Next Generation of Pro Staff is Here; Pro Staff RF 97 Review

Bogdan_TT

Professional
Try Federer's string savers setup... Ever since I did it, together with the power pads, the strings' life at least doubled.
 

drakulie

Talk Tennis Guru
This racquet shreds strings like no other in my experience-- I snapped some 4g on Monday, played 6 to 8 hours total on the fresh frame and snapped it again today. I'm stringing the whole bed with 4g at 54, I was snapping savage at 53 in 6 hours consistently.
Yeah, this frame, like the KPS88 as well as Head Extreme frames and oPorts from Prince are definitely not string friendly (for 16/19) frames. Would not recommend using 17g strings if you are a string breaker. Go 16g, or make sure you use a string that has a lot of elasticity.
 

geese_com

Semi-Pro
Yeah, this frame, like the KPS88 as well as Head Extreme frames and oPorts from Prince are definitely not string friendly (for 16/19) frames. Would not recommend using 17g strings if you are a string breaker. Go 16g, or make sure you use a string that has a lot of elasticity.
17g strings were only lasting me 5-7 hours. I added string savers and went to 16g strings and now get at least 10 hours.
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
string savers and power pads add a lot of weight to the head and changes the balance of the racket way too much.
:lol::lol::lol: That is pretty much the most clown call of the year so far.

I just weighed about 20 string savers (Babolat) and they were so light they didn't even register 1gm on my digital scales.

No player, let alone a rec player, could distinguish a less than 1gm addition to a 340gm-ish racquet.
 

oldman1966

New User
Update

interesting reading how all of you are experimenting with tensions. I've strung mine between 48 all the way to 63 lbs. Currently at 56-58 lbs, but might drop back down to 48-50.
Just an update....dropped tension around 21/22kg with on strung Alu Power and one 4G.

Was surprised even better control with the 4G...which I never really preferred over Alu Power before...

All is getting better the more I practise with the RF97...one thing I might take into consideration...is changing the current leather grip to another..softer one....feel free to give me some suggestions, which could fit...unfortunately Head finest calf skin is out of reach for me-)))):)

Greetings from Germany !
 

monomer

Rookie
Just an update....dropped tension around 21/22kg with on strung Alu Power and one 4G.

Was surprised even better control with the 4G...which I never really preferred over Alu Power before...

All is getting better the more I practise with the RF97...one thing I might take into consideration...is changing the current leather grip to another..softer one....feel free to give me some suggestions, which could fit...unfortunately Head finest calf skin is out of reach for me-)))):)

Greetings from Germany !
I am a big fan of the Wilson Shock Shield. The weight is the same as leather but the gel will definitely give you a softer feel. It is especially good on a stiff racquet like this.
 

asifallasleep

Hall of Fame
Full poly - Volkl Cyclone 18g black @ 45lbs is awesome for me. Looks great, plays great, soft on the arm and really nice playability due to the thin gauge. Oh, and the 18g Cyclone has lasted me 12 hours plus and still going thus far. Far better than any of the gut, gut hybrid and multi setups i've used.
 
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Blitzball

Professional
A lot of people using the RF97 have stated that going full poly is not a very good idea.
Add me to that list. Every full bed of poly I've tried (4G and Cyclone) led to wrist tenderness. To me, this racquet is meant for hybrid set ups. It played beautifully with Champions Choice, but that stuff is so expensive.

I'm thinking about using string savers and sticking to gut and ALU. If I can add another 2 hours onto the 17 hours I got last time, I think the 30 bucks might be worth it.
 

Candide

Hall of Fame
Pulled the trigger after vacillating and bought the RF97. I demoed it for a week when it first came out and thought it was wonderful but not 'user friendly' enough for comp play. However, on reflection I thought I could get used to it.

Currently I play with a EXO 16X18 leaded up to 12.3 but only about 4-5 points head light so the swing weight feels like it's just above 330 (I've done all this by feel and trial and error). Although it's a great set up for me (especially on the forehand it does not have the stability of the RF and sweet feel on the one handed backhand or on serve. I bought a second hand RF97 in mint condition from TW and just got it yesterday strung with a full bed of Alu Power Rough at 50lbs. It weighs 357 with overgrip and dampener.

Played three sets of doubles this morning. I was really happy. I'd love to measure the swing-weight on this one because it really feels more headlight than the one I demoed and was a breeze to handle for me today (I'd bet it's at least a few points below 330). Return of serve is a real plus for this you can just straight arm the ball and get it really deep in the court. Serve was easy. Everything felt good. The question is will I be game to take it out straight away in comp when it starts up again in a few weeks? Judging by this first outing the answer is yes. The honeymoon has begun.

I'm about a 4.5ish NTRP judging by what people put up on Youtube.
 
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KHSOLO

Semi-Pro
Best racquet ever

<-- Proud owner of pro staff racquets, 90s, 95s, 95.1ss etc

Comming from the latest 90's and having a one hand backhand there is no better choice

Full bed of poly at 53, good power, good control, best volleys ever specially when under pressure, great spin, huge sweet spot, plenty of stability and good manouverability

Definatelly a racquet made for Fed, no wonder is called autograph, makes difficult shots easy and easy shots easier

Bought 3 and happy as ever
 

drakulie

Talk Tennis Guru
A lot of people using the RF97 have stated that going full poly is not a very good idea.
I've had no problem with full poly, but people react differently, so the idea would be to go looser.



As for an update on my set up, I recently tried a set of Global Gut in the mains, with tour bite in the crosses at around 56 lbs. Softest hybrid set up I've tried. Really makes the frame feel way less stiff. Still has great power, spin, and control, and the comfort is amazing.

I've also been playing with a H22 (16/19) that a good friend (Geoff) acquired for me. Thanks Geoff. Frame is simply amazing. I'll post a review in a few weeks, but did want to say that Geoff made me a custom pallet that simply blew me away. The pallet is PERFECT and of amazing quality. If you guys want some pallet work done, would definitely recommend him (if he is taking orders).
 

coloskier

Legend
I've had no problem with full poly, but people react differently, so the idea would be to go looser.



As for an update on my set up, I recently tried a set of Global Gut in the mains, with tour bite in the crosses at around 56 lbs. Softest hybrid set up I've tried. Really makes the frame feel way less stiff. Still has great power, spin, and control, and the comfort is amazing.

I've also been playing with a H22 (16/19) that a good friend (Geoff) acquired for me. Thanks Geoff. Frame is simply amazing. I'll post a review in a few weeks, but did want to say that Geoff made me a custom pallet that simply blew me away. The pallet is PERFECT and of amazing quality. If you guys want some pallet work done, would definitely recommend him (if he is taking orders).
Drak, have you tried the hybrid with a lower tension? Say 52 or lower. At first I thought I'd have trouble with it, but using VS 16 Black and TBS16L (instead of TB 18 like I used to), I have not had one single problem with a formerly sore elbow. Added 10 mph to my serve and now my playing partners are having problems with the pace off my forehand.
 

drakulie

Talk Tennis Guru
Drak, have you tried the hybrid with a lower tension? Say 52 or lower. At first I thought I'd have trouble with it, but using VS 16 Black and TBS16L (instead of TB 18 like I used to), I have not had one single problem with a formerly sore elbow. Added 10 mph to my serve and now my playing partners are having problems with the pace off my forehand.
I've gone as low as 45. Feels great. Like you, no problems. Definitely adds a bit more depth. Glad to hear it's helping with your elbow.
 

Geoff

Hall of Fame
I've had no problem with full poly, but people react differently, so the idea would be to go looser.



As for an update on my set up, I recently tried a set of Global Gut in the mains, with tour bite in the crosses at around 56 lbs. Softest hybrid set up I've tried. Really makes the frame feel way less stiff. Still has great power, spin, and control, and the comfort is amazing.

I've also been playing with a H22 (16/19) that a good friend (Geoff) acquired for me. Thanks Geoff. Frame is simply amazing. I'll post a review in a few weeks, but did want to say that Geoff made me a custom pallet that simply blew me away. The pallet is PERFECT and of amazing quality. If you guys want some pallet work done, would definitely recommend him (if he is taking orders).
Glad you are enjoying the frame!
 

drakulie

Talk Tennis Guru
Glad you are enjoying the frame!
Loving it. Thanks to you I get to play with a rare beast of a frame. The pallet is awesome as well. Thanks again!!

How are things going with your RF97a?? What set up do you currently have, and how long are strings lasting you??
 

stronzzi70

Professional
I've had no problem with full poly, but people react differently, so the idea would be to go looser.



As for an update on my set up, I recently tried a set of Global Gut in the mains, with tour bite in the crosses at around 56 lbs. Softest hybrid set up I've tried. Really makes the frame feel way less stiff. Still has great power, spin, and control, and the comfort is amazing.

I've also been playing with a H22 (16/19) that a good friend (Geoff) acquired for me. Thanks Geoff. Frame is simply amazing. I'll post a review in a few weeks, but did want to say that Geoff made me a custom pallet that simply blew me away. The pallet is PERFECT and of amazing quality. If you guys want some pallet work done, would definitely recommend him (if he is taking orders).
Drak ,
how different can be the H 22 16x 19 compared to RF 97 A in width of the frame , control, top spin , flex , plow , ect
Many thanks for your time
 

Bogdan_TT

Professional
You guys could try Weiss Cannon Silverstring 1.20mm. I use it at 25/23.5 and my elbow stopped hurting ever since. Tons of pop, tons of control.
 

borgpro

Semi-Pro
I was so lucky to pick one up that weights 334 grams unstrung. Strung with prince premier control 16 (26/25 kg) the SW is excactly 330. Racket plays perfect!
 

Geoff

Hall of Fame
Loving it. Thanks to you I get to play with a rare beast of a frame. The pallet is awesome as well. Thanks again!!

How are things going with your RF97a?? What set up do you currently have, and how long are strings lasting you??
I am getting much better string life playing all hard courts during the indoor season. I am using Wilson Gut 16 gauge mains and Luxilon ALU rough in the crosses at 25/24 kg. also have 10 string savers. I am getting almost 15 hours per string job. Clay season is around the corner so will be interesting how much the longevity drops off.

The H22 is pretty addictive. It's so comfortable and solid. One of my favorite frames ever.
 

Geoff

Hall of Fame
Drak ,
how different can be the H 22 16x 19 compared to RF 97 A in width of the frame , control, top spin , flex , plow , ect
Many thanks for your time
In the mould, beam width, beam shape and head size of the frame the H22 and RF97 are extremely close. I think Drakulie may have pointed out the similarities in an earlier post. The biggest playing difference is the stiffness. When I started using the RF97 after using the H22 for 5 months it was an easy if not immediate transition. I would imagine Wilson can alter the RDC as well so that might be a tough assumption to make.
 

SpinToWin

Talk Tennis Guru
I am getting much better string life playing all hard courts during the indoor season. I am using Wilson Gut 16 gauge mains and Luxilon ALU rough in the crosses at 25/24 kg. also have 10 string savers. I am getting almost 15 hours per string job. Clay season is around the corner so will be interesting how much the longevity drops off.

The H22 is pretty addictive. It's so comfortable and solid. One of my favorite frames ever.
How about trying Alu Power Soft in the crosses for the clay season? It's smooth, pretty slick and it has better tension maintenance than the regular Alu Power (at least according to TWU's data), so you might get more durability and playability duration out of that.
 

Geoff

Hall of Fame
How about trying Alu Power Soft in the crosses for the clay season? It's smooth, pretty slick and it has better tension maintenance than the regular Alu Power (at least according to TWU's data), so you might get more durability and playability duration out of that.
But I would lose Federer imitation points!!
 

stronzzi70

Professional
In the mould, beam width, beam shape and head size of the frame the H22 and RF97 are extremely close. I think Drakulie may have pointed out the similarities in an earlier post. The biggest playing difference is the stiffness. When I started using the RF97 after using the H22 for 5 months it was an easy if not immediate transition. I would imagine Wilson can alter the RDC as well so that might be a tough assumption to make.
Many thanks Geoff....
 

drakulie

Talk Tennis Guru
Drak ,
how different can be the H 22 16x 19 compared to RF 97 A in width of the frame , control, top spin , flex , plow , ect
Many thanks for your time
As geoff alread pointed out, the moulds are nearly identical. Biggest noticable difference is the flex. If you want to get real picky, I would compare like this.

Plow- RF has more plow.
Stability- RF
Power- equal. However, you get more FREE power from RF.
Spin- edge goes to H22
Comfort- H22.

Both are amazing frames, but in the end, the flex makes them very different feeling.
 

drakulie

Talk Tennis Guru
I am getting much better string life playing all hard courts during the indoor season. I am using Wilson Gut 16 gauge mains and Luxilon ALU rough in the crosses at 25/24 kg. also have 10 string savers. I am getting almost 15 hours per string job. Clay season is around the corner so will be interesting how much the longevity drops off.

The H22 is pretty addictive. It's so comfortable and solid. One of my favorite frames ever.
I would say I'm averaging about 8 hours. Right now, I'm using Global in the mians, and old super smash in the crosses. Talk about blast from the past. LOL
 

stronzzi70

Professional
As geoff alread pointed out, the moulds are nearly identical. Biggest noticable difference is the flex. If you want to get real picky, I would compare like this.

Plow- RF has more plow.
Stability- RF
Power- equal. However, you get more FREE power from RF.
Spin- edge goes to H22
Comfort- H22.

Both are amazing frames, but in the end, the flex makes them very different feeling.
Many Thanks for your great info ...
 
Mini-Review

Not a frequent poster, but I thought I'd weigh in on the RF97 as someone that is probably playing at the 2.5-3.0 level.

At the beginning of last summer, I was still playing with a Head Youtek MP Speed that I picked up a few years ago, and I found that it lacked torsional stability when I played against heavy hitters. This, in turn, caused a lot of wrist issues as I started playing in a semi-competitive ladder. I tried lead tape as a solution but couldn't make it work, so I then moved through a whole host of rackets, using the demo program--BLX Pro Staff 95, ProKennex Pro 5G, the entire Head Graphene Prestige line, Volkl Super G10, Volkl C10, Volkl Organix 10 (325g), Wilson Six.One 95, Tecnifibre TFight 320, Babolat Pure Control Tour, ProKennex Ionic Ki 5 315, Prince Response 97, ProKennex Kinetic Ki QTour, Babolat Pure Strike Tour. I also started picking up older models--ProStaff 6.0 95, ProStaff 6.1 95, ProStaff 7.0 95 Classic Lite, Prince Titanium Precision Response, Gamma Tradition 18, Dunlop Biomimetic 200 Lite. I'll be honest: a lot of these rackets never even made it to the courts because I could tell just by swinging them that they were not going to work for my arm.

Sometime during all this, I purchased a RF97 on a whim and figured I could at least tinker with it. I didn't expect to be able to make full use of what many were calling a very heavy and hard to maneuver racket.

As I progressed through all the other demos, I eventually landed on the ProStaff 7.0 95 Classic Lite as my go-to racket. It fit my specs: flexible, very head-light (although I wouldn't consider myself a big serve and volley player), mid-plus head size and about 12.0 ounces. My only grievances with it were that with swing weight hovering between 310 and 320, I didn't get a lot of plow-through on forehands, and I couldn't generate a lot of spin on backhands, save slices.

So, I very hesitantly started playing more and more with the RF97 (no one can argue that it lacks plow-through). It definitely took some adjustment--I'm still adjusting, but I definitely feel like it is working for me rather than against me. I started with a poly mains/gut crosses setup, just on a whim, but I've settled into NRG2 16 at 48lbs mains and crosses for now. I may add a soft poly cross after awhile to get a little less pop and a little more spin. So far, I've found the multifilament at the low tension a nice balance to a racket with a stiffness rating of 68, which in a lot of other rackets would probably give me a good case of TE.

However, what I wanted to throw out to everyone is that the stiffness rating does seem to be countered by not only the high static weight of the racket, but the weight distribution itself. For people, like myself, who have arm problems with "polarized" weight distribution (weight at the two ends of the racket, as opposed to "depolarized" setups where the weight is distributed in a balanced way throughout), the RF97 offers a nice alternative to a lot of the "modern" players rackets that try to have both higher swing weights with lower static weights. The only rackets fitting that recipe seem to be polarized, which my wrist and elbow just can't take, especially if I'm playing someone that does demand a decent amount of volleying. Polarized, I have found, does not equal a lot of torsional stability, especially on volleys. There are a few rackets out there--I would say Tecnifibre's Tfight 320--that are not exactly polarized, but where the weight seems concentrated from the top of the grip/handle on up. When I compare a racket like that against the RF97, which is weighted throughout, it's no contest in favor of the RF97.

So, I guess my summary on the RF97 is that it can work well and comfortably even for lower level players that typically favor more flexible frames. I don't think people should necessarily be scared away just by the static weight of the racket. If you want a stable, depolarized racket with a decent swing weight, it doesn't seem mathematically possible unless you commit to using a racket, like the RF97, with a higher static weight.

For what it's worth, I'm 29, male, probably at least 25 lbs. overweight, currently playing indoor once a week, one-handed backhand, inconsistent server (I'm working on it--it started long before the RF97) with a long, fast swing.
 

asifallasleep

Hall of Fame
I've had no problem with full poly, but people react differently, so the idea would be to go looser.



As for an update on my set up, I recently tried a set of Global Gut in the mains, with tour bite in the crosses at around 56 lbs. Softest hybrid set up I've tried. Really makes the frame feel way less stiff. Still has great power, spin, and control, and the comfort is amazing.

I've also been playing with a H22 (16/19) that a good friend (Geoff) acquired for me. Thanks Geoff. Frame is simply amazing. I'll post a review in a few weeks, but did want to say that Geoff made me a custom pallet that simply blew me away. The pallet is PERFECT and of amazing quality. If you guys want some pallet work done, would definitely recommend him (if he is taking orders).
What kind of string life are you getting with the Global Gut and Tour Bite setup?
 

iceman_dl6

Semi-Pro
As geoff alread pointed out, the moulds are nearly identical. Biggest noticable difference is the flex. If you want to get real picky, I would compare like this.

Plow- RF has more plow.
Stability- RF
Power- equal. However, you get more FREE power from RF.
Spin- edge goes to H22
Comfort- H22.

Both are amazing frames, but in the end, the flex makes them very different feeling.
Amazing frames indeed (I have both). But in the end, for me, I play much better with the RF97.
 

Top Jimmy

Semi-Pro
Just bought one finally, picking it up tonight. Only hit with it once for about 10-15 minutes (liked it) but I'll play my league match tomorrow with it. At worst, it's a novelty racket I take out once in a while like many others I own. At best it replaces my IG Radical Pro which I'm falling out of love with.

11.9 unstrung weight, Cyclone 17g at 55 to start.

About me: 4.5, one handed backhand, western forehand, all court player :)
 
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Top Jimmy

Semi-Pro
Just bought one finally, picking it up tonight. Only hit with it once for about 10-15 minutes (liked it) but I'll play my league match tomorrow with it. At worst, it's a novelty racket I take out once in a while like many others I own. At best it replaces my IG Radical Pro which I'm falling out of love with.

11.9 unstrung weight, Cyclone 17g at 55 to start.

About me: 4.5, one handed backhand, western forehand, all court player :)
Well, played my 4.5 league match last week. Won 6-1, 6-2 but the guy was off so i don't put much stock into it.

Good:
Serves: Much better directional control for me compared to my IG Rad Pro. Timing was a bit off so not as much pace yet.
Volleys: Nothing better than volleying with a racket that has mass. I now realize why I haven't been able to volley well since dumping my PS85 years ago. Point and shoot.
Backhand slice: Effortless. I had to use it a lot since this was basically only the second time I've played with this.

Bad:
Top spin OHBH: Maybe I've developed bad habits but usually I am able to turn defense into offense with my backhand, even hitting off my back foot. The RF97 seemed sluggish and I couldn't get around in time.
Forehand: Normally my most inconsistent shot. I laid off going for anything and just rolled topspin forehands most of the time. Again, sluggish compared to the 11.9-12oz rackets I've been using lately (for obvious reasons.)

I played in the past with a 12.8 oz 4D 200 tour so this at 12.7 shouldn't be an issue but it was, maybe i'm out of shape.

I removed the leather grip, replaced it with a Bab Skin Feel replacement grip, its down to 12.5 and the grip feels better so we'll see how it goes.

This isn't a bad racket but I wish it was a tad bit more headlight like the PS85 was. Match Thursday, hopefully I can solve the groundies because being able to aggressively serve and volley again with confidence is very nice.
 

mxblink

Rookie
I removed the leather grip, replaced it with a Bab Skin Feel replacement grip, its down to 12.5 and the grip feels better so we'll see how it goes.

This isn't a bad racket but I wish it was a tad bit more headlight like the PS85 was. Match Thursday, hopefully I can solve the groundies because being able to aggressively serve and volley again with confidence is very nice.
Well, swapping the leather grip for a Skin Feel will move the balance more head heavy. Maybe put some blue tack in the buttcap? Weight right at the buttcap will have a larger effect on balance per gram than the leather grip had, so maybe you can get the balance you want without adding too much weight.
 

Top Jimmy

Semi-Pro
Well, swapping the leather grip for a Skin Feel will move the balance more head heavy. Maybe put some blue tack in the buttcap? Weight right at the buttcap will have a larger effect on balance per gram than the leather grip had, so maybe you can get the balance you want without adding too much weight.
Ehh, I'm not too worried about it, it was more a grip comfort move than anything.
 

drakulie

Talk Tennis Guru
Played this frame today for the first time in a long while, and to add,,,,, on hard courts. Strings in my Textreme broke, so busted the RF97A out of my bag. Hadn't played with the RF on harcourts, so was a lot of fun trying it out and seeing how much power I was getting, especially on a fairly fast court.

This frame remains a beast, with so much power and stability. Was really blasting the ball, and hitting some really heavy spin. Lots of fun and an eye opener. Much different put away power of fast hard courts vs clay.
 
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