My saga with racquets. What else should I try?

Here's my saga with tennis racquets. Yes, I realize it would probably better to just pick a damned frame and stick to it, but it's unlikely we TTers fit that profile...

1. Pure Drive 2006: It was ok except that I got tired of not feeling the ball, so I rid of it when the Pure Strike One7 came out.

2. PS17 (16x19): was a little too stiff for my liking and I only enjoyed playing it with a full bed of natural gut. It was actually lovely with that setup, but I can't afford to play with Nat Gut, they're stupid expensive where I'm from (like $100 for a set).

3. Angell K7 Red: Got this after reading tennisnerd's review, when I finally got tired of PS17 stiffness (and broke from stringing it with NatGut). Really cool feel, but lacked a lot of power (only tested it with full natgut to compare to PS17 and then Wilson NXT, so probably my fault). Was not a huge fan of the super high launch angle, and the grip was way thicker than it should. So I got rid of it to purchase one in L2 because I thought I might actually adapt to it with a different string setup.

4. Wilson Ultra Tour: While I was trying to get rid of the K7 Red in L3 to buy one in L2, I ended up getting a slightly modified Ultra Tour as a trade-in for the PS17 I was selling and started playing with it temporarily. What an amazing stick. Superb feel (could be a tiny bit flexier but it's almost where I want it), and first time I played with 18x20 in a long time. Lacks power but I eventually got the string setup right. My only concern with this stick is that the pattern is so darned closed, and it's hard to hit with spin (I'm a baseliner and am used to whipping the ball with a lot of spin).

5. Head Pro Tour 630: Opportunity came to purchase a Head Pro Tour 630, and I pulled the trigger just because I thought I should try them before I die or they disappear. Completely irrational and impulsive purchase. Anyway, incredible feel when you hit the SS, but dear lord is it a tough frame to play with. Besides being too heavy and hurting my arm (348g strung with 330 SW), it simply does not forgive hitting off of the sweetspot. So definitely not going to be my main stick, and it deconstructed the whole PT57A aura for me.

6. Prince Textreme Tour 310: At this point I only had the Ultra Tour and PT630 in my bag (PT630 impossible to use for over a set). Wanted a more open pattern to keep in my bag, for baseline hitting in clay. So I got this Prince at a recent trip at a really good price, also after reading tennisnerd's stellar review and the thread in this forum. Used it for about 4 hitting sessions now, and I don't love it. Just feels too stiff for me, so I don't even know if it's worth giving another string setup a try (currently strung with Poly Tour Spin mains / SynthGut crosses). Also, my elbow is sore after this 4th hitting session, could be something other than the stick but go figure.

So I ask... What else should I try to replace the Prince, if I want something feels like the Ultra Tour but is more open to allow for more spin and baseline hitting on slower surfaces? I have learned that I can't handle much more than about 330g strung, and get shoulder pain above ~320 SW. Looking for something in the 97-100sq.in range only.

Things I have in mind:
1. Stick to the Ultra Tour and stop obsessing over spin / depth
2. Try the K7 red in the proper grip size with stiffer strings
3. TC97 in 16x19
4. Try the Ezone 98 with different string setups. Demoed it once and really liked the feel, but didn't like how it was so incredibly underpowered. It had a ****ty full poly setup, probably a cheap signum pro.

Other ideas?
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
You sound like you are using frames that are more advanced than your technique quite honestly.

I’d try something in the 300 gram range that has a thicker beam to help you out. I’d also suggest getting with a coach because that can help you figure out the best frame you as well as make you a better player.
 
You sound like you are using frames that are more advanced than your technique quite honestly.

I’d try something in the 300 gram range that has a thicker beam to help you out. I’d also suggest getting with a coach because that can help you figure out the best frame you as well as make you a better player.
I’m pretty confident that my technique is relatively solid, in terms of having a full and fluid swing especially. I started playing at the age of 9, always on and off for over 20 years. What I lack is rhythm, timing, footwork and consistency, due to always being on and off. All instructors I’ve had over the past year haven’t really had much to say about my technique, but rather about my timing and pace. I would very much benefit from an actual coach, but it’s financially unviable to have a decent professional to work with individually where I live, and hard to reconcile this with work. What I’ve been doing is group classes twice a week with one other pal (where the instructor does correct you every now and then but is more worried about getting paid and getting out of there), and I’m trying to play actual matches on weekends.

I agree that the PT630 is out of my league, I think the Ultra is challenging but still playable, and the others are fine with respect to that. What I struggle with is weight/high SW, despite doing my fair share of lifting (at least 3x/week). I’m fully convinced that I shouldn’t go over 330g and 320SW strung.

Tell us more about your arm pains
As for the pains, they’re like a vicious circle. When my shoulder gets a little sore or tired, I start shortening my swing and not following through properly, using my arm to steer and power my shots more than I should, which in turn results in more shoulder pain and sometimes some elbow pain.

Shoulder pain is in the core of the upper external part of the arm (the muscles you work out when doing rotations with a band), and elbow pain is right between the forearm and elbow on the external part, feels more like pain in a tendon/ligament.
 
After pains, what is the longest break you've taken from tennis ?
After I started playing regularly, maybe 1 month.

To be fair, I feel these muscle slightly sensible even when working out, and that’s been going on for years now, even before getting back to tennis. Doing biceps curls on a pulley, for instance, causes the same elbow pain I’m describing. It just was never an impossible pain to the point where I had to stop working out. But tennis takes it to another level.
 

n8dawg6

Legend
man, compared to the other frames youve tried i dont find the ezone 98 underpowered at all. thats gotta be a string and/or tension issue. almost the whole thing is a sweetspot, the only issue is that the feel is somewhat muted and vague compared to something like the ultra tour 97. btw i also love the UT97 but have moved on bc i need (want) more forgiveness on the off-center hits

if your arm is really bothering you though, thats a different can of worms. strings, flexbar, rest ... my experience is that most frames are only a small part of that healing equation
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
Flexbar for sure and a proven softer frame that a lot of ppl like (prince tt 100,ezone) is the way to go. Dont go for the demanding players frame until you are playing constantly at a higher level.
 

PistolPete23

Professional
Keep the PT630 and find a wall to hit against regularly to get down your timing and consistency. Start with softer shots against the wall until you feel a rhythm, can hit the sweet spot consistently, and then gradually ramp up on the pace. I did this for several months and have noticed A LOT of improvement. If you have shoulder pains, stop serving for a while and get a flexbar as @Power Player suggested. My tennis background is very similar to yours; started playing at age 9, played on the varsity team in high school, and then was on and off (mostly off) until my 30s. When I tried to return to regular tennis, I experienced bad shoulder pains. It turned out part of the problem was trying to serve and hit too hard with bad timing, so I was muscling the ball over the net without consistently hitting the sweet spot, causing great discomfort to the shoulder. Now I use a Donnay Pro One Penta 97 (in reality it's more like a 100 sq. in. head though) and am loving it. It weighs 350 g strung, so it's quite hefty, but practicing on the wall has allowed me to hit the sweet spot consistently. Sometimes I practice with my 85 sq. in. Max 200g and when I switch back to the Donnay, it feels like the sweet spot covers the entire string bed. Good luck!
 

PistolPete23

Professional
If you're bent on getting rid of the PT630, the Head Radical Trisys 260 Midplus (bumblebee) feels similar (same mold), but slightly stiffer and with a larger sweet spot. You might be able to trade for one, especially since the PT630 is in higher demand.
 

RGT

Rookie
Hmm. Kinda hard to say because your selection of rackets is all over the place tbh :). But you seemed to like the ultra tour (with lead I assume?), but the spin potential is to small. Maybe the new yonex vcore 97 would suit you? I haven't played them but the 18x20 version gets a lot of praise. Sounds to me like a big sweetspot version of the UT with a bit more spin potential.

Funny thing though, I'm currently using the K7 red weighted up to 330g 305mm. I always thought that lowish sw with high static weight suited my gamestyle, because I had a shoulder injury. Anywho, last week I tried the RF97 from a friend of mine (which is a spec that I would normally not even try), and it felt awesome. Despite the weight, I started to losen up and relaxed my strokes to let the racket do the work and it was fantastic.

Hope it works out for you!

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JoaoN

Semi-Pro
Since you want a more open ultra tour, the VCore Pro 97 310grams might work for you, or maybe even the new HD (18x20) version. From your name and the fact that natural gut is that expensive in your country, there is a good chance you live in the same country as me, if so, i can tell you the new vcores will be availble in two months.

Another option, the new blades might work as well. SW will be higher though.
 
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max

Legend
I liked the textreme stuff I'd seen---and expected a lot from the 310. . . but was disappointed. Too stiff for my game.

Why not a Volkl C-10?
 
I think we can all agree that I need to go see a doctor, perhaps get an MRI and decide how to best heal this, even if it means taking a long break. On it..

In the meantime, I think it does no harm to try and figure out what racquet is easier to play with and more forgiving when you hit out of the sweet spot. Needs to feel as close as possible to the Ultra.

So far I’ve heard Vcore Pro 97 and Ezone.. does that sound about right? I
 

JoaoN

Semi-Pro
I think we can all agree that I need to go see a doctor, perhaps get an MRI and decide how to best heal this, even if it means taking a long break. On it..

In the meantime, I think it does no harm to try and figure out what racquet is easier to play with and more forgiving when you hit out of the sweet spot. Needs to feel as close as possible to the Ultra.

So far I’ve heard Vcore Pro 97 and Ezone.. does that sound about right? I
Between those, Ezone won't fell even close to ultra tour. IMO, Vcore Pro 97 is the way to go, or an old IG radical.
 

ace18

Professional
I've owned the K7, albeit one of the originals, the TC97 16X19-fantastic frame, I also owned the Ai98. My main racquet has been the TC100, however, I've been using the Yonex Vcore98 (305g) for the last few weeks and I have to say, I love the frame. It doesn't seem super popular on the boards but the TW reviews are pretty decent. I have the Galaxy Black version. Might be worth a demo
 

DustinW

Professional
So you want power... but not too stiff and not too heavy? That's going to be tough.

Prince Beast 98 is like a Pure Strike with more comfort and feel.
Head Speed MP might be worth trying.
Besides that, I agree on trying the Ezone 98 again or VCore 98 305.
 
So you want power... but not too stiff and not too heavy? That's going to be tough.

Prince Beast 98 is like a Pure Strike with more comfort and feel.
Head Speed MP might be worth trying.
Besides that, I agree on trying the Ezone 98 again or VCore 98 305.
Not necessarily. I’d want an Ultra Tour that’s more forgiving on off centered shots, and a little more spin friendly. Not necessarily more power.

What are the notable differences between an Ezone 98, Vcore 98 and Vcore 97 Pro? Except for a hitting session with a demo Ezone that lasted maybe 30 min, never played with a Yonex.
 

JoaoN

Semi-Pro
Not necessarily. I’d want an Ultra Tour that’s more forgiving on off centered shots, and a little more spin friendly. Not necessarily more power.

What are the notable differences between an Ezone 98, Vcore 98 and Vcore 97 Pro? Except for a hitting session with a demo Ezone that lasted maybe 30 min, never played with a Yonex.
Vcore 98 is stiffier and has 6 mains on the throat while ezone and vcore pro have 8, so it will have more power and spin and less control.
Ezone is supposed to be flexier than the other 2, but the upper hoop is a bit stiff , and in my experience, ezone has more power than VCP 97.
VCP 97 is the most control oriented of them, and i really thought it had an amazing spin potential and feel, although it lacks a bit of stability, maybe wait for theHD?

Honestly, a just swiched from the vcp's to the blades because of a weird vibration issue that caused me pain on my shoulder.

From what you said earlier, i would really recomend the vcp 97.
 

PistolPete23

Professional
Not necessarily. I’d want an Ultra Tour that’s more forgiving on off centered shots, and a little more spin friendly. Not necessarily more power.

What are the notable differences between an Ezone 98, Vcore 98 and Vcore 97 Pro? Except for a hitting session with a demo Ezone that lasted maybe 30 min, never played with a Yonex.
Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but flexy feel and size of sweet spot is almost always inversely correlated. Your perfect racquet may actually not exist (yet). If the frame is flexible, there will be larger vibration amplitudes throughout the frame on mishits and the racquet will in general twist more. I wanted to suggest stringing it at low tension and softer string to increase sweet spot size but maybe you've already tried that?
 

PistolPete23

Professional
You can also add lead or tungsten tape at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions to make the Ultra Tour "feel" more stable on mishits. It almost always works for any racquet.
 
Just out of curiosity, which string setup are you using on the Ultra Tour? If your elbow can tolerate a softer poly, maybe it could be an option to consider (assuming you’re using something similar to the YPTS M x Syn Gut C as in your Textreme Tour). Also, if you want to use gut, consider getting a bunch from TW either shipped to Brazil (?) or delivered overseas/on a trip. A hybrid including the string job costs about $24 per racquet this way.
Regarding your shoulder pain, besides getting a diagnosis and a treatment (might be just PT and a small amount of rest), you should evaluate which strokes are causing you pain. I had shoulder pain (supraspinal) when switching to a higher SW racquet with low maneuverability because I was tossing the ball too close to the line on my first serves - as a result, I was overcompensating with my shoulder and my wrist (which ended up just fine). Adding more weight to the handle (leather grip), increasing maneuverability and tossing the ball further away made the pain go away (while still playing 3-4 times a week). Also, my serve was harder and faster (no “what she said” please).
 
Just out of curiosity, which string setup are you using on the Ultra Tour? If your elbow can tolerate a softer poly, maybe it could be an option to consider (assuming you’re using something similar to the YPTS M x Syn Gut C as in your Textreme Tour). Also, if you want to use gut, consider getting a bunch from TW either shipped to Brazil (?) or delivered overseas/on a trip. A hybrid including the string job costs about $24 per racquet this way.
Regarding your shoulder pain, besides getting a diagnosis and a treatment (might be just PT and a small amount of rest), you should evaluate which strokes are causing you pain. I had shoulder pain (supraspinal) when switching to a higher SW racquet with low maneuverability because I was tossing the ball too close to the line on my first serves - as a result, I was overcompensating with my shoulder and my wrist (which ended up just fine). Adding more weight to the handle (leather grip), increasing maneuverability and tossing the ball further away made the pain go away (while still playing 3-4 times a week). Also, my serve was harder and faster (no “what she said” please).
Racquet came with Luxilon 4G @ 40lbs mains / Synth Gut @ 43lbs crosses. Amazing setup in terms of comfort but extremely tough to add spin. When that broke I switched to RPM @ 45lbs mains / Synth Gut @ 48lbs crosses. Much better for spin but a little stiff. Now I’m about to test a full bed of Hyper-G 1.15mm @ 43lbs to see what happens.
 
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Boubi

Semi-Pro
Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but flexy feel and size of sweet spot is almost always inversely correlated. Your perfect racquet may actually not exist (yet). If the frame is flexible, there will be larger vibration amplitudes throughout the frame on mishits and the racquet will in general twist more. I wanted to suggest stringing it at low tension and softer string to increase sweet spot size but maybe you've already tried that?
Racquet stifness depends mainly on frame thickness
Thickness is very important as stiffness goes as the cube of thickness. I agree with the rest
 

emhtennis

Semi-Pro
How about the Angell TC100? More forgiving, easier power, very comfortable. On paper it should check all of your boxes?

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Strung up my ultra tour yesterday with hyper g 1.15 for a tournament. Dear lord is this racquet a joy to hit with. I might even drop the whole spin thing and just stick to it, I haven’t been able to find the same buttery feel elsewhere yet.

Edit: Anyway, as for the VCP97 HD, read about it just now and at 320g unstrung with SW of high 320s this is definitely too heavy for me. Specs look great on paper, but looks like it would be close to my PT630, which is too much for me
 
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blai212

Professional
vcore pro 100 300g weighted down with leather grip(s) and a few grams at 10/2 depending on how much you can handle...start with 1 and work from there...as for the grips, since the 100 300g model is only 4 pts HL, I like to weight the handle with 2 leather grips and use 2 grams of lead tape at 10/2 for the feel of a HL 12 oz control oriented frame with the forgiveness of a 100 sq in head...it is absolutely fantastic


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Gee

Hall of Fame
Strung up my ultra tour yesterday with hyper g 1.15 for a tournament. Dear lord is this racquet a joy to hit with. I might even drop the whole spin thing and just stick to it, I haven’t been able to find the same buttery feel elsewhere yet.

Edit: Anyway, as for the VCP97 HD, read about it just now and at 320g unstrung with SW of high 320s this is definitely too heavy for me. Specs look great on paper, but looks like it would be close to my PT630, which is too much for me
Indeed the ultra Tour is a special frame. I enjoy its feel most of all racquets I tried. You are rewarded with an addictive twack sensation when you hit the sweetspot.

Unfortunately I never hit with a PT630, PT57A or other pro stock frame but I am curious about a comparison between these ones and the Ultra Tour. What are your experiences with your UT vs PT630?
 

landcookie

Semi-Pro
Your skill level and preference seems to point toward open pattern tweener frames which are on the flexible side. Unfortunately "tweener" and "flexible" aren't descriptions you see together often.

If Ezone is underpowered for you, try the extended version or the vcore pro range. Head extreme series may also be worth pondering (stiffness rating is on the high side but they play rather soft to me) as are the 16x19 Angells. Just stay away from the 70RA.
 
Indeed the ultra Tour is a special frame. I enjoy its feel most of all racquets I tried. You are rewarded with an addictive twack sensation when you hit the sweetspot.

Unfortunately I never hit with a PT630, PT57A or other pro stock frame but I am curious about a comparison between these ones and the Ultra Tour. What are your experiences with your UT vs PT630?
They're different frames.. My PT630 in particular is way heavier and much higher swingweight as you can see on my original post, so it's naturally much heftier to swing. I have trouble with it.. Both require decent footwork, you need to hit the ball way in front of you. Sweetspot on the PT630 is a little harder to find (maybe because its an actual 95sqin while the UT is an actual 98), and it punishes you (and your arm) much more when you mishit. As for the feel, both are extremely satisfying once you hit the sweetspot, but not necessarily the same feeling. UT just feels buttery and comfortable, PT630 you can sort of feel the racquet bending, especially on the throat which feels a little different. Angell K7 has a closer feel I think. PT630 is way more powerful in my opinion, but probably due to the higher weight and SW of my particular racquets.

Both fantastic frames, but PT630 is simply out of my league.
 
They're different frames.. My PT630 in particular is way heavier and much higher swingweight as you can see on my original post, so it's naturally much heftier to swing. I have trouble with it.. Both require decent footwork, you need to hit the ball way in front of you. Sweetspot on the PT630 is a little harder to find (maybe because its an actual 95sqin while the UT is an actual 98), and it punishes you (and your arm) much more when you mishit. As for the feel, both are extremely satisfying once you hit the sweetspot, but not necessarily the same feeling. UT just feels buttery and comfortable, PT630 you can sort of feel the racquet bending, especially on the throat which feels a little different. Angell K7 has a closer feel I think. PT630 is way more powerful in my opinion, but probably due to the higher weight and SW of my particular racquets.

Both fantastic frames, but PT630 is simply out of my league.
If you’re in São Paulo and want to pass the PT630 on, give me a shout :)(y)
 

Gee

Hall of Fame
They're different frames.. My PT630 in particular is way heavier and much higher swingweight as you can see on my original post, so it's naturally much heftier to swing. I have trouble with it.. Both require decent footwork, you need to hit the ball way in front of you. Sweetspot on the PT630 is a little harder to find (maybe because its an actual 95sqin while the UT is an actual 98), and it punishes you (and your arm) much more when you mishit. As for the feel, both are extremely satisfying once you hit the sweetspot, but not necessarily the same feeling. UT just feels buttery and comfortable, PT630 you can sort of feel the racquet bending, especially on the throat which feels a little different. Angell K7 has a closer feel I think. PT630 is way more powerful in my opinion, but probably due to the higher weight and SW of my particular racquets.

Both fantastic frames, but PT630 is simply out of my league.
Thanks Bruno.
The K7 has a more muted feel whereas I can feel the ball better with the Ultra Tour. Similar like the TC95 but the UT has a just more satisfying feel to me.
I customized my UT to 350 grams with balance at 32 cm (similar like my K7 Lime). I don't know the swingweight but I guess it would be about 345-350. With this setup I can hit powerful serves as I am used to. However sometimes I think it would be easier to hit some strokes under pressure (e.g. topspin backhand passing shots) with a frame with a little lower swingweight.
 

blai212

Professional
Head Extreme 360 MP. Does the above!
i actually changed to vcore pro 100 300g because I read about how fun it was to play with an easier racquet like the extreme that can produce more effortless spin/power. I tried the extreme but did not like because head frames feel hollow. VCP 100 is a better version of this with the forgiveness of a 100” but also the control of a thin beamed frame. Add some weight for power (leather grip + lead tape at 10/2) and you’re good to go


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i actually changed to vcore pro 100 300g because I read about how fun it was to play with an easier racquet like the extreme that can produce more effortless spin/power. I tried the extreme but did not like because head frames feel hollow. VCP 100 is a better version of this with the forgiveness of a 100” but also the control of a thin beamed frame. Add some weight for power (leather grip + lead tape at 10/2) and you’re good to go


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VCP100 has a stiffness rating of 65 according to TW, like my prince TT310.. wouldn’t it also feel a little harsh if I think the prince is stiffer than ideal?


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rjp1977

Rookie
i actually changed to vcore pro 100 300g because I read about how fun it was to play with an easier racquet like the extreme that can produce more effortless spin/power. I tried the extreme but did not like because head frames feel hollow. VCP 100 is a better version of this with the forgiveness of a 100” but also the control of a thin beamed frame. Add some weight for power (leather grip + lead tape at 10/2) and you’re good to go
I've added a leather grip and with this it feels quite solid. It certainly sounds better when struck compared to some others I've used recently.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
I’m pretty confident that my technique is relatively solid, in terms of having a full and fluid swing especially. I started playing at the age of 9, always on and off for over 20 years. What I lack is rhythm, timing, footwork and consistency, due to always being on and off. All instructors I’ve had over the past year haven’t really had much to say about my technique, but rather about my timing and pace. I would very much benefit from an actual coach, but it’s financially unviable to have a decent professional to work with individually where I live, and hard to reconcile this with work. What I’ve been doing is group classes twice a week with one other pal (where the instructor does correct you every now and then but is more worried about getting paid and getting out of there), and I’m trying to play actual matches on weekends.

I agree that the PT630 is out of my league, I think the Ultra is challenging but still playable, and the others are fine with respect to that. What I struggle with is weight/high SW, despite doing my fair share of lifting (at least 3x/week). I’m fully convinced that I shouldn’t go over 330g and 320SW strung.



As for the pains, they’re like a vicious circle. When my shoulder gets a little sore or tired, I start shortening my swing and not following through properly, using my arm to steer and power my shots more than I should, which in turn results in more shoulder pain and sometimes some elbow pain.

Shoulder pain is in the core of the upper external part of the arm (the muscles you work out when doing rotations with a band), and elbow pain is right between the forearm and elbow on the external part, feels more like pain in a tendon/ligament.
My first and only thought is to encourage you to play for a while with a softer string type - even something as basic as synthetic gut. In my experience with stringing and coaching high school teams over several years, any racquet will be more harsh on the arm when paired with a stiffer string. Even if you snap synthetic gut rather quickly compared with the polys you've been using, you can buy a full reel of it and just pay a stringer to install it in your racquet(s). Not expensive at all to go that way.

As long as your work in the gym doesn't hurt, you're probably doing the right thing in terms of strengthening everything and you might be helping with recovery, too. Impossible to know exactly what's going on, but hopefully you have more healthy and comfortable days ahead on the courts.
 

blai212

Professional
VCP100 has a stiffness rating of 65 according to TW, like my prince TT310.. wouldn’t it also feel a little harsh if I think the prince is stiffer than ideal?


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i added wilson dura shock grip + leather grip to weigh down the handle since others on this forum said that’s how to reduce harshness. It does feel a bit harsh at times but I still think it’s better than a racquet that is too plush since it may start to feel too mushy. To counteract the harshness, just use softer string and/or lower tension. By he way, if you can consistently hit sweetspot, racquet wont feel harsh at all ;-)


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