Head Graphene Extreme Pro - 1st Thoughts, Ongoing Review

Winners or Errors

Hall of Fame
About me: 4.0-4.5 player, old enough to remember watching McEnroe-Borg and have been really into tennis for the 1984 season, hit with a lot of topspin (so I've been told), one-handed backhand, have traditionally stuck to players' racquets. Currently in the rotation: 4D100, Six.One 16x18. I have some BB London Tours, but I have to really want something soft, because generally I prefer crisper feeling racquets.

Notes on the Graphene Extreme Pro, which I am enjoying my first couple of hits with.

1. Feel. Yes, it's not as direct as either of my other sticks, but as for feel I'd go: 4D100 > Six.One > GEP. I do notice the "brassy" feel others have commented on, but only when I nearly frame the ball. The sweetspot at 52lbs with Proline X 17 seems pretty large, and it has a nice direct but not jarring feel. You can tell when you crushed one with this racquet.
2. Spin. Predictably, I can hit with more spin, more consistently with the GEP, and the ratings go the other way for that GEP > Six.One > 4D100
3. Power. Depends on the stroke. Hitting flat, the Six.One takes it, but I'm experimenting with the GEP hoping to find more consistency, so I'm OK with opponents getting to more balls so long as I get more in play. As of the moment, it looks like trading a bit of power for consistency is going to pay off.
4. Accuracy. I am more accurate with smaller headed sticks, which should come as no surprise, but I find myself hitting one stroke more accurately with the GEP, and that's my inside-out forehand. On everything else, I will just have to wait and see if I can develop the same kind of accuracy I have with the smaller sticks.
5. Serve. This is where the smaller heads really pay off in accuracy, but unless I have a really good day, I pay the price in spin going smaller. So, right now, my rating would be Six.One > 4D100 > GEP. We'll see if I can get used to the more distant serving feel.
6. Groundstrokes. Yes, it's less accurate, but I'm hitting with more spin and giving people on the other end of the court more trouble. I also seem to be slicing as well with the GEP as my other sticks, which surprised me.
7. Volleys. I am a beast with this thing. It just seems so much bigger at the net, and my reaction volleys are so far much more likely to find something resembling a sweet-spot. Having never really been a touch player, I can't say that I've noticed much difference in touch at the net, either. I hit some nice droppers playing this weekend in doubles.
8. Comfort. So far no pain. If I can convince myself to let the racquet do the work on the serve, I don't think I'll develop any. I had TW match their on-line specs, so mine came in at 321g and 11pts head-light unstrung. That's a little lighter than my Six.Ones, but not enough to throw my timing off or have me waiting overly long to swing at the ball.
9. Maneuverability. You can tell the GEP is a frying pan, but it comes around as quickly as any of my other racquets.

I was almost scared off by RalphJ and the brigade of "steer clear of graphene" posters, but the specs and review, especially Troy's comments, gave me the confidence to pull the trigger and try them. I never demo racquets for a week, because it really does take me a few months to truly decide if I enjoy a racquet.

Thus far, this racquet does what I hoped the Bio 200 Plus would do for me. The Bio's balance was just not headlight enough and it never felt right on the backhand, and adding weight to the handle didn't fix that problem. The distribution of weight in the GEP is much more in line my expectations.

Hopefully, this is useful to those curious about these racquets.
 
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Power Player

Bionic Poster
Congrats, its a killer frame. If you can generate consistent racquet head speed with it and brush the ball, the control gets rather precise. I share your same sentiments on volley and slice.

I would not worry about some of these anti graphene posters. With Troy you can see him on video and know you are reading advise from a good player.
 

RalphJ

Banned
If it works for you, then go for it. I'm used to classic frames anyway, like the RF97 and Pro Staff 90s, and all of Heads racquets prior to 2014. Plus the racquets are on sale, so if you can get one and make it work, then great.
 

Winners or Errors

Hall of Fame
Right. It's an experiment, and I have a fairly long list of players' racquets in my background too: M-Fil 200, 4D100, BB London Tour, Six.One 16x18. This is to see what all the fuss is about tweeners. So far, it looks like there may be something to it.
 

Power Player

Bionic Poster
Finally got to play again today. What I love about this frame is how you can brush the ball and it is still a clean, plush feeling hit. The touch on drop shots and slices is crazy good.
 

Winners or Errors

Hall of Fame
Ongoing. Second long hit with the racquet: I played a set of singles and several of doubles.

Here are my key observations:
  • Not more powerful than either the 4D100 or Six.One 16x18. Bigger sweet spot than either, though, and I am already seeing the benefits of that when I have to pull off a quick reaction shot or I don't quite catch up with a ball.
  • Serve. I'm still working through it, but found some consistency and am starting to trust the frame.
  • Serve returns. If I'm up against a slower server, I can swing for the fences and get most of them in the court where I want. If I'm returning against heavier serves, I found that I had a little more margin for blocking back returns, and that means a little more time to direct them where I need them to go ...a decided advantage.
  • The bad: I'm so tempted by the forgiveness that I'm already getting a little sloppy, a little wild, with my strokes. I'm think that means I just can't hit with it every time out. I'll probably pull out the 4D100 periodically to keep myself honest. Thankfully, I chose the Pro version, and the similarity in weight and balance to my other racquets means I can play with them without screwing up my timing.
I think it was a good decision. I don't find enough oddity in the "graphene" balance of the racquet to scare me in comparison to my other racquets, and I do think that the feel is direct enough to make it a worthwhile experiment for anyone interested going the direction of "players' tweeners."

More to come next week.
 

Winners or Errors

Hall of Fame
OK, more to come ended up being a few months later. I'm far enough along to be out of the honeymoon and used to the racquet. The switch, at this point, looks permanent. I have changed the grip to Fairway leather, which gave it a little weight and a slightly more headlight balance. It's perfect at the moment.

Serving, once I got used to it, became easier. I am now used to the feel. I know where the racquet head is on contact. I can hit my spots.

Groundstrokes, volleys, touch, feel, control, etc. All very predictable. I can hit lines as well as with any racquet I've hit with. I tried to pick up the Six.One's the other day and just didn't enjoy the hit at all. Balance and weight off, timing off, feel on sweet-spot just not as clean as the Graphene Extreme Pro.

The only racquet I can switch in for hitting is the 4D100, because my modified 4D100 is approximately the same weight and balance. I hit with less spin. The drop in forgiveness is also notable, as is the drop in power. I don't think I'd pick the 4D100 to play anymore, though they're still good for hitting and keeping me honest.

I'm liking these Graphene Extreme Pro racquets.
 

Boubi

Semi-Pro
Hi, I have played quite a long time with the MP version (youtek IG model) and it was way too light for me, it could not stand big shots. Do u think I will have the same problems with the extreme pro you tested ?
Thanks,
 

Winners or Errors

Hall of Fame
No idea. From what I've heard, they're very different sticks. I would never have considered the MP, because it's not balanced in a way that I like and I don't want to play with lead. No way to know but to try. For me, buying two racquets and playing with them for months is the only way to find out if they work. I usually have a horrible time with demos, as my timing is horrid.

I have no problem handling pace with mine, but I don't hit with anyone above the 5.0 level, and I only hit with one person capable of putting me on my heels. As the net-man playing doubles, I have done well with pace directed my way and not felt anything that makes me think the racquet is unstable.
 

n8dawg6

Legend
Hi, I have played quite a long time with the MP version (youtek IG model) and it was way too light for me, it could not stand big shots. Do u think I will have the same problems with the extreme pro you tested ?
Thanks,
the extreme pro is about the sturdiest racquet i have held. if it isnt standing up to pace, the problem is not with the racquet. my only problem with the pro is that it's a little too much for me. i do better with a lighter more maneuverable frame. if you've got the cajõnes, though, it is a tank.
 

Winners or Errors

Hall of Fame
You're probably right. Mine tips the scales at just above 12 oz. Hardly a heavy-weight, but more than most seem to want to swing these days.
 
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