making. “Our vision has always been to work at the high-performance pro level and filter down from there,” says Kim. “We wanted rackets that any top-10 player could use. That was the type of quality and performance we aimed for. If we could not reach that point, we would not have come out with anything.”
To get there, Solinco hired two leading names in racket design, including Roman Prokes, known for his racket customization when working with Andre Agassi. With the experience now in house, Solinco did not put the project on a tight schedule, but instead focused on developing a product they knew could succeed.
The launch of the Whiteout and Blackout frameworks in February 2022 set the pace for the future of Solinco rackets. From a technological point of view, Solinco 40T placed carbon fiber, the highest quality of carbon fiber available in tennis and rarely used in sports, in the 3 and 9 time positions to increase sweet spot while providing stability and strength. Crystal liquid fibers in the grip are intended to dampen vibrations.
Whiteout comes foamy in the racket frame, creating a solid feel for players generating their own racket head speed. The 98-square-inch head has weights of 290 and 305 grams.
Blackout has a Power Flex Zone that magnifies the beam width around 5 and 7 hour ranges to strengthen the area to a flex that maximizes power return to the ball, even with off-center strikes. With a 100-square-inch head, the Blackout is designed to appeal to a beginner, intermediate or professional with its range of weights from a 245 gram junior frame to a mix of adult-sized rackets up to 300 grams.
To add an extra bit of Solinco flare and bring in Prokes’ expertise, each frame comes with a weight control module. With interchangeable 5-gram and 10-gram butt cap plates, Kim says players can jump the plate out and put a new one in in seconds. “During a battle session, it allows you to play with balance and overall weight and feel for yourself,” he says. Consumers get the option to buy a slightly lighter racket and easily add weight.
While designing in Torrance, California, Solinco also had plenty of marketing discussions centered on the name of the new lines. “We’re trying to simplify things here,” Kim says. “We did not want to come out with five or six rows of rackets.” And in keeping with simplicity, Kim says they know most players – sometimes even at the pro level – do not know the name of the racket they use, but call it by brand and color.
“We have had a lot of strategy meetings and listed 100 different names,” he says. “You can call it any cool name you can think of, (players) will return to the color. Our thought process was to keep it super clean, stylish and do something most people do not and just do not have any. color on it In the process, let’s call it what it is. ”
Enter Whiteout and Blackout. “Easy enough,” Kim says. “It’s hard to forget the name.”
With a crowded frame market at the top of tennis, Solinco plans to build its racket awareness in the same way it did strictly, by taking a long-term view. The strings, with top-10 players using everything from Solinco’s popular Hyper-G to TourBite and more, have already entered at the highest level.
“We’ve had several grand slam champions, former world number 1, current top 10 players all choose to sue our products without any official contract or compensation, sometimes they spend their own money buying our products because they think “That’s what helps them play their best,” said Kim. “It’s for me a clear validation that our products are performing at the highest level out there.”
Already American Noah Rubin and 21-year-old rising Swiss player Leonie Kung play with Whiteout, and the retired Bryan brothers both practice Blackout.
“Part of our business philosophy is that if we come out with good products at a reasonable price and take a long-term approach, things will work out,” says Kim. “We’ve seen it with our strings, and we were able to build a strong following. It may take a while to get it out there, but we’ll get there.”