Surge of more “ambitious” oversize racquets?

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by Tennisspieler, Mar 1, 2013.

  1. Tennisspieler

    Tennisspieler Rookie

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    Looking at the characteristics of recently released 104/105 sq. inch racquets, I do have the impression that a cautious surge of more "ambitious" oversize racquets for advanced level players can be observed.*

    Over the past two decades, oversize frames were primarily designed for beginners and recreational players with short, low-powered swings. Consequently, standard OS racquets are typically very light and head heavy, featuring high beams and head sizes of around 110 sq. inch.

    Also, the fact that currently only a few professional players are using oversize frames might explain their small overall market share as well as the predominant lightweight design of today's OS racquets. After an early honeymoon period back in the 1990s, when several Pro players were endorsing oversize frames (like Michael Chang, Gabriela Sabatini, Andre Agassi), professional players have eventually abandoned these sticks.

    However, racquet manufacturers recently release more and more "ambitious" 104/105 sq. inch head size frames which tend to aim at more advanced players, at least at the club level. These new oversize racquets are "ambitious" in the sense that while still having (moderately) enlarged head sizes and often sligtly extended (27.2-27.5 inch) lengths, they otherwise resemble their siblings in the 100 sq. inch tweener department in terms of weight, balance, beam design, stiffness, string pattern, etc.

    Reviews and customer feedbacks seem to indicate that a growing number of players like these racquets, while many of them swear that previously they would never have touched anything bigger than 98 sq. inch. You will hear quotes as "It does feel like a smaller racquet" or "I never thought I would like a racquet of this head size". Also on this board these racquets slowly seem to get a better reception. It appears that the mental "100 sq. inch barrier" is gradually eroding and more people are getting used to the idea of hitting with a racquet that has a three-digit head size.

    I would count a number of racquets in this evolving "ambitious" OS racquet category, such as the new Volkl Organix 7s, ProKennex Ionic Ki 15 PSE, 2013 ProKennex Kinetic Ki Q15 (300 g), Wilson Steam 105 and 105 S, Wilson Blade 104, Gamma RZR 105, Donnay Pro One OS Ext, Prince EXO3 Red 105, Prince EXO3 Rebel 105, Pacific X Force Comp, Pacific Speed and Head YOUTEK IG Extreme S 2.0, with some of these sticks certainly still being too light and head heavy in stock form. Maybe Agassi's Head Radical OS also falls into the category of these new OS frames, though being on the market for quite some time already and therefore serving as something like an early trendsetter for a more ambitious oversize racquet range.

    I think the new Volkl Organix 7s, the ProKennex Ionic Ki 15 PSE and 2013 Kinetic Ki Q15 (300 g) as well as the Wilson Steam 105 serve as best examples for these new oversize racquets: They appear like a merger of the ever more popular 100 sq. inch tweener racquet department and the classic OS frame section. If you will, they are "Tweener Plus" racquets, "OS Tweeners" or "OS Merger" racquets: tweeners with a tad more – slightly bigger head size, slightly extended length and slightly increased swingweight.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't think that this will in any way be the next evolutionary step in racquet design. But as an increasing number of players at all levels are becoming more and more used to their spin-friendly 100 sq. inch racquets, my guess is that soon there might also be more interest to try out moderately bigger frames that have weight, balance, power and stability characteristics similar to the current bestsellers.

    * (Note: I am aware that TW still ranks 104/105 sq. inch frames as "Midplus" racquets. However, I think they look, feel and play closer to an oversize racquet than for example a traditional 95 sq. inch so called "player's racquet" which would also be listed as an "Midplus" frame. Donnay for instance marks its 105 sq. inch version of the Pro One officially as "OS". Hence to me it feels more appropriate to call these frames oversize racquets, "Tweener Plus", "OS Tweeners" or maybe "OS Mergers")
     
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  2. Boredsurfer

    Boredsurfer Rookie

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    WOW. you have summed up exactly what my new demo list looks like. You nailed it sir.

    I have been recently thinking about moving away from my 12.5 oz strung soft graphite player's frames into a new category of racket and your post has summed up my thinking process for what will work next.

    Great post.
     
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  3. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    Great, well thought post. I bought two Volkl Organix 7 which get to me today. Can't demo but I liked the reviews, the specs and the cosmetics. I used once a Volkl Organix 8 so I have an idea of what to expect in terms of the Organix feel. I am using right now a 2003 Fischer 102 tweener which is a great racket so I think I will adjust well to the Organix 7. I like the capacity these rackets have to generate spin, go under the ball to generate topspin, massive sweetspot and most of alll there head heavyness. I see them as "arm saver and no vibration APDs".
    I personally like the term Tweener Plus. That oversize term bugs my mind, as I visualize oversize rackets as those frying pan rackets that 2.5, 75 year old ladies use in doubles.l ol
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
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  4. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    Demographics is destiny. Birthrate in the US has declined the past 30 years to where it is now below the 2.1 replacement rate. (It has declined even further in some European countries as well as Japan). Thus there's a smaller "young adult" cohort, so racquet manufacturers will be making more offerings for the older adults who now dominate the market, particularly a wider variety of larger frames.
     
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  5. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    Yes you have a good point. But, tennis evolves. A 104 racket like the Organix 7 may suit many type of players including young adults. Its not a racket meant only for passive, doubles players. I think it can be also used for aggresive, modern strokes, and that type of game does not have an age barrier. Rackets like the Organix 7, the Steam 105 or the Blade 104 for example are not meant specifically for older adults.
     
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  6. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    Did I say "passive doubles players"? That's your mindset. Sure there's always some younger players with larger racquets, just as there were a few men who bought Celicas, but the target crowd is the older player.
     
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  7. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

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    I've tried to switch from my oversize thin beamed flexible 107 IN NXG to 100 in frames with varying characteristics...and it just never works for me. I've found my "holy grail" that I keep coming back to..the problem it's a discontinued racquet, and there is really nothing out there that compares to it...even the original OS is heavier, feels stiffer, and has a more head heavy balance. The LM radical OS comes up on racquet finder, but it's an 18X19, 27 inches, and can't produce near the spin that the NXG can, and I really feel my swing getting slowed down with thicker beams.

    So, I have 2 of the NXG OS left after breaking one on a basketball hoop behind a club court a few years back..I look for them on the auction site and they dissapear quickly.

    Can someone please make an OS with a 19 mm beam, 16X19, 10 pts HL, wt around 11.7 ounces, 27.5?
     
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  8. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    I did not quote you in terms of you saying "passive doubles players" but many older players prefer doubles, not necesarrily in a passive way.
    Also, many oversize rackets in the past were meant as comfy frying pans with great reach for older players with mobility limitations. These new offerings that the OP refers to are not that.
    So, I respectfully disagree in terms of these rackets being targeted to the older player. I think its targeted to any player, of any age, that can benefit from these rackets, specifically players that want to generate good spin and want an extended sweetspot and dont want the limitations and demands of a smaller head, player's racket.
    But, I guess its a matter of interpretation.:)
     
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  9. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I believe it is an outgrowth of learning what polyester strings can do. With the stiffer controllable stringbed and the ability to put much more spin on the ball, a larger head racket can be used effectively by players who are able to hit the ball hard, while the extended length still allows effective serves.
     
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  10. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    I agree. Copoly is the first option for these rackets in order to generate spin and have a nice balance of power and control.
     
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  11. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    I wanna see a pro playing the Big Bubba. Then everyone will switch to OS sticks.
     
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  12. ced

    ced Semi-Pro

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    I think you are "spot on" with your observation, but can you explain this manufacturer's obsession with high (over 70) flex ratings. With a 105 or greater headsize one would think a racquet with 60-66 flex rating would provide easy access to power, after all a tennis court is still just 78 feet long.
     
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  13. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    ^^ I think the obsession with the power game has made players crave easy power, even if it's hard to keep it in the court. I've hit with some very flexy 105 frames and the power isn't always all that compelling. The stiff frames allow everyone to hit scorchers. Somebody else on this board once said that racquet manufacturers to some extent are driven by what the rest of the graphite market is doing, and that there was a greater supply (and perhaps lower price?) of stiffer graphite composites these days.
     
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  14. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    (note: there's a group of guys well into their 70s who play next to us Monday night. These guys mostly use large stiff frames and I'm sometimes amazed at how hard they hit the ball, albeit with plenty of errors and flyaways)
     
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  15. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That is predicted to happen all over the world in another 60 years. The population is expected to start declining from that time. In certain overcrowded parts of the world, infertility has become so common that people are asking for fertility tests to be taken before marriage.

    As a people, humans do not live in equilibrium with Nature, like animals and plants. There is always talk of "where will the next innovator come from if birth rates decline." Well, a lot of the "innovations" simply try to make the best of a bad situation. Like the thinner plastic water bottles which use 1/3rd less plastic. Hey, that innovation was needed because of the amount of junk that is being thrown into the landfills and oceans. Most technology only takes people away from Nature and creates health issues, which again require innovative medicines to cure.
     
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  16. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Free depth. That is what a recently retired man told me. He bought a new large head stiff racket on retirement, and is absolutely enjoying the extra depth and power.
     
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  17. uabucks

    uabucks Rookie

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    Racquet Name: Prince O3 Tour Oversize
    Head Size: 107 sq. in. / 690 sq. cm.
    Length: 27.50 inches / 69.85 cm
    Strung Weight: 11.20 oz / 318 g
    Balance: 4pts HL
    Swing Weight: 330
    Beam Width: 20.0mm
    Tip/Shaft: 18.0mm / 20.0mm
    Composition: High Modulus Graphite with Titanium and Tungsten
    Power Level: Low
    Stiffness: 64
     
    #17
  18. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

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    That racqets almost as old as the NXG. But it does appear with weight in the handle it can match the specs pretty closely.
     
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  19. Fifth Set

    Fifth Set Professional

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    I was surprised to hear that the Williams sisters are now playing with a 104. Since they would presumably be categorized as "advanced level" (except to those posters here who could of course double bagel them), I would say you are correct.

    I personally just switched from a 102 to a 105. Never thought I would do that as the 102 seemed hard enough to move around. But, what a difference a few years in racquet advances makes. The 105 is so easy to control.
     
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  20. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    well, I don't know what the wiliams sisters actually use.

    however, I must say I'm still loving the Volkl x-7 310, if there is a downside I am yet to discover what it is.
     
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  21. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    I have both NXG OS's and O3 Tour OS's in my collection. The NXGs are much more spin-friendly, and more torsionally stable than the O3 Tours. The NXGs also have a unique grippy feel (no matter what type of string I use) that no other racquet has.
     
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  22. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

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    I've really never found anything that comes close to my NXG OS's.

    They are powerful but you can control the power.

    The sweetspot is huge.

    They are incredibly stable even without any lead added.

    They are easy on the arm

    The thin beam makes slicing and dicing and junk balling easy if I want to resort to that, but also allows for a lot of RHS on topsin shots that I find diminishes with anything over 21 mm. Also the very headlight balance makes them feel whippy.

    In terms of spin they can create as much as any racquet.

    The only improvement I've ever seen in switching to smaller headsize is a bit more racquet head speed on the first serve, but that's not enough to justify the switch.
     
    #22
  23. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    great thread!!!

    I recently switched to the Blade 104 and love it. It's definitely not one of the easier oversized racquets, but the extra real estate does help out when playing defense.

    I am considering trying one of these super easy racquets for a while just to see if they help my game any? People on this forum usually "play up" when it comes to your skill level vs. the racquet, but rarely "play down". I think am going to try the Prince EXO3 Red 105 as an experiment. It seems like a nice racquet without being too far towards the tweener side. I saw a used one at a local shop and it was pretty cheap at $75. I might be surprised! I see lots of 4.0 and up doubles players in all my leagues using oversized thick beamed racquets and they seem to do well with them.
     
    #23
  24. ced

    ced Semi-Pro

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    That has been my own experience since switching to the Volkl Organix 7. Better said as, "free and easy depth".
     
    #24
  25. Carolina Racquet

    Carolina Racquet Hall of Fame

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    I agree with an earlier comment that the larger-head frames can be used by more aggressive players by using co-poly strings. I found I can swing freely and find more spin with a 105-107 frame.

    For me, I now have the best of both worlds.
     
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  26. sstchur

    sstchur Hall of Fame

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    I recently discovered the Gamma IPEX 7.0 OS. Saw an opportunity to snag a few for really cheap, so I did. I'm experimenting with it now and really like it so far. I might pick up more if I decide to switch to it. It's very close to what you just asked for (not exact but close).

    It's an OS. 20mm beam, 16x19, 6pts HL, 11.5oz, 27in

    The stiffness rating (according to TW) is 60, but it plays very very soft (softer than 60 I think). You can add some weight to the handle, bringing it closer to the weight you want and balance you want.

    Only issue for me is that I'm having wrist surgery tomorrow, so I'll be on the DL for a while and unable to continue my experiment for a couple of weeks.
     
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  27. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    +1 for me.

    I am still yet find any negatives, and I have been surprising myself with results..

    but the good folk here on TT will keep buying their player's sticks and weighting them up for the plow through and control and they will stay at 4.0 their whole lives and never know...
     
    #27
  28. ttwarrior1

    ttwarrior1 Professional

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    great thread and posts, thanks for sharing, learned quite a bit
     
    #28
  29. pug

    pug Semi-Pro

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    Timbo

    What racquet were you using before and how has the change to the volkl helped you improved?
     
    #29
  30. BalboaNoah

    BalboaNoah New User

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    this is a great point. as i approach 50 and come to grips that my speed is a few hundreths of a second slower :) and that my arm is not as live as in the past, i've put ego aside and explored much more of the available racquet offerings than what's pushed as sexy to us consumers.

    my current favorite "ambitious OS" for those PITA matchups: Head Liquidmetal 4 lol.
     
    #30
  31. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    I experienced this phenomena with the Blade 104. Really easy to use racquet. Plays great.

    I still play better with my player's sticks though. I went back and forth for a while and simply won more with the extra control I was getting from a 98 thin beam flex.

    Still have the 104 in case something changes down the road, but I just like what I like.

    That being said, I think 104/105s will continue to gain users.
     
    #31
  32. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    ^^ something DOES change down the road
     
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  33. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Demoed a Steam 105S and I was pleasantly surprised. I currently play with a MG Prestige Pro and a PD Roddick (standard length) before that.

    Not ready to switch yet, but was surprised I wasn't thrown off by the larger head and extra length.

    Still prefer the prestige's weight and balance, but I'd be open to 100-105 the next time I go looking for sticks.

    -Also forgot to mention that one of the best players I know plays with an old school OS Donnay.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2013
    #33
  34. rlau

    rlau Professional

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    How do you like the Angell TC105, Ollinger? I'm considering buying one for the upcoming claycourt season.... Which specs did you order?
     
    #34
  35. jjs891

    jjs891 Semi-Pro

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    I think he has them up for sale.
     
    #35
  36. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    Hi Pug.

    Well, I had moved through Dunlop 200s to V-Core 95Ds and then played for quite a while with Volkl PB-9s

    I found my sweet spot for weight is about 11.5 oz. The PB-9s were fantastic sticks if I was playing perfect tennis but the sweet spot is microscopic and they are pretty unforgiving if you don't get it exactly right.

    I demoed X-10 325s (I fell in love with the Volkl feel) and was on the point of buying them when I tried the X-7 310 solely based on Chris Edward's review.

    It was a revelation. Just so stable and forgiving. Easy power with control and feel. They don't get bossed around by anything but they are still easy to whip around. They play like a smaller frame, actually.
    (in fact, the head shape is interesting, I compared it to my wife's 100" Head extreme and my Volkl is actually narrower!)

    I guess the reason for my improved results is confidence, I don't worry about the racquet because I know it will be fine whatever I do.


    There is probably some sort of moral to this story as my highest ever national singles ranking was achieved using Head FXP OS Radicals...
     
    #36
  37. pug

    pug Semi-Pro

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    Thank you. I am playing the extreme pro 2.0 but i am always looking for anything that can help me improve my game, whether it is lessons, practice, or new gear.
     
    #37
  38. ForLoveOfTheGame

    ForLoveOfTheGame Semi-Pro

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    I do not know why people insist on using oversized rackets. I used to be a great player in high school. Started with an oversized and then spent the rest of my HS career with a Volkl V8 pro. I recently hit my 30s and started playing again after a decade hiatus and major reconstructive shoulder surgery. I started up again with a pro staff 88 and rotated out with a newly purchased pro staff 90 six.one blx. The head size has forced me to be incredibly accurate with my aim and more so with my timing.I leaded up the head for a faster swing and can power through most of the shots my male college player friends hit. Oh, and I'm a girl. The smaller racket has me playing the best tennis of my life. I deeply regret not picking up a prestige pro or a vcore 89 back in hs because who knows how I could have dared in college. I'll never understand the need for these giant pancake rackets. If you need a better argument, look at Federer, Sampras, Graff, Edberg, Haas, Safin, the list goes on.
     
    #38
  39. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    LOL!!!

    maybe you should look at the top 100 now?

    or are you going to quote Laver and say we should all play with 65" woodies?

    as for a 'pancake', this thread is addressing sticks around the 104 - 107 range, so quite a bit smaller than Agassi or Chang. (or don't they count?)

    bottom line, I use one because I play better with it, reason enough?
     
    #39
  40. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    double post, epic fail
     
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  41. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Good post OP. Interesting read.
     
    #41
  42. Thepowerofchoice

    Thepowerofchoice Semi-Pro

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    I though Agassi is/was using 107?

    Just found a pair of Head Radical Tour oversize (Bumblebee) for $40.00 each in my local sporting store. 12+ oz with about 8 points headlight. May pick them up tomorrow.
     
    #42
  43. ForLoveOfTheGame

    ForLoveOfTheGame Semi-Pro

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    No, they don't count. Unless you think they're better players than Fed and Sampras. I take it you play and enjoy push fest style tennis since you're citing the top 100- an endless list of players incapable of quick points with fast winners. Who needs to concentrate on accurate winners when you can just push a ball around all day with a giant hand held fan?
     
    #43
  44. ace0001a

    ace0001a Semi-Pro

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    All I can say is to each their own, but back in the day the Prince Original Graphite OS was a great "player's" frame that many top level players and pros like Agassi, Chang and Sabatini. I wouldn't call Agassi a "push fest" player, held the number one ranking for 101 weeks in his career and won 8 grand slams, not to mention helped change the landscape of how the game is played these days. I guess this thread has somewhat gotten off track...we get you're passionate about using smaller headsize racquets, but no need to be so negative about larger headsize racquets. Everyone's got their own preference and lets leave it at that.
     
    #44
  45. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    Oh, you're very funny, either a masterful troll (possible) or a complete moron (far more likely).

    but carry on, I'm sure some fool will take you seriously enough to respond.

    (i'm off to bed, have to rest up so I can wave my fan around in a push fest at the tournament I'm playing this weekend. Nothing like your level of tennis, the guy I have drawn in the first round only made it as high as 80 on the ATP Tour and that was YEARS ago, I'm sure I can dink and slice and push my way to victory with my handy dandy pancake. Y'all have fun with your accurate winners now.)
     
    #45
  46. makinao

    makinao Rookie

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    Bumblebees? There is no "may", only "do" :)
     
    #46
  47. DaveInBradenton

    DaveInBradenton Rookie

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    I take it you're tossing the (leaded racket) gauntlet with that remark.

    Since you were "great player" in high school, you are certainly qualified to lecture we, the great unwashed, of the Tennis Talk Forum. Thank you for illuminating us.

    You have already endeared yourself to all Forum members using oversize rackets with your last remarks. We are a sorry lot of recreational players, we OS users.

    "Push fest style tennis"? I like that term. That's right up there with "unforced error" style tennis, something I've been known to practice.

    May I inquire as your current WTA ranking?

    Any videos of your matches?

    Have fun,
    Dave
     
    #47
  48. ForLoveOfTheGame

    ForLoveOfTheGame Semi-Pro

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    Yes, I'm a complete moron. And a troll. I had no idea playing a top 80 player took so much slapping around with an oversized paddled. Please, enlighten me in the incredible skill set you and your opponent must have to be able to collect all your grand slam titles. Take a picture of your spectators I'm sure there'll be many on the edge of their seats anticipating your next 7 minute rally.
     
    #48
  49. rlau

    rlau Professional

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    Can we please get back on topic?
     
    #49
  50. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Is there anyway you can post vid of your game?

    That is the new TT protocol for official racquet judgement around these parts.
     
    #50

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