Been playing over a decade, NTRP tournaments, USTA Doubles League.
Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley):
4.5 Aggressive baseline play. I prefer to be at the baseline hitting hard with spin and depth.
Donnay X-Dark Red 94 with L-Tec 5s/Os at 46lbs.
Head YouTek IG Radical Pro with with L-Tec 5s/Os at 48lbs.
Racquet model tested:
AeroPro Drive GT
How many hours did you play with the racquet? 16
Comments on racquet performance:
Initially my impression was that the frame was awfully light and had low swingweight with an even balance. I normally hit with a quick long stroke on my forehand and a slightly compact one-handed backhand. I struggled with finding the mass through the swing resulting in balls in the net. The racquet seemed to have a lower trajectory (which could have been due to the higher tensioned strings) off the stringbed. I felt that I had to swing early to catch the ball earlier off the bounce to find the right zone to clear the net enough. On my backhand side, I had a really hard time coming up with pace, the frame felt too light and I felt like I was rushing to make contact. It felt unnatural and not very smooth. It almost felt like the stringbed was very springy, coupled with the stiff frame, there was very little feel from the frame.
Finding the spin was also a challenge. I would think the 16x19 would allow me to find easy access to spin, yet, I found I hit with less spin and weight with the APDGT.
I only played a few sets with this racquet. I really struggled finding my range with any serve with spin. Flat serves were pretty simple, nice and controlled. The flat serves were zippy and not heavy. My opponents were easily able to pick up the flat serves because they were only quick and didnít have any action on them.
Controlling volleys sure, that was easy. But actually making put-away volleys were disappointing entirely. Because the frame is so stiff (for me) and springing, low volleys would pop up and sit for my opponent to put away.
My return is generally my favorite shot and it was with the APDGT. I didnít have to do much other than time a short backswing and the ball would go back deep. Chip returns were pretty good also. I enjoyed the racquet during returns.
General reaction/comments on overall performance:
Because the APDGT is very stiff and light, I struggled. The stiffness did hurt my arm after each session, even though the active cortex was there, I was still sore. The stiffness could be countered with a little more mass in the frame; by not having to swing so fast to get depth that would be good.
Also, the string pattern would be better if it were opened up a little bit between the first 8 mains (the distance between holes). With a change like that, spin would be easier to come by.
The only real big change that I felt between this model and the previous APDGT was the active cortex. It dampens differently, but not more.
Thanks TW for allowing me to playtest.
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