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View Full Version : Back in the game after 20 yrs break: Seeking advice on racket to buy..


Dr. D
08-29-2009, 09:11 PM
Hey everyone,

I am a 38 yo M. I used to play competitively until I got to college. I gave up the game for nearly 20 yrs and now have been trying to get back into the game this summer. Back in the day, I used to play with a 110 sq inch metal frame prince pro and then got a prince spectrum comp as a senior. This summer, I demo'ed a few rackets and found the power of the new rackets (Babolat) very difficult to handle. I just kept hitting the balls long. Some of it is that I am rusty (and might hit better with them now that I have been practicing for the past two months). Some of it might be that the rackets are so powerful now.

I ended up buying a 93 sq inch Wilson K Blade Tour but am not playing my best tennis to say the least. I am mis-hitting a lot since its a slightly smaller frame than what I played with back in the day and dont feel that the racket is an extension of my hand. Over the weekend, I played with a friend who happened to have an old Prince Pro metal frame and I was playing really well (for me). I had consistency, power, and feel etc... It felt so natural to play with this.

So my question is to the experts out there, what do you think is going on? Why can I play so well with this old racket and have difficulty with my Wilson and others I demo'ed. Is it a matter or weight of racket, of size of head, or stiffness, etc? The bottom line is: I would love to get advice on what contemporary rackets you all think I should demo given the improvement of my game using this old racket.

Thanks so much in advance!!

Dr. D

skyzoo
08-29-2009, 09:16 PM
Give the Radical Oversize a go. it's not to powerful and the sweetspot is big. It will give you more freedom to take cuts with out worrying about framing the ball or hitting a homerun. String it with some poly and I think you'll find a happy medium with it.

cadfael_tex
08-29-2009, 09:19 PM
I've been in a very similar position to you. The first thing to understand is what all the stats mean to your game. There are so many variables that there isn't a simple answer. The first thing I'd look at is racquets with a lower flex. Since you're use to an oversize racquet I'd also look at something over 100sq in.

Maybe describe your game a bit to help narrow down for the racquet gurus on here.

One racquet that came to mind to demo was the Prince Ozone Tour and maybe the Exo Rebel.

skyzoo
08-29-2009, 09:24 PM
I've been in a very similar position to you. The first thing to understand is what all the stats mean to your game. There are so many variables that there isn't a simple answer. The first thing I'd look at is racquets with a lower flex. Since you're use to an oversize racquet I'd also look at something over 100sq in.

Maybe describe your game a bit to help narrow down for the racquet gurus on here.

One racquet that came to mind to demo was the Prince Ozone Tour and maybe the Exo Rebel.
he shanks 93's though how would 95 be any better? Maybe the exo graphite 100

Dr. D
08-29-2009, 09:31 PM
Thanks for the tips guys. Cadfael, you asked me to describe my game. I would say I have an all-court game. At my best, I play well from the baseline, and am not at all shy about finding opportunities to come into the net. I use quite a bit of topspin from the forehand and backhand side and have a comfortable slice backhand that I mix in. I feel very comfortable at the net and look for winners at the net. I am 5'8" and so an area of weakness is my height, but i am still quite quick on the court. My main weakness right now is consistency from the baseline when I am using my wilson.

And so it makes sense that my goal now is to build my consistency back up. I feel my stroke mechanics are fairly decent, though execution is not always on. its just a matter of feel it seems. When I've played with some rackets including a racket made overseas I also played quite naturally and well: (Head Titanium ti.3100:
• 100 square inches
• 9.7 oz
• string pattern: 16/19
• length 685
• balance 325 (12.7 inches)
• beam 22 mm)

cadfael_tex
08-29-2009, 09:32 PM
True on the Rebel being 95 so scratch that probably. Exo graphite 100 would be worth a try. Stiffness of 64 is at the top of what my old arm tolerates was my only hold back on recommending it.

cadfael_tex
08-29-2009, 09:36 PM
Dr D, if you are like me, the mechanics came back pretty well but it was the movement that suffered. Is the consistency problem from being not in ideal position to produce the stroke?

If so then a lighter but still not super powerful racquet might be good, which is what I'll be looking for if my current racquet doesn't seem to be getting around quick enough.

anirut
08-29-2009, 09:43 PM
Dr. D,

Your problem's not really about missing the ball with regard to head size. It's about the racket "feel" that made you mishit.

May I suggest the TW's Donnay Pro 1 Intl. The flex and racket weight will get you back to play your "usual" tennis in no time. Don't let the 95 head scare you.

I'm also an old timer like you are and I cannot play the modern-style frames. I have to play the old-school-style frames, and with a midsize head.

Cheers!

Dangus
08-29-2009, 09:58 PM
Look no further:
http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpageRCDUNLOP-DP1INT.html

Jim A
08-30-2009, 11:34 AM
Demo a slew of racquets from TW, local club etc
rent a ball machine, hit with each, you'll know which ones you don't like right away and then hit for longer sessions with the smaller pile and keep narrowing down...when you can't decide anymore look at style/color/price

Dr. D
08-30-2009, 05:54 PM
Thanks so much for your expert advice everyone! I will definitely take up guys up on advice to demo a few of the rackets you mention. I also really like the idea of getting a ball machine and testing out a bunch of demos. Does anyone know of a place in the NYC area (have car and am definitely willing to travel, thus any of the 5 boroughs, Long Island, NJ etc works) where I can reserve a court and rent a ball machine? I realize that this might be worthy of another post in another category of the TW message board.

Gratzie,
Dr. D

pmerk34
08-30-2009, 06:23 PM
he shanks 93's though how would 95 be any better? Maybe the exo graphite 100

I shank noticeably less with my MG Prestige pro then the Kblade Tour 93. I guess 5 sq does make a big difference.

chaddles
08-30-2009, 06:28 PM
I had a 12 year break from the game, got back into it at the start of the year and now I am a 3.5er and use the Prince Speedport Black (with the hole inserts) and this suits me perfectly. Well worth a demo:

http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpageRCPRINCE-SP03BK.html

Deuce
08-30-2009, 11:00 PM
he shanks 93's though how would 95 be any better? Maybe the exo graphite 100

I shank noticeably less with my MG Prestige pro then the Kblade Tour 93. I guess 5 sq does make a big difference.
^ Headsize is not responsible for 'shanks' or mishits - especially not at the sizes of today's frames.
90 sq. in. is more than enough space to hit a tennis ball.
It's not the headsize.

Dr. D,

Your problem's not really about missing the ball with regard to head size. It's about the racket "feel" that made you mishit.
^ Nope - mishits are not about feel, either.
Mishits are the result of the racquet not being in the proper position to strike the ball... and since feel comes as the ball is struck, and not before, feel has no effect on the position of the racquet.

The main reason - by far - for mishits is that the racquet has a weight and/or balance and/or swingweight that is not right for the player.

May I suggest the TW's Donnay Pro 1 Intl. The flex and racket weight will get you back to play your "usual" tennis in no time. Don't let the 95 head scare you.

I'm also an old timer like you are and I cannot play the modern-style frames. I have to play the old-school-style frames, and with a midsize head.

^ I'm in the same boat - and I agree that the Pro One would be a good frame to try out for someone who hasn't played since racquets were much better than they are today.
The Pro One has a nice, comfortable, 'old' feel to it.

ace0001a
08-31-2009, 02:48 AM
Being around your age and remembering playing tennis in highschool during the late late '80s myself, I recall the Prince Graphite OS being one of the best large head racquets at the time. Andre Agassi, Michael Chang and Gabriella Sabatini used it. Agassi switched to Donnay in '89 and they made him a racquet called the Pro One (which is no longer made)...that racquet felt very much like the Prince Graphite OS and TW still has a limited amount of stock left on this racquet. I have one myself and I would say it's a very nice racquet that I would describe as the pinnacle of non-widebody tennis racquet technology of that era. Your next best choice would be to go for a Head Radical oversize as they have a very similar feel (at least the earlier ones did). If you're used to really swinging with a full stroke, many of today's widebody racquets are probably not a good fit for you. I'd say the best bang for the buck is the Head Liquidmetal Radical which can be had for $70. I have a Head Ti Radical OS that I use right now that I like very much.

stormholloway
08-31-2009, 03:56 AM
^ Nope - mishits are not about feel, either.
Mishits are the result of the racquet not being in the proper position to strike the ball... and since feel comes as the ball is struck, and not before, feel has no effect on the position of the racquet.

The main reason - by far - for mishits is that the racquet has a weight and/or balance and/or swingweight that is not right for the player.

I think feel is a pretty broad and subjective term. How the racquet feels can obviously be interpreted before impact. How it "feels" as you swing it through the air makes a huge difference in where the racquet ends up. The mass distribution is communicated very well during the swing.

Meaghan
08-31-2009, 04:57 AM
Prince speedport white (or pro white).
Easiest rackets on the market to use IMO.
Good at everything, spin, power, feel, serve, volley, baseline.
Pro white has a little more weight so i think thats the best bet. Dense stringpattern for control but still loads of spin.

oldnslo
08-31-2009, 05:15 AM
Fischer M. Speed Pro. No. 1 - 105 square inch frame.

This frame has everything you asked for and it isn't very expensive. It is on clearance for $79.95.

I asked a similar question on this board a couple of weeks ago. I just started back after a fifteen year hiatus. About 25 years ago, I played college tennis. I also would describe myself as an all-court player. I used the ProKennex Power Ace 93.

I recently bought the Fischer M Pro No. 1 98 and am extremely happy with it. I strung it with Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament at the high end of the recommended string tension. I have much better control and touch than I would have expected at this point.

prjacobs
08-31-2009, 05:49 AM
Dr. D. First of all, welcome back. Don't know which Babalot you demoed, but I tried the pure drive Roddick, and it had no feel for me. However, the dunlop 4D 500 tour, also a powerful light, "modern" stiff racquet, worked really well. Even with it's open string pattern, I could put the ball wherever I wanted to. I'd recommend trying a modern and traditional player's frame from all of the major brands. Well... Maybe not all... But they are very different...I briefly used a Head Flexpoint Radical, and I found the 18 X 20 pattern absolutely didn't give me as much spin as I liked. It also felt like a board in my hand. I'm in Manhattan and I can't think of any place to rent a ball machine, off hand. There used to be a place on E.12th or so, that was actually a ball machine and a 1/2 court with a wall, but I can't remember it. But, you can find out with a few phone calls:) An alternative might be to take a lesson. Then the teacher can hit you whatever shots you want. The teacher at Riverside Park in Manhattan is very good and I can give you his number if you're interested. I'm also coming back after an 8 year absence. Good luck.

anirut
08-31-2009, 09:30 AM
I think feel is a pretty broad and subjective term. How the racquet feels can obviously be interpreted before impact. How it "feels" as you swing it through the air makes a huge difference in where the racquet ends up. The mass distribution is communicated very well during the swing.

Yes, this is what I actually meant. If a racket "feels" right, i.e. weight and balance, then it helps a lot to get that feel for the racket. Upon- and post-impact is something else in this case.

V6Jim
08-31-2009, 04:20 PM
Dr. D. First of all, welcome back. Don't know which Babalot you demoed, but I tried the pure drive Roddick, and it had no feel for me. However, the dunlop 4D 500 tour, also a powerful light, "modern" stiff racquet, worked really well. Even with it's open string pattern, I could put the ball wherever I wanted to. I'd recommend trying a modern and traditional player's frame from all of the major brands. Well... Maybe not all... But they are very different...I briefly used a Head Flexpoint Radical, and I found the 18 X 20 pattern absolutely didn't give me as much spin as I liked. It also felt like a board in my hand. I'm in Manhattan and I can't think of any place to rent a ball machine, off hand. There used to be a place on E.12th or so, that was actually a ball machine and a 1/2 court with a wall, but I can't remember it. But, you can find out with a few phone calls:) An alternative might be to take a lesson. Then the teacher can hit you whatever shots you want. The teacher at Riverside Park in Manhattan is very good and I can give you his number if you're interested. I'm also coming back after an 8 year absence. Good luck.

I'm returning after a 27 year break and I've been through a similar process. I read a lot and listened to local players advice. Like you are now. However, it was really difficult to decipher the advice.

Light or heavy? Conflicting advice. Oversize or Midsize? Conflicting advice. Stiff or flexi, etc. etc.

What I did was get a good allrounder. Sounds like you need a racquet that just behave well all over the court.

I chose the Dunlop AeroGel 500 tour. (Not the 4D). Cheap (43) and it works. Good for customizing too. I'll be leading it up a bit shortly....

Jimmy

Nanshiki
08-31-2009, 04:32 PM
Buy another Spectrum Comp. I got one used for $25... still use it.

Look on the Bay.

gameboy
08-31-2009, 04:43 PM
I just went through EXACTLY the same situation as you. Same age too! My break was only 10 years though :)

I demo'ed a bunch of racquets and I ended up choosing Prince NXG OS because it felt/played similar to what I remember Prince OS racquets used to be like. And since it was so cheap at TW, I couldn't lose.

You may also want to try POG which they still sell and Graphite EXO.

VGP
08-31-2009, 04:44 PM
^^^^ +1 ^^^^

film1
08-31-2009, 05:15 PM
My guess is you are hitting the ball fairly high on the string bed and not in the sweet spot.
I played with the black prince pro in hs as well and they are forgiving on high shots where a lot of frames are not.

I would take an erasable sharpie, coat the strings, hit some balls to see where you are making contact.
If high you might you can add some lead at 10 and 2 and expand the sweet spot a little and if you want to switch I would give the prince warrior a good look.
(mp or the os)
The fischer 105 is also a good comfortable frame as a previous poster mentioned.
If you want a light game improvement os racquet the head LM8 is comfortable and forgiving.

Demo some if you can.
Hope that helps some