Demo suggestions?

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by Murrayalmagrofan, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. Murrayalmagrofan

    Murrayalmagrofan Semi-Pro

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    Some background: In 2011, I got back into the game of tennis after taking 18 years off (played a lot as a junior). I have a semi-western forehand grip and full eastern backhand grip (1HBH). I've been rated as a 4.0 level player and I have an all-court playing style.

    I currently own 3 Head Microgel Radical Pro racquets. I've added Babolat leather grips, and 2 grams of lead tape at the 10 and 2 o'clock positions, and a matching 2 grams at an equi-distant location in the handle. Racquets weigh approximately 12.2oz each and I use Luxilon Big Banger 16L @ 58lbs. As these racquets are roughly 1.5-2 years old, I'm in the market for something new.

    Last year I demoed all of the popular Head Youtek racquets and none impressed me (Radical Pro, IG Speed 18x20, IG Extreme Pro, Prestige Pro).

    One racquet I've been keen to try (and I just bought one), is the Wilson KSix-One 95 18x20. However, I'm interested in demoing some additional racquets this Spring before purchasing 3-4 frames.

    I'm not tied to any one brand, but I'd like to stay with a mid-plus racquet. I also prefer a heavier frame (12oz+) for good plow-through on the backhand side.

    Let me know your suggestions...

    Thanks!
     
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  2. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

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    I demo'd about 30+ this past summer/fall. Here were the standouts for me.

    WILSON: BLX6.1 95( 16x18 ) - BLX ProOpen

    BABOLAT: PureDriveGT

    HEAD: None. Except maybe the PrestigePro with some soft,soft strings.

    YONEX: Vcore95D and 98.

    DUNLOP: Bio200Tour

    PRINCE: Exo3 Tour 100 with alot of weight (~28gr) added to it.

    Some racquets I'd like to demo, when I get swinging again. The IGPresMid, the Rebel '12, the Vcore95D (again), the Warrior100, the Donnay Pro1 and the Juice.

    EDIT: Oh yeah! Welcome!!!! ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012
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  3. Murrayalmagrofan

    Murrayalmagrofan Semi-Pro

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    Thanks! I've actually hit with the Babolat PureDriveGT previously as my usual hitting partner has one. Pretty solid frame, but it doesn't have the 'feel' that I'm looking for.

    And I demoed the Youtek Prestige Pro as well. Interesting frame. Might demo it again. Kinda left me with mixed feelings.

    I've read that the Wilson BLX 6.1 has a slightly more muted feel than the K-factor series. Depending on my feelings about the KSix-One 95 I just bought, I may demo this.

    I'll add the others to my list. The Dunlop is especially very interesting to me. 12.5oz strung weight is a pretty hefty stick.
     
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  4. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    I'd highly recommend demoing the Volkl C10 Pro and the Becker Melbourne. I know from experience that the C10 comes in ~ 12.5 w/ string, overgrip & dampener, and if it weren't for my shoulder problems of late, I'd still be using it.

    The Melbourne is slightly lighter, but is still a real solid stick w/ some good feel. I believe it came in ~ 12.2 w/ string, grip & dampener.

    If it weren't so damn expensive, I'd also recommend the Pacific X-Feel Pro (which is basically the Fischer M-Comp 95 'Black Granite'), but when you can pick up a C10 Pro or Melbourne for $50 cheaper, why bother? I've played w/ all of them and can tell you it's not $50 better.

    The Prince EXO Rebel 95 is also a very nice stick and one to consider, although I'm not a fan of the Prince grip shape (more round than rectangular). But then again, there are people here who don't like Volkl's grip shape, so it really is based on preference.
     
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  5. KenC

    KenC Professional

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    I say give the BLX95 18x20 a chance. That has to be the best racquet in the Wilson lineup at the moment. It has a good amount of power so it needs a lower powered string to tame it a bit.

    Similar to the BLX95 is the Babolat Pure Storm TOUR. A little lighter and a little more forgiving and a little less power. I have a few in my bag "just in case."

    I hit a bit with the ProKennex Ki5 315 last night. That is a great racquet as well.

    I usually just tell people to demo as many racquets as they can to find out what specs they like and then zero in on a few that are. Sometimes you just come across a racquet that fits like a glove and then buy 10 of them and forget about racquets and have fun playing.
     
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  6. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    The Wilson BLX you've got coming your way may be groovy, but it's going to be on the stiffer end of the spectrum - certainly more rigid than the Radical Pros you've been using. If you find that you have more of an affinity for a frame with some flex to it, I think there are already lots of good suggestions above.

    Two other ideas that might be worth some research are the Yonex RD Ti-80 and the mid-plus "10 series" frames from Volkl. I've enjoyed good overall performance with the Volkl C10 for a few years and it's also been especially kind to my arm. Haven't tried this Yonex myself, but it looks like it could have a lot to offer.
     
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  7. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Oh, and let me clarify my "shoulder problems of late" comment...

    My shoulder problems have absolutely nothing to do w/ any tennis frame I've used. It's just after years of injury in other sports (wakeboarding, snowboarding, etc.), it becomes fatigued over a certain period of time swinging a racket...any racket...but the heavier it is the quicker the fatigue comes on.

    I prefer a racket in the 12.5 range, but have had to learn to adapt to a slightly lighter frame.
     
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  8. Murrayalmagrofan

    Murrayalmagrofan Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for all of the suggestions folks. Keep 'em coming! Looks like my demo list has grown to a dozen or so racquets right now... :D I'm hoping to have a list of two dozen or so racquets, and begin demoing in March. I do appreciate some suggestions like the Becker Melbourne. This is a brand I typically don't have on my radar, so it's cool to throw some of these 'lesser known' frames into the mix.
    Yup, it's definitely stiffer than my current microgels, but the 'feel', control and power of this racquet is supposed to be quite impressive. I also became quite interested to try one since the TW playtester Granville uses this as his frame of choice. This is the reason why I bought one - I wanted to use it as my benchmark when demoing other racquets. I guess I'll see if it lives up to all of the hype... ;-)
     
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  9. Murrayalmagrofan

    Murrayalmagrofan Semi-Pro

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    Ordered my first round of demo racquets:

    • Dunlop Biomimetic 200 Plus
    • Dunlop Biomimetic 200 Tour
    • Slazenger Pro Braided
    • Wilson Juice Pro BLX
     
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  10. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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  11. Murrayalmagrofan

    Murrayalmagrofan Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for the suggestion - wow, now that's a hefty racquet!!! :shock:

    I've been playing with the Wilson KFactor 6.1 95 18x20 for the last 3 weeks. I can definitely feel the extra heft of this racquet. It has great power, good access to top spin, and I have great feel on drop shots and volleys. However, I'm starting to get some shoulder soreness anytime I play for 2+ hours.

    I definitely plan to demo MANY racquets, but I think I'd like to find something in the 11.5-12.0 oz range and a 95-100 head size. I threw the Dunlop Biomimetic 200 Tour just to give one more 12+ oz racquet a try.
     
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  12. skeeter

    skeeter Semi-Pro

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    I'm similar to you in level and playing style. Since you seemed to enjoy the Head racquets at one point, but didn't like the Youteks, might suggest the new Head IG racquets, especially the IG Prestige MP. I've been playing with one for about a month now; much improved over the Youtek version. With over grip, dampener, and 2gs of lead at 12, comes in right on the money at 12oz. Really enjoying the plow, control, and feel so far.
     
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  13. Murrayalmagrofan

    Murrayalmagrofan Semi-Pro

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    Great suggestion. I'll add it to my next round of demo racquets!
     
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  14. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    The other racquets I reviewed fall within your range. I think they are all worth demoing. The Pro Kennex Ki 5x happened to be the best fit for my game. It is extended length, so it feels more like 12+ oz than 11.8 oz (its actual weight).
     
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  15. Murrayalmagrofan

    Murrayalmagrofan Semi-Pro

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    Interesting - I haven't played with many extended racquets (I'm 6ft 1"), but I may have to throw a few in there to see how they play like.

    I do have the Wilson Juice Pro BLX on my initial demo list which is a 27.25" frame.
     
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  16. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    While you are at it, try the IG MID as well, it has some unique properties as I have found.
     
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  17. Murrayalmagrofan

    Murrayalmagrofan Semi-Pro

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    One of the best 4.5 players in my area who's been my hitting partner for over 1 year, recommended I try the 2012 Babolat Pure Drive Roddick. I'll be adding this to my next round of demo racquets.

    Btw, once I have a chance to demo the rackets, I plan to post mini reviews in this thread.
     
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  18. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    I'm in my mid-40's and it sounds like you're probably close to my age. You have an arm-friendly racquet right now. If you try the PDR, watch out for arm problems. It took me months to notice that with my AeroPro Drive, but eventually it happened. Some of the signs are subtle. I was wondering why I couldn't get the kind of velocity I used to get on my serve. I thought it was just old age. Guess what? My elbow pain was a big part of it, and it became more apparent when I switched to an arm-friendly racquet. Maybe you'll be okay with it, but be aware that arm problems are a possibility with the PDR.
     
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  19. Murrayalmagrofan

    Murrayalmagrofan Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for the word of caution. Arm/shoulder problems are the reason why the K-Factor just isn't the racquet for me at this moment.

    My microgel radical pros are weighted to over 12oz and I've had no problems with them. However, they're not nearly as stiff as the K-factor, so maybe that could be why???

    I'm actually in my mid 30's, 6ft 1in, 180lbs. After quitting tennis as a junior at the age of 15, I pursued track & field and was fast enough in the sprints to be a walk-on at a Div 1 school. So I consider myself to still be in good shape.
     
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  20. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    I would go with the Juice, too. But if I wanted to save $ and to take care of my shoulder without sacrificing anything in terms of high end racket performance, I would consider the 4D 200 Tour for eighty bucks. Otherwise, if arm health were of no concern, I might get the BLX 6.1 95 because this seems like the premiere racket for power, spin, and control. . .but who wants his arm to fall off?
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
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  21. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    For me, weight isn't much of a problem except that if I use a very heavy racquet like the Ki 5 PSE, I can't generate the kind of racquet head speed I want, but it doesn't give me arm problems. I lift weights regularly. I also like my racquets a tad over 12 oz. Weight is actually a good thing because there's more mass between you and the ball to absorb shock.

    Stiffness is your enemy. Compare TW's stiffness index for the Head Microgel Radical vs the Wilson KFactor 6.1 (57 vs 69). The difference is huge. The PDR is even higher (71).

    Stiffness doesn't tell the whole story, but it's a big part of it. The Prince EXO3 line, Volkyl, Boris Becker, and Pro Kennex seem to have a reputation for being more arm-friendly than comparable racquets, and the ones I tried certainly were.
     
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  22. Murrayalmagrofan

    Murrayalmagrofan Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for the input folks.

    The low twistweight of the BLX racquets are concerning to me as I use a 1HBH. The K-Factor is definitley more stable at impact which I absolutely love about that racquet!

    The Boris Becker Melbourne will be in my next group of demo racquets. On paper, that racquet looks perfect for my game.
     
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  23. Murrayalmagrofan

    Murrayalmagrofan Semi-Pro

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    Initial impressions-

    Dunlop Biomimetic 200 Plus: Feels too light and under-powered for my tastes. Good spin on serves, but leaves me wanting more in every other department.

    Dunlop Biomimetic 200 Tour: The swing weight of this racquet is just too much for me to handle. Racquet head speed suffers as a result. Decent power and spin generation.

    Slazenger Pro Braided: This racquet honestly feels like a 11.5oz version of my wilson k-factor 6.1 95 18x20. Able to generate slightly more racquet head speed than with my wilson, and the racquet is more maneuverable. Decent plow-through on the 1HBH (but not as good as my wilson).

    Wilson Juice Pro BLX: Only word that keeps coming to mind is 'wonky'. I don't know if it's due to the 27.25" length or just the balance of the racquet. Everything felt weird and off. I was happy to put this one back in the bag.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
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  24. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    Out of all the racquets I demoed, it sounds like the Pacific X Force Pro and Pro Kennis Ki 5 are the ones you might like on first impression. The Volkyl Organix 10 might be too low-powered (maybe the 8 would be better). The Prince EXO3 Tour 100 would take a lot of adjustment compared to the K Factor, but you might want to try it anyway just to see what a really comfortable racquet is like.

    It does take time to adjust to an extended length racquet. I think I was fortunate in that I tended to hit the ball on the upper part of the hoop. The extended length Ki 5x actually resulted in me hitting closer to the sweetspot. I can tell because of the wear pattern of the strings. It also boosted my serve quite a bit. It would probably be a disaster now if I had to go back to standard length.
     
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  25. Murrayalmagrofan

    Murrayalmagrofan Semi-Pro

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    The Ki 5 will be way too heavy. The swing weight on that beast is just immense.

    The Pacific X Force Pro comes in a 16x20 and 18x20 pattern. Hmm - might demo the 18x20 for the extra control...
    I never would have thought 0.25" would have made that much of a difference. Crazy.

    I must say, demoing this first group of racquets made me appreciate the Wilson K-Factor even more. Part of me almost wants to get stronger in the gym over the next 1-2 months and see if the racquet still bothers my shoulder.

    P.S. Looks like the Boris Becker Melbourne, 2012 Babolat Pure Drive Roddick, Pacific X Force Pro 18x20 and the Head IG Prestige MP will be my next group of 4 demo racquets.
     
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  26. Murrayalmagrofan

    Murrayalmagrofan Semi-Pro

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    Just ordered my 2nd group of demos. Decided to drop the Pacific X Force Pro from my list and re-order the Slazenger as it was my favorite from the 1st group.

    • Babolat Pure Drive Roddick (2012)
    • Boris Becker DC Melbourne
    • Head YOUTEK IG Prestige Midplus
    • Slazenger Pro Braided
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
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  27. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    This one is too heavy:

    http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/ProKennex_Ionic_Ki_5_PSE/descpageRCPK-KI5PSN.html

    This one is more normal, and I was getting really good racquet head speed on it for topspin. In fact, I think it could have used some weight in the head:

    http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/ProKennex_Ionic_Ki_5/descpageRCPK-KI5N.html

    That's something to think about if your current batch of demos doesn't work out. You've got some good ones on that 2nd list I think.
     
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  28. Murrayalmagrofan

    Murrayalmagrofan Semi-Pro

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    I figured I'd get the odd-ball ones out of the way early! ;)

    The IG Prestige MP and the 2012 PD Roddick have me excited...
     
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  29. Murrayalmagrofan

    Murrayalmagrofan Semi-Pro

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    After an extended play test with my first group of demos today, the slazenger pro braided is definitely head-n-shoulders above the rest. I like it even more than my current wilson k-factor. The lighter weight (11.5oz strung), stiff frame and open string pattern seem to blend perfectly together. Added some lead tape at 3 and 9 o'clock for added stability. Butter.

    Glad I ordered the racquet again in my second group. These other racquets better impress the hell out of me to have an edge over this one. I'm very close to pulling the trigger on a couple Slazengers from TW... :cool:
     
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  30. brian14190

    brian14190 Rookie

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    I noticed that you mentioned at least 95 sq inches, but have you considered a midsize? The 4D AG100 is very nice and weighs only 11.7 strung (with overgrip).

    I am only a 3.5 player and probably should not use a midsize. I have been considering a racquet in the 95-98 range, but the AG100 just feels so nice.

    They are cheap now also.

    Good luck in looking for a racquet. I am interested in the feedback of your demos, because you seem to have similar interest in racquets I am considering. Since I live in Ohio, it will still be a while before I can get out and play.
     
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  31. Murrayalmagrofan

    Murrayalmagrofan Semi-Pro

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    I haven't considered the older Dunlops. Looking at the specs, I must say a 90 sq in head size is quite small. I'm typically a clean ball striker, but I like having the extra 'margin for error' that a mid plus racquet provides.
     
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  32. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    Murray, shoot me an email, I have two Slazes you may want ;)

    Personally I like Pro Braided with leather, hybrid string setup and some lead a bit above 9 and 3
     
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  33. Murrayalmagrofan

    Murrayalmagrofan Semi-Pro

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    If that's the route I decide to go, I'll send you a pm and we can discuss. Still have some nice demos coming my way.

    Btw, do your Slazes already have leather grips and lead tape just above 3 and 9?

    I thought about going the leather grip route if I got one, but I love the standard Slazenger grip a lot. If I decide to buy mine new, may just add some weight in the handle instead.
     
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  34. chrisberchris

    chrisberchris Rookie

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  35. chrisberchris

    chrisberchris Rookie

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  36. Murrayalmagrofan

    Murrayalmagrofan Semi-Pro

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    Thanks. That Tecnifibre TFight 325 VO2 Max looks very interesting. Specs seem similar to the Boris Becker Melbourne. I'll see how this next round of demos goes...
    I've played with that one before. Felt funky for some reason. Like it had a tiny sweet spot.

    P.S. I played 3 sets of doubles today with the Slazenger. I'm still impressed, but I'm starting to think I need something a little heavier like in the 11.8-12.1oz range but with a low swing weight and open string pattern.

    May have to demo the Head IG Prestige Pro
     
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  37. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    Leathers on them right now but I can swap originals back in.
     
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  38. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    I' playing with 300s right now - with leather and lead comes out to about 12.2oz and it's a beast. Just load up, relax the arm and let it rip - awesome feel and very consistent flat drive or over-the-head spin.

    I don't understand when people complain racket is too light, you can ALWAYS add more weight, but from stock form can't take it off (or re-redistribute it).

    I think you should give it another go with more weight - it's got all the right stats and all the right feel, the rest is adjustable.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
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  39. Murrayalmagrofan

    Murrayalmagrofan Semi-Pro

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    Thanks. Sounds like you have some well set-up Slazes. Since I'm shopping for a new racquet, I'd like to try several before settling on one. I'm very familiar with customizing racquets - I went that route with my Microgel Radical Pros. ;)
     
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  40. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    I was talking about 300s :)
     
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  41. Murrayalmagrofan

    Murrayalmagrofan Semi-Pro

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    Well my 2nd group of demos came in and I got a chance to play with them for 2 hours this evening. I hit ground strokes, approach shots, volleys, overheads, serves, etc. with each racquet. My thoughts are as follows:

    Babolat Pure Drive Roddick (2012): This racquet has power galore! Forehands, backhands and serves with this racquet were insanely powerful. Easily got 5-10 mph added to my shots. Access to spin was solid, so it wasn't too difficult to keep my shots landing within the baseline. However, this frame feels large and not very maneuverable especially at net or on quick 'reaction' shots. If I was an aggressive baseliner this would be the racquet for me - however, I'm an all court player who definitely gets to the net a lot, especially to finish off points.

    Boris Becker DC Melbourne: This racquet had great control. However, the sweet spot feel smallish and my shots were all landing on the service line. Serves, volleys and overheads were okay. The frame was more maneuverable than the Babolat, but left me feeling luke warm.

    Head YOUTEK IG Prestige Midplus: This racquet was impressive. Solid power, good maneuverability, and great control. The pace on my serves was decent, but the ability to generate top spin with the tight 18x20 string pattern was a little lacking for me.

    Slazenger Pro Braided: Finally, I re-tested my favorite racquet from my 1st group of demos. I shipped my last group back to TW on Monday, and this 2nd group was shipped out on Monday, and I wanted to do this to be sure I got a different Slazenger frame. I wanted to see just how good their manufacturing tolerances and final product quality really were. This racquet didn't disappoint. The open 16x18 string pattern gave me great access to spin and power, and the frame was by far the most maneuverable of all the racquets I played with tonight. This racquet literally felt like a 'wand' in my hand.

    So...after two groups of demos, I've decided that the Slazenger Pro Braided is the one for me. Btw Anton, at this time, I'd prefer to buy them new. However, depending on how my tennis develops over the next 6+ months, I may contact you about acquiring your Slazes as back-ups.

    So that's all folks... :)
     
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