Racquet help: Improving 4.0 player. APDGT?

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by peakay, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. peakay

    peakay New User

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    Hey All,

    Before I get flamed - I have spent tons of time using search and reading reviews. My head is swimming and am now seeking specific guru help for recommending a racquet based on my situation. Am currently thinking about buying a BB Aero Pro Drive GT, but am open to other recommendations...

    Background: I am an improving 4.0 player and play mostly doubles. My strong suit is net play though I am improving my baseline groundies and backhand as well. Groundstrokes and my backhand shot is where I need the most help. I mostly hit flat form the forehand side but am starting to build more topspin into my game.

    Current Racquet: I've been playing with a Costco Wilson Hammer 4 for 10 years or so (113 sq. inch head, 27.5" long, 49g/8.8 oz weight). Right now I string it with wilson sensation synth., 17 guage. I just joined a club and play more often, so am looking to take my game up a notch.

    Demos: I've demo'd a Youtek, various prince racquets during a demo day and nothing seemed to really impress me as being noticeably better for me based on my comfort with my current racquet. However, I once borrowed a friends APDGT and was impressed with the feeling of more power and "wood" behind my shots, yet i didn't feel like my net play suffered. Also, I forgot my racquet one day and was handed a Babolat Pure Drive Roddick racquet from the shop. My one handed backhand service return became a bullet from the ad side! However, i flew a lot of my forehands long...not sure whether adjusting to the power on this would work or not, but it sure improved my backhand.

    So... am currently thinking about purchasing the Aero Drive GT. I have no image association with this and didn't even know it is Rafa's racquet until researching it here. The thought is it will give me more power and topspin while remainging pretty light and maneuverable.

    Any other racquet recommendations?? Thanks in Advance!!
     
    #1
  2. Hominator

    Hominator Hall of Fame

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    I'd recommend trying your friend's APDGT several times before you drop the cash on a new frame. It sounded like you hit with the frame once and really liked it. If possible, borrow it for a few more times or demo from TW. After you've hit with it more extensively, tell us what you liked and didn't like about the racquet and then we on the board can probably give you some better advice on what other racquets you may want to consider. Good luck.
     
    #2
  3. cneblett

    cneblett Rookie

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    I agree, do not buy the APDGT based off just 1 hit. You should try it a few times before you buy it. It might be slightly less "hot" than the pure drive, but I would expect you to see some more jump from it as well.
     
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  4. peakay

    peakay New User

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    Thanks guys - I have a TW demo of it sitting here in my office. Will play on it this weekend, however, i was wondering which other racquets to try to compare this to. When I ordered the demo I really wanted to try a few, but there are so many racquets that its baffling to know what else to go with!
     
    #4
  5. prjacobs

    prjacobs Professional

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    Frames with similar weight and power. Dunlop 4D 500 tour... (my frame), BB Delta Core Pro, Volkl PB8, off the top of my head.
     
    #5
  6. Hominator

    Hominator Hall of Fame

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    peakay, if you find the APDGT a bit stiff or lacking in control, I'd recommend that you look at an Aero Storm GT. Weight and balance are similar, but there's much more feel. I grew up playing tennis in the late eighties and early nineties and just like the feel of thin-beamed racquets...
     
    #6
  7. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Isn't Aero Storm's hoop size and frame nice? It looks like a freaking perfect racquet. If it's more whippy and gives more feedback than the aero pro drive, that would be my holygrail.

    OP, another one to consider is pure drive -- cortex or gt is fine..i dun care much for these so called technology. In fact go with old model to save $$.

    PDGT is stiffer than aeropro drive cortex, and for sure give u tons of power.
     
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  8. nalvarado

    nalvarado Semi-Pro

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    I would also demo the APDC and compare them side by side.
     
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  9. peakay

    peakay New User

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    OK, I tried the APDGT in a match Friday and here is how it went. Please keep in mind I am not a racquet guru or really good at discerning differences:

    - In warmup, it felt really great. Lot's of pop on my groundstrokes, better backhand, volleying still seemed good although with perhaps a little less pop on them.

    - Doubles match starts and it all goes downhill. I start flying forehands long left and right, so then start to punch a bit more at the ball and start netting it. For me, it seems lie the racquet wants a better and more moderate form to work well -- not too hard or you fly it, let up too much and there is not enough bounce off the strings to get the ball over the net. PLus the weight made it less maneuverable and a smaller sweet spot for stab volleys and such. I tried switching back to my hammer 4 during the match and it felt completely foreign. Ended up staying with the APDGT and played OK, not great.

    Based on my description, should i keep working with this one or give up? Maybe I am just too accustomed to an oversize racquet? Any others I should try or should I just keep hitting the hammer?

    Thanks for any and all help!
     
    #9
  10. pheonix6579

    pheonix6579 Semi-Pro

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    I would keep trying. As with good days there will be bad days. Yea from your current frame to the APDGT, they are to TOTALLY different frames. Weight, Balance, Head size are the key three differences. Considering you didn't mention any difficulty with the weight, I would suggest the YT Radical Pro. Go the same amount of spin as when I demoed the APDGT. It was very soft hit hit and nice control with the same pop as the PDR. Not sure which YT you tried, so I suggest this one. I suggest this one because it is soft without sacrificing the power. They weight is a bit more but the balance is closer to your hammer than the APD.

    Also I know it may be a small thing to you but string set up can greatly affect how a frame hits.
     
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  11. UcannotBserious

    UcannotBserious New User

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    I gotta tell ya, from your description of your play and your focus on net-play and doubles, you could also try the Pure Drive GT (non-Roddick). I've found it more maneuverable at net compared to the APDGT. And you can weight it up and rebalance if you want to...

    And I agree with Phoenix that given how dissimilar the two racquets you had with you are, you should try whatever you're thinking about several times before making a decision.
     
    #11
  12. TheBoom

    TheBoom Hall of Fame

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    Yeah look at the Dunlop 4D 500 tour better feel than the aero :) but to each his own the aero is still a good racket with the rightstring
     
    #12
  13. peakay

    peakay New User

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    Thanks guys. I clearly need to keep demoing. I thought that my game improved enough to where a much better stick could give me a real lift, but now I'm thinking an incremental step may be better since I've played with this one for so long.

    What do you think if the Prince exo3 red? My father in law just bought one and is traveling for a couple weeks, so.its mine to demo. Still slightly oversized, light but a step heavier than my current one...will be an interesting comparison.

    Thanks !
     
    #13
  14. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    It's always noteworthy when you try a different racquet and there's just something "right" about it for you. Aside from simply switching to a lighter frame mid-session and being able to maneuver it more easily, you'll probably come across some significant likes and dislikes in your travels 'round the world of tennis gear.

    It can be tricky to keep track of it all, but I always recommend that folks like yourself keep notes on their demos. You may be noodling around with different options for many months and if you write down your observations through it all, you may come up with a good picture of what you prefer in a racquet.

    Personally, I love the stability of a heavier racquet both against harder hitters from the baseline as well as for more authority around the net. I kept track a a whole lot of demos, etc. that I tried out for well over a year some time ago, and it became clear to me how limited I felt with lighter frames. My notes also tipped me off to the upside of more flexible racquets for my game.

    I'd say that if your notes include the static weight, balance, and flex of the racquets you sample, along with your general impressions of their performance for you, that should help you find what's a better fit for you. As an avid doubles player, I'll bet that you like having a little heft in your frame along with moderate stiffness (maybe not too much) so that you can get decent punch on the ball when you need it. Avoid any assumptions about certain racquets until you get a chance to try one for yourself.
     
    #14
  15. nickarnold2000

    nickarnold2000 Hall of Fame

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    Better not throw that one in anger!! :)
     
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  16. peakay

    peakay New User

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    You got that right!

    That's one thing I have to say about my old hammer -- I've thrown that thing at least a dozen times and hit countless frame shots. The thing simply will not die. I don't do much of that anymore, but for a while I was daring the thing to crack so i'd have an excuse to upgrade. No dice!
     
    #16
  17. peakay

    peakay New User

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    OK, I've tried the BB APDGT and the Prince EXO3 Red -- here are my impressions to help others:

    - APDGT: I played better with it this time. It seems to give me better groundstrokes when my form is good, but maybe they are worse when I am jammed or otherwise cant extend the proper way. I don't like the feel of it when i hit that much -- feels a little hollow. Biggest issue for me is a smaller head size/sweet spot results in mishits more often or at least it seemed that way.

    EXO3 Red: Feels super light and maneuverable -- really expected to like this one. Hits nicely at net. When I chip at the ball, it seems like the strings "bite" more than I am used to as my hits give me more angle than my current racquet or the babolat one -- a bit strange. HATE the sound/feel of it when serving! It's so foreign that I didn't feel like I would ever be able to get the feel for serving well with it, though i'm sure over time anything works.

    Thoughts: I think I probably just need another oversize or tweener racquet that's a step up in capabilities and slightly heavier than what I have. Am probably going to demo a head oversize racquet as I have read that many people of a wide range of skill are happy with them.

    Any additional thoughts or feedback on this?

    thanks!
     
    #17
  18. lonux

    lonux Hall of Fame

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    You could try demoing the Youtek Radical OS. It's more of a player's racquet, but I dont really think you are having issues with power or such.
    It provides a nice sweetspot/large headsize, and I think it might be just what you need.

    EDIT: How bout the kBlade Team? Also provides a nice sweetspot/large headsize, with a tad more pop.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2010
    #18
  19. peakay

    peakay New User

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    Thanks Lonux. Was going to try the liquidmetal radical OS and the microgel radical os. is the youtek the way to go? I read form some that they all are pretty similar, so at $69 and 89 the lower models seemed like great value. These racquets do sound good as I don't have trouble with power and like a big swing, yet am used to the oversize Hammer racquet I've been playing wiht.
     
    #19
  20. lonux

    lonux Hall of Fame

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    Comparing specs (liquidmetal - microgel - youtek)

    Head size: 107 - 107 - 107
    Length : 27 - 27 - 27
    Strung weight: 318 - 315 -315
    Balance : 3 HL - 3 HL - 3 HL
    Swingweight: 330 - 318 - 320
    Beam width : 21 - 21 - 21.5
    Stiffness : 58 - 56 - 56

    As you can see, they are all extremely similar. The only really noticable difference is swingweight.
    The last two are a bit easier to swing, with a bit less plow-through, while the first one will be a tad harder to swing, but will give a bit more pop.
    Also note these three racquets all have different feel, so it may be best ot test 'em all three if possible.
     
    #20
  21. peakay

    peakay New User

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    Thanks Lonux - the info is much appreciated! I hear the microgel is supposed to be very easy on the arm and while i didn't set out looking for that, I have had wrist pain for almost a year and wear a wrap when I play, so maybe an arm-friendly racquet is in order for me.
     
    #21
  22. RNBABOLAT

    RNBABOLAT Rookie

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    I agree whit him maybe the APDGT could be too powerfull sometimes so you could try the wilson PRO OPEN or the HEAD RADICAL MP I think is the best raquet for you
     
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  23. sandiegoman

    sandiegoman Rookie

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    Please keep us updated on your decision.
     
    #23
  24. flashfire276

    flashfire276 Hall of Fame

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    Yes, the Aero Storm does do that! You should really look into it!

    To the OP, you shouldn't buy a racquet just because of 1 hitting session. You should hit with it for a while, so you get through that honeymoon period.
    Example. I got a FXP Prestige MP based on 1 hit with it. Turns out I couldn't even handle it because it was so heavy for me, and not enough power.

    So what I suggest is try to demo a RANGE of racquets, including that APDGT. Look into different kinds of racquets, so you know which type of racquet you want.
    Recommend to look into Aero Storm GT, K Blade, MG Radical MP, Pure Drive GT, and BLX Six One Team.
     
    #24
  25. peakay

    peakay New User

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    Hey guys, here is an update on my racquet quest. I keep posting as you all have been great help and I hope my feedback helps others as well.

    Last week I ordered all of the head oversize racquets for demo: Liquidmetal, aerogel and youtek. i also ordered the dunlop aerogel 4d500. Why all the head racquets? Based on feedback in this thread (thanks LONUX!) and looking at others in the forum, I started to believe that one of these woudl fit me nicely.

    Impressions: match 1 (doubles 4.0)

    I brought the head microgel and liquidmetal to my doubles match along with my old racquet. In warmup, I started hitting with the microgel as I though that is the one I would like (easy on arm, update of liquidmetal). Felt really good, more pop on groundstrokes, maneuverable, easy to hit touch/spin shots with the very open face, lot's of good feel. I liked it! The only thing I was wanting for was the feeling of more "wood" behind my backhand shots like I had had when I demo'd a bablot pure drive. So, I switched to the liquidmetal as its slightly heavier. WHOA! This felt really good -- gave me exactly what I was looking for without any downsides. I played really well in the match and never reached for my old racquet! I did switch between this and the microgel, but really preferred the liquidmetal.

    Impressions, match 2 (4.5 doubles)

    Having such confidence in the liquidmetal, i didn't even bring my old racquet -- I was THAT comfortable with it! I brought the liquidmetal, youtek and the dunlop. Started with the liquidmetal, still liked it! During one match I switched to the youtek. Hmmmm... liked this one too. slightly lighter feeling, but still good power and accuracy. Felt slightly less "flexy" than the liquidmetal. Still not sure which I prefer of those 2. In one set we were up big so I switched to the dunlop. Expected to not like it as the head is smaller, face is not as open, etc. but hit well with that one too -- not bad!

    Conclusions:

    Well, I think i have found the "range" of racquets I like thanks to all the help on here! I need to do some more hitting to see if the youtek or dunlop has some advantages, but I am really tempted to get the liquidmetal at this point. At $69 each, its easy to afford to have 2 racquets in the bag and I've never had 2 matching racquets before.

    The only possible want I would have is to try one more racquet that is just slightly heavier to get a little more of that "wood" behind my shot feeling. if anyone has a recommendation based on my feedback above (or is even still reading this long post....) please let me know.

    Regarding the Babolat...I am glad I tried some others. The heads have a better "feel" for me when hitting the ball as the BB feel a little hollow and "dead" by comparison. Great racquets too, but maybe not for me.

    thanks!
     
    #25
  26. lonux

    lonux Hall of Fame

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    No problem for the feedback.I am happy you're so pleased with the liquimetal version :)
     
    #26
  27. OldButGame

    OldButGame Hall of Fame

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    Peakay;

    I think You made a good call with those 2 racquets,-I have both those and highly value both of them, they each have their own unique qualities, but both are great in their own ways,...very comfortable, high control, maneuverable,..and just plain fun.[​IMG]
     
    #27
  28. TheBoom

    TheBoom Hall of Fame

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    You tried the 500 tour then?
     
    #28
  29. peakay

    peakay New User

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    Hey guys, I ordered 2 Head Radical Liquidmetal OS racquets since they are so reasonable. I am really pleased -- they arrived today from TW and come with a nice grip, sleeves and a dampener that looks unlikely to fall off. Nice!

    Thanks again to everyone who provided feedback -- extremely helpful. If anyone has some string or grip recommendations for this racquet, please let me know. Am wondering what string to use after the included one and if I should keep them strung the same or slightly differently so I have an "option" during a match if I need to adjust my game. I also saw a reco to regrip in leather with an overwrap - not sure if that is needed right now.

    Below is a photo of the unboxing for reference to others - click to view larger

    [​IMG]

    Thanks again!
     
    #29
  30. peakay

    peakay New User

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    Hey there, I'm back as I've starting to think about improving equipment again and re-read this post. First though, I want to thank everyone who gave me such great advice (thanks again Lonux) and also document how this racquet has worked for me over almost 2 years.

    Results: I love this rcquet and its been very good to me! I've improved from a USTA 3.5/low club 4.0 to a usta4.0+/club 4.5. I won our clubs double championship and was a finalist in mixed. If you are thinkign about he liquidmetal radico OS and like it n a demo, I can wholeheartedly recommend it.

    Tweaks:

    1) String: As I started gaining more top spin, I started playign with strings and tensions, which is a must. At the recommendation of our stringing pro, I started dropping 2 lbs. of tension each time to gradually get used to lower tesnion. i started wiht luxilon rough at 17 guage, which definitely gave me more top sping, but was a little stiff for me. I am currently on lux banger ace 18 guage at 54 lbs. and i find that it gives me the top spin, but is a little more forgiving on the arm. very durable too -- no string breaks. This combo allows me to generate spin, yet if I need to block back a hard shot, the lower tension gives it the "trampoline" effect that puts the ball back deep in the court. It seems liek the lower tension I use, the more it forces me to either swing through the ball or punch -- half hearted shots go long as there is not enough top spin to keep it in the court. I like this.

    2) Grip: I switched one of my racquets to the TW leatehr grip, the thickest material one, but in narrower width. On top of that I add wilson pro overgrip. I'm not sure why, but I definitely play just a bit better and always grab for the one with the leather grip. Subtle improvement, but noticeable.

    3) dampener: I liek the head dampener that comes with the racquet. It flew off my racquet for the very first time last week -- almost 2 years of trouble free use. PLenty of feel and dampening -- don't change that.

    I hope this helps someone. If anyone wants additional feeback, post here or private message me

    More advice sought on next post....
     
    #30
  31. peakay

    peakay New User

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    OK, now for advice....

    First, I still love the liquidmetal radical OS (see above). Its a great racquet and it definitely helped me improve. I'm not sure I am even looking for a new racquet, but as I am mostly playing 4.5s now, I really have to continue raising my game i and wonder if an equipment adjustment will help.

    In a perfect world, I'd love to get more power and spin more easily with my racquet without sacrificing touch and reducing the sweet spot much. I've hit with other that had impressive spin and power, but the sweet spot was small and or the power was too high, at least at that stage of my game.

    Anyone want to take a shot at a recommendation? Try another racquet or tweak mine some more? I haven't gone super low on tension, played with hybrid stringing or adding lead. This racquet has been great to me, but if a different one would help move me along in my level progression, I'd love to take advantage.

    Thanks!
     
    #31
  32. RackofSlamb

    RackofSlamb New User

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    Im at the same level as you I would say and I hate this damn racquet and I have hit with it multiple times....but that is just me. Sorry I am just frustrated because I did the same thing and went ahead and bought it and then hated it ever since.
     
    #32
  33. RackofSlamb

    RackofSlamb New User

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    Talking about the APDGT by the way
     
    #33
  34. peakay

    peakay New User

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    Which racquet? Your signature says Dunlop.
     
    #34
  35. RackofSlamb

    RackofSlamb New User

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    Hey yeah sorry, I realized after i submitted that I forgot to say APDGT...I just can't find a way to make this racquet work for me....but hey....sometimes that's what happens. The pure drive GT proved to be a lot better for me in the Babolat department, but yeah I have a newly found appreciation for the dunlop racquets
     
    #35
  36. peakay

    peakay New User

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    OK, cool. Read more of the post -- starte dout thinking I wanted a babolat, but through demoes and advice on here ended up with a head radical OS. worked way better for me.
     
    #36
  37. levy1

    levy1 Hall of Fame

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    Try the Pure Drive 2012 before you buy!
     
    #37
  38. sunof tennis

    sunof tennis Professional

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    Many think the Liquidmetal and Microgel were better than the Youtek, at leas the non-IG ones. Cheaper too.
     
    #38

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