Gaël Monfils took his tennis gear sponsorship in a decidedly French direction in 2022, signing with Decathlon’s tennis brand, Artengo, for all his gear, including apparel, shoes and rackets. Artengo has since released the new TR960 Control Tour, the racket Monfils has put his name behind.
Pictured as a control-oriented frame, Artengo’s latest entry into rackets is one of the brand’s most professionally minded. Since Decathlon, the French-based sporting goods retailer, first started Artengo in 2006, it has offered equipment with a focus on affordability, often with entry-level pricing and technology for tennis players. The brand believes it has married both affordability—the TR960 Control Tour is priced at $159—and professional-level technology with the Monfils-backed design.
“His racket is the same one that is available to consumers,” says Fabien Belfils, tennis sport manager at Decathlon. “Gael’s racket uses the same components and material that are used for all Artengo rackets in the market.”
The 10.8-ounce TR960 features a low rigidity—it has a stiffness rating of 65—and consistently thin beam to bolster the control-oriented features. The 98-square-inch design comes in both a more powerful 16×19 string pattern and a more control-oriented 18×20 version.
Belfils says the brand’s MPO technology—mass polar optimization—distributes mass inside the racket frame for optimal balance between handling and stability on impact, a technology common across the Artengo lines. The head-light nature of the TR960 also features spin-encouraging grommet movement.
Belfils says part of keeping costs on products down is limiting sponsorship partners and being large enough to control the entirety of the supply chain from product creation and distribution all the way to the consumer.
Before Monfils agreed to his Artengo deal, Belfils says Monfils blind tested different rackets from a variety of brands. “That’s when Gaël and Artengo decided to partner up,” Belfils says.
“It’s a new adventure, a new page, a new chapter working with Artengo,” Monfils says. “Working with motivated people who are passionate about your sport is a great pleasure.”
When crafting the TR960, which launched to consumers in August, Artengo designers applied “minor modifications” to match Monfil’s expectations and worked with the French tennis star to align the main color and purple accents on the racket to his liking. The only difference between the racket Monfils uses and the one available to consumers, according to Belfills, is a cosmetic that includes a specific logo and a quote placed on the frame.
“For me,” Monfils says, “this is more than a partnership.”