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Old 08-09-2012, 11:29 AM   #1
crushedegg
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 2
Default Racket advice (following a 15 year hiatus)

Hi - new poster, new reader. I've found great nourishment in this forum, all of which serves to feed my pedantry for research

I'm a one-time advanced club-level/county tennis player who, following a break of 10/15 years, am rekindling my love for the game. I intend to spend the autumn/winter/spring months getting back to somewhere approaching my previous standard ready for the ensuing competitive club season April 2013. Initially, for the first few weeks, I'll use my previous rackets (listed below), all of which are in great nick & decently strung. However, I'm keen to eventually upgrade my existing equipment & would greatly appreciate your advice.

Below are a few details I hope can assist with any suggestions you might make. I fully intend to demo rackets prior to purchase & fancy I'm experienced enough to make a relatively informed decision, but the plethora of rackets (not to mention jargon) is even more protracted & mystical than it was a decade ago(!) therefore your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Previously advanced club player/county player up to the age of 18/19. Gained basic LTA coaching qualification when a teenager. Occasional player from age 20 to 24/25.

Age: 36
Height: 5' 10"
Build: Slight/athletic

All-court player, occasional serve/volley but more likely at the net off an approach. Experienced singles & doubles. Favoured surface grass/all weather, sometimes carpet. Not a lover of clay!

Forehand: quite heavy, consistently deep, predominantly topspin but like to flatten out, quite large swing (including back swing).
Backhand: mix of topspin & slice, large-ish swing (but more compact than forehand), preference for hitting ball very much on the rise.
Serve: fast, heavy, very accurate - whether down the T or swung out wide. Second serve particularly dependent on exaggerated topspin & arch (back allowing!).
Volleys: good, both sides (knees allowing!).

Quite powerful player but due to size equally reliant on touch & guile.

Previous rackets:

Dunlop Max 200G - great feel & subtlety but always felt like I was striving for a bit more bite & penetration. Solid weight.
Dunlop Max 400i - precise but lacked any bite & always felt brittle in my hands.

Current rackets:

2x Slazenger Phantom 105 (circa '90/91) - wonderful feel & touch, very dextrous. Occasionally feels a little muted & unresponsive when looking to really step up. Good weight distribution although perhaps a little head light.
2x Spalding Assault 110 (the matt grey, no paintjob line) - surprisingly, the best of all. Great weight distribution & real bite & clarity to the shot. Vicious penetration when stepping up but capable of lovely lightness of touch around the net. About 20 years ago my coach provided me with a number of Assaults free, when Spalding were belatedly trying to reignite their tennis market, & I think they're something of a secret bonus! Unflashy but with the sensation of a classic racket for an advanced all-court game.

Previous string set-up: hybrid, kevlar/synthetic gut mix (Prince ProBlend - aye, that far back!). 55-57lbs (occasionally higher if weather needed it).

Call me odd, but I don't much like the sensation that I can't feel the shot I'm making - which includes the power I generate rather than the racket. People suggest the Pure Drive/Aerodrive & Head's Speed & Prestige series but I find the feel of a racket lighter than 320/330 strange, nor am I overly sure of wide beam. I have to admit to toying with the idea of trying ProStaff 6.1 95 &/or Prince Rebel 95 - both of which I think might suit me a little better.

Any advice/thoughts you might offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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