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volleyman
05-01-2005, 08:02 PM
This last week I started my quest for a racquet to temporarily (?) replace my Slazenger X-1s. According to my shoulder, I need something lighter, at least for a while.

I'm a 4.0 player, with a serve-and-volley/all-court game. Serve, net game and forehand are my strengths, and I'm trying to make the move to a 1-handed-backhand after years of pendulating between the one-hander and the two-hander.

First up were the Wilson Hyper Pro Staff Tour 95, the Yonex MP-2i and the Head LiquidMetal Radical MP. And the LM Radical didn't even last 10 minutes. The feel, especially on the backhand, just was not right for me. It promptly went back into the TW demo box.

So, two contenders were left, the Tour 95 and the MP-2i. The relevant stats from the TW Product pages are:


Yonex MP-2i
Head Size: 102 sq. in. / 658 sq. cm.
Length: 27.5 inches / 70 cm
Strung Weight: 11oz / 312g
Balance: 5pts Head Light
Swingweight: 312
Stiffness: 65
Beam Width: 24-25 mm
Composition: Ultra High Modulus Graphite/Ultimum Ti
String Pattern: 16 Mains / 18 Crosses

Wilson Hyper Pro Staff Tour 95
Head Size: 95 sq. in. / 613 sq. cm.
Length: 27 inches / 69 cm
Strung Weight: 11.5oz / 326g
Balance: 7pts Head Light
Swingweight: 325
Stiffness: 62
Beam Width: 20 mm Straight Beam
Composition: 80% Graphite / 20% Braided Kevlar
String Pattern: 16 Mains / 19 Crosses


Both racquets are 4 1/2 grips, with two overgrips. The Yonex was strung with 16 gauge Wilson NXT something - the standard TW demo string - and the Tour 95 was strung with Yonex Tour 850 Pro 16.

So how'd they compare? I'll give you the conclusion first. If you want the blow-by-blow, you can keep reading.

Overall

The Tour 95 suits my game much better than the MP-2i. That's not to say that there isn't a lot to like about the MP-2i. It's an excellent racquet, but one that suits a power baseliner who attacks the net ocassionally, rather than a serve-and-volley player.

A major difference between the two was the heaviness of the shots they produced. For example, while the MP-2i produced consistently deeper groundstrokes, the Tour 95 produced heavier strokes: more pace, spin and penetration. My slice shots skidded more and stayed lower with the Tour 95; my topsin shot jumped harder. My serves were heavier and my volleys had more authority with the Tour 95.

The Tour 95 also provided more control and more comfort. It was also the more manueverable racquet - despite what the relative swingweights would indicate. Compared to the Tour 95, the MP-2i felt slightly cumbersome and slow. I noticed this primarily in two places: volleys and on my backhand. The MP-2i seems to really want a two-handed backhand.

That said, MP-2i has some impressive strengths. The sweetspot is huge, comfort is good, the racquet is stable and it's easy to produce consistently deep groundstrokes. Topspin is easy to generate, and kick serves really hop. It's good at throwing up defensive lobs. In absolute, rather than comparitive terms, manueverability is good. I survived some fast-paced net exchanges in doubles with MP-2i. It's defintely worth a demo.


Comfort and Feel

The winner here was the Tour 95. I could feel the ball so much better than with the MP-2i. In fact, the Tour 95 felt a lot more flexible than the MP-2i - more than the 3 point stiffness difference would seem to indicate.

As for comfort, the MP-2i is a very comfortable racquet. It's well, perhaps overly, damped. I noticed no excess vibration. This is partly because the sweet spot is huge - it feels like almost the entire face of the racquet.

But again, the Tour 95 proved to be the better racquet. Despite the excellent feel, I felt no harsh vibrations. And whereas I noticed some forearm discomfort after hitting backhands with the MP-2i, I noticed no such discomfort when hitting backhands using the Tour 95.

Groundstrokes

This was the closest category. The MP-2i produces consistently deeper shots for me. Topspin was easy to produce, and slice was decent. Control was good. Lobs were consistently deep.

However, despite the extra depth, my groundstrokes seemed to lack weight. They were deep, but not penetrating. My slice didn't bite as much and stay as low as I'd like.

With the Tour 95, I was unable to get my groundstrokes as consistently deep. However, I had greater directional control, and my shots had more penetrating power. My slice bit hard and stayed low. The topspin drives jumped more.

Most importantly, I seemed to hurt my opponents more with my shots - except for lobs. I was having trouble getting those deep enough until late this afternoon, when I finally hit a few good topspin lobs.

For me the Tour 95 wins here, by a hair. My goal for my groundstroke game is to create a short ball that I can attack and follow to the net. I was able to do this more often with the Tour 95 than with the MP-2i.

Volleys and Overheads

Both racquets volleyed well. Both did really well on half-volleys, which is an important criteria for me. As a net rusher, I have to dig up a lot half-volleys: a racquet that's not manueverable enough and stable enough to allow me to half-volley effectively and consistently is worthless.

Both racquets also produced good results on overheads. I got good power and placement out of both of them.

However, the Tour 95 was the clear winner here. It's the more nimble racquet at the net. It also provides better touch, control and put away power than the MP-2i. The MP-2i is good...the Tour 95 is superb.

Serves

The MP-2i game me good control, consistency and decent pace. I even got some wicked kick serves out of it. But, despite the extended length, I just couldn't overwhelm my opponents with my serve. I never lost serve, but I faced a fair few screaming returns.

In comparison, I was able to produce much more pace and overall heavier serves with the Tour 95. Control was quite good, as was consistency, spin was excellent and the returns coming back were distinctly weaker.

Returns

Both racquets did well here, especially on the forehand side. However, when it came to backhand returns, the Tour 95's superior manueverability produced better results. The heavier ball the Tour 95 produced also made my forehand returns more effective.

Remember folks - these are my opinions, based on my playing style and strokes. It's possible for you to have a totally different impression of these racquets, and for both of us to be right. :-)

carTW
05-02-2005, 05:40 AM
Thanks volleyman. Looks like the Tour95 is more stable and comfortable than some other posts indicate.
How does it compare with the Slazenger X1 (stability, comfort, stiffness, upper hoop power)?

volleyman
05-02-2005, 06:26 AM
I'll put together something detailed comparing the Tour 95 and the X-1 in a week or two. I have a couple other racquets I want to demo, and I haven't swung the Slazenger in two weeks.

Given that, my impressions are that the two are indeed close: The X-1 has a more damped feel, is a touch more stable and provides more crunch on overheads; the Tour 95 has an edge in manueverability, puts less strain on my shoulder and is enabling me to put more pace on my serves.

Steve F.
05-02-2005, 12:31 PM
Very nice write-up volleyman, maybe TW will post this on the racquet pages as well. Nice of you to note the strings they came with as well in there as well. Bit odd that the Wilson had the Yonex string and vice versa. I've got that Yonex 850 Tour in my MP1 and I've found it to provide much better control for the amount of pop it has.

volleyman
05-02-2005, 07:04 PM
Very nice write-up volleyman, maybe TW will post this on the racquet pages as well. Nice of you to note the strings they came with as well in there as well. Bit odd that the Wilson had the Yonex string and vice versa. I've got that Yonex 850 Tour in my MP1 and I've found it to provide much better control for the amount of pop it has.

The MP-2i was a TW Demo. The Tour 95 was an impulse buy from the TW For Sale board. It ended up strung with the Yonex string through an annoying series of events not worth relating here.

As for the Yonex 850 Tour string, I think I'm beginning to like it. I had it strung way too high - 58 lbs - at first, and there was just no power. After play session 1, I stepped on the stringbed to loosen it up. That helped a little, but it was still too tight during play session two. Finally, by play session three, the tension had dropped enough that I was finally getting some power out of it.

This seems to indicate better than average tension maintenance for a multi. :-) Control and spin are still good, and it seems to be wearing slowly. The next string I put in here will be a 17 gauge, and I'm looking forward to seeing if it makes a noticeable difference in control, power and spin.