Doubles Racquet Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by JMcQ, May 8, 2012.

  1. JMcQ

    JMcQ Rookie

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    Per the doctor's recent orders, I am now relegated to only playing doubles (chronic knee issues. Five surgeries and I'm only 35.) Although I will miss playing singles, I love doubles so I'm not completely devastated.

    As a racquetholic, I figured this might be a perfect time to "test" more doubles' appropriate frames. (If there was ever a time I could justify buying new frames to my wife, this is it.) About me:

    4.5 Doubles player. For a shorter guy, I have a big first serve and competent kick second serve. Semi-western to full western forehand. One-handed backhand. Volleys are my strength.

    Current frame specs - 12.3 strung weight. 4HL. 90 square inch head. 14x18 string pattern.

    Things that are most important to me:

    1. Maintaining pace on serve;
    2. Solid volleys but can still maintain feel;
    3. At least 3HL. Otherwise, I cannot pronate properly on my serve.
    4. Maneuverable enough that I can "get over" my one-handed backhand.

    Any suggestions?
     
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  2. zcarzach

    zcarzach Professional

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    I guess the question I'd ask is what is it about your current frame that makes you think it is inappropriate for doubles? Sounds like what you've got fits all 4 things on the "things that are most important to me" list.
     
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  3. icarus180

    icarus180 New User

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    You might want to test a Volkl powerbridge 10 mid with a bit of lead at 2 and 10. Best serve and volley racket i've ever hit. Just magnificent at net. Comes in at your rough specs. I've got a couple for sale if interested:)
     
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  4. JMcQ

    JMcQ Rookie

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    I do like my current frame...a lot. If I had to point to one thing, besides being a racquet I bought used in 1990, is the 14x18 string pattern is great for singles and hitting a heavy ball, but at net, however, it lacks a bit of touch and that ultimate rock-solid volley feeling I crave when playing doubles.
     
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  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Without getting into specific model and company, any racket that is lighter in weight, slightly lighter SW, is quick and easy to move defending your body, and enough power and spin to hit groundies, but volleys and overheads are more important.
    Getting into specifics, I use an Aero500. I have bigger lighter rackets, smaller heavier rackets, smaller almost the same weight rackets. It's the balance that counts.
    This is not the preferred singles racket, but doubles is not about pounding groundies. It's about teasing short low shots, big overheads, lots of penetrating volleys, and accurate, not hard, returns of serves.
     
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  6. JMcQ

    JMcQ Rookie

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    Here are some frames I've considered demoing. Any insight as to how these function as doubles frames is mucho appreciated:

    1. IG Prestige
    2. PK Kinetic Pro 5G
    3. Pacific X Feel Pro 95
    4. Volkl Organix 10 325
    5. Donnay X-Dual Core Platinum

    I've never been a fan of Wilson frames and most Babolats feel hollow to me.
     
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  7. jjs891

    jjs891 Semi-Pro

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    I've really enjoyed playing with POG mid with gut/poly hybrid for a long time. Felt most connected with my arm on my ground strokes like no other.

    I am in similar situation as you in that I can barely play doubles only due to degenerative hip joint. I am also in search for good doubles stick myself.

    It's funny that you mentioned you are not interested in wilson or babs, but I found PS N95 16x18 to be a very good doubles stick and still hit great ground strokes...wish it was a bit lighter. I'm also checking out PDR. Feel is not something I like but hits heavy enough balls, and any defensive shots, reflex type of shots, volleys, overheads and serves are all easier. I agree with you that feel is pretty stiff board-like. I'm interested to find out what you might end up with.

    Good luck in your search, and I'll be reading your future posts here.
     
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  8. 6-2/6-4/6-0

    6-2/6-4/6-0 Semi-Pro

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    If I was just playing doubles I'd be looking for something like a Dunlop Bio300 with a bit of lead and a leather grip. Put some Pacific Gut in there and I'm set.
     
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  9. JMcQ

    JMcQ Rookie

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    So I've demoed three frames - the IG Prestige MP, Donnay X-Dual Gold 94, and the Donnay X-Dual Platinum 99. I was only able to hit a few serves with the Prestige and the Gold so I can't really comment. (*Except that I did not like serving with the Prestige. Being only 1 1/2 HL, I had problems getting over my serve. As a result, my shoulder started to hurt almost immediately.)

    Played one doubles set with the X-Dual Platinum 99. First, this stick is very, very precise which made backhand slices, forehand chips, and stab shots a joy. It also may be one of the best volleying sticks I've ever played with. Solid, precise volleys that I could power through my opponent or angle off with touch.

    Serves were okay. Certainly didn't have the pop of my old frame and kick serves sat up instead of hopping. I didn't hate it but I didn't love it.

    Groundstrokes were good but not great. Ton of control. Not much power. Shots were flatter and had less net clearance. (This would drive me crazy if it were singles; in doubles, it hurt my return game but the volleying control may be worth it)
     
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  10. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    I've always leaned toward heavier, more stable frames for their performance around the net, but I'm still moving around as more of an all-court player. My go-to singles racquets are my Volkl C10 98's, which are okay around the net, but not completely superlative. I recently found a pair of Yonex RD Ti 80's in the classifieds here and was happy to try them because I've gone toward softer frames and some feedback made these look interesting.

    I've been comparing both racquets for several weeks and while my Volkls are still my overall favorites, the Ti 80's are turning out to be quite good in a doubles role. While they're soft enough to keep me comfortable, they bring me better potential for punching the ball around the court (think returns and volleys) and let me serve with bananas spin and kick.

    If I were to look at something else in the realm of soft yet hefty 'n stable, I'd probably have a go with one of the Dunlop 200 Tour models. Otherwise, that demo list you posted already looks rather interesting.
     
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  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I still stick by my lighter weight, but almost equal SW of my 500's over 200's or LMRAds or Prince OS superlights.
    What stroke is most important, after the serve? Return...power not needed, directional control utmost.
    2nd. Quickness at net. Heavier just handicaps you on reflex volleys.
    Overheads..anything bigger is easier than smaller. With respect for your first serve.
    Volleys..power placement is NOT important. Only placement is. Lighter places as well. might have less bite for sure, but that's not important in doubles.
     
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  12. JMcQ

    JMcQ Rookie

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    I respectfully, and only somewhat, disagree with the idea that placement completely trumps power in doubles. Although placement will give you many set up volleys, and some winning volleys, you still must be able to put that volley away when you have the chance. For example, if the proper shot is a volley through the middle, a firm volley will be much more effective than a softer volley, regardless of how well placed. The softer volley might come back when a firm volley wouldn't.

    Similarly, volleys hit at an opponent's feet. If you play a team with good hands, a well-placed volley at the feet might not get it done if there isn't enough pace. And there's nothing more frustrating and demoralizing to have to hit another shot, and another, and another...

    Finally, when my serve is on, I get a ton of free points off of my first serve, plus it gives me an extra excitement that keeps me aggressive on that first volley. Without the "pop," I subconsciously hit a more passive first volley instead of attacking, even if a weak return warranted a more aggressive play.

    That being said, I do agree that precision is far more important than power in doubles. But I disagree that power is NOT effective or important in some instances.
     
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  13. jonestim

    jonestim Professional

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    Playtest the Diablo Mid. It is the same size head and grip shape as your current stick. It is a bit heavier, more head light, similar swing weight - maybe a tad higher depending what version of the POG you have, and a denser string pattern. It could be what you are looking for.
     
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  14. Meaghan

    Meaghan Hall of Fame

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    The becker legend is a great serve volley doubles stick....just swapped it for the v core 95 as its more stable on 1hbh.
     
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  15. JMcQ

    JMcQ Rookie

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    Just for clarification - I'm not currently playing a POG. I use a Prince CTS Precision 90. I do like the POG's, but not as much as the CTS frames (Approach, Precision).

    That being said, that Diablo Mid does look intriguing. I may have to add it to my demo list.
     
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  16. Hazelrat10

    Hazelrat10 New User

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    For the specs you're after, the Pacific X Feel Pro 95 seems like a pretty good match. 11.9 ounces strung and 6 pts head light. There's also the Pacific X Force Pro, which has a headsize of 98 sq inches and is 8 pts headlight (better at the net IMO because it's more maneuverable). I demoed both and went with the X Force Pro, but they play pretty similarly. If you're going to demo racquets off of TW, take a closer look at their specs and try out which one fits your game best. You may be turned off a little because Pacific is a new brand, but keep in mind that all Pacific did was buy out the racquet branch of Fischer (which had been great sticks for a very respectable amount of time!)
     
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  17. mawashi

    mawashi Hall of Fame

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    Interesting that you are blocking out a lot of sticks... If you are going to demo why not cast the net wider, u never know if something unexpected blows u away.

    I've been a long time user of heavy vantage stick but surprisingly the juice pro and the pure drive 2012 were really fun sticks!
     
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  18. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    One thing to know about the X Feel Pro 95, assuming it is almost identical to the M-Comp 95, is that it will have no power. I used the M-Comp 95 for over 3 years and absolutely loved the frame. It really allowed me to swing away on my groundies & serve, knowing if I kept it within the sidelines, it would likely drop in.

    Also, it had great touch & very stable at the net. One of the better volleying sticks I have used.
     
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  19. JMcQ

    JMcQ Rookie

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    Thoughts on Head IG Prestige MP, Donnay X-P Dual Gold 94, Donnay X-P Dual Platinum 99:

    So I have ruled out the IG Prestige and the Dual Gold 94. I really didn't like the feel of the Prestige and every time I served, my shoulder hurt. As someone coming off shoulder surgery, that made the Prestige an immediate non-starter.

    The Dual Gold 94 just didn't have enough oomph for me. It was under-powered at the baseline and not solid enough at net.

    The Dual Platinum 99 still remains a solid possible option for me. It is truly a scalpel which makes volleys, approach shots, and slices a blast! The Platinum gives me greater control on my serves, including the ability to hit wicked slices serves wide on the deuce court. Still, however, not the "pop" I'm used to on serves or with put-away groundstrokes. Overall, it is slightly under-powered for my tastes (may be able to cure with strings) but we'll see as I demo other frames.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
    #19
  20. JMcQ

    JMcQ Rookie

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    Not trying to block out sticks - just trying to be practical. I've owned every iteration of the Pure Storm GT (Regular, Tour, and Ltd.) and have hit with the Pure Drives, Aero Pros, etc. I don't have a problem with Babolat; I just know I like a more solid feeling frame.

    As for Wilson, I've yet to hit one that has the "feel" I enjoy. For some reason, Wilson frames always feel harsh to me. I haven't tried the Juice so maybe that frame would be better?
     
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  21. Doc Hollidae

    Doc Hollidae Hall of Fame

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    I agree with you on the Wilson feel. Try the new BLX 6.1's. The added "amplifeel" technology seems like it had cured that harsh feel of Wilson rackets. This version of the 6.1 is the first one I've actually liked and not set down immediately. I found the new BLX 6.1 to be one hell of a volleying racket. Solid, good control, and stable.

    I've also been demoing the Biometric 200g. Basically a player's racket with a lower static weight and SW. I'd highly suggest giving this one a try.

    As a personal preference, I would suggest looking into Prince rackets. There's something about their port technology that makes volleying extreme enjoyable. My personal opinion is that Prince makes the best volleying rackets on the market right now.
     
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  22. mawashi

    mawashi Hall of Fame

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    I also felt that wilson was rather harsh especially the k series but discovered that the new 2012s are rather more comfortable also I'm stringing lower with the new breed of polys.

    The Juice pro is a very interesting stick as it's not a baseline or s&v stick but more an all court stick. Its pretty solid and with a high sw of 336 which really makes it feel very solid on impact. It swings big with great serves and the mass makes volleys really good. One of the few sticks I didn't need to mod as it plays good stock.

    On a side note, if you really like the feel of old school sticks like the Prince CTS Precision 90 it's going to be really hard to get anything else that feels or plays the same.

    You could give these sticks a demo.

    Prince Tour Diablo Mid
    Juice pro
    Wilson BLX Six.One 95 18x20
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
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  23. icarus180

    icarus180 New User

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    I demoed the IG Prestige MP, and currently play with the Organix 10 (325).

    They are both very worthy frames, imho.

    Before switching, I was playing with Volkl PB10 mids, but despite being an "arm friendly" frame, I was having a lot of elbow trouble.

    The Prestige was my favorite of the 8 or so frames I tested. I liked it immediately, and liked it more than the organix 10. For me it served brilliantly, felt super crisp at the net, and felt perfect from the back court. My demo was strung with a soft poly (Sonic Pro), and by the end of my single session with the racket (some hitting then doubles) my golfers elbow had kicked up something fierce. I also experienced some shoulder pain from serving, which is not particularly normal for me. Without the pain, I would have purchased the IGPMP on the spot.

    I play tested the X10 pretty extensively. Though I love this racket now, it took some time for me to recognize the magic. The spin and stability were immediately apparent, but I didn't like the "feel" of the racket on the ball. And it took a good two weeks to find the serve. Two things kept me playing with this racket. One, and most importantly, it doesn't hurt my arm. Not with high tension multi, not with mid-tension poly, not on shanks. Two, I had a lot of success with this racket right out the box. I was simply winning more points than with other rackets, including my primary frame at the time.

    Hope this is helpful :)
     
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  24. JMcQ

    JMcQ Rookie

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    So after demoing the Organix 10 for a long time, it remains in the "maybe" pile. I just don't get that WOW feeling when I play with it although I definitely have a few WOW moments.

    For example, I had a first with the Org10 - in a league doubles' match, I started out with three aces and a service winner. (In my head, I'm already swiping my credit card and purchasing three new frames.) The next service game, I double faulted three times. I know this is user error but the inconsistencies with both the serve and overhead continued throughout that match and the next time I played. Also, with it being so headlight, I sometimes come through the zone too quickly on groundies and shank more than I should.

    So I have four demos on the way:

    1. Dunlop Biomemetic Max200G
    2. Boris Becker Delta Core Melbourne
    3. Slazenger Pro Braided
    4. Pacific X Fast Pro 100.

    If anyone has played with frames and has an opinion - especially for serve, volley, and service return - I would love to hear your thoughts.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
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  25. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    A couple of things: do you spend most of your time at the net or at the baseline? Secondly, are you looking for a highly maneuverable stick for quick volleys, or a stable stick that will allow you to put volleys away, even if hit off center or as a stab?
     
    #25
  26. JMcQ

    JMcQ Rookie

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    At the net. If we're at the baseline, that is a bad sign. It likely means we're getting dominated in the match...

    I would like a blend of maneuverability and stability but if I had to decide between one or the other, I would chose stability.
     
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  27. Murrayalmagrofan

    Murrayalmagrofan Semi-Pro

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    So...how did these demos work out for you?

    Interested in your thoughts on the Slazenger Pro Braided vs Dunlop Max 200G.
     
    #27
  28. crazyups

    crazyups Semi-Pro

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    I have the slazenger and the bio max 200g. The slazenger beats it with better plow through, power and stability. I have them customized with the same weight and balance. Looks like the slazenger will be my go to racquet along with my older maxply mcenroe. I don't like flexible racquets. Now the bio 200g looked like the successor to the maxply but is far from it. The slazenger is a lot more similar.
     
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  29. Murrayalmagrofan

    Murrayalmagrofan Semi-Pro

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    Thanks. Very good to know. I'm very happy with my Slazengers, but I'm always keeping an eye out for players racquets in the 11.5-12.0 oz weight range.
     
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  30. BorisBecker1872

    BorisBecker1872 New User

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    Does anyone have a certain racquet for singles and then a completely different racquet for doubles? Is this wise?

    BorisBecker
     
    #30

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