New racket search ... feeling overwhelmed.

MrSpur

New User
So I've gotten back into the game this year after probably a decade off, and I think it might be time to upgrade my racket from a Prince CTS Graduate 110. I honestly don't know that much about that racket, but I figure from the size that it's probably fairly beginner racket. It's also a 3/8 grip and I should definitely be using either a 1/2 or a 5/8. (I picked up a friend's 5/8 today and it just felt massive in my hand, so I'll probably go for a 1/2 despite the fact that 5/8 might be the more proper size for me. Thoughts on that?)

Even using TW's demo program - which I'm planning on - it all feels like a little much. So many options. I feel almost paralyzed.

I'm certainly tempted by all the reviews of the Pure Drive, except for one thing: I'm in the second half of my 40s, and my elbow does ache sometimes at the end of an hour of playing. (Mostly from my first serve). People do say that racket isn't the most elbow friendly. I use a compression sleeve after I play and basically it's fine.

I have no problem hitting the ball hard and keeping it on the court with topspin. My first serve is a monster when I get it in but it's accuracy isn't great (I'm honestly almost never trying to aim it beyond "Get it in and miss the net.") The amount of spin on my second serve is less consistent - my slice into the deuce court is strong, but into the ad court my second serve can be a little easy to return especially if my opponent anticipates what I'm doing. I have a pretty good tactical awareness and when I'm feeling "on" I can move my opponent around the court, although that's not the case every day. I can usually hit flat and hard (especially with my two-handed backhand) or high and heavy. I only generally go to the net to finish points, and can win baseline rallies. I can hit passing shots, but probably too often just try to blast it through my opponent. My drop shot is deadly but inconsistent.

Honestly my biggest weakness is probably unrelated to my racket - I have a tendency to ball-watch if there's a chance my opponent won't get to the shot, and my mobility isn't great (part of why I've been playing more is a desire to get more active to help drop 10 pounds, which should help). The friend I play with the most is a total junkballer and as a result I end up lunging at a lot of balls out of the strike zone - I can usually get them over the net but not do a lot with them. I'm somewhere in the 3.5/4 range, I guess.

I'd really like a racket that helps me put away shots when I'm rallying from inside the baseline. Something that helped me find a little more consistency on my first serve wouldn't suck, either.

So ... with all that context, is there anything I should be looking at? (Even when I saw I'm looking at the Pure Drive, I wonder ... should I be looking at the Pure Drive Team instead? So many damn choices!). Any other rackets that the above brings to mind as things maybe worth trying? I already feel like I've put more thought into this than I did when I bought my current racket, but that was 20+ years ago. But the thing is, I also don't really know much about how people would describe my current racket - e.g., if I knew it was a "control" racket I'd have a baseline for guessing what a "power" racket might feel like, etc).

And don't get me started on strings. Ug. Part of me just wants to pick something more or less at random just to be done with the decision paralysis.

Basically, I know that the advice in these kind of posts is always "it's personal," but it can be frustrating because honestly it feels like every racket uses the same buzzwords in their descriptions. I appreciate any sort of leads or suggestions folks can offer. You read reviews and it all blends together.

TIA.
 

beltsman

Legend
So I've gotten back into the game this year after probably a decade off, and I think it might be time to upgrade my racket from a Prince CTS Graduate 110. I honestly don't know that much about that racket, but I figure from the size that it's probably fairly beginner racket. It's also a 3/8 grip and I should definitely be using either a 1/2 or a 5/8. (I picked up a friend's 5/8 today and it just felt massive in my hand, so I'll probably go for a 1/2 despite the fact that 5/8 might be the more proper size for me. Thoughts on that?)

Even using TW's demo program - which I'm planning on - it all feels like a little much. So many options. I feel almost paralyzed.

I'm certainly tempted by all the reviews of the Pure Drive, except for one thing: I'm in the second half of my 40s, and my elbow does ache sometimes at the end of an hour of playing. (Mostly from my first serve). People do say that racket isn't the most elbow friendly. I use a compression sleeve after I play and basically it's fine.

I have no problem hitting the ball hard and keeping it on the court with topspin. My first serve is a monster when I get it in but it's accuracy isn't great (I'm honestly almost never trying to aim it beyond "Get it in and miss the net.") The amount of spin on my second serve is less consistent - my slice into the deuce court is strong, but into the ad court my second serve can be a little easy to return especially if my opponent anticipates what I'm doing. I have a pretty good tactical awareness and when I'm feeling "on" I can move my opponent around the court, although that's not the case every day. I can usually hit flat and hard (especially with my two-handed backhand) or high and heavy. I only generally go to the net to finish points, and can win baseline rallies. I can hit passing shots, but probably too often just try to blast it through my opponent. My drop shot is deadly but inconsistent.

Honestly my biggest weakness is probably unrelated to my racket - I have a tendency to ball-watch if there's a chance my opponent won't get to the shot, and my mobility isn't great (part of why I've been playing more is a desire to get more active to help drop 10 pounds, which should help). The friend I play with the most is a total junkballer and as a result I end up lunging at a lot of balls out of the strike zone - I can usually get them over the net but not do a lot with them. I'm somewhere in the 3.5/4 range, I guess.

I'd really like a racket that helps me put away shots when I'm rallying from inside the baseline. Something that helped me find a little more consistency on my first serve wouldn't suck, either.

So ... with all that context, is there anything I should be looking at? (Even when I saw I'm looking at the Pure Drive, I wonder ... should I be looking at the Pure Drive Team instead? So many damn choices!). Any other rackets that the above brings to mind as things maybe worth trying? I already feel like I've put more thought into this than I did when I bought my current racket, but that was 20+ years ago. But the thing is, I also don't really know much about how people would describe my current racket - e.g., if I knew it was a "control" racket I'd have a baseline for guessing what a "power" racket might feel like, etc).

And don't get me started on strings. Ug. Part of me just wants to pick something more or less at random just to be done with the decision paralysis.

Basically, I know that the advice in these kind of posts is always "it's personal," but it can be frustrating because honestly it feels like every racket uses the same buzzwords in their descriptions. I appreciate any sort of leads or suggestions folks can offer. You read reviews and it all blends together.

TIA.
I would demo a "popular" racquet from each brand you want to try. The big ones are Head, Wilson, and Babolat. But also don't discount the smaller brands! They are often better. But I understand that demoing has limitations for time and money.

Try to pick somewhat matching racquets to compare the feel.
Pure Drive/Speed/Ultra (balanced line)
Pure Aero/Extreme/Clash (spin line)

Those would be my demo pockets. Stick with the MP models. See what feel you prefer.

For strings, use syn gut until you're breaking them all the time. I can't give an exact playtime number but you'll be frustrated. My breaking point (pun intended) was when I couldn't even make it through a set without breaking. Then try a softer poly with a soft cross for a hybrid. Or, if possible, I recommend natural gut/poly. More expensive but (generally) playability lasts longer. Better for your arm.

I will say though, MY experience, Babolats are stiff and harsh on arm. No issues with current Head racquets. No experience with current Wilson's or others.
 

Bird Lover

New User
Would definitely try out the clash 100 if you like the idea of a pure drive but want a softer frame. Maybe even give the prince phantom 100x a go, that’s another relatively comfortable and forgiving frame, but has more control than the clash.
 

AceyMan

Semi-Pro
Well,

First— what did that thing weigh? (It's not in the racquetfinder.com database). Making a major shift in mass will take baby steps. That's a whole separate discussion but it needed mentioning.

Now— if you were grooved on a 110 then adapting to smaller hoops after a decade layoff won't be a treat. Big hoops are grandpa racquets now. (fwiw, I went thru a similar journey as you but when I put my racquet away for two decades it was a 90).

I would demo "good" 99/100/102 type frames.

HEAD Prestige Tour
HEAD Gravity Tour/Pro
Dunlop CX 400 Tour
Yonex VCore Pro 100
... etc.

HTH,
/Acey

+5 for @beltsman comments on using syngut until you can't. Wiser words are rarely found.
 

TennisHound

Legend
So I've gotten back into the game this year after probably a decade off, and I think it might be time to upgrade my racket from a Prince CTS Graduate 110. I honestly don't know that much about that racket, but I figure from the size that it's probably fairly beginner racket. It's also a 3/8 grip and I should definitely be using either a 1/2 or a 5/8. (I picked up a friend's 5/8 today and it just felt massive in my hand, so I'll probably go for a 1/2 despite the fact that 5/8 might be the more proper size for me. Thoughts on that?)

Even using TW's demo program - which I'm planning on - it all feels like a little much. So many options. I feel almost paralyzed.

I'm certainly tempted by all the reviews of the Pure Drive, except for one thing: I'm in the second half of my 40s, and my elbow does ache sometimes at the end of an hour of playing. (Mostly from my first serve). People do say that racket isn't the most elbow friendly. I use a compression sleeve after I play and basically it's fine.

I have no problem hitting the ball hard and keeping it on the court with topspin. My first serve is a monster when I get it in but it's accuracy isn't great (I'm honestly almost never trying to aim it beyond "Get it in and miss the net.") The amount of spin on my second serve is less consistent - my slice into the deuce court is strong, but into the ad court my second serve can be a little easy to return especially if my opponent anticipates what I'm doing. I have a pretty good tactical awareness and when I'm feeling "on" I can move my opponent around the court, although that's not the case every day. I can usually hit flat and hard (especially with my two-handed backhand) or high and heavy. I only generally go to the net to finish points, and can win baseline rallies. I can hit passing shots, but probably too often just try to blast it through my opponent. My drop shot is deadly but inconsistent.

Honestly my biggest weakness is probably unrelated to my racket - I have a tendency to ball-watch if there's a chance my opponent won't get to the shot, and my mobility isn't great (part of why I've been playing more is a desire to get more active to help drop 10 pounds, which should help). The friend I play with the most is a total junkballer and as a result I end up lunging at a lot of balls out of the strike zone - I can usually get them over the net but not do a lot with them. I'm somewhere in the 3.5/4 range, I guess.

I'd really like a racket that helps me put away shots when I'm rallying from inside the baseline. Something that helped me find a little more consistency on my first serve wouldn't suck, either.

So ... with all that context, is there anything I should be looking at? (Even when I saw I'm looking at the Pure Drive, I wonder ... should I be looking at the Pure Drive Team instead? So many damn choices!). Any other rackets that the above brings to mind as things maybe worth trying? I already feel like I've put more thought into this than I did when I bought my current racket, but that was 20+ years ago. But the thing is, I also don't really know much about how people would describe my current racket - e.g., if I knew it was a "control" racket I'd have a baseline for guessing what a "power" racket might feel like, etc).

And don't get me started on strings. Ug. Part of me just wants to pick something more or less at random just to be done with the decision paralysis.

Basically, I know that the advice in these kind of posts is always "it's personal," but it can be frustrating because honestly it feels like every racket uses the same buzzwords in their descriptions. I appreciate any sort of leads or suggestions folks can offer. You read reviews and it all blends together.

TIA.
I would start with the regular Pure Drive and use it for a week or so. Then if you feel it’s too heavy, go with the Team.
 
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EggSalad

Rookie
So I've gotten back into the game this year after probably a decade off, and I think it might be time to upgrade my racket from a Prince CTS Graduate 110. I honestly don't know that much about that racket, but I figure from the size that it's probably fairly beginner racket. It's also a 3/8 grip and I should definitely be using either a 1/2 or a 5/8. (I picked up a friend's 5/8 today and it just felt massive in my hand, so I'll probably go for a 1/2 despite the fact that 5/8 might be the more proper size for me. Thoughts on that?)

Even using TW's demo program - which I'm planning on - it all feels like a little much. So many options. I feel almost paralyzed.

I'm certainly tempted by all the reviews of the Pure Drive, except for one thing: I'm in the second half of my 40s, and my elbow does ache sometimes at the end of an hour of playing. (Mostly from my first serve). People do say that racket isn't the most elbow friendly. I use a compression sleeve after I play and basically it's fine.

I have no problem hitting the ball hard and keeping it on the court with topspin. My first serve is a monster when I get it in but it's accuracy isn't great (I'm honestly almost never trying to aim it beyond "Get it in and miss the net.") The amount of spin on my second serve is less consistent - my slice into the deuce court is strong, but into the ad court my second serve can be a little easy to return especially if my opponent anticipates what I'm doing. I have a pretty good tactical awareness and when I'm feeling "on" I can move my opponent around the court, although that's not the case every day. I can usually hit flat and hard (especially with my two-handed backhand) or high and heavy. I only generally go to the net to finish points, and can win baseline rallies. I can hit passing shots, but probably too often just try to blast it through my opponent. My drop shot is deadly but inconsistent.

Honestly my biggest weakness is probably unrelated to my racket - I have a tendency to ball-watch if there's a chance my opponent won't get to the shot, and my mobility isn't great (part of why I've been playing more is a desire to get more active to help drop 10 pounds, which should help). The friend I play with the most is a total junkballer and as a result I end up lunging at a lot of balls out of the strike zone - I can usually get them over the net but not do a lot with them. I'm somewhere in the 3.5/4 range, I guess.

I'd really like a racket that helps me put away shots when I'm rallying from inside the baseline. Something that helped me find a little more consistency on my first serve wouldn't suck, either.

So ... with all that context, is there anything I should be looking at? (Even when I saw I'm looking at the Pure Drive, I wonder ... should I be looking at the Pure Drive Team instead? So many damn choices!). Any other rackets that the above brings to mind as things maybe worth trying? I already feel like I've put more thought into this than I did when I bought my current racket, but that was 20+ years ago. But the thing is, I also don't really know much about how people would describe my current racket - e.g., if I knew it was a "control" racket I'd have a baseline for guessing what a "power" racket might feel like, etc).

And don't get me started on strings. Ug. Part of me just wants to pick something more or less at random just to be done with the decision paralysis.

Basically, I know that the advice in these kind of posts is always "it's personal," but it can be frustrating because honestly it feels like every racket uses the same buzzwords in their descriptions. I appreciate any sort of leads or suggestions folks can offer. You read reviews and it all blends together.

TIA.
One idea - don’t try to find the perfect racquet now. Find a used racquet that you think you’ll like. (Demoing and then buying used is fine).

I came back to playing after 20 year off and while the racquets I bought (Head Speed MP 360+) are fine, now that my game is getting much better I want a completely different racquet (smaller head, more HL).

I too struggled with how many options there were and eventually just pulled the trigger to be done with the demo process and focus on my game.
 

EggSalad

Rookie
If you like the Pure Drive I’d recommend picking up a used one (just the regular edition). As you play with it, figure iut what you like and what you don’t like. Then play around with adding weight to see where you like your racquet balanced and what type of static weight you like to play with. You’ll also figure out if you like a frame that is that stiff or if you want something with more flex. You’ll get a better idea of what swing weight you like. I’d imagine after a few months of that, you will be pretty dialed in to exactly what you want.

I wish I would have done that with a used Head Radical.
 

esgee48

G.O.A.T.
CTS Graduate 110
Head size - 110 in²
Length - 27.5 in or 69.9 cm [extended frame]
Strung - 10.3 oz or 292 grams
Balance - 2 Points HH or 35.6 cm
SW - 328 Kgcm²
This is about what you had. You probably want something between 97 and 105 in², HL or EB, mass less than 320 grams and SW less than 320. YMMV. Stiffness is not mentioned, but you probably want a RA when strung that is between 60-64.
 
If I were in your situation (which I may be soon), these are the rackets I'd demo: 1) Dunlop CX 200 OS--it's 105 sq in, fairly flexible, so easy on the arm, with all good reviews that I've seen. 2) Pro Kennex Ki Q+ 5--100 sq in, easy on the arm (you may not like the sound of sand in your racket, but trust me, you won't hear it playing, great price on a very good all-around racket 3) Head Gravity MP--100 sq in, arm friendly, great reviews, kind of expensive though. 4) (if they let you demo 4 at once) Wilson Blade V7 104--This is probably the most like your current racket in that it is 1/2" longer like yours. It's also flexible, 104 sq in., and the V7 is on sale at a reasonable price.
 
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