—Hitting groundstrokes, I was surprised by how powerful the racquet is for a beam width in the low 20mms; my first few shots sailed far beyond the baseline. This is, at least in part, a function of the racquet’s (distribution of) weight. It felt like it was in the low 11-ounce range—a little on the light side for my tastes—and balanced only a few points head light. So there’s a good bit of weight up in the hoop, which causes the sweet spot to play pretty high (above the six and nine positions). This characteristic should be well received by all manner of baseliners.
—At the net, the Speed Prototype was capable enough, but by no means inspired. The frame’s extra power manifested itself most noticeably on those difficult low and half volleys; I remember hitting a few pretty poorly, but found, to my pleasure, that the ball sailed a lot deeper than I expected.
—But for my strokes—a semi-Western forehand, which I hit pretty flat, and an Eastern one-handed backhand—the Prototype just had too much juice. As a result, I found myself trying to hit with much more spin than normal in order to keep the ball in the court. And there was plenty to be had, what with the racquet’s open string pattern and poly set-up. That might not be a bad thing; perhaps I should hit with more spin. Doubtless, it’s where the game’s headed.
—What impressed me most about the Speed was how much it “gave” on impact. It has a soft feeling for a player’s frame—not as much as the Prince Exo3 Rebel 95 I’ve been playing with, but in the same neighborhood. What I mean by this: It feels as if the hoop is cradling the ball. This is pleasant to me. (Others who like stiffer frames have told me that this feels “mushy” to them.) Again, it all comes down to personal preferences. I love open grommet systems, flexible to firm constructions, and low tensions—in short, cradlers. And you?
Do you like the older IG Speed version more so than the prototype graphene you playtested? Are they drastically different? Which one do you like more?