Do you remember the first racket you ever played with?
I do. I remember playing with a very small racket – it was neon yellow and grey. I still have it at home. Soon after I started playing, my coach gave me a Yonex racket so all my career, since I was about eight years old, I’ve played with Yonex rackets.

Like fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka you’re now kitted out in Yonex after signing a head-to- toe kit deal with them this season. 
I wore adidas for four years but now I’m back wearing Yonex. I’m really happy. I’ve been playing with Yonex rackets all my life and I wore Yonex clothing when I was younger so it’s kind of like deja-vu.

You play with the EZone DR. How well does it suit your game?
I’m really happy with it. I think I have adapted to it very well. It gives me good control and power and I cannot imagine playing with anything else.

What strings do you use?
I use Yonex (Polytour HS 125) strings in the mains and in the crosses I use natural gut.

What tension do you play with?
Tension depends on the tournament and the conditions but I usually play around 28 or 27kg.

And what grip size are you? Do you grip your own rackets?
Grip size 2. I generally put my own grips on my rackets but when I don’t have time – like if I have to warm up or get changed – then my dad can do it for me.

Are you interested in racket technology?
Of course I’m interested but I try not to think about it too much. When I get a racket I just try to play with it as well as I can. I’m not an expert in these things so I just concentrate on the tennis.

Have you ever smashed a racket?
I did but I felt so sorry about it afterwards because I know how much effort goes into producing a racket. Sometimes it’s very tough on the court when you are emotionally under pressure and you have to somehow get the anger out. Sometimes I hit the racket on the ground a little bit but it doesn’t break.

What do you do with your old rackets?
I keep some of them, but I give some of them to kids at the tennis school. I also sign some for sponsors but I always keep some. I kept the one I won Junior Wimbledon with – I keep them all in the garage.

This article originally appeared in tennishead Volume 6 Issue 6. For more great features, in-depth gear reviews and stunning images subscribe to tennishead today.