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View Full Version : SP Black, SP Tour, AeroPro Cortex, MG Rad Pro - Initial Impressions


TripleB
01-29-2008, 05:48 AM
I took the 4 demos I received yesterday out for their initial play last night for about 2 hours. My initial opinions of these four racquets are found below:

Prince Speedport Black String Hole: This racquet weighed in at 332 grams with a rubberband and an overgrip and the racquet plays every bit of the 332 grams and felt almost even balanced. I hit my inside out forehand better with this racquet than any racquet ever. Control from the baseline was excellent (I know, completely different from TW's thoughts) and power was more than adequate. As stated in the Bryan's thoughts on the racquet, it pumps up your service speed a good amount (so mine went from about 43 mph up to 51 mph). Volleys were a little difficult for me to control....just a bit too much power and not enough touch. Overall I played very well with this racquet but had problems with balls hit above the sweetspot---very dead feeling up there and the racquet had an unusual amount of vibration with balls hit anywhere near the frame. Others have mentioned the strange pinging sound of the racquet with the SP Black...yes it's there. When warming up it was very noticeable but during play I didn't give it a second thought. Topspin/slice/kick were all excellent with this racquet. Overall a very good racquet in which I'd need to experiment with lowering the tension and putting in some Yonex string.

AeroPro Drive Cortex: good power but as I've found with some other Babolats, very tiny feeling sweetspot. Balls hit anywhere near the frame gave me a feeling that the racquet was made out of plastic. As with the original Babolat Pure Drive, I never felt like I had enough mass coming through the hitting zone to make my strokes penetrating enough. Slice was incredible, bit hard, and stayed low. Touch was much better than I was expecting and maneuverability was a strong point...probably second best in the bunch (behind the Head). Serves had some pop but when I tried to kick my second serve balls tended to either fly or end up in the net. Just didn't seem to be any consistency to the power level of the racquet. I don't feel my swing is consistent enough to get the full potential out of this racquet. By far my least favorite racquet out of the bunch.

Head MicroGel Radical Pro: I had tried this racquet once before and wanted to see how it stacked up to another 11.7 ounce racquet (O3 SP Tour). This racquet offers excellent spin (top/slice), incredible maneuverability for an 11.7 ounce racquet (the 319 swingweight is probably a little too high), and awesome touch. The problem for me with this racquet is that there is a lack of power compared to the other 3 racquets, as well as racquets I've played with in the past. Although it's power rating from the TW review is 75, I think it's power level is equal to that of my Yonex RDX500 Midplus (I'd give it probably a 70 or so). However I get more power out of the Yonex because it just seems more solid coming through the ball (swingweight feels like it's a good 10-15 points higher). The weight of my RDX500 MP and the Head MG Rad Pro are identical (both 341g). Groundstrokes are solid, depth was average, easy to whip the racquet for crosscourt shots, but at times the upper hoop felt extremely dead.

Prince O3 Speedport Tour String Hole: this is the racquet I didn't get a chance to play with as much as I would have liked last night but I'll go ahead an give you my thoughts after my brief hitting. Very solid from the baseline and nice touch at net. Not as powerful as the Babolat or O3 SP Black but it has good power when you need it. I served more consistently with this racquet than with the Head or Babolat. Spin was very good with slice being a bit better than topspin. Some have mentioned the Prince Original Graphite Mid in the same breath as this one so I pulled out my old POG Mid to see how the two compared. As far as weight the POG weighed in at 350g and the O3 Tour at 344g. Manueverability wasn't even close...the POG mid was much more maneuverable. Obviously with its 14x18 string pattern the POG mid offered better top and slice. Touch was excellent with the O3 Tour but the "softened" feel compared to the POG Mid would take some getting used to. Groundstrokes had excellent control and nice power, but not that penetrating (heavy top with power) characteristic that the POG Mid offers. I'll be playing some more with this racquet either Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and/or Sunday so I'll add more thoughts when I've had more time on the court.

One thing I was suprised out was the success I had with the heavier racquets last night (POG Mid included). It makes me think that I may not be too old yet :) to handle a 12 ounce racquet if it offers good maneuverability.

TripleB

martin
01-29-2008, 09:44 AM
You also tried the original apd. Did you think that the apdc was an improvement over the original and if you compare the apdc with the rds002 or pure storm. Do you think that the apdc more power?

A_Instead
01-29-2008, 09:57 AM
You should also try a Head Microgel Extreme Pro and the Dunlop Aerogel 500 Tour. Both to are nice offerings. The Head swings easier than its specs indicate and hits a nice heavy ball.

1012007
01-29-2008, 10:17 AM
So what do you like the best? SP Black??

Have you tried any Tecnifibre rackets? What are they like compared with these 4?

martin
01-29-2008, 03:36 PM
You also tried the original apd. Did you think that the apdc was an improvement over the original and if you compare the apdc with the rds002 or pure storm. Do you think that the apdc more power?

TripleB

Can you give a comparison between the pd with and without cortex and the apd(c)
BTW. I really think you should demo the yonex RDS 003
So many positive reviews and you still haven't tried that one.

bertrevert
01-29-2008, 04:32 PM
It makes me think that I may not be too old yet :) to handle a 12 ounce racquet if it offers good maneuverability.

Well you've hit for two hours and handled different grip shapes at the same time, so that bodes well.

Question is, during the demo were you playing difficult points with the peaks and troughs a match inevitably throws up? Did you're opponent hit a red hot streak? Did you get down on yourself and have to drag yourself up? Were you tense, did you have unexpected rallies, did the sun beat down - these are all just some of the things that can contribute to a 12oz racquet feeling like a 20oz beast. Heh heh, 12oz is entriely doable so long as the manouverability is there though.

For me, I know 12oz in matches under the summer sun created cramp in my forearm, stressed the fan of muscle across my back, and caused me when tired to hyper-extend my elbow the wrong way on my 1HBH. Pretty darn important to get the weight right wouldn't you say?

bad_call
01-29-2008, 05:03 PM
...For me, I know 12oz in matches under the summer sun created cramp in my forearm, stressed the fan of muscle across my back, and caused me when tired to hyper-extend my elbow the wrong way on my 1HBH. Pretty darn important to get the weight right wouldn't you say?

after watching the AO and hearing about the baking weather there, i think a 9 game match would be it for me...then onto the beach surfboard in hand. hey if u didn't know Mick Fanning (Aussie) won the world surfing title last go round.

TripleB
01-30-2008, 04:47 AM
You also tried the original apd. Did you think that the apdc was an improvement over the original and if you compare the apdc with the rds002 or pure storm. Do you think that the apdc more power?

The AeroPro Drive with Cortex is a much improved version of the original. Not as many hot spots, seems easier on the arm, slightly softer feel, and touch is quite a bit better.

As far as power (IMO): APDC > RDS002 > Pure Storm. IMO the RDS002 is the superior racquet of these three by a huge margin.

TripleB

TripleB
01-30-2008, 04:50 AM
So what do you like the best? SP Black??

Have you tried any Tecnifibre rackets? What are they like compared with these 4?

The only Tecnifibre racquet I've hit with is the 290: http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/playtests/TRIPB07.html

I would say it's a toss up between the Black and the Tour. I really didn't get enough court time with the Tour on Monday but from what little I hit with it I liked it. I would have to tinker with string and tension on the Black to see if I could get rid of the sound and incredibly unstable feel with balls hit at the top of the frame. The Black reminds me a lot of the Prince More Control DB800 except it seems a bit easier on the arm. I had my best results Monday with the Black but there's just something about it that seems unstable.

TripleB

TripleB
01-30-2008, 04:55 AM
Question is, during the demo 1) were you playing difficult points with the peaks and troughs a match inevitably throws up? 2) Did you're opponent hit a red hot streak? 3) Did you get down on yourself and have to drag yourself up? 4) Were you tense, 5) did you have unexpected rallies, 6) did the sun beat down - these are all just some of the things that can contribute to a 12oz racquet feeling like a 20oz beast. Heh heh, 12oz is entriely doable so long as the manouverability is there though.

For me, I know 12oz in matches under the summer sun created cramp in my forearm, stressed the fan of muscle across my back, and caused me when tired to hyper-extend my elbow the wrong way on my 1HBH. 7) Pretty darn important to get the weight right wouldn't you say?

1) Yes
2) Yes, a couple
3) Yes, but I didn't pull myself up very well at all
4) Yes
5) Yes
6) No, it was night time
7) Yes, but sometimes you just can't tryout a racquet in all types of weather. It's hard to have the racquets a week and get to experience 40 degree weather, 95 degree weather, calm wind, 25 mph wind, 5% humidity, 99% humidity, etc. Sometimes you just have to try them when they're in stock and you have the time.

TripleB

TripleB
01-31-2008, 03:55 AM
After 2.5 more hours on the court last night...the Prince O3 Speedport Black is by far my favorite out of the bunch but it isn't perfect.

I get excellent pop on serves and groundstrokes, topspin/slice/kick are all excellent with this racquet, and control is much better than I expected after reading the TW review.

The one thing that I just can't get used too is the sound of the racquet at impact. Even when I seem to hit it flush it almost sounds like a mishit. There were times last night where my opponent even mentioned..."great shot, but it didn't sound like you hit it solid!" Maybe with a reduced tension or my typical Yonex string (instead of Prince Synthetic Gut) the feel and sound would be better.

I've gotta send the AeroPro Drive and MicroGel Radical Pro onto my friend for the weekend so I'll not get a chance to hit with either of them this weekend. Neither one were to my liking anyway so no big loss.

TripleB

galatti
01-31-2008, 07:02 AM
After 2.5 more hours on the court last night...the Prince O3 Speedport Black is by far my favorite out of the bunch but it isn't perfect.

I get excellent pop on serves and groundstrokes, topspin/slice/kick are all excellent with this racquet, and control is much better than I expected after reading the TW review.

The one thing that I just can't get used too is the sound of the racquet at impact. Even when I seem to hit it flush it almost sounds like a mishit. There were times last night where my opponent even mentioned..."great shot, but it didn't sound like you hit it solid!" Maybe with a reduced tension or my typical Yonex string (instead of Prince Synthetic Gut) the feel and sound would be better.

I've gotta send the AeroPro Drive and MicroGel Radical Pro onto my friend for the weekend so I'll not get a chance to hit with either of them this weekend. Neither one were to my liking anyway so no big loss.

TripleB

I've sold my Black and bought a APDC. Much better racket IMO in every aspect. Besides, that sound that the black produces is very annoiyng.

TripleB
01-31-2008, 08:13 AM
For me, I know 12oz in matches under the summer sun created cramp in my forearm, stressed the fan of muscle across my back, and caused me when tired to hyper-extend my elbow the wrong way on my 1HBH.

After playing with my POG Mid again last night I really love the solid feel of a 12+ ounce racquet (350g to be exact) so I'm going to demo a few: Avery M3 Control, Fischer M Pro #1 98, Head MicroGel Prestige Pro, and Wilson KSix-One 95 16x18.

For doubles I plan to stick with my Head LM Radical Midplus racquets just for quickness and touch but I may look at going with a 12+ ounce racquet for singles...so much more consistent for me.

TripleB

tedescm
01-31-2008, 08:22 AM
After 2.5 more hours on the court last night...the Prince O3 Speedport Black is by far my favorite out of the bunch but it isn't perfect.

I get excellent pop on serves and groundstrokes, topspin/slice/kick are all excellent with this racquet, and control is much better than I expected after reading the TW review.

The one thing that I just can't get used too is the sound of the racquet at impact. Even when I seem to hit it flush it almost sounds like a mishit. There were times last night where my opponent even mentioned..."great shot, but it didn't sound like you hit it solid!" Maybe with a reduced tension or my typical Yonex string (instead of Prince Synthetic Gut) the feel and sound would be better.

I've gotta send the AeroPro Drive and MicroGel Radical Pro onto my friend for the weekend so I'll not get a chance to hit with either of them this weekend. Neither one were to my liking anyway so no big loss.

TripleB


I also have a Prince SP Black and I have very similar impressions. The racquet is great at the baseline and the serves are very powerful. I found the control on groundstrokes and serves to be as good as any other racquet.

The down side is volleying. The racquet has alot of power any many of my volleys go long.

Not sure what to do about that! If I use tighter strings I get more control but then lose on power….what’s a guy to do?

ollinger
01-31-2008, 08:53 AM
BBB
If the ground hog sees his shadow, it's six more weeks (years?) of demos.

TripleB
01-31-2008, 09:03 AM
BBB
If the ground hog sees his shadow, it's six more weeks (years?) of demos.

You know what? When I was looking at some heavier racquets to demo, the Fischer M Pro #1, the Wilson KFactor KSix-One 95 16x18, and the Head MicroGel Prestige Pro were three I knew that I wanted to try.

After that I went through every manufacturer and every racquet looking for anything that might possibly be something I wanted to try that I hadn't already....I COULDN'T FIND ANYTHING!!!!

That's how I came up with the Avery to try....never tried an Avery racquet before so I made it my 4th. But after looking at the specs it seems it might be a POG Mid clone with a slightly larger head....I might end up liking it.

TripleB