Talk Tennis Guru
You are lying to yourself, but it’s cool. We’ve all been there before.I recently was losing 6-1, 6-2 to a legitimate 4.5. I've always been a technical player with "flowing and long "beautiful" strokes" as other say, but I'm not the best match player. I can hit with junior college players fine, but have never had the power, just a lot of accuracy. I've always played with ProStaff 90 and carry a RF97 when I can't handle a strong 4.5's pace with the 90. More recently, it was bothering me that I had to be doing HIIT 4 times a week, working out and very focused to get to 6-3 with this particular player, who is 51 (3 years older), very fast and match plays 4X a week (I hit 1X a week over the winter). He plays with Pure Drive (last generation) and gets amazing spin on his ball. I also hit with alot of spin but notice deeper shots and better rallying ability with the RF97 with him.
So I bought a used APD and a used Head Speed Pro. I am still losing (partially due to the amount I am playing) but with the Head I am doing the best due to the ability to have more put aways at net. sets are 6-4, 7-5 now. With the APD I also play better. I tested his Pure Drive and we both were floored how my serves seemed faster and still had the punch of the APD. When I switch back to the PS90 and RF97, it's a joke. Maybe the RF97 can get close if I'm in great shape and playing a lot. I can hit better shots with more pace off lazier preparation and footwork. I simply have to bend a bit lower on low balls to raise the ball with the prostaffs vs can dip the racquet head and get a more generous launch angle with the same stroke and lift the ball over the net.
I expect to be beating this 4.5 this summer when I'm playing 3-4X myself. I would rate myself a solid 4.0 but my USTA is actually 3.5 due to bad losses a couple of years ago and non-competition the last 2 years. I need more data points with these more forgiving racquets but I do believe you can jump an NTRP point if you have strong technical strokes and are getting older and not getting enough power. I still love the feel of the prostaff's but I will no longer use them to compete.