Here's my final review. Any updates are in bold:
Background: I played varsity in high school. Now I'm at the top of the ladder on my Universities travelling club team. I'm somewhere around a 4.0-4.5 and I'm primarily doubles player. Semi western forehand, eastern one handed backhand. I love to serve big and come into the net.
Current racquet/string: Head Youtek IG Prestige Pro, Black Magic full bed, transitioning to a Tour Bite hybrid.
Racquet model tested: Babolat AeroPro Drive GT
How many hours did you play with the racquet?: 14 Hours
Comments on racquet performance:
Groundstrokes: The APDGT was somewhat jarring at first, although that mostly has to do with the fact that I'm used to a softer racket with a different. As I adjusted though, I found it to be powerful with plenty of spin potential. My groundstrokes seemed to have a change in the height of their bounce, as well as a slight change in pace, although I think that might have just been related to me having a good day hitting. I really enjoyed hitting from the baseline with this racket, although the difference in feel compared to my Prestige's was an odd adjustment. In the end, I could not adjust to the lack of feel that this racket provided. I hit some nice shots, but I could never tell whether or not they were going to land in. Some did, some did not, but I like to be able to feel a connection with the ball when I hit it. I couldn't do that with this racket.
Volleys: I didn't like the feel, or lack thereof, but the APDGT was stiff enough that I could stick a putaway volley when necessary. If I were to seriously consider playing with this racket though, I would need to hybrid the poly with something softer, as full poly feels terrible in this. Simply using the stiffness of the racket made it good enough to hit volleys, but I never felt comfortable placing them where I wanted to.
Serves: I liked the free power I seemed to get from the racket, and the spin potential I had on kicks and slices. Babolat frames are just great for serving. Nothing really new here. I could really power the ball on serve. This is pretty much the only place where I felt like I could connect with the string bed.
Returns: Similar to ground strokes, if I had the chance to set everything up, it was nice, but if I was late, I got jarring feedback, that felt completely different than my HEAD. Same results as ground strokes. Nice power, I just couldn't feel it.
In the end, I was really not thrilled with the racket. Maybe I was expecting too much coming from a feel and precision oriented scalpel like the Prestige, but the APD felt like a toy to me. Either way, I want to thank TW for giving me the opportunity to playtest this racket.
5 Prestige Pro's. The GOAT all court frame.