Diary of a Racketaholic

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
@ esgee
In all my 'holic-ing, with the exception years ago of the Rebel 95 and a couple of the Exo 100 range (swung very smooth as I recall, softish feel which I like, but the ball kind of sat up), I've never really checked Prince rackets out. Vaguely aware of the Extreme and Phantom range... hmm... might have to look into them more. Cheers!


@ MD
Yeah, and I was doing so well attending RA all that time! I blame it on the UT actually. Now, that is one seriously addictive frame!... Cheers for the frame recommendations too... Oh. And re the XTPP... ahhh... interesting... :giggle:


@ Gads
Re checking out the Clash 100 & 98, that's a deal mate!... TBH I had a few nagging thoughts (linked to 'Steaming' and the gimmicky nature of those frames, plus the Vantage Bastcore that a few of us UKRH's were dabbling with a long time ago - which these Clashes sound so similar to), but no, after reading up more lately I'm in!... Re the 2 million views... o_O


@ PP
You're Blading no? Anything else in the picture?... To my surprise considering I've really liked previous models, of the several frames I've been looking at in the last few months, the one I've gravitated towards the least is the 2015 Blade. Always found it takes serious commitment to get used to that head-heavy clubbiness. Can reward you massively though if you do. Let's just say I've just got it on ice atm!
So...the clashes aren’t that similar to the bastcores.

the new prince sticks all have this “rubbery” feel to them. Not bad sticks but I’m not a fan of this feel.

the 2015 blade...it is a polarized racquet to begin with so there is quite a bit of weight at the top. And Wilson’s qc can be pretty bad so it’s highly possible you got one that has a swingweight that is over spec. The two I now have are lower than spec on swingweight. I did have one that was a higher SW and while I liked the feel, I did find it to be a bit too sluggish and sold it.

Finally, the UT. Yes, it is a seriously yummy feeling frame that performs so well. Got 6 of these along with a load of extra grommets to ensure I never run out. :)
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
@ esgee
In all my 'holic-ing, with the exception years ago of the Rebel 95 and a couple of the Exo 100 range (swung very smooth as I recall, softish feel which I like, but the ball kind of sat up), I've never really checked Prince rackets out. Vaguely aware of the Extreme and Phantom range... hmm... might have to look into them more. Cheers!


@ MD
Yeah, and I was doing so well attending RA all that time! I blame it on the UT actually. Now, that is one seriously addictive frame!... Cheers for the frame recommendations too... Oh. And re the XTPP... ahhh... interesting... :giggle:


@ Gads
Re checking out the Clash 100 & 98, that's a deal mate!... TBH I had a few nagging thoughts (linked to 'Steaming' and the gimmicky nature of those frames, plus the Vantage Bastcore that a few of us UKRH's were dabbling with a long time ago - which these Clashes sound so similar to), but no, after reading up more lately I'm in!... Re the 2 million views... o_O


@ PP
You're Blading no? Anything else in the picture?... To my surprise considering I've really liked previous models, of the several frames I've been looking at in the last few months, the one I've gravitated towards the least is the 2015 Blade. Always found it takes serious commitment to get used to that head-heavy clubbiness. Can reward you massively though if you do. Let's just say I've just got it on ice atm!
Yes, back to the Blade. I got the new one when it came out a year ago and I got really grooved with it. It beat out the Yonex HD 18x20 for me. I did not try any other frames until recently where I got the Clash 98 and Prestige mid. Both are really nice frames but my game was not on point, I am too used to the Blade, so I had to sell the others and try and get some money back.

I took some of that money and got some used 2015 Blades, which I like as well. They are not as soft but they have a great feel to them. I prefer a higher SW frame though. The whole thing with the Blade is that they are geared towards players who like higher SWs, because thats where the power and feel comes from. A lower SW Blade doesn't make much sense to me and I wouldn't suggest it. I found out over time that I play best with frames that are roughly in the 330-340 SW wheelhouse. I think my 2015 Blades are at 330 and I know my v7 Blades are 335 and 338. I also have another 2015 that is 307 unstrung and will probably have a high SW. Thats going to be a club, but since I have 5 Blades now, I like that I have a little variance for different days.

I posted this years ago in here and didnt follow my advice all the time - the 330/330 combo of static weight and SW is really my jam. A fairly light static weight combined with the higher SW lets me get a lot of tip speed, but it's nice and controlled and has a lot of plow. If I don't have that, I tend to overswing the frame, and thats where the inconsistincies start to pop up in my game.

With the Blade, it has laser control and since I hit with a lot of top already, I dont really need the help of an open pattern. So the ball doesn't stop and sit up from over spin, it still pushes through the court, which is what I want. I have confidence to hit slice, drop shots, heavy top..etc. No issues with any strokes.

Not in the spirit of the thread, but once I got a coach it was a better investment than any frame shopping I did. Not only did he help me quickly figure out that the Blade was a great fit for me, it also vastly improved my hitting since I had someone constantly telling me what to do. Fast forward about a year in and now I can regularly beat him in matches and am playing the style I like to play without being an error factory.

So yeah, thats my story on the Blade. Back in the day I loved this frame but the older versions were stiffer and got to my arm so I am really glad wilson went in a softer direction this time. The frames play fantastic and the whole Clash tech thing is just awesome.

I can see why some people will not like the Blades spec, but I lift a lot of weights and am not built like a sprinter, so it fits my body type I guess.

I'd say you should definitely check out a regular Clash because its an amazing hybrid of tweener style power but the feel is old school and soft. It's just awesome and not gimmicky. Totally LOL'd at the Steaming thing, I remember we all went through that phase.

Definitely think you will enjoy the Clash frames. I am interested in what Wilson does with the next version of these.
 

JGads

Hall of Fame
@ esgee
In all my 'holic-ing, with the exception years ago of the Rebel 95 and a couple of the Exo 100 range (swung very smooth as I recall, softish feel which I like, but the ball kind of sat up), I've never really checked Prince rackets out. Vaguely aware of the Extreme and Phantom range... hmm... might have to look into them more. Cheers!


@ MD
Yeah, and I was doing so well attending RA all that time! I blame it on the UT actually. Now, that is one seriously addictive frame!... Cheers for the frame recommendations too... Oh. And re the XTPP... ahhh... interesting... :giggle:


@ Gads
Re checking out the Clash 100 & 98, that's a deal mate!... TBH I had a few nagging thoughts (linked to 'Steaming' and the gimmicky nature of those frames, plus the Vantage Bastcore that a few of us UKRH's were dabbling with a long time ago - which these Clashes sound so similar to), but no, after reading up more lately I'm in!... Re the 2 million views... o_O


@ PP
You're Blading no? Anything else in the picture?... To my surprise considering I've really liked previous models, of the several frames I've been looking at in the last few months, the one I've gravitated towards the least is the 2015 Blade. Always found it takes serious commitment to get used to that head-heavy clubbiness. Can reward you massively though if you do. Let's just say I've just got it on ice atm!
I'd been sour on Wilson for awhile so when I recently returned and checked in on new frames, I too was immediately skeptical of the Clash. Hell, the thing is called the Clash. Couldn't sound more gimmicky. But enough trusted people told me there was legitimacy in it so I gave the 98 a whirl and wow. Amazing feel but the ball had so much life off the bed. In all of the gimmicky wrappings that come out every year (Dunlop snakeskin for more aerodynamics!) it seems Wilson did actually develop a notable new tech here that I suspect will be mimicked in different ways by the other companies. And that could be a good thing, as PP said, future versions from Wilson or lookalikes from others could be rather swell to see what they do.

PP's write up about higher swingweight preventing him from overswinging strikes a chord with me. I recall always feeling the same in the past. But now my form is so shoddy after the layoff I need ease and training wheels. Can't wait to try out the clash 100 to see how it swings and hits compared to the 98.

I can't believe the band is getting back together. FedKennedy, where art thou.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
I pulled out my Graphene prestige mp and trimmed the CAPs back so it now has a regular length bumper guard. This a racquet which I really enjoyed playing with but it always felt a little heavy in the throat. By trimming the CAP, it reduced the static weight by -0.35 oz or -11 grams. Feels about as whippy as my modded Ultra Tour now shadow swinging with it. Looking forward to trying it out on the court. :)
 

Ross K

Legend
Really great hearing what everyone's hitting with these days and, as ever, lots of good info there to take in (and PP - what you've written should be made required reading imo for anyone maybe new to Blading.)

Needing to get back in some kind of tennis shape after playing so little and for so long and sensing I should be checking out 100" more overtly b-liner frames again, the old racketaholic behaviour set in. So, with my DR 98 not back from the stringers when it was meant to be ( :mad: ), true to past form, I opted for a past experiment. An old, very light T-Fight in my old favourite 16x20 pattern, modded up, late-60's RA. Has to be said the results were predictable. Instantly much happier from the backcourt. But the feel and performance wasn't so hot when I had to come in at net etc (user error alert obviously.) All of which makes me ponder on how you can't escape your past. Or in this case, a lot of time previously playing Babs, and in particular the APD. Anyhow, we all know how this works out. A few more outings when the control factor is zero, my wrist is in need of expert medical attention, and my launch angle is causing me to hit low flying aircraft, well, that will be when it's time to dip once more into the bag.

And thus it continues...
 

Ross K

Legend
I can't believe the band is getting back together. FedKennedy, where art thou.
Fed. If you're lurking, give us a sign.. one of those memes.. something with Prince circa Sign of the Times... a picture of Yoko... whatever the hell, we await the return of our Honorary Chairman lol!
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
Ross,I missed that you got a DR98. Thats a goat frame, honestly may be tough to top if you want one frame that does it all.

Of course Yonex stopped making them the same so its limited supply now to find one. If they kept making those and the Blade wasn’t so good for me, I’d probably be using those with a little lead on the tip. It’s really tough to beat that racquet - nice soft feel, tweener level power and really nice control.
 

JOSHL

Hall of Fame
Ross,I missed that you got a DR98. Thats a goat frame, honestly may be tough to top if you want one frame that does it all.

Of course Yonex stopped making them the same so its limited supply now to find one. If they kept making those and the Blade wasn’t so good for me, I’d probably be using those with a little lead on the tip. It’s really tough to beat that racquet - nice soft feel, tweener level power and really nice control.
I’d put the DR98+ right up there with it too. All time great frame.
 

Ross K

Legend
Ross,I missed that you got a DR98. Thats a goat frame, honestly may be tough to top if you want one frame that does it all.

Of course Yonex stopped making them the same so its limited supply now to find one. If they kept making those and the Blade wasn’t so good for me, I’d probably be using those with a little lead on the tip. It’s really tough to beat that racquet - nice soft feel, tweener level power and really nice control.
Yeah, it has been in my no. 1 position for a while now. Ticks a lot of my boxes... Softish feel. Stable and plush enough for me. Swings really sweet and distinctly whippy (which is why weirdly I get little echoes of an APD despite its pretty dense in the middle 16x19 pattern which results in a flatter ball.) QC that as one new to Yonex I really do appreciate (none of that Wilson lottery.) In short, a great frame that perhaps has a foot in both more traditional players racket camp and more modern tweener-ish frames. I also play mine with just a bit of lead at 12 (plus leather and OG.)
 

Dags

Hall of Fame
Just saw a Ross K post, and couldn't believe my eyes! What next? The old UK thread being revived?

Whilst you were away, I'd still been playing with my TGK's (two of which came from Marcus), but last year I decided the ageing body needed a little more help. Picked up a pair of Clash 98's, and the most defining attribute is fun. I haven't come out of lockdown yet, but they're waiting for me when I do.

If this is a fleeting visit, hope you're doing well.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
I pulled out my Graphene prestige mp and trimmed the CAPs back so it now has a regular length bumper guard. This a racquet which I really enjoyed playing with but it always felt a little heavy in the throat. By trimming the CAP, it reduced the static weight by -0.35 oz or -11 grams. Feels about as whippy as my modded Ultra Tour now shadow swinging with it. Looking forward to trying it out on the court. :)
Time to start adding back some weight to the Graphene prestige mp. Definitely more maneuverable but lacking plow through as expected. Removing 11g of weight was a lot. I will try adding 3g each from 3-5 and 7-9 for a total of 6g. Then add maybe 1g at 12 or 0.5g each at 10 and 2.

In other news, the XT prestige pro is impressing me. thought I needed a minimum of 97” but this 95” is starting to change my mind. Now if I can play with a 95”, could I possibly play with a 93”? :unsure:
 

ryushen21

Hall of Fame
Morning all. Now then, what was it I was saying 7 years ago before I got slightly distracted there?... :giggle:

Work, family, new interests, etc, all contributed to me barely playing for a long time. This year though, the occasional hit and infrequent checking out of TT posts (PP's and MD's chief among them) began to escalate and multiply. Found I was suddenly taking an interest in what's been happening with all these frames that have sprung up since my hiatus. And then the double-whammy clincher - lockdown combined with how alarmingly poor my playing now is... well, it all seems to have been reactivated and kick-started back. In other words gents, I'm off the wagon. :D

In keeping with this diary and those old racketaholic tendencies, my bag currently contains Ultra Tour, DR 98, Blade 2015 98, plus a few way older 100" tweeners (BLX Pro Open and T-Flash 315). Suffice to say, getting back into playing more regularly, I see old very familiar patterns re-emerging (like being blown away by the feel of the UT, but playing better with the DR, and maybe being in denial that those tweeners actually suit me best of all... BTW, that Clash sounds very interesting... @Gads, that's awful re the injury nightmare. Hopefully your Bubba Gimp experience lol is nearing the end.)

So, how we doing gents? What is everyone hitting with currently?

Oh. And if I could ask a qsn as I'm still catching up... What 100'' head, not too open pattern, not too stiff frames might people say could be worth checking out?
I don't know that I actually believe it. The man himself is back?!
 

Ross K

Legend
Fellow diarists

Update: I played in searing heat and killer sunshine this afternoon. God knows how you all do this where such temperatures are the norm? Switched from my DR which felt too powerful, too loosely strung for the humidity and began to have my best outing ever with the Ultra Tour (plushness and control so on point and it seemed to swing more fluidly, consistent baseline depth seemingly easier.) Unfortunately, this was short lived as any considerations of rackets or form became a side-note to the more pressing matter of whether or not I might keel over with sun-stroke or heart trouble and kick the bucket there and then on court... Seriously, how do play in such conditions?!


n8dawg

"2.5 aggressive beer drinker" (y):D



Dags

How you doing mate?! The UKRH's mob are still going strong on Face-ache I believe. If you haven't played since all this LD insanity began, I really sympathise. It certainly motivated me big time to get my arse in gear and try and properly get back into it. Once you do hit with those Clashes, let us know how you like them. TBH I'm hoping they'll be a bit more than "fun" (and as I say this as an image of the 'spin effect' Steam 99 - which I think was described as being a "crazy game-changer!" - appears, slightly alarmingly, in my mind... :giggle: )
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
Fellow diarists

Update: I played in searing heat and killer sunshine this afternoon. God knows how you all do this where such temperatures are the norm? Switched from my DR which felt too powerful, too loosely strung for the humidity and began to have my best outing ever with the Ultra Tour (plushness and control so on point and it seemed to swing more fluidly, consistent baseline depth seemingly easier.) Unfortunately, this was short lived as any considerations of rackets or form became a side-note to the more pressing matter of whether or not I might keel over with sun-stroke or heart trouble and kick the bucket there and then on court... Seriously, how do play in such conditions?!


n8dawg

"2.5 aggressive beer drinker" (y):D



Dags

How you doing mate?! The UKRH's mob are still going strong on Face-ache I believe. If you haven't played since all this LD insanity began, I really sympathise. It certainly motivated me big time to get my arse in gear and try and properly get back into it. Once you do hit with those Clashes, let us know how you like them. TBH I'm hoping they'll be a bit more than "fun" (and as I say this as an image of the 'spin effect' Steam 99 - which I think was described as being a "crazy game-changer!" - appears, slightly alarmingly, in my mind... :giggle: )
ross, i deal with the worst heat and humidity. Almost keeled over when it hit in May but now im used to it and play at high noon.

tips:

64oz steel watwr bottle with electrolyte powder

24 oz steel water bottle with lots of ice and water.

1 cooling towel. Amazon has them for around 12-15USD


I wear the towel like a bandana. Every break i pour the ice water on my head to recharge the towel.

highly recommended. It keeps your internal temp cooler.

I normally wore a hat but im convinced that may trap heat in.
 

Ross K

Legend
ross, i deal with the worst heat and humidity. Almost keeled over when it hit in May but now im used to it and play at high noon.

tips:

64oz steel watwr bottle with electrolyte powder

24 oz steel water bottle with lots of ice and water.

1 cooling towel. Amazon has them for around 12-15USD


I wear the towel like a bandana. Every break i pour the ice water on my head to recharge the towel.

highly recommended. It keeps your internal temp cooler.

I normally wore a hat but im convinced that may trap heat in.
Nice one. Immediately makes me see where I'm going wrong. Ice would never had occurred to me. I wore a hat earlier. Had just a smallish bottle of water which was warm within minutes. And in hindsight, I suspect the IPAs the evening before may not have been the best preparation... Re a bandana, I probably need to summon up my inner Tennys Sandgren but I've just never rolled that way, so graduating to a full towel may well be a step too far, though... yep... I sure could have done with that ice towel recharger earlier!
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
Nice one. Immediately makes me see where I'm going wrong. Ice would never had occurred to me. I wore a hat earlier. Had just a smallish bottle of water which was warm within minutes. And in hindsight, I suspect the IPAs the evening before may not have been the best preparation... Re a bandana, I probably need to summon up my inner Tennys Sandgren but I've just never rolled that way, so graduating to a full towel may well be a step too far, though... yep... I sure could have done with that ice towel recharger earlier!
i know that feeling of incoming sunstroke. Its the worst man. Had it once this year and since i have done what i suggested above. It will work and give more time with that ultra!
 

ryushen21

Hall of Fame
Fellow diarists

Update: I played in searing heat and killer sunshine this afternoon. God knows how you all do this where such temperatures are the norm? Switched from my DR which felt too powerful, too loosely strung for the humidity and began to have my best outing ever with the Ultra Tour (plushness and control so on point and it seemed to swing more fluidly, consistent baseline depth seemingly easier.) Unfortunately, this was short lived as any considerations of rackets or form became a side-note to the more pressing matter of whether or not I might keel over with sun-stroke or heart trouble and kick the bucket there and then on court... Seriously, how do play in such conditions?!
I understand hitting in the heat all to well. Texas + Summer = Industrial kiln.

I've been relegated to hitting with the wall lately as the availability of hitting partners has been scarce due to the virus situation.

All the same, I've found a comfortable groove with the Yonex VCP97HD. The comfort and feel are exactly what I wanted and the stability (in stock form) has been surprising. While it does lack the whippiness that I formerly enjoyed, I have found that I can produce a heavy TS forehand with relative ease. The backhand has been fun as well even though I'm currently in an indecisive battle between 2H and 1H hitting.

I really need to get into some proper hitting to really go through the paces.
 

Dags

Hall of Fame
Good to hear the old UK crowd are still knocking about in pastures new.

I had a bit of time with the Clash before lockdown, and wrote some musings in another thread:


I stand by my assertion that the overwhelming attribute is fun. I smile every time I played with that racquet. In particular, it helped me go toe-to-toe with heavier hitters, and maybe that's what gave me most enjoyment. From a holic's perspective, perhaps the biggest drawback is that it lacks feedback. Anyone used to hitting with a racquet for 10 minutes and determining whether it has potential may well pass on this. And the reality is that fun and accurate aren't always synonymous. But a big draw for my ageing body was the comfort, so I'll be committed to it for quite some time. Once I'm back on court, of course...
 

Ross K

Legend
I understand hitting in the heat all to well. Texas + Summer = Industrial kiln.

I've been relegated to hitting with the wall lately as the availability of hitting partners has been scarce due to the virus situation.

All the same, I've found a comfortable groove with the Yonex VCP97HD. The comfort and feel are exactly what I wanted and the stability (in stock form) has been surprising. While it does lack the whippiness that I formerly enjoyed, I have found that I can produce a heavy TS forehand with relative ease. The backhand has been fun as well even though I'm currently in an indecisive battle between 2H and 1H hitting.

I really need to get into some proper hitting to really go through the paces.
'Industrial kiln' lol... No, whole different story for many of you. I'm mainly used to wind and damp conditions!

That Yonex of yours is one of quite a few that appeals to my racketaholic nature, specially since playing a bit with the DR 98... Ever hit with an RD7?...
"Oooo baby...":D
 

Ross K

Legend
Good to hear the old UK crowd are still knocking about in pastures new.

I had a bit of time with the Clash before lockdown, and wrote some musings in another thread:


I stand by my assertion that the overwhelming attribute is fun. I smile every time I played with that racquet. In particular, it helped me go toe-to-toe with heavier hitters, and maybe that's what gave me most enjoyment. From a holic's perspective, perhaps the biggest drawback is that it lacks feedback. Anyone used to hitting with a racquet for 10 minutes and determining whether it has potential may well pass on this. And the reality is that fun and accurate aren't always synonymous. But a big draw for my ageing body was the comfort, so I'll be committed to it for quite some time. Once I'm back on court, of course...
Cheers Dags, shall check that out that very shortly. My 'fun' remark wasn't really any knock on the Clashes and much more just an excuse to bash the Steam! Clashes are number 1 on my 'frames to investigate' list. Hope you get back on that court asap.
 

1stVolley

Professional
....
All the same, I've found a comfortable groove with the Yonex VCP97HD. The comfort and feel are exactly what I wanted and the stability (in stock form) has been surprising. While it does lack the whippiness that I formerly enjoyed, I have found that I can produce a heavy TS forehand with relative ease. The backhand has been fun as well even though I'm currently in an indecisive battle between 2H and 1H hitting.
....
Also, that VCP97HD, with its thin beam, is a racquet smasher's dream. :unsure:
 

ryushen21

Hall of Fame
'Industrial kiln' lol... No, whole different story for many of you. I'm mainly used to wind and damp conditions!

That Yonex of yours is one of quite a few that appeals to my racketaholic nature, specially since playing a bit with the DR 98... Ever hit with an RD7?...
"Oooo baby...":D
In the past, I unrelentingly taunted Yonex hitters. Something about square shapes not belonging in tennis. I was wrong. Unbelievably wrong.

This frame checks off so many boxes it's unreal. Combine that with my epiphany that poly strung below 50lbs is dreamy and I'm a very happy camper.
 

Ross K

Legend
In the past, I unrelentingly taunted Yonex hitters. Something about square shapes not belonging in tennis. I was wrong. Unbelievably wrong.

This frame checks off so many boxes it's unreal. Combine that with my epiphany that poly strung below 50lbs is dreamy and I'm a very happy camper.
In the same boat with all of that re past ideas of Yonex frames, then the reality of actually playing one. I was always searching for the mythical Blade 98 that plays a bit easier, less clubby and weighted so much in the head, then I hit with the DR and thought, hmm... isn't this kind of what I've been looking for?...
 

Ross K

Legend
I’m totally digging the Graphene XT Prestige Pro! This stick is really really good!
What's it like in comparison to your UT? Feel/b-line depth/control, etc? Curious to hear a bit more. Spent time years back with older PPros but recall a certain brassiness and lacklustre nature.

BTW, I'm definitely still not done with the UT. Seem to have done a lot of tinkering with mods (which I don't have endless patience with), and it's not quite working fully for me yet, but I keep returning to it. Don't know but there is something about the rawness, the feel, the solidness, and how it kind of teaches me what I'm doing wrong. And when you get it right (thinking here of a laser beam bh down the line serve return the other day), its just the best feeling!
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
What's it like in comparison to your UT? Feel/b-line depth/control, etc? Curious to hear a bit more. Spent time years back with older PPros but recall a certain brassiness and lacklustre nature.

BTW, I'm definitely still not done with the UT. Seem to have done a lot of tinkering with mods (which I don't have endless patience with), and it's not quite working fully for me yet, but I keep returning to it. Don't know but there is something about the rawness, the feel, the solidness, and how it kind of teaches me what I'm doing wrong.
This is my first experience ever with a prestige pro. Dunno why I never bothered trying them before.

Head Graphene XT Prestige Pro vs modded Wilson Ultra Tour

Mo’ Powa, baby!: PP
Control: UT depth control and trajectory are so good with the UT
Feel: UT
Topspin: PP
Slice: PP
Volleys: PP
Maneuverability: UT
Stability: PP
Comfort: Even
Customizability (think I just made up a new word here): UT
 
I have really enjoyed this thread and figured I would share my story. I am currently a 41yo aggressive baseliner playing 4.5 level. Things started off simply enough for me in MS, HS, and college. Andre Agassi was my guy (like many ppl my age). I admired his aggressive baseline approach and ability to hit winners off both wings. Like many kids of my era, I played the Head Radical Tour OS strung with Ashaway Crossfire II at 67#. I have had four bumblebees, two zebras, and two candy canes. The bees were great fun and my strokes were built on them. The zebras packed great punch and comfort, but I always found them a little wild. These days I would attribute that to swing weight, but back then I didn't understand such things. The candy canes were the perfect blend. As controlled as the bees, with the comfort of the zebras, in a package that swung a little easier. I used the candy canes all through college and graduate school.

Somewhere along the way I virtually stopped playing tennis for almost 15 years. After traveling for a living and starting a family I found my way back to the courts a few years ago. I still loved my candy canes, but I wanted to try something more modern. The Radical at the time (think it was the first graphene) was hot garbage. I couldn't hit a backhand with it. I demoed the 2013 APD as it was supposedly built for my heavy spin game and felt that I hit my backhand better than with my candy canes. Forehands were equal and serve had more juice. As an engineer I was also interested in the data collection technology that was emerging so I bought an APD Play. The first sting job I put in it was RPM blast 16 @ 59#s. Holy cow! It was the stiffest thing I had ever hit. I broke them and got it restrung at 57# and that was more manageable. Then I decided I needed a second one, but the Pure Aero had just come out. I figured it was just a paint job so I got one. Nope. Higher swingweight, more open pattern, and the harshest stick I had ever swung. I HATED it. I got a couple more APDs for backup and another PA just in case I could ever figure it out. I messed around with many strings and thought I was starting to hit on something with Volkl Cyclone in the mains at 52# and Yonex Polytour Strike in the crosses at 50#. The APD was pretty comfortable there and the Pure Aero was less harsh if not less wild. Then I read about the Pure Aero 2019 and how it had fixed the harshness and wildness. I bought two. They were AMAZING!! I had finally found my modern candy cane. I had one strung at 54/52 with RPM blast and one at 46/44. The 46/44 was plush but wild while the 54/52 was perfect. The 2016 Pure Aeros sitting in my bag kept bothering me though. Maybe the string job wasn't right? I kept reading about how lower was better. At first I struggled to control my 46/44 frame, but as I played more frequently and my timing returned I started to appreciate it. Babolat put out the Pure Aero 2019 Roland Garros frame and I loved the cosmetic. I got one with Cyclone at 50/48 thinking maybe the tension answer was in the middle. I was all set. Then I got a second RG model with Yonex Polytour fire at 50/48. Not quite as much bite, but Iiked it. I was all settled before Corona hit. I was going to play with my Pure Aero 2019 fleet and string them at 48/46 and 50/48. Then we all got sidelined. When I came back after a couple months away my conditioning sucked and my timing was WAY off, especially on hot clay courts. I couldn't control the Pure Aeros at 48/46. I pulled an APD @ 54# out for doubles since I can hit flatter with it and everything went well. At that point I decided to go Cyclone mains and Polytour Strike crosses at 54/52. Everything felt settled. I was happy. Then it all unraveled.

I watched the Head feature on TW while I was surfing the net. I really like my Babolats, but all of those years of being a Head guy pulled at me. I thought I could use something a little more controlled for doubles and players that feed me for variety than pace. And then I read the reviews of the Gravity. "Best Head frame in years." "A modern spin on the Head classics." I had had to see what Gravity was all about. I took an APD and a 2016 Pure Aero in to get strung the other day with Head Lynx and Polytour Strike. I talked to my stringer and told him I had been reading great reviews on the Gravitys. He offered me a Tour and a Pro to try. I took them out today. Started off with my freshly strung 2016 Pure Aero. It was still a mustang. Wild and unbridled, but magic when I was clean with my footwork. It had incredible bite and the ball was exploding off the court. Then I pulled out the Candy Cane. My God it was smooth. I didn't even have to focus on what I was doing. It was so forgiving I could rip forehands (and more importantly backhands) from anywhere and they just dropped in. The ball was not as explosive, but I couldn't miss. There was no doubt that it had much more heft than my Pure Aero though, and fitness is my #1 issue. Next I picked up the Gravity Tour. It was exactly what I was expecting. A modern spin on my Candy Cane. It swung lighter and had a little more juice on the ball, but it wasn't quite as smooth and forgiving. Then I picked up the Gravity Pro. I had made up my mind before I went out that the tour was to be my favorite. Same beam width as my candy canes and nearly same weight and balance as my aeros. The swingweight was also right inline with my PA 2019s which are great. The first couple shots with the Pro underwhelmed. It swung surprisingly light but the ball didn't penetrate the court. I immediately switched to hitting more through the ball like I can with my candy canes and the Pro came to life. I was supplying the power, but it was translating it into a heavier ball than the Tour would produce. The racquet face felt strangely small to me, but because of the narrow beam I could open the racquet face. The Pro also didn't feel like it would be pushed around by bigger hitters, but it would also take a toll on me when it is 90+ degrees out and i am launching myself into every shot. I grabbed my freshly strung APD for good measure and it landed where you would expect. Less forgiving than the Heads and lacking punch compared to the Pure Aero, but I could flatten out the ball somewhat as well.

After our hitting session I asked my hitting partner what he thought. He is an excellent counterpuncher with good spin and variety off both wings. He said whether it was the fresh string job or the frame, the Pure Aero hit by far the most damaging ball. It got up above his shoulders quickly and pushed him back off the baseline. Of course I also sprayed a few more balls with it, mostly when I throttled back. When it was right it was magic, but tennis is still mostly a game of errors at the 4.5-5.0 level. He said he could definitely tell that I hit the ball cleaner with the Heads. I had full confidence to swing out with the candy cane, but the ball was also the most manageable. He felt it would be good for me to drop a good poly in it and see if I got the extra bite I had from the other frames. The Gravitys were in the middle. I could swing more aggressively with the Tour as I tired out, but he felt the Pro had more punch. He tried them both as well and felt the Tour swung heavier. He also didn't like the strings in the Pro (I agreed), but felt it would be nice with a better setup. I also need to add that the grips were way too small. 4 3/8. I play 4 1/2 on my Babolats and my Radicals are all 4 5/8. I would like to see what kind of ball I get with a better grip size.

So where do I go from here? I always buy my racquets in pairs, but should I get the Gravity Tour or the Pro? I actually think I could maybe get one of each as they are easy to switch between and I could select each one based on if I need the weight or not. On the flip side I am not going to just abandon my 9 Aeros, especially when I love the 2019 so much, so the Gravitys would mostly be for doubles or days when the Aeros are untamed. On the flip side I could go drop some ALU in my candy canes and fall in love all over again. They are a little heavy and under powered, but that is no biggie in doubles. Then I also have my APDs. In many respects I feel like I can hit the APDs with nearly the same confidence as my candy canes (plus the Play has data!). They also hit aces on balls that the opponent can get a racquet on with the candy canes. What the APDs don't have is the incredible feel and they are potentially harsher on my arm if I overplay. Thankfully that hasn't been much issue lately. Just when I thought I could swear off Head forever they go and put out this Gravity!! Hmm. Decisions, decisions...
 

808

Semi-Pro
In the same boat with all of that re past ideas of Yonex frames, then the reality of actually playing one. I was always searching for the mythical Blade 98 that plays a bit easier, less clubby and weighted so much in the head, then I hit with the DR and thought, hmm... isn't this kind of what I've been looking for?...
The new Extreme Tour reminds me of the Blade quite a bit, in a very good way.
 

JOSHL

Hall of Fame
I have really enjoyed this thread and figured I would share my story. I am currently a 41yo aggressive baseliner playing 4.5 level. Things started off simply enough for me in MS, HS, and college. Andre Agassi was my guy (like many ppl my age). I admired his aggressive baseline approach and ability to hit winners off both wings. Like many kids of my era, I played the Head Radical Tour OS strung with Ashaway Crossfire II at 67#. I have had four bumblebees, two zebras, and two candy canes. The bees were great fun and my strokes were built on them. The zebras packed great punch and comfort, but I always found them a little wild. These days I would attribute that to swing weight, but back then I didn't understand such things. The candy canes were the perfect blend. As controlled as the bees, with the comfort of the zebras, in a package that swung a little easier. I used the candy canes all through college and graduate school.

Somewhere along the way I virtually stopped playing tennis for almost 15 years. After traveling for a living and starting a family I found my way back to the courts a few years ago. I still loved my candy canes, but I wanted to try something more modern. The Radical at the time (think it was the first graphene) was hot garbage. I couldn't hit a backhand with it. I demoed the 2013 APD as it was supposedly built for my heavy spin game and felt that I hit my backhand better than with my candy canes. Forehands were equal and serve had more juice. As an engineer I was also interested in the data collection technology that was emerging so I bought an APD Play. The first sting job I put in it was RPM blast 16 @ 59#s. Holy cow! It was the stiffest thing I had ever hit. I broke them and got it restrung at 57# and that was more manageable. Then I decided I needed a second one, but the Pure Aero had just come out. I figured it was just a paint job so I got one. Nope. Higher swingweight, more open pattern, and the harshest stick I had ever swung. I HATED it. I got a couple more APDs for backup and another PA just in case I could ever figure it out. I messed around with many strings and thought I was starting to hit on something with Volkl Cyclone in the mains at 52# and Yonex Polytour Strike in the crosses at 50#. The APD was pretty comfortable there and the Pure Aero was less harsh if not less wild. Then I read about the Pure Aero 2019 and how it had fixed the harshness and wildness. I bought two. They were AMAZING!! I had finally found my modern candy cane. I had one strung at 54/52 with RPM blast and one at 46/44. The 46/44 was plush but wild while the 54/52 was perfect. The 2016 Pure Aeros sitting in my bag kept bothering me though. Maybe the string job wasn't right? I kept reading about how lower was better. At first I struggled to control my 46/44 frame, but as I played more frequently and my timing returned I started to appreciate it. Babolat put out the Pure Aero 2019 Roland Garros frame and I loved the cosmetic. I got one with Cyclone at 50/48 thinking maybe the tension answer was in the middle. I was all set. Then I got a second RG model with Yonex Polytour fire at 50/48. Not quite as much bite, but Iiked it. I was all settled before Corona hit. I was going to play with my Pure Aero 2019 fleet and string them at 48/46 and 50/48. Then we all got sidelined. When I came back after a couple months away my conditioning sucked and my timing was WAY off, especially on hot clay courts. I couldn't control the Pure Aeros at 48/46. I pulled an APD @ 54# out for doubles since I can hit flatter with it and everything went well. At that point I decided to go Cyclone mains and Polytour Strike crosses at 54/52. Everything felt settled. I was happy. Then it all unraveled.

I watched the Head feature on TW while I was surfing the net. I really like my Babolats, but all of those years of being a Head guy pulled at me. I thought I could use something a little more controlled for doubles and players that feed me for variety than pace. And then I read the reviews of the Gravity. "Best Head frame in years." "A modern spin on the Head classics." I had had to see what Gravity was all about. I took an APD and a 2016 Pure Aero in to get strung the other day with Head Lynx and Polytour Strike. I talked to my stringer and told him I had been reading great reviews on the Gravitys. He offered me a Tour and a Pro to try. I took them out today. Started off with my freshly strung 2016 Pure Aero. It was still a mustang. Wild and unbridled, but magic when I was clean with my footwork. It had incredible bite and the ball was exploding off the court. Then I pulled out the Candy Cane. My God it was smooth. I didn't even have to focus on what I was doing. It was so forgiving I could rip forehands (and more importantly backhands) from anywhere and they just dropped in. The ball was not as explosive, but I couldn't miss. There was no doubt that it had much more heft than my Pure Aero though, and fitness is my #1 issue. Next I picked up the Gravity Tour. It was exactly what I was expecting. A modern spin on my Candy Cane. It swung lighter and had a little more juice on the ball, but it wasn't quite as smooth and forgiving. Then I picked up the Gravity Pro. I had made up my mind before I went out that the tour was to be my favorite. Same beam width as my candy canes and nearly same weight and balance as my aeros. The swingweight was also right inline with my PA 2019s which are great. The first couple shots with the Pro underwhelmed. It swung surprisingly light but the ball didn't penetrate the court. I immediately switched to hitting more through the ball like I can with my candy canes and the Pro came to life. I was supplying the power, but it was translating it into a heavier ball than the Tour would produce. The racquet face felt strangely small to me, but because of the narrow beam I could open the racquet face. The Pro also didn't feel like it would be pushed around by bigger hitters, but it would also take a toll on me when it is 90+ degrees out and i am launching myself into every shot. I grabbed my freshly strung APD for good measure and it landed where you would expect. Less forgiving than the Heads and lacking punch compared to the Pure Aero, but I could flatten out the ball somewhat as well.

After our hitting session I asked my hitting partner what he thought. He is an excellent counterpuncher with good spin and variety off both wings. He said whether it was the fresh string job or the frame, the Pure Aero hit by far the most damaging ball. It got up above his shoulders quickly and pushed him back off the baseline. Of course I also sprayed a few more balls with it, mostly when I throttled back. When it was right it was magic, but tennis is still mostly a game of errors at the 4.5-5.0 level. He said he could definitely tell that I hit the ball cleaner with the Heads. I had full confidence to swing out with the candy cane, but the ball was also the most manageable. He felt it would be good for me to drop a good poly in it and see if I got the extra bite I had from the other frames. The Gravitys were in the middle. I could swing more aggressively with the Tour as I tired out, but he felt the Pro had more punch. He tried them both as well and felt the Tour swung heavier. He also didn't like the strings in the Pro (I agreed), but felt it would be nice with a better setup. I also need to add that the grips were way too small. 4 3/8. I play 4 1/2 on my Babolats and my Radicals are all 4 5/8. I would like to see what kind of ball I get with a better grip size.

So where do I go from here? I always buy my racquets in pairs, but should I get the Gravity Tour or the Pro? I actually think I could maybe get one of each as they are easy to switch between and I could select each one based on if I need the weight or not. On the flip side I am not going to just abandon my 9 Aeros, especially when I love the 2019 so much, so the Gravitys would mostly be for doubles or days when the Aeros are untamed. On the flip side I could go drop some ALU in my candy canes and fall in love all over again. They are a little heavy and under powered, but that is no biggie in doubles. Then I also have my APDs. In many respects I feel like I can hit the APDs with nearly the same confidence as my candy canes (plus the Play has data!). They also hit aces on balls that the opponent can get a racquet on with the candy canes. What the APDs don't have is the incredible feel and they are potentially harsher on my arm if I overplay. Thankfully that hasn't been much issue lately. Just when I thought I could swear off Head forever they go and put out this Gravity!! Hmm. Decisions, decisions...
Here’s my take- I need to go buy a 2019 pure aero.
 
Here’s my take- I need to go buy a 2019 pure aero.
First off if you are a power baseliner and you have not hit the 2019 Pure Aero you owe it to yourself to give it a try. If Agassi were playing today and using this thing he would absolutely murder the ball. I don't know how they managed to tame that Pure Aero beam and string pattern, but they sure as heck hit a grandslam. The best part is the harder you swing the better it gets. For me when I am playing another power baseliner or counter puncher there is nothing better. My biggest weakness is my forward movement. I have a force field at the baseline and no matter how much I tell myself to look for the short ball or step into the court I stay stuck 3ft behind the baseline. I also hit forehands across 75% of the court (not a great combination with my current fitness level). I just have a MUCH bigger window on my forehand than my backhand. My backhand is a flatter drive than my forehand (still decent spin, but not the explosive weight of shot) and I can hit it pretty clean from just below waist level up to mid torso.

The players that give me the most difficulty are able to hit short to my backhand and force me to move forward and get the ball up and down. It must be psychological because I can whip my forehand up and down with the PA2019, but on the backhand I either mishit trying to keep the racquet face too closed or send the ball long. I tried moving to a less aggressive grip, but lost some of the spin off my rally ball and felt less consistent. This is where the Head Gravity comes in. I tried the Tour and the Pro again today and think I had a bit of an epiphany. First off the Pro is not getting a totally fair shake b/c I wasn't happy with the string job, but I think my issues with it would only get worse if it had a better string job. With the Gravitys (and my Radical Candy Canes) I can drive through the ball on my back hand without having to worry as much about being left hand dominant to drive spin. This allows me to get the ball up and down against a player that is effective at getting low into my backhand. Both the candy canes and the Gravity Tour feel like the flex is evenly distributed along the entire length of the racquet from the top of the grip to the tip. This makes a comfortable yet solid response. The Pro in contrast feels like it flexes at a hinge point. This makes it plush and even more low powered, but I am not wanting to give up power at this point. That is the only issue I have with the candy canes is that balls that are aces or winners with the Aeros don't have quite the same horsepower. The Gravity Tour generates a similar feel to the candy cane with just a little extra pop and bite. The Pro feels like a smaller head to me (probably b/c I feel like I have to hit the sweet spot more precisely) and even though it has decent weight to the shot it doesn't have the same spin and bite that is the hallmark of my game. I noticed the same thing serving. The Tour has less juice than my Pure Aeros but I can get nice bend and hop on the ball while the Pro goes more straight through the box. At the end of the day I hit mostly spin serves and only throw the fastball in certain situations so i need the variety of the more well rounded flex and response of the Tour.

Overall I think my plan will be to use my 2019 Pure Aeros as my primary singles racquets. The bigger hitter my opponent is, the more they shine. When I am playing against someone who uses more placement than punch and is able to find my backhand (or doubles) I will have the Gravity Tour as an option that hits like a modern version of my Candy Canes and swings like the Aeros. Finally if I ever feel like I need the flatter punch of the Pro I can restring the Candy Canes and basically have a better, more forgiving version of the Gravity Pro. Now I am going to have to find a string setup to go with all of this! Hmm...
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
Ok. On the Graphene Prestige MP with the trimmed CAPs...I added 2.5g from 2:30-4:30. I added 2.5g from 7:30-9:30 and 1g at 12. Trimming the CAPs removed 11g. I’m adding 6g of lead back. Will be giving it a go later today.
 

Ross K

Legend
This is my first experience ever with a prestige pro. Dunno why I never bothered trying them before.

Head Graphene XT Prestige Pro vs modded Wilson Ultra Tour

Mo’ Powa, baby!: PP
Control: UT depth control and trajectory are so good with the UT
Feel: UT
Topspin: PP
Slice: PP
Volleys: PP
Maneuverability: UT
Stability: PP
Comfort: Even
Customizability (think I just made up a new word here): UT
Interesting reading... better slice than the UT? Wow... Yea, keep us posted with this one.

BTW, I like 'customizability' - if it isn't it should be a word!
 

jackcrawford

Professional
It is a real plus when new frames like the latest Extremes are available with decent strings at reasonable tensions before/near release date. This eliminates the need to purchase for an "extended demo" to avoid having to try one six months after release with RPM Blast either freshly strung at 65 #, or with thirty hours of play already on the sting job.
 

Ross K

Legend
AgassiGrafFan

Your racketaholic credentials have been established so welcome to the diary! Yep, decisions, decisions... I'm so behind with frame developments in recent years that I can't comment on the Gravitys and I've also - hard to believe - never hit a Pure Aero. However, lots of experience with APD's so was reading all the general Bab observations somewhat keenly. Like Josh said, maybe I need to check out a Pure Aero!
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
Interesting reading... better slice than the UT? Wow... Yea, keep us posted with this one.

BTW, I like 'customizability' - if it isn't it should be a word!
Apparently I am not the first to use the word, customizability.

“Customizability is a popular word that arose of jargon in software and computer related circles . It is not yet a formally recognized and would not be correct utilized it is not yet a formally recognized and would not be correct utilized in formal writing outside of its common reference to the flexibility of a design and it's ability to be altered to fit the user.”
 

Ross K

Legend
AgassiGrafFan

Your racketaholic credentials have been established so welcome to the diary! Yep, decisions, decisions... I'm so behind with frame developments in recent years that I can't comment on the Gravitys and I've also - hard to believe - never hit a Pure Aero. However, lots of experience with APD's so was reading all the general Bab observations somewhat keenly. Like Josh said, maybe I need to check out a Pure Aero!
Forgot to say Candy canes, Zebras, Bumblebees are of course legendary sticks. Reckon the bar has been set pretty high if those are what you started on. Dabbled with a Rad Tour Twin tube back in the day (still have it), and played (or tried to play with a ) Rad Tour Twin Tube XL too. What a beast of a frame!
 

Ross K

Legend
Apparently I am not the first to use the word, customizability.

“Customizability is a popular word that arose of jargon in software and computer related circles . It is not yet a formally recognized and would not be correct utilized it is not yet a formally recognized and would not be correct utilized in formal writing outside of its common reference to the flexibility of a design and it's ability to be altered to fit the user.”
Well, I think we recognise it here all right!
 

mike841

Rookie
This is my first experience ever with a prestige pro. Dunno why I never bothered trying them before.

Head Graphene XT Prestige Pro vs modded Wilson Ultra Tour

Mo’ Powa, baby!: PP
Control: UT depth control and trajectory are so good with the UT
Feel: UT
Topspin: PP
Slice: PP
Volleys: PP
Maneuverability: UT
Stability: PP
Comfort: Even
Customizability (think I just made up a new word here): UT
I played with XT Prestige Pro for over 5 years. Good in many respects, but comfort definitely isn't it's strong point. Graphene has a weird cheap nastiness to it. Even in the TW review they say "I noted some discomfort here and there", so read between the lines....
 
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mike841

Rookie
Yeah, the PP hits a heavier, nastier slice than the modded UT. A few people that I hit with have already commented on it and they don’t like it.
That's only because the UT is feeble in terms of weight / swingweight. Bring that weight up and 18x20 dominates 16x19 when it comes to slices.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
I played with XT Prestige Pro for over 5 years. Good in many respects, but comfort definitely isn't it's strong point. Graphene has a weird cheap nastiness to it. Even in the TW review they say "I noted some discomfort here and there", so read between the lines....
You actually trust the TW reviews? Lol. The TW review on the Blade v7 16/19 was quite positive and I didn’t like it at all. Was too wobbly and unstable on volleys. Chris loved the TF40 305 enough to switch to it. I found it to be “meh” so I actually don’t pay any attention to the reviews. I try it myself to see how it works for me and the XT prestige pro works great. And apparently it was good enough for you to play with for over 5 years, cheap nastiness and all. :)
 

mike841

Rookie
You actually trust the TW reviews? Lol. The TW review on the Blade v7 16/19 was quite positive and I didn’t like it at all. Was too wobbly and unstable on volleys. Chris loved the TF40 305 enough to switch to it. I found it to be “meh” so I actually don’t pay any attention to the reviews. I try it myself to see how it works for me and the XT prestige pro works great. And apparently it was good enough for you to play with for over 5 years, cheap nastiness and all. :)
It's not a comfortable racquet though.
 
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