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View Full Version : The journey for the holy grail... in my closet


matchmaker
03-09-2008, 07:49 PM
Dear talktennis brothers,

I have decided to undertake the journey... As most of you I have been purchasing more and more racquets since I became a member of this brothership, also called forum. Taking a closer look at my weaponry I saw there were 7 excaliburs hidden in my closet, all strung. I set myself a goal: I am not going to restring any before I have broken all the strings. This will give me the opportunity to spend some real time with each racquet and not limit myself to the occasional days' demo.
The journey I set out for has to remember me what I appreciate in each frame, at the end of the road I should be able to define what my holy grail should contain: the best points of each of these frames. In order of appearance I have: 1 Volkl VE Tour 10 Mid, 1 Estusa Limited Edition, 1 Redondo Midplus, 1 Redondo Mid and 3 Wilson Reflex Mids.
This thread will ennumerate the strong points of each stick and compare them among themselves.
For anyone having questions about one of these rods, you can address them to me and I will give my 2 cents... having in mind that I will have spend about 2 months with each frame.

The road starts....

Today I broke my first set of strings on the Volkl VE Tour 10 Mid. Quite unexpectedly. It was a hybrid of Wilson Enduro Pro 17g in the mains and Wilson Sensation 16g in the crosses at 58 lbs.

What do I appreciate in this frame? Quite a lot.

The sweet spot: it has a very special and useful form: broad in the lower hoop but it extends to a somewhat narrower squarish sweetzone in the upper hoop. To summarize I could say that it is pentagonal, just like the frame. This gives a very special character to the frame. It is very apt for all kinds of serves, due to the length of the sweetspot, but on groundstrokes you can either opt for taking the balls low on the strings and putting effect on them, either for performing a "tip shot", especially nice on certain backhands.

The softeness. This frame is incredibly soft. It really allows for touch shots: drops, stop volleys, lobs,... name it if you cannot feel it with this frame, I doubt you will find it with another.

However it is only in comparison with another frame that one can know what one has. "you don't know what you have until it's gone" Sometimes you also get something better and stay with that... This being said, when my strings broke I had to go with the Estusa. So that will be my first point of comparison.

It does not have that special sweetspot. In the lower hoop it does, but there is not as much upper hoop action. Especially noticeable on servers. Conversely I feel it performs better on forehands, having more punch. It seems to hit a heavier ball than the VE Tour 10 Mid. The sweetspot is closer to the hand.

Summary, if I could take the best points of these frames I would want a frame with the sweetspot construction of the VE Tour 10 Mid and the somewhat heavier ball of the Estusa.

I will be spending the next couple of weeks with the Estusa, which will give me the occasion to post more on its performance in my hands.

The journey continues...

louis netman
03-09-2008, 08:04 PM
Sounds like a nice journey...Have fun!

anirut
03-09-2008, 08:10 PM
Matchmaker,

I have 1.5 grams (0.75 on each side) of lead under the 5th cross on the 10VE mid. Beauty! It plays a much heavier ball (with the same "usually required" swing speed of the racket) without feeling hefty or loss of maneuverability.

matchmaker
03-10-2008, 11:20 AM
Louis Netman,

It is indeed a fun journey but it also has its shadowsides. I so want to restring my VE Tour 10 Mid!!!! I really like the frame. But I will try to keep my promise.

Anirut,

Thanks for the input, I forgot to tell that mine has 5 inches on each side (enveloping the 12 central crosses) of lead tape hidden between the frame and the CAP-like protection. I put Babolat lead tape on it because it is heavier (1gr per inch). This frame is really apt to do such a thing, you cannot see it but it is there. To counterbalance this it has a leather grip and two overgrips (gripsize is 4 3/8, it took it a little too small to be able to put overgrips on it because it is difficult or rather impossible to add weight under the butt cap of Volkl Racquets). The total weight of the racquet is now 373 grams and the balance has stayed were it was.

matchmaker
03-10-2008, 11:46 AM
Some details on the Estusa I am now playing with. It is the limited edition with 18X20 string pattern. As I put a heat shrink sleeve on it to increase gripsize when I was young (I played with this frame when I was about 15/16 years old) the total weight (strung, 2 overgrips, vibration dampener) is more than the usual specs: 370 grams, but it sure seems to swing easily.

This is really a very particular frame. It is 93 s.i. in headsize (by today's standards a mid) but it says Graphite Midplus on the frame. In play it seems to have some features of a mid and some of a midplus.

Today I played with it and my experience was that this racquet has a very particular sweetspot, no wonder if you see the shape of the head. I put it against my other mid and midplus frames and none is as broad as the Estusa in the lower hoop, not even the midpluses. This gives the frame an odd character and it indeed makes you hit a little like the one player who wielded it: Boris Becker. The low sweet spot is very broad and gives you some acceleration on the ball, that is sometimes difficult to control in a way. So typically one will use a semiwestern grip and during the swing will point the elbow forward to make the ball go down.

That as to the forehand. The backhand then again: I do not find this frame very enjoyable on double-handed backhand, on one-handed backhands it is nice. (I can perform both, the backhand is my strongest shot; moreover I play with my right and with my left hand. When I play righty I use a onehander; lefty, a twohander. Do not ask me why, it just feels right that way, although I am perfectly capable of hitting a twohander with my right hand and a onehander with my left hand. I guess it is a case of volontary schizophrenia, I have another view on the game according to the hand I use) On two-handed backhands, the sweetspot seems too close to the body, also due to the fact that a twohander has less reach. On one-handed backhands it feels fine. Hitting with a straight arm this racquet will give you the opportunity to hit cross-court and down-the-line backhands (just like Becker,... well I guess some training and talent is also needed for that:))

On serves too, this racquet is difficult to compare with others. Bearing in mind that the sweetspot sits low on the strings, you lose some reach. But its width gives you the opportunity to put some nasty top-, sidespin or slice on it.

Temporary conclusion: between the two of them (VE Tour 10 mid and Estusa) I would prefer the former. Oh, that long sweetspot... However I will be spending more time with the Estusa trying to find its hot spots.

Go Tennis
03-10-2008, 12:11 PM
It is indeed a fun journey but it also has its shadowsides.

Dude, you can learn a lot with the shadowsides.
Have a nice trip.

matchmaker
03-10-2008, 05:01 PM
Dude, you can learn a lot with the shadowsides.
Have a nice trip.

It is and will be indeed a long learning process. Playing 1 or 2 a week, I will need about a year to break all the strings... Anyway, it is good for the budget.

bad_call
03-10-2008, 06:14 PM
MM - found 2 T10V Mids in my closet!! suggest u give CyberPower in the mains a try. there's a thread on it in the string forum.