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View Full Version : Recommendations for a second racquet, ~3.0 player


bkpr
03-14-2012, 09:31 PM
Hello.

I'm looking for a backup racquet to swap out mainly for when a string breaks during a session but also to test different strings/tensions to speed up the process of finding a string setup I'm comfortable with. I've been lurking long enough in the forums to know racquet recommendations are absolutely subjective, nevertheless I'm hoping to draw upon the wisdom and experience of the forum goers.

Me:
I'm an 'advanced beginner' or maybe intermmediate (?), playing for about 9 months, 4–8 hours per week. I'd guess my rating is ~3.0. With professional coaching I'm still perfecting my strokes but have the basics fairly sorted. I mainly play from the baseline but enjoy running up to the net when I recognise the opportunity. My stroke is long and at medium speed, but Im working on speeding it up as I feel my hard shots are not hard enough, (especially for a 6'2 broad shouldered frame). I play 1HBH. Currently I'm not hitting topspin consistently and as a result am hitting long fairly often. (I realise this is most likely due to my slowly improving technique). I play about 75/25% singles/doubles.

Current racquet:
I use a Volkl Organix 4 which I like, but it feels a bit clunky (however I have nothing to compare this experience to). When I purchased this racquet I had it strung with Prince Synthetic Gut 16 at mid tension (53lbs), which felt very stiff to me. I then restrung with Dunlop M-Fil 16 @ 53 and it felt much better. Since then I've tried M-Fil at different tensions and am currently trying Wilson NXT 17 which I like but am concerned about durability.

Your task (should you choose to accept it):
Offer a recommendation of a second/backup racquet, that either
a) plays similarly to the Organix 4, i.e, another intermediate racquet, or
b) might be a step up from the Organix 4 in terms of control, maybe a 100sq head size, with the possible result of it becoming my primary racquet.

Limitations:

I live in Malaysia so there are certain brands which are common: Babolat, Dunlop, Head, and Wilson. Volkl is not available here. I ordered mine from TW after reading every review on the internet. I'm happy to order another Volkl if the recommendations are strong, but I'd prefer to get something locally (and used) so those four brands might be the way to go.
I'm not afraid to go for something a few years old, i.e., not a current model. There seems to be a decent supply of used older racquets here in MY.
Money is not really an issue but my wife's stink-eye kinda is… :P


I'm kinda shooting in the dark as no store offers play testing here in Kuala Lumpur. This is why I'd prefer a popular brand, and preference to buy used, in case it doesn't work out. I can then sell it fairly easily and try another.

If you can offer a recommendation, I'd very much appreciate it.

Thanks in advance!
Bart

bkpr
03-14-2012, 09:40 PM
Addendum:

Babolat, Dunlop, Head, and Wilson

And Prince, I think I've seen some Prince racquets in stores.
Not many stores would carry the less 'popular' racquets, however I may be able to find them.

bkpr
03-14-2012, 09:41 PM
Not many stores would carry the less 'popular' racquets…

By racquets I mean 'models'. Not many stores would carry the less 'popular' models…

(sorry for all the corrections, I can't work out how to edit a post).

Chyeaah
03-14-2012, 10:37 PM
My advice is stop being so concerned with the racquet unless you really need another one. Spend more time perfecting your strokes.

What i do is every 1.0 level you increase get a new racquet, until your 4.5 then every 0.5 NTRP to 5.5 get a new racquet, at 6.0 just do whatever you like.

bkpr
03-14-2012, 11:10 PM
I take your point, but I want a second racquet for when I break the strings on the first. A backup, so I can continue to play the session.

For this reason the exact racquet probably isn't that important, but if I'm going to get one, I might as well illicit some opinions from people with experience so I don't buy something that is completely wrong for me.

lgbalfa
03-14-2012, 11:13 PM
just get the same racquet that you currently have.

if you break a string during a match at least when you pick up the other one it will feel the same.

like chyeaah said, at your level, strokes are the most important thing right now.

i am a 3.5 and i was obsessed with racquets and fine tuning them until i realized the equipment won't make me better, practice will.

if you really want to get a different racquet, i would suggest you pick up a few at the local pro shop in your area and demo them.

bkpr
03-14-2012, 11:22 PM
just get the same racquet that you currently have.

Thanks for the advice, ideally I would. But as I wrote, Volkl isn't stocked in Malaysia at all, only the more popular brands. Buying overseas with shipping to Malaysia would make a second racquet unnecessarily expensive.

if you really want to get a different racquet, i would suggest you pick up a few at the local pro shop in your area and demo them.

There are no stores I've found in Malaysia that play test racquets.

Chyeaah
03-14-2012, 11:31 PM
3.0. Break Strings, you can't put them into the same sentence unless it is, a 3.0 can not break strings, or a 3.0 tries to hit hard but shanks and breaks a string.

Just get an old racquet or the cheapest you can find, your not playing tourney's so just restring when it's broken.

bkpr
03-14-2012, 11:38 PM
3.0 can not break strings
I beg to differ. I'm certainly not more than a 3.0.

or a 3.0 tries to hit hard but shanks and breaks a string.
Probably the case.

Just get an old racquet or the cheapest you can find
Probably the best idea.

your not playing tourney's so just restring when it's broken.
I'd prefer to keep playing. A don't want a busted string to cut my fun.

canadad
03-14-2012, 11:49 PM
Welcome to Talk Tennis!
I have not had any experience with the Organix 4 or similar racquets, but TW seems to recommend the following as similar on their website among others:
Babolat AeroPro Lite GT (http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Babolat_AeroPro_Lite_GT/descpageRCBAB-BAPLGT.html)
Babolat Pure Drive 107 GT (http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Babolat_Pure_Drive_107_GT/descpageRCBAB-PD1079.html)
Prince EXO3 Hornet Midplus 100 (http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Prince_EXO3_Hornet_Midplus_100/descpageRCPRINCE-XO3HMP.html)Wilson BLX Surge (http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Wilson_BLX_Surge/descpageRCWILSON-WBLXS.html)
Head YOUTEK Mojo (http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Head_YOUTEK_Mojo/descpageRCHEAD-YTMOJ.html) (a guy where I play used this as a beginner all the way to becoming a high 3.5)

However, when I started(as a kid in the late 80's) I did not seek out the most forgiving racquet. I played with whatever, from wood to metal to graphite, midsize to oversize, etc. Getting the fundamentals are what is important. I truly believe that I made the greatest strides in my own fundamentals with a racquet that was low powered and had a smaller head. I would just be careful about racquets that are really high powered and 'clunky' as you say. As your technique improves, I presume you will develop a longer swing style and in turn need some control. It has been a while since I was a beginner, but I could only imagine that it would be frustrating to learn using a racquet that is power over control. The advice I would offer a friend would be to get a racquet that is described as intermediate, suited for medium to fast swing speed and head size in the 100 ballpark.
Good luck and I have fun playing this great game.

tata
03-15-2012, 02:46 AM
Dude just get anything that tickles your fancy. I use an exo tour but i use an exo graphite mid for back up or 'fun' since i don't really play competitive tournaments or anything.

I got a big curious and decided to get something radically different to my main racquet and i have to adjust my strokes when i decide to change over to muck around with.

If you want to use something different to sort of widen the variety and experience different frames i would suggest something close or similar so that your strokes are still fine with it.

For me i struggle keeping the ball inside the baseline using my exo graphite 93. So to not mess up your strokes and confuse your muscular memory, go with something similar.

Chyeaah
03-15-2012, 02:52 AM
What i would do is get a cheap decent graphite racquet like a discontinued or a already used 2nd hand one for around $20-40. Instead of dishing out in the hundreds for these new things. Odds are your game will change very often at 3.0, your still finding your game so you don't want to buy a high priced racquet for a baseliner and then find out your an all courter or serve and volley. Preferably a 100 sq in since you wouldn't want to be playing with an oversize later in your tennis life, might as well get used to a 100 sq in.

bkpr
03-15-2012, 03:21 AM
Thanks for the advice, all makes sense.

I suppose I'm just getting carried away with a specific recommendation at this point. The idea to not stray too far from what I have is a good one. Going down to 100sq head size is also good (and backed up by my coach who was surprised I had bought 105 despite it being my first 'proper' racquet).

I'll pop in to the pro shop nearby and see if they have any old/used stock.

fuzz nation
03-15-2012, 06:10 AM
Welcome aboard +1.

Expect to see an "Edit" bubble in your posts, right next to the "Quote" bubble, after you rack up maybe 50 posts. They're also only there when you're logged in. I guess we're on probation around here until we contribute a little bit.

A simple solution for a 2nd racquet could be a Dunlop 300 or 500 model, even a "Tour" version, depending on what you can find at the shop. Those frames are popular for a reason. Best of luck with your endeavors.

blipblop
03-15-2012, 07:06 AM
Thanks for the advice, all makes sense.

I suppose I'm just getting carried away with a specific recommendation at this point. The idea to not stray too far from what I have is a good one. Going down to 100sq head size is also good (and backed up by my coach who was surprised I had bought 105 despite it being my first 'proper' racquet).

I'll pop in to the pro shop nearby and see if they have any old/used stock.

I also advocate going for more advanced player specs. I am of the school of thought though that anyone young and serious about getting to 4.0+ should start off with a players racket, or at least a solid tweener. Ego and elitist tendencies aside, I don't believe in "working your way up" to be good enough to use certain rackets.

So, if you are (relatively) young, fit, and serious about tennis, then I recommend: demo, demo, demo. Find something you can grow with but will still suit you when you are winning Wimbledon (ok maybe not, but at least playing harder hitters). Get at least 2-3 of them and then focus on your game instead of your gear. Good hitting!

Sreeram
03-15-2012, 09:21 AM
bite a bullet and buy a Babolat puredrive. It will work for all strokes. You can use this racquet till any level. It will suit any kind of play that a 3.0 will play.

deco0028
03-15-2012, 10:44 AM
Welcome to Talk Tennis!
I have not had any experience with the Organix 4 or similar racquets, but TW seems to recommend the following as similar on their website among others:
Babolat AeroPro Lite GT (http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Babolat_AeroPro_Lite_GT/descpageRCBAB-BAPLGT.html)
Babolat Pure Drive 107 GT (http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Babolat_Pure_Drive_107_GT/descpageRCBAB-PD1079.html)
Prince EXO3 Hornet Midplus 100 (http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Prince_EXO3_Hornet_Midplus_100/descpageRCPRINCE-XO3HMP.html)Wilson BLX Surge (http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Wilson_BLX_Surge/descpageRCWILSON-WBLXS.html)
Head YOUTEK Mojo (http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Head_YOUTEK_Mojo/descpageRCHEAD-YTMOJ.html) (a guy where I play used this as a beginner all the way to becoming a high 3.5)

However, when I started(as a kid in the late 80's) I did not seek out the most forgiving racquet. I played with whatever, from wood to metal to graphite, midsize to oversize, etc. Getting the fundamentals are what is important. I truly believe that I made the greatest strides in my own fundamentals with a racquet that was low powered and had a smaller head. I would just be careful about racquets that are really high powered and 'clunky' as you say. As your technique improves, I presume you will develop a longer swing style and in turn need some control. It has been a while since I was a beginner, but I could only imagine that it would be frustrating to learn using a racquet that is power over control. The advice I would offer a friend would be to get a racquet that is described as intermediate, suited for medium to fast swing speed and head size in the 100 ballpark.
Good luck and I have fun playing this great game.

I second this advice.Get a HL racquet in the 98-100 sw in head size, it will force you to perfect your strokes and timing, rather than on getting free power with a HH racquet. It is better to have controllable power, rather than uncontrollable power. I have been surrounded by tennis for a long time, as my sons have been playing since they were 6 yrs old. My now 16 yr old used the K Pro Tour at age 13-14, it was underpowered and not the spinniest of string setups, but he has now developed power and spin that is as a result of his technique. He now plays with PDRGT.
My 13 yr old has been on a Prince Graphite 93(current) for 12 months, and has developed sufficient strokes to allow him back on to a more forgiving 100 sq in racquet. I expect his controllable power to improve as a result of his better technique.
Both did get coaching though, that really helps, but the coach has to be the right one.
I just started playing myself 5 months ago, and use the Becker London(modded) and Dunlop 4D 200 Tour(added leather grip), depending on how I feel on the day. Both are HL and are fine for me. I used a friend's HH racquet, and the power was addicting at first, but I soon realised it was kinda hard to control. I prefer to have a direct correlate between how hard I swing, and how deep the ball goes.
Hope this helps

bkpr
03-15-2012, 10:10 PM
So, if you are (relatively) young, fit, and serious about tennis, then I recommend: demo, demo, demo. Find something you can grow with but will still suit you when you are winning Wimbledon (ok maybe not, but at least playing harder hitters). Get at least 2-3 of them and then focus on your game instead of your gear. Good hitting!

I'm not *so* young, 34 (I guess it's young compared to a 60 y.o?). Unfortunately I cannot demo racquets here in Malaysia, so I'll be scouring for a used/old stock racquet with a smaller head and a bit more weight which doesn't cost too much, and trying it out.

I'll be heading back to Australia, or possibly to the US towards the end of the year, so depending on how I go with my sights on Wimbledon :P I'll be able to play test some racquets then.

I appreciate all the comments so far.

Muppet
03-16-2012, 08:28 AM
I'm thinking that your Volkl racquet is a distraction. I'd look for a pair of identical racquets and see if trading in the Volkl is an option. Or keep it as a loaner. The new racquets should be more control oriented to help you progress. A racquet that's 11+ oz. will require you to move your feet and prepare the racquet sooner. A racquet that's recommended for the level you're already at will not challenge you.

Dunlop 300 series
Babolat Pure Storm series

As you progress lead tape will be your friend.

zultekmilennia
03-16-2012, 10:02 AM
just get some used rackets, there's plenty. And kinda hurt you didn't ask us first T_T

haha, just kidding.

3.0 breaking strings is kinda ridiculous. 5.0 guys in my club takes an eternity to break one. So you're probably 4.0+, or you're using balls with blades on them.

bkpr
03-16-2012, 03:38 PM
The new racquets should be more control oriented to help you progress. A racquet that's 11+ oz. will require you to move your feet and prepare the racquet sooner.

I went into my local pro shop, and purchased a Wilson BLX Blade 98, which after reading a tonne of reviews, using TW's racquet finder, and advice from my coach, seemed to be a good match. They had it on sale for ~US$110 and I talked them into a free K Gut stringing :) Will pick up tomorrow and have my first hit on Monday doubles and Tuesday singles.

@zultekmilennia, Balls with blades? Tennis ninja!

Timbo's hopeless slice
03-16-2012, 03:42 PM
My advice is stop being so concerned with the racquet unless you really need another one. Spend more time perfecting your strokes.

What i do is every 1.0 level you increase get a new racquet, until your 4.5 then every 0.5 NTRP to 5.5 get a new racquet, at 6.0 just do whatever you like.

mastered that heavy pace from the ball machine yet, champ?

don't listen to this guy, whatever you do...