Doubles Racquet Help Needed for this Ex-Singles Player...

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by TripleB, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. TripleB

    TripleB Hall of Fame

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    After my surgery* yesterday I was told that all the tennis I play from now on should be doubles. This was difficult to hear for someone who has always preferred singles and stayed away from doubles as much as possible.

    I'm looking for recommendtions on a stand out doubles stick that is 97-103 square inches, 10.8-11.5 ounces, 27 inches long, 23mm or less width, decent pop, headlight, easy access to spin, and easy on my tender elbow.

    Can you please recommend a racquet that excells as a doubles stick that fits the above characteristics?

    Using the TW Racquet finder some that appear are: Donnay XDual Silver, Donnay XP Dual Black 102, Dunlop Biomimetic F3.0 Tour, Dunlop Biomimetic M3.0, Head MG Radical MP, Head YouTek IG Speed 300, Pacific XFeel Tour, Mantis Tour 305, Pro Kennex Kinetic KiQ5 295

    I would greatly appreciate any help you can give this 45 year old singles player in finding a doubles racquet.

    TripleB

    *had microfracture surgery yesterday to try and promote new cartilage to grow in my left knee...unfortunately the surgery was more extensive than the doc had thought when looking at the MRI. Before surgery he said I would be running in 4.5 months and playing singles in 6.5 months. After removing 5 pieces of cartilage during the surgery he said that I would probably never run long distances again and I should plan to only play doubles for as long as I play tennis.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
    #1
  2. sunof tennis

    sunof tennis Professional

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    You might also try the BB London MP. I seem to volley better with fairly thin beam racquets and the London fits. The London is really a players' racquet but lighter. Similar to the Radical but greater access to spin. Both are good racquets on the arm.
     
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  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Bought a HeadMicroGelRadOS last week. It might suit your needs. Good first serves, better second spin serves, big sweetspot and soft feel. Plenty of power.
    But old fart that I am, today went back to the DunlopAero500's for a much more Jekyll and Hyde game, higher highs, lower lows, which I like.
     
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  4. counterpuncher

    counterpuncher Professional

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    Outside of the ones you have listed and have tried previously I would say: Rebel 98, Volkl V1, X Gold 99 and Pure Storm or Pure Storm Team (which has been a pleasant surprise for me).
     
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  5. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

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    Blx pro open is an awesome doubles racket. Its quick yet solid.
     
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  6. TripleB

    TripleB Hall of Fame

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    That's the racquet I used last and it was just too much for my elbow. Haven't played in over 6 weeks and the elbow still aches. Would also like to go back to a little thinner racquet.

    I appreciate all the information so far. Becoming a strictly doubles player is something entirely new for me so thank you for all the help with excellent doubles racquets.

    TripleB
     
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  7. hcb0804

    hcb0804 Hall of Fame

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    The Wilson Blx Pro Staff Six.one 100
     
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  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I think bigger is better for doubles, as pure power on serve is less important, and overheads are the same with OS or Mid rackets.
    Volleys are more solid for me with OS, but 100 seems big enough.
    Half volleys and reflex volleys are where OS shines.
    Return of serves seem to favor at least mid +'s.
    Looks like you should look into the newest Youtek OS thin beamed, flexi flyer racket. It doesn't play nearly as flexi as the 60 rating would lead you to think.
     
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  9. PBODY99

    PBODY99 Hall of Fame

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    Clay courts

    Pro Kennex is my choice for an elbow friendly frame.
    Also try to add some soft courts to your playing. I have found it easier on my bad knees since 1978.
     
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  10. TripleB

    TripleB Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the input. This Summer I tried both a 107 sq in Head racquet and a 105 sq in Fischer racquet. Both felt like I was playing with a huge racquet. That's the main reason I put my limit in my post at 103 sq in.

    But I do appreciate your input and helping me 'think outside the box.'

    TripleB
     
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  11. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

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    Oh really? You're the first person I've ear that's gotten tennis elbow with this racket. Only time I felt stiffness was when I had poly as a main with synthetic and it wa in there far too long.

    I really encourage you to try the pro open with a softer string at higher tensions. It makes it quite comfy for me and has good control and decent spin due to rhs
     
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  12. hcb0804

    hcb0804 Hall of Fame

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    Meets all your criteria: weight, 100 in., right flex, thinner frame, great feel. Awesome frame for doubles. I switched to it from Microgel MP, & lovin' it!
     
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  13. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

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    Maybe I'm backwards in my approach but I've always felt a smaller racquet to be more advantageous in doubles.

    1. Because there is less running around 2. Because the court is bigger and 3. Because the time spent at net.

    I never saw the benefit with larger racquets up at net, always loved mids at net for their sheer blocking abilities,feel and touch.

    I don't play enough doubles, really love the team aspect, trash talking and added pressure, since you're not just playing for yourself, you wanna play well for your partner too.

    Here's to a quick recovery tripleb!!!
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
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  14. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

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    X-Force/X-Force Pro should really be demo'd with the X-Feel Tour you mentioned.
     
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  15. Long Face

    Long Face Rookie

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    The Babolat Pure Storm is a nice, light and soft racquet that you can try. The "Woofer" grommets actually help with adding power to your shots while the frame itself is not stiff at all.

    It is of an even balance after being strung. I added about 6 grams of lead tape beneath the grip to make it head light. Now it is at 320 grams and is quite a good doubles racquet, both at the baseline and at net.
     
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  16. PhotoBlue

    PhotoBlue Professional

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    Head radical pro or mp, babolat pure storm gt, Wilson steam (maybe)
     
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  17. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    Well, you might as well demo the Big Bubba now! Doubles is a tough sport! :razz:

    In all seriousness though, sorry to hear about that bud! It's really unfortunate, I wish you well in your recovery.

    For doubles I actually really like something along the lines of the PDR. A larger head, but with some mass behind it. It's totally out of your spec/comfort range though.

    From your list the one I can really advocate is the MG Radical for its comfort and all that jazz. The other sleeper is the Pacifc X Feel Tour. A buddy I was hitting with had one and it was a surprisingly comfortable and stable hit. I enjoyed what it had to offer.

    Have you thought about the Volkl V1 Classic? IT's supposed to be an uber-comfy stick that spec wise is basically made for doubles play.

    -Fuji
     
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  18. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

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    Oh an btw, my buddy who teaches tennis who's a 4.5 just got three head youtek ig speed 300s. He LOVES them. He mostly plays singles, but occasionally plays doubles
     
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  19. athiker

    athiker Hall of Fame

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    It takes a while to get used to any dramatic head size change or weight change. I've played a lot with the C10 Pro and then the Fischer Magnetic Tour. Both great racquets if you are fresh and precise. Broke a string on my Fischer and got lazy about restringing and started using a ProKennex Ki15 I had pretty much dismissed previously. Its easy enough on the arm that I can use full poly in it...strung 50 or lower.

    It took a while but fortunately I did not get around to restringing my other racquets for a while and now the Ki15 is my new racquet for both singles and doubles. I tried to go back to my Fischer recently but it was just too much work! I'm not saying the Ki15 is for you but if you try a light OS, just saying it might take a while to start to like it. A lot like the V1 as mentioned above, I thought it was okay. I actually liked the Juice 108 (!) when I hit it briefly, but haven't had a chance to try it for long.

    The quickness in doubles is a big benefit. I think my overheads benefit as well. I do miss the solid feel and accuracy of the smaller head heavier sticks on some volleys, but not enough to switch back.

    Good luck in the healing process.
     
    #19
  20. 2ndServe

    2ndServe Professional

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    I really started playing doubles about 1.5 years ago and was convinced a lighter racket would be better for doubles but that's just not the case at higher levels. IMO if you come to the net a lot against hard hitters it's best to use the heaviest racket you can use but a few points headlight. Much easier to control volleys with a 12+oz racket.

    It's also no fun trying to return heavy spinning serves with a light racket, this is where a heavy racket is helpful. Yes originally you might be late with a heavy racket but your wrist or arm gets used to it in a few weeks. A lighter racket is easier to react to and get your racket on it but it helps to have a heavy racket to penetrate the court.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
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  21. kaiser

    kaiser Semi-Pro

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    I feel for ya, mate! Some 35 years ago (how time flies...) I tore both my frontal cruciate and lateral ligaments, as well as damaged my meniscus in my left knee playing indoor soccer. Had to undergo surgery several times since then to patch things up, but have been able to keep playing tennis despite all this, both singles and (now mostly) doubles although I have to be careful not to overdo it and take my time to recover after a match.

    A couple of years ago I had persistent pain that stopped me from all sports activities and I visited an orthopeadic surgeon. The guy told me I had advanced arthrosis in my knee, that there was nothing he could do about it and that I would probably have to give up sports (I also do speedskating on ice in winter). Fortunately I didn't listen to him and took up speedskating again, but I did listen very carefully to my body (ie knee) and built it up slowly, icing my knee frequently after every exercise. This did wonders to my knee, after half a year I could go full bore again on the skating rink and that summer I also took up tennis again. I also cycle during summer, which is a great way to move and lubricate the joint without much strain. By keeping my knee moving, followed by icing whenever I feel the slightest discomfort, I've been able to keep playing tennis and speedskating and even play a little soccer with my son occasionally...

    So I guess this is a rather long-winded way of saying THERE IS STILL HOPE! :)
     
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  22. robbo1970

    robbo1970 Hall of Fame

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    I play mostly doubles these days, but still the occassional singles match.

    I use the Dunlop Bio 300, but with a leather grip added, which brings the static weight to 315g.

    To me it is ideal. Great manouvrability and control, as you would expect from a 300, but that heavier leather handle really gives that bit of extra power and stability.
     
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  23. TripleB

    TripleB Hall of Fame

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    Unfortunately I prefer to stick with standard length racquets.

    Thanks...it seems like it is going to be a long road back right now.

    I tried the MG Radical midplus before and liked a lot of things about it. Played a little crisper than I was expecting, offered a bit more power than I thought it would, and spin was pretty good.

    I think I've tried the XFeel Tour as well and really liked it. I think the problem I had with it was that the demo was strung waaaaay low and the ball flew a great deal.

    Thanks for everyone's help and advice so far. Going from disliking doubles to making it my full time game is going to be a tough adjustment so all your advice is extremely helpful.

    TripleB
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
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  24. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    My main racquet is the Volkl C10 and while that's not exactly a feather among today's options, it's also not the frame I prefer when playing really nasty doubles. I have a pair of Yonex RD Ti-80's with some lead on the handles for more HL balance, but these racquets also have a little more stability and authority on all the "block shots" that I hit in heavy doubles action.

    A leaner frame might be nice for singles where racquet speed is more of a factor, especially when I'm stroking the ball back at the baseline. As the heat turns up in a doubles match though, I'm rarely taking swings and mostly need to get the racquet behind the ball. If it's heavy enough (for me), the racquet will give me better control over returns of tough serves, half-volleys, and volleys against hotter shots from across the net.

    While I like to think that a racquet should be light enough to be comfortable for swinging in a singles setting, I've also found that I need a racquet to be heavy enough to punch the ball around the court well in a hot doubles game. Food for thought...
     
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  25. lawrencejin

    lawrencejin Rookie

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    When you played singles, what was your playing style, and what was your main/favorite racket? If you were an all-court player, I think your singles racket would do perfectly fine in doubles.

    As a graduate student, I alternate between singles (vs. students) and doubles (vs. post-docs/professors) a lot. There is a big difference in strategy between these two games. But from my experience, they both involve the exact same shots -- ground strokes, volleys, serves, and overheads, adjusted with power, spin, and control -- just with different frequencies in the game. E.g. you will volley more often in doubles, but that's fine, because the singles racket of choice (for an all-court player) should already be one that facilitates great volleys. Same for serves, overheads, and ground strokes.

    Sorry for a slight detour, especially if you weren't an all-court player haha. I just think it's hard to pinpoint what's an ideal doubles racket, since it varies so much depending on each individual. If you weren't comfortable at the net as a singles player, then you would benefit from searching for a racket that enhances that (still, there is no accepted consensus on what the ideal specs are -- some play better at the net with smaller heads, some larger; some prefer heavier, some lighter; etc), but otherwise, you'll be fine with your singles racket.

    Best of luck with your recovery and playing doubles tennis! Doubles is a lot of fun in its own ways.
     
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  26. hcb0804

    hcb0804 Hall of Fame

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    It's only .25 inch, I didn't even notice the difference or realize the 100 was 27.25 in. until you mentioned it! give it a shot! It's a great stick!
     
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  27. ace18

    ace18 Rookie

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    Hey TripleB

    Read a bunch of your racquet reviews and have enjoyed. Long time user of Dunlop AG300, know you've liked that one a time or two. Used a Prince Ozone Tour for 6 to 8 months, know you liked that one as well. I've tried a bunch of sticks over the last 2 years. I play all dubs, my biggest strength is my groundstrokes (have played a lot of singles in the past) , I'm 47 year old 4.5 player. I switched to the Head IG Radical Pro within the past 2 months and my dubs game has improved. I don't normally like that high SW, but its a sweet stick. I think you might have tried it but might be worth another shot. Using my Dunlop, I got punished by heavy hit balls, return of serve, baseline or at net. I don't have that problem with the Rad Pro. My serve is not as strong pace wise, but better spin. I have a bad shoulder and can't swing thru as quickly as I could with Dunlop, but I can absolutely unload everywhere else but the racquet has good control too.
     
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  28. robbo1970

    robbo1970 Hall of Fame

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    I was very surprised how just adding a leather grip to the Dunlop 300 improves stabilty and the ability to block and return heavy hit balls. It makes the feel and strength of the racket vastly different to using it in stock form with such a simple tweak.
     
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  29. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Kinda like going for a bigger grip than the pencil thin grips used nowadaze?
    Leather doesn't compress as much as synthetics, and starts out thicker.
     
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  30. db10s

    db10s Hall of Fame

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    Bio Max 200G, it plays softer than its stiffness rating suggests, and is an absolute beast at net.
     
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  31. TripleB

    TripleB Hall of Fame

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    In singles I was a 4.37 baseliner who used a variety of racquets: the POG Mid and Dunlop AG 4D 200 Tour being my two favorites (or at least the ones I spent the most time with). I usually stayed at the baseline, used a great deal of spin on all shots, ran everything down keeping balls in play until my opponent made a mistake. Seldom came to the net and did my best to stay away from doubles. Backhand was my strength, flat serve and forehand my weaknesses.

    Due to my future lack of mobility I may need more pop and I would definitely like something larger than 95 square inches.

    Thanks for the well wishes.

    TripleB
     
    #31
  32. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I know you downplay your need for OS, but if your volleys are a problem, OS solves that one right off the bat.
    And some smaller OS rackets, like the Heads, which advertise "107" but might be closer to 104's, still can hit some pretty fast first serves.
    Still, I might like my Aero500s better for doubles, because pure quickness is often needed, and weight of groundstrokes much less needed.
    For a player who volleys well, it's a very light racket, so some compensation is needed to get depth with consistency. If your volleys are not grooved or great, you only need to hit them with a longer swing...something you can do because the racket is soo lightweight.
    Volleys from net position only need to be hit low with just deeper than service line depth, unlike in singles where consistent depth is needed. Quickness for good defense is paramount.
    The least needed trait is weight of groundstrokes.
     
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  33. djNEiGht

    djNEiGht Professional

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    I had micro-fracture surgery on my 3rd go-around with the orthopedic surgeon. Remember not to put any weight on that leg for a while. That was the toughest part for me as my leg muscles went completely dead...but it's important as the bone heals from the trauma of the micro-fracture treatment.

    I had a 4th surgery about 3 years ago which was to replace my ACL. I'm running around okay but do feel sore/arthritic pains. My right hip (good leg) is sore from favoring the recovering leg. Do your PT exercises and even throw in some core exercises. It will be a long road to recovery...even when you get back to the court.

    Now moving on...

    I also recommend the BB London. I have mine set up with lead at 3/9 & 5/7 with a leather grip. I like the feel of the leather grip and added lead for stability and to bring the balance back to near stock. I play 90% doubles. I also picked up another BB London recently and am playing with it stock. Other than missing out on the leather grip feel, I think my coordination is getting better and don't need so much weight on the hoop.

    Good luck in your recovery!
     
    #33
  34. djNEiGht

    djNEiGht Professional

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    Also the London does have some pop to it while still having a good amount of "players racquet" characteristics
     
    #34
  35. tennytive

    tennytive Semi-Pro

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    Another vote to stick with the racket you like playing with now. Especially if you serve and return serve well with it. You can play one up one back to start out until you're better at net.

    A couple years back I had a bad shoulder and used a POG mid for singles and an Oversize for doubles. Once my shoulder came around I forgot about switching and it made no difference at all. Now I have a 90, 100LB and an OS and use whichever I feel like playing with that day. No worries.

    Good thing too, because if there was a "doubles" racket, then I'd probably have to buy some doubles shoes, doubles strings, doubles balls, and a bag to keep them all separate from my singles stuff.
     
    #35
  36. TripleB

    TripleB Hall of Fame

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    Thank you for taking the time to pass this along...it has made me feel better.

    In talking with the doc it seems like that there was a lot more damage than he thought in looking at the MRI. He said there was extensive damage where he did the microfracture surgery (pulled 5 pieces of cartilage out) and there is also cartilage damage elsewhere...I'm not sure exactly but the way he explained it it looked like it was between my knee and a 'band' type of material (according to the video it was right under my knee cap and is cartilage that is normally used when going up and down hills/steps).

    Finally watched the video of my operation and he just kept pulling pieces of cartilage out and filing down other places of damaged cartilage. He ended up putting at least 7 holes in the bone to make the microfracture.

    He told me that I would never be a runner again and that if I played competitive singles again I would be back to him in 6 months getting my knee replaced. He said that he would see how my knee looked after, and responded to, physical therapy but he felt that I should be able to play doubles in the future.

    Again, I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

    TripleB
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
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  37. mozzer

    mozzer Hall of Fame

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    Vantage BC20 if yo can get hold of them!
     
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  38. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    I haven't read the whole thread, but it seems to me that doubles is all about finesse and control. It doesn't help to hit really hard shots if they're going to be poached.

    I'd stick with 18x20 string pattern to ensure maximum control. For strings, string either syn gut relatively tight for control, or poly relatively loose for the same reason.

    thinner gauge string helps too, for spin.
     
    #38
  39. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Take heart, BBB, life isn't so bad...
    As you've surmised, I thought I was the "greatest athlete in the world :))) during my younger years. That was written in jest.
    I've now had this ankle problem since '08, not able to run whatsoever, not 3 steps, and really limited to doubles only.
    Life can be worse.
    We don't need to run in doubles because we can hit hard and forceful enough to solicit weaker returns, and when the opponent mishits a lucky drop shot, while trying their hardest groundies, we can laugh it off.
    We only need to concentrate on OUR first shot, hit firm and solid, to where we want, before the other team can start to run us around.
    And think of the adventures you will have road biking, cruising to new parts of the country, and sitting back enjoying your life.
     
    #39
  40. TripleB

    TripleB Hall of Fame

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    I actually demoed this racquet earlier in the Summer and didn't really care much for it...I seemed to have problems putting spin on the ball (not sue if it was the string pattern or how thick the frame looked).

    Of course, I was a singles player then...now I'm a doubles player :)

    I appreciate your help.

    TripleB
     
    #40
  41. rafafan20

    rafafan20 Professional

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    I think a Volkl with your specs would be a great choice, very soft rackets. Maybe give the prince exo3 tour a try. Would stay away from the Dunlops personally as I found them somewhat harsh on the elbow and not very good at the net.
     
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  42. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Eh, not sure about that.
    My Aero500's aren't bad for my twice broken collarbone shoulders, volley incredibly well, and some of the biggest, quickest net play of any racket.
    500T's seem hard on the arm, but they're rated much stiffer.
     
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  43. robbo1970

    robbo1970 Hall of Fame

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    And my leather gripped Bio 300 is a peach at the net and from all areas of the court. I play mostly dubs too.
     
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  44. rafafan20

    rafafan20 Professional

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    just my opinion only used 200 lite, 300T and 400T and found them all to be poor for volleys.
     
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  45. TonyB

    TonyB Hall of Fame

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    Tons of recommendations here, and in three pages of replies there were only TWO that suggested just using YOUR SAME RACQUET FOR DOUBLES THAT YOU DID FOR SINGLES. I'm 100% in that camp.

    Why switch??? The best doubles players I know at the club (all 5.0 and higher) all use 90-95 sq. in. frames and not ONE of them uses different frames for singles and doubles.

    I use the Yonex 89 Tour and have absolutely NO trouble playing at the 4.5-5.0 level in singles and doubles. I completely disagree with people who say "bigger is better". *CONTROL* is a huge part of doubles, it's not all about smashing balls at full speed with powerful oversized racquets.

    Anyway, just something to think about. Everyone wants to suggest their personal favorite frame or something "bigger" for you, but I think that's a mistake. Stick with what you normally play with and I suspect you'll be pleasantly surprised.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
    #45
  46. lwto

    lwto Professional

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    Head extreme PRO 2

    Best Racquet available for singles
    Best Racquet available for Doubles
     
    #46
  47. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I wonder what is meant by "poor for volleys".
    I used the Mfil and Aero200's for 3 years, then the Aero500's for 2 years now. They volley great, as well as I can.
    My old 2 LMRadMids volley very well.
    My 3 matched PrinceTTOS volley really well.
    My older than that ChangExtendeds volley really well.
    None hit very good groundstrokes, because my groundstrokes are not very good.
    I can still volley at 4.5 or better levels, but my baseline game is closer to strong 3.5. Since my legs are shot, volleying is getting stronger compared to my groundie game.
    What makes a racket volley 'poor"?
     
    #47
  48. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Some validity to post 45 BUT....
    When you come back to tennis, you will be movement challenged.
    That is not only affected by how badly you would move to the ball and set up, but worst, by your opponent's choosing to move you around instead of hitting their normal shots. So on your return to the game, you would need BETTER shots than you currently produce, and more often.....with hampered movement, and now another year in, reduced vision!
    That is the reason for OS. And MicrogelOS is not more powerful than mids. It's just got a bigger sweetspot, something your volleys can use a big dose of, next year.
     
    #48
  49. db10s

    db10s Hall of Fame

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    I think maneuverability is one aspect.
     
    #49
  50. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Manueverability...
    Can any racket move quicker than a Aero500? SW of 308, 23 beam, under 10 oz.
    Coming from some Mfil and Aero200's that SW at 340, weigh 12.4 oz, and they volley really well.
    MicroGelOS volleys really well, better than my level of play.
    As does the older racket's I mentioned.
    What I think is guys who can't volley don't volley well. Small grips don't volley well. Confirmed baseliners don't volley well.
     
    #50

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