Age 51, Playing since I was 7 and played in the juniors in Europe and USA. Played Div 1 NCAA (1979 - 1984) and was an Asst D1 coach (1985 - 86) Currently play ITF seniors and current NTRP is solid 5.0, Cat 3 ITN and an FFT rating of 2/6.
Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley):
Aggressive Baseliner until my 30s - But since then more and more doubles - i know play doubles 95% of the time now so much more Serve and Volley/All Court.
Since September: Wilson Blade 98 (2013 model w/ Amplifeel 18x20) strung with Luxilon 4G mains/ VS or Wilson Gut crosses at 58 lbs.
Racquet model tested:
AeroPro Drive GT 2013 strung with RPM Blast
How many hours did you play with the racquet? 30 hours
Comments on racquet performance:
Right off the top the pop was as expected very very good, power is not an issue and getting depth was no problem from all areas of the backcourt. In fact like every other Aeropro I have tried it was almost too much power but overall the response and feel was firm and crisp.
The light weight allowed me to generate plenty of swing speed and the open 16 x 19 pattern really helped generate plenty of spin and I loved from the baseline the way I was able to "go for it" and keep the ball in.
I also did find good accuracy and I was able to place the ball where i wanted it which did surprise me due to the amount of power it generated. Overall excellent on both forehands and backhands - Loved the new Active Cortex as it helped make the stiffness much more comfortable.
I found that the racquet is a real serving monster. I found it was excellent in all areas from the service line and it was easy to hit everything: Huge flat serves, Heavy spin ones, Kick serves...etc. In my view this was one of the strongest aspects of the frame and the comfort was excellent even on mishits. Overall an excellent racquet for serves period.
Like the serve this is where I found the frame to stand out.....overall very stable and extremely powerful. It's maneuverable and I was able to get penetration and pop even on drop volleys or half volleys overall I have no complaints on the way it responded. I was able to place my volleys with ease and when I needed a putaway it didn't take much to hit a huge winner. Even when targeted at net by a screaming shot right at my bellybutton the APD preformed excellent.
This is once spot where I had some issues as when returning as I'm used to taking a fairly big swing at the ball....with this frame I really had to tone it down a notch and allow the stick to do the "work" as it just has so much power. Laying off a small bit I found worked wonders and i'm sure with more time I could get more comfortable going for it. Not a real negative but it is one aspect of the frame that for players who are used to more old school frames need to be aware of.
General reaction/comments on overall performance:
Overall I find the 2013 frame to be very very impressive. Clearly its a stick that's designed for big hitters and folks who love to generate lots of spin. I found it does has much better feel than the previous models and for folks who play lots of doubles its an almost perfect stick with its blend of pop and control at the net and on serves & volleys.
I also do feel the Active cortex does make a difference in the feel from older models - for sure its a different feeling AeroPro drive.