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-   -   My bi-annual racquet demo... (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=445063)

Murrayalmagrofan 11-06-2012 08:44 PM

My semi-annual racquet demo... (aka the 6 month itch!)
 
Much to my wife's chagrin, I go through this process every 6 months. I currently play with 3 Slazenger Pro Braided racquets that have been weighted to 12.0oz and adjusted to 6pts HL (weight inside the handle and lead tape at 9 and 3 o'clock). I play with full bed Solinco Tour Bite 16g @ 50lbs.

I'm an all-court 4.5 player with a one-handed backhand, big serve, and an all-court game. So I've typically preferred playing with mid to mid-plus sized racquets (nothing bigger than a 98sq in head).

The list of racquets I'm demoing this time around are as follows (all racquets ordered from TW with a poly string set-up):

Babolat Pure Storm Ltd GT
Head YOUTEK IG Prestige Pro
Tecnifibre TFight 325 VO2 Max
Wilson BLX Pro Staff Six.One 90

I'll post my thoughts once these racquets have come in and I've had a chance to hit with them and compare them to my beloved Slazengers.

gino 11-06-2012 10:25 PM

Interested about your thoughts on the prestige pro. I have a one hander also and a similar playing style

Murrayalmagrofan 11-07-2012 08:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gino (Post 6999780)
Interested about your thoughts on the prestige pro. I have a one hander also and a similar playing style

That racquet has really peaked my interest as well as the Tecnifibre. Looking forward to getting out there and crushing some balls with these sticks hopefully by this weekend.

Even if I don't switch racquets I like to do a demo playtest every 6 months or so, to make sure no newer racquets on the market are better suited to my game.

SFrazeur 11-07-2012 08:48 AM

Why the demo? What do not not like about your current sticks?

-SF

richsox 11-07-2012 08:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Murrayalmagrofan (Post 6999656)
Much to my wife's chagrin, I go through this process every 6 months. I currently play with 3 Slazenger Pro Braided racquets that have been weighted to 12.0oz and adjusted to 6pts HL (weight inside the handle and lead tape at 9 and 3 o'clock). I play with full bed Solinco Tour Bite 16g @ 50lbs.

I'm an all-court 4.5 player with a one-handed backhand, big serve, and an all-court game. So I've typically preferred playing with mid to mid-plus sized racquets (nothing bigger than a 98sq in head).

The list of racquets I'm demoing this time around are as follows (all racquets ordered from TW with a poly string set-up):

Babolat Pure Storm Ltd GT
Head YOUTEK IG Prestige Pro
Tecnifibre TFight 325 VO2 Max
Wilson BLX Pro Staff Six.One 90

I'll post my thoughts once these racquets have come in and I've had a chance to hit with them and compare them to my beloved Slazengers.

Looking forward to your feedback on the Technifibre most of all. I've been a Pure Drive User for over 10 years, and recently had the pleasure of using a TFight 305 and it was simply Love at first Hit!

Murrayalmagrofan 11-07-2012 02:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SFrazeur (Post 7000537)
Why the demo? What do not not like about your current sticks?

-SF

Should have put this in post #1, but it appeared at the end of post #3:
Quote:

Originally Posted by Murrayalmagrofan (Post 7000528)
Even if I don't switch racquets I like to do a demo playtest every 6 months or so, to make sure no newer racquets on the market are better suited to my game.


Murrayalmagrofan 11-07-2012 02:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by richsox (Post 7000548)
Looking forward to your feedback on the Technifibre most of all. I've been a Pure Drive User for over 10 years, and recently had the pleasure of using a TFight 305 and it was simply Love at first Hit!

Over the last 3-4 months I've heard great things about the Tecnifibre line of racquets by people who've tried them. I'm very keen to try this one out!!!! :cool:

2ManyAces 11-07-2012 03:01 PM

the prestige pro is hefty. it hits a super crisp ball. my coach plays with it. good control, power on tap, I liked it except for the weight. it's a monster

Murrayalmagrofan 11-07-2012 04:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 2ManyAces (Post 7001184)
the prestige pro is hefty. it hits a super crisp ball. my coach plays with it. good control, power on tap, I liked it except for the weight. it's a monster

While the static weight of the Prestige Pro is 12.2oz, TW lists its swingweight as 321. The swingweight of my current Slazenger Pro Braided is listed at 330.

I'll see how my arm feels after a good hit with the racquet...

Murrayalmagrofan 11-08-2012 08:52 AM

Racquets scheduled to arrive Friday afternoon. Might be able to get out for a hit Friday evening. If so, will post my initial impressions tomorrow night....

Murrayalmagrofan 11-09-2012 07:41 PM

Initial playtest thoughts...
 
I had a solid hit with the racquets tonight for a little over 2 hours. I started with my Slazenger pro braided, and once my strokes were warmed up, I went in the following order:

Head Youtek IG Prestige Pro
Wilson BLX Pro Staff Six.One 90
Babolat Pure Storm Ltd GT
Tecnifibre TFight 325 VO2 Max

I played with each racquet for ~20 minutes - hitting groundstrokes, volleys, overheads and serves.

Head Youtek IG Prestige Pro
This racquet had a very solid but dull feel. Decent access to spin and power on groundstrokes. Slice shots were solid as expected with most racquets in the prestige line. Racquet head felt a little 'slow' when maneuvering for volleys at the net. Overheads and serves were solid. Overall, a decent racquet.

Initial Grade = 7.5/10


Wilson BLX Pro Staff Six.One 90
On paper, this racquet has one of the biggest sweet spots in my group of playtest racquets - however, on court, the sweetspot felt small. I couldn't get much pace on my forehands and backhands. Slice shots were amazing. Volleys were decent. Overheads and serves were so-so. I felt like lost a little pace on my serves from the heavy static weight of this beast. Plus the racquet is so head light, that I would want to add a some lead tape at 12 o'clock. I also feel like a different string set-up would benefit this racquet greatly. Overall, it left me feeling luke-warm.

Initial Grade = 7/10


Babolat Pure Storm Ltd GT
This racquet was a pleasant surprise. I have pretty long strokes and can generate my own power, so despite the small sweetspot, I felt like I could really whip the racquet head and hit the ball with a ton of pace. Off center shots or defensive shots you might hit when pushed back deep behind the baseline, felt absolutely anemic with this racquet. I feel like Babolat has a winner on their hands if they just gave it a more open string pattern. However, this frame was by far the most accurate and precise stick that I hit with all night. Slice shots were amazing. I felt access to spin was decent despite the 18x20 string pattern. Volleys were sublime as the head could easily be maneuvered into position. Serves and overheads were decent but not spectacular. I felt like I lost at least 5mph on my serves (compared to my Slazenger). If I went with this racquet, I'd need to add some lead tape to the head (@ 9 and 3 o'clock + 12 o'clock).

Initial Grade = 8/10


Tecnifibre TFight 325 VO2 Max
First off, this was the best serving racquet I played with all night. My tennis coach (an ex-touring pro) has mentioned that my first serve is regularly in the 120-125mph range. I felt like I was serving at least 5 mph more with this racquet. At the net, I found this racquet easy to knock off solid volleys with. I made some of my best stab volleys all year with this frame. Overheads were the best of the group. At the baseline, I had a little trouble generating topspin on my backhand side. However, as I played with the racquet more and more, I felt like I was starting to figure it out. A few people cautioned me that this racquet could be tricky to 'whip' due to it's higher swingweight, but I found it easy to maneuver with my wrist. Slice shots were very, very good. This was the only frame I hit with all night that made me feel like I could hit clean winners from the baseline on a consistent basis.

Initial Grade = 8.5/10


Once I had tried all four frames, I got my hitting partner (a stronger 4.5-5.0 player like myself) to play 3 super tiebreaks against me.

In the first, I played with the Babolat and lost 10-8. I felt like my serves and groundstrokes were a little weak, and while I had great precision on my shots, I just couldn't put the ball away as easily as I would have wanted.

In the second super tiebreak, I switched to the Tecnifibre. I won 10-7. I easily won 90% of my service points. I also served and volleyed quite successfully with this frame on a few points (including a second serve). I did spray a few groundstrokes beyond the baseline by 1-2 feet, but I was able to punish ANY short ball I got.

In the third, I decided to stick with the Tecnifibre. My hitting partner said he was going to go all out, as he hated losing. I won again 10-7. I had several service winners (2 were almost aces), and 2 really good return of serves for clean winners. Everything he threw at me I could handle with this stick.

El Diablo 11-10-2012 04:09 AM

To avoid confusion, you may want to describe your racquet hunt as semiannual, which always means every six months. Bi-annual can be used to describe something that occurs every two years or every six months, an unfortunate conundrum.

SFrazeur 11-10-2012 11:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by El Diablo (Post 7005700)
To avoid confusion, you may want to describe your racquet hunt as semiannual, which always means every six months. Bi-annual can be used to describe something that occurs every two years or every six months, an unfortunate conundrum.

How about calling it "The 6 Month Itch."

-SF

Murrayalmagrofan 11-10-2012 11:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by El Diablo (Post 7005700)
To avoid confusion, you may want to describe your racquet hunt as semiannual, which always means every six months. Bi-annual can be used to describe something that occurs every two years or every six months, an unfortunate conundrum.

I'll see if I can edit the title.
Quote:

Originally Posted by SFrazeur (Post 7006346)
How about calling it "The 6 Month Itch."

-SF

Ha ha. I like the sound of that! ;)

Murrayalmagrofan 11-10-2012 01:00 PM

Round 2...
 
Went out to hit with the racquets for another 2 hours this morning with a different hitting partner (4.0-4.5 player with heavy groundstrokes and a big serve).

We started off by playing some mini tennis in the service box area and I switched between all four racquets. The Prestige Pro was again very dull and lacking in any kind of feel. It was hard to have any kind of touch with the ball. The Pro Staff 90 came alive and felt very responsive. Off center shots still felt very weak. The Pure Storm Ltd GT really shined at mini tennis. Feel and control were both exceptional. The TFight 325 performed quite well. Feel was good as well as placement and I actually performed the best at mini-tennis with this stick. My hitting partner said he felt the slices I hit with this frame skidded more when they hit the court.

I then rotated through all four racquets as we rallied from the baseline. The Prestige Pro had solid power and depth, but the dullness didn't give me a lot of confidence when trying to place the ball. The Pro Staff was solid and top spin and slice were decent, but unless the ball found the sweetspot, my shots were no deeper than the service line. The Pure Storm Ltd GT was nice and whippy on topspin shots. Placement was again this racquet's strong point. I still enjoy hitting with this frame. The TFight 325 again stole the show. My hitting partner said my rally shots went up another 5-10mph with this stick. Placement and power were easy to come by, and plow-through on my 1HBH and slice backhand was great. I could easily take anything he dished out and re-direct it.

We then decided to play a some games in the 1/2 hour we had left. I typically beat this guy 6-3 whenever we play a set. Today I was leading 6-0, 3-0 when we quit.

All in all, I'm thoroughly enjoying my demo of the TFight 325... :)

crazyups 11-10-2012 01:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Murrayalmagrofan (Post 7006483)
Went out to hit with the racquets for another 2 hours this morning with a different hitting partner (4.0-4.5 player with heavy groundstrokes and a big serve).

We started off by playing some mini tennis in the service box area and I switched between all four racquets. The Prestige Pro was again very dull and lacking in any kind of feel. It was hard to have any kind of touch with the ball. The Pro Staff 90 came alive and felt very responsive. Off center shots still felt very weak. The Pure Storm Ltd GT really shined at mini tennis. Feel and control were both exceptional. The TFight 325 performed quite well. Feel was good as well as placement and I actually performed the best at mini-tennis with this stick. My hitting partner said he felt the slices I hit with this frame skidded more when they hit the court.

I then rotated through all four racquets as we rallied from the baseline. The Prestige Pro had solid power and depth, but the dullness didn't give me a lot of confidence when trying to place the ball. The Pro Staff was solid and top spin and slice were decent, but unless the ball found the sweetspot, my shots were no deeper than the service line. The Pure Storm Ltd GT was nice and whippy on topspin shots. Placement was again this racquet's strong point. I still enjoy hitting with this frame. The TFight 325 again stole the show. My hitting partner said my rally shots went up another 5-10mph with this stick. Placement and power were easy to come by, and plow-through on my 1HBH and slice backhand was great. I could easily take anything he dished out and re-direct it.

We then decided to play a some games in the 1/2 hour we had left. I typically beat this guy 6-3 whenever we play a set. Today I was leading 6-0, 3-0 when we quit.

All in all, I'm thoroughly enjoying my demo of the TFight 325... :)

So will you stick to the slazengers or are you considering the tfight? I am asking because I use the slazenger but have been eyeing the tfight. I might go for a test if the sweetspot is longer. Is the head of the tfight bigger than the slaz?

Murrayalmagrofan 11-10-2012 03:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by crazyups (Post 7006534)
So will you stick to the slazengers or are you considering the tfight? I am asking because I use the slazenger but have been eyeing the tfight. I might go for a test if the sweetspot is longer. Is the head of the tfight bigger than the slaz?

Short answer: Not sure.

Long answer: I need to test the TFight 325 some more. I need to see how my body holds up to swinging a 12.2 oz racquet in a long 3 set match. Tecnifibre lists the racquet being best suited to someone with a baseline game (I have a developing all-court game). I also wonder how this racquet will play with my usual Solinco Tour Bite 16g string. I'll probably order another batch of demos after this playtest - thinking about getting the TFight 325 (again), TFight 320 and maybe the Solinco Pro 10.

TWU lists the TFight 325 as having a similar sweetspot area as the Slaz pro braided. However, the TFight has more plow-through than the Slaz (which is better for baseline groundstrokes). Back in March/April I did my previous playtest. The TFight 325 almost plays like a 2012 Pure Drive Roddick with a smaller, more maneuverable head.

Regarding your headsize question - both racquets are listed at 95 sq in. TWU has the spin window tool and at the mid-point of the head (21"), both racquets have an identical 5.79" spin window. However, if you go up from that point and compare the spin window at the 22" and 23" points, the TFight has a bigger spin window. It seems like the Slaz is narrower up top than the TFight. I tend to hit many shots during the course of a match in the upper part of my racquet (especially when I'm on the run), and I found that I had fewer mishits with the TFight 325 than I've been having with my Slaz.

crazyups 11-10-2012 04:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Murrayalmagrofan (Post 7006663)
Short answer: Not sure.

Long answer: I need to test the TFight 325 some more. I need to see how my body holds up to swinging a 12.2 oz racquet in a long 3 set match. Tecnifibre lists the racquet being best suited to someone with a baseline game (I have a developing all-court game). I also wonder how this racquet will play with my usual Solinco Tour Bite 16g string. I'll probably order another batch of demos after this playtest - thinking about getting the TFight 325 (again), TFight 320 and maybe the Solinco Pro 10.

TWU lists the TFight 325 as having a similar sweetspot area as the Slaz pro braided. However, the TFight has more plow-through than the Slaz (which is better for baseline groundstrokes). Back in March/April I did my previous playtest. The TFight 325 almost plays like a 2012 Pure Drive Roddick with a smaller, more maneuverable head.

Regarding your headsize question - both racquets are listed at 95 sq in. TWU has the spin window tool and at the mid-point of the head (21"), both racquets have an identical 5.79" spin window. However, if you go up from that point and compare the spin window at the 22" and 23" points, the TFight has a bigger spin window. It seems like the Slaz is narrower up top than the TFight. I tend to hit many shots during the course of a match in the upper part of my racquet (especially when I'm on the run), and I found that I had fewer mishits with the TFight 325 than I've been having with my Slaz.

Thanks for the info. The problem with the pro braided is that the quality control is not that good. On my second one I had to add more than twice as much lead to the head to make it feel the same. If I were to get a third one I would just order the heaviest one they have. The tfight is too head light so I would get a bigger gripsize and put one overgrip on it which would decrease the weight and make it more similar the the slaz. One good thing for me about the tfight is that it looks like it has a more uniform string spacing where as the slaz is very dense in the middle. Keep us posted.

Bartelby 11-10-2012 04:48 PM

Biannual does mean twice a year.

Biennial means every second year.

I think some dictionaries may have decided that the word biannual is used for both and as they're descriptive and not prescriptive in nature they have changed the definition.

Where I come from the distinction is still pretty clear and I had no confusion as to what you meant.

Murrayalmagrofan 11-10-2012 05:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by crazyups (Post 7006761)
Thanks for the info. The problem with the pro braided is that the quality control is not that good. On my second one I had to add more than twice as much lead to the head to make it feel the same. If I were to get a third one I would just order the heaviest one they have. The tfight is too head light so I would get a bigger gripsize and put one overgrip on it which would decrease the weight and make it more similar the the slaz. One good thing for me about the tfight is that it looks like it has a more uniform string spacing where as the slaz is very dense in the middle. Keep us posted.

Agreed. The balance and weight of two of my Slazs were quite close, but the third was significantly off. However, at their price, I'm not complaining.

The TFight 325 is truly a solid stick, however, your typical recreational player wouldn't be able to swing a racquet with this swingweight very effectively. For the typical Pro Braided user, I have a hunch that the TFight 320 would be the more natural racquet to switch to. I would demo both racquets if you're considering making a switch.

I'll definitely keep sharing my thoughts.


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