Review the craziest racquets you own

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by VOLLEY KING, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    I have tried every strange racquet on the market to improve my game and just to have fun. Now Ive become sort of a collector of strange racquets.

     Do you guys own any strange racquets? Post your pics and give a review....here's my first one:

    The Natural racquet:

    [​IMG]


    Intro: this stick had some cool attributes. It will ruin your game but it was fun to try out.

    Thebstick is used by the battistone brothers on thebpro tour and they hitbsome of the most insane serves I have ever seen in my life.


    serves

    Serves were ridiculously GREAT with this racquet. In fact I have never in my life hit serves like
    this before. 

    It took some getting used to though. The angle of the racquet faces sharply down. So basically you have to swing for the fences.... Literally ! I tried to hot the ball over the fence and the result was an incredibly fast serve that landed in the box. I have never hit serves like this before in my life.

    ground strokes

    7/10

    As great as the serve was that's how bad the groundstrokes were. I just couldn't hit two handed off both sides . And after I tried it for a week it ruined my groundstrokes with a regular racquet.

    The handles were great though. They are just shaped in such a way that it's really easy to change grips and it's very powerful. I wish all racquets used this grip system . Most comfortable grip that I have ever felt

    feel

    Feel was great . Heavy plow through and a nice "thud" feeling.

    return of serve

    Horrible....for the same reason and groundstrokes . Just couldn't get used to it.

    volleys  

    Horrible. It's so complicated . I kelt getting caught holding the racquet with one hand or two. There's just too much to think about .

    conclusion

    Great conversation piece. The color is wild. You cannot fit it into some stringing machines. Serves are fun but that's about it. I would not buy this stick but it was a nice addition to my collection.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
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  2. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    More to racquets to follow soon.....I have some wild ones!
     
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  3. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    The Mad Raq:

    [​IMG]

    intro

    This is racquet actually works! One of the best racquets I have ever played with in my life.

    This racquet came out before the spaghetti string ban and was used on the tour but Im not sure it's legal today.

    I've read the rules and it says something like "you can have only one " SET" of strings". The Mad raq requires more strings and therefore is not one set.

    The Mad raq is named after it's owner Madeline. Stringers did not want to deal with the nightmare of stringing it. So it never took off because of that.

    At one point Donnay came out with a Mad raq as well and even used Mcenroes name. It's was called the Dunlop Mcenroe Mad raq.

    Moving forward Madeline decided to take the third set of string out and created the "power angle" racquet sold right here on TW.

    The power angle is a great stick but the Mad raq is much better. Madeline a mathematician got the idea from looking at an American Indian snow show. The design was very stable.

    She made the most stable string bed I have ever played with in my life.....so stable that the strings never break. I have a set in there that's 15 years old.

    I showed the racquet to Roman Prokes and he LOVED it. He said it just made sense.

    out of all the models I thought that the "Bermuda" was their best stick.

    serves

    8/10

    Powerful and accuracy great. The spin was incredible especially on slice out wide.

    groundstrokes

    The amount of spin was awesome and the stability of the stick was insane

    volleys

    7/10

    Again very stable with no shock to the arm ; however the frame was a bit thick for maneuverability. There are however thinner models than the Bermuda mode,.

    feel

    10/10

    This is the best feeling racquet I have ever played with period. The string design is just so stable. It's hard to explain but the feel is different than any other racquet you have ever played with. It's just rock solid.

    Conclusion

    So why don't I play with this stick if I love it so much

    - I don't know if it's legal

    - causes to many problems and people always question me

    - no one wants to string this beast

    If you have any sort of arm problems I think you will LOVE this stick. If you can deal with all the grief people will give you about the racquet and getting it strung then it may be for you.

    You basically have to string only once because the strings never seem to break.

    Groundstrokes [/
     
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  4. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    That's it for tonight....wait till I show you the rest of my collection. It's a trip . :)
     
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  5. Deuces Wild

    Deuces Wild Rookie

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    The back of my chair has the same pattern as the Mad Raq's strings.
     
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  6. Don't Let It Bounce

    Don't Let It Bounce Hall of Fame

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    The Mad Raq stringing pattern is at the top of my list of "I wish someone would make that again". I'm reasonably certain it's legal: I believe the "one set of strings" referred to in the rules was aimed at the spaghetti stringing, which had three separate (in the sense of not being woven together) "sets" of string. It doesn't mean "set" in the sense of "coil".

    I suspect the USRSA hated Mad Raqs not so much because they were difficult to string but because they so rarely needed it.
     
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  7. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    It's probably certain ......but we just don't know for sure . A " set" of strings os pretty to me this racquet has more than a "set" so it can be at least argued that it's legal.

    I guess someone would have to sub,it it to The ITF or USTA or whatever for a decision. Bit yup are right the rule wAs meant for spaghetti strings. Rules and laws must be applied uniformly .

    I think Your are right about the usrsa.....these strings just never break.
     
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  8. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    Ergonom vs X-45

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Intro

    I bought the ergonom at TW and the X-45 at at flea market for $ 20 bucks.

    The theory behind the racquets is that tennis is meant to be played with the racquet angle always at 45 degrees and this racquet does it for you.

    The ergonom is an 80's racquet while the x-45 is the modern version.

    I found this to be a gimmick that doesn't really work and gave no advantage whatsoever ......but the ergonom was the far better stick.

    groundstrokes

    Ergonom 6/10
    X-45 2/10

    Hard to get used to butbafter a while I just ignored the shape of the head and was able to hit groundstrokes.

    The ergonom had an 80's thin beamed feel to it. Whipped around nicely and played well. Control and power were not bad.

    X-45 was horrible. Was a thick beamed racquet and played poorly.

    serves

    Ergonom 3/10
    X-45 1/10

    I just could not get used to the shape. The only serves I could hit were slice serves. Flat serves were just impossible.

    Of the two the ergonom cut through the air quicker and was the better of the two

    volleys

    Ergo 7/10
    X-45 3/10

    The shape actually did help a little here. It did help save time to prepare my racquet head .

    The x-45 was just to bulky however while the ergo played like an old school stick.

    feel

    Ergo 9/10
    X-45 2/10

    The ergo felt awesome . It hadbthat old school feel because it was old school.

    The ergo was just way to hollow.

    Conclusion

    The shape really does nothing except on volleys where it really does help and save time. Serves were difficult to hit.

    Of the two sticks the ergo is far better. Sometime newer is not better! 
     
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  9. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    ive always wanted to try the natural, just never seen any cheap enough for me. i think itd be interesting
     
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  10. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    You have to check out the serves this guy hits with it.

    The first video is him hitting the most incredible serve .

    The second is of him at a BNP Paribas event . He also used it at the us open but the video quality was poor so I didn't post it .

    Check this out:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQYOW1DlydU&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BO_c_-mYlMY&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    HERE's FEDERER ACTUALLY TRYING TO IMITATE THE BATTISTONE NATURAL RACQUET SERVE

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNUaYo55GM4&feature=youtube_gdata_player




    .
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
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  11. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    i think fed was just jackin around
     
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  12. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    Of course.

    But Battistone the owner of te natural racquet did play in the Us Open.

    I'm sure Federer watched him and imitated him??
     
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  13. mhj202

    mhj202 Rookie

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    He missed the part of Battistone's serve where Battistone tosses with his right hand and then transfers the racket from his left hand to his right and hits the serve with the right hand as well.

    Kind of like how Jim Abbott (ex-MLB pitcher born without right hand) would probably need to serve (but he would obviously do it lefty).
     
    #13
  14. Muse

    Muse Rookie

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    How much does the natural weigh? For some reason, when I look at it I imagine it weighing about 5 lbs and being impossible for a normal person to swing.
     
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  15. alidisperanza

    alidisperanza Hall of Fame

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    The fishy looking thing that sticks off the East C
    There was one on the bay for really cheap the other day. Dunno if it's still up. Worth a look though.
     
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  16. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    Interesting specs . They have a 27" version and a 29 inch version. These are the specs for the 27 inch version.

    27" Racquet Specs: 

    Headsize: 110 in
    Length: 27 in
    Weight: 11.8 oz
    Balance: 12 points head light
    Swingweight: 318
    Pattern: 18 x 19

    Here's a much better review than my review . The guy gives a day by day analysis of his experiences :

    "Always on the prowl for arm-friendly racquets we came across a double handled racquet called “The Natural” tennis racquet.  The specs were interesting to us so we began researching the racquet.  After some initial reading we learned there was not much information posted about this unusal racquet.  They do have a web site and there are a couple of threads on discussion boards, but that is all the information available.  (Some interesting videos on YouTube also exist.)

    We decided to see for ourselves if the racquet might be an alternative for some people.  It arrived two days ago. Our first order of business was to “pimp it out.”  In other words we added a stringbed of red mains and black crosses of the new MSV Hepta-Twist (soon to be available and soon to be a blog topic).  Next we wrapped the grips with purple and lime overwrap and used some red and yellow finishing tape.  Our goal was “gawdy as possible.”  Afterall, we want to attract attention when using this puppy.

    Because of the scarcity of information we decided to make an online blog diary of our experience with this racquet.  Our first official hitting session will be this evening where we will form some initial opinions and report back in diary form, however yesterday, January 13, curiosity got the better of us and we took it to the courts at lunch.  Impressions below.

    JANUARY 13, 2010 Today we share some preliminary observations after a brief hitting session against a wall and some serving practice.  Note:  Live action will be tomorrow, 1/14/10.

    1.  It will take some time to adjust to the angle of the handles.  It is unrealistic to expect to be able to hit at 100% efficiency with this frame out of the box.  It will require some adjustments and muscle memory will have to be relearned.  I suspect it will take several hours of hitting sessions before I am comfortable using this racquet in match play.

    2.  Some will use the racquet with the goal of hitting one hand off of each side.  In my case I am learning to hit two handed off of both sides.  I already hit a two-handed backhand and hitting that side with this racquet took just minor adjustments.  Felt really good.  Can’t wait to see how it performs in live action later today.  The two-handed forehand was very akward. Probably because it was not as natural for me.  Will have to work on it. Hitting with one hand was more comfortable for me, and I could rally against the wall with control using one hand, but that is not my goal.

    3.  I now understand why it comes in 27″, 28″ and 29″ options.  After just a short wall session, I believe if hitting with two hands, the longer options may be better, although I am not sure what the extra length may mean for arm health. The model I am testing is the 27″ model with the 4 1/4″ grip.  Typically I use 4 1/2, but with two hands the smaller size does not bother me…so far.

    4.  Used some different muscle groups in shoulders and upper back.  I expected to be sore today, but surprisingly I am not.  Must be due to the post workout chocolate milk chaser kicking in!

    5.  The angled handles are intriguing.  I can see some distinct possibilites of additional leverage on groundstrokes, but it will require some grip work.  This is an area that definitely needs additional exploration.

    6.  Serves.  The first dozen or so found the bottom of the net or the fence.  I tried serving with both the front and back handles.  I ultimately chose to focus on using the front handle.  The contact point has to be higher with this racquet when using the front handle in order to clear the net.  Ultimately that is GOOD for power.  By hitting at a higher point of contact, more power is generated.  The angle actually helps here.  I was impressed with the zip I found on serve…that caught me by surprise.  Control and placement will require additional practice due to the new contact point.  Also pronating with this racquet was not as easy for me.  Again, this was a short hitting session consisting of only 5 dozen or so serves.  There is reason to be very optimistic about the serving potential for this racquet.

    I came away from the session realizing that one has to be committed to learning how to use the racquet.  It’s not like demoing a typical racquet off the store shelf.  Thus we will keep updating this diary to share our experience with those who may be considering trying this racquet for themselves.

    2 thoughts on “The Natural Tennis Racquet – A Diary”

    fsilber on May 11, 2010 at 6:28 pm said:

    On the one-handed forehand you have to take the ball further out in front. The advantage for serving is that you don’t have to pronate, and maybe you shouldn’t. And maybe you should use a grip a bit more towards the eastern forehand grip. When I look at videos of the Battistone brothers, the string bed on the serve seems to face straight ahead before contact, during contact, and for a bit after contact. In other words, you get the height, power and spin of a proper serve, but with the easy timing of a pop-it-up beginner’s serve.

    Reply ↓

    ggtennis on May 11, 2010 at 10:57 pm said:

    Well stated. I continue to experiment with pronation and am getting better at incorporating some spin action into the serves."
     
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  17. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    Who? Federer or the YouTube video I had of Battisone?
     
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  18. mhj202

    mhj202 Rookie

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    Federer missed it. I was wondering why Battistone tosses with his right instead of his left.

    The serve is reminiscent of a volleyball jump serve- but there's no reason I can see that Battistone couldn't toss with his left.
     
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  19. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    My nine year daughter is in love with my PK Redondo mid. So I took of the leather grip, overgrip, 7 grams lead tape on the handle and the 16 polyester string at 23 kg. Put on a synthetic grip, and strung it with 17 syn gut at 18 kg, and brought it from 355g to 330g. Now I am a bit envious at her. But haven't tried it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013
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  20. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    the legendary Spaghetti racquet

    [​IMG]

    Intro

    I picked this racquet up on the bay. I paid $300 bucks for it.

    This is not a picture of my racquet because I cannot figure out how to upload. But my racquet is the old Lendl Adidas racquet.

    This racquet was made illegal after Nastase broke Vilas' world record clay court run. That record was not broken until Nadal. Who knows how long Vilas' record would have lasted if not for this stick.

    Nastase decided to use the racquet because a week before he was beaten by someone before who used it against Nasatase.

    The racquet first caught the attention of the world when lowly ranked Mike Fishbach ( something like 200 in the world ) beat Hall of Famer Stan Smith. 

    I personally don't think the racquet changed the game as much as graphite, oversize and poly strings have. If you noticed tennis is slowing down the surfaces to deal with that technology.

    Although I did find that the spaghetti string gave you incredible spin and control, it was greatly lacking in power. If people used it today it would not give them an unfair advantage and I also think it would help tennis. We would see more variety .....feel and serve and volley players would be on the tour again.

    The graphite and polyester strings helped baseliners  gain an advantage on ground strokes and return of serves. The serve and volleyers had virtually no help from technology in my opinion . It's not fair.

    I believe that the spaghetti was outlawed more for political reasons than anything else.

    In the Nasatse Vilas match there was a lot of emotion involved . People think that Nastase just won but the truth is that Vilas just gave up as he was completely frustrated. 

    After losing the first set and on his way to lose the second set Vilas just stormed off the court in an angry rage. Vilas yelled and complained to his coach the legendary Tiriac .

    Tiriac went on to coach Becker and became an owner of many tournaments . He is the richest man in Rumania and he is one of the most powerful men in tennis if not the most powerful .

    Tiriac made just one phone call an the next day the spaghetti string was suspended from play and after a court battle made illegal. It ruined the guy who was promoting them in the USA. I actually spoke with his son because I wanted to buy more. But this was years ago.

    The racquet i think would help players like Federer who have slice and junk I'm their game and it would be an answer to big top spinners like Nadal.  I think tennis would be way more exciting as well.

    With polyester string oversized graphite racquets baseliners like Nadal have been given an unfair advantage . People cry its the slowness of the courts but I submit it's because of technology.

    If baseliners were helped so much then why can't serve and volley players or all courters like Federer be given some technology ?

    I am not going to give a scaled rating because the spaghetti doesn't compare to any other racquet. I will rather just describe it.

    Groundstrokes

    Definitely favors a player with touch like Federer. A topspin grinder like Nadal will have no use for this stick. The power is just not there. 

    Although Nadal would get higher bouncing topspin he wouldn't have the same power. Plus Federers one handed slice would be able to deal with it better. The slice would come back far more effectively and accurately . It would make the playing field against Nadals powerful  Babolat fair and even more exciting .

    The best stroke I found with this racquet was the slice. The ball just freaking dies. There's not much you can do with it.

    A slice on grass even slow grass with this racquet is devastating and you could easily come in for a volley .

    The junk you can put on the ball is amazing. But be forewarned its not powerful. It's more about control strategy and placement. Djokovic would have no benefit from this stick either.

    Topspin is not a big deal at all. Sure you can get higher bouncing balls but the power is just not there. This racquet is not for a base line top spinner .

    volleys

    Amazing volleys. Perfect placement and lethal slices. Drop volleys are a dream . The ultimate Volley weapon.

    drop shots & feel

    WOW !!!! You can basically hit a drop shot from anywhere at any time with deadly accuracy. The feel is beyond describable.

    Strung with gut and very plush. It's like a dream come true. Tennis the way I always dreamed of playing. Just so much fun.

    I loved using it against juniors with their baseline bash games . They had no idea what to do with a real slice when they saw one.

    serves

    Power was very poor but placement and accuracy was off the charts. A serve and volleyers dream racquet. 

    Your not going to get to many aces but you will be able to put away a LOT of volleys. I felt like John McEnroe on the court . So much fun!!

    conclusion

    Spaghetti strings I feel were outlawed due to political reasons. It didn't change the game anymore than polyester or graphite oversized racquets. This technology only helps the baseline badgers . Players like Federer or serve and volleyers should be given some technology as well to level the playing field.

    We would also have variety back in tennis. Technology has changed our sport and we are trying to go back to the way tennis was by slowing the courts and the balls.  I propose either going back to wood or give the guys an answer to deal with all this power like the spaghetti string.

    For hundreds of years there were no rules regarding a tennis racquet. Why all of a sudden did they out law the spaghetti string. 

    The answer in one word : TIRIAC.

    Why are polyester strings legal but spaghetti strings not? It's just not fair.

    If you look at history Nastase and all courter was able to beat Vilas a clay court top spinner on red clay.  An analogy can be draw between Federer and Nadal.

    I wonder what would have happened in that match if Nastase was allowed to use his spaghetti and Vilas had an APD ?? I think it would have been a fair match but far more importantly it would have been exciting as all hell and brough variety back!!!

    Now that polyester is played with I think it's only fair to allow spaghetti strings to be used
     
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  21. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    It does look like a volley ball serve .

    Federer looked funny imitating it.
     
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  22. mhj202

    mhj202 Rookie

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    Battistone looks funny actually doing it too.
     
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  23. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    What was really hard was volleying .

    You sort of have to switch hands .

    You do get a lot more reach this way.

    I also noticed that Battistone hit with a one
    Handed forehand.

    I wonder how Seles or Santoro would do with the racquet .

    In my life i have met only two people who hit with two hands on
    Both sides . They were both very good players.

    I would love to be able to play that way.

    .
     
    #23
  24. Steve Huff

    Steve Huff Legend

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    Who strung your Erg? They were way off. If you have a 2 point machine, it's an easy stringjob. You just have to remember there is a short side and a long side. Running 2 mains through one hole at the throat??? Must have been on drugs.
     
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  25. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    I was talking about the natural racquet.

    The stringer could not fit it into his machine. I tried to have him force it and he chipped some of the paint; however the older manual machines with clamps was not a problem.

    If you haven't noticed I don't know how to string ...lol. I don't remember exactly why the natural racquet wouldn't fit.....but I do remember it wouldn't fit.
     
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  26. TheOneHander

    TheOneHander Professional

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    He knows that you were talking about the natural racquet. He is referring to the Ergo, which is strung improperly.
     
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  27. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    How does he know my ergonom was strung improperly?

    Did he see my ergonom? I did say however that the natural racquet could not fit in the machine and had to be put in an old manual machine with clamps.

    Anyway as to who string the ergo I'm guessing it was Bosworth who strung it because I bought it from the "Bosworth collection".

    It came strung and I have never tried to restring them. I just bought the racquet as a collectors piece.

    Why did he say "must have been on drugs? "




    .
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
    #27
  28. Hitman99

    Hitman99 Rookie

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    I have a PowerAngle Grand racket, got it because of a sore shoulder, plus my natural inclination to try new technologies. It is currently strung with a soft poly, but I am going to have it restrung with Babolat VS gut next weekend.

    Since the PowerAngle already has the diagonal string pattern, I am wondering if there might be a way to add some cross strings, resulting in a pattern that is very close to the Mad Raq. I have never strung my own racket, so I don't know what is really possible. Looks to me like the grommets would need to be enlarged, so probably not an easy option.
     
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  29. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    Why go through all that ....just get a Mad raq. You can get one on the net....or I can even give you Madelines contact info.

    I also have a few extra bit only one Bermuda model which is my favorite . I'm never letting go!!!

    What are the specs of your current stick?

    I actually know her . She is pretty cool.....

    If you like your power angle you will like the mad raq better ...100 percent guarantee .

    And you only need to buy one because the strings just never break.

    Tension will change however and stringing this thing is a nightmare.
     
    #29
  30. TheOneHander

    TheOneHander Professional

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    Judging by the picture you posted (and the fact that you left no indication that the racquet is not yours), he was led to believe that the racquet above was indeed your property. As you can see, the center two mains appear to go through one grommet-something only a stringer on drugs would do.
     
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  31. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    Ohhhh. That makes sense!!!

    Yeah I have not figured out how to post pictures of my actual racquets.

    I tried though. I tried photo shack and others and just couldn't do it . But when I have more time I will pay more attention and post the actual pics.
     
    #31
  32. Hitman99

    Hitman99 Rookie

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    I have Madeline's email addy, she gave me some good advice about string choices. However, she didn't answer my last email.....

    She never mentioned that she is still selling the Mad Raq. Perhaps she isn't, as no more are being made.

    All the specs on the PowerAngle are available on TW. I have the Grand model, which is a 115 head size. In general, the racket is relatively stiff, relatively light, and several points head heavy. Normally, these specs would not indicate a very arm/shoulder friendly racket, but the string pattern addresses some of those issues.

    I also have a Vortex Extreme Spin racket on order, for demo purposes (they have a 30-day MBG policy instead of a formal demo program). There are also two Vortex rackets for sale right now on that auction site, by one of TT's most active posters - JoeSch.


    Hmm, just checked and there is an antique McEnroe Mad Raq also for sale on that auction site. Real small head though. I might buy it just for its historical value.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
    #32
  33. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    No don't buy the McEnroe Mad raq at least not for serious play!!

    It's a piece of crap. It was made for 13 year olds. I'm not even sure it's graphite.
    I think it was only sold in like Target or stores like That. It's a joke .

    I have a few Madraqs I don't use actually never even tried. Ill see if I have one that meets your specs. They are already strung however and it will be hard to restring .

    Although Madeline lists a bunch of people who are stringers for her. I bought the guy in Thornwood out. I must have like 10 of them.

    Madeline definitely has some or she can direct you on where to find it.

    I'm glad you mentioned the Vortex. It's a very different racquet than the Mad Raq.

    I have all the Vortex's and know them all well. The closest Vortex to your specs is the blue 116.

    I'll post that one next when I have a moment. Great sticks.

    .
     
    #33
  34. Hitman99

    Hitman99 Rookie

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    I will be trying the Vortex 116, if I don't like it I may check out the 108. I am a super senior (65+) USTA 4.0, almost exclusively play doubles.

    If you have a Vortex 116 for sale I might be interested. Ditto for a Mad Raq in a larger head size.
     
    #34
  35. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    I just finished my vortex review. Dude you will seriously love the 133.

    It's the racquet that Tom the owner of Vortex uses in USTA nationals. Dont be scared or feel stupid about the size . It's an amazing stick for the right player.
    It is NOT a gran pa stick.

    It's unbeatable at the net.

    Here comes the review. Did it quick sorry for the typos.
     
    #35
  36. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    VORTEX

    [​IMG]

    Thank Joesh for these pictures . I did a search on google images and thread you did came up. The red one is vortex the blue is the woodforde hi ten which the vortex is modeled after.

    The reviews given there of the Vortex will be far better than my "regular guy" review so for a more in depth review you should check that thread out.

    These racquets are really cool. They may not look "crazy" but they are !!

    They have an incredibly sparse string pattern . One model has a mere 14x15 string pattern! The strings are extremely thick as well at 15 guage! Tension is extremely low as well at 45 pounds recommended or lower!! Also the patern is in the shape of a "V" spreading out wider on top . This is supposed to do something .....I'm not quite sure what? But it seems to work

    They are modeled after one of the greatest doubles players of all time Mark Woodforde. He used a snauwert hi ten and I think later a Wilson? But his racquet was specially made and produced crazy spin

    Mark woodfordes racquet had extreme spin and was super effective . He also used unbelievably thick string . I'm sure Joe can tell you the name. It was a green thick string the kind you would use in a weed whacker.

    The Vortex is the modern version of that racquet. They redesigned the racquet so you could use an extremely low tension whereas Woodforde used an extremely high tension which most customers didn't like.

    I would be VERY VERY excited to get my hands on a hi ten!! If anyone wants to post a review ( hint hint joe) I would really appreciate it ! Or maybe I could convince you to part with yours? I would be willing to pay a LOT for it.

    Anyway I had to settle for the Vortex and I'll give you guys a review of each model. A very short review but a review nonetheless .

    Serves

    Tour 95    8/10
    Tour 100.  8/10
    Pro 100.     7/10
    Pro 116.        5/10
    Es 100.        6/10
    Es108.         7/10
    Es 116.          4/10
    Es 133.        2/10

    The sticks with pro or tour on it are more player  oriented frames. They are thinner and the patterns though still very sparse are denser than the game improvement frames.

    Basically I found the thinner the frames the better the serves.

    Spin was all there big time for all. But racquet speed was lacking in some of the game improvement racquets .

    The 133 being the worst for serves. It was just so powerful that you basically could only tap the ball on your serves because a full swing would go out of the ball park. Of your an older player or a 3.0 or lower you will like this frame for serves.

    However the Pro 100, tour 100 and tour 95 were great serving racquets. Power, control placement an spin were very good.

    The es 100 & 108 were in between the spectrum. They wer good serving racquets . They are "tweener" racquets and right in the middle of the scale.

    return of serve

    Tour 95  6/10
    Tour 100 6/10
    Pro 100.   7/10
    Pro 116.     8/10
    Es 100.     8/10
    Es108.       8/10
    Es 116.         9/10
    Es 133.      10/10

    Let me start off with the 133. I know it seems like a crazy racquet to play with . It is HUGE ! The string pattern makes it look even bigger. And the length is I think 29 inches ? 

    Anyway there is no better racquet I have ever played with for return a serve . At a mere 10 ounces it's extremely maneuverable . Everything comes back. The only problem is when you play a player with a soft serve. It's difficult to take a full swing with this stick.

    The es  116 is very similar in return department. It's just a hair dofference than the 133. It's actually a little better against soft serves.

    The tours and pro's are not nearly as good for returns. You have to hot more of the sweet spot and the frame is thinner for less stability .

    The es 100 and 108 were probably the best of both worlds. Absolutely awesome returning sticks. Works well against all types of serves .

    volleys

    Tour 95   7/10
    Tour 100. 7/10
    Pro 100.   7/10
    Pro 116.     6/10
    Es 100.     8/10
    Es108.       8/10
    Es 116.         9/10
    Es 133.       10/10

    The 133 is just a freaking MONSTER at the net. Nothing will get by you. Maneuverable as a 90 inch stick but big as a boat. The pattern also produce some great returns when diving . Absolutely amazing .

    The es  116 is very similar and probably just as good. There is an extremely small difference .

    The es 100 and 108 are amazing at the net as well. Some of the best volley sticks I have ever had the pleasure to try.

    The tour and pro versions all VERY good at the net as well. All Vortex sticks are great  volley racquets and I would put them up against any stick on the market.

    Slice

    Tour 95  8/10
    Tour 100 8/10
    Pro 100.   8/10
    Pro 116.      8/10
    Es 100.      7/10
    Es108.       7/10
    Es 116.         5/10
    Es 133.      4/10

    I use a donnay which I think is the best slicing racquet made today. So I am highly critical in this department and I may be to hard on the Vortex here.

    The pros and your versions were very good slicing sticks .

    The ES  100 & 108 versions were average

    The es 116 is a very good slicing stick....but far from the best . This racquet I think is a great doubles stick.

    The 133 is just a powerhouse . It's to thick for serious slices. It's meant for an older player or a low level player .

    topspin

    Tour 95  8/10
    Tour 100. 8/10
    Pro 100.    7/10
    Pro 116.       5/10
    Es 100.       7/10
    Es108.         7/10
    Es 116.           5/10 
    Es 133.         1/10

    I'm not a great topspiner and I'm not the best qualified in this department.

    The es 116 & 133 I would say are doubles or serve and volley chip and charge sticks. Or even pusher sticks....come to think of it the 133 is probably the greatest pusher stick ever made! They are not for any serious topsinners

    The ES 100 and 108 are very good topspin sticks but they are not thin enough for serious racquet speed and violent topspin. They are tweeners.

    Tour 95 and tour 100 are serious topspin sticks . You will get some sick topspin with these babies

    The pro 116 is just not maneuverable enough 

    drop shots and touch shots

    Tour 95  8/10
    Tour 100. 8/10
    Pro 100.    7/10
    Pro 116.        7/10
    Es 100.       7/10
    Es108.         7/10
    Es 116.            7/10 
    Es 133.           6/10

    All these sticks have great feel and touch for droppers except the 133 which is a little too powerful. But it's not terrible. Definitely above average.

    Arm friendly

    All the same . They all feel good . A bit hollow but I'm a bit critical as a donnay user.

    They do make a funny sound without dampeners . They are a must.

    conclusion

    These are great sticks and really work . They are definitely worth a try. The only reason I am not playing with them is because the Donnays are just better in the slice department and that's a big part of my game.

    The mad Raq and these Vortex's are the real deal. They are not gimmicks. 

    The thick strings really form a vice grip for extra spin and control. The racquets are stable and arm friendly.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
    #36
  37. Steve Huff

    Steve Huff Legend

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    I spoke with Joe about these rackets several months ago, and he said they were a blast to hit with. That was a shock since Joe normally plays with vintage, dense-patterned frames. He loved them, said it was so easy to get lots of spin.
     
    #37
  38. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    Has he switched to them?

    Can you ask him to do a review of the hi 10 ?
     
    #38
  39. Hitman99

    Hitman99 Rookie

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    I have read the lengthy threads were posted on TT about a year ago, so I am familiar with the playtest feedback. Nice to see it again, refresh my memory. I might think about having two of these rackets, serve with the 100 or 108, return serve with the 116 or 135.
     
    #39
  40. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    It depends on your playing style.

    The 133 is really a good racquet for some people.

    First of all it's 29 inches. It makes a difference. If you have slowed down a bit you will be able to get to more balls In singles play. Plus the huge head size is a big help.

    For volleys and returns and chip and charge this racquet is just lethal. I have never seen anything quite like it. Your doubles partner will engrave a statue in your honor.

    If your big on hitting topspin from the baseline this is not the stick. But of your a pusher this is a dream stick. Your "pushes" will become powerful and you will get to everything .

    Now serves are where it gets a bit tricky. I have a really big serve and I like to hit the crap out of the ball. This racquet is just way to powerful. Having said that with just a moderate swing I'm able to generate some pretty decent controlled power and then volley almost anything with this baby. Hell I feel like I could serve underhanded and still put away a good volley with it ...lol.

    The es 116 is similar jut a bit shorter and allows you to have more of a swing. The Pro 116 is a players stick and allows for a full swing . So there are two 116's you should be aware of.

    But the bottom line is that all three sticks are meant for moderate to slow swings. The racquet does all the work. The bigger the Vortex the more work it will do for you.

    Don't count out the 133 it's a special stick. I really loved it....of it were not for the serves I would use it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
    #40
  41. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    The Power V Grip

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    intro

    Ok I know this isn't a racquet but this tiny little gadget has changed my game more than any racquet or string there is . In fact it's the most important of the three!!

    I never knew how important your grip is but everything starts from there.

    The right grip will give you more power , control and feel than any racquet or strings ....I swear.

    This grip changes the angle of your racquet  face. You get a far more powerful ball . It's like having a nunchuck in your hand.

    I actually bought one grip and then custom made my own. I used 5 layers of double sided foam mounting tape under the grip and it has improved my game more than anything !

    It also allows you to feel each grip clearly and it locks your hand in strong . For example if your in a continental you can't really cheat and slide into an eastern unless you go out of your way to do it . It's tough to explain.

    Babolat tried to copy this recently with a grip with a small bubble or hump in it. But it's not as nearly pronounced as the V grip.

    Think about it the palm of your hand is not flat so why should your handle be.

    It's sort of like when you wear inserts for arch support. It's a support for the "arch" in the palm....the palm is indented just like your foot. By giving it support everything improves tremendously .

    Think of a steering wheel. You can turn a steering wheel quicker and with more power when the steering wheel has those indents to put you fingers in. It's a much better grip that just a flat steering wheel.

    The pros know this and all have custom made grips....and so should you. It the base for everything .


    Here's my review :

    continental

    The V grip really works well here. The top end of the grip works like a shelf for your index finger . 

    This V grip has increased the power of my serve , the accuracy and the spin.

    For volleys you get increased angels. You can really hit those pro volleys like you see on tv. Love it.

    eastern

    The V grip actually does not work so well for eastern at all.

    It takes away from the space as it goes right on the bevel where the palm of your hand would go.

    It does however increase your power but the accuracy goes down a bit. 

    It also increases the power of the serve with an eastern.  

    I use it with an eastern (as well as all the grips) but it tool a loooong time to get used to.

    semi western

    WOW!!! What can i say? You will increase your power your accuracy everything . Just awesome for this.

    western

    No freaking clue. I can't hit western if my life depended on it ....lol

    Conclusion

    If you try it you will immediately see a HUGE difference in the way you hit the ball.

    There is a learning curve though because you tend to spray balls all over the place because of the increased power. 

    It took me actually about 6 months! But I'm glad I stuck with it and I would never go back.

    Pros build their grips as well and have them custom made .

    Navratilova said Bosworth built a grip for her and now she can hit a down the line backhand topspin which she really didn't have while on the tour.

    This is the poor mans version of a custom grip. I have cut the mounting tape perfectly for my hand .

    It has helped my game more than anything else.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
    #41
  42. Hitman99

    Hitman99 Rookie

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    Couple of updates: first, I bid on and won JoeSh's Vortex racket (108), so it should be arriving soon. Second, the Pro 116 must be a new racket from Vortex, as I don't remember seeing it on their website previously, and what is now shown on the website says "Product specs will soon be available for you". Third, I ordered an ES116 for demo purposes, got a call from Lori saying that the racket is back ordered, won't be available for a couple of weeks. I'm thinking that I might give her a call, switch my order to a 133, see how I like it. :)
     
    #42
  43. Hitman99

    Hitman99 Rookie

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    Checked this out on their website. What is the difference between the two grips? I've read the descriptions, can't really tell them apart. Do they both have the sorbothane cushioning?
     
    #43
  44. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    Small family owned company so don't be to hard on them.

    I love my sticks and can't part with them but if you could figure out a way I'd lend it to you.

    I definitely think you will love the 133. I actually chose the 133 over the 116.....I used the 133 for quite a while.

    It was an incredibly hard decision. The 116 is a bit more maneuverable and is more of a players stick. It's a lot better on serves as well. It's a tough call.

    But the 133 is better in some other very important departments. First of all for singles you now can get to balls you never could reach. And I've lost a bit of speed over the years.

    For return of big serves its unbeatable. You can return anything and with power.

    For serve and volley it's amazing . In doubles at the net it's just hard to beat. And when serving and coming in I was able to reach and get to balls I never could before.

    If you can get over the funny appearance......it's a great choice. They are both great sticks and it's hard to choose.....very hard.
     
    #44
  45. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    Nothing.

    That's a blue piece of rubber . The second picture is just the gripped wrapped over the rubber. The first picture is what is under the grip.

    But I actually lik using mounting tape better. I wasn't being cheap....I actually like it better.

    You cut the rubber or the mounting tape ( I uses 5 pieces on top of each other) , to custom fit your hand

    Seems silly right? Try it .....you won't believe the incredible difference it will make.....far more than the racquet or the strings .

    I'm not saying you will like it but you will see a huge difference immediately....and there is quite a bit of a learning curve to deal with it.

    It's weird that a grip would make such a difference .....but it really does. An UNBELIEVEABLY BIG difference . That a 100 percent guarantee that you will see it in the very first ball you hit.
     
    #45
  46. Hitman99

    Hitman99 Rookie

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    I didn't mean the two grips shown in the photos, I meant the two types of grips shown on their website. The website has a "button" to help determine which grip is best, and pictures of the two grips, but damned if I can figure out which is best, or why.

    Re the rackets, since Vortex has their generous MBG policy in lieu of offering demo rackets, I'll just get the 133 and try it out. If I like it, I'll keep it. If I REALLY like it better than the 108, I'll just sell the 108.

    I also have to decide whether I like either of the Vortex rackets better than the PowerAngle --- I can't believe how much better I am playing with it. I am planning to have it restrung this coming weekend with Powermaxx Light Touch gut, at 45 lbs. This string is specifically designed for lower tensions, in fact 45 lbs is the upper limit. Should be interesting.
     
    #46
  47. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the 133. It does look funny though.

    There are two grips....one is softer and the other is a heavier rubber. It's personal preference.

    I like the softer one much better....but I like mounting tape better than all.

    .
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
    #47
  48. VOLLEY KING

    VOLLEY KING Banned

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    The blackburne ( 97 & 107)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Roscoe tanner using the blackburne at Wimbledon

    [​IMG]

    intro

    Yes they are legal!!

    They are double strung but sperately. You can string the backhand different than the forehand or use different strings.

    There is no edge so what this does is:

    1- no mishits . Everything is a sweet spot . Very helpful on return of serves and volleys.

    2- you can use extreme grips and never worry about a mishit

    3 ball stays on the face of the racquet longer . Same concept as a ping pong paddle.

    4.  3 dimensional and more stable than conventional racquets

    5. Head heavy and packs a huge punch.

    6. Ball comes off the racquet quicker because on a regular frame the string are further back

    So why Am I not using it?? Stringing is a nightmare. Even if you find someone to do it it's very expensive .you have to pay double and more than that to get someone to string it.


    Serves

    97  10/10
    107  8/10

    Absolute BOMBS. Forget Babolat ! These are light as a feather . Like nine ounces . But because of the double head they are the most head heavy racquets ever made. They are hammers.

    All you have to do is aim downwards and you are hitting a bomb flat serve That has to be seen to be believed

    The 107 is a bit less maneuverable though.

    Volleys

    97- 9/10
    107. 5/10

    No mishits . Returns at your feet even are volleyed for winners . 

    The 107 is just to bulky at the net.

    Return of serve

    97-  10/10
    107 - 8/0

    Amazing. No mishits everything is returned with power

    107 again a bit less maneuverable.

    slice

    97  6/10
    107  7/10

    Not a great slicing racquet. Way to thick . The 107 was slightly better because you get more power

    topspin

    97  8/10
    107 10/10

    The 107 has huge topspin even for me. Amazing! The 97 Is also very good.

    flat

    97  9/10
    107 9/10

    Pinpoint accuracy and a LOT o power.

    Drop shots

    97 8/10
    107 7/10

    Great touch and control. Both worked great.

    Arm friendliness

    So much more stable than a rwgir racquet . The 3d design is just so much more stable. No twisting .

    Conclusion

    Great racquet. One of the best that I have ever tried. But the stringing situation is just way to much to deal with.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
    #48
  49. Hitman99

    Hitman99 Rookie

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    LOL! WHERE do you find all this stuff? Incredible. Gyro Gearloose would be proud.
     
    #49
  50. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    what exactly about stringing is hard? is it just that there's 2 string beds, or is it unbelievably difficult. the only thing i could see being a pain is weaving the crosses on the "2nd" string bed
     
    #50

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