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nk126
09-08-2006, 08:45 AM
Hi

I'm new to the board, and new to playing tennis regularly again over the past four months or so. I'm 33, played a lot as a kid through college, then not so much over the past 10 years. Now back into it and I can't get enough ...

I'm looking for advice on Racquets to demo in addition to the ones I'm demoing now. Would like to keep a new racquet under $100 if possible - whether that's new or used.

I don't know for sure, but would say I'm a 3.5-4.0. Semi-western forehand, two-handed backhand, aggressive baseline to all-court game. People I play with tell me I hit the ball really well and just need to work the kinkds out of my game. I like to hit hard and with topspin or inside-out off the ground. Forehand is my biggest shot, slice/defensive backhands and serve consistency are my biggest weaknesses. I'm playing 3x/week right now and looking to get into some local leagues for fun.

I played with a midsize ProKennex Silver Ace as a kid, and then with a hand me down Prince Precision 720 longbody when I started back up this Spring. Bought an '83 POG OS on that one auction site about two months or so ago. I love the feel of that racquet, but I think between the weight and the OS head size, it's a little too hard to manuever for me. I also recently played with two newer, lighter sticks that made it easier for me to reach and hit defensive shots. So that made me decide to try some demos:

From TW I got the following that I've now hit with twice:

Prince Tour Diablo Mid+
Wilson nCode nPro Mid+
Head i.Radical OS
Head LM Radical OS

So far of the four I like the nPro and i.Radical the best. The Diablo felt very pingy to me - not a solid, crisp feel at all, and lots of vibrations through the handle. The LM Radical was similar but not nearly as bad - but the i.Radical felt better. Both the i.Radical and nPro have feels that are closer to the crisp pop I get with the POG, but they're more maneuverable. The nPro in particular generally feels pretty solid, but with a little extra power that I wasn't necessarily looking for but so far kind of like. Especially on serves and stretched-out "flick" shots it's kind of nice. I still feel like I can hit out pretty hard with it, especially once I get used to it. Planning to take it out by itself for a session tomorrow. I don't know if, as my game improves, that extra power could turn into a negative, though.

The i.Radical I like, but want to like even more than I do based on what I've read. When I hit the sweet spot I do, but it seemed like I had to search a lot to find the "magic spot" where the ball feels and sounds really crisp coming off the strings. With the POG it's almost always there provided that I strike the ball well. Also, the Head grip shape is a little weird.

Would lead tape on the i.Radical help make it feel a bit more crisp?

I also hit with someone else's Head Flexpoint Radical Tour and was amazed at how much spin I could generate. However, it's pricey and I read a fair amount about people developing arm problems with this racquet.

What other frames should I try?

The Prince Tour NXG is on my list as I've been told it plays somewhat like an updated POG.
So far that's it.

Or I could just get ahold of a POG midplus and try that ...

Thanks. The wisdom and knowledge on this board is great, and tons of fun to read through.


nk

ssjkyle31
09-08-2006, 04:19 PM
You have some good choices.

You should try the midplus version of the radical line. I started with the iradical mp when I got back into tennis. I eventually added about 1.5 " of lead at the 9 & 3 position on the hoop and about 2 inches of lead to the handle w/ leather grip.

TonyB
09-08-2006, 04:42 PM
nk126, where do you live?


Your tennis history is eeeeeerily similar to mine. I mean it's scary.

I'm 36, stopped playing when I was 24 and probably rated around 5.0 at the time. I just started playing again about 3 weeks ago and my rating has dropped to the 4.0 range, mainly due to consistency.

The only real difference that I can see between our playing style is that I hit a one-handed backhand. But my forehand preferences and serving weakness match yours identically.

Anyways, I've just discovered the Head i.X3 (midplus) today and I love it. It's a light, stiff, racquet, but the ball just feels awesome when it leaves the strings and the racquet head speed and weight just fit my strokes perfectly. I've already raved about it on a few threads already.

I don't know how similar the i.Radical is, but I think it's fairly close, just a little heavier. And the head shape seems different -- the i.X3 is a bit more of a teardrop shape (I don't know if you remember the old style Head headshape, like for the original "Edge" -- it was teardrop like the i.X3). I do know that there seem to be a lot of i.Radicals for sale on the "For Sale" forums here at TW.

Here's a link to the Head website that contains more information on the "older" racquets:

http://www.head.com/tennis/racquets.php?region=eu&tag=others

Good luck.

RipinRandy
09-08-2006, 06:10 PM
Bought an '83 POG OS on that one auction site about two months or so ago. I love the feel of that racquet, but I think between the weight and the OS head size, it's a little too hard to manuever for me.

I think you would be very happy with the POG Mid. I just hit with one of my friends POG Mids, and it was great. Very soft and accurate feel that I haven't found in any modern racquets. i.e.--The Prostaff 6.0 85 is accurate, but a little harsh feeling.(and also very small :-))

If you like the feel of the POG OS, but want a more manueverable stick the POG Mid is the way to go. (It might be too heavy, though. Demo it on a long day.)

Good luck in your search :-)

nk126
09-08-2006, 06:39 PM
Thanks, everyone, for the replies.

TonyB, I live in Oakland, CA. Moved here from NYC 2 years ago. Grew up in upstate NY. I was never a 5.0 player, but that's funny how similar our playing histories are.

I just got back from hitting with the nCode nPro and the i.Radical. I really liked the way the nPro feels in my hand and moving through the air, but the i.Radical felt better striking the ball. And this time I felt like the nPro had a little too much power being generated from the frame itself - I was hitting more big forehands big into the fence than usual :-)

I'm definitely going to try a Head midplus - maybe the i.X3 or an i.Radical midplus if I can find a demo or cheap one used, since TW doesn't have that size in a demo. The Head grip shape is odd to me, though.

RipinRandy, I'm also going to try to hit with a POG 90. Maybe it'll feel enough more maneuverable vs the POG 110 I have to do the trick. The 110's feel is really sweet. Maybe I just need to get better enough to hit defensive shots with a heavier stick.

I also read some good things about the Dunlop M-Fil 200. So maybe I'll next try a Head MidPlus, the Prince NXG, and the Dunlop. Maybe another Wilson, too.

I swear, though, every kid under 25 I see out there has a Babolat or a red nCode like Federer ;-)

Thanks, Y'all
nk

shavenyak
09-08-2006, 07:39 PM
I'm in the same situation as TonyB and nk126. Just got back into playing after an 8 year hiatus. I used to use PS 85's and SRD Tour 95's.

I just picked up some RDS 001 90's and they are freaking awesome!!!

I highly recommend trying the Yonex RDS 001 90 and 98 as well as the rackets mentioned. I know you said a budget of $100, but I think these are at least worth a demo.

--Roman

TonyB
09-08-2006, 08:34 PM
I've played with Yonex racquets forever. I always liked them. But I didn't really enjoy playing with the RDS 001 all that much. Great power, amazing sweet spot, but there just wasn't anything "special" about it. I also found it a little tough to generate any amount of significant spin. Also, the racquet feels light by weight, but heavy when you try to accelerate it, if that makes any sense.

Everything was definitely "solid" with the RDS 001, but I just wasn't in love with it. And what also made me wonder about its performance is the fact that nobody on tour really plays with it besides Nalbandian and Hewitt. I never quite figured out why it isn't more popular. It's definitely not an "easy" racquet to play with. You really have to be on your game to use it effectively.

shavenyak
09-08-2006, 09:49 PM
When I demoed, I used both the 90 and the 98 and the two felt completely different to me. The 90 was quite a bit better IMHO.

For me, the solid feel of the ball coming off the racket puts some confidence in my game, so the more the better. The PS 85 had an extrememly solid sweet spot, but I always tended to hit the ball just on the upper limit of the sweet spot at 12 'o clock. The RDS 001 90 seems to have a higher sweet spot so it's almost perfect.

I strung mine with ALU 16 and ALU 16 rough and spin has been really good. Great kick on serve and good topspin and slice.

Oh, and as far as pros using the rackets, I used to really get hung up on it, but now, I play with what I like. Hewett uses the SRD tour 90, just painted to look like the 001, I believe.

nk126
09-09-2006, 10:08 AM
So here's my list for the next go-round, then

Prince NXG Mid-Plus
Head LM Radical Mid-Plus (i.X3 and i.Radical aren't available as a Mid-Plus demo on TW)

And then two of the following:
Yonex RDS 001 or Dunlop M-Fil 200 or Another Wilson? Maybe the nPS 95 nCode or n5 nCode?

Also going to try to find a POG Mid to hit with

Any other thoughts?

Again, all of the feedback and help is great. Thanks!

TonyB
09-09-2006, 10:30 AM
nk126: Looks like a decent list. I've read some better comments about the M-Fil 300 more so than the 200. Also, I've read lots of comments where the older 200g was superior to the M-Fil 200. Just a thought.

Yeah, the i.X3 hasn't been in production for a while, I think. You can get the OS from TW, but not the MP. You can find cheap i.Radicals on **** or even on the TW Swap Meet. You could "demo" it by buying and reselling if you didn't like it.

Also, just for kicks, have you looked at the Power Angle line of racquets? The 98/k seems interesting. I've never played with one, but I hear they're a decent racquet. Very easy on the arm, great control and spin, and fairly light. I might demo one next time around through TW. If you're looking for a 4th racquet to include in the demo package, maybe you could throw that one in and let us know what you think of it.

FYI, my experience with the RDS 001 was with the midsize (90). I didn't see any reason to go to the MP, with the possible exception that it's a hair lighter. The sweet spot and control of the 90 seemed more than adequate.

nk126
09-11-2006, 12:23 PM
I think you would be very happy with the POG Mid. [snip] If you like the feel of the POG OS, but want a more manueverable stick the POG Mid is the way to go. (It might be too heavy, though. Demo it on a long day.)

Well, I just got back from a match. Went out with the nCode nPro (M+), i.Radical (OS), and POG OS in my bag. Playing against a guy I play regularly and have never done better than split sets with. He places his forehand really well and likes to step in and take my shots inside the baseline - even off of the full volley sometimes - so I can't just stay back and swing. Gotta play aggressively. Often I wind up frustrated by his drop shots that catch me standing and admiring that big forehand I just hit right to him ...

Planned to play the first set with the i.Radical and second with the nPro. Third, if there was one, I'd play by ear.

Playing actual points and games with the i.Radical, it felt like a baby POG -- good control and feel but almost too light to generate a good heavy swing with. My balls were coming up short alot. I was breaking his serve by coming in on his weaker side, but couldn't hold my own serve for a darn.

Down 3-4, I switched to the nPro. Immediately started serving better. Groundies and volleys were a little more erratic, but I was getting a little more pop on everything. Also managed to hit a few stretched out backhand lobs that kept me in points. But my wrist started hurting me (it's been a little sore lately, maybe from so much tennis?). Still, took the set 7-5.

Switched to the POG for set two. Wrist stopped hurting almost immediately. The difference in feel was *insane*. My shots became more accurate -- still me, not R-Fed out there, but much more accurate -- and everything just felt good. Kept coming into net and playing aggressive, but also was hitting bettter passes and approaches. Even threw up a killer topspin lob for a winner. Took the set 6-2. Good day for me :-)

So ... I think you're right RipinRandy ... I gotta find a POG mid to hit with. Maybe a mid-plus, as well. The feel is just great. Maybe the mid will be more maneuverable, and also inspire me to work on my game so I can hit those awkward balls.

Still might demo an NXG as the TW rep told me it plays a lot like the POG, but a hair lighter. If I do another demo, I'll certainly fill it out so I can try four racquets again.

cheers
nk

RipinRandy
09-12-2006, 11:06 AM
Down 3-4, I switched to the nPro. But my wrist started hurting me


Switched to the POG for set two. Wrist stopped hurting almost immediately.

I don't think those two things are unrelated. I don't like most modern rackets for that reason. My arm or wrist starts hurting soon after I start hitting with them.

i.e. The infamous Pure Drive--three shots and my arm is hurting. But I (briefly) hit with the Andy Roddick Signature Pure Drive. And I really liked it. No arm pain at all. The signature PD has the cortex sytem that seperates the head form the handle to reduce vibration and shock. Probably a little too much power for me, but it was fun :-D

As far as arm/wrist pain goes, I don't trust the N-Codes.

BTW--AFAIK there are only two POG headsizes--Oversize and Midplus. The Oversize is a 107, and the MP is a 93. I consider(as do others) 93 to be a Mid. You have to remember, when the POG was born people still remembered rackets that were 68" inches. To me--if it is less than 95 it is a mid.

nk126
09-13-2006, 08:02 AM
Alright, well I pulled the trigger so to speak on two more used racquets - a POG series 90 (93 sq inch) and a Prince NXG midplus (100 sq inch). Last time out my love affair with the POG was confirmed, so I gotta try the smaller headsize. And I'm curious to see if the NXG is as good as people have told me.

Between my tendency to obsess about gear and my 4-5/8 plus overwrap grip size, I figured I'd rather just have the racquets to set up the way I like and play with awhile than keep demoing. I was able to find good deals on both on classifieds on TW and one other site, so I figured why not?

Curious as I was to try out the Pro Angle and a few others, I think I've narrowed it down enough ... we'll see how it works out.

nk126
09-14-2006, 10:30 AM
Was out hitting with someone who plays a Prince Precision Equipe Midplus and was demoing the Wilson nSix-One 95 nCode in both standard and 18x20 string patterns. He let me hit with all three.

The six-one is a sweet frame. Took me a bit to get used to the smaller headsize from my OS - as well as the pace that this guy hits with - but once I got into a groove, it felt great. I could hit harder through the ball on the forehand and had an easier time with one-handed slice backhands. Off-center shots ... well, mine spray all over the place anyway. It's not the equipment's fault :-)

I think I preferred the 18 x 20 for the control, but the regular (open string pattern) had great spin and pop. It was also strung looser than the 18 x 20, so maybe a tenser string bed would have been the optimal. Either way, hitting with them made me more psyched to get my POG mid to try out. If the six-one were cheaper ...

The Precision Equipe was pretty nice, too. A wee bit less solid than the six-one, maybe, but still had a great feel coming off the strings.

Now I know why I see so many hard hitting young players with the red and white wilsons ...

RipinRandy
09-14-2006, 11:57 AM
What did you think of the different(weird) feel of the N-codes?

I would've thought if you liked the old-school feel of the POG, you wouldn't like the "N-code feel" (haha oxymoron haha)

I thought the 18x20 was toooo dead, but the weight balance seemed nice.
I figured when they dropped in price, I might check out the 16x18.

Funny thing---my friend who had the POG mids, used to play with the original Pro Staff 6.1. Now he is seriously considering getting the n-code 6.1 16x18.

Maybe a POG/N-code connection?

nk126
09-14-2006, 12:26 PM
What did you think of the different(weird) feel of the N-codes?

I would've thought if you liked the old-school feel of the POG, you wouldn't like the "N-code feel" (haha oxymoron haha)

I thought the 18x20 was toooo dead, but the weight balance seemed nice.
I figured when they dropped in price, I might check out the 16x18.

Huh ... I didn't know that the N-codes had a rep for having a weird feel. I only hit with each of 'em for a short time, and it was hitting not playing points, but they felt pretty good to me. Actually, kind of like what I thought a "Players" nCode would swing like after trying the nPro.

The 18x20 especially felt like I could really swing out with it -- though the access to spin on the open one made me want to try that but maybe strung a little tighter. Of the two I tried, the 18x20 was noticeably tighter, which was more towards what I'm used to.

Also made me realize that the strings on my POG are dead :-(

But ... when I switched back to the POG it wasn't like I all of the sudden didn't like it anymore. It more just made my psyched to try a POG mid with that controlled, solid feel in a stick that I can (hopefully) move around a little better.

Funny thing---my friend who had the POG mids, used to play with the original Pro Staff 6.1. Now he is seriously considering getting the n-code 6.1 16x18.

Maybe a POG/N-code connection?

Maybe so. Eeerie. Maybe Federer is the Swiss Michael Chang. But better. And taller. And with a one handed backhand.

Okay, maybe not.

pchoi04
09-14-2006, 12:40 PM
Definitely give the POG Mid a try.

tempura_MAKI
09-14-2006, 12:45 PM
out of the racquets you have listed, the Npro and the LM radical are favorable by me and I would imagine most players on the board. I would suggest to you the m-fill 200, but it weighs in at 12.1 oz and you were aiming for a lighter racquet. Although I havent played with the m-fill 300 it gets ALOT of good reviews, and It has a lower weight to work with. Just a suggestion. The LM radical for me really lacked power. Good control but it slowed down my forehands and backhands slightly, and lacked a little bit of pop. If you are a control oriented player It is a great racquet but it just falls outside of my preference.

nk126
09-14-2006, 01:09 PM
out of the racquets you have listed, the Npro and the LM radical are favorable by me and I would imagine most players on the board ... The LM radical for me really lacked power. Good control but it slowed down my forehands and backhands slightly, and lacked a little bit of pop. If you are a control oriented player It is a great racquet but it just falls outside of my preference.


Yeah, I found the same thing with the LM Radical and the i.Radical (I liked the i.Radical more of the two). I had a hard time generating good power with it. Pretty good control and feel, but the POG gave me similar/better feel with more power.

The nPro was kind of nice but then I switched back to the POG and my forehands stopped sailing long :-)

nk126
09-18-2006, 07:19 PM
So I bought a Prince NXG midplus and POG mid used off of classified ads. The NXG arrived today and I took it out to hit just now.

Plays pretty nice. Really is like a somewhat more modern, just lighter POG. Something about the way it looks isn't quite as solid and sturdy as the all black Graphite, but to me it had a similar feel with a little more maneuverability. Granted, it's a midplus (100") and my POG was an OS (110).

I was playing with someone better but also rustier than me ... Took me awhile to get used to the new racquet and to his pace and spin. But after awhile it felt good in my hand, and when we played a set I was able to hit some nice accurate passing and return of serve winners off my forehand.

Taking it out for a match tomorrow morning.

My partner was demo'ing more frames and had a Babolat Aero Drive Control that he let me try. I swear it made my arm sting after two swings. Maybe it's in my head after reading all about Babolats on the board, but it just kind of stung and felt really harsh on my arm. Pretty good if a little light to swing and hit the ball with, but my arm definitely felt "weird in a bad way" after each shot.

Anyway ... The racquet search continues but is narrowed with the NXG midplus. I think either this one or the POG mid when I get it will be my new stick for now.

And soon there will be another POG Series 110 for sale ...

nk126
09-19-2006, 07:32 PM
So today I played a match with the NXG. And after one set I swapped it out for the POG OS because my arm was hurting.

Could be due more to over-use of my arm than the racquet. Who knows. But after going up 4-0, collapsing, and then pulling out the first set 7-6 with the NXG I took the second 6-1 with the POG. That doesn't necessarily mean anything, obviously. But I don't know, my arm just felt sore and dead after a set with the NXG and I had a hard time getting any drive on my backhand with it.

It's probably all psycho-somatic ... I want to love the POG, I need to love the POG ... And I have to try out all of these newer frames to realize it. Ah, well ...

pNoyr3D
09-19-2006, 09:24 PM
Try out the M-Fil 300, it's $99 here at TW and it's a very good racquet IMO.. I like the feel, but maybe different for you, wouldn't hurt to try.

RipinRandy
09-19-2006, 11:19 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by nk126

Down 3-4, I switched to the nPro. But my wrist started hurting me


Switched to the POG for set two. Wrist stopped hurting almost immediately.

ME:I don't think those two things are unrelated. I don't like most modern rackets for that reason. My arm or wrist starts hurting soon after I start hitting with them.

And now:Originally Posted by nk126 So today I played a match with the NXG. And after one set I swapped it out for the POG OS because my arm was hurting.


How come noone ever listens to me...I thought only women didn't listen to me. lol;)

tennis life
09-20-2006, 06:44 AM
Babolat Pure Storm Is a great racquet

nk126
09-20-2006, 07:03 AM
Don't take it personally, Randy. I don't listen to anyone until the second go around. Especially if there's a chance to inflict pain upon myself first :(



ME:

And now:


How come noone ever listens to me...I thought only women didn't listen to me. lol;)

nk126
09-29-2006, 06:25 PM
I think I found my racquet.
Just like RipinRandy and a few others - even me, originally - thought.
POG Midplus. The model with 4 stripes that says "Graphite Midplus" on the shaft. 93 sq inches.
Bought it from someone online, got it in the mail yesterday, had it strung with Wilson NXT @ 58 lbs. Picked it up after work today and just got back from hitting with it. And it's a beaut. So far, it feels 100 % like I hoped it would -- like the OS but smaller, a little more maneuverable, and with the extra pop of new strings.
Hopefully it's the beginning of a long love affair ...
Thanks for all of the help and advice.
And if anyone wants to buy an NXG midplus 4-5/8 strung with some kind of hybrid (I actually don't know) and barely used ... lemme know!

nk