Racket upgrade dilemma I would appreciate some advice on

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by extreme_western, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. extreme_western

    extreme_western New User

    Oct 16, 2009
    Hi guys,

    I have recently spent quite a lot of time selling off old rackets that I no longer use on **** as part of a general de-cluttering process and to get some return on what have, financially, proved to be some pretty bad investments in rackets. I am now looking to buy two new rackets that I am completely happy with to the extent that I do not feel the need to demo new rackets in search for the potentially game changing combination. I intend to use the rackets that I buy now for the majority of my tennis playing life, to look after them and try and make sure they last for as long as possible.

    Obviously that means that the decision of deciding what to go for is a pretty important one, one that I want to take care over, and absolutely one which I don't want to get wrong or make a mistake with.

    I am nineteen years old and from the UK. I was a very good junior until the age of 14, winning numerous county and regional tournaments and getting to a LTA rating of 6.1 (current system) by the age of 12 before I went away to boarding school, from which point my tennis suffered somewhat and I started playing a lot less for a variety of reasons, partly due to lack of time and partly due to problems with my game which surfaced as the result of the conflicting input of various coaches messing up my technique somewhat which left me for a period of time in something of a 'transition phase'.

    During this time I fiddled about with quite a few rackets, settling on a few in particular for long periods but always with something of a sense of discomfort in terms of feeling that each racket was not entirely 'the one'.

    I started off with the Babolat Pure Drive team, which I initially had a lot of success with. When Nadal started doing well, however, I changed to the Aeropro Drive, which I played well with initially but subsequently hated. I then went back to the blue Pure Drive before changing to the orange Zylon Matrix Pure Storm. I used this for a year and a half before changing briefly to the Head Radical MP, an impulse buy, before changing back. I then changed to the Head Speed MP 16 x 19 for a period before changing back to the Pure Storm, and then upgrading to the Pure Storm GT tour when I finally decided that a heavier racket perse was the answer rather than constant fiddling with lead tape.

    Having not really played for the best part of a year, I have recently started hitting again with a friend who is in his UK University's first team. Playing initially with my old Pure Storms, out of necessity as the result of a series of string breakages I picked up and started playing with his Volkl DNX 10's, which I got on extremely well with, and which triggered something of a resurgence of my past interest in rackets, and in getting my selection definitively sorted. I have decided now that, having recently moved my forehand grip round to a semi-western, from the prohibitively full western that it was previously, I would like my new rackets to be more towards the 'players' end, which means a switch from Babolat to a stiffer, more controlled genre of frame such as a Head, Pacific or a Volkl.

    This has led me to a lot of research in the last two weeks. I started hitting with my Head Speed MPs again, my thoughts on which were that I loved the feel, spin and baseline play but did not like the fact that there wasn't quite enough weight behind them and that they did not quite inspire enough confidence in their 'hitting out' such that I felt tentative at times when 'letting go' on groundstrokes and trying to flatten the ball out.

    With this in mind, I sold these and continued my search. I played extremely well for a couple of weeks with the Volkl's, only to encounter disappointment when I found that they are very difficult to track down, with few stockists in the UK and even fewer of the old DNX frames kicking about. I do, however, love the 'Volkl' feel, they are very pure feeling and beautifully balanced. My misgivings are firstly on buying a discontinued racket, and secondly a lingering feeling that I would be better served with just a little bit more heft.

    Randomly when doing a bit of coaching I picked up my Dad's old 80s Dunlop Max 200g, which I had a few hits with. Wow, what a racket; great feel, lovely sweetspot and lovely 'hefty, can swing hard at the ball and its not going to go out if I time it right' feeling. I was playing, bizarrely, with a lot more confidence with this than the DNX. However, the stiffness and lack of 'give' were naturally wearing after a while and a few sets in with my friend I realised that, beautiful racket as it is, my early hopes of an anti-technology return to a pre 1990s stick were perhaps unrealistic.

    My experiences with this racket did, however, reinforce my desire for a more 'classic feel'. When I have gone back to the DNX since using the Dunlop it somehow does not feel quite the same. I want something, I think which is heavier and which I can take bigger cuts and more racket head speed with without ANY fear of the ball sailing long, with the correct timing of course.

    I had a hit, purely out of interest, with the Pacific X Force Pro, yesterday, which I really liked the feel of but which I felt was a bit light and 'whippy' for its specs.

    I will keep hitting with that for the next week or so to test it further and to get full value for money from the test period. However, I am really back to square one in terms of proceeding and making a commitment to buying THE racket.

    Apologies for going on but I basically want something that is stiff, about 340 grams minimum unstrung, has a 'classic' feel and a head size between 95 and 98 square inches.

    This, along with my experiences with the MP version, has led me to the Speed Pro 'Djokovic' racket, which I have now ordered a demo of. I am optimistic about how I am likely to get on with this racket given its specs and my requirements, but the reviews seem distinctly mixed between some saying it is the best thing since sliced bread and others saying it is the worst thing they have ever touched and barely even a tennis racket.

    It will be interesting to see how I get on with it, and only time will tell I guess.

    I would really appreciate some help and advice from seasoned racket users, however, on

    a) any other rackets that fit with my description of my needs that you think are worth me taking a look at


    b) any experiences and feedback on any of the rackets I have mentioned are under my consideration (namely Speed Tour, DNX 10, Pacific Pro) which you think might be helpful in terms of assisting me in coming to a satisfactory conclusion.

    Many thanks, I look forward to hearing from you and I once again apologise for the long winded post and life story, unfortunately that seems to be my nature with these things.
  2. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

    Jun 29, 2009
    1313 Mockingbird Lane.
    how about blx 6.1 tour 95?
    not quite 340 unstrung, but it is stiff, but i feel, has a classic feel to it.
  3. whomad15

    whomad15 Semi-Pro

    Aug 31, 2010
    Don't most players sticks have a lower end flex rating?
    The prince rebel, POG, diablo.
    babolat pure storm
    volkl PB10 or C10 are both great.
    I would say the volkls, POG and diablo would have the most classic feel. Plus they're all easily available.
  4. tennisexecutor

    tennisexecutor Rookie

    Jan 22, 2011
    imo you should try the volkl pb10 mp and, if you can still find it, the head protour 280/630s, if you want both, a stiff AND classique feel. and if you can't track down the head, the dunlop 4d/biomimetic 200s might be worth demoing as well. i know several players that successfully transitioned from the heads to those. good luck.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011
  5. thug the bunny

    thug the bunny Professional

    Jan 7, 2011
    Out of the comfort zone
    Welcome, extreme. Quite a garrulous though well worded post.

    Even though you can read the specs, specs don't say everything about a stick.

    Even though you can demo them, demos are usually strung with crap, or at the very least, not with what you would use.

    Even though you can get an idea of a racquet's performance from users' comments, perceptions differ.

    So what I do, if $ is fairly available, is spec one, listen to some opinion, and if those inputs sound favorable for my tastes, I buy it. If, after a period of time, I don't like it, I sell it to recoup hopefully about 70% of the cost, and move on to another model.

    It sounds like our tastes are similar. So far I have kept a KPS88, PK Redondo 93, and a Pres Mid, and soon to be trying an AG4D100. I'm also thinking about the POG. Enjoy your hunt!
  6. OldButGame

    OldButGame Hall of Fame

    Apr 23, 2010
    To the Court,At The Court,Going home from Court
    Really agree!!!!...The PB10 (MP for me...)...is great!!![​IMG]
  7. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation G.O.A.T.

    Oct 20, 2006
    Well first off, thanks for using that return key and making enough paragraphs to keep that whole thing readable... HA!

    Interesting story with lots of impressions that have a familiar ring to them. Just one idea of yours that I might want to, um, let's say "clarify". Your description of the experience when hitting with more classic frames like the Dunlop 200g or even the DNX 10 sound exactly the same as when I started using racquets with more of an old-school design. I was suddenly more free to use full strokes, keep the ball under control, and also enjoy some exceptional feel (subjective as that may be).

    The thing is, these more classic designs DO have a lot of "give" to them in terms of more flexibility. I'm not picking on you one bit, but I think it's important to straighten this out, just so that you don't go looking in the wrong direction for your new gear. Even among the racquets you mentioned early on, the one you settled in with was a Pure Storm - Babolat's softer option.

    Too much flex can make for a racquet with an overly diminished response - ain't got no pop - but the ones that you've enjoyed have all been rather soft 'n hefty, including that Storm with some lead tape to help the cause.

    I'm not making this recommendation because I want everyone to use the same frames I do, but everything I gathered from your oh-so-thorough post points to the Volkl "10 series" racquets. I use their C10 Pro 98 and love its combo of feel, power, all-court performance... yaddah-yaddah... It's soft, heavy, head-light, and quite kind to my elbow (never had TE, but don't want to worry about it, either). This frame accommodates lots of different string setups according to our pals around here, and it's even quite easy to tune with lead tape.

    As soon as I took up with this racquet as a softer alternative to my stiff ProStaff 6.1 Classics, my strokes were literally set free due to the extra control I found in the C10's right away. Even though I'll probably never find a serve 'n volley implement quite as good for me as those old 6.1 Classics, the C10 has been my Swiss Army racquet. It does everything quite well for me.

    I even owned Fischer's version of the X Force Pro before they became Pacific. The Fischer racquet was the M-Speed Pro #1 98 SL - my impression was exactly the same as what you described with the Pacific.

    Take a good hard look at the Volkl 10's.
  8. HiroProtagonist

    HiroProtagonist Professional

    Jul 23, 2010
    Completely agree with this, great racquets and meets all your criterion: stiff, heavy, old school feel, truly an epic modern thwomp stick. However in your post you seem to have enjoyed hitting with softer frames i.e. DNX and 200g so I'm not really sure if a stiff frame is really what your after.

    Now these, aside from the Dunlop which I cannot comment on since I have not hit with them, are great frames. But they are on the softer side, particularly the Protour 280/630's which are also hard to come by in good shape and will most likely require some restoration work once you do.

    All that being said it seems like the middle ground between the stiff, classic feel of the 6.1 95's and the super flexy Volkl's and PT 630's would be the progeny of the PT630's.......The Prestige MP!

    Which I maintain is simply the best all around racquet family this planet has ever seen.

    -You get a 95sqin head, perfect balance of forgiveness and sleek maneuverability, not to mention sexy as hell.

    -A stiffness of around 62(dependent on which incarnation) which yields a more than comfortable/old school feel as well as just enough stiffness to give you a little pop when stretched out wide or on serve.

    -Control, it just oozes it, try and hit one long, I dare you, and you'll be daring yourself after a few hits.

    -Feel, great touch around net and on droppers, lobs, skidders, and Santorian slice FH, if you swing that way.

    Like I have said before and WILL say again, some racquets may do one or two things better than a Prestige MP but NONE do everything as well.

    Also If you want a bit more power and stiffness look into the Prestige Pro, not quite an old school feel but quality. My favorite incarnation is the iPrestige, which are still relatively easy to find and stock up on, I find they feel a bit crisper and just a hint more pop.

    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011

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