Desperately Seeking Comfort, Precision, Power and Stability

PhxRacket

Professional
I have learned during the last year of demoing that I play better tennis with an 18x20. I have also learned, the hard way, that I have to steer clear of stiffer layups. I have been trying to find a racquet that ticks all the boxes (see above). I have loved the new Blade 18x20, the new Yonex VCORE Pro HD, the Phantom Pro 18x20, the Dunlop CX Tour 18x20 and the 360 Speed Pro, but none of them was perfect. If I had to boil it down to two, I think I play better all around tennis with the Blade and the HD. I am a serve and volley throwback. I play mostly doubles. As an old timer, I prefer a less modern game. When I play tested the Gen 3 Pure Strike, I played it with a gut/poly hybrid. I liked that and should probably string the final two in the same fashion. Guidance from old timers (should this be in the seniors lounge?) will be appreciated.
 
You might also consider the Gravity Pro. Checks all the boxes and feels a lot more like an old school racket than the Speed Pro 360. It is a little slower to maneuver on volleys but if you’re an experienced doubles player it shouldn’t be a big issue. I’ve had a lot of success with it myself in doubles. Offers a nice blend of pop and touch on volleys. I’ve hit some pretty ridiculous shots with it that look and feel easy.
 

Bobby O

New User
I, too, have recently decided to return to the 18x20 pattern in a less stiff frame (currently using the Graphene Radical Pro) and am essentially looking at the same racquets you are. I have demoed the Dunlop CX 200 Tour 18x20 and loved it (with some additional weight added), but have not tried the HD or Blade V7 yet. It appears that you liked those frames better than the CX 200 Tour and I was just wondering what aspects of those frames appealed to you more.
 

PhxRacket

Professional
I, too, have recently decided to return to the 18x20 pattern in a less stiff frame (currently using the Graphene Radical Pro) and am essentially looking at the same racquets you are. I have demoed the Dunlop CX 200 Tour 18x20 and loved it (with some additional weight added), but have not tried the HD or Blade V7 yet. It appears that you liked those frames better than the CX 200 Tour and I was just wondering what aspects of those frames appealed to you more.
I have been playing with the CX for a year and have found myself hamstrung when stretched out or playing defense. I love the CX until I get out of position, then it is a liability. The Blade and the HD not so much.
 

Bobby O

New User
I have been playing with the CX for a year and have found myself hamstrung when stretched out or playing defense. I love the CX until I get out of position, then it is a liability. The Blade and the HD not so much.
Thanks for the input. The main (and pretty much only) reservation I have with that racquet is the relative lack of power, which is why I am also looking at the Blade and HD. Funny, because I am actually LOOKING for a low-powered racquet to allow for full swings, but at the same time, I don't want to hinder myself either.
 

PhxRacket

Professional
Thanks for the input. The main (and pretty much only) reservation I have with that racquet is the relative lack of power, which is why I am also looking at the Blade and HD. Funny, because I am actually LOOKING for a low-powered racquet to allow for full swings, but at the same time, I don't want to hinder myself either.
I would stick with the CX but it is sometimes too anemic and costs me points. In retrospect, I am probably going to lose those points anyhow. What I really like about the CX is the comfort, the ability to hit sick angles and, unlike some, I can hit any serve, including the biggun’ down the T.
 

Bobby O

New User
Did you weight it up or play it stock? I really think it needs some weight for it to penetrate the court properly (a sentiment echoed by those who participated in the CX 200 playtest on TT). I put some lead at 3 and 9 and a little weight in the handle - got it to around 12.3 ounces at 9 points HL and it seemed to play really nicely at that spec.
 

PhxRacket

Professional
Did you weight it up or play it stock? I really think it needs some weight for it to penetrate the court properly (a sentiment echoed by those who participated in the CX 200 playtest on TT). I put some lead at 3 and 9 and a little weight in the handle - got it to around 12.3 ounces at 9 points HL and it seemed to play really nicely at that spec.
I played around with weight in the same places but never got to your specs. Maybe I will try that?
 

Bobby O

New User
I think I used approximately 3 inches of 1/4 inch lead tape at 3 and 9 and the balance was in the handle. That weight I believe included an overgrip and Sampras dampener as well, if I am not mistaken.
 

PistolPete23

Semi-Pro
Not mainstream but Donnay Pro One 97 Penta 18x20. I play with a full bed of Cyclone at 53 lbs. and it still feels plush and stable.
 

grhcan99

Semi-Pro
Gravity Pro is still too light for me so I customized it to where I wanted it to be - like my C10 Pro. My grip is 4 3/8 so I got a 4 1/4, installed a shrink sleeve, added 4g at 11 and 1 getting it to 12.8 oz with a 9 pts HL balance. I think you should initially resist the temptation of switching until you have spent more time trying out weighting. A 36-yard reel of 1/4 lead at TW is only $29.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
Did you add lead to 12 O'Clock on the Phantom 100 18x20? That really made a nice difference for me with power levels.

Admittedly there is no perfect frame. Control and power are often exclusive. Power frames gain control by augmenting spin but that only works for topspin shots. They suffer on slice and flat shots for control. Control frames gain power but lower string gauges and tensions but that starts producing less reliability in the power level and starts to limit control.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
Did you add lead to 12 O'Clock on the Phantom 100 18x20? That really made a nice difference for me with power levels.

Admittedly there is no perfect frame. Control and power are often exclusive. Power frames gain control by augmenting spin but that only works for topspin shots. They suffer on slice and flat shots for control. Control frames gain power but lower string gauges and tensions but that starts producing less reliability in the power level and starts to limit control.
I've seen this same sort of trade-off among different options I've played over the last several years. My personal normal in terms of racquet weight runs up in the neighborhood of 12.2-12.7 oz. depending on the specific frame, but I also have a few different older mids that are wonderful players. My Prince NXG mids are back in circulation and these weigh in around 13 oz. strung. That's stock - no leading required.

My old ProStaff 6.1 Classics were heavy, stiff, and powerful, which worked really well for lightning attack serve and volley play, but that power was really tough for me to control around the baseline. More flex helped me there - the C10 was a good first switch.

The oddball in my recent racquet history was the Volkl O10 325g. I was really disappointed with that one in its stock form - just lifeless and a semi-harsh feel. But then I added some lead on the hoop and the handle and holy moly did that frame's feel and performance really come to life. The added heft helped the power department, but the inherent deadness didn't completely disappear and the control and spin this racquet gives me now is pretty incredible.

My collection is rather bloated these days, but if I go shopping for a new player in the near future, I might look for that similar deadness in something that has room for a little added weight.
 

PD1978

Rookie
I play with both the Gravity Pro and Tour. I have weighted up the Tour in the handle a bit and really enjoying that frame for doubles. All my racquets have gut/poly set up.
I found the Pro a bit of a challenge for doubles.
I’m curious to try the new Vcore HD though.
 
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